Floods have a severe impact on plant performance. In general, crops are flood intolerant and are at an increased risk to flooding events due to global climate change. Given that the human population is expected to increase to approximately 9 billion people by 2050, the need for increased agricultural productivity is self-evident, and this will require a better mechanistic understanding of the interaction between plants and abiotic stresses such as flooding.
In a new article published in AoB PLANTS, Voesenek et al. argue that, in seeking this understanding, we should not restrict research to model species such as rice (Oryza sativa) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), as wild plants from flood-prone environments have evolved in frequently flooded environments and therefore possess unique traits that facilitate growth and reproduction during and after flooding stress. Flooding research with these non-model wild plants might help us to identify novel adaptive traits that can be applied to improve flooding tolerance of crops.