Why study plants
Learn about university degrees, career pathways, funding and other opportunities for students learning Plant Biology.
This website is being built as part of a Conviron Scholarship by the American Society of Plant Biologists. Please contact below if you would like to add any opportunities or write about your experience as Plant Biology student/ teacher or if you have any questions!
The term 'plant blindness' was introduced 1998, broadly including “the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment, leading to the inability to recognize the importance of plants in the biosphere and in human affairs.”
Plant blindness also comprises “the misguided, ranking of plants as inferior to animals, leading to the erroneous conclusion that they are unworthy of human consideration.”
So all the animals do depend on plants and the soil but less than 5% of total conservation funds were spent on plants on average in the last years. Why?
As it is easier to get people to watch a video of a baby panda - it is easier to fundraise and get money for protecting animals. This is alarming - as no conservation effort should only focus on the animal - it has to focus on their habitat.
Scientists have actually reviewed all the funding and people's view on plants and found that people just do not 'see' plants around them.
So if you are focusing on the elephant on the picture on the left - have a closer look at the diversity of plants in the picture!
Most nature documentary movies feature dolphins jumping out of the sea, chameleons eating and changing their colours or young elephants and lions.
Animals have always been easier to relate to - they have eyes, mouths, they have to eat and drink. They run up and down and make all sorts of noises.
Plants are harder to relate to - they look as if their are inactive, standing still and they do not eat.
It seems to be easy to forget that when a giraffe is walking in the Kalahari - the acacia trees are not growing for the giraffe - it is the giraffe that is going to live around its food. So even if animals look 'more important', their distribution will ultimately depend on the plants and the 'brown stuff' - the soil.