Helping Plants Adapt to Climate Change

High throughput phenotyping’s speed helpful to scientists

Newswise — Sept. 11, 2017—In climate change scenarios, abiotic stresses, such as drought and heat stress, become intensified, leading to severe crop loss. Selection of stress-tolerant germplasm is essential for adaptation to climate changes. Understanding physiological traits, and identifying them quickly with high throughput phenotyping, will help select crop genes that can best adapt to stressful environments.

The “Physiological Traits for High Throughput Phenotyping of Abiotic Stress Tolerance” symposium planned at the Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Monday, October 23, 2017, at 1:30 PM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Speakers include Maria Salas-Fernandez, Iowa State University. She will review opportunities for phenotyping to control leaf angles and photosynthesis rates of plants. “Yield is determined by a plant’s capacity to capture light energy in the form of photosynthesis,” says Salas-Fernandez. “It is now recognized that the necessary yield gains to meet global food demands will come from manipulating the photosynthetic capability of plant species.”

Roots are important components for crops to meet global food demands, too. Christopher Topp, a researcher with the Danforth Plant Science Center, will present various imaging tools used in studying roots, along with quantitative genetics and molecular biology. “We aim to understand the relationships among root traits that can be effectively measured in both laboratory and field environments,” says Topp. “Our hope is to identify genes and gene networks that control roots. The ultimate goal is improving whole plant architectural features useful for crop improvement.”

For more information about the 2017 meeting, visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/. Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 10, 2017 is required. Visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/media for registration information. For information about the “Physiological Traits for High Throughput Phenotyping of Abiotic Stress Tolerance” symposium, visit https://scisoc.confex.com/crops/2017am/webprogram/Session16916.html.

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, sfisk@sciencesocieties.org to arrange an interview. 

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