Seminars on our Tea and Climate Project

Tea and the Taste of Climate Change: A Socio-Ecological Model to Examine Botanical Quality – Seminar by Dr. Selena Ahmed

– Cornell University (School of Integrative Plant Science) Friday, February 27, 2015 at 11:15am to 12:15pm  in Plant Science Building, 404

– Montana State University (Land Resources and Environmental Sciences) Monday, February 23rd, 2015 at 1:10 – 2:00 p.m. 346 Leon Johnson Hall (Annex)

What is the impact of climate change on botanical quality? How can innovative production and processing practices mitigate climatic risk in food and medicinal plant systems?

In this seminar, Dr. Selena Ahmed, explores these questions using tea as a case study. Climate change is impacting agro-ecosystems, crops, and farmer livelihoods in communities worldwide. While it is well understood that more frequent and intense climate events in many areas are resulting in a decline in crop yields, the impact on crop quality is less acknowledged, yet it is critical for food systems that benefit both farmers and consumers through high-quality products. This study examines tea (Camellia sinensis; Theaceae), the world’s most widely consumed beverage after water, as a study system to measure effects of climate variability on crop functional quality and associated farmer knowledge, preferences, and livelihoods. Findings draw from interdisciplinary methods including: (1) field sampling in tea-producing areas of China, (2) controlled green house experiments that manipulate climate scenarios, (3) phytochemical analyses of major antioxidant and flavor compounds in tea, (4) sensory analyses of perceived tea quality and, (5) farmer surveys on ecological knowledge, management and livelihoods. The ultimate goal of this work is to facilitate societal actions towards enhanced sustainability of food systems. This project is supported by the NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program with collaborators Albert Robbat, Tim Griffin, Colin Orians, Rick Stepp, Sean Cash and Corene Matyas.

Speaker Bio: Selena Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University where she leads the Food and Health Disparities Integrative Lab. Basic, clinical, and applied projects in this lab examine the socio-ecological, phytonutrient, behavioral and sensory basis of food systems from farm to consumer.