Focused Review: A role for ecophysiology in the ’omics’ era (Plant J.)

Ecophysiology is the study of plant functioning as modulated by the environment (or, as described by one author, “outdoors physiology“). Flexas and Gago ask whether research (and training) in  ecophysiology has been left behind somewhat by successes in -omics approaches, and from a Web of Science query they conclude that ecophysiology research has been negatively affected by the rise in -omics. The authors provide two examples where ecophysiological and -omics strategies have come to opposite conclusions, and call for a greater intergration of the two approaches. They suggest that researchers could use more realistic growth conditions as starting points for -omics studies, and also collect ecophysiological measurements alongside -omics data. They also argue for the incorporation of more diverse plants into -omics studies, especially plants adapted to extreme environments that really challenge physiological systems. The authors conclude by highlighting the need “to integrate the new disciplines with pre‐existing ecophysiology theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to maximize the understanding of plants from a multidisciplinary approach,” and for “both communities to make steps to approach each other and collaborate.” (Summary by Mary Williams)  Plant J. 10.1111/tpj.14059