Due to climate change, variations in soil, air temperature, and rainfall have negatively impacted crop productions and their ability to reach maturity and peak harvests. The increasing frequency of severe storms and intense flooding accelerate erosion, removing the nutrient-rich topsoil necessary for food production.
Climate models show Canada’s agricultural regions will likely see drier summers, as well as increased winter and spring precipitation. This means farmers may have to deal with too much water during the seeding season and too little water during the growing season, preventing healthy crop production. Current research at TAU is underway to find solutions for newer models of agriculture and sustainability.
Soil contamination has become a key ecological issue, threatening the wellbeing of the environment and humans health. Dr. Michal Gruntman, a TAU researcher, is working on the use of plants to clean up polluted soils, while also targeting plants that have a negative impact on the environment.
As a senior lecturer at the Porter School’s Department of Environmental Studies and the School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, Dr. Gruntman recognizes soil as a finite, irreplaceable resource neglected at our peril. She is studying the unique ability of certain plant species to accumulate high concentrations of heavy metals in their above-ground tissues, and the way these plants can be used for the cleanup of heavy-metal contaminated soil.
Her research focuses on the application of a natural plant hormone as a way to enhance metal uptake in sunflowers, which can have major implications on the optimization of natural clean-up practices of certain plants. At the same time, Michal has become an expert on the ecology of invasive plants, which contribute to biodiversity losses.
Researchers like Dr. Gruntman are central to what TAU is all about.
This is why they need your support.