Stuart Casson's Lab Group
The Casson Lab Group is interested in understanding the mechanisms that regulate plant development and in particular, how environmental signals regulate core developmental pathways. For this purpose we use stomatal development as a model.
Stomata can regulate plant gas exchange through short term changes in stomatal aperture. However, our research is focused on a longer term mechanism whereby plants adapt to changes in their environment by regulating their stomatal development, resulting in new leaves with altered stomatal numbers. Light and CO2 are particularly important in regulating these changes in stomatal development and we are beginning to identify the key components that regulate stomatal development in response to these signals. Understanding how these environmental signals interact to regulate stomatal development is vital if we are to accurately model plant water use and performance in a changing environment
Stomata are microscopic pores on the surface of leaves that regulate gas exchange between the plants and their environment, allowing the uptake of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis whilst restricting water loss. This ability to control their gas exchange has allowed plants to colonise a number of environments and was arguably a crucial evolutionary step in the colonization of the land by higher plants.
Plants open and close stomata in response to environmental signals
The video below show this in action