From their ability to use energy from sunlight to make their own food, to combating attacks from diseases and predators, plants have evolved an amazing range of life-sustaining strategies. Written with the non-specialist in mind, John King's lively natural history explains how plants function, from how they gain energy and nutrition to how they grow, develop and ultimately die. New to this edition is a section devoted to plants and the environment, exploring how problems created by human activities, such as global warming, pollution of land, water and air, and increasing ocean acidity, are impacting on the lives of plants. King's narrative provides a simple, highly readable introduction, with boxes in each chapter offering additional or more advanced material for readers seeking more detail. He concludes that despite the challenges posed by growing environmental perils, plants will continue to dominate our planet.
John King is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a past President of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists and in 2001 he was awarded their highest honour, the Gold Medal, 'in recognition of outstanding contributions to plant physiology in Canada'. The first edition of Reaching for the Sun (Cambridge University Press, 1997) was nominated for the Rhone-Poulenc (now Aventis) Prize for Science (General Category).
Preface to the Second Edition; Preface to the First Edition; Part I. Plants and Energy: 1. Photosynthesis: the leitmotiv of life; 2. Plant respiration: breathing without lungs; References; Part II. Plant Nutrition: 3. Plants are cool, but why?; 4. Nutrition for the healthy lifestyle; 5. Nitrogen, nitrogen, everywhere ...; 6. Transport of delights; References; Part III. Growth and Development: 7. Growth: the long and the short of it; 8. The time of their lives; 9. A dash of seasoning; 10. Dormancy: a matter of survival; 11. Color, fragrance, and flavor; References; Part IV. Stress, Defense, and Decline: 12. Stressful tranquility; 13. Chemical warfare; 14. Senescence and death; References; Part V. Plants and the Environment: 15. Elemental cycles; 16. The human touch; Appendix. Genetic engineering in a rapidly changing world; References; Epilogue; Index.