Workshop reviews challenge to ensure food security in changing climate

March 25, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Climate change may limit global agricultural productivity and economic development by placing crops under stress becauase of rising temperatures and increased demand for water. Changing environmental conditions may also increase plant stress by intensifying plant pests and diseases.

In an upcoming two-day workshop at Penn State, international experts representing many different fields -- from climate modeling through ecology to plant biology and systems biology -- will address the challenges relating to plant stress, identify areas for potential collaboration and map out potential responses to this challenge.

The Global Plant Stress Initiative workshop will be held April 6-8, jointly hosted by Penn State, the University of Leeds, United Kingdom and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). WUN partner universities have considerable expertise in plant stress biology but are joined in this initiative by faculty from many other centers of excellence around the world.

Using the WUN framework, the researchers will meet to make real progress about how to meet the increasing need for food globally, in the face of increasing risks to agricultural productivity from traditional farming techniques. The event will have three main themes: global climate change, agricultural productivity and plant stress, and the molecular basis of plant stress.

The goals of the workshop are to identify research and education projects eligible for seed funding from the WUN and establish a roadmap for future research and action.

"Stress is very important in plant biology," said Jonathan Lynch, professor of plant nutrition at Penn State and workshop co-chair. "A plant is under stress if temperature is too high or too low, if there is too much water or too little of it, or there aren't enough nutrients. Most plants on earth are dealing with some type of stress."


WUN information is at:

Workshop details are at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 01, 2010