The Plant Ecophysiology Group studies the complex interactions between plants and their environment. We focus on physiological and molecular mechanisms that enable plants to cope with flooding stress and/or dense, competitive environments. These stress conditions induce changes in plant growth and metabolism, helping plants to adapt to high water levels or to outcompete neighbors in dense vegetations.
Most terrestrial plant life is sensitive to flooded (wet) conditions. Limited gas exchange underwater restricts photosynthesis and respiration, eventually killing the flooded plant. Flooding-induced changes in O2 and the plant hormone ethylene can trigger a signaling cascade leading to architectural, growth and metabolic changes that prolong underwater survival.