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Talking Plant Science: Rana Munns
13 April @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture is proud to bring you the next seminar in our Talking Plant Science series presented by Professor Rana Munns.
Plant capacities to adapt to abiotic stresses
Climate change and the challenge of feeding an increasing world population pose two existential threats. Climate change causes increased global temperatures that reduce crop yield, and the increasing world population demands higher productivity of crops and pastures on decreasing areas of traditional agricultural land. To understand the responses in common to the various abiotic stresses, we distinguish seven capacities that plants possess for adapting to abiotic stresses that result in continued growth and a productive yield. These include the capacities to take up essential resources, supply them to different plant parts, generate the energy required to maintain cellular functions, communicate between plant parts, and manage structural assets in the face of changed circumstances. We show how these capacities are crucial for reproductive success of major crops during drought, salinity, temperature extremes, flooding, and nutrient stress. This helps us to focus on the strategies that enhance plant adaptation to all stresses and identify key responses that can be targets for plant breeding.
Professor Rana Munns
Rana Munns is recognised internationally for her research in the fundamental principles of crop adaptation to salinity, and for applications of these insights. She defined the critical plant processes for tolerance to soil salinity, and showed which distinguishes salinity stress from drought stress. She discovered genes for sodium exclusion and led a research team on the genetic basis of salt tolerance in durum wheat, which produced breeding lines yielding 25% more grain on saline soils in farmers’ fields.
She has retired from CSIRO Agriculture and Food, and lives at Lennox Head NSW. She is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Western Australia. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and The World Academy of Sciences.