Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, Dr. Benjamin Blonder, will present a research seminar.
Abstract. Many global change problems have foundations in community ecology. However, predicting community responses to environmental change remains difficult. Three major challenges include: 1) establishing empirically strong relationships between species’ traits and the environment; 2) advancing mechanistic theory to better predict these trait responses to environmental change, and 3) transferring predictions to large scales. Ecophysiology can offer solutions in each area through modeling of underlying mechanisms. This presentation will specifically examine the role of leaf venation networks in mediating water transport and species interactions across tropical forest elevation gradients (challenge 1), the role of stomata in determining water use under heat stress in arid environments (challenge 2), and the role of polyploidy-environment interactions in determining mortality risk in montane forests (challenge 3). Together this work offers approaches for advancing a more predictive ecology across biological scales.
Light refreshments will be available before the talk, 3-3:30PM in 139 Mulford.