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Stephen P Long

Profile picture for Stephen P Long

Contact Information

1201 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL. 61801

Research Areas


Research Interests

Environmental physiology, atmospheric change impacts on crops and natural vegetation, C4 photosynthesis, energy crops, mathematical models of photosynthesis

Research Description

Research topics:

  • Environmental physiology including cold tolerance
  • Global atmospheric change impacts on crops and natural vegetation
  • C4 photosynthesis
  • Biomass energy crops including Miscanthus and switchgrass
  • Mathematical models of photosynthesis

The overall objectives of my research program are:

  1. To understand mechanisms of plant responses to both rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and tropospheric ozone, with particular reference to photosynthesis and relating changes at the molecular and biochemical level to observations of whole systems in the field.
  2. Establish the potential of mitigation of atmospheric change through the development of herbaceous energy crops.
  3. Advance the development of accessible mechanistic mathematical models relating environmental effects on photosynthesis to plant productivity.
  4. To understand the limitations to C4 photosynthesis and the adaptation of the process to cooler climates. My lab integrates molecular and biochemical studies with physiological studies of photosynthesis, using state-of-the-art and custom built gas-exchange, fluorescence and controlled environment instrumentation. Much of the work involves developing and testing hypotheses on plant environmental responses under controlled conditions and then testing these in large-scale multi-partner field facilities.

The International journals Global Change Biology (Blackwell Science) and GCB Bioenergy are edited from my laboratory.

We have active research links with several global change laboratories within and outside the US, including Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and the U.K. A number of our laboratories graduate students have undertaken a part of their research at the overseas sites.


Ph.D. 1976, University of Leeds
B.Sc., 1972, University of Reading

Additional Campus Affiliations

Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chair, Plant Biology
Professor, Plant Biology
Professor, Crop Sciences
Professor, Bioengineering
Director, Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE), Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Professor, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
CAS Professor, Center for Advanced Study

Recent Publications

Vijayakumar, S., Wang, Y., Lehretz, G., Taylor, S., Carmo-Silva, E., & Long, S. (2024). Kinetic modeling identifies targets for engineering improved photosynthetic efficiency in potato (Solanum tuberosum cv. Solara). Plant Journal, 117(2), 561-572.

Aspray, E. K., Mies, T. A., McGrath, J. A., Montes, C. M., Dalsing, B., Puthuval, K. K., Whetten, A., Herriott, J., Li, S., Bernacchi, C. J., DeLucia, E. H., Leakey, A. D. B., Long, S. P., McGrath, J. M., Miglietta, F., Ort, D. R., & Ainsworth, E. A. (2023). Two decades of fumigation data from the Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment facility. Scientific Data, 10(1), Article 226.

Burgess, A. J., Masclaux-Daubresse, C., Strittmatter, G., Weber, A. P. M., Taylor, S. H., Harbinson, J., Yin, X., Long, S., Paul, M. J., Westhoff, P., Loreto, F., Ceriotti, A., Saltenis, V. L. R., Pribil, M., Nacry, P., Scharff, L. B., Jensen, P. E., Muller, B., Cohan, J. P., ... Baekelandt, A. (2023). Improving crop yield potential: Underlying biological processes and future prospects. Food and Energy Security, 12(1), Article e435.

De Souza, A. P., Burgess, S. J., Doran, L., Manukyan, L., Hansen, J., Maryn, N., Leonelli, L., Niyogi, K. K., & Long, S. P. (2023). Response to Comments on “Soybean photosynthesis and crop yield is improved by accelerating recovery from photoprotection”. Science, 379(6634), Article eadf2189.

Głowacka, K., Kromdijk, J., Salesse-Smith, C. E., Smith, C., Driever, S. M., & Long, S. P. (2023). Is chloroplast size optimal for photosynthetic efficiency? New Phytologist, 239(6), 2197-2211.

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