SPPS Newsletter November 2009

Index of Issue IV 2009

Registration for the upcoming 6th SPPS PhD Conference will start in February 2010. From www.phd-spps.com

Registration for the upcoming 6th SPPS PhD Conference will start in February 2010. At that time, you will be able to register online on the conference’s official homepage. Please remember, that SPPS may provide grants for PhD students to cover their expenses for active participation in SPPS Congresses. Please note, however, that a member can apply for a grant only if she/he has been a member of SPPS also during the previous year. For more information on the SPPS grants, please contact the Secretary General Anna Kärkönen. The conference will be held during 2-5 September 2010 in Espoo.

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You can read the full FESPB 2010 programme outline at www.geyseco.es

The FESPB 2010 congress is approaching and will be held in Valencia on 4-9 July 2010. You can already now register online and in order to get the reduced early bird registration fee, you must do so before February 11th. The fee for FESPB members are 475 € (students 320 €), whereas non-members must pay 550 € or 370 €, repectively. After February 11th the fees wil be 550 € (students 375 €) for members and 620 € (students 425 €) for non-members.

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The SPPS membership fee is great value for only 30 € or 150 €. From www.spps.fi

Please remember that your SPPS membership fee for 2010 is due for payment. Most of the existing members have already renewed their membership, but we miss some of you and urge you to renew as soon as possible. Also, we would be happy to welcome new members! As explained in the last issue of SPPS Newsletter, the membership fee for 2010 will now be collected at the end of 2009 and so forth. If your payment has not been received, we will send you an email in December. It contains a link to your membership pages where you can easily make your payment.

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Don’t forget to share your open positions and meetings on the SPPS homepage. From www.spps.fi

Recently, SPPS introduced a new service to its members, so they can easily share open positions and meetings with the plant science community. Unfortunately, we have so far only received a few postings from you. We hope, however, that you will embrace the new service once you get used to it, and therefore we urge you to dig into it and try it out for your self. It is very easy to use, and you can post your positions or meetings on the web in just a few clicks. Check out this tutorial or read the short summary below and you will be ready to post!

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Sixteen signatures signed the establishment of the Global Plant Council. From http://www.smb.org.mx

Representatives for 16 plant science societies met this summer in Honolulu, Hawaii and established the Global Plant Council, which has the ambitious goal to deliver research to save the planet. Among the plant societies taking this demanding step was SPPS, so we take the liberty to present the new Global Plant Council under our regular section Scandinavian research institute. SPPS was represented by council member Tom Hamborg Nielsen who is associate professor at University of Copenhagen, and SPPS Newsletter had the chance to meet him. You can read the interview below, but first we will give you a brief description of the thoughts that laid the ground for the Global Plant Council.

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The increasing atmospheric have resulted in a general increase in photosynthesis and biomass, but less is known about how plants adapt to this environmental change in terms of respiration. Now, scientists at University of Illinois at Chicago have taken up this issue by growing Arabidopsis thaliana plants adapted to Pleistocene sub-CO2 levels of 200 µl/l at current 360 µl/l CO2. The results show that these plants exhibited reduced respiration as compared to plants adapted to ambient CO2. The lower respiration rate was, however, not associated with a corresponding reduction in nitrogen content of the tissues. The results suggest, that plants adapt to changes in atmospheric CO2 by adjusting mitochondrial energy coupling and activity of the so called alternative pathway, where photosynthate is consumed in a less energy efficient way leading to lower ATP production.

Read full article here: Gonzalez-Meler et al (December 2009) Physiologia Plantarum 137: 473-484

Though several native plant species have become extinct due to human activities even more alien species are being introduced. This might appear to put thing in balance, but unfortunately this is not the case. Seen across Europe, the flora is becoming more homogenous as common species become more abundant in greater areas, whereas rare species become extinct. Researchers from across Europe found that since 1500 AD, 1,600 new non-European species have been introduced. During the same period, approximately 500 species have become locally extinct and only 2 species have become completely extinct. Consequently, plant biodiversity is increasing at the same time as the diversity between plant communities is, thus leading to decreased phylogenetic diversity. A high phylogenetic diversity (reflecting evolutionary and genetic diversity) presents a wealth of information and ability to react to environmental changes. The huge number of introductions seems therefore to have reduced the European floras chances to adopt to the current global climate changes.

Source: Winter et al (22 December 2009) PNAS 106: 21721-21725

A new study by American and Brazilian scientists sheds light on how the clearing of BrazilÕs Amazon rainforest could be slowed down. The main drivers of deforestation in the region has historically been the beef and soy industries, but as the authors point out, they are beginning to prefer suppliers who do not profit from deforestation. If Brazilian deforestation was to be stopped completely this is estimated to result in a 2% to 5% reduction in global carbon emissions. Such climate friendly achievements will, however, have significant impact on the livelihoods for small farmers and forest peoples. The calculated costs to compensate for these effects and also to improve law enforcement and effectively manage protected areas are expected to be in the range of $6 to $18 billion from 2010 to 2020.

Source: Nepstad et al (4 December 2009) Science 326: 1350-1351