Plants and Microclimate: A Quantitative Approach to Environmental Plant Physiology 3rd Edition
I have been delighted, and somewhat surprised, at the continued widespread use of this text, in spite of the fact that much has changed in associated fields since the previous edition was published around 20 years ago. Perhaps the major change in plant biology over this period has been the explosion of research on the molecular and genetic basis of plant responses to the environment, though there have been important advances in other relevant fields such as in remote sensing. Although I have not attempted to cover molecular aspects in any detail, as there are many suitable alternative texts, I have tried to relate recent advances in molecular sciences to our understanding of whole plant responses to the environment. In this context I have aimed especially to indicate the ways in which the powerful new molecular tools and other ‘omics’ technologies can contribute to advancing our understanding of the biophysical interactions between plants and the atmosphere. As in the previous editions, however, I have continued the approach of describing only briefly the biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in plant responses to the environment, so interested readers are referred to specialist reviews and books mentioned at appropriate places in the text.
For this third edition I have chosen largely to retain the general structure and aims of the successful previous editions. In particular the key aim remains to provide an authoritative introduction to environmental plant physiology suitable both as a text for upper undergraduate and postgraduate courses and as a reference for researchers in the field. As previously, the first half of the text concentrates on the general principles, with the later chapters going more into the physiology and practical applications. The emphasis throughout remains on the more quantitative and physical aspects of plant responses to the aerial environment as these topics tend to be relatively poorly treated by the standard plant physiology texts, yet our need to understand how the whole plant functions and responds to its environment has never been greater if we are to respond effectively to the challenges that face the world in the coming years. These include responding to the problems and opportunities raised by climate change and by the need to continue to feed the burgeoning and increasingly wealthy world population in the coming years.
As it is now 20 years since the previous edition was published it has proved necessary to completely revisit and revise the content throughout. Around half the publications referred to are new; nevertheless many of the references to earlier papers have been retained, especially for data. Even though many thousands of potentially relevant new papers and texts have appeared, often these only provide refinements rather than substantial improvements (for example I still quote the data using 1% O2 to suppress photorespiration even though more recent papers use 2%). The citations included fall into one of several categories: general texts and reviews that give access to useful references and a limited number of key original references, while the majority of citations are simply useful examples selected from among many possible papers. I have also, where appropriate, included a limited number of key internet addresses, though it should be recognised that these change rapidly.
In revising the text I am indebted to many colleagues from around the world who have provided helpful and constructive comments on the previous editions, and to those who have read and commented on sections of the text. Particular thanks go to Abdellah Barakate, David Deery, Olga Grant, Anthony Hall, Amanda Jones, Ian MacKay, Barry Osmond,
John Raven, Philip Smith and Bill Thomas.
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