Photosynthesis fuels nearly all life on Earth and drives the flux of carbon from the atmosphere to the terrestrial biosphere. The future of this flux is highly uncertain under climate change, signaling the need for a greater understanding of plant metabolic processes from leaves to whole plants to ecosystems. This need is particularly urgent for biologically diverse tropical forests such as the Amazon, where some earth system models predict forest resilience, while others predict forest degradation or die-off due to increasing temperatures and drought severity. Loren Albert’s research addresses this challenge using plant physiology tools and near-surface remote sensing in field campaigns, experiments, and models. Current questions include: how do tree allocation strategies such as leaf phenology affect rates of photosynthesis? What are the physiological limits of tropical trees, and what underlies their variation? And can innovations in imaging spectroscopy and machine learning help us answer such questions?