More versatile and efficient crop production systems require an in-depth understanding of dynamic plant growth processes. Custom-made time-lapse imaging procedures acting at different spatial and temporal scales are core elements of the toolbox of our interdisciplinary team. In climate chambers, greenhouses and field sites, we apply e.g. visual, near-infrared and thermal imaging to quantify shoot and root architecture, dynamic and short-term growth processes as well as photosynthesis, gas exchange and compound composition of major and alternative crops alike.
These ‘phenotyping’ analyses, in concert with a range of approaches from plant ecophysiology, breeding and molecular analysis, will help elucidating plant genotypes and crop production systems that are optimized to regionally differing ecological niches. Moreover, they will facilitate an improved understanding of basic rules governing plant-environment-management interactions. This in turn is a necessary prerequisite to ameliorate the knowledge transfer between lab and field as well as between plant biology and agricultural sciences.
Teaching efforts of our group comprise excursions and courses on agronomy, plant breeding and phenotyping. We prepare our students for a wide range of future professional activities within and outside Switzerland by immersing them into our research activities and by introducing them to important partners of the Swiss Agricultural Landscape and of the World Food System.
We are collaborating closely with the SNSF Professorship for Forage Crop Genetics of Prof. Bruno Studer.