Docent Matthew Robson is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow employed at the University of Helsinki. His research focuses on the signals that plants receive and process and the consequences of these responses for the environment. He monitors the full solar spectrum in different forest stands through the year and uses this data on changing spectral composition to examine the response of understorey plants and tree seedlings to selected candidate light signals in field and greenhouse experiments.
An ongoing research project simulates conditions in forest understoreies in a greenhouse and examines how plants response to differences in the light they perceive. Varying amounts of blue light, and red to far-red ratio (R:FR), in Valoya LED lights are coupled with UV-B radiation. These varying light environments are used to study responses in strawberries, more specifically responses between mother plants and their daughter ramets. Light-induced signalling is examined by keeping the interconnected mother-daughter in different light conditions, e.g. the mother plant under Valoya light + UV-B tubes and the ramet under Valoya light without UV-B radiation. Plant hormones and other signalling chemicals are then measured and analyzed by an expert in biophysics and biochemistry, PhD student Jakub Nezval from University of Ostrava, Czech Republic.