THE LAB

URAP projects

Urap Project 1: Intra-canopy variation in epidermal morphology in Coastal Redwood and Giant Sequoia

Research Apprentice: Robert Stevenson. Former Apprentices: Lori Burns and Sara Zlotnik

Several morphological features in leaves of fossil trees have been traditionally interpreted as sun/shade characteristics or evidence for drought stress. We would like to test if these features are indeed related to environmental factors. Climatic and physiological data collected within the canopy of California's giant redwoods by the Dawson Lab show a wide range of microclimate variation. This provides a unique opportunity to study the variation in leaf shape and particularly epidermal features for the same genotype in very different levels of drought stress and light in their natural environment. This study is important to improve the reconstruction of paleoenvironments based on plant fossils.

Activities: We are looking for two apprentices, who will be primarily obtaining measurements on whole leaves and cuticles (using ImageJ software) and entering data into a database for analysis. Additionally, when the student is capable and interested assistance is welcome in various other aspects throughout the analysis. 1) Scanning leaves using desktop scanners, preparing cuticles for microscopic analysis. 2) Photographing cuticles using a microscope and camera. 3) Performing measurements in ImageJ (counts, areas, circumferences).

Benefits: The apprentice will gain experience in microscopy, photographing and image analysis, and learn about the development and process of an entire research project. If the apprentice is enthusiastic and has the time, he/she is welcome to become more involved in the data analysis and literature study. The students can work closely together, also with people working on the light regime project. Day to day supervision will be from Dr. Lenny Kouwenberg, a research associate in Professor Looy's lab. Occasional progress report meetings with Dr. Kouwenberg and Professors Looy and Dawson will also occur.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Dr. Lenny Kouwenberg, Post-Doc.

Qualifications: We seek two apprentices who can devote at least 6 hours a week to the project. The project may run multiple semesters, but the length of the apprenticeship is determined by the student's interest. Attention to detail and ability to remain focused during repetitive measurements is a must (this is the hard reality of scientific research). A previous experience with image analysis (ImageJ) is useful, but not necessary. Enthusiasm and dedication is most important. Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs.

 

Urap Project 2: Light induced changes in leaf and epidermal cell morphology in trees

Former Apprentice: Kelsey Maher

The differences in size and shape of sun and shade leaves, and their variation in stomatal and epidermal cell patterning, have been known for a long time. Recently the notion that this typical difference is caused by light levels has been challenged, and instead was attributed to the hydraulic pressures in different parts of the canopy. In order to resolve this controversy, we will measure a full suite of leaf and epidermal cell parameters on four species of oaks and sycamore that were grown under high (full sun) and low (deep shade) levels in controlled environments. We are looking for one apprentice to help doing these measurements and assist in the research project. The activities are very comparable to the conifer project, so students on both projects can work together.

Activities: The apprentice will be primarily obtaining measurements (counts, areas and circumferences of leaves and cells) on whole leaves and cuticle using ImageJ software. Additionally, when the student is interested and capable assistance is welcome in various other aspects throughout the analysis. 1) Scanning leaves using desktop scanners, preparing cuticles for microscopic analysis. 2) Photographing cuticles using a microscope and camera. 3) Performing measurements in ImageJ (counts, areas, circumferences).

Benefits: The apprentice will gain experience in microscopy, photographing and image analysis. Additionally, when the student is interested and capable, assistance is welcome in various other aspects throughout the analysis to learn about the development and execution of an entire research project. Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Lenny Kouwenberg, Post-Doc.

Qualifications: We seek an apprentice who can devote at least 6 hours a week to the project. The project may run multiple semesters, but the length of the apprenticeship is determined by the student's interest. Attention to detail and ability to remain focused during repetitive measurements is a must (this is the hard reality of scientific research). For cuticular preparation (optional) fine motor skills are important. A previous experience with image analysis (ImageJ) is useful, but not necessary. Enthusiasm and dedication is most important. Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs