Harnessing natural variation in reproductive plasticity to drought in sunflower


A major agricultural concern is the ongoing decline in pollinator services to crops due to climate change, pathogens, and chemical agents, and consequently, a better understanding of plant traits that attract pollinators and their impairment by environmental factors like drought is key to future agronomic improvements and global food security. Through field and genomic studies, our proposed research will assess how the quality and quantity of pollinator rewards (pollen and nectar) and floral morphology are affected by drought and test whether or not genetic variants related to these traits that enhance a plant’s success as a pollen donor necessarily also decrease its success as seed bearer. Our results will highlight traits and genes that harbor variation potentially useful for improving pollinator attraction and consequently yield in sunflower and also lay the groundwork for additional studies to evaluate novel hypotheses about the evolution of plant reproduction.

Benjamin Blackman

Benjamin Blackman
Plant and Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley

France PI:
Nicolas Langlade
Sunflower Genetics and Genomics, NRAE-CNRS Laboratory of Plant-Microbe-Environment Interactions, Toulouse

Benjamin Blackman
Nicolas Langlade
Publication date: 
July 1, 2022
Publication type: 
Funded Project