If you have an MP3 player, or the like, and the transport strike is giving you extra time at the bus stop, or you have something else tedious to do and need a distraction, you might be interested in something ecological to listen to.

Here are some of my recommendations. I would be interested to hear about any of Journals or bodies in Plant Science whose output I might have missed or that your would recommend!

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has various series of podcasts – but the most interesting tends to be Beyond the Frontier every 2 months, where the author from a featured paper from each issue of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution is interviewed. URL feed

The Nature podcast is weekly and complements quite closely the content of the News and Opinion sections of the Journal. It provides an easy introduction to some of the less accessible subjects covered that I might otherwise skip over while reading it. The presentation style is very professional and it usually contains several interviews with lead authors. URL feed

For something lighter, I particularly enjoy the BBC’s natural history podcast. Typically a half-hour radio programme from the BBC’s weekly output is selected. My favourite is the Living World (which I have listened to since I was a young child!) where habitats or species from the British countryside are covered in situ and with a high level of expertise.  URL feed

They have a vast archive of Living World programmes on-line which serve as a fabulous resource.  Last year an interesting interview with Lynn Margulis was broadcast too.

Various US Universities, particularly UC Berkeley, put their lectures on-line with open access. These are sometimes a bit rough and ready being simply audio recordings of classes, but they can serve as refreshers for half-forgotten topics, or stimulate ideas for how one might present an area in class oneself. Do you have any plans to Podcast your lectures Pedro?

Minutes of Lab Meeting 9th Feb

In attendence: Pedro, Matt, Titta, Luis, Fang, Sari.

1. Report by Fang on her course in Turku on Photosynthesis in Plants and Cyanobacteria.
She will give a presentation for the 2nd half of the course on March 11th, on “Stomatal Response to Environmental Stress”.  She will give a practice run-through of this presentation at our next group meeting in March.

2. Update by Sari on her Results, particularly HPLC analysis of flavonoids.
At the next group meeting (or during the interim period on the blog) she will show some graphs of the (1) qualitative and quantitative response of phenolic compounds, and (2) plant growth, and (3) absorbance measured by the dualex, to light of different colours. The group will provide feedback on possible analysis techniques.

3. Copies of Nature and some assorted Spanish journals will be available in Matt’s office. If you have some comments on the articles in Nature, let Matt know, since he has to report back to them on the content.

4. Communications. Pedro, Fang, and Matt are trialing google-wave to see if it is useful. Likewise, google-calendar, which may be an alternative to the sign-up book for use of the Walz GFS-3000 IRGA. We will discuss this at a meeting for Walz GFS and PAM users. Use of this blog for discussion of interesting books, papers, webpages, and statistics was highlighted by Pedro.  Try to post information of some general interest (not limited to the research group), and no privileged information. Update alerts can be obtained using the RSS feed.

5. At the next group meeting (9th March) each member will bring a draft of their summer research plan, to start coordinating the timing for use of the equipment, technical help and greenhouse space.

6. Journal Discussion Group. This is tentatively proposal to run once-a-month at first, like the lab meetings on the 4th Tuesday of the month. To kick off, on Feb 23rd, we suggest using the blog for each member to propose at least one paper that they would like to discuss, and building a consensus around one favourite to start with.

7. There will be a research group dinner on Tuesday 16th February in the centre of Helsinki.  There will also be a group ‘activity’ (football?) yet to be finalised to pull participants away from their computers….

8. Pedro reported on the proposal submitted on the Finnish Academy of Sciences for a project on Integration of environmental signals by plants: phenomenon, mechanisms, and consequences for stomatal acclimation to drought and shade. Outlining the content and some proposed collaborators.

An easy recipe for writing a scientific paper

How to Write and Illustrate a Scientific Paper

By Björn Gustavii

Cambridge University Press

First edition in 2002

Second edition in 2008

Honestly this is the only writing guide book until now that can make me miss the bus stop I should jump off at. Poor Matt recommended and lent it to me, but because I read it a lot on the way home, it is already not that new as he gave it to me. I still hold the book and hope somebody else can ask for this book from Matt after reading this post. Then I can deny it is my fault.
Continue reading “An easy recipe for writing a scientific paper”

IUFRO press release from Copenhagen Climate Change in Northern Forests

Will northern forests be able to stand the heat?

Boreal forests are especially sensitive to global warming and are likely to be severely affected by climate change. (Copenhagen, 13 December 2009)

pdf of cited article Kellomäki et al. 2008

Here are some more links from the IUFRO beech group


The story relates to climate change and how forests provide an opportunity to reduce CO2 from the atmosphere. Photos, translations and other links are also available on this page:

I am pleased to announce that you can now also follow us on twitter as well as you can read and comment our blog. IUFRO is looking forward to receiving your feedback!


Some interesting old books

Talking this morning with Fang we thought that instead of me e-mailing her some links we were talking about, I would post them here.

Many books whose copyright has expired have been scanned and made available on the internet. One good place to search is The Internet Archive. If you are looking for Darwin’s books The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online is also a good source.

Here are some examples:

Francis Lloyd’s Physiology of Stomata from 1908.

Charles Darwin’s The Power of Movement in Plants from 1898.

Loftfield’s The Behavior of Stomata from 1921.

Francis Darwin and Edward H. Acton’s Practical Physiology of Plants from 1901.

Wilhelm Pfefer’s The physiology of plants: a treatise upon the metabolism and sources of energy in plantsvolume 1 from 1900, volume 2 from 1903.

Julius Sachs Text-book of botany : morphological and physiological from 1882.

And the very nice colour illustrations I was telling Fang about are in Charles Darwin’s The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle published between 1838 and 1843.

Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by JM Williams

Years ago, when I read it for the first time, I found this book extremely useful in improving my writing style, and in diagnosing problems in my own and other people’s drafts. I plan to read it again.

The approach is quite different to other writing style books. There are few hard and fast rules, it is mainly centred on how to make your ideas clear and write text that is easy to read. It is full of  examples and good explanations of what works and what doesn’t.

There are two versions of the book: (links to amazon.co.uk)

Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by JM Williams (also available in Helka)

Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams, and Gregory G. Colomb

I read the first one, it is older and cheaper and does not include exercises. The second, newer version includes exercises and is meant to be used as a textbook.

This is a good book to read even if you write well. It will help you understand why your texts are clear and good, and surely it will make revising your drafts easier. It will also help you when you have to comment on other people’s drafts. If you need to improve your own writing and you want to understand the logic behind guidelines rather than just follow rules, reading this book is a must.