John A. Raven

University of St Andrews, Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (444)2079.42 Total impact

  • Dianne Edwards · Lesley Cherns · John A. Raven
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    ABSTRACT: The Ordovician and Silurian periods were times of major geological activity as regards palaeogeography, volcanism and climate change, the last of these evidenced by a series of cooling episodes and glaciations that climaxed in the Hirnantian (Late Ordovician). The presence of cryptospores in the Darriwilian (Middle Ordovician) marked the advent of higher plants on land. A critical survey of direct (mega- and microfossils) and some indirect evidence in succeeding rocks indicates the presence of algae, Bacteria, Cyanobacteria, Fungi, probable lichens, cryptophytes and basal tracheophytes. Similar associations of photosynthesizers and decomposers occur today in cryptogamic covers (CCs), for example biological crusts, except that bryophytes replace cryptophytes (basal embryophytes) and tracheophytes are absent. Thus, extant CCs, which make significant contributions today to global carbon and nitrogen fixation and prevention of erosion, provide an excellent analogue for the impacts of early land vegetation on both lithosphere and atmosphere. As a prerequisite to assessing impacts in Ordovician–Silurian times, with particular consideration of parameters used by climate modellers, the effects of a number of abiotic factors on the growth and survival of extant cryptogamic ground covers and their environmental impacts are reviewed. Factors include photosynthetically active radiation, ultraviolet radiation, temperature, water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, surface roughness and albedo. A survey of the nature and extent of weathering facilitated by such vegetation concludes that it was limited based on depth of weathering when compared with that from rooted tracheophytes today, with minor effects on carbon dioxide drawdown. As global net productivity from Ordovician–Silurian CCs was very probably lower than today, and while the small fraction of intractable material in their organic carbon would have resulted in a more rapid turnover of terrestrial biomass, we conclude that there was decreased possibility of long-term organic carbon burial. Hence, there would have been very limited increase in atmospheric oxygen and decrease in carbon dioxide resulting from carbon burial.
    Palaeontology 08/2015; 58(5). DOI:10.1111/pala.12187 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study presents the first in-depth analysis of CO2 limitation on the biomass productivity of the biofuel candidate marine microalga Nannochloropsis oculata. Net photosynthesis decreased by 60 % from 125 to 50 μmol O 2 L(-1) h(-1) over a 12 h light cycle as a direct result of carbon limitation. Continuous dissolved O2 and pH measurements were used to develop a detailed diurnal mechanism for the interaction between photosynthesis, gas exchange and carbonate chemistry in the photo-bioreactor. Gas exchange determined the degree of carbon limitation experienced by the algae. Carbon limitation was confirmed by delivering more CO2 , which increased net photosynthesis back to its steady-state maximum. This study highlights the importance of maintaining replete carbon concentrations in photo-bioreactors and other culturing facilities, either by constant pH operation or preferably by designing a feedback loop based on the dissolved O2 concentration. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
    ChemSusChem 07/2015; 8(16). DOI:10.1002/cssc.201500332 · 7.66 Impact Factor
  • John A Raven
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    ABSTRACT: Organelle genomes undergo more variation, including that resulting from damage, than eukaryotic nuclear genomes, or bacterial genomes, under the same conditions. Recent advances in characterizing the changes to genomes of chloroplasts and mitochondria of Zea mays should, when applied more widely, help our understanding of how damage to organelle genomes relates to how organelle function is maintained through the life of individuals and in succeeding generations. Understanding of the degree of variation in the changes to organelle DNA and its repair among photosynthetic organisms might help to explain the variations in the rate of nucleotide substitution among organelle genomes. Further studies of organelle DNA variation, including that due to damage and its repair might also help us to understand why the extent of DNA turnover in the organelles is so much greater than that in their bacterial (cyanobacteria for chloroplasts, proteobacteria for mitochondria) relatives with similar rates of production of DNA-damaging reactive oxygen species. Finally, from the available data, even the longest-lived organelle-encoded proteins, and the RNAs needed for their synthesis, are unlikely to maintain organelle function for much more than a week after the complete loss of organelle DNA. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:
    Journal of Experimental Botany 06/2015; 66(19). DOI:10.1093/jxb/erv298 · 5.53 Impact Factor
  • Keith Mott · John A Raven
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    ABSTRACT: It was with a deep sense of loss and immense sadness that those at Plant, Cell and Environment learnt of the death, on 9 February 2015, of Harry Smith FRS. Harry was one of the four founding editors of the journal, and its first Chief Editor. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Plant Cell and Environment 05/2015; 38(8). DOI:10.1111/pce.12567 · 6.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We propose definitions in terminology to enhance ongoing collaborations between biologists and modellers on plankton ecology. Organism “functional type” should refer to commonality in ecology not biogeochemistry; the latter is largely an emergent property of the former, while alignment with ecology is also consistent with usage in terrestrial science. Adaptation should be confined, as in genetics, to consideration of species inter-generational change; most so-called “adaptive” plankton models are thus acclimative, modifying vital rates in response to stimuli. Trait trade-off approaches should ideally only be considered for describing intra-generational interactions; in applications between generations, and certainly between unrelated species, such concepts should be avoided. We suggest that systems biology approaches, through to complex adaptive/acclimative systems modelling, with explicit modelling of feedback processes (which we suggest should define “mechanistic” models), would provide realistic and flexible bases upon which to develop descriptions of functional type models.
    Journal of Plankton Research 05/2015; DOI:10.1093/plankt/fbv036 · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • Mario Giordano · Matteo Palmucci · John A Raven
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    ABSTRACT: The Growth Rate Hypothesis (GRH) predicts a positive correlation between growth rate and RNA content, because growth depends on the protein synthesis machinery. The application of this hypothesis to photoautotrophic organisms has been questioned. We tested the GRH on one prasinophycean, Tetraselmis suecica and one chlorophycean Dunaliella salina, grown at three sulfate concentrations. Sulfate was chosen because its concentration in the oceans increased through geological time and apparently had a role in the evolutionary trajectories of phytoplankton. Cell protein content and P quota were positively related to the RNA content (r = 0.62 and r = 0.74, respectively). The correlation of the RNA content with growth rates (r = 0.95) indicates that the GRH was valid for these species, when growth rates were below 0.82 d(-1) . This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Plant Cell and Environment 04/2015; DOI:10.1111/pce.12551 · 6.96 Impact Factor
  • John A. Raven
    Journal of Phycology 04/2015; 51(2). DOI:10.1111/jpy.12287 · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • John A Raven · Howard Griffiths
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    ABSTRACT: The role of photosynthesis by reproductive structures during grain-filling has important implications for cereal breeding, but the methods for assessing the contribution by reproductive structures to grain-filling are invasive and prone to compensatory changes elsewhere in the plant. A technique analysing the natural abundance of stable carbon isotopes in soluble carbohydrates has significant promise. However, it depends crucially on there being no more than two sources of organic carbon (leaf and ear/awn), with significantly different (13)C:(12)C ratios and no secondary fractionation during grain-filling. The role of additional peduncle carbohydrate reserves represents a potential means for N remobilization, as well as for hydraulic continuity during grain-filling. The natural abundance of the stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen are also useful for exploring the influence of reproduction on whole plant carbon and water relations and have been used to examine the resource costs of reproduction in females and males of dioecious plants. Photosynthesis in reproductive structures is widespread among oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, including many clades of algae and embryophytes of different levels of complexity. The possible evolutionary benefits of photosynthesis in reproductive structures include decreasing the carbon cost of reproduction and 'use' of transpiratory loss of water to deliver phloem-immobile calcium Ca(2+) and silicon [Si(OH)4] via the xylem. The possible costs of photosynthesis in reproductive structures are increasing damage to DNA from photosynthetically active, and hence UV-B, radiation and the production of reactive oxygen species. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:
    Journal of Experimental Botany 02/2015; 66(7). DOI:10.1093/jxb/erv009 · 5.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Earth will become uninhabitable within 2-3 Gyr as a result of the moving boundaries of the habitable zone caused by the increasing luminosity of the Sun. Predictions about the future of habitable conditions on Earth include a decline in species diversity and habitat extent, ocean loss and changes in the magnitudes of geochemical cycles. However, testing these predictions on the present-day Earth is difficult. The discovery of a planet that is a near analogue to the far future Earth could provide a means to test these predictions. Such a planet would need to have an Earth-like biosphere history, requiring it to have been in its system's habitable zone (HZ) for Gyr-long periods during the system's past, and to be approaching the inner-edge of the HZ at present. Here we assess the possibility of finding this very specific type of exoplanet and discuss the benefits of analysing older Earths in terms of improving our understanding of long-term geological and bio-geological processes. As an illustrative example, G stars within 10 parsecs are assessed as potential old-Earth-analogue hosts. Surface temperature estimates for hypothetical inner-HZ Earth analogues are used to determine whether any such planets in these systems would be at the right stage in their late-habitable lifetimes to exhibit detectable biosignatures. Predictions from planet formation studies and biosphere evolution models suggest that only 0.36% of G stars in the solar neighbourhood could host an old-Earth-analogue. However, if the development of an Earth-like biosphere is assumed to be rare, requiring a sequence of low-probability events to occur, then such planets are unlikely to be found in the solar neighbourhood - although 1000s could be present in the galaxy as a whole.
    Astrobiology 02/2015; 15(5). DOI:10.1089/ast.2014.1229 · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • Dale Radford · Milán Szabó · John A. Raven · Peter J. Ralph
    European Journal of Phycology 01/2015; 50:138-139. · 1.91 Impact Factor
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    Dataset: AP-AME
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  • John A Raven · Martina A Doblin
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    ABSTRACT: The occurrence of active water transport (net transport against a free energy gradient) in photosynthetic organisms has been debated for several decades. Here, active water transport is considered in terms of its roles, where it is found, and the mechanisms by which it could occur. First there is a brief consideration of the possibility of active water transport into plant xylem in the generation of root pressure and the refilling of embolized xylem elements, and from an unsaturated atmosphere into terrestrial organisms living in habitats with limited availability of liquid water. There is then a more detailed consideration of volume and osmotic regulation in wall-less freshwater unicells, and the possiblity of generation of buoyancy in marine phytoplankton such as large-celled diatoms. Calculations show that active water transport is a plausible mechanism to assist cells in upwards vertical movements, requires less energy than synthesis of low-density organic solutes, and potentially on a par with excluding certain ions from the vacuole.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 09/2014; 65(22). DOI:10.1093/jxb/eru360 · 5.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, the Kepler Space Telescope has detected several planets in orbit around a close binary star system. These so-called circumbinary planets will experience non-trivial spatial and temporal distributions of radiative flux on their surfaces, with features not seen in their single-star orbiting counterparts. Earthlike circumbinary planets inhabited by photosynthetic organisms will be forced to adapt to these unusual flux patterns. We map the flux received by putative Earthlike planets (as a function of surface latitude/longitude and time) orbiting the binary star systems Kepler-16 and Kepler-47, two star systems which already boast circumbinary exoplanet detections. The longitudinal and latitudinal distribution of flux is sensitive to the centre of mass motion of the binary, and the relative orbital phases of the binary and planet. Total eclipses of the secondary by the primary, as well as partial eclipses of the primary by the secondary add an extra forcing term to the system. We also find that the patterns of darkness on the surface are equally unique. Beyond the planet's polar circles, the surface spends a significantly longer time in darkness than latitudes around the equator, due to the stars' motions delaying the first sunrise of spring (or hastening the last sunset of autumn). In the case of Kepler-47, we also find a weak longitudinal dependence for darkness, but this effect tends to average out if considered over many orbits. In the light of these flux and darkness patterns, we consider and discuss the prospects and challenges for photosynthetic organisms, using terrestrial analogues as a guide.
    International Journal of Astrobiology 08/2014; 14(03). DOI:10.1017/S147355041400041X · 1.26 Impact Factor
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    Mario Giordano · John A. Raven
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    ABSTRACT: Nitrogen and sulfur are abundant constituents of plant and algal cells that are assimilated at the lowest oxidation number, as NH4+ and S2-, although they can (in the case of sulfur, usually must) be acquired with their highest oxidation number, as NO3- and SO42-. Some occasional differences and variants exists for transport and assimilation systems; the greatest differences in the way vascular plants and algae use N and S, however, most probably resides in regulation. For instance, nitrate assimilation in plants is strongly regulated by phospholylation. In algae, redox regulation appears to be more important. Similarly, sulfate reduction has its main control step at the level of APS reductase in higher plants, whereas in algae a redox regulation has been recently been hypothesized for ATP sulfurylase, the first step in sulfate assimilation. Unfortunately, the information on the regulation of N and S acquisition and assimilation is limited to very few species (e.g. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Arabidopsis thaliana) this is especially true in the case of sulfur. This review attempts to highlight the points of divergence in N and S utilization by plants and algae, leaving aside the biochemical details and the features that do not show any obvious difference.
    Aquatic Botany 08/2014; 118:45-61. DOI:10.1016/j.aquabot.2014.06.012 · 1.61 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

18k Citations
2,079.42 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2011–2015
    • James Hutton Institute
      Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1974–2015
    • University of Dundee
      • • Division of Plant Science
      • • Scottish Institute for Policing Research
      Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2014
    • University of Technology Sydney 
      • Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster (C3)
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2010–2014
    • University of Western Australia
      • School of Plant Biology
      Perth City, Western Australia, Australia
    • Swansea University
      • Institute of Environmental Sustainability
      Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • Columbia College Missouri
      Columbia, South Carolina, United States
    • University College London
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1995–2011
    • Scottish Crop Research Institute
      Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2008
    • University of Cambridge
      • Department of Chemistry
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 1974–2006
    • University of Adelaide
      • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2005
    • University of Sunderland
      Sunderland, England, United Kingdom
    • Lancaster University
      • Lancaster Environment Centre
      Lancaster, England, United Kingdom
  • 1989–2001
    • Monash University (Australia)
      • School of Biological Sciences, Clayton
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 1993
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1986–1988
    • Florida International University
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      Miami, Florida, United States
  • 1981
    • Australian National University
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia