Farmers are facing new challenges in the age of global change. Drought is a major stressor for crops in Indiana and other regions of the U.S. and is forcing farmers to face the question: to irrigate or not to irrigate? Irrigation equipment is incredibly expensive, but is often the best quick solution to water crops and guarantee their survival during the growing season. Research in the Lau lab may be able to provide some answers about the effects of irrigation on plant survival under drought stress and how microbes may be another important player in this story.
Dr. Jen Lau is an associate professor in the Department of Biology and a recent hire at IU as part of the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI). The ERI, an institute established by the Grand Challenge proposal “Preparing for Environmental Change”, is working to incorporate integrative, cross-field research and strategies to prepare Indiana for environmental change. Lau was a great fit for the institute: her lab focuses on questions related to evolutionary and community ecology, with a specific emphasis on plant fitness in the face of climate change.