Plant ecophysiology is an experimental science that attempts to understand the physiological mechanisms that describe the interaction of plants and plant communities with their physical, chemical and biological environment. Our group seeks to address these issues in both natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems globally, to assess sustainability, biodiversity and the resilience and adaptive capacity of these systems to environmental change. The research themes of the Plant ecophysiology research group focus on:
- Biogeochemical cycling including carbon, water, nitrogen and greenhouse gas dynamics.
- Climate smart land use options for agricultural and natural systems, including bioenergy crops, grasslands, legumes, tillage, peatland restoration and the sustainable management of tropical wetlands.
- Novel cropping systems to reduce N pollution, enhance biodiversity and improve dietary protein.
- Mitigation options to achieve carbon neutrality.
- Modelling the impacts of land management and climate on plant productivity and soil carbon stocks.
We address these issues at different spatial and temporal scales including glasshouse, growth chamber, mesocosm and ecosystem scale experiments. We use a range of analytical techniques including infra-red gas analysis, chlorophyll fluorescence, chromatography, stable isotope assessment, eddy covariance, remote sensing, LCA, biogeochemical modelling and meta-analysis. Our group collaborates with national and internationally funded institutes, universities and stakeholders, and is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Irish Research Council and the European Union Framework Programmes.