LEC glasshouses

Plant and Crop Science

We work from the molecular to the crop scale with researchers and end-users of research, in both the natural (e.g. plant and soil ecology) and social sciences. Our particular strength is applying our research to provide solutions to real-world problems, particularly in relation to Agri-Food Challenges.

Specific expertise exists in:

Plant-Environment Interactions

  • Plant responses to water availability ranging from stomatal physiology to long distance phytohormonal signalling, in aiming to improve “crop per drop”
  • Molecular and whole-plant responses to ozone
  • Plant nutrient acquisition including regulation of root architecture and spectroscopic monitoring of plant health
  • Field phenotyping and next-generation genetics to uncover markers, genes and the biology underlying yield and stress tolerance

Pest and disease control

  • Novel, non-invasive methods for diagnosis
  • Manipulating herbivore-natural enemy interactions for biological control
  • Exploiting plant-induced resistance by understanding plant “stress memories” and developing seed priming techniques
  • Plant volatile organic compounds as signalling molecules
  • Biopesticide production

Photosynthesis and Photobiology

  • Increased efficiency of photosynthesis by improving the biochemistry of C assimilation
  • Biotechnological approaches to introduce C-concentrating mechanisms from photosynthetic micro-organisms into crop plants
  • Mechanisms of visible and ultraviolet light sensing and signalling
  • Interactions between light and temperature signalling
  • Light spectral manipulation to enhance crop production

Plant communities and climate change

  • Nutrient capture and cycling (especially C, N and P)
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem service provision in agricultural settings
  • Remote sensing of above- and below-ground plant function