Plant physiological responses to climate change





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Project Description

The Anderegg Landscape Physiology Lab ( studies how plant physiology determines ecosystem responses to climate change (increasing droughts and fires, rising temperatures). We work in the field, the greenhouse, and the lab to explore the mechanisms that plants use to deal with stress, and how stress influences larger ecological dynamics such as mass forest die-offs and species geographic range shifts. Our primary tools range from detailed measurements of plant hydraulics and photosynthesis in the lab, to landscape wide surveys of plant morphology and demography, to remote measurements of vegetation structure from satellite or aircraft.
We’re looking for students with interests in ecology, plant physiology, and data analysis to join ongoing projects looking at tree responses to climate change. Examples of ongoing projects include: understanding how California oak species change their physiology to withstand drought stress across the state, exploring how trees survive and recover (or not) from prescribed fire, identifying the relationship between drought tolerance and fire tolerance adaptations across tree species, and plumbing the depths of plant rock water use in deeply rooted trees.

Undergraduate Contribution

The work can involve: (i) laboratory work measuring plant tissue samples and plant greenhouse and growth chamber experiments, (ii) method development for measuring physiological processes in the lab and field (iii) field work at UC Santa Barbara’s natural reserve Sedgwick, located in a beautiful oak grass savanna in Santa Ynez, (iiii) analyzing existing datasets using R, Python, or Matlab. Depending on student interest, there is a possibility of future summer field work. Ideal trajectory involves students building towards independent research projects.

Requirements and/or Application Instructions

To apply, email Leander Anderegg at with a CV/Resume and a short description of why you are interested. Include ‘FRAP undergraduate research’ in the title.