Understanding of how plants function, grow and develop, and complete their life cycles, has been of fundamental scientific interest for centuries. Today, basic research covers many scales that integrate physiology and ecology, from molecules to cells through to whole plants and vegetation. Important applications are to be found in areas such as agriculture, conservation and climate change.
The Institute of Plant Sciences carries out research in Molecular Plant Physiology, Chemical Ecology, Plant Ecology, and Palaeoecology. It contributes to the teaching programs in BSc Biology and to several MSc courses
The IPS has strong links to the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the Institute of Cell Biology, the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, and is a member of the Swiss Plant Science Web and the European Plant Science Organisation. The IPS is partner for biodiversity and ecosystems of the Wyss Academy for Nature
Plant secondary metabolites often have multiple functions, but how these functions interact to determine plant-environment interactions is not well understood. This study demonstrates that the protective effects of multifunctional maize secondary metabolites against a major pest are fully dependent on soil chemical composition. The presented findings link soil processes to leaf-defenses and illustrate the limits of using multifunctional plant secondary metabolites to combat major herbivore pests.
The climate crisis and the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and by biodiversity loss must be tackled together. Many countries are working on strategies to implement the Paris Agreement. At the climate conference in Glasgow, therefore, it will be imperative to reconcile short- and long-term goals and measures. In this context, the WBGU, of which Markus Fischer is a member, has issued a policy paper.
Globally leading biodiversity and climate experts, including Markus Fischer, participated in a four-day virtual workshop to explore the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation. They produced a widely recognised workshop report which is published on the linked website.
An election as EMBO member recognizes a scientist’s research excellence and outstanding achievements in the life sciences. Congratulations to Cris Kuhlemeier!
The "Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships", has been awarded to Adriana M. Jeckel. It is awarded annually by the European Commission and gives experienced researchers the opportunity to enrich their scientific career with a stay abroad. Adriana's project is investigating the Biological Impact of Benzoxazinoid Metabolization by a Specialist Root Herbivore (BISEM).
Instead of completing the plant physiology practical course classically at the lab bench, the students were given the task of escaping from the Botanic Garden's greenhouses by solving tasks on the plant's defence against biotic stress.
We are starting a global research network with the aim to better understand the impact of invertebrate herbivores and pathogenic fungi on plant communities! Interested to collaborate? http://bug-net.org
The Theodor Kocher Prize 2020 of the University of Bern was awarded to Dr. Christelle Robert in recognition of her groundbreaking work on the importance of natural chemicals in biological interactions. In particular, her work is revolutionizing the understanding of the highly complex chemical interactions between plants, soil pests and beneficial organisms.
The Faculty of Science of the University of Bern confers the degree of Doctor philosophiae honoris causa on Jacqueline F. N. van Leeuwen, Hattem, NL. Jacqueline van Leeuwen was a laboratory assistant at the University of Bern from 1991-2017. In the first 10 years at the Institute of Geobotany, Department of Biology, later until her retirement at the newly founded Institute of Plant Sciences, Department of Biology and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern.
In German, start at 20.41 min: It is well known that overfertilisation of a meadow leads to loss of species. Nitrogen reduces biodiversity. A few fast-growing plants benefit and overgrow the rest. The extent to which nitrogen fertilisation damages this ecosystem is being researched by an international team of ecologists in Bern.
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