Virtual Penn Science Café: Climate Change Consequences for Plants, Whose Lives Depend on the Sun
Plants are already showing the impact of human-induced climate change: they’re flowering earlier, shifting their growing range, and climbing mountains, all the while saving us from even greater climate-change impacts. Professors Brenda Casper and Brent Helliker will discuss how scientists are tracking these changes, looking at the differences between plants in experimental conditions vs. nature, photosynthetic pathways, and the dying art of the herbarium collection.
Brenda Casper is a Professor of Biology and Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. Her research examines plant ecology, with recent projects focusing on the responses of plants and soil microbes to stressors such as climate change, soil contaminants, and the inhospitable environment of coastal sand dunes.
Brent Helliker is a Professor of Biology whose lab focuses on improving our understanding of the physiological responses of plants to climate change, including the ecological and biogeochemical consequences of those responses. His lab’s approach to plant ecology and evolution is based on the underlying assumption that climate is a primary selective agent.