Plants under attack, retaliating with chemicals and recruiting personal bodyguards will be among research topics discussed next week (25-30 September) at an international conference of world leaders in plant and soil biology hosted by The University of Western Australia at the Burswood Convention Centre.
The Rhizosphere 3 international conference is a forum to exchange innovative ideas and methods to study what lies just beneath the earth's surface at the interface of roots and soil, understand its complexity and consider how to better evaluate its ultimate role in ecosystem processes.
More than 300 local and international scientists will present their latest findings to help unlock the secrets to plant health, ecosystem responses to climate change and water quality.
Researchers will discuss how plants respond to attack by other plants and animals by launching subtle chemical counter-attacks or attract bodyguards to defeat their assailants. Understanding these mechanisms allows us to breed or select for crop plants that are much better defended and require less pesticides.
Other topics include: soil biology and how friendly microbes enhance the performance of plants when nutrients are scarce or when diseases are lurking; crop plants and how we can manage their nutrition better or more sustainably; challenges associated with plants used to restore mine sites; plants used to clean up polluted soil; and responses of plant-soil interactions to climate.
This conference follows the highly successful 2007 Rhizosphere 2 Conference held in Montpellier, France, attended by more than 570 participants from 48 countries.
Head of the UWA School of Plant Biology, Winthrop Professor Hans Lambers, said he hoped next week's Perth conference will build stronger links between international plant and soil biologists.
What: Rhizosphere 3 International Conference
When: Sunday 25 - Friday 30 September
Where: Burswood Convention Centre.