Department of
Plant Biology

Plant Biology News

Scientists find world’s oldest fossil mushroom

The world’s oldest fossil mushroom was preserved in limestone, an extraordinarily rare event, researchers say.

Donald Ort elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Donald Ort is among four University of Illinois professors elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year.

Scientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yield

As computer models predicted, genetically modified plants are better able to make use of the limited sunlight available when their leaves go into the shade, researchers report.

Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

Plant biology professors Lisa Ainsworth, Stephen P. Long, and Donald Ort are three of eight Illinois faculty members on the Clarivate Analytics / Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list, 2016.

Soybean plants with fewer leaves yield more

Using computer model simulations, scientists have predicted that modern soybean crops produce more leaves than they need to the detriment of yield—a problem made worse by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. They tested their prediction by removing about one third of the emerging leaves on soybeans and found an 8% increase in seed yield in replicated trials. They attribute this boost in yield to increased photosynthesis, decreased respiration, and diversion of resources that would have been invested in more leaves than seeds.

In Memoriam - Dr. Sharon Gray (1985-2016)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign B.Sc. Integrative Biology, 2006 Ph.D. Plant Biology, 2013

Future drought will offset benefits of higher CO2 on soybean yields

Plant biology professor Andrew Leakey and colleagues report that soybeans will suffer yield losses sooner than previously predicted under future conditions that combine elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels with drought.

Fixing a Broken Theory of Nature

Scientists are trying to tweak a well-known model of ecological change to account for environmental fluctuations

Fungi are at the root of tropical forest diversity–or lack thereof, study finds

University of Illinois plant biology professor James Dalling, graduate student Adriana Corrales and their colleagues found that fungi that associate with tree roots can profoundly influence plant diversity in a tropical forest.