Plant Biology and Plant-Microbe Interactions

Our research in plant and algal biology includes metabolism and biochemistry (production and signalling roles of reactive oxygen species, photosynthesis, and evolution of algal thermotolerance), cell biology (changes in cell architecture supporting the plant immune system) and algal metabolism and biotechnology. Plant-pathogen interactions are a key strength, with researchers covering the rice blast fungus (Magnaporthe oryzae), corn smut (Ustilago maydis), septoria leaf blotch of wheat (Zymoseptoria tritici) and ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus). We focus on the cell biology of plant-fungal interactions, analysis of the genomes of emerging pathogens and the influence of climate change on pathogen spread.  The group is well supported with controlled environment plant growth facilities and an extensive glasshouse.    

Outside Biosciences, research on plant responses to climate change, tropical biodiversity and wildfires is conducted by colleagues within Geography’s ‘Landscape and ecosystem dynamics’ research theme. Within the wider south-west region, we have strong links with Rothamsted Research (North Wyke), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association.