• Question: Why did you choose to research plants over all other things

    Asked by anon-357532 on 15 Mar 2023. This question was also asked by anon-357451, anon-351107, anon-359866.
    • Photo: Martin Vickers

      Martin Vickers answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      Plants are really fantastic to study for a lot of reasons. Firstly they are really interesting, have a lot of diversity and some plants have nice fruit and veg that are important for feeding us.

      The second reason is more practical. It’s difficult to study animals and humans, they are complex but also there are ethical reasons. Researching plants gives us a lot of insight into how biological processes function, and this in turn allows us to make discoveries in other organisms.

    • Photo: Alison Tidy

      Alison Tidy answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      Honestly I found it easier to understand, but I think that was because I really enjoyed the subject, and had some great lecturers in plant science. In my first year at University I did animal, microbe and plant science and by the final year I was only doing plant science subjects. Plants are fasincating, there is so much we dont know about them, and so many ways we can research them (in the lab/glasshouse/field) – some of my friends have been all over the world including the South pole to study plants and algae.

    • Photo: Alexandra Milliken

      Alexandra Milliken answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      I love fantasy books (especially harry potter) and a lot of elements in these magical books are based around plants (i.e. Herbology). Although these books are just fictional, the wondrous world of plants are very much real.

      They are amazing. They cannot move away from any stresses (such as heat or predators), but they have an entire system that allows them to tolerate and defend themselves under such conditions (via toxins or even disguising themselves). You can find them basically anywhere (deserts, under the sea and even at high mountain peaks).

      They can make their own food using sunlight, which in turn provide humans (and animals) with food. We use them for furniture, fuel and the majority of our medicines originated from plants. Plus they provide Oxygen, so we can breath.

      Without plants our lives would be very different and so I study them, so that we can use them more efficiently and so we can protect them.

    • Photo: Thomas Navarro

      Thomas Navarro answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      I find plants beautiful but also very important for out world. When you think of it, plants are vital for us to survive. My motivation is to help the agriculture of this world to become better, more powerful and efficient so both humaity and our planet can keep thriving!

    • Photo: Phil Howell

      Phil Howell answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      Because they are the best. They turn air, sunlight and water into the building blocks of all the food animals eat, and the oxygen we all need to breathe. They manage to survive in the harshest of places. They can turn bare rock into soil. All without being able to run away from their problems!

    • Photo: Sam Mugford

      Sam Mugford answered on 15 Mar 2023:

      Plants are amazing. they are just as complicated as us in many ways. Although they don’t have a brain, they are capable of quite complicated behavior. They have to face many of the same problems as animals, like getting enough food, avoiding being eaten, and staying healthy and avoiding disease, but unlike animals they can’t move so they have to find other ways to solve these problems.

      Instead of running away from things that want to eat them, they can make themselves more poisonous, or grow thorns, or they can even release smells that will attract wasps that will eat aphids that are feeding on them. And when they run out of food they have to adapt. Some of the nutrients that the plant needs to get from the soil can be quite hard to get hold of, but again the plants can’t move and have to find another way round the problem, so the plants form relationships with fungi and bacteria in the soil that help them do this.

    • Photo: Liz Barron-Majerik

      Liz Barron-Majerik answered on 16 Mar 2023:

      I liked the diversity of the flowers, there are sooo many different types of plants which can be used in medicine, for fuel, food, dyes and more. And they don’t poop on you or bite you, which is nice.

    • Photo: Felipe Becerra

      Felipe Becerra answered on 16 Mar 2023:

      I found amazing how a tiny seed can become a whole tree!
      I just wanted to understand how it works.

    • Photo: Andrew Wood

      Andrew Wood answered on 16 Mar 2023:

      Plants are so important for food and our ways of life, and I wanted to work on something vital to the world so plants were the natural choice! Plants are also massively being affected by climate change, and so our vulnerability as a civilisation depends on the plants we rely on every day!

    • Photo: Caroline Stone

      Caroline Stone answered on 16 Mar 2023:

      I think plants are really interesting because in contrast to animals, plants can’t move away from their problems. If you think of something like a tree, it is rooted in place and has to survive where it germinated! It has to ensure it gets enough light (like rainforest trees which have to grow fast to fill a gap), enough water by growing a massive root network, and avoid pests and diseases by making specialised chemicals in the leaves to make them unappealing to eat.

      The chemicals that plants make are really interesting from a medical point of view too, because many of the medicines used in the mordern world have a basis in plants. If you are interested to learn more you could look up the story of Tu Youyou who developed artemisinin which is an anti-malaria medicine.