Bryan Hanson: Plant Stress & Climate Change
In my group, we conduct research on how plants respond to the stress of climate change. Such stress can take the form of too much heat, too much salt in the soil, or too little water. We use methods from metabolomics, chemistry and ecology, and often benefit from collaboration with Prof. Dana Dudle in the Biology Department. Our plant of choice is Portulaca oleracea, a weed more commonly known as purslane. We have chosen purslane because it is easy to grow and is interesting from a medicinal/nutritional perspective - it has the most omega-3 fatty acids of any plant. Our original objective was to determine whether purslane's response to stress has a genetic component which also contributes to reproductive fitness. We have been able to confirm this, and we are now focussed on understanding the molecular nature of purslane's response: What pathways are activated? What molecules are involved? Read more... Continued.