Plant Survival: a story of sex, violence and light

23 - 24 January 2013 in Neuchâtel

Nourishment, defence and reproduction. These three essential acts that ensure the existence of all living organisms are at the heart of research carried out during twelve years by the NCCR Plant Survival. They make up the core themes that will be covered during the final NCCR meeting.

For the nourishment of plants, light plays a fundamental role. Through photosynthesis, nutrients are transformed into substances that can be assimilated by the plant. Plant survival also depends on the plants’ ability to resist the continuous attacks by pathogens and insects. To deal with these attacks, plants may employ chemical defences to directly fight off their attackers, or indirectly defend themselves by releasing volatiles that attract natural enemies of herbivorous insects.

Volatiles, as well as visual signals also play a key role in reproduction, as they help to attract pollinators that mediate the exchange of pollen among plants. The genetic factors determining the flower traits that ensure the attraction of the right pollinators will be also part of the meeting’s agenda.

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