Food Gardening in the Anthropocene

By Daniela Soleri, University of California, David A Cleveland, University of California, Steven E Smith, University of Arizona

In early September 2017, the fall equinox was approaching, and things were different in our garden. The heat-loving basil plants that should have been slowing down as the days shorten and cooler weather usually arrives, were showing no sign of changing. The fruit on both varieties of our persimmon trees were turning deep orange at least one month earlier than in previous years. The unusually warm, dry summer of 2017 in much of the western US contributed to similar experiences for many gardeners.

The experimenatl garden of Mashhad University in Iran

That autumn was an example of how the timing and duration of plant life cycles, and our garden activities, are changing from what we are familiar with, and like other gardeners and farmers, we need to figure out how to respond.

Continue reading

The Science of Communicating Science: The Ultimate Guide, by Dr Craig Cormick

By Rachel Winks, CABI

The Science of Communicating Science: The Ultimate Guide by Dr Craig Cormick, published this month jointly by CABI and CSIRO, is a book that helps to solve a major problem that many scientists face at some point in their career: how do I communicate my work to society?

How do I give that interview with a news outlet that would help explain my research to the general public, or how do I deliver that presentation to a donor that could secure the next round of funding for my project?

IMG_0475

While there are millions of chatty blogs, books and videos about how to talk to the press or give a speech, where do scientists go to get digestible but evidence-based answers about the approaches that work best; the tools that really move the dial?

Continue reading

The history of cultivating citrus

By L Gene Albrigo

Citrus is one of the most important exported fruit crops. Large plantings in countries bordering latitudes 20 south and north and in-between provide fresh and processed citrus for the more populated northern European and American countries as well as other large populations around the world. Citrus has also been a cultivated crop in southeast Asia for thousands of years. Its genetics are unique in that stable hybrids naturally propagated through polyembryony have been recognized as species. New molecular techniques have clearly elucidated the true genetic background of citrus.

iStock_000004064457Small

Continue reading

The Anthropocene is official – but what does this mean for the future health of planet Earth?

By Jennifer Cole, Royal Holloway, University of London

In recent months, there has been increasing academic and public discourse over the continued damage modern lifestyles are inflicting on our planet. The term ‘planetary health’ has emerged as a catch-all for addressing issues as diverse as climate change, plastic pollution, antibiotic resistance, increasing meat consumption and poorly-planned urban expansion as well as a call to action to address the challenges of the Anthropocene – the ‘Age of Man’ – which recognises that the challenges the Earth currently faces are, largely, inflicted by humans. There has never been a more pressing need to ensure the scientific community has a common platform from which to research, understand and influence action on the environmental damage inflicted by the modern lifestyles enjoyed in the developed countries of the Global North.

Urban smog in China.
Photo: Pixabay

Continue reading

Truly international expertise on tomato production

By Rachael Russell

Rows of Tomatoes in a Greenhouse

Ep Heuvelink’s Tomatoes is part of CABI’s Crop Production Science in Horticulture series. First published in 2005, it became an essential resource for growers, extension workers, industry personnel, and horticulture students and lecturers. Since then, our knowledge on tomato has greatly increased; tens of thousands of scientific papers have been published and the tomato genome has been sequenced, reinforcing it as a model fruit-bearing crop. Great progress has been made in open field and greenhouse production, and in our understanding of tomato crop physiology, fruit quality and postharvest physiology.

Continue reading

What do bees ‘see’ and how does it inform our understanding of vision?

By Adrian Horridge, F.R.S.

Bees are familiar to all, and tests to discover what they see can be repeated in any temperate part of the world, requiring little basic science but lots of thought to grasp this anti-intuitive but wonderfully adapted newly described visual system. In advance of World Bee Day on the 20th May, I look here at the importance the visual system of the bee, and the journey to establish this understanding.

Aster flower with bee Continue reading

Cultures don’t meet, people do: Ethnocentrism and essentialism

By Arjan Verdooren

There is a goal that virtually all methods and models of intercultural communication have in common – explicitly or implicitly. This goal is countering ‘ethnocentrism’: the tendency to assume one’s own worldview as normal and natural, and judge others on the basis of this worldview. Ethnocentrism is associated with closed-mindedness, inflexibility and feelings of superiority: things that can safely be considered bad for intercultural interactions. My argument is however that an emphasis on avoiding ethnocentrism is not always enough to improve intercultural communication in today’s world.

business-3152586_1920
Intercultural methods, models and approaches aim to make trainees aware of their own cultural socialization and of other cultural views and habits.

Continue reading