Undergraduate Science Writing Impact: Why & How with Wiki Edu

Early in 2015, ASPB established a partnership with Wiki Edu. This post features some simple, yet critical details for understanding and using Wiki Edu to help your students think and write more effectively about plant science. The insights shared here come from  Barbara Alonso (photo), Lab Manager for the Lemaux Lab at University of California-Berkeley. … Read more

Chestnuts featured in #AdventBotany

Last year, Alastair Culham (@BotanyRNG) and Jonathan Mitchley (@Drmgoewild) from the University of Reading teamed up to create a series of blog posts called Advent Botany (advent is the season leading up to Christmas and is traditionally a period of waiting or counting days).  This year Advent Botany 2015 features guest contributions. Today’s post, written … Read more

Dealing with arsenic – an investigation with undergraduates

Guest post from Sonja Dunbar, PhD student at the University of Cambridge Plants need nutrients and they have a lot of different ways to acquire them from the soil, as the 2nd year undergraduate students I teach at the University of Cambridge recently discovered in lectures. One thing our lecture courses try to emphasise at … Read more

Plants in the News: Help us identify 2015’s Plant Science Highlights

Normally, our Friday posts highlight plants featured in the news over the past week, but this week we take a short break to make an appeal for your thoughts on the most notable and newsworthy plant-related events, resources, breakthroughs and headline makers of the past year. Here are the stories we featured last year as … Read more

Plants in the News 13 November 2015: Indonesia on Fire

Recent fires in Indonesia have been making headlines around the world and raising concerns about their impacts on wildlife, global carbon emissions and health problems for local people. Fires have been a recurring problem for many years, but this year they are exacerbated by drought conditions caused by a strong El Niño event. Since September … Read more

President’s Letter: A Lot to Think About

It’s amazing how quickly my year as president-elect of ASPB has passed, and I now find myself writing my first President’s Letter. I echo the words of my predecessor, Julian Schroeder, when I say that it is truly an honor to serve this important Society. It is also a somewhat daunting experience. Before becoming president-elect, … Read more

Plants in the News 6 November 2015: Pineapple, Ananas comosus

This week we celebrate pineapples, in honor of the completion of the sequencing of the pineapple (Ananas comosus) genome and the insights it provides into an important metabolic pathway (Ming et al., 2015). Pineapples are more than just tasty tropical fruit, they’re also one of many plants able to carry out a special form of … Read more

Plants in the News, October 30 2015: Oxford Plants 400

The 400th anniversary of the founding of plant science at Oxford will be celebrated on July 25 2021 (see its history). As a celebration and count-down to this anniversary, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum, together with the Oxford University Herbaria and the Department of Plant Sciences, are highlighting 400 plants of … Read more

Plants in the News, October 23 2015: Booo-tany

  Tired of the same old Halloween decorations? Maybe you’re ready for Booo-tany! There are plenty of plants that embody spooky themes, and what could be cooler than dressing up as a corpse flower or parasitic dodder? (If you do, send photos….). Here we highlight just a few of the Booo-tanical wonders to inspire your … Read more

Plants in the News, October 16 2015: Marvellous Mangroves

This week we feature mangroves, a polyphyletic group of plants that live in tropical intertidal zones. Mangroves are in the news as a consequence of a new paper out in Nature (Lovelock et al., 2015) that describes their great vulnerability to sea-level rise (see also Saintilan et al., 2015).   Mangrove is a term used … Read more

Winning entries of the August 2015 “Teaching Tools Proposal” competition

We had many excellent proposals submitted for the second round of the the “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” competition, from which we selected two for further development. The competition has one additional submission deadline December 31 2015, and full details can be found at http://blog.aspb.org/2015/03/02/share-your-enthusiasm-teaching-tools-submission-competition/. Here are the two winning proposals and their authors from … Read more

Countdown to The Martian

I’m excited to see so many people writing about The Botanist .. er The Martian, including: Alun Salt in AoB Blog (Incidently, Alun wrote about the book back in 2014, inspring me and others to read it), Adam Rutherford in the Guardian, and Chris Martine in HuffPost (who, very coolly, just named a new species … Read more

Plants in the News, September 11 2015

This week’s episode has the theme of “Videos”. There are not enough good videos about plant science, but there’s a lot of talent out there, how about making an engaging video as your outreach project for the year? To get you started, here’s a video from the Eden Channel about how to make a great … Read more

Using Narrative for Outreach (Part 2/2)

By Dana D’Amico In my last entry, I left off with discussion of the difficulties scientists face in establishing public trust, particularly when it comes to contentious issues like GM food safety. I suggested experimenting with methods of communication that emphasize common values and experiences alongside factual evidence. Today I’ll explore how the narrative, or … Read more

Lights, camera, action! Prepare for a botanist to take center stage!

“The Martian” opens October 2. Why should you care? Because it is one of the most-anticipated movies of the year and it features a botanist, played by Matt Damon, in the lead role. Here’s the trailer. Botanists have appeared in big films previously; Laura Dern’s character in Jurassic Park (1993) was a paleobotanist, which is … Read more

The Question of Public Trust in Plant Science Outreach

By Dana D’Amico Part 1/2 Last year, the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), a non-profit working to facilitate public confidence in the US food system, conducted a consumer survey. The survey focused on a few key groups –mothers, foodies, and millennials –and aimed to examine ‘messenger trust’ related to issues like GM safety. Before any … Read more

How to Be an Ally to Professional Communicators: Working with Journalists

By Dana D’Amico In my last post, I introduced a few ways that the plant science community might look to storytelling and literature for outreach. Here, I’ll present some practical tips for working with science writers, as corroborated by working journalists at the Plant Biology 2015 “Standing Up For Science” workshop in Minneapolis (and for … Read more

Communicating Plant Biology

After four long days at a conference, all you want to do is board a flight home, crawl into bed, and try to forget how your boss saw you dancing at the open-bar party. But on July 30, 2015, a dedicated group of scientists and communicators rallied at the end of Plant Biology 2015 conference … Read more