You can’t understand the global carbon cycle without understanding the activities of leaves. Leaves turn CO2 into sugar during photosynthesis, emits it during respiration and releases it when it rots. Leaf shape, size and structure is influenced tradeoffs between how many resources you spend to build the leaf, how quickly the leaf turns CO2 into sugar, and how long the leaf operates. Pluck a leaf from a tree and examine its underside.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has appointed 15 new investigators to its club of well-funded whizzes—all of them plant scientists. What is a medical research organization doing funding plant science? Well, first off, they have joined forces with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has funded a broader range of scientific fields. The two will pony up a combined $75 million for the 15 investigators over 5 years.