Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Dennis Konnerup

Assistant Professor, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark and University of Western Australia, Australia. 

During his AIAS-COFUND fellowship Assistant Professor Dennis Konnerup will be working on the project "Surviving saline floods – salinity and submergence tolerance of wild rice".


Project description

Climate changes have resulted in rising sea levels, which in turn cause more saline water in some rivers and wetland habitats. This phenomenon can result in terrestrial plants and crops becoming temporarily submerged which now occurs more frequently. Some plants, e.g. rice and floating sweet-grass possess hydrophobic leaves that retain a thin layer of air when submerged. This air layer is called a gas film, and the aim of the project is to elucidate how this mechanism enhances oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange with the floodwater under different floodwater conditions. Furthermore, the gas film may also form a protecting barrier towards the harmful ions in saline floods preventing direct contact of the floodwater with the tissue. As model plants, I will use species of wild rice as these possess higher genetic diversity compared to cultivated rice. Submergence experiments will be conducted to assess how the species differ in their ability to retain gas films under water, and studies with microelectrodes will be used to examine how the internal aeration of the plants depends on the gas film retention time.

Short bio

Dennis Konnerup is a plant physiologist specialising in plant adaptions to flooding and submergence. His research is focused on photosynthesis under water and internal transport of gasses in plants in addition to treatment of wastewater using plants. Dennis received his PhD from Aarhus University in 2010 and has since held different postdoctoral fellowships, most of the time at the University of Western Australia.

Project title:

Surviving saline floods – salinity and submergence tolerance of wild rice

Area of research:

Plant Physiology

Fellowship period:

01 Feb 2018 – 31 Jul 2020

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

Contact information on Dennis Konnerup

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) photograph of the surface of a leaf from floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans). The leaf has grooves, papillae and wax crystals, which all contribute to its super-hydrophobicity. Photo: Dennis Konnerup