This lecture is hosted by the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, an Oxford Martin School Centre
Summary: Beneath the surface of every leaf is an intricate network of veins. Ben shows that the geometry of this venation network is empirically linked to climate, and develops a physiological model to predict this linkage. These results indicate that fossil leaf venation networks can be a mechanistic proxy for paleoclimate. We then apply the model to a fossil flora spanning ~3Myr across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Reconstructed temperatures change sharply -before- the Chixculub meteor impact which is commonly hypothesized to have caused mass extinction. Thus the fossil-leaf time machine can generate new rules linking plant form, function, and environment, and can provide insights into controversial periods of earth's history.
Speaker: Benjamin Blonder, PhD candidate, University of Arizona
This lecture will be followed by drinks