Plant Root Science Consortium

Uncover the genetic, physiological, and ecological basis of plant root adaptation to environmental stresses, pooling UF/IFAS resources together in combined research and teaching programs, which will lead to the development of better crops for tomorrow’s table

 

Global food demands are expected to grow by 70-110% by 2050 while arable lands are decreasing due to land degradation, urbanization and seawater intrusion. Global climate change further aggravates the problem, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, by forcing farmers to change their cultural practices. In this specific contest, plant root biology is becoming a valuable and indispensable part of modern plant research. The understanding of the genetic, physiological, and ecological basis of plant root adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses is, in fact, vital to the progress of nowadays society. Hence, the development of crops with better growth under limited water or nutrient availability has great promise to alleviate human suffering. The Plant Root Science Consortium combine together all the scientists that work on plant root at UF/IFAS, with the aim to:

  • to participate together in root science research
  • to pool our resources together in combined research, teaching and extension programs
  • to develop better crops for tomorrow’s table
  • to be competitive in the national and international scenario
ORGANIZATION

The consortium operates under the Center for Stress Resilient Agriculture. Faculty members and researchers with a plant root research component are affiliated to the Consortium generating a passionate and interdisciplinary pool of researchers. National and international collaborations with other University and Research Centers are strongly encouraged. Talented graduate students who want to develop research projects on plant root science will be affiliated to the Consortium. The Consortium welcomes prospective graduate students and collaborators interested in novel, multidisciplinary research that addresses real world issues. Work includes root physiological characterization of the adaptive value of specific phenes, their genetic control, and their agroecological impacts. To support this effort, new tools and concepts are developed for analyzing and understanding root phenotypes, including field phenotyping platforms (mini-rhizotrons), rhizotrones and 2D and 3D root reconstructions to analyze plant root structure and anatomy. In collaboration with plant breeders, this work results in the generation of new genotypes of crops with substantially better yield in low fertility soils. To share obtained results and potentially advances in research annually meetings are held. The physical location of the Consortium is at UF/IFAS McCarty D Building and the Plant Root Biology Laboratory is located at the UF/IFAS/IRREC in Fort Pierce, but root research is performed also in other laboratories both on and off campus.

OUTCOMES
  • Building a reputation for plant root science at UF/IFAS
  • Being perceived as the go-to plant root science consortium for national and international scientists, students and growers.
  • Successful delivery of field and laboratory research in the plant root area
  • Initial and follow up support from growers
  • Quickly securing national and international research projects for sustainable agriculture
AFFILIATION THROUGH THE CSRA

The Consortium welcomes UF Faculty and graduate students interested in novel, multidisciplinary research on plant root physiology and biology. Click here to apply