Understanding variation in plant traits in response to a changing environment

In this theme we are developing our understanding of how changes in temperature influence plant and crop development.

We are exploring how plants perceive temperature and how this influences important developmental processes to allow plants to grow and develop in alignment with the seasonal variation that takes place.

We will identify genes and processes which are important in yield formation such as flowering time, pollen, fruit and seed development. We use model plants such as Arabidopsis as well as major field crops such as vegetable Brassicas, oilseed rape and wheat.

We are also investigating why certain processes within plants, such as cell division to create the sex cells, are intolerant of extreme temperature and where evolution has overcome this to give more tolerant plants.

This research will allow us to consider introducing new mechanisms of temperature tolerance into the crops of the future to allow them to cope better with new weather patterns brought about by climate change.

Selected publications from ‘Understanding variation in plant traits’