Plants are sessile organisms, thus for survival they have to cope with every possible change in the environment surrounding them. Every change that deviates from the optimal growth conditions is regarded as a stress for plants. One of the quickest stress responses is stomatal closure which is required during drought to stop loss of water via transpiration and also to prevent entrance of toxic compounds and pathogens into leaves.
The broader aim of our research is to study mechanims by which plants sense changes in the environment. As a tool for our research we use Arabidopsis mutants and mutant screens. Furthermore natural variation among Arabidopsis exotypes is used as a source of genetic information and the long standing aim is to transfer knowledge collected from the model species to crops and trees. The research carried out in the lab can be divided into three interconnected topics