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Scott McAdam

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Assistant Professor
Lilly Hall Room B-338

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:

Selected Publications

Cardoso, A. A., Randall, J. M., & McAdam, S. (2019). Hydraulics regulate stomatal responses to changes in leaf water status in the fern athyrium filix-femina. Plant Physiology, 179(2), 533-543. doi:10.1104/pp.18.01412

McAdam, S., & Cardoso, A. A. (2019). The recurrent evolution of extremely resistant xylem. 76(1). doi:10.1007/s13595-018-0786-7

Sussmilch, F. C., Atallah, N. M., Brodribb, T. J., Banks, J. A., & McAdam, S. (2017). Abscisic acid (ABA) and key proteins in its perception and signaling pathways are ancient, but their roles have changed through time. PLANT SIGNALING & BEHAVIOR, 12(9). doi:10.1080/15592324.2017.1365210

Cardoso, A. A., Randall, J. M., Jordan, G. J., & McAdam, S. (2018). Extended differentiation of veins and stomata is essential for the expansion of large leaves in Rheum rhabarbarum. American Journal of Botany, 105(12), 1967-1974. doi:10.1002/ajb2.1196

McAdam, S., & Brodribb, T. J. (2018). Mesophyll cells are the main site of abscisic acid biosynthesis in water-stressed leaves. Plant Physiology, 177(3), 911-917. doi:10.1104/pp.17.01829

McAdam, S., Brodribb, T. J., Banks, J. A., Hedrich, R., Atallah, N. M., Cai, C., . . . Sussmilch, F. C. (2016). Abscisic acid controlled sex before transpiration in vascular plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(45), 12862-12867. doi:10.1073/pnas.1606614113

McAdam, S., & Brodribb, T. J. (2016). Linking turgor with ABA biosynthesis: Implications for stomatal responses to vapor pressure deficit across land plants. Plant Physiology, 171(3), 2008-2016. doi:10.1104/pp.16.00380

McAdam, S., Sussmilch, F. C., & Brodribb, T. J. (2016). Stomatal responses to vapour pressure deficit are regulated by high speed gene expression in angiosperms. Plant Cell and Environment, 39(3), 485-491. doi:10.1111/pce.12633

Brodribb, T. J., McAdam, S., Jordan, G. J., & Martins, S. C. V. (2014). Conifer species adapt to low-rainfall climates by following one of two divergent pathways. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(40), 14489-14493. doi:10.1073/pnas.1407930111

McAdam, S., & Brodribb, T. J. (2012). Stomatal innovation and the rise of seed plants. Ecology Letters, 15(1), 1-8. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01700.x

Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

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