University of Bayreuth, Presse release No. 153/2022 - 21 September 2022

Plants under flooding stress: International scientific conference for the first time in Germany

As a result of climate change, heavy rainfall and flooding are occurring with increasing frequency. Many researchers around the world are investigating how plants react to this type of stress. They have joined forces in the International Society for Plant Anaerobiosis (ISPA). This year, the ISPA conference is being organized for the first time in Germany under the lead management of Bayreuth plant geneticist Prof. Dr. Angelika Mustroph. About 100 participants will exchange current research results from September 25 to 29, 2022 in the monastery Banz / Bad Staffelstein.

"Research on stress responses of plants is highly relevant internationally today because flooding of fields – whether as a result of heavy rainfall or rising sea levels – poses a major threat to agricultural crops. In recent years, scientists at the University of Bayreuth have contributed to new discoveries in this field, especially with regard to signal transduction in plants that suffer stress during flooding. Other groups made progress in breeding new stress-resistant varieties, especially of rice", explains Prof. Mustroph, who is leading the meeting together with research teams from Bielefeld (Prof. Dr. Romy Schmidt-Schippers), Freiburg (Prof. Dr. Sjon Hartman), Aachen (Prof. Dr. Joost van Dongen), Kiel (Prof. Dr. Margret Sauter) and Munich (Prof. Dr. Peter Geigenberger).

Maize plants under waterlogging.

The members of the ISPA investigate the reactions of plants to flooding and oxygen deficiency from the perspective of different scientific disciplines: Molecular biology, biochemistry, anatomy, ecology, and agricultural science are interlinked in numerous research projects. The topics include gene expression and fermentation metabolism in stressed plants, anatomical aspects such as the formation of "aeration tissue" (aerenchyma formation), the survival strategies of flood-tolerant wild plants, and the breeding of more tolerant crop plants.

The meeting, hosted for the first time in Germany, is the 14th conference of ISPA. Previous conferences were held in Taipei (Taiwan, 2019), Copenhagen (Denmark, 2016), Los Banos (Philippines, 2013), Volterra (Italy, 2010) and Matsushima (Japan, 2007). Once again, numerous internationally outstanding scientists have been recruited as speakers for the upcoming conference, including Prof. Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres (University of California Riverside, USA) and Prof. Dr. Michael Holdsworth (University of Nottingham, UK). Nobel Laureate Prof. Sir Peter Ratcliffe (University of Oxford, UK, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019) will deliver the opening lecture on "Oxygen perception and signal transduction."

Science funding:
This year's ISPA conference is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Botanical Society (DBG).

More information about the conference:

Prof. Dr. Angelika Mustroph

Prof. Dr. Angelika Mustroph

Plant Genetics
University of Bayreuth

Phone:+49 (0)921 / 55-2629

Christian Wißler, Wissenschaftskommunikation

Christian Wißler

Deputy Press & PR Manager, Research Communication
University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5356