During the 3rd week of October at the University of Helsinki we ran an international course which considered how plant responses to light are mediated by environmental factors and the implications of climate change for plants’ capacity to adjust to their light environment. The course, organised on behalf of the Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences (DPPS), was attended by 13 visiting teachers and PhD students from all around Europe, in addition to the local participants from the University of Helsinki.
With the objective of understanding how plants scale their responses across levels of organisation, and respond to light over the appropriate time-scale for their environment, there were plenty of opportunities for students and teachers to develop inter-disciplinary knowledge and collaborations during the course.
We started the week considering photoreceptors and cell-cell signalling, and gradually scaled-up to look at the photosystem and chloroplast responses, physiological and biochemical mechanisms of photoprotection, the use of light in the timing of growth and flowering, and finally, plant traits, ecological and ecosystem levels. A breadth of expertise was provided by an outstanding team of research leaders both from Helsinki and around Europe, giving really engaging lectures and stimulating discussions among the group.
The international participants rounded off the week with a visit to Lammi Biological Station to experience the Finnish forest, lake and hospitality!