APGC Seminar: What lies beneath? Optimising root traits for crop resilience

Speaker: Darren M Wells (Principal Research Fellow in Plant and Crop Biophysics, University of Nottingham)

About the Speaker

Darren Wells is a Principal Research Fellow in Plant and Crop Biophysics, University of Nottingham. Based in the School of Biosciences at Sutton Bonington, his research addresses fundamental and applied questions in plant biology using multi-scale and transdisciplinary techniques, including development of novel phenotyping approaches at the cellular, organ, and whole plant level. DMW is a co-director of the Hounsfield Facility for Rhizosphere Research where he established the UK’s first Laser Ablation Tomography platform for biological research. He is a UK Scientific Representative for the EU project EMPHASIS co-ordinating plant phenotyping activities across Europe. In the UK, he co-leads the Network and Engagement strand of the PhenomUK scoping exercise developing the proposed national plant phenotyping infrastructure.

About this seminar

To meet the challenges of climate change and the need to increase crop production under reduced and erratic inputs, plant root traits (architecture, structure and function) have been proposed as targets for a “Second Green Revolution”. Due to the opaque and highly heterogeneous nature of soil, high-throughput measurement of root traits in situ is technically challenging. I will present recent advances in techniques for the quantification of roots and results from an ongoing study examining the root traits conferring drought tolerance in pearl millet, a vital food source across the sub-Saharan Sahel region in Africa.