Jarmila Pittermann, University of California, Santa Cruz
“I will Survive! A Macroevolutionary Perspective on the Drought Physiology of Conifers and Ferns"
I am a plant ecophysiologist with an interest in structure and function My research is primarily focused on plant water transport, and the means by which the xylem adjusts to water deficit, freezing and soil nutrient content. Focusing on conifers and ferns, my seminar will explore water transport and xylem structure through the prism of ecology and evolution by identifying key physiological attributes that may have supported the diversification of some lineages into dry habitats over others. Drought tolerance comes at a cost, and while the trade-offs of stress resistance are well-understood in conifers (and angiosperms), they are more cryptic in understudied taxa such as ferns. Yet, these early-derived lineages have much to teach us about survival in the face of climate change. Speciose and physiologically diverse, seedless vascular plants occupy nearly all habitats around the globe and employ interesting life history strategies that may help explain their success since first appearing in the Devonian.