The Plant Growth Lab starts with questions about how leaves grow. Of greatest interest is what controls the rate of leaf expansion. From their, our interests span to plant movements and plant behaviors in response to the environment. The central focus is the physiological mechanisms cells use to regulate cell expansion and growth of leaves. We are set up to measure cell growth, elongation and volume changes, osmoregulation, plant water relations, and leaf anatomy. We also measure electrophysiological properties associated with growth. These include measuring ion fluxes, membrane potential, and channel activity using patch clamp methods.
We use a variety of plants and behaviors, from expansion of individual leaves of Arabidopsis and bean, to development and shape of tomato leaves, and the limitation of yield in droughted bean plants.
With experiments designed to discover the physiological mechanisms underlying plant cell growth and the regulation of these mechanisms by light, touch, and other factors, we are most interested in asking how plants 'behave' in response to their environment.