Dr Mark Else

Dr Mark Else
Head of Department
Department:Crop Science and Production Systems
Tel:+44 (0)1732 843833
DD:+44 (0)1732 523730
Fax:+44 (0)1732 849067

Research Interests

Hormonal Environmental Physiologist

My research focuses on understanding and manipulating crop and environmental interactions to deliver improved resource use efficiency, marketable yields and quality of fresh produce.


Understanding how crops tolerate and communicate root zone stress is fundamental to improving crop productivity in sub-optimal environments. New water- and fertiliser-saving irrigation strategies, derived from a detailed understanding of plant response to soil water stress, are being developed for the soft fruit and tree fruit industries. Enhancing yield and quality attributes such as flavour volatiles, bioactive content and shelf-life potential using novel deficit irrigation techniques is a key component of this work. The role of stress-induced changes in ethylene production in the regulation of berry phytonutrient concentrations, and how this relationship might be manipulated using ‘beneficial stresses’ is being investigated. The potential to use stress preconditioning to improve crop resilience to abiotic and biotic stresses is also being tested.


A major focus of my research is the development and integration of precision irrigation and fertigation systems into commercial production to help improve on-farm resource use efficiency, productivity and consistency of produce quality. In tandem, innovative imaging systems are being developed to ease the integration of these low-input approaches into commercial practice, so that consistency of cropping, plant performance, and crop responses to abiotic and biotic stresses can be monitored and measured in real time to inform and improve on-farm decision making.


Selected Publications

  • Gregory, P.J., Atkinson, C.J., Bengough, A.G., Else, M.A., Fernández-Fernández, F., Harrison, R.J. and Schmidt, S. (2013). Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production J Exp Bot. 64. 1209-1222.
  • Xu, X-M., Robinson, J.D., Else, M.A. (2013). Effects of nitrogen input and deficit irrigation within the commercial acceptable range on susceptibility of strawberry leaves to powdery mildew.  European Journal of Plant Pathology. DOI: 10.1007/s10658-012-0106-2.
  • Surbanovski, N., Sargent, D.J., Else, M.A., Simpson, D.W., Zhang, H., Grant, O.M. (2013). Expression of Fragaria vesca PIP aquaporins in response to drought stress: PIP down-regulation correlates with the decline in substrate moisture content.  PLOS One 8. e74945.
  • Atkinson C.J., Else M.A. (2012). Hydraulic conductivity and PAT determine hierarchical resource partitioning and ramet development along Fragaria stolons. Journal of Experimental Botany 63. 5093-5104.
  • Else M.A., Atkinson C.J. (2010). Climate change impacts on UK top and soft fruit production.  Outlook on Agriculture 39. 257-262.
  • Sharp, R.G. Else, M.A., Davies, W.J., Cameron, R.W. (2010). Gibberellin-mediated suppression of floral initiation in the long-day plant Rhododendron cv. Hatsugiri.  Scientia Horticulturae 124. 231-238.
  • Sharp, R.G. Else, M.A., Cameron, R.W. Davies, W.J. (2009). Water deficits promote flowering in Rhododendron via regulation of pre and post initiation development.  Scientia Horticulturae 120. 511-517.
  • Else, M.A., Janowiak, F., Atkinson, C.J., Jackson, M.B. (2009). Root signals and stomatal closure in relation to photosynthesis, chlorophyll a fluorescence and adventitious rooting of flooded tomato plants.  Annals of Botany 103. 313-323.
  • Cameron R., Harrison-Murray, R., Fordham, M., Wilkinson, S., Davies W., Atkinson C.J., Else, M.A. (2008). Regulated irrigation of woody ornamentals to improve plant quality and pre-condition against drought stress.  Annals of Applied Biology 153. 49-61 .
  • Dodds, P.A.A., Taylor, J.M., Else, M.A., Atkinson, C.J., Davies, W.J. (2007). Partial rootzone drying increases antioxidant activity in strawberries. Acta Horticulturae 744. 295-302.
  • Else MA, Taylor JM, Atkinson CJ . (2006). Anti-transpirant activity in xylem sap from flooded tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants is not due to pH-mediated redistributions of root- or shoot-sourced ABA.  Journal of Experimental Botany 57, . 3349-3357..
  • Blanusa, T., Else, M.A., Davies, W.J., Atkinson, C.J. (2006). Regulation of sweet cherry fruit abscission: the role of photoassimilation, sugars and abscisic acid.  Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 81. 613-620.
  • Colgan, R., Stow, J., Marchese, A., Nidzovic, S., Else, M.A. (2006). Storage quality of low ethylene producing apples.  Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research 14. 85-92.
  • Blanusa, T., Else, M.A. Atkinson, C.J. & Davies, W.J. (2005). The regulation of sweet cherry fruit abscission by polar auxin transport.  Plant Growth Regulation, 45. 189-198.
  • Else MA, Stankiewicz-Davies AP, Crisp CM, Atkinson CJ. . (2004). The role of polar auxin transport through pedicels of Prunus avium in relation to fruit development and retention. Journal of Experimental Botany 55, . 2099-2109..
  • Jackson, M. B.; Janowiak, F.; Else, M. A. (2004). Root to shoot communication and the suppression of foliar dehydration in flooded plants.  Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 26. 190-190.
  • Atkinson, C.J., Else, M.A., Taylor, L. & Dover, C. J. . (2003). Root and stem hydraulic conductivity as determinants of growth potential in grafted trees of apple (Malus pumila Mill.).  Journal of Experimental Botany, 54, . 1221-1229..
  • Jackson, M.B., Saker, L.R., Crisp, C.M., Else, M.A & Janowiak, F. (2003). Ionic signalling from roots to shoots of flooded tomato plants in relation to stomatal closure.  Plant and Soil, 253, 1. 103-113.
  • Atkinson, C.J., Else, M.A., Stankiewicz, A.P. & Webster, A.D. (2002). The effects of phloem girdling on the abscission of Prunus avium L. fruits. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 77. 22-27.
  • Else, M.A., Coupland, D., Dutton, L. & Jackson, M.B. (2001). Decreased root hydraulic conductivity reduces leaf water potential, initiates stomatal closure and slows leaf expansion in flooded plants of castor oil (Ricinus communis) despite diminished delivery of ABA from the roots to shoots in xylem sap.  Physiologia Plantarum, 111. 46-54.
  • Sharp, R.E., Lenoble, M.E., Else, M.A., Thorne, E.T. & Gherardi, F. (2000). Endogenous ABA maintains shoot growth in tomato independently of effects on plant water balance: evidence for an interaction with ethylene.  Journal of Experimental Botany, 51, September Special Issue. 1575-1584.
  • Tiekstra, A.E., Else, M.A. & Jackson, M.B. (2000). External pressures based on leaf water potentials do not induce xylem sap to flow at rates of whole plant transpiration from roots of flooded or well-drained tomato and maize plants. Impact of shoot hydraulic resistances.  Annals of Botany, 86. 665-674.
  • Else, M.A. & Jackson, M. B. (2000). Transport of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid in the transpiration stream of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in relation to foliar ethylene production and petiole epinasty.  Australian Journal of Plant Physiology, 25. 453-458.
  • Else, M.A., Tiekstra, A.E., Davies, W.J., Croker, S. & Jackson, M.B. (1996). Stomatal closure in flooded tomato plants involves abscisic acid and a chemically unidentified anti-transpirant in xylem sap.  Plant Physiology, 112. 239-247.
  • Jackson, M. B., Else, M.A., Hall, K . (1996). Pressure-flow relationships, xylem solutes and root hydraulic conductance in flooded tomato plants.  Annals of Botany, 77. 685-685.
  • Jokhan, A., Else, M.A. & Jackson, M. B. (1996). Delivery rates of abscisic acid in xylem sap of Ricinus communis L. Plants subjected to part drying of the soil.  Journal of Experimental Botany, 47. 1595-1599.
  • Else, M.A., Davies, W. J., Malone, M. & Jackson, M. B. (1995). A negative hydraulic message from oxygen-deficient roots of tomato plants.  Plant Physiology, 109. 1017-1024.
  • Else, M.A., Hall, K.C., Arnold, G.M., Davies, W.J., Jackson, M.B. (1995). Export of abscisic-acid, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, phosphate, and nitrate from roots to shoots of flooded tomato plants - accounting for effects of xylem sap flow-rate on concentration and delivery. Plant Physiology, 107. 377-384.
  • Jackson, M.B., Attwood, P.A>, Brailsford, R.W., Coupland, D., Else, M.A., English, P.J., Summers, J.E. . (1994). Hormones and root-shoot relationships in flooded plants - an analysis of methods and results.  Plant and Soil, 167, . 99-107..
  • Else, M.A., Davies, W.J., Whitford, P.N., Hall, K.C., Jackson, M.B. . (1994). Concentrations of abscisic-acid and other solutes in xylem sap from root systems of tomato and castor-oil plants are distorted by wounding and variable sap flow-rates. Journal of Experimental Botany, 45, . 317-323..
  • Hall, K.C., Else, M.A., Jackson, M.B.. (1993). Determination of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) in leaf tissue and xylem sap using capillary column gas-chromatography and a nitrogen phosphorus detector.  Plant Growth Regulation, 13, . 225-230..