"How to build a time machine using only leaves" by Benjamin Blonder

Past Event

11 October 2012, 5:15pm - 6:45pm

Herbertson Room, OUCE
Herbertson Room, OUCE, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY

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