‘Pings’ and ‘pops’ reveal sunflower stress

A sunflower is astonishing for more than just its outward beauty. Associate professor Taryn Bauerle and her students are tracking how drought-stricken sunflower roots send electrical signals to the leaves to close their pores. Bauerle and her students also listen for the “pops” and “pings” that denote hydraulic signals via breaks in the plant’s water column. Research conducted by Bauerle is aimed at addressing critical issues about how plants respond to stress, from the impacts of drought to pressures exerted by herbivore pests. The image is a magnified look at the sunflower’s petiole, the stalk that joins leaf and stem:



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