Environmental Impact on Trees and Forest Ecosystems

Dr. Arthur Gessler
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 9:34am
By Carla DeMarco
On Tuesday, March 3, the Department of Biology at U of T Mississauga is delighted to welcome Dr. Arthur Gessler from the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL as part of the Distinguished Lecturer Series of the Centre for Global Change Science (CGCS) at U of T.

Dr. Gessler will deliver the talk, The impact of environmental factors on biogeochemical cycles in trees and forest ecosystems: From molecular mechanisms to ecosystem functioning. This talk will summarize how stable isotope techniques can give new insights in the fate of newly assimilated carbon (C) in plants and ecosystems on the one hand and water uptake and use on the other hand. The event will be in CCT-2150 at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, March 3. Please see the attached flyer.

Trees are large global stores of C that will be impacted by increased carbon-dioxide levels and climate change. However, at present scientists cannot properly predict the carbon balance of forests as there is a lack knowledge on plant physiological processes, the transfer of carbon within the plant, carbon storage, and remobilization in the plant tissues, as well as the release of carbon from the roots to the soil interact with environmental drivers and ecosystem-scale processes. 

Moreover, precipitation variability will increase in future and drought and rainfall periods will alternate. As a consequence, the ability of roots to utilise intermittent rainfall events will be crucial for tree performance and survival.

Dr. Gessler is well known for his research using stable-isotopes and their fractionation in biological systems. His research covers various topics, from assessments of molecular mechanisms and metabolomics, to ecosystem and biodiversity studies. His talk will be of broad interest to staff, faculty and students from various departments.

As part of the annual Distinguished Lecturer Series, CGCS invites 13 speakers, with the majority of the lectures taking place on the St. George campus, and one each on the U of T Mississauga and the U of T Scarborough campuses. Dr. Arthur Gessler is the second speaker the Department of Biology at U of T Mississauga has hosted; they featured Dr. Stephen Long from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012 as part of the same series.

For a full list of the 2014-15 Distinguished Lecturer Series, please see the CGCS website.