Life Processes of Plants: Mechanisms for Survival

Overview

At first glance, plants appear to be extremely passive organisms, silent, immobile, and unprotected. But within their placid exteriors there occurs a continuous swirl of activity - a complex orchestration of processes that allow the plant to obtain food, endure drastic weather, fend off predators, anticipate the future, and carry out tasks more often associated with higher animals. Plants are organic chemists par excellence, capable of synthesizing complex molecules; and they are experts at survival, equipped to ...
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Overview

At first glance, plants appear to be extremely passive organisms, silent, immobile, and unprotected. But within their placid exteriors there occurs a continuous swirl of activity - a complex orchestration of processes that allow the plant to obtain food, endure drastic weather, fend off predators, anticipate the future, and carry out tasks more often associated with higher animals. Plants are organic chemists par excellence, capable of synthesizing complex molecules; and they are experts at survival, equipped to withstand and adapt to the many challenges of nature. In Life Processes of Plants, botanist Arthur Galston describes how plants live, react to crises, and change when necessary. It is an eloquent and exquisitely illustrated volume, vividly conveying the scientific research that brought these extraordinary natural skills to light. Galston explores the dynamic existence of plants at all levels - from the organism as a whole down to the interplay of its tissues, cells, and molecules. Readers will be intrigued by the plant's methods of storing energy from sunlight, by the internal clock that tells plants the time of day, by the chemical warfare used against predators and competitors, and by the hormonal and electro-chemical communications network that conveys information within the plant. In addition, readers will witness the plant's impressive powers of regeneration, wherein almost any single cell can be the starting point for a complete separate plant. Another chapter shows how this regenerative ability and cooperation with microbes are the keys to remarkable developments in the exciting field of agricultural biotechnology. Life Processes of Plants illuminates some often overlooked phenomena of the natural world. Readers will see plants in a whole new way - as fascinating examples of both the complexity and simplicity of life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780716750444
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Scientific American Library Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 245
  • Product dimensions: 8.84 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue: The Importance of Being Green 1
1 Photosynthesis: Food from Photons 18
2 Light and the Life Cycle 48
3 Growth and Chemical Signals 80
4 The Movements of Plants 112
5 Coping with Stress 142
6 Regeneration: From Cell to Plant 166
7 Cooperation with Microbes 188
8 Improving the Green Machine 206
Further Readings 230
Sources of Illustrations 233
Index 237
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