WRRC 2022 Fall Seminar

November 18, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Kuykendall 201 and Zoom Meeting Add to Calendar

Seedling Drought Tolerance in a Changing Climate

by Dr. Kasey Barton

University of Hawai‘i School of Life Sciences

Climate change is altering water availability with dramatic consequences for plant performance and population stability. Seedlings are often more sensitive to water limitation than older plants of the same species due to their small size, relatively limited stored reserves, and acquisitive growth strategy. Because climate change is not only reducing total incoming precipitation, but also the timing, seedling recruitment is declining in many Hawaiian plants. Using experimental approaches in the field and greenhouse, combined with ecophysiological trait analysis, we have been investigating seedling drought tolerance across a diverse range of native and invasive Hawaiian plant species. Key findings include detection of climate mismatches constraining seedling germination and establishment in Hawaiʻi’s foundation tree, ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), confirmation that seedlings are sensitive to the timing as well as amount of water availability, significant variability across species in their potential tolerance to and longevity under extreme drought, and identification of interactive effects with herbivory. These studies indicate widespread and complex vulnerability of Hawaiʻi’s native plants to drought, highlighting seedling recruitment as a critically threatened process potentially leading to population instability and declines.

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Event Sponsor
WRRC, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Keri Kodama, 956-3174, kodamak8@hawaii.edu

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