Can we or should we design plants for extreme weather conditions? Can we afford not to?
The diversity of leaf shapes, sizes and structures allows plants to adapt to nearly every environment. The precise molecular switches that control this process are being discovered. Research on plant morphology is putting together the genetic blueprint that controls plant structure and shape. The findings could be the first steps to a new generation of plants that are more resilient to unpredictable weather patterns, meet the challenges of the global demand for food and even influence the climate.
Urpflanze features hypothetical plant archetypes with specific features that enable them to adjust to living conditions in the future, such as extreme drought, floods and increasingly higher CO2 levels. The illustrations are based upon and inspired by plant morphology research from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield.
The project attempts to give a brief overview of current research, questions whether we can or should design specific adaptations for a rapidly changing environment, and where can we draw parallels applicable to us.
Urpflanze original idea by Susana Soares; Designer and project coordinator: Susana Soares; Animations and interactive design: Monica Santos; Webmaster: Dante Marinho;
Collaborators: Professor Andrew Fleming, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences—Science advisor; Acknowledgments: Science Gallery Dublin and Strange Weather curators CoClimate