Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology

Alexander Bucksch leads Atlanta Science tavern evening on roots and supercomputers

Posted by jsweitz

Alexander Bucksch, Research Scientist in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech was the featured presenter on "Using digital images and supercomputers to help create drought-resistant crops" at the Atlanta Science Tavern meetup on July 25, 2015. Here is Dr. Bucksch's blurb:

"As a consequence of climate change, regions of low soil fertility are expanding, creating a need for the development of stress tolerant food crops to meet the increasing global demand for agricultural products.

A key to addressing this problem is understanding the link between how the shapes of plant organs, such as their roots, in vary in different environmental conditions and the genes responsible for these variations.

Working at the Weitz Lab at Georgia Tech together with field experimentalists from the Roots Lab at Penn State, I have developed mathematical descriptions for root systems that are based on thousands of digital images from plants grown in real soil. By identifying root shape features that are under genetic control, it now becomes possible to breed plants that thrive in what would otherwise be limiting soil conditions.

Our research has produced web-based tools that give us insight into improvable root shape features from digital images. In addition, these tools, running on supercomputing platforms, are available for use by non-experts around the world."

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