Time & Stress

Time of Day and Salt Stress

In plants, the internal clock mediates most daily activities. External stimulation from light and temperature is the driving force behind the setting of the internal clock. The cyclic nature of light and temperatures is utilized to synchronize the circadian clock. This entrainment allows the plant to properly coordinate the clock with the environment. The internal clock, in turn, allows the plant to anticipate and adapt to changes in its environment. The circadian clock is highly conserved between plant species and the functional clock leads to a higher probability of survival and reproduction. Studies of the circadian clock in Arabidopsis thaliana indicate that the clock has an important role in mediating stress responses (Hammer 2009). Salt stress has detrimental effects on the yield of many crop species, including Oryza sativa (Zeng et al 2001). Understanding how the plant responds to salt shock at varying times of day will help us to improve crop production. With the world population rising to more than 10 billion by 2100, increasing crop yield will be central in keeping up with global food consumption. We are looking to dissect the clock related responses to abiotic stresses to Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa as they present themselves in variable conditions. In our experiments, we examine the influence of time on salt shock. By looking at downstream metabolic responses we can examine changes due to salt shock at different times of day.