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Moriarty Science Seminar: Rethinking Plant Heat Tolerances and Photosynthetic Strategies of Tropical Plants
February 21, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar Presents: Rethinking Plant Heat Tolerances and Photosynthetic Strategies of Tropical Plants
Speakers: Timothy Perez
Stomata and leaf size thermoregulatory traits, a thermograph of leaves, and a tropical forest.
Abstract: As climate changes so too do the compositions of terrestrial plant communities that sequester carbon and mitigate climate change. However, the physiological mechanisms underpinning these changes are unclear. To understand these mechanisms, Perez and collaborators studied the photosynthetic heat tolerances (PHTs) and carbon assimilation strategies of tropical plants. In this talk he discusses their findings, which suggest that scientists need to rethink how PHTs are measured and assumed to influence plant performance. He also presents research that highlights how plant PHTs are unlikely to improve carbon assimilation at high temperatures, but may characterize thermal generalists with slow resource acquisition strategies. Finally, he presents a case-study using the genus Scalesia, endemic to the Galapagos, that indicates how climate selects for different photosynthetic strategies.
Bio: Timothy grew up in Upstate New York and in 2010 obtained a BSc in plant biology from the University of Vermont. After four years of working for NGO’s, the Bureau of Land Management, and as a research assistant, Timothy started a PhD in the Feeley Lab at the University of Miami. After obtaining his PhD in 2019, Timothy began a postdoctoral position in the Michaletz Lab at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where he is currently a Killam Postdoctoral Scholar. Timothy’s research focuses on how plant ecophysiology can be used to understand plant responses to climate change, and he is motivated by a desire to develop tools that aid plant conservation.