Alec joined the Van Volkenburgh lab in 2014. He is an undergraduate majoring in plant biology with the hope of graduating in Spring of 2016 and continuing on to graduate school in the plant sciences. His interests range broadly from plant community ecology to plant physiology and thus hopes to pursue plant eco-physiology in the future.
His current research aims to understand the physiological and morphological aspects of leaves that mediate survival in competitive environments as well as droughted environments. After conducting field work on Populus tremuloides in summer 2014 he observed significant differences in specific leaf area across a climatic gradient. He will more thoroughly assess the physiological responses to water limiting environments, competitive environments, and the combination of the two in Populus tremuloides. Because the leaf is the fundamental photosynthetic organ its morphological and physiological facets will likely be affected and may mediate whole plant and population responses.
Ultimately, Alec wants to connect plant physiological responses to plant community responses with the hope of predicting more accurate responses to anthropogenic climate change.