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Photosynthetic Life

Origin, Evolution, and Future

Denis Murphy and Tanai Cardona

28 October 2022

ISBN: 9780198815723

184 pages

Oxford Biology Primers

Price: £22.99

Written primarily for mid-to-upper level undergraduates, this title provides an introduction to the evolution of the photosynthetic organisms that dominate the biosphere and underpin the rest of life on Earth.



Written primarily for mid-to-upper level undergraduates, this title provides an introduction to the evolution of the photosynthetic organisms that dominate the biosphere and underpin the rest of life on Earth.

  • Oxford Biology Primers are the only resource to introduce prospective and current students of undergraduate-level bioscience to a range of topics from this dynamic experimental science, enticing readers to study further.
  • Its titles directly support two key transitions in the student journey: from school to undergraduate-level study, and from undergraduate to independent researcher.
  • Its modular format offers a high degree of flexibility, with teachers being able to draw on specific volumes that augment the post-16 curriculum, university lecturers being able to draw on specific volumes at different stages of the undergraduate curriculum.
  • All titles in the series are available in both print and e-book formats with e-books having digital functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support.

About the Author(s)

Denis Murphy, Professor of Biotechnology, University of South Wales, and Tanai Cardona, Research Fellow, Imperial College London

Denis Murphy is Emeritus Professor of Biotechnology at the University of South Wales, UK with over 40 years' experience in teaching and research in plant and agricultural sciences. Following undergraduate studies in Cell Biology and Biology/Biochemistry at Kings College London and the University of York, he studied for a PhD at York in the photosynthesis lab of Prof Rachel Leech. In 1977, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to carry out postdoctoral research on plant lipids in the lab of Professor Paul Stumpf at the University of California, Davis, followed by a Royal Society visiting fellowship in the photosynthesis lab of Dr Jan Anderson at CSIRO, Canberra, Australia. From 1990-2000 he was Head of Brassica & Oilseeds Research Department at John Innes Centre. In 2001 he joined the University of Glamorgan as Head of the Biotechnology Unit. In 2012 he established the Genomics and Computation Biology Research Group at University of South Wales, and was elected as Fellow of the Biology Society.

Tanai Cardona is an Advanced Research Fellow, leader of the Molecular Evolution Lab at Imperial College London, and holder of a prestigious UKRI Futures Leaders Fellowship. He obtained a BS degree in biology from University of Los Andes in Colombia, followed by a doctorate in chemistry from Uppsala University in Sweden. He then joined the Commission for Atomic and Alternative Energies (CEA) in Saclay, France, as postdoctoral researcher where he was awarded a CEA Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Eurotalents fellowship. In 2012 he joined the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College, London where he currently directs a research program investigating the molecular evolution and evolvability of the energy systems of living organisms. His major research focus is on the mechanisms of photosynthesis, and structure/function relationships of photosynthetic reaction centres, water oxidation complexes, chlorophylls, and oxygen-using processes.

Table of Contents

    1:Photosynthesis, oxygen and the evolution of life
    2:Bacterial origins of photosynthesis
    3:Eukaryotic photosynthesis
    4:Endosymbiosis: How eukaryotes acquired photosynthesis
    5:Evolution of the algae
    6:Evolution of the land plants
    7:Future prospects for photosynthesis and plant evolution

Additional Resources


Go online to find out more about the online resources accompanying this series, including online quizzes for students.

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