Spitfire

Population genomics of plant adaptation to elevated CO2

 

Under elevated carbon dioxide, plants exhibit physiological, biochemical and genetic changes that will have impact on community and ecosystem dynamics, nutrient cycling and food security. Therefore understanding plant responses to future carbon dioxide levels is of critical importance.

 

Most research to date has involved short, single generation experiments and relatively little is known about how plants will adapt to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in the long term. We seek to understand long term adaptation by studying plants that have been exposed to high CO2 concentrations for several generations at a natural CO2 spring. This research involves analysis of gene expression changes, sequence divergence and epigenetic modifications that may be associated with phenotypic responses to elevated CO2.