Brachypodium distachyon and its congeners are found in diverse
environments throughout the temperate regions of the world. Brachypodium species also show considerable variation in life history strategy, with species representing short-season annual habits and other species persisting for multiple years. This variation in ecological setting and life history suggests the existence of considerable genetic diversity in adaptation to the abiotic environment, both in constitutive tolerance to local conditions and in the capacity of single genotypes to acclimate to changing or unpredictable conditions. We review the limited but growing empirical literature on the physiology, development, and molecular biology of the interaction of Brachypodium with the abiotic environment. We highlight how these findings inform studies of ecologically and agriculturally-important plant species, and identify areas of future research that will extend the utility of Brachypodium as a model genetic system for understanding plant-environment interactions.