High School

Grass Roots: Sports & Plant Biology

Right now is a big time for big sporting events.  If you’re a fan, then you should thank plant biology.

Plant biology, as defined by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), “specializes in the scientific study of plants. Within plant biology there are many areas of interest including cellular and molecular biology, genetics, development, evolution, physiology and biochemistry. Plant scientists are working world-wide in nearly all industries including academia, corporations, pharmacology, research, non-profits and government.”

Plant biology also could be the poster child for a cross-curricular integration campaign. Plants are everywhere. They are critical for food, fuel, fibers (cotton, paper), and pharmaceuticals.  Yet most folks are plant blind. If you’re one of them, maybe this will open your eyes:

Plant scientists are responsible for the perennial success of global sporting events including Wimbledon, World Cup soccer, golf majors, and Major League baseball.

These sporting events (and many others) literally are rooted in lush, strong, flexible, quick-growing, easy-recovering and gorgeous grass. Without plant scientists and other experts developing varieties of turf that can withstand the rigors of  athletics, these events might not exist.

For much, much more on how plant biology cultivates sports, read this blog post (written by Yours Truly for my day job as ASPB Education Coordinator):

World Champions Need Plant Biology

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