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Discussion title: Variations and evolution of plant photosynthesis
Karolina Heyduk is a plant evolutionary biologist who brings together plant physiology and genomics to understand how plant traits evolve. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2015, remained there for postdoctoral work, and completed a second postdoc position at Yale University as a Donnelley Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies. She began her position as Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in January 2020, where she also serves as the Director of the Joseph F. Rock herbarium.
Description of discussion: Plants are primary producers, able to generate their own energy by chemical reactions that convert CO2 and sunlight into sugars – a process we all know as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is so integral to plants that we rarely stop to admire the wonderful ways in which plants have improved and modified this core pathway. In this talk, I’ll share fun facts about plant photosynthesis, and highlight some things we’re learning specifically about Crassulacean acid metabolism, a form of photosynthesis used by cacti and orchids alike!