So many issues in plant science (and indeed in science in general) don’t have the simple answers we expect. Organic farming can cause environmental damage, GM crops have potential to increase food security, and some biofuels can increase rather than decrease carbon emissions.
It can be hard to keep up with these debates, and reliable information is often difficult to find. Forming an evidence-based opinion can be very challenging when evidence points in different directions, particularly as many people providing the information have their own campaign agenda.
So at the Society of Biology we were very pleased to be approached by Sense About Science with an idea to tackle this: an expert panel ready to give accurate answers to any questions related to plant science.
Sense About Science’s online portal was launched last month as a one-stop-shop for plant science questions.
Leading research institutions and learned societies across the UK came together to form the public panel, whose expertise includes agriculture, bioenergy, biochemistry, plant pathology and genetics.
Plant science research is central to decisions about future energy, land use, wildlife, environmental protection, pest problems, nutrition and food safety. It is essential that everyone involved has access to scientific evidence and these debates will benefit from the opinions of people from diverse backgrounds.
Questions can be sent via Twitter, @senseaboutsci or #plantsci, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in plant science you can follow members of the UK Plant Sciences Federation on Twitter: @mimitanimoto @UKPSF @PlantScience @weedinggems and join the LinkedIn group. To take part in plant science outreach activities you can also get involved with Fascination of Plants Day.