May 2 2019

5:00 pm TLSB 1100

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations


Alec Baird
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Title: Developmental Scaling of Venation Architecture in Grasses Underlies Worldwide Leaf Size Distribution

The tendency for dicotyledonous species of drier climates to have smaller leaves is one of the most famous global biogeographic patterns. One explanation has focused on their shared leaf developmental program that leads to larger leaves having lower vein length per leaf area, such that smaller leaves gain in drought tolerance. These patterns have not been previously tested in grasses (family Poaceae), a lineage that radiated across climates and ecosystems, dominates 40% of the Earths land surface, and accounts for 33% of terrestrial primary productivity. We show that across 1753 grasses worldwide, species adapted to drier climates had narrower and shorter leaves. We present a synthetic model for leaf development for grasses, analogous to that of dicot leaves, based on published histological data, which predicts general scaling relationships for venation traits with leaf dimensions. Tests on 26 C3 and C4 grass species grown in a common garden showed that venation architecture showed the predicted developmental scaling, such that species with wider leaves had lower major vein densities, and species with longer leaves had greater major vein diameters, whereas the venation architecture of minor veins was independent of leaf dimensions. These trends can explain the global distribution of shorter, narrower leaves in drier climates, and provide a strong example of how the differential elaboration of a conserved developmental process can determine worldwide macroecological patterns.

Tina Del Carpio
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Title: Mental Health Concerns Specific to Graduate Students, How Universities Can Respond, and Resources at UCLA

Over half of graduate students report knowing a colleague who has experienced an emotional or stress related challenge in the past year. This talk will review the current literature on mental health concerns specific to graduate students, potential interventions, and a summary of resources available at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Self-reporting of mental heath concerns for graduate students has been negatively correlated with financial security, higher functional relationship with a student’s advisor, and increased time of social interactions with friends. Financial education programs that are collaborative and focus on specific goals can help alleviate financial stress. Training and rewarding faculty for best practices in mentoring can improve mentor-mentee relationships. Support of both budget and space for events with a social component can strengthen social bonds with peers. Additionally, historical focus of mental health research and institutional support has been on undergraduate students thus ignoring the challenges unique to the culture of graduate school and the varying demographics. Thus recognition of the disparate challenges graduate students face compared to undergraduates can lead to programs that better target concerns that are applicable to graduate students. UCLA students interested in using therapy and/or medication to address mental health concerns can visit Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), with location and hours information posted at UCLA CAPS Additionally, CAPS offers after-hours crisis counseling by phone at (310) 825-0768. Graduate students constitute a diverse population affected by distinct challenges that universities can endeavor to better address.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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