Under natural conditions, unfavourable environments such as high temperature, drought or submergence may limit plant production and survival. When facing such conditions, plants acclimate their morphology and physiology to minimize the negative impacts of the stressing environment, such that the extend and dynamic of this acclimation will determine the performance of the plant.
The project “Understanding responses to simultaneously and sequentially occurring abiotic stresses typical of climate change in rice and Arabidopsis” focuses on understanding the genetic variation within Arabidopsis and rice in acclimation to these stresses, with the aim of identifying ideotypes and candidate genes for use in plant breeding. Within this project, I will develop multiscale simulation models (at the organ and plant level) that will integrate experimental observations on Arabidopsis and rice subject to drought, submergence, high temperature and combinations of these. These models will be used to explain the observed natural variation within these two species in acclimation to these stresses, identify optimal strategies to acclimate to specific environments and establish the relative importance of different plant morphological and physiological traits in the process of acclimation. The most important traits will be analysed in further detail and links to genetic regulation established in collaboration with other members of the project.