Has it been sustainably produced?
Could it be more tasty and nutritious?
What do you eat?
Plants for life
Are you ready for biotechnological manipulation?
Do you have food safety concerns related to pesticide or fertilizer use?
Can science help crops adapt to climate change?
Is new science being communicated effectively to whom it most matters?
I'm Cris. I am not sure if I truly love science or if I simply have really high expectations for the impact it can have on people's lives.
I have worked in plant science research for over 10 years but my true passion is science communication. Alongside laboratory-research, I have participated in international development projects as a science writer, editor and proofreader.
I am the daughter of a hops farmer and hold a degree in Agronomic Engineering. Crop and soil management were always areas of choice. During my MSc, I became familiar with sustainable agriculture and conservation of plant genetic resources. During my PhD, I was introduced to molecular techniques to measure natural diversity. I used this knowledge to propose ecosystem management strategies that optimized economic viability while conserving agro-functional biodiversity. During the last few years, I have been part of a research group that studies a protein degradation pathway, the N-end rule pathway, which mediates plant response to environmental stress.
Feeding the world
Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystem Management
In this section of my blog, I take a critical view on recently published or freshly implemented strategies to increase agricultural production and minimise land degradation or genetic erosion. These strategies will be discussed regarding their economic, social and ecological sustainability.
How can we establish a fertilisation plan to address soil restoration and increase production in the long-term?
How can multiple-uses increase farm profitability while helping to maintain species and habitat diversity?
How to set up a sustainable irrigation plan?
How can we use integrated production to mitigate climate change?
Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources and Functional Agrodiversity
Here, I explore recent strategies to measure gene diversity in natural populations or man-made ecosystems. I will discuss the effect of land use on the measures of diversity.
How is diversity measured at the ecosystem and at the species levels? What does it tell us in terms of species or ecosystem conservation needs?
How can priorities for conservation be established?
How does functional agrobiodiversity work? Examples.
How is climate change likely to affect current decision-making in terms of plant and ecosystem conservation?
Plant Breeding for higher nutritional value, better yield and increase tolerance to environmental stress
In this section, I discuss current molecular breeding aims such as the generation of crop varieties with higher efficiency in water and fertilizer use, increased tolerance to environmental stress and, ultimately, improved yield and quality (nutritional value and other traits).
How can GMOs and other molecular breeding techniques help towards increased agricultural production and more sustainable cropping systems? Examples.
How should the use GMOs be regulated so that the benefits of GMO technology are fairly distributed?
How can we use traditional varieties and crop wild relatives to reintroduce traits of interest in the current commercial varieties?
How can we create crops more resilient to environmental stress? How would that help to mitigate the effects of climate change?
Bringing science to the table
I have been involved in International Development Science Outreach projects in African Subsaharan countries. These projects were coordinated by the AFRICA SOIL HEALTH CONSORTIUM and CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biology International) and supported by the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation.
My role in these projects was to prepare or edit outreaching materials to be distributed to rural extensionists and farmers in local seminars and workshops.
In this section, I will discuss examples of successful outreaching projects, the ones that were shown to have a significant impact on people's livelihoods.
How can outreaching activities help sustain the research environment?
Examples of implementation of outreaching and engagement plans aimed at different target audiences.