My lab investigates the evolution of plant water use and drought tolerance. Specifically we are interested in understanding the key innovations that were responsible for plants colonizing dry environments over the past 450 million years. Areas of current investigation include:
Stomatal evolution – stomata are pores on the leaves of plants that regulate water loss. We have found that major transitions in the regulation of stomata have occurred over time.
Evolution of the hormone abscisic acid – ABA is an important regulator of drought tolerance. We have found that evolution in the function and biosynthesis of ABA has played a critical role the evolution of plants into dry environments.
Evolution of xylem – xylem are dead cells that conduct water under negative tension from the soil to the leaf. We have found that evolution in xylem function and resistance to water stress has greatly facilitated the invasion of dry environments by land plants.
More information is available on the McAdam lab page: https://ag.purdue.edu/btny/mcadam/