Earlier this year we announced a competition for proposals for the “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” series of educational articles published by The Plant Cell. We had many excellent proposals submitted from which we selected three for further development. Sound intriguing? The competition has additional submission deadlines of August 31 and December 31 2015, and full details can be found here: https://blog.aspb.org/2015/03/02/share-your-enthusiasm-teaching-tools-submission-competition/.
Here are the three winning proposals and their authors from the first round of submissions.
Biogenic volatile organic compounds: Solving the puzzle of plant communication, by Csengele Barta
This lecture introduces biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) through their fundamental roles in plant adaptation to the abiotic environment, function as airborne signal molecules in plant to plant communication and multi-trophic interactions and discusses the importance of vegetative BVOC emissions in shaping regional and global air quality in a warming climate. The biosynthesis, emission, and roles of BVOCs in plant abiotic stress defense, acclimation, competition, plant-pollinator, plant herbivore, herbivore enemy, plant-pathogen and plant-virus interactions are discussed.
Csengele Barta is an Assistant Professor at Missouri Western State University. She received her PhD degree from the University of Szeged, Hungary, in collaboration with the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her main research interest is to investigate the consequences of global climate change on plant survival, plant-environment interactions and ecosystem health. She teaches upper division classes in plant physiology and plant morphology, she directs the Missouri Junior Academy of Science regional fair and engages in a variety of other outreach activities, and she enjoys nature photography, hiking, travel blogging and painting.
Seed development and germination, by Daniela Dietrich
This Teaching Tool aims to introduce students to the mechanisms employed during seed development that make seeds viable for long periods of time, how dormancy can spread the germination of a seed population over time, and how growth is resumed during germination. Particular emphasis will be put on the integration of internal and environmental signals to control the phase transition from embryo to germinating seed. Examples of the impact of seed biology on crop production will be included.
Daniela Dietrich is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology at the University of Nottingham, UK, and is studying the function of abscisic acid in root growth and tropic responses. After obtaining her PhD for work on the contribution of oligopeptide transporters to nitrogen partitioning from the University of Tuebingen, she moved to the University of Nottingham to investigate the role of the COMATOSE ABC transporter in seed germination. Since then, she has been teaching seed development and germination to undergraduates.
Rhythms of Life – The Plant Circadian Clock, by Katharine Hubbard and Antony Dodd
For sessile organisms on a rotating planet, coordinating biological processes with daily light and temperature cycles is critical to survival. A Teaching Tool on circadian rhythms provides a timely opportunity to introduce students to this fascinating, fast moving area of plant biology. It will also expose students to approaches used to study temporal processes, and provide a vehicle to communicate concepts such as complexity in biology and the importance of model system research.
Katharine Hubbard is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK. She contributes extensively to undergraduate teaching in Plant Sciences, including biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and physiology. She is interested in developing teaching resources for key topics in Plant Sciences and also for teaching transferrable skills such as use of the scientific literature and critical evaluation. Her PhD was in circadian signal transduction, and she also did post-doctoral research on guard cell calcium signalling.
Antony Dodd is based at the University of Bristol, UK. His lab investigates molecular mechanisms associated with circadian rhythms and environmental signalling. His current interests include the connections between circadian clocks and chloroplasts, the role of the circadian clock in the integration of complex environmental signals, and the circadian regulation of physiology and whole plant performance.