Meet the SIG! Plant Environmental Physiology Group

Functional Ecology supports the British Ecology Society’s Special Interest Groups, volunteer groups that provide a focus of activity in specific areas of ecology. In this post, we’re introducing our readers to the Plant Environmental Physiology Group. Find out what they do, how you can get in involved and where to find them at this year’s British Ecological Society Annual Meeting

PEPG banner

What is the Plant Environmental Physiology Group?

The Plant Environmental Physiology Group (PEPG) is the only joint British Ecological Society and Society of Experimental Biology Special Interest Group. Our goal is to integrate leaf and plant- level responses to biotic and abiotic stress under field and laboratory conditions, with increasing focus on setting molecular physiology in an ecological context and providing a basis for scaling responses from root and shoot level to canopy, ecosystem and region, especially in the context of climate change, both for crops and natural vegetation. For example, this recent paper in Functional Ecology by Jamie Males and Howard Griffiths which explores drought resistance traits in Bromeliads, or another exploring species distribution in Hawaiian forests by Medeiros and colleagues. As you can see just from these examples, the interests of our group encompasses the study of short-term acclimation through to the long-term adaptation of plants to changing environmental conditions.

As a SIG, our main goals are:

  • to advance and promote the science and practice of plant environmental physiology
  • to integrate the plant environmental physiology community and research opportunities within and outside the BES and SEB
  • to support, train and liaise with young plant environmental physiologists.

To achieve these goals, we organise a variety of events throughout the year, like the recent Plant Physiology Field Techniques workshop in Lisbon (read more about this in the BES Membership magazine!) and host an email discussion list, sharing research information, discussion and requests, news of future meetings and job advertisements.

One of our regular events is our annual symposium which gives Early Career Researchers opportunities to showcase their research and establish a network of peers. Read a personal account from our 2017 Early Career Researcher Symposium in Snowdonia here.

You can get involved with PEPG by contacting  our communications secretary, Scott Davidson (, to be added to the email list serve, and  follow us on Twitter @PEPG_SIG and Facebook.


PEPG at the BES annual meeting

PEPG will be at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting in Birmingham 16 – 19 December. This year we’re focusing on developing our networking skills so we’ll be hosting a fully interactive evening (open to all) on Monday 17 September at 19:30 at Brasshouse (44 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2HP), a short walk from the conference center where we’ll learn about, and put into practice, some key networking skills to help you get the most out of the Annual Meeting. We’ll start with a short, informal, discussion of what networking is, why it’s so important and give some examples of good (and bad!) strategies before moving on to a “speed networking” session. We’ll be providing some drinks and nibbles to help conversation flow before getting down to the serious business of our PEPG quiz! Look out for us at the welcome mixer for more details.


Annual Early Career Researcher Symposium 2019

PEPG - EDENWe’re already looking forward to the 2019 PEPG ECR Symposium which this year will be held at The Eden Project in Cornwall between 13th – 16th May. Not only will we be exploring Eden’s global gardens with behind the scenes tours, but we also have a fantastic line up of keynote talks for you by Dr Rachel Warmington (Head of Plant Pathology at Eden) and Professor Lawren Sack (University of California, Los Angeles). We’ll also be holding a careers session, networking and Delegates will have the chance to showcase their own research and compete for Functional Ecology-sponsored awards by presenting talks and posters – we can’t wait!

This event is already sold out but please email Katie Field to be added to the waiting list.





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