New Phytologist (NEW PHYTOL )

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing


Published for the New Phytologist Trust High quality wide-ranging science - from intracellular processes to global environmental change. International and independent - the New Phytologist Trust is a charity dedicated to the promotion of plant science. Submissions describing original research on all aspects of plant science are welcomed. Letters commentary and opinion are encouraged in the Forum section and regular Special Issues highlight key areas of current research. The 1999 ISI® Impact Factor® for New Phytologist is 2.156.

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    New phytologist
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    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

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Blackwell Publishing

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plant-soil feedbacks can influence plant growth and community structure by modifying soil biota and nutrients. Because most research has been performed at the species level and in monoculture, our ability to predict responses across species and in mixed communities is limited. As plant traits have been linked to both soil properties and plant growth, they may provide a useful approach for an understanding of feedbacks at a generic level. We measured how monocultures and mixtures of grassland plant species with differing traits responded to soil that had been conditioned by model grassland plant communities dominated by either slow- or fast-growing species. Soils conditioned by the fast-growing community had higher nitrogen availability than those conditioned by the slow-growing community; these changes influenced future plant growth. Effects were stronger, and plant traits had greater predictive power, in mixtures than in monocultures. In monoculture, all species produced more above-ground biomass in soil conditioned by the fast-growing community. In mixtures, slow-growing species produced more above-ground biomass, and fast-growing species produced more below-ground biomass, in soils conditioned by species with similar traits. The use of a plant trait-based approach may therefore improve our understanding of differential plant species responses to plant-soil feedbacks, especially in a mixed-species environment.
    New Phytologist 07/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plant function requires effective mechanisms to regulate water transport at a variety of scales. Here, we develop a new theoretical framework describing plant responses to drying soil, based on the relationship between midday and predawn leaf water potentials. The intercept of the relationship (Λ) characterizes the maximum transpiration rate per unit of hydraulic transport capacity, whereas the slope (σ) measures the relative sensitivity of the transpiration rate and plant hydraulic conductance to declining water availability. This framework was applied to a newly compiled global database of leaf water potentials to estimate the values of Λ and σ for 102 plant species. Our results show that our characterization of drought responses is largely consistent within species, and that the parameters Λ and σ show meaningful associations with climate across species. Parameter σ was ≤1 in most species, indicating a tight coordination between the gas and liquid phases of water transport, in which canopy transpiration tended to decline faster than hydraulic conductance during drought, thus reducing the pressure drop through the plant. The quantitative framework presented here offers a new way of characterizing water transport regulation in plants that can be used to assess their vulnerability to drought under current and future climatic conditions.
    New Phytologist 07/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Volatile phenylpropenes play important roles in the mediation of interactions between plants and their biotic environments. Their biosynthesis involves the elimination of the oxygen functionality at the side-chain of monolignols and competes with lignin formation for monolignol utilization. We hypothesized that biochemical steps before the monolignol branch point are shared between phenylpropene and lignin biosynthesis; however, genetic evidence for this shared pathway has been missing until now. Our hypothesis was tested by RNAi suppression of the petunia (Petunia hybrida) cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 1 (PhCCR1), which catalyzes the first committed step in monolignol biosynthesis. Detailed metabolic profiling and isotopic labeling experiments were performed in petunia transgenic lines. Downregulation of PhCCR1 resulted in reduced amounts of total lignin and decreased flux towards phenylpropenes, whereas internal and emitted pools of phenylpropenes remained unaffected. Surprisingly, PhCCR1 silencing increased fluxes through the general phenylpropanoid pathway by upregulating the expression of cinnamate-4-hydroxylase (C4H), which catalyzes the second reaction in the phenylpropanoid pathway. In conclusion, our results show that PhCCR1 is involved in both the biosynthesis of phenylpropenes and lignin production. However, PhCCR1 does not perform a rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of phenylpropenes, suggesting that scent biosynthesis is prioritized over lignin formation in petals.
    New Phytologist 07/2014;
  • New Phytologist 07/2014;
  • New Phytologist 07/2014; 203(2):349-51.
  • New Phytologist 07/2014; 203(2):352-4.
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    ABSTRACT: Fungi play an important role in plant communities and ecosystem function. As a result, variation in fungal community composition can have important consequences for plant fitness. However, there are relatively few empirical data on how dispersal might affect fungal communities and the ecological processes they mediate. We established sampling stations across a large area of coastal landscape varying in their spatial proximity to each other and contrasting vegetation types. We measured dispersal of spores from a key group of fungi, the Basidomycota, across this landscape using qPCR and 454 pyrosequencing. We also measured the colonization of ectomycorrhizal fungi at each station using sterile bait seedlings. We found a high degree of spatial and temporal variability in the composition of Basidiomycota spores. This variability was in part stochastic and in part explained by spatial proximity to other vegetation types and time of year. Variation in spore community also affected colonization by ectomycorrhizal fungi and seedling growth. Our results demonstrate that fungal host and habitat specificity coupled with dispersal limitation can lead to local variation in fungal community structure and plant-fungal interactions. Understanding fungal communities also requires explicit knowledge of landscape context in addition to local environmental conditions.
    New Phytologist 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Tethyan plant disjunctions, including Mediterranean-African-Asian disjunctions, are thought to be vicariant, but their temporal origin and underlying causes remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we reconstructed the evolutionary history of Smilax aspera, a hypothesized component of the European Tertiary laurel forest flora. Thirty-eight populations and herbarium specimens representing 57 locations across the species range were sequenced at seven plastid regions and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region. Time-calibrated phylogenetic and phylogeographic inferences were used to trace ancestral areas and biogeographical events. The deep intraspecific split between Mediterranean and African-Asian lineages is attributable to range fragmentation of a southern Tethyan ancestor, as colder and more arid climates developed shortly after the mid-Miocene. In the Mediterranean, climate-induced vicariance has shaped regional population structure since the Late Miocene/Early Pliocene. At around the same time, East African and South Asian lineages split by vicariance, with one shared haplotype reflecting long-distance dispersal. Our results support the idea that geographic range formation and divergence of Tertiary relict species are more or less gradual (mostly vicariant) processes over long time spans, rather than point events in history. They also highlight the importance of the Mediterranean Basin as a centre of intraspecific divergence for Tertiary relict plants.
    New Phytologist 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) homeostasis are tightly linked across biology. In previous work, Fe deficiency interacted with Cu-regulated genes and stimulated Cu accumulation. The C940-fe (fefe) Fe-uptake mutant of melon (Cucumis melo) was characterized, and the fefe mutant was used to test whether Cu deficiency could stimulate Fe uptake. Wild-type and fefe mutant transcriptomes were determined by RNA-seq under Fe and Cu deficiency. FeFe-regulated genes included core Fe uptake, metal homeostasis, and transcription factor genes. Numerous genes were regulated by both Fe and Cu. The fefe mutant was rescued by high Fe or by Cu deficiency, which stimulated ferric-chelate reductase activity, FRO2 expression, and Fe accumulation. Accumulation of Fe in Cu-deficient plants was independent of the normal Fe-uptake system. One of the four FRO genes in the melon and cucumber (Cucumis sativus) genomes was Fe-regulated, and one was Cu-regulated. Simultaneous Fe and Cu deficiency synergistically up-regulated Fe-uptake gene expression. Overlap in Fe and Cu deficiency transcriptomes highlights the importance of Fe-Cu crosstalk in metal homeostasis. The fefe gene is not orthologous to FIT, and thus identification of this gene will provide clues to help understand regulation of Fe uptake in plants.
    New Phytologist 06/2014;
  • New Phytologist 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Two-phase plant communities with an engineer conforming conspicuous patches and affecting the performance and patterns of coexisting species are the norm under stressful conditions. To unveil the mechanisms governing coexistence in these communities at multiple spatial scales, we have developed a new point-raster approach of spatial pattern analysis, which was applied to a Mediterranean high mountain grassland to show how Festuca curvifolia patches affect the local distribution of coexisting species. We recorded 22 111 individuals of 17 plant perennial species. Most coexisting species were negatively associated with F. curvifolia clumps. Nevertheless, bivariate nearest-neighbor analyses revealed that the majority of coexisting species were confined at relatively short distances from F. curvifolia borders (between 0-2 cm and up to 8 cm in some cases). Our study suggests the existence of a fine-scale effect of F. curvifolia for most species promoting coexistence through a mechanism we call 'facilitation in the halo'. Most coexisting species are displaced to an interphase area between patches, where two opposite forces reach equilibrium: attenuated severe conditions by proximity to the F. curvifolia canopy (nutrient-rich islands) and competitive exclusion mitigated by avoiding direct contact with F. curvifolia.
    New Phytologist 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Our knowledge of Glomeromycotan fungi rests largely on studies of cultured isolates. However, these isolates probably comprise one life-history strategy - ruderal. Consequently, our knowledge of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi may be biased towards fungi that occur primarily in disturbed habitats and associate with disturbance-tolerant host plants. We can expect to see a signal for this in DNA-based community surveys: human-impacted habitats and cultivated plants should yield a higher proportion of AM fungal species that have been cultured compared with natural habitats and wild plants. Using the MaarjAM database (a curated open-access database of Glomeromycotan sequences), we performed a meta-analysis on studies that described AM fungal communities from a variety of habitats and host plants. We found a greater proportion of cultured AM fungal taxa in human-impacted habitats. In particular, undisturbed forests and grasslands/savannahs contained significantly fewer cultured taxa than human-impacted sites. We also found that wild plants hosted fewer cultured fungal taxa than cultivated plants. Our data show that natural communities of AM fungi are composed largely of uncultured taxa, and this is particularly pronounced in natural habitats and wild plants. We are better poised to understand the functioning of AM symbioses associated with cultivated plants and human-impacted habitats.
    New Phytologist 06/2014;

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