Chair of Plant Physiology
It is a long-term goal for the physiology trying to understand how life works by collecting quantifiable detailed information on biological stimuli and responses. Physiology is the science aimed at understanding how organisms, cells and cell organelles function as complex structural units. Plants are not the passive organisms they often seem to be. Plants employ a complex orchestration of processes that allow them to obtain food, endure drastic environments, fight off predators, tell the time and anticipate the future. They relay information and transport substances within the plant body over large distances and even communicate with each other as separate individuals.
Due to global climate change plants are being exposed to increasing biotic and abiotic stresses. For example, many pathogens are extending their ranges while at the same time there is increased demand on land cultivation for biomass production for energy and nutrition. Protecting biomass production and quality under these changing conditions is a growing problem. A fundamental understanding of the effects of stress on plants, and how plants alter their physiology and biochemistry to counter stress effects, are essential to developing strategies to protect our future energy sources and nutrition.
In the Department of Plant Physiology our research and teaching focus on how plants function from the molecular to the organismal level of complexity, and especially, how they respond when attacked by pathogenic microorganisms or are exposed to abiotic stresses.