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Viking Bursary 2018

2018 Viking bursary



Anna Gardner- "The effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis and leaf physiology in a mature oak woodland."


The research questions my PhD project is trying to answer are:


1)    What are the effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis and leaf physiology in a mature temperate woodland?


2)    How are the effects of elevated CO2 dependant on environmental variables, canopy position and tree species.


3)    Do changes in resource allocation to the leaf photosynthetic machinery occur under elevated CO2?


The objective of my research is to understand what may happen to our woodland tree species in the future climate conditions. Using the BIFOR-FACE facility (explained below), my project will be able to assess the resilience of our current forests to future environmental changes. To do this I will be studying the leaf physiology of oak, sycamore and hazel individuals in a mature temperate woodland exposed to elevated CO2. To date, studying mature forests in this way has been largely unfeasible and so ignored. This is mainly due to financial and logistical factors. Therefore the construction of BIFOR FACE has allowed my project to be made possible to extend our knowledge on our future forests.

The outcome of this research will help us understand how mature UK forests will respond to the rapidly rising CO2  we are expecting to see in the atmosphere in our near future.

The bigger picture of this research will allow farmers, foresters and policy makers to know how the structure and composition of our future forests may change, the main factors we should be think about regarding planting and management regimes, in addition to helping us manage and understand plant pathology of our UK tree species.  

Furthermore, this research together with other FACE sites around the world will help us predict what will happen on an international scale when combining the different types of global forest ecosystems.