Structure and function of 3D xylem networks in trees
Trees transport water through a series of interconnected conduits collectively known as xylem. As the climate continues to warm, droughts are expected to have a large impact on tree species world-wide. In most cases, however, it remains unclear if and how trees can modify their xylem networks in response to drought. As a postdoctoral research associate working with Craig Brodersen and Brett Huggett, I am studying how four dominant trees in the northeastern United States can modify the structure of their xylem networks in response to drought conditions.
Most of our research is being conducted at Harvard Forest, MA. Check out this time-lapse of the rainfall exclusion construction process (gif created by Craig Brodersen). We have also been developing a set of 3D-printable models that can be used to teach plant xylem anatomy. Check out the 3D data portal here.