I am a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Lawren Sack in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles.
As a plant evolutionary ecophysiologist I am fascinated with the vast diversity in plant form that underlies the diversity in plant function, and in particular that which occurs in leaves. I aim to provide insight into the cellular and tissue level mechanisms underlying differences in plant growth and adaptation throughout ecosystems. These linkages are especially important because they allow for a comprehensive understanding of the physical consequences for growth, thus elevating our understanding of the impacts on organismal performance and species' distributions. Furthermore, I'm in interested in exploring 1) how variation in leaf cell structure and tissue anatomy arise across species, given common developmental models of leaf growth (ex. within dicots, within monocots) 2) how this diversity in form influences physical changes in leaf growth and function (ex. flux), 3) and how these ultimately influence species coexistence and biogeography.
Broadly speaking, my research interests fall into the following categories:
Prior to UCLA, I worked with Dr. Leander DL Anderegg, Melissa E Lacey, Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, and Dr. Liz Van Volkenburgh elucidating the coordinated morphological, anatomical, and functional changes that Populus tremuloides (Trembling Aspen) leaves undergo to acclimate (via developmental changes) to environmental stressors: low-water versus low-light availability.
If you want to collaborate or simply say hi feel free to send me an email!
Alec S. Baird