Date: 23rd May 2022
Title: “Unimportant” plant ecophysiology: the microscale and the insignificant plants
Location: Lecture room 1088, Viikki Info Centre, Viikinkaari 1 and remotely via Zoom
Host: Albert Porcar-Castell
Abstract: Light, water availability and temperature are the key physical drivers of carbon fixation, globally. The astonishing biodiversity of photosynthetic organisms, though, offers a wide range of natural case studies to disentangle how an to which extent photosynthesis takes and will take place on a changing environment. An emphasis on non-model (i.e. wild and poorly-studied) species and on microenvironments, with recurrent episodes of drought and/or extreme temperatures, brings a matchless scenario to study the physiological solutions that have been naturally developed (throughout evolution) to face these environmental constrains. In this talk I would like to put the focus (i) on physiological and physicochemical processes that, occurring at the microscale (mostly at chloroplast level), greatly determine the integrity of photosynthetic performance after extreme conditions, and (ii) on understudied case-studies such as bryophytes, lichens, pteridophytes or alpine forbs. To do this, we will virtually travel to miscellaneous ecosystems such as snowpatches, understoreys, or stone walls and will dive beyond the limits of plant ecophysiology: “when high means dry and when dry means safe”. The results on this line of research, obtained mainly during the last three years, indicate an intricate interplay between photoprotection mechanisms and water relation attributes as a key to success in extreme conditions of desiccation, temperature or irradiance.