Evolution of salt tolerance in plants

A biodiversity-based approach, using analysis of large-scale molecular phylogenies to understand adaptation to challenging environments

Salinity is an ever-increasing problem in agriculture, but attempts to produce salt tolerant crop plants have had limited success. This is surprising given that there are thousands of naturally salt tolerant plants which employ a variety of different mechanisms for salt resistance. This project will build a database combining DNA sequences with physiological and ecological traits in order to identify the number of independent origins of salt tolerance in angiopsperms and will examine whether there are any common paths to evolving this complex physiological trait.


This project is supported by an ARC Linkage Grant (LP100100143: Evolution of halophytes: a phyloinformatic approach to understanding and exploiting the traits underlying salt-tolerance in plants. Collaborators: Bromham, Cantrill, Murphy, Flowers, Dillon, Crayn).