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A visit from Dr Rubén Milla, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid.

We were pleased to host Dr Rubén Milla this week, who flew over from Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid) to give a seminar and meet with the Origins of Agriculture team. Rubén works on ecological strategies in crops and their wild relatives, therefore it was very useful to get together to discuss our current projects. […]

New PhD Students!

A warm welcome to our two new PhD students Kim Mullins and Emma Jardine!

Thomas Kluyver PhD

Congratulations to Thomas Kluyver on his successful PhD defence on Friday. His thesis looks at the role of unconscious selection in crop domestication, and is an exciting mix of neat ideas, laboratory experiments, and hypothesis testing using large datasets, where Thomas’s skills in computing really came into their own. One of the novel aspects of […]

Why is rice not C4?

Nowadays, the type of carbon acquisition pathway named “C4 photosynthesis” is used by several crops, such as maize and sugarcane, and allows thousands of species to thrive in warm habitats. However, as illustrated in our paper published in Photosynthesis Research (link), the history of C4 plants started long before the first plants or animals appeared […]

Wiki Friday

Catherine, Angie, Marj and I spent the day working on plant biology entries in Wikipedia, with help from Thomas, a Wiki veteran. Personal experience shows that Wikipedia is commonly the top hit on Google, and is often the first port of call when looking for information on the internet, so it’s an obvious route for […]

ASE conference

Thanks to all the teachers who came to Colin’s talk at this week’s Association for Science Education (ASE) www.ASE.org.uk annual meeting in Reading. It was fun to meet you, to find out more about what’s going on in schools, and to share our enthusiasm for biology!

As promised, here’s a PDF of the slides […]

How do plants fly?

Continuing our long-time collaboration with Weston Park Museum, October half-term saw another round of Sideshow Science, a public event on the museum floor aimed at families. We asked ‘How do plants fly?’ in a hands-on science demo of seed dispersal for kids. We blew sycamore helicopters into the air with a giant fan and checked […]

PEPg workshop

Marj, Georg, Catherine and Colin were in Portugal last week for the SEB/BES workshop on field techniques in Plant Environmental Physiology. With Portuguese maquis vegetation outside the door at La Quinta, and the long history of classic ecophysiology work at this site, we had a stimulating, inspiring and fun few days.

Colin ran a practical […]

Epic experiment

After six months of preparation, Bex, Millie, Chris and their band of workers have begun a plant growth experiment of epic proportions. Using destructive growth analysis, they are comparing the growth rates and allocation patterns of 220 grass species: a total of >2000 individuals! After this experiment is over, they will be starting all over […]

SEB Salzburg 2012

Georg, Marj, Thomas and Colin just spent a busy week in Salzburg at the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) annual meeting. Georg and Thomas both presented their PhD work, and Colin coordinated the session “Evolution of Physiological Traits”. Thanks to some amazing speakers, this session was exciting, stimulating and inspiring. Salzburg was beautiful, hot and […]