June 9 2016

11:00 LSB 2320

Megan Bartlett
Dept of EEB, UCLA

The ecological impacts of leaf drought tolerance


Climate change is expected to exacerbate drought for many plants, making drought tolerance a key driver of species and ecosystem responses. However, predicting these responses from drought tolerance traits requires greater understanding of how plant physiological processes impact ecology. My research characterizes the ecological impacts of the leaf drought tolerance trait the turgor loss point \(ptlp\), or the leaf water potential that causes the cells to lose turgor and the leaf to wilt. First, I derived new equations to identify the cellular trait that drives variation in ptlp. Then, I developed a rapid method for estimating ptlp based on this relationship by calibrating ptlp values with measurements of its cellular driver. Next, I conducted two studies that established ptlp as an important determinant of species distributions both within a diverse tropical ecosystem and across global variation in water availability. Finally, I evaluated general patterns in the relationships among multiple drought tolerance traits to produce a framework for predicting plant responses to a wide range of water stress from one or two sampled traits. Overall, these findings provide insight into the impacts of leaf drought tolerance on plant ecology at multiple scales.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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