Plants as Environmental Biosensors

Abstract Plants are continuously exposed to a wide variety of perturbations including variation of temperature and/or light, mechanical forces, gravity, air and soil pollution, drought, deficiency or surplus of nutrients, attacks by insects and pathogens, etc., and hence, it is essential for all plants to have survival sensory mechanisms against such perturbations. Consequently, plants generate [...]


Optical biosensors for probing at the cellular level: A review of recent progress and future prospects

Abstract New approaches are required to understand the complex processes taking place in the smallest unit of life. Recent years have seen an increasing activity in the use of optical devices and techniques for the investigation of the properties of single cells and also populations of cells including cell to cell communication. This article reviews [...]


Biosensors in plants

Abstract …Developmental biology is increasingly using mathematical models and yet few of these models are based on quantitative recordings. In particular, we know comparatively little about the endogenous concentrations or fluxes of signaling molecules such as the phytohormones, an area of great potential for new biosensors. There are extremely useful biosensors for some signals, but [...]


Bioluminescent Escherichia coli Strains for the Quantitative Detection of Phosphate and Ammonia in Coastal and Suburban Watersheds

Abstract …Analytic chemistry kits are used to measure phosphate and ammonia levels in water samples with algal blooms, but their sensitivity is limited due to specificity for inorganic forms of these moieties. An Escherichia coli bioluminescent reporter system measured the bioavailability of inorganic nutrients through fusion of E. coli promoters ( phoA or glnAp2) to [...]


Leadership and social information use in human crowds

Abstract One of the big challenges for group-living animals is to find out who in a group has pertinent information (regarding food or predators) at any moment in time, because informed individuals may not be obviously recognizable to other group members. We found that individuals in human groups were capable of identifying those with information, [...]


Collective Memory and Spatial Sorting in Animal Groups

Abstract We present a self-organizing model of group formation in three-dimensional space, and use it to investigate the spatial dynamics of animal groups such as fish schools and bird flocks. We reveal the existence of major group-level behavioural transitions related to minor changes in individual-level interactions. Further, we present the first evidence for collective memory [...]