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Book Reviews Annals of Botany 105: viiixi,

Available online at www.aob.oxfordjournals.org

doi:10.1093/aob/mcq054 subcellular compartmentation, organelle and vesicle mobility


Published electronically: 17 March 2010 and structural reinforcement.
The book provides an excellent historical perspective to
Signaling in plants signalling in plants; this is put into context with recent devel-
Baluska F, Mancuso S. eds. 2009. opments and the use of molecular genetic analysis to confirm
Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer- hypotheses that were made by physiological observations. In
Verlag. 135 (hardback). 308 pp. addition, most of the chapters also discuss recent develop-
ments and provide observations on where the key targets
This book provides detailed for future research currently are. This provides the reader
coverage of a wide range of with a focused outlook on how the fields are developing
aspects of signalling and and what are the major questions that can be addressed
emphasizes the critical importance with the new post-genomics tools.
of such signalling to plants, which The illustrations are of high quality; although some chap-
as sessile organisms are at the ters have only a limited number of figures and pathways

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mercy of their biotic and abiotic included, these provide valuable information and aid the
environment. The book provides reader in understanding the complex interactions and path-
insight into how plants can ways that are being discussed.
respond and overcome such challenges. The dynamism of Overall this volume provides a very focused discussion of
plant signalling pathways are clearly demonstrated, for key topics of plant signalling and provides the reader with
example in cell wall composition, in which mutants are good opportunities to follow the specific areas in more
described that result in different wall compositions and detail. It will serve as an excellent resource for advanced
relative amounts of wall components can be altered, graduate students and post-graduates who wish to obtain a
indicating a sensing-and-response network to this pathway. detailed insight into plant cell signalling.
The book breaks plant cells down into their varying
components and provides individual chapters describing Zoe A. Wilson
how different aspects of the cell relate to whole-plant E-mail zoe.wilson@nottingham.ac.uk
physiology. This provides the reader with the opportunity
to focus on specific aspects of signalling, or to get to grips
with various aspects in manageable pieces. Given that the
book fragments the different signalling mechanisms into doi:10.1093/aob/mcq055
bite-sized pieces it also achieves good integration of these Published electronically: 9 April 2010
pieces. The authors link very well between the different
chapters with citations of relevant sections from other Botany. An introduction to plant
chapters covering related topics. This makes following biology, 4th edn
links between different responses and stimuli easier. Mauseth JD. 2009.
Chapters are included that provide detailed analysis of Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
specific signalling molecules, with particular focus paid to $135.95 (hardback). 672 pp.
auxin and calcium, and they also cover situations where per-
ception of changing environments are critical, such as tropic James D. Mauseths exceptional text
responses and stress responses. The fundamental role of Botany: an introduction to plant
auxin is described in a number of chapters. This is particu- biology is now released in its fourth
larly evident in the chapter focusing on the specific role of edition. The content is divided into
auxin signalling, for example the role of auxin associated four main sections: Plant Structure;
with modifications to the cell wall and gravitropism. The Plant Physiology and Development;
book provides a valuable perspective to the dynamic nature Genetics and Evolution; and
of plants. It clearly demonstrates the complexity of the Ecology. Within these sections,
response networks and shows how plants are able to standard topics such as cell structure, cell division, plant
respond to the changing environments they face, both on a morphology, plant physiology and diversity are given
daily and seasonal basis, but also under conditions of thorough coverage. Each chapter explores the subject matter
stress, including pathogen attack, oxygen deprivation and in extensive detail providing a number of standard as well as
also in symbiotic associations, such as with rhizobial interesting new examples to illustrate the different botanical
bacteria. concepts presented. The text is supported by a number of
The book also provides a good perspective on how differ- excellent photographs, diagrams and other graphics. Within
ent aspects of cells interact with each other, and the dyna- the chapters, there are interesting box essays called Plants Do
mism of the actin cytoskeleton in accommodating growth Things Differently that highlight the unique features of plant
and development is an excellent example of this. This biology and contrast plants with aspects of animal biology
chapter illustrates how the actin cytoskeleton serves as a sig- that are probably more familiar to students. Essays called
nalling hub that regulates numerous activities, such as Alternatives describe variation among species in

viii
fundamental aspects of plant biology. Plants and People structure by Bowes and Mauseth (hereafter referred to as
essays provide interesting insights on the numerous B&M2e) to review.
interactions and links between humans and the botanical Although B&M2e is fairly conservative in terms of content
world. These boxes present useful vignettes that should help of its eight chapters, this is largely inevitable; there is a stan-
students better understand and appreciate the importance of dard set of topics that are fundamental to plant anatomy that
plants ecologically, culturally, scientifically and economically. all books that aspire to deliver on the subject ought to
The content of the book is thorough and presents an accu- contain. Each chapter begins with a short introductory text
rate overview of modern understanding about and perspec- that summarizes the main features of the chapters subject.
tives on plants; however, this thorough coverage of And this is done with admirable succinctness. Briefly, the
individual topics is one of the drawbacks of the book. At contents are: Chapter 1, Introduction, which sets the theme
times, the writing can be dense and may potentially be diffi- for the atlas and covers such topics as the variety of land
cult for some students to follow. This aspect of the book plants, transpiration and translocation in vascular plants,
perhaps makes it a better choice for an advanced level or general morphology of angiosperms (the book is largely con-
possibly an honours course in botany rather than for a cerned with flowering plant anatomy), floral and reproductive
general introductory botany course with mixed majors and features. Chapter 2, The Plant Cell, is an introduction to plant
non-majors. Another difficulty is that although the book con- cell ultrastructure. Chapter 3, Plant Histology, considers cells
tains numerous useful illustrations and graphics, there are and tissues of the primary and secondary plant body (this and
some in which it is difficult to differentiate structures due all subsequent chapters contain images almost solely at the
to the similarity of colours in the diagrams. These palette light-microscope, LM, level, the primary level of inquiry of
problems may make it especially difficult for students to dis- the book). After Chapter 4, Apical Meristems, there follow

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tinguish among important points in projected images. chapters dedicated to the major organs of the vegetative
Perhaps these less-distinct illustrations are from previous edi- plant body: 5, The Green Leaf; 6, The Stem; and 7, The
tions while more brightly coloured figures are new additions. Root. The anatomical survey is concluded with Chapter 8
The book covers all of the essential topics, but it does seem on Plant Reproduction. A selected bibliography, glossary
that the ecology section is somewhat lacking. It contains only and index complete the book.
two chapters: one chapter is a standard coverage of biomes Perhaps the most telling comparison of B&M2e is with the
and the other is a combination of populations and ecosys- books 2004 first edition (1e), which was sole-authored by
tems. Coverage of plant community ecology is noticeably Bowes. Many of the figures in B&M2e are the same as
missing. Likewise, it seems odd that there are no chapters those in the 1e (and why not? They are generally very
that specifically address topics of plant biotechnology, plant good images, but do actually look even better in B&M2e!).
conservation, biofuels or agriculture. Given the importance However, there are nearly 200 more images in B&M2e,
of these topics and the wealth of information that exists which is the main reason why it has almost 100 more
about them, it is unfortunate that their only coverage comes pages than 1e. Both editions have eight chapters and,
in the boxed essays mentioned above. Hopefully future edi- except for Chapter 8, the same titles; Chapter 8 is termed
tions will expand coverage to include these topics. Plant Reproduction in B&M2e rather than Sexual
In summary, there are some minor issues with this book. Reproduction because it has been expanded to include
However, Mauseths Botany is overall a very good book and asexual propagation methods. Whilst the text in both editions
provides a worthy title for instructors of introductory botany is largely the same, it has been considerably supplemented in
courses to consider. While it can clearly serve as the many places in B&M2e, e.g. approx. 2.5 pages on leaf modi-
primary text for a general botany course, it could also poten- fications in Chapter 6 (although this may not sound much,
tially be used as a supporting text for other courses as well. since the text of a chapter in B&M2e is only approx. 6.25
pages this represents a substantial increase). And there are
Phil Gibson also new sections dealing with mangroves, succulent roots,
E-mail jpgibson@ou.edu parasitic plants and ant-plants in Chapter 7. As one might
expect from Mauseths involvement, there are a lot of
cactus images in B&M2e (and yes! anatomy of cactus
spines is one of the new items on leaf modification in
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq056 Chapter 5). The bibliography, glossary and index are also
Published electronically: 17 March 2010 all larger in B&M2e.
Inevitably in such a volume, attention focuses on the
Plant structure. A colour guide, images. And here is where I have a big problem with
2nd edn B&M2e. Notwithstanding how stunning and beautiful the
Bowes BG, Mauseth JD. 2008. images are (which they are and for which full credit is
London: Manson Publishing. rightly and richly deserved), they suffer from a massive fun-
29.95 ( paperback). 288 pp. damental flaw: nowhere are scale bars provided for any
image, nor even an indication of the magnification (which
I regularly and (I hope) rightly latter basic information was provided in 1e). Why is this
bemoan the lack of plant essential information not provided? Not only is its omission
anatomical knowledge of baffling and bizarre, it seriously undermines any value the
modern-day biology graduates, so text has as an aid to teaching plant anatomy!
its always good to see books that B&M2e compares well with other recent LM-based plant
try to remedy that deficiency! anatomical texts, such as Peterson et al. (2008) and Cutler
Expectations were accordingly et al. (2008; although both of these have accompanying
high when I received Plant CDs with digital versions of the books images which

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