University of Florida plant molecular biologists Anna-Lisa Paul and Robert Ferl have been studying plants in space for more than 20 years and have conducted multiple investigations on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. By studying plant structure and behavior in space, researchers can better understand plant processes back on the ground. This Thursday, Paul and Ferl will be answering questions about space-based plant research in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session.
Reddit Ask Me Anything: Plants in Space
When: Thursday, February 13, 2020
Time: 5-7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
How to join: Go to www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/ at the time of the event.
Paul and Ferl’s ISS National Lab research is aimed at studying the role that gravity plays in root development and how roots orient themselves downward. The ISS provides a valuable platform for plant research because scientists can study fundamental plant processes in an environment free from the masking effects of gravity. Information gained from such studies could help scientists better understand how plants develop and could lead to advancements in agricultural and commercial applications back on the ground. By conducting plant studies on the ISS, scientists can also evaluate how plants respond to the stressful conditions of microgravity, which could shed light on ways to improve plant growth in harsh environments on Earth.
“Taking gravity out of the equation gives us insight into the inherent mechanisms of how plants work. And the better you understand that, the better equipped you are to design experiments on Earth to build better crops and expand productivity—in addition to being able to take plants with us when we leave Earth’s orbit for extended missions or colonies on Mars.” – Anna-Lisa Paul, University of Florida
Learn more about Paul and Ferl’s ISS National Lab research in the Upward feature “Staying True to Your Roots: Plants on the ISS.”