This research theme focuses on the adaptations of plants to the abiotic and biotic environment. Genotypic and phenotypic adaptions are of essential importance for plants as sessile organisms that cannot easily escape stress factors. The groups currently working in this focus cover plant adaptation biology from the level of molecules and genes to whole-plant physiology and ecology. The center of interest of several groups are the sensory capabilities of plants (phytosensorics) including membrane-dependent steps from the signal receptor and ion channel complex to electrical and chemical signal transmission. Among the chemical mediators, lipid-derived signals are analyzed on a molecular and functional level also in the framework of a Research Training Group (GRK 1342). The transcriptional control and re-programming of guard cell action and plant metabolism in response to stress are further research topics. The (eco)physiology of plant adaptation to water stress, especially the control of stomatal and cuticular transpiration is studied from the molecular to the field level. A further major task is to understand the interactions of plants with phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria. Applied subjects are the optimization of plant protection agents and the postharvest biology of fruit crops.