Developing Sustainable Bioenergy Crops for Future Climates

24-27th September 2017

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Annals of Botany

Conference Programme

You can download a copy of the programme for the meeting.

Further contributions are invited through the call for abstracts tab.


Sunday 24th September – Afternoon session 1

Climate change, land availability and biomass potential, Chair: Iain Donnison

16:15 Welcome to the meeting, Gail Taylor, University of Southampton, UK
16:30 Raphael Slade, Imperial College London, UK
How policy makers learned to start worrying and fell out of love with bioenergy.
17:00 Peter Coleman, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK Government
Bioenergy: challenges for policy-makers relevant to crop development.
17:30 Astley Hastings, The University of Aberdeen, UK
Future biomass supply for low carbon European energy provision in a changing world.
18:00 Discussion

19:00 Welcome drinks reception followed by dinner, Oriel College


Monday 25th September – Morning session 2

Generating, capturing and utilising genetic variation, Chair: Michele Morgante

09:00 Jerry Tuskan, Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
Inter-Kingdom signalling – a Populus case study.
09:40 John Vogel, DoE Joint Genome Institute, USA
Brachypodium functional genomics: pan-genomics, polyploidy and a cast of mutants.
10:20 Silvio Salvi, University of Bologna, Italy
Mutagenesis and genomic analysis in Arundo donax.

10:40 Coffee break

11:00 Michele Morgante, IGA Technology Services, Italy
Targeting the gene space using genotyping-by-sequencing with single primer enrichment technology to identify the genetic basis of drought tolerance in bioenergy Populus nigra.
11:40 John Clifton-Brown, IBERS Aberystwyth University, UK
Towards expanding biomass availability for the European bio-economy: developments in breeding, agronomy and utilisation of the Asian C4 perennial grass Miscanthus.
12:00 Antoine Harfouche, University of Tuscia, Italy
De novo transcriptome assembly and comprehensive expression profiling in the bioenergy crop Arundo donax to gain insights into moderate drought stress response.
12:20 Discussion and wrap up

12:30 Lunch, Oriel College


Monday 25th September – Afternoon session 3

Ideotypes for yield in a changing climate – drought stress and beyond, Chair: Bill Davies

14:00 The Annals of Botany Lecture – Greg Rebetzke, CSIRO Canberra, Australia
Linking improved genetic and physiological understanding to deliver greater water productivity to commercial breeding programs.
14:40 Larry Smart, Cornell University, USA
Transcriptomic analysis of interspecific diploid and triploid willow hybrids.
15:20 Paul Robson, IBERS Aberystwyth University, UK
Water stress from phenomics to field: towards identifying a suitable ideotype for resilient yield in the bioenergy crop miscanthus.
15:40 Timothy Tschaplinski, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
The nature of the progression of drought stress drives differential metabolomic responses in Populus deltoides.

16:00 Tea break

16:30 Gail Taylor, University of California, Davis, USA and University of Southampton, UK
Plastic or adaptive? Linking genotype to phenotype to define an ideotype for drought tolerance in Populus nigra L.
16:50 Steve Hanley, Rothamsted Research, UK
Dissecting complex traits in Salix: progress in gene discovery.
17:10 Walter Zegada-Lizarazu, University of Bologna, Italy
Drought adaptation characteristics of a giant reed mutant.
17:30 Matthew Haworth, National Research Council CNR-IVALSA, Italy
Morphological and physiological comparison of Arundo donax ecotypes to drought stress in the field.
17:50 Discussion and wrap up

19:30 Dinner, Oriel College with after-dinner speaker
Charles Godfray, University of Oxford, ‘The food, energy, water dilemma’, Chair: Donal Murphy-Bokern


Tuesday 26th September – Morning session 4

Genetic and genomic approaches to biomass crop improvement, Chair: Rishi Bhalerao

09:00 The SweTree Lecture - Steve Long, University of Illinois, USA and Lancaster University, UK
Bioengineering improved photosynthetic efficiency to sustainably increase productivity in C3 and C4 bioenergy crops.
09:40 Malcom Bennett, University of Nottingham, UK
Designing Future Bioenergy crops: a key role for the hidden half?
10:20 Andrea Polle, University of Göttingen, Germany
Genomics and ecophysiology of poplar drought acclimation.

10:40 Coffee break

11:00 Wout Boerjan, Ghent University, Belgium
Engineering biomass crops for the biorefinery.
11:40 Magnus Hertzberg, SweTree Technologies, Sweden
Engineering of trees for improved yield including yield under drought conditions.
12:10 Rishi Bhalerao, Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden
Elucidating ABA signalling and its role in drought tolerance in perennial trees.
12:40 Discussion and wrap-up

13:00 Lunch, Oriel College


Tuesday 26th September – Afternoon session 5

Predictive modelling for yield – bringing genotype and phenotype together, Chair: Joost Keurentjes

14:00 Carl Bernacchi, University of Illinois, USA
Scaling growth, yield, and water use of mischanthus from the plot to the Midwestern United States.
14:40 Joost Keurentjes, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
The added value of natural variation in the elucidation of quantitative trait regulation.
15:20 Gancho Slavov, Rothamsted Research and IBERS Aberystwyth University, UK
Integrated genomic prediction in bioenergy crops.
15:50 Jaime Puertolas, Lancaster University, UK
Exploring variation in water relations responses to soil water deficits within a Populus nigra wide genome association population.

16:20 Tea break

16:45 Poster presentation session – authors are invited to describe their posters in a five minute summary followed by an open discussion with wine and nibbles, Chair: Donal Murphy-Bokern

19:30 Dinner at Oriel College with after-dinner speaker
Patricia Thornley, Manchester University ‘Future bioenergy research challenges’, Chair: Gail Taylor


Wednesday 27th September – session 5 continued.

09:00 Fred van Eeuwijk, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Multi-trait genotype-to-phenotype models for complex traits.
09:40 Goetz Richter, Rothamsted Research, UK
In silico exploration of genotype x environment x management effects for short rotation willow.
10:00 Caspar Donnison, University of Southampton, UK
Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) in the UK: Contrasting Land-use Scenarios and Implications for Natural Capital.
10:20 Discussion and wrap-up

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Meeting summary and synthesis
Donal Murphy-Bokern, Jerry Tuskan, Antoine Harfouche, and Gail Taylor

12:30 Lunch, Oriel College

A commercial-scale poplar plantation, Genome wide analyses, Miscanthus trials