Joyce G. Chery, Postdoctoral Researcher
Pennsylvania State University
Topic: How do plants climb? Macroevolutionary patterns to fine-scale cell wall dynamics
Woody vines (lianas) are distinct from erect trees and shrub in their ability to move through the forest canopy, thus presenting a fundamental question in evolutionary biology: how do plants climb? To address this question, I leverage tools from evolutionary biology, developmental anatomy, and molecular biology, using climbing woody vines (i.e. lianas) as a study system. Lianas face a unique mechanical demand to twist without breaking which is reflected in their distinct wood anatomy that results in unusual stem conformations that deviate from trees and shrubs. In this talk, I present mechanisms that promote the repeated evolution of novel woody forms, through a case study in a tropical genus of lianas, Paullinia from the Sapindaceae family (Maple family). To address climbing at a finer scale, I will discuss the role of cell wall dynamics as it relates to plant movement, and ongoing projects that link cell biology to plant form and function.
Host Lab: Holbrook