Flooding stress Biology

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. Our research program uses a combination of physiology, biochemistry and modern molecular techniques to (I) investigate genes and molecular processes underlying plant responses to flooding and (II) identify genes and molecular processes whose regulation mediates the observed natural genetic diversity in flooding resistance. Ultimately the understanding of these processes will be critical to improve the resistance of current crops to flooding events that are predicted to dramatically increase with global climate change.