A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher J. Paradise

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Perhaps the most important chemical reactions on the planet take place inside a plant’s chloroplasts. In this tiny green organelle, plants have the capacity to capture the energy in light and use that energy to convert CO2 gas into building blocks used to produce all four categories of biological molecules—lipids, carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids. Animals could not survive if plants did not exist. Not only do they provide us with oxygen to breathe, they also generate the starting materials for everything we eat. Rather than focusing on names and trivial details, this book shows how plants harvest energy in a way that self-regulates. Plants shift how they process light energy to maximize their productivity and minimize their exposure to dehydration. All of this regulation is carried out inside every plant on earth. In addition to plants, there are microbial primary producers that can harvest energy from a range of environmental sources so that no place on earth is devoid of life.

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Christopher J. Paradise

Christopher J. Paradise is professor of biology and environmental studies at Davidson College. He teaches introductory biology, ecology, entomology, and topical seminars on ecotoxicology and renewable natural resources. He also occasionally leads a study abroad program in India.  His research evaluates anthropogenic factors that influence insect biodiversity at a variety of scales.  His current research interests include effects of land use patterns on pollinator communities in parks.

A. Malcolm Campbell

A. Malcolm Campbell teaches biology at Davidson College, NC. He received national and international education awards: Genetics Society of America (2013); American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); and American Society for Cell Biology (2006). He was the founding co-editor in chief of CBE Life Sciences Education; founding director of Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT); and member of the American Society for Cell Biology governing council (2012–2014).