Plants live in a broad range of different abiotic and biotic conditions, which can vary dramatically from minute to minute. Signals of a changing environment have to be perceived and integrated by plants. Among the abiotic signals that convey information to plants are light, mineral nutrients, wind, temperature and water status. On top of that, plants do not grow in isolation, they compete with other plants, they are the favorite menu of herbivores and they are attacked by fungi and micro-organisms. Throughout their life cycle plants continuously respond to all these signals resulting in alterations of their physiology, morphology and development. Ultimately this may result in better survival and reproduction under harsh environmental conditions.
The Plant Ecophysiology research group at Utrecht University studies physiological and molecular mechanisms that enable plants to grow, compete and survive in stressful environments. More particular we focus on molecular mechanisms that enable plants to cope with flooding stress and low light levels in dense vegetations.