Campus orchard grows, with help from the community
Now five years old, the Penn Park Orchard is expanding, literally and figuratively. With shovels and sweat equity, members of the University contributed to those efforts at a workday.
Crowdsourcing 10,000 years of land use
More than 250 archaeologists from around the world contributed their knowledge to ArchaeoGLOBE, an effort to better understand the prevalence of agriculture, pastoralism, and hunting and gathering at different points in human history.
Where ethics, welfare, and sustainability meet swine
At New Bolton Center’s model pig farm, free-roaming sows are implanted with RFID chips, nourished by organic feed, and powered by solar energy.
Strella Biotechnology’s biosensors minimize food waste, one apple at a time
With their 2019 President’s Innovation Prize, Katherine Sizov and Malika Shukurova are looking to disrupt the agricultural sector.
The ‘off’ button that lets plants make flowers
Flowers aren’t just pretty to look at; without them, plants couldn’t reproduce. Investigating the critical process of flower formation in plants, School of Arts and Sciences biologist Doris Wagner and colleagues discovered how a key gene is shut off in order for blooms to form. “Identity is not just what you are; it’s what you aren’t,” she says.
Keeping campus trees—all 6,800 of them—healthy and vibrant
Caring for the trees on Penn’s campus—an official arboretum since last year—is no small undertaking. Staff from Facilities and Real Estate Services and the Morris Arboretum lead the way in ensuring that the University’s trees remain safe, vibrant, diverse, and beautiful.
Dry conditions may have helped a new type of plant gain a foothold on Earth
Plants reap energy from the sun using two photosynthesis pathways, C3 and C4. A new study led by Haoran Zhou, Erol Akçay and Brent Helliker suggests that water availability drove the expansion of C4 species, which may help to explain how different plant lineages came to be distributed on the planet today.
How plants cope with stress
With climate change comes drought, and with drought comes higher salt concentrations in the soil. Brian Gregory and graduate student Stephen Anderson have identified a mechanism by which plants respond to salt stress, a pathway that could be targeted to engineer more adaptable crops.
Can changing our diets save the planet?
Brian Berkey and Karen Glanz discuss how dietary changes could impact the overall health of the planet, following the United Nations’ recent report on climate change.
Growing a ‘culture of cultivation’ on campus
Even on an urban campus, there are numerous places to coax food from the soil. From the Penn Student Garden on Spruce Street to the Penn Park Orchard, Facilities and Real Estate Services staff are expanding opportunities for the community to interact with an edible landscape.