Research Projects

Research in my laboratory centers on the functioning of stomata in intact leaves. We have four areas of current research.

1. Patchy stomatal conductance.  Under some conditions stomata in different areas of the leaf showed markedly different average apertures.  This leads to a patchy pattern of stomatal conductance over the leaf surface.  These patches may be static, or they may be highly dynamic and show oscillations or movement across the leaf.   We are interested in the mechanisms that cause these patchy patterns of stomatal conductance.  We are also interested in the possible role of these patterns in optimizing stomatal responss to changes in environmental conditions.  The research is being conducted using experimental and modeling approaches.

2. Stomatal responses to humidity.  We are exploring the idea that stomatal responses to atmospheric humidity are mediated by vapor phase transport of water to and from the guard cells in a leaf.

3. Involvement of a mesophyll signal in stomatal responses to light and CO2. Our recent data suggest that stomatal responses to red light and CO2 are mediated by a vapor-phase signal from the mesophyll.  We are currently investigating this idea and attempting to identify the signal. 

4. Guard cell surface area and volume.  We have studied the relationship between surface area and volume as guard cells shrink and swell. In these studies we have created a number of 3D visualizations of guard cells.  These are available on the page for this area of research.