Check out my Storify post for an insight into the day-to-day world of science (and what it’s like to be a PhD student at the University of Bristol!)
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Hi, I’m Sarah Jose and I’m in my second year of a PhD in plant sciences at the University of Bristol.
I’m sitting here writing because I want to tell the world about how AWESOME plants are! There are a lot of blogs out there about human-y subjects like medicine and psychology, but I want to get into how plants can do all the fantastic things that we take for granted.
I love writing about science (both academically and in the “real world”), so I started this blog to start some conversations about fantastic plant research. I’m talking to non-scientists about what has been found and why it’s great.
I should probably add a bit about my research so far, since it’s unlikely to be published for me to blog about any time soon!
I am looking into the link between the development of the microscopic pores on the leaves (known as stomata) and the waxy surfaces of the plant. Stomata let CO2 into the leaf for photosynthesis, but whilst open they let water escape. Plants have to open and close these pores to balance having enough CO2 with not dehydrating too much. The waxy surfaces on leaves help by not letting water escape from anywhere else. A few genes have been found that affect both the amount of wax and the amount of stomata that a plant produces, and I want to find out exactly what’s going on!
Why is this important? We’re going to need to feed a lot more people in the future, growing more crops in less land using less water. If we can understand how and why different types of leaf wax affect stomata development and water loss from plants, we can apply this to crops in the real world. This might mean genetically modifying plants to produce different types of leaf wax, but it might also be as simple as finding new waxy types of plants grown by conventional plant breeders.
If you enjoy an article, please leave a comment. If not, leave one to say what you disagree with. Whether you are a plant nerd like me or an accidental stumbler into my path, stay for a while and lets talk plants!
I tweet about science-y things: @JoseSci