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Plant Biology News

Leakey wolz

Two undergrads improve plant carbon-cycle models

Researchers at the U. of I. found that plants vary a lot in the efficiency with which they uptake carbon dioxide and conserve water. Plant biology professor Andrew Leakey, left, mentored Kevin Wolz, who was an undergraduate at the time he conducted the research. Wolz now holds degrees in civil engineering and biology and is pursuing a doctorate in biology.

In the summer of 2012, two undergraduate students tackled a problem that plant ecology experts had overlooked for 30 years. The students demonstrated that different plant species vary in how they take in carbon dioxide and emit water through stomata, the pores in their leaves. The data boosted the accuracy of mathematical models of carbon and water fluxes through plant leaves by 30 to 60 percent.

The researchers, based at the University of Illinois, report their findings in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Read the full article at the Illinois News Bureau


Publication Date: 07/24/2017
Photo credits: L. Brian Stauffer
Editor: Diana Yates