Water loss in plants has commonly been considered only as a cost of photosynthetic carbon gain. However, plants may use water in ways that may not necessarily optimize instantaneous carbon gain, but instead as a strategy for leaf evaporative cooling. The DPEL and collaborators aim to assess whether plant water use is not always a side-effect of carbon gain, but rather an active strategy to optimize leaf temperature to cope with thermal stress that is becoming more common with climate change.
Selected recent publications:
Aparecido LMT, Woo S, Suazo C, Hultine KR, Blonder B. (2020) High water use in desert plants exposed to extreme heat. Ecology Letters, 23(8): 1189-1200
University of California Berkeley, University of British Columbia, Smithsonian Tropical Institute