The earliest angiosperms are believed
to have been woody evergreen trees in warm tropical environments. As
angiosperms radiated into freezing environments, a number of traits,
including deciduous leaf phenologies, small vascular conduits and/or
herbaceous habits, likely facilitated their success in the cold, as
found in a recent lab paper
Pictured here are deciduous maple leaves, recently senesced as winter
approaches in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC, USA.
Fall 2013 entailed less travel than in
past months for the lab with time spent mainly in AZ, DC and MO.
Instead, we managed to convince various lab visitors, such as
from Clark University, and
from McGill University to visit us. The lab has also been enjoying
joint lab meetings with
group. Our biggest news is that Amy M successfully passed her oral
qualifying exams! Congratulations Amy!!!
M finished up classes and teaching in the fall, and continued to
monitor the fruiting of wood decay fungi on the SIGEO plot at the
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. This semester, she’ll be
focused on identifying the fruiting bodies collected over the past 6
months and on setting up microcosms to examine the effect of
temperature and moisture on wood decay gene expression and respiration.
This year, Brad is looking forward to
publishing cool results on how wood traits influence Ozark forest
carbon flux during climate change. Upcoming papers improve methods
for measuring traits, describe their impacts on key transitions in
the carbon cycle and present a general framework for incorporating
biodiversity effects into ecosystem process models. For a preview,
check the following article highlighting our collaboration at Tyson
Research Center: 60-acre forest near Eureka joins
Smithsonian survey on climate change
Darcy enjoyed hosting her former
labmate Dimitris, who taught the lab helpful techniques for
identifying and culturing resupinate fungi. The first microcosm decay
experiments in our GWU lab were set up by Jordan Fingerhut, a high
school intern from the School Without Walls who is working with Darcy
this year. She is looking at how species differences in leaf traits
influence leaf mass loss and soil pH during litter decay. Darcy is
looking forward to helping Jordan wrap up this project in time for
the DC STEM Fair in March. In the meantime, Darcy is trying to gather
loose ends from the 3-year 2012 rotplot harvest at Tyson Research
Center before the upcoming 5-year harvest in June.
submitted the first year Tyson samples for sequencing and is eagerly
awaiting the data. In the meantime she took a stab at culturing. Mariya
plans on focusing on molecular work this spring and keeping the lab
free of contaminated cultures.
|Oyomoare spent fall 2013 on analysis
of long term composition and functional trait data for logged and
unlogged forest in Kibale National Park, to determine the influence
of logging history on structure, composition, and dynamics of the
forest. She presented some preliminary findings on the imprint of
selective logging on the structure, composition, and dynamics of an
East African rain forest, at one of the fall biolunch series in the
Department of Biology, UMSL, and to the Webster Groves Nature Study
Society in their November 6 weekly meeting. The plan for spring 2014
is to write up these results and finish off acquiring and processing
anatomical images for determining the anatomical basis for radial
change in wood density for 20 Panamanian species.
Amy Z attended the Software Carpentry
bootcamp at Sesync
this fall, just in time to teach functions in R to her Analyses in R
class at GWU. Her paper, with other members of the Tempo and Mode of
Plant Trait Evolution working group, entitled “Three
was published in Nature at the end of the year. The paper includes
taxonomic and phylogenetic resources, scripts, and woodiness and
freezing exposure databases freely available at
James Rosindell put the paper’s plant timetree up at his awesome
site. Also, look for her recent paper with Anna Richards, Ian Wright,
and Tanja Lenz using a new method to determine
and an upcoming working group paper on the clades that contribute
most to functional distinctiveness in plants today in Journal of
Ecology. She is about to launch the new R
Consortium at GWU.
This spring she will teach her comparative plant structure and
function course again. She is looking forward to attending Caroline
Lehmann and Sally Archibald’s catalysis meeting at NESCent entitled
lab at University of Idaho in April.
The lab looks forward to visits soon by
We are gearing up for our next big field harvest at Tyson this June,
as well as various summer annual meetings, including a symposium Amy
Z is co organizing with
in Sacramento this summer entitled “Whether in Life or in Death:
Fresh Perspectives on How Plants Affect Biogeochemical Cycling”.