Ph.D. student, City University of New York / New York Botanical Garden
The spectral signature of leaves is a phenotypic manifestation that holds information about the chemistry and structure of leaves, with certain areas of this spectral fingerprint more related to one or the other of these features. There are several studies showing that the spectral signature of a leaf is a reliable trait to identify plants and to evaluate the influence of the environment on plant physiology. The overarching question of my dissertation research is how leaf spectral signatures can help us understand plant adaptations. Thus, I propose to explore the power of full-range spectra, which measure reflectance intensity from 350 to 2500 nm using a portable spectroradiometer, in order to understand the biological significance of the areas of the spectral signature as related to functional and phylogenetic variables. In addition, I will use parameters derived from spectra calculated by an inverse Bayesian algorithm, which derives physiological and structural parameters to use for statistical analysis, ecological modeling and phylogenetic signal analysis.