Stress physiology and the distribution of plants

Document Type



In plant physiological ecology, as in many other subdisciplines of biology, the term stress has general connotations rather than a precise definition. By defining stress as any factor that decreases plant growth and reproduction below the genotype's potential, we make the term measurable and thus meaningful to ecology and agriculture. Most plants undergo some form of stress during the various stages of their life cycle. Nearly every perturbation of a plant community or ecosystem results in stress and so affects the performance and survival of individual plants. Although we understand fairly well some of the cellular mechanisms of stress physiology, in order to predict their ecological impact we need to understand the temporal and spatial variation of a particular stress, genetic variation in stress responses, the plants' potential to acclimate to stress, and stress-actor interactions.


Plant Biology