Pampered inside, pestered outside? Ways to bridge the gap between lab and field experiments

by Hendrik Poorter

watch the recorded webinar online


Plants grown under controlled conditions (growth chamber, glasshouse) may not necessarily be phenotypically similar to those growing in the field. In this webinar I will discuss 6 issues.

1. How similar/different are plants from lab and field in a range of traits?

2. What are the environmental conditions applied in lab and field, with special emphasis on the photo-thermal ratio (daily amount of light / temperature).

3. The consequences this has for a plant's physiology.

4. What is the effect of plant density (which is much higher in the field) on individual plant performance?

5. To what extent are lab and field measurements correlated?

6. Ways to improve the lab-field correlation.


- Poorter et al. (2016) Pampered inside, pestered outside? Differences and similarities between plants growing in controlled conditions and in the field. New Phytol. 212: 838.

- Poorter et al. (2012a) The art of growing plants for experimental purposes: a practical guide for the plant biologist. Funct. Plant Biol. 39: 821.

- Poorter et al. (2012b) Pot size matters: a meta-analysis of the effects of rooting volume on plant growth. Funct. Plant Biol. 39. 839.



Hendrik is a plant ecophysiologist who has worked on the effects of CO2 and light on photosynthesis and plant growth. He also studied the reasons why fast-growing species grow faster than slow-growing ones. Since 8 years he is employed by the Forschungszentrum Jülich, working on MetaPhenomics: establishing dose-response curves for a wide range of phenotypic traits and environmental factors by means of meta-analyses.