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Biologist Climbs High to Prove Hypothesis About Plants


Not every scientist would choose to spend a peaceful summer Sunday morning perched on a jittery scaffold 40 feet up a red oak tree, peering through a microscope to jab a leaf with a tiny glass needle filled with oil.

But Michael Knoblauch, a plant cell biologist at Washington State University, is in the stretch run of a 20-year quest to prove a longstanding hypothesis about how nutrients are transported in plants. He is also running out of time: He's nearing the end of a sabbatical year, much of which he has spent here at Harvard Forest, a 3,500-acre research plot in central Massachusetts.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014