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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences plant biology

Microscopic partners could help plants survive stressful environments

fungi slider.Tiny, symbiotic fungi play an outsized role in helping plants survive stresses like drought and extreme temperatures, which could help feed a planet experiencing climate change, report WSU scientists.

Recently published in the journal Functional Ecology, the discovery by plant-microbe biologist Stephanie Porter and plant pathologist Maren Friesen sheds light on » More …

Dr. Universe: Why do leaves change colors?

Cartoon cat in a lab coat, Dr. Universe, studies plants under a microscope.Ever since I was a kitten, I’ve loved picking up big maple leaves in the fall. I’d take them home, put them under a piece of paper, and rub the side of a crayon over the top. It makes a great print of the leaf.

Leaves actually get their color from things called pigments. While scientists can use chemicals to make different crayon colors, nature can use pigments to create its own colors. » More …

Plant science relationship growing across the Atlantic

Rachael DeTar, Alexander Aleman, and Stanislav Kopriva.WSU’s growing collaboration with Germany’s interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) is adding a global perspective to the University’s work to advance agricultural science and develop sustainable methods of food production.

Earlier this summer, a WSU delegation of seven graduate students attended the annual International CEPLAS Summer School near Cologne and brought home awards for best oral and best poster presentations.

Five WSU faculty also presented their work during the week‑long event and continued discussions to establish research interactions that will benefit faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and » More …

Powerful new microscope adds versatility to research

Daniel Mullendore and Valerie Lynch‑Holm work with the Apreo VolumeScope.The WSU Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center has acquired a microscope so powerful and versatile that Michael Knoblauch, the center director, compares it to a pig capable of making wool, milk and eggs. Or, to quote his native German, an eierlegende Wollmilchsau.

Technically, it’s an Apreo VolumeScope, and it brings a suite of imaging techniques, including the piecing together of detailed three‑dimensional images with a resolution of 10 nanometers, or about 1/10,000th of the width of a human hair. » More …