Water lily genome expands picture of the early evolution of flowering plants

Image of purple water lily.

(Penn State) The newly reported genome sequence of a water lily sheds light on the early evolution of angiosperms. Water lilies have been important to scientists because of their position near the base of the evolutionary tree of all flowering plants. Scientists are interested in the water lily genome to help understand how traits like big showy colorful flowers and floral scents, both of which serve to attract pollinators, have evolved.

When did flowers reach Australia?

Image of rock layers.

(University of Melbourne) New research has revealed that Australia’s oldest flowering plants are 126 million years old and may have resembled modern magnolias, buttercups and laurels. Angiosperm pollen produced by the oldest flowers was recovered from numerous sites across Victoria indicating the large areal extent of flowers during the Early Cretaceous period.

Preserved pollen tells the history of floodplains

Image of floodplain.

(American Society of Agronomy) For soil scientists, pollen can be an invaluable tool. By tracking fossil pollen in soil, scientists can look back in time to better understand past land use and climate dynamics. For example, when European settlers cleared forests in the eastern United States and planted crops, the pollen profile in soil changed. Scientists are now exploring how effectively they can use the pollen fossil record in different landscapes.

The Lives Of Bees: What Were Honey bees Like Before Human Cultivation?

Image of book cover.

(Forbes) This interesting and readable book is both a personal account and a scholarly magnum opus as Professor Seeley recounts his studies of honey bees. He celebrates the fascinating lives of honey bees, but he argues that by keeping honey bees in a way that respects their needs, we can reduce the frequency of disease outbreaks that they are prone to, and reduce the chances that these diseases may spread amongst native wild bee species and seriously harm them, too.