PS Seminar Series - Turning up the heat: How will climate change affect forests and crops?


Abstract: Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations could reach >1000 ppm by 2100, increasing global temperatures 3-4 °C. Both elevated CO2 and warming affect photosynthesis, altering plant growth, survival, and crop yield and quality. Climate change-induced shifts in photosynthesis also affect the global carbon cycle, mitigating or accelerating further climate change. Understanding how photosynthesis acclimates to future climate conditions is therefore critical for accurately predicting the trajectory of future climate change, as well as for estimating plant productivity in a warmer, high CO2 world. I’ll discuss how elevated temperatures, CO2 concentrations, and vapor pressure deficits impact photosynthesis and plant performance using meta-analyses, modeling and results from my lab, highlighting what we already know as well as future research directions.

Biography: Dani Way (she/her) obtained her BSc from the University of Toronto in 2002, her PhD at the same institution in 2008, and did her post-doctoral work at Duke University. In 2012, she joined the Department of Biology at the University of Western Ontario, and she moved to the Research School Biology at the ANU in 2022. She has published over 85 papers focusing on how warming and rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations alter photosynthesis, respiration, growth and survival in plants, with a focus on high latitude tree species. She has received a number of awards and honors, including election to the College of the Royal Society of Canada, the C.D. Nelson Award from the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists, an NSERC McDonald Fellowship, and inclusion in the Highly Cited Researchers list since 2020. She is also the Reviews Editor for Global Change Biology and the Associate Editor-in-Chief for Plant, Cell & Environment.