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Ana Carolina dos Santos Sá

Natural variations of sink-source interaction and carbon allocation in Arabidopsis thalianaunder fluctuating environments

Fluctuations in environmental conditions strongly influence fitness of living organisms. Among physiological process in plants, photosynthesis has been described as highly responsive to dynamic changes in ambient conditions such as temperature and light intensity or quality. In the face of global climate change, an increasing number of molecular biological and modelling studies are aiming to understand, and improve, short- and long-term regulation of photosynthesis under fluctuating environments in order to predict and enhance plants’ growth and/or yield, the two strong sinks of photoassimilates and energy. An underlying assumption of these approaches is that the capacity or efficiency of photosynthesis (as carbon source) is limiting plant growth and/or yield under relevant environmental conditions.  

Changes in environment can, however, have direct influence on sink activity such as growth. Thus, understanding the mechanisms of how environmental fluctuations indirectly affects the source activity (photosynthesis) by altering the sink activity would be as important as the knowledge about the direct effects on photosynthesis. In this project, I will explore intraspecific natural variations in long-term (hours to days) sink-driven control of photosynthesis under changing environmental conditions (e.g. temperature and light) by using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Based on datasets of quantitative phenotypic traits to be collected in this study, I intend to identify heritable genetic variants that are associated with the traits.

Starting date: 15.09.2019 / Qualification Fellow; 01.12.2020 / Doctoral Researcher

Thesis committee members: Shizue Matsubara, tba