Lab Blog

What do we really know about water?

You may think you know about the structure of water and how it behaves as a liquid. Well, chances are that we don’t know everything. We may even have to revise some of the common beliefs about water in the future.

more details

Taking a closer look at tree rings.

Every year trees produce new xylem tissue in the form of a tree ring. Generally if you count a tree’s rings you will know the age of the tree.  And furthermore, the width of tree rings can reflect the growing conditions of that year, especially in places where growth is limited by precipitation or temperature.

more details

Assisted migration as a tool to adapt tree populations to climate change.

Tree populations are adapted to the environmental conditions in which they are living. The relationship between tree performance, measured in terms of growth and mortality, and the environmental conditions in its provenance of origin is a topic that has been studied since the 19th century. In those first experiments, they observed that local trees consistently grew taller than non-native trees. This led to the conclusion that “local is best”.

more details

How important are aquaporins for phloem transport?

In 1930, Ernst Münch introduced an elegant model to explain how plants transport sugars in the phloem. Sugars are produced in leaves by photosynthesis. Once produced, they need to be distributed to tissues and organs that need them for growth etc. Such 'sinks' include developing fruit, flowers, and roots. Another important sink in woody plants is the vascular cambium. The cambium is the meristem that produces wood. Think of all the sugars that form the building blocks of the cell walls in the wood.

We found evidence for the presence of aquaporins in sieve tubes. Münch did not know about aquaporins; they were discovered decades later. Münch thought that the plasma membranes of sieve tubes in the transport phloem would not allow much water exchange. While this is currently difficult to measure, we used a model to explore what role these water channels may play. See here for more information.

Welcome to our blog.

This is where we discuss things we are currently thinking about. One of the goals of these blogs is to make our work more accessible to non-specialists. We hope to create some interest in the questions we're pursuing. If you really want to find out all the details, click on the Publications tab...