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Plant Biology

Studying ecosystem physiology at the Wind River Experimental Forest

In this talk, I will discuss carbon, water, and energy exchanges from a tall, old-growth forest ecosystem. This well-studied forest has a complicated vertical structure, large aboveground biomass, and a great deal of epiphytic cover. My group has measured canopy temperatures and carbonyl sulfide (OCS) concentrations at this site to better understand the dynamics of leaf and canopy energy balance, photosynthesis, and conductance. Canopy photosynthesis is inferred from OCS fluxes and compared with estimates derived from eddy flux measurements.

Evolution and ecology of oddball reproduction in Australian bush tomatoes: Further evidence that “Plants are cool, Too!”

The “bush tomatoes” (Solanum) of the Australian Monsoon Tropics continue to generate questions related to reproductive ecology, species boundaries, biogeography, and breeding systems evolution. This talk will summarize work done on this unusual group of plants in the Martine lab, often inclusive of undergraduate students, through a holistic research strategy that includes fieldwork, herbarium collections, greenhouse culture, and molecular approaches.

A siliceous window into the deep past: what phytoliths can tell us about the role of plants in ecosystem evolution

Documenting how Earth’s many ecosystems, each with unique combinations of climate, flora, and fauna, came to be is critical for understanding how ecosystems function today, and will function in the future. My lab’s research has focused largely on elucidating the Cretaceous-Cenozoic assembly of grassland ecosystems, which currently occupy 40% of Earth’s land surface and provide key agricultural products (e.g., corn, rice).

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