Evolution to Water Stress

Changes in temperature and rainfall impact on plant species distributions. We are interested in the dry ends of species distributions because this is where plant survival is most limited by xylem physiology. In particular we focus on how characteristics of water transport (xylem) and the control of water loss (stomata) determine the survival limits of plant species. Combining this knowledge with an understanding of the capacity for plants to adapt and evolve these traits will give us a powerful means of predicting the future of plant distributions.

The animation above shows timelapse footage of air bubble blockages forming in the xylem conduits of Acacia dealbata as a result of water stress over time.

Detailed instructions on how to conduct these measurements can be found at OpenSourceOV

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A 3D representation of a Pinus needle obtained from x-ray computed tomography. This technique can also be used to visualise cavitation in xylem.