Top 2015 Academic Botany Books

These are my top 5 academic botany books for 2015. Strongly featured this year are books on photosynthesis, including history of research into it, and all manner of physiological topics, from defence to communication. Personal reviews available on request!

See the rest of this year’s book recommendations here!

The sixth edition sets the standard for textbooks in the field, making plant physiology accessible to virtually every student. Taiz and Zeiger collaborate with a stellar group of contributing plant biologists to produce a current and authoritative volume that incorporates all the latest findings and new chapters.


Physiological Responses of Plants to Attack is unique because it deals with the effects of different attackers – pathogens, herbivores, and parasitic plants, on host processes involved in growth, reproduction, and yield. Coverage includes effects on photosynthesis, partitioning of carbohydrates, water and nutrient relations, and changes in plant growth hormones. Far from being simply a consequence of attack, the alterations in primary metabolism reflect a more dynamic and complex interaction between plant and attacker, sometimes involving re-programming of plant metabolism by the attacker.


The new edition of this authoritative text provides an interdisciplinary treatise of all aspects of the interactions between light and the living world. It starts with a description of the physics of light, and how to deal with it in experiments and observations. The phenomena described in the rest of the book covers all organisms: how light is used by organisms for obtaining energy for life processes, for gathering information about the environment, and for communicating with others of the same or other species. The book also describes “bad” effects of light in causing disease or contributing to formation of environmental toxins. New techniques used by scientists to investigate life processes using light are also explored in the volume.


In Plant Sensing and Communication, Richard Karban provides the first comprehensive overview of what is known about how plants perceive their environments, communicate those perceptions, and learn. Facing many of the same challenges as animals, plants have developed many similar capabilities: they sense light, chemicals, mechanical stimulation, temperature, electricity, and sound. Moreover, prior experiences have lasting impacts on sensitivity and response to cues; plants, in essence, have memory. Nor are their senses limited to the processes of an individual plant: plants eavesdrop on the cues and behaviors of neighbors and—for example, through flowers and fruits—exchange information with other types of organisms. Far from inanimate organisms limited by their stationary existence, plants, this book makes unquestionably clear, are in constant and lively discourse.


The book will describe the xylem structure of different plant groups, and will put the findings in a physiological and ecological context. For instance, when differences in vessel diameter are featured, then there will be an explanation why this matters for water transport efficiency and safety from cavitation. The focus is on the hydraulic function of xylem, although mechanical support and storage will also be covered. Featured plant groups include ferns (which only have primary xylem), conifers (tracheid-based xylem), lianas (extremely wide and long vessels), drought-adapted shrubs as well as the model systems poplar and grapevine. The book chapters will draw on the expertise and cutting edge research of a diversified group of internationally known researchers working in different anatomical and physiological sub-disciplines. Over the last two decades, much progress has been made in understanding how xylem structure relates to plant function. Implications for other timely topics such as drought-induced forest dieback or the regulation of plant biomass production will be discussed.


This collection discusses the variety of specific molecular reactions by means of which plants respond to physiological and toxic stress conditions. It focuses on the characterization of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the induction of toxicity and the triggered responses and resistances. The nine chapters, all written by prominent researchers, examine heavy metal toxicity, aluminum toxicity, arsenic toxicity, salt toxicity, drought stress, light stress, temperature stress, flood stress and UV-B stress. In addition, information on the fundamentals of stress responses and resistance mechanisms is provided. The book addresses researchers and students working in the fields of plant physiology and biochemistry.


Plants are endowed with innate immune system, which acts as a surveillance system against possible attack by pathogens. Plant innate immune systems have high potential to fight against viral, bacterial, oomycete and fungal pathogens and protect the crop plants against wide range of diseases. However, the innate immune system is a sleeping system in unstressed healthy plants. Fast and strong activation of the plant immune responses aids the host plants to win the war against the pathogens. Plant hormone signaling systems including salicylate (SA), jasmonate (JA), ethylene (ET), abscisic acid (ABA), auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins and brassinosteroids signaling systems play a key role in activation of the sleeping immune systems. Suppression or induction of specific hormone signaling systems may result in disease development or disease resistance. Specific signaling pathway has to be activated to confer resistance against specific pathogen in a particular host. Two forms of induced resistance, systemic acquired resistance (SAR) and induced systemic resistance (ISR), have been recognized based on the induction of specific hormone signaling systems. Specific hormone signaling system determines the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions, culminating in disease development or disease resistance. Susceptibility or resistance against a particular pathogen is determined by the action of the signaling network. The disease outcome is often determined by complex network of interactions among multiple hormone signaling pathways. Manipulation of the complex hormone signaling systems and fine tuning the hormone signaling events would help in management of various crop diseases. The purpose of the book is to critically examine the potential methods to manipulate the multiple plant hormone signaling systems to aid the host plants to win the battle against pathogens.


This edited volume, written by some of the world’s foremost authorities on photosynthesis, presents revolutionary new ideas and theories about photosynthesis, and how it can be viewed and studied at various levels within organisms. Focusing on the molecular, cellular, and organismic levels, the scientists who compiled this volume offer the student or scientist a new approach to an old subject. Looking through this new lens, we can continue to learn more about the natural world in which we live and our place in it.


Recounting the compelling story of a scientific discovery that took more than a century to complete, this trail-blazing monograph focuses on methodological issues and is the first to delve into this subject. This book charts how the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms of photosynthesis were teased out by succeeding generations of scientists, and the author highlights the reconstruction of the heuristics of modelling the mechanism―analyzed at both individual and collective levels.


In this book a team of respected scientists review the most important current topics to provide a timely overview. The topics covered include: type III secretion systems and their role in the bacterial-host interaction; the Pseudomonas and Erwinia model systems and their application to other studies; the emerging plant pathogen Acidovorax; the Gram-positive phytopathogens Clavibacter, Streptomyces, and Rhodococcus; colonisation of plants by human bacterial pathogens; Pseudomonas biocontrol approaches; and phage therapy. Essential reading for every plant pathogen researcher, from the PhD student to the experienced scientist, and recommended reading for researchers working on foodborne pathogens and bacterial pathogenesis.


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