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Soil Science Society of America
5585 Guilford Road • Madison, WI 53711-5801 • 608-273-8080 • Fax 608-273-2021
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Contact: Susan V. Fisk, Public Relations Director, 608-273-8091,

Helping plants adapt to climate change

High throughput phenotyping’s speed helpful to scientists

Media Invitation
Contact: Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, Please RSVP by October 10, 2017.          

Sept. 11, 2017—In climate change scenarios, abiotic stresses, such as drought and heat stress, become intensified, leading to severe crop loss. Selection of stress-tolerant germplasm is essential for adaptation to climate changes. Understanding physiological traits, and identifying them quickly with high throughput phenotyping, will help select crop genes that can best adapt to stressful environments.

The “Physiological Traits for High Throughput Phenotyping of Abiotic Stress Tolerance” symposium planned at the Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Monday, October 23, 2017, at 1:30 PM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Speakers include Maria Salas-Fernandez, Iowa State University. She will review opportunities for phenotyping to control leaf angles and photosynthesis rates of plants. “Yield is determined by a plant’s capacity to capture light energy in the form of photosynthesis,” says Salas-Fernandez. “It is now recognized that the necessary yield gains to meet global food demands will come from manipulating the photosynthetic capability of plant species.”

Roots are important components for crops to meet global food demands, too. Christopher Topp, a researcher with the Danforth Plant Science Center, will present various imaging tools used in studying roots, along with quantitative genetics and molecular biology. “We aim to understand the relationships among root traits that can be effectively measured in both laboratory and field environments,” says Topp. “Our hope is to identify genes and gene networks that control roots. The ultimate goal is improving whole plant architectural features useful for crop improvement.”

For more information about the 2017 meeting, visit Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 10, 2017 is required. Visit for registration information. For information about the “Physiological Traits for High Throughput Phenotyping of Abiotic Stress Tolerance” symposium, visit

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, to arrange an interview. 

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. Founded in 1936, SSSA proudly celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit or follow @SSSA_soils on Twitter.