The ability to tolerate abiotic stress requires acclimation both during the stress and after stress removal. The quality of recovery can significantly fecundity and increase vulnerability to other stresses. Yet there is a considerable knowledge gap regarding mechanisms regulating stress recovery. We are interested in understanding the molecular processes driving flooding recovery, the signals generated, the parallels with drought and how stress shapes the recovery response.
Hypoxia is a major element of flooding stress. The interaction of hypoxia with other flooding related signals such as ethylene, ROS, NO and sugars determines plant responses and survival. We are interested in determining the dynamics, hierarchy and downstream effects of these signaling interactions and what it means for survival in the functional context of organ and species-specific responses and different types of flooding.
Learning from Nature
While most terrestrial plants are sensitive to flooding, there are species that thrive in wet environments. We want to understand the physiological and molecular basis of flood-induced adaptive traits in these species in a quest to unlock novel tolerance mechanisms. In a current collaborative project initiated at the Mustroph lab, we are investigating submergence tolerance in a selection of extremely flood resilient Brassica species. In a collaborative project with IRRI, we are investigating flooding tolerance in several aggressive rice weeds.
Plants rarely face environmental stresses in isolation. We are interested in understanding how plants cope with flooding when in combination with changes in other environmental factors eg: flooding followed by drought or changes in light quality or quantity. Our goal is to establish how single stresses responses are modulated when combined with other factors.