AoB PLANTS is pleased to announce the publication of a Special Issue examining the roles that can be played by halophytes, extremophiles that tolerate salinities toxic to most plants. It is expected that climate change will bring about rising sea levels and increasing drought, both of which will contribute to increasing salinisation in many regions of the world. There will be consequent effects on our crops, which cannot withstand significant salinisation. Papers in this special issue deal with topics ranging from the effects of rising concentrations of CO2 and flooding on coastal vegetation to the different effects of chlorides and sulphates on the growth of halophytes, the ability of some parasitic plants to develop succulence when growing on halophytic hosts and the interesting finding that halophytes growing in their natural habitat do not show signs of oxidative stress. The importance of identifying genotypes and selecting those best suited for the product required, and optimising the conditions necessary for germination and maximising yield, is also discussed. The consequence of selection for agronomic traits on salt tolerance is evaluated, as is the use of halophytes as green manures. Halophytes are remarkable plants: they are rare in relation to the total number of flowering plants and they tolerate salinities that most species cannot. The papers published in this Special Issue demonstrate that research into halophytes has a distinct place in aiding our understanding of salt tolerance in plants, an understanding that is likely to be of importance as climate change and population growth combine to challenge our ability to feed the human population of the world.
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