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Wood is the defining feature of trees. Biologically, wood is a complex tissue providing mechanical support, protection, storage, secondary metabolism, and water conduction. Moreover, wood is the biological basis of forest industries (building, paper and speciality chemicals), emerging bioeconomy and bioenergy industries, and is a primary energy source in many developing countries. Moreover, as the water conducting tissues of trees, wood is a major factor in determining how forests respond to abiotic stress and climate change. Even without these ecological and economic justifications, wood is central to our fundamental understanding of the evolution and diversification of land plants.

Wood biology research has traditionally been approached by discipline-specific questions and approaches, but recently the need and power of integrative approaches is becoming apparent. This symposium will bring together diverse researchers from different aspects of wood biology research including anatomists, biochemists, cell biologists, ecologists, geneticist/genomicists, and physiologists. The central aim is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and foster new collaborations across disciplines. We will also challenge speakers to put forth their vision for future research, including outstanding questions and interdisciplinary approaches by which they could be addressed.

The symposium will take place over three days at the Granlibakken Resort at Lake Tahoe in California. The symposium will be organized into sessions by research topics, there will be dedicated time for discussions, posters, selected poster talks, a conference dinner and a field trip.