Plant Ecophysiology and Modeling Lab

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CO2 research

Whole-plant physiology in response to elevated CO2 and climate change

Plants have been faced with changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations throughout their evolutionary history. Yet, plant responses to elevated CO2 are often complicated by other factors such as temperature, water and nitrogen availability, growth habit, morphology, and sink capacity. We study the effects of elevated CO2 on carbon gain and allocation to functional sinks such as growth, storage, symbionts, and defense compounds in cultivated plants. We also seek ways to improve crop water use efficiency and mitigate plant stress with an emphasis on methods that apply physiological and ecological principles.

Ecophysiology of plant-microbe interactions

We investigate the ecophysiology of how microbes such as beneficial endophytes as well as detrimental pathogens interact with their plant hosts in regulating host growth and stress responses at the whole-plant level. We seek to develop and evaluate environmentally responsible and ecological approaches for mitigating plant biotic and abiotic stresses, promoting growth, and improving plant health in agricultural and forest systems.


Crop modeling

Mechanistic process-based models can provide critical insights for understanding the behavior and network of complex biological and ecological systems. Similary, mechanistic crop models can play a central role in facilitating effective management solutions and cropping strategies for improving resource use efficiencies, closing the yield gaps, mitigating plant stress, and minimizing the environmental impacts of intensitive crop production in agroecosystems. For these purposes, we develop, improve, and apply crop simulation models for field crops and trees.