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WSU News plants

Plant inner workings point way to more nutritious crops

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

PULLMAN, Wash. – Almost every calorie that we eat at one time went through the veins of a plant. If a plant’s circulatory system could be rejiggered to make more nutrients available – through bigger seeds or sweeter tomatoes – the world’s farmers could feed more people. » More …

Ask Dr. Universe: Why are plants green?

PUYALLUP, Wash. – A lush tropical rainforest, a field of sunflowers, a garden in your neighborhood. Our Earth is home to all kinds of plant life. From trees to catnip, there are thousands of different species of plants. Most of these plants are green, but not all of them. » More …

Researchers tackle impact of climate change on plants

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers are undertaking an industrious investigation into the effects of global warming on plants. Making the effort possible is a fully automated “plant hotel” that can analyze up to 6,000 seedlings in a single experiment. » More …

Modeling maps vegetation to monitor erosion, rising seas

By Will Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences

stephen-hendersonVANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University scientists Stephen Henderson and Nikolay Strigul have developed a computer model that uses photographs to recreate the complex geometry of coastal plants. » More …

May 22-25 conference: Plant and Microbe Adaptation to Cold

coldSEATTLE – Improving global food security and agricultural sustainability, with emphasis on the impact of climate change, is the theme of the 2016 Plant and Microbe Adaptation to Cold conference to be held May 22-25 in downtown Seattle. » More …

WSU researchers see how plants optimize repair

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

kirchhoff-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Researchers led by a Washington State University biologist have found the optimal mechanism by which plants heal the botanical equivalent of a bad sunburn. Their work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could lead to development of crops that repair sun damage more easily, improving yields and profitability. » More …

Balanced ecosystems better at controlling pests




 PULLMAN – There really is a balance of nature, but as accepted as that thought is, it has rarely been studied. Now WSU researchers, writing in the journal ‘Nature,’ have found that more balanced animal and plant communities typical of organic farms work better at fighting pests and growing a better plant.


The researchers looked at insect pests and their natural enemies in potatoes and found organic crops had more balanced insect populations in which no one species of insect has a chance to dominate. And in test … » More …

WSU professor elected fellow of American Phytopathological Society


PULLMAN – WSU professor of plant pathology Tim Murray has been elected a fellow of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). The honor is given to an APS member in recognition of distinguished contributions to plant pathology or to the APS.


“I really look at this as a group award for all of the people – students, postdocs, technicians and visiting scientists – who have come through the lab and contributed to my program,” Murray said. “When I look at the list of past recipients, those are the leaders of the field, and to join that group of … » More …

Visitors worldwide use ‘Weed of the Month’ resource


Steve Van Vleet,
WSU Whitman
County Extension

COLFAX – Most people can recognize the average weed: thistle and dandelion, for example, are pretty easy to identify. But WSU Whitman County Extension has created a website feature to help the average person identify all kinds of invasive weeds – no matter how pretty they may be.


“Weed of the Month,” put together by extension educator Stephen Van Vleet, features photos and detailed information about specific invasive weeds found in the state of Washington. A new weed is added each month, … » More …