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Fascination of Plants Day 18 May 2024

Created by the European Plant Science Organization, May 18th is International Fascination of Plants Day. The seventh occurrence will be launched by plant scientists across the world under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). Plant biologists estimate the number of plant species to be about 250,000. And so, the day draws attention to the diversity of plants in color, shape, and function within their local ecosystem. Understanding plants is a necessity in a world leaning towards more sustainable production of food, horticulture, forestry, but also nonfood goods like wood, chemicals, energy, and medicine.

Poster (JPEG, 164 KB)

Check out the Swiss country page to explore various workshops at the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich:

Marine Ecology and Art - Field course


The field course will take place at the Scottish Association for Marine Research, Oban Scotland. Students will investigate both the marine environment and the culture and people of the coastal area. Central to the course, is the question of what roles do our imagination and creativity play in shaping a society that values life on earth and respects the limits of its planetary boundaries? We will visit the people and projects involved in marine science and coastal economies, exploring marine diversity and the ecology of different coastlines, stepping back into ecological history to gain a better understanding of the foundations and basic principles of modern ecology. We will also investigate how people are restoring the marine environment and deriving new economic opportunities from it. We will use scientific as well as artistic documentation methods and tools.

 This course is cancelled for 2024, we hope to run it 2025. Please contact: Dr. Juanita Schläpfer

Course description (PDF, 93 KB) 

Flyer (PDF, 709 KB)

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Science Highlights

  • Phylogenomics and the rise of the angiosperms

    Zuntini et al., Nature (2024)

    Angiosperms are crucial for ecosystems and human life, but understanding their evolution has been limited by studying only plastid genomes. By analyzing nuclear genes a detailed "family tree" for nearly 8,000 angiosperm genera has been created, revealing insights into their diversification and historical evolution.
  • The global distribution of plants used by humans

    Pironon et al., Science 383, 293-297 (2024)

    Finding mechanisms to preserve areas containing concentrations of utilized plants and traditional knowledge must become a priority for the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
  • Effects of climate and environmental heterogeneity on angiosperm flora

    Qian et al., Nature Communications 15, 1097 (2024)

    Investigating global relationships between phylogenetic structure and environmental variables reveals how current and past climatic conditions shape species richness and structure across regions.
  • Biotic homogenization in arable soils across Europe

    Banerjee et al., Nature Communications 15, 327 (2024)

    Arable farming significantly reduces soil fungal diversity compared to grasslands, with rare fungal taxa disproportionately impacted, highlighting the importance of sustainable farming practices to protect ecosystem services.
  • Crop traits and production under drought

    Vadez et al., Nature Reviews 5, 211–225 (2024)

    Understanding physiological traits' role in moderate drought tolerance is essential for enhancing crop productivity and adapting to climate change, necessitating integration with crop genetics and modeling for effective varietal selection.
  • Transnational conservation to anticipate future plant shifts in Europe

    Chauvier-Mendes et al., Nature Ecology & Evolution 8, 454–466 (2024)

    Adjustments to the current reserve network are vital to meet EU biodiversity goals as simulations indicate significant shifts in conservation needs by 2080 due to climate-driven changes, highlighting the importance of transnational connections for effective protection.

Weiterführende Informationen

Melanie Paschke, Réka Mihálka and Manuel Sudau (2024). Cases for Research Integrity: Generative AI. Zurich Basel Plant Science Center: ETH