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October 21, 2020

12:00pm Zoom Webinar

Lawren Sack
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

" Plant mechanistic trait diversity explains and predicts species and ecosystem responses in the past, present and future "

In recent decades, new concepts and measurements in plant physiology, anatomy and morphology have enabled ever deeper understanding of the mechanisms of plant growth and environmental tolerances. Our focus on the diversity of mechanistic plant traits is increasingly critical for predicting and mitigating the impacts of climate change on plants in natural, crop and urban ecosystems, and their feedbacks on the global climate system. I will review my last 20 years of research on plant traits and their influence on ecology and evolution of diverse species, from mosses, ferns, and cycads, to diverse evolutionary radiations of angiosperms, in communities around the world, especially in Hawaii and California. We will focus especially on my lab’s research on plant water transport and drought tolerance, including leaf venation architecture and the wilting response, and on new scaling approaches that provide urgent information for anticipating the influence of climate change on species and ecosystem productivity. Throughout, I will clarify how gaining higher resolution views of plants’ “inner qualities” provides expanding opportunities for predictive power at whole plant, ecosystem and global scales.

Host: Nathan Kraft