Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Adam Smith, Ph.D.

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Adam Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Scientist
Global Change Ecology
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development



Research Interests
• Climate change vulnerability of threatened plant species
• Species distribution models
• Global change, conservation, biogeography, and macroecology

Understanding the effects of climate change on plant phenology and physiology. Smith is an Associate Scientist in Global Change Ecology interested in addressing the impacts global change (climate change, land use/land cover, invasive species, etc.) will have on individual species and their communities and means by which human intervention can facilitate adaptive responses. Anthropogenic climate change has profound consequences for the timing of biological processes (phenology) and the manner in which animals and plants respire (physiology). Climatic warming has already been observed to alter the date of reproduction of many species. Concurrently, increases in carbon dioxide have reduced the need for plants to develop large stomata (plant “nostrils”), which are necessary for uptake of carbon dioxide but are also liabilities as they serve as conduits by which plants lose water. In this project, the student would assess the phenological and physiological response of plants to climate change across the last century. Specifically, the student would score plant specimens according to their phenological state (not flowering, flowering, fruiting, setting seed) and measure stomatal densities using a compound microscope. Most of the project would be conducted in the MO herbarium. The successful applicant will be enthusiastic about conservation of plants, detail-oriented, and able to make thoughtful judgments for cases that do not “neatly” fall into the standard case. The student would also be supported by a team of peer-mentors in the Smith lab.

| Categories: | Tags: Climate change, Species distribution models, Conservation | Return