Melika Missen

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Melika Missen

PhD Candidate

Life Science Building , Sandy Bay Campus

Will rising CO2 concentrations save plants from drought stress? Plant ecophysiological responses in a Free Air CO2 Enrichment experiment.

The rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere should in theory stimulate plant growth, particularly in areas that suffer from water shortages or drought, but often this doesn’t occur. Our inability to explain the reasons for this lack of response prevents us from predicting global carbon balances and future agricultural productivity. This project will involve measurements in one of the world’s few Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments, a cutting-edge global change manipulation experiment, located in southern Tasmania. To close this knowledge gap plant growth responses to elevated CO2 during repeated drought cycles will be measured and the mechanisms and timescales over which past water availability affect photosynthesis and growth responses to CO2 in grasslands aim to be identified. This is crucial for improving models of future plant growth and land-atmosphere interactions.