Story Highlights

Microbes Rush
Long-haired microbes named after Canadian band Rush

Three new species of microbe found in the guts of termites have been named after members of the Canadian prog-rock band Rush, owing to the microbes’ long hair and rhythmic wriggling under the microscope.

“A Spanish postdoc, Javier del Campo, asked me to recommend some good Canadian music, and I suggested he listen to Rush,” says…

Seaweed Diversity on Calvert Island, British Columbia

Article by Katy Hind, Sandra Lindstrom, and Patrick Martone

It is estimated that we have described only 10-20% of species diversity on Earth.  In particular, floristic surveys using modern molecular techniques have revealed that we are vastly underestimating the number of seaweed species.  This finding has implications for researchers…

Xin Li article
Preventing autoimmunity in plants

Article by Xin Li lab

Like animals, plants are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungi that have the potential to cause diseases. To remain healthy plants possess a complex immune system which relies on immune receptors that are able to recognize pathogens and respond before an infection is established. If a pathogen is able…

Samuel pic
Biomechanical consequences of branching in flexible, wave-swept macroalgae

Article by Samuel Starko and Patrick Martone

What physical factors influence the morphological variation of plants? How do different morphologies coexist, if they perform similar ecological roles? Marine, non-vascular plants (seaweeds) live in some of the most physically stressful habitats on the planet: wave-swept rocky shores. Seaweeds…

Haughn article
Exploring cell wall structure and function with seed coat mucilage

Article by George Haughn

The primary plant cell wall of land plants is an essential cellular structure needed for support, cell-cell adhesion, signaling and interaction with both the biotic and abiotic environment. It is composed of a complex, dynamic extracellular matrix consisting of a network of carbohydrate polymers (cellulose,…

How do plants make exceptionally long lipids for their cuticles?

Article by Tegan Haslam (Kunst Lab)

The transition of plants to life on land required many adaptations for survival in an environment so radically different from the sea. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of terrestrial life is the necessity of retaining water, which makes up more than 70% of most non-woody plant parts. Plants have…

Douglas Poplar
Update on plant sex: breakthrough discovery in poplars

Article by Carl Douglas

Do plants have different sexes, meaning distinct male and female individual organisms within a species? The separation of male and female sexual function into different individuals is called “dioecy” and is common in eukaryotes, occurring in 94% of animals. Yes - this occurs in plants but in contrast to animals it…

How do interactions between plants and viruses influence symptom severity?

Article by Hélène Sanfaçon

Plant viruses can cause significant economic losses in cultivated plants by inducing visual symptoms that affect plant productivity.  However, there are also many viruses that co-exist with their hosts without inducing significant symptoms.  Symptom severity is determined not only by the ability of viruses to…

Mapping a species niche and its distribution

Article by Matthew Bayly (Angert Lab).

A current important area of research effort involves understanding how species’ geographic distributions and range limits will respond to climate change. But for most species of interest we lack basic data on how their fitness changes along climatic gradients. In many cases distribution data from…

Sequencing of historic and modern specimens reveals cryptic diversity in the red alga Nothogenia

Article by Sandra Lindstrom, Paul  Gabrielson, Jeff Hughey, Erasmo Macaya and  Wendy  Nelson.

This project is not something I ever envisioned.  How did someone who is interested in the biogeography and phylogeny of seaweeds occurring on the West Coast of North America end up leading a project that revised the taxonomy of a genus of…