Reaching for the Sun: How Plants Work / Edition 2

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From their ability to use energy from sunlight to make their own food, to combating attacks from diseases and predators, plants have evolved an amazing range of life-sustaining strategies. Written with the non-specialist in mind, John King's lively natural history explains how plants function, from how they gain energy and nutrition to how they grow, develop and ultimately die. New to this edition is a section devoted to plants and the environment, exploring how problems created by human activities, such as global warming, pollution of land, water and air, and increasing ocean acidity, are impacting on the lives of plants. King's narrative provides a simple, highly readable introduction, with boxes in each chapter offering additional or more advanced material for readers seeking more detail. He concludes that despite the challenges posed by growing environmental perils, plants will continue to dominate our planet.

Humans are totally dependent on plants for food; we cultivate them for pleasure; and we use them to our advantage in a vast number of ways. This book offers a wealth of information about plants, including how they satisfy their nutritional growth, development, and death, and how they react to the daily and seasonal variations and stresses in their environments.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... a simple, accessible introduction to the living plant."
A.L. Jacobsen, Choice Magazine

"Overall, this text is highly accessible and comprehensible for nonspecialists, yet still an engaging read for specialists with a good knowledge of the plant life cycle and plant physiology. This text is highly recommended for any citizen looking for a straightforward and thorough overview of plants and their lives. It is an excellent resource for a non-majors course or course on plant biology for non-plant science majors."
Beronda L. Montgomery, Michigan State University for Plant Science Bulletin

"Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was interesting and presented many examples of plant species and environments from around the world."
Kathryn L. Buchanan for The Forestry Chronicle

"Reachin for the Sun is a very entertaining read for a basic overview of plant physiology. Casual readers interested in an overview of how plants function in the environment will find it easy to understand and quite informative."
Thomas Silva, Quarterly Review of Biology

"... one of the best-written, general accounts of plant biology that I know... King is a great teacher. In fact, he is more than that; he is a great story-teller. And this is nowhere better demonstrated than in his explanation of how water can rise to the top of very tall trees, a description that is built up seemingly effortlessly, and that along the way integrates strands of biophysics, biochemistry, physiology and anatomy, all of which are beautifully woven together to produce a complete and satisfying whole. So, if you are looking for a book to stress the significance of modern plant science/fascination of botany on young minds (or even no-so-young ones), look no further than the 2nd edition of John King's Reaching for the Sun!
Nigel Chaffey, Annals of Botany

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521736688
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 310
  • Sales rank: 499,395
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John King is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a past President of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists and in 2001 he was awarded their highest honour, the Gold Medal, 'in recognition of outstanding contributions to plant physiology in Canada'. The first edition of Reaching for the Sun (Cambridge University Press, 1997) was nominated for the Rhône-Poulenc (now Aventis) Prize for Science (General Category).
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition; Preface to the First Edition; Part I. Plants and Energy: 1. Photosynthesis: the leitmotiv of life; 2. Plant respiration: breathing without lungs; References; Part II. Plant Nutrition: 3. Plants are cool, but why?; 4. Nutrition for the healthy lifestyle; 5. Nitrogen, nitrogen, everywhere ...; 6. Transport of delights; References; Part III. Growth and Development: 7. Growth: the long and the short of it; 8. The time of their lives; 9. A dash of seasoning; 10. Dormancy: a matter of survival; 11. Color, fragrance, and flavor; References; Part IV. Stress, Defense, and Decline: 12. Stressful tranquility; 13. Chemical warfare; 14. Senescence and death; References; Part V. Plants and the Environment: 15. Elemental cycles; 16. The human touch; Appendix. Genetic engineering in a rapidly changing world; References; Epilogue; Index.
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