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Photosynthesis and plant growth underpin life on Earth and support crop production that feed billions. However, productivity varies more than tenfold among plants because external environmental resources become limiting in particular places or times, and internal physiological processes differ in each species and crop variety.

Our research aims to understand how these environmental and internal factors limit plant productivity, how evolution and crop breeding have overcome the limitations, and the importance of productivity for the biology of plants in wild ecosystems and cultivated fields.

Hover over and click on the pictures below to see some of our current research interests. For more in-depth descriptions of each one, see our Research pages.

Our focus is on organismal biology, but we investigate patterns at global and macroevolutionary scales, and address mechanisms using reductionist approaches. The methods we use include:

  • phylogenetics and comparative genomics,
  • physiology coupled with metabolite analysis,
  • manipulation experiments in controlled environments,
  • common garden experiments under natural climatic conditions,
  • observations of physiological processes at field sites,
  • comparative statistical analyses of large datasets,
  • and simulation modelling based on mechanistic models of plant function.

For more information about us and our work, check People, ResearchPublicationsNews and Public engagement pages, or email Colin Osborne.

For opportunities to work with us, see Opportunities or email Colin Osborne.