Cross-Journal Special Issue AJB, APPS and IJPS


COOPERATING JOURNALS: American Journal of Botany (AJB), Applications in Plant Sciences (APPS), and International Journal of Plant Sciences (IJPS)

Plants interact with both the biotic environment (competitors, microbes, pollinators, herbivores) and the abiotic environment (drought, fire, herbicide). These interactions can be studied at multiple levels (phenotype, genotype, gene function) and temporal scales (days, years, millions of years). However, plant–environment interactions are rarely examined across multiple levels and scales within the same system.

What can we learn about plant–environment interactions by integrating across levels and scales? To answer this question, AJB, APPS, and IJPS are producing a cross-journal special issue. In addition to inviting submissions from participants in the 2018 Green Life Science Symposium, all three journals are issuing an open call for submissions. Manuscripts should highlight the progress made in studying plant–environment interactions across multiple levels and/or scales, and should fall under one of the six following categories:

1. Stressful interactions (AJB guest editor Regina Baucom, University of Michigan)—Interactions with different components of the abiotic and biotic environment (novel environments, temperature and water availability changes, xenobiotics, herbivores, pathogens, competitor plants) can cause plant stress. These stressful interactions may be mitigated by plastic responses in the short term and may eventually lead to plant adaptation. This category aims to highlight a range of studies—from molecular genetics, physiological, or evolutionary ecology perspectives—that investigate the mechanisms and outcomes of plant persistence in the face of stressful interactions.

2. Living together (AJB guest editor Katy Heath, University of Illinois)—While awareness of the importance of the plant microbiome has developed rapidly in recent years, we are still only beginning to understand the mechanisms that determine the evolutionarily and ecologically important outcomes of plant–microbe interactions. These outcomes have important implications, however, for natural and managed ecosystems. This category aims to feature studies of plant–microbe interactions that highlight important ecological, evolutionary, or genetic mechanisms and contribute to our growing understanding of the rules that govern plant–microbe interactions.

3. Plant reproduction (AJB guest editor Sharon Kessler, Purdue University)—The number of offspring produced by a plant is a major determinant of plant fitness. Plant reproduction is influenced by interactions across multiple scales. These range from ecological interactions that influence flowering traits and pollinator interactions to molecular interactions that occur inside the flower during pollination. This category aims to highlight the multiple levels of interactions that occur both within the plant and between the plant and its environment to influence reproductive fitness.

4. Paleobotany (IJPS guest editor Selena Smith, University of Michigan)—As the primary producers of terrestrial ecosystems, plants and their environments have shaped each other over geologic time scales — hundreds of thousands to millions of years — and thus our understanding of this process is highly relevant to evolutionary and ecological studies. This category aims to highlight the theme of plant–environment interactions on geological time scales, including studies of how plants are used to reconstruct paleoenvironments, how plant and ecosystem structure reflects the environment in which they grow, how functional traits evolve in fossil taxa, and how environmental changes influence plant diversity and disparity.

5. Shape (IJPS guest editor Dan Chitwood, Michigan State University)—Shapes abound in nature, and all shapes contain information. Whether genes and hormones shape plant morphology and physiology during development, the phenotypes of crops and wild species, the shapes of fossils across plant evolution, or the spatial patterns and distributions of biodiversity in ecological studies, the shape of data provides insights into plants—from micro to macro scales. This category seeks studies that address the concept of shape and use of shape data, in an abstract sense, across plant science disciplines.

6. New methods and protocols (APPS guest editor Sally Chambers, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens)—The careful study of plant–environmental interactions across levels and scales often requires the development of novel approaches and tools. This category seeks innovative methods for examining plant–environment interactions from the micro to the macro scale, and across time periods. Contributions that address any aspect of the plant–environment interface are welcome.

How to submit: Authors interested in contributing to this joint special issue should email a proposal that includes the target category (Stressful interactions, Living together, Plant reproduction, Paleobotany, Shape, or New methods and protocols), tentative title, tentative author list, and a 200–300 word abstract to the relevant editorial office:

Stressful interactions, Living together, and Plant reproduction: AJB editorial office

Paleobotany and Shape: IJPS editorial office

New methods and protocols: APPS editorial office

The deadline for proposal submission is January 20, 2019. Proposals will be reviewed by the Editors-in-Chief and guest editors. Authors will be notified by February 1, 2019 as to whether their proposal was accepted. Proposal submissions from early-career researchers are particularly encouraged.

Authors whose proposals are accepted should submit their manuscript by May 15, 2019. Note that acceptance of a proposal does not guarantee the eventual acceptance of the manuscript, as all manuscripts will be rigorously peer-reviewed and held to the standards of the respective journals.

The target date for publication of the special issue is early 2020, although accepted manuscripts will be posted online in advance of print.