Plant development is incredibly flexible, allowing plants to fine tune their development, growth and physiology to their dynamic environment. Signals of a changing environment have to be signaled 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-Environment Signaling group at Utrecht University studies physiological and molecular mechanisms that enable plants to grow, compete and survive in dynamic, and sometimes stressful, environments. This way, we combine research on plant development, abiotic stress, plant physiology and architecture.