Bryan Hanson: Plant Stress & Climate Change
Prof. Dana Dudle (in Biology) and I (Prof. Bryan Hanson) collaborate on research about plant stress and climate change. We use methods in metabolomics, ecology and chemistry. Our focus is on the weedy plant Portulaca oleracea (purslane). In plants, the idea of stress includes conditions like too much light, too little water, or toxic metals in the soil. Another kind of stress would be increasing temperatures associated with climate change. We have chosen purslane because it is easy to grow and is of interest from a medicinal/nutritional perspective - it has the most omega-3 fatty acids of any plant. Our main objective is determine whether purslane's response to stress has a genetic component which also contributes to reproductive fitness (how well specific plants can propogate themselves over generations). If we can answer this affirmatively, we plan to investigate the specific physiological mechansms which underlie the responses we observe. Continued.