Lecture Title: How talking plants alter crop yield
Clarence Swanton is University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Between earning his M.Sc. and Ph.D., he was employed as a field agronomist with the Campbell Soup Company, and later as a weed biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. In 1985 he joined the University of Guelph as a faculty member, and was promoted to full professor in 1996. Dr. Swanton served as the first Chair of the Department of Plant Agriculture from 1998 to 2004, and was president of the Canadian Weed Science Society from 2007 to 2008. Dr. Swanton and his team conducted groundbreaking studies on shade avoidance response in corn and the mechanisms involved in its induction.
Abstract: When the seedlings of corn and many other plants sense the presence of another plant growing nearby it affects how they grow and this change in their development can lead to an irreversible loss in crop yield later in the season. This happens even when there has been no direct competition for light and other resources, and the source of potential competition is removed before it can occur. The seedling develops as if to outgrow its competition shifting assimilates to aboveground structures at the expense of root development. When moisture and nutrients become limiting, plants that have undergone such a shade avoidance response are thus disadvantaged compared to those that have not. The mechanism of shade avoidance response and its implications in maize and other crops will be discussed.
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
3:30 – 4:30 pm