Abiotic Stress Resistance and Resource Use Efficiency

The sustainable use of Earth’s resources in a changing environment is a main challenge for the preservation of livelihood and human health. Climate change will significantly alter factors of agricultural production in the coming years. Changes in temperature and precipitation associated with sustained emissions of greenhouse gases are in conflict with sustainable use of agricultural soils and will affect crop and biomass yield. Rising global temperature and drought will also constrain agricultural productivity to meet the demand of the steadily increasing population worldwide. For maintaining sustainable, environmentally benign agriculture under the forecasted future climate conditions, it is essential to design effective plant breeding and protection strategies, principally exploiting the available genetic resources. Our research will in particular unravel the following questions: (i) What are the underlying mechanisms and driving forces determining resource use efficiencies (water and nutrients) and how do these traits affect plant quality and plant fitness under the predicted future environmental conditions? (ii) How do constitutive and stress-induced constituents contribute to plant growth and biomass production? (iii) How do genes and traits contribute to plant growth and development under multiple environmental impacts affecting e.g. water availability and temperature?