The Arnold Arboretum is pleased to announce that Dr. Guang-You Hao was awarded a Putnam Fellowship to conduct independent research utilizing the Arboretum’s living collection. Dr. Hao received his PhD from the University of Miami and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2010 where his work focused on the hydraulic properties of tropical plants in an ecological context. As Putnam Fellow, Dr. Hao will focus on the conifer collection to compare the ecophysiology of evergreen and deciduous conifers, investigating whether differences in growth form and foliage persistence may influence the ability to colonize or adapt to specific environments.
Most conifers are evergreen, and deciduous conifers are confined to wetter environments. Dr. Hao aims to understand the physiological trade-offs inherent in determining whether plants hold or shed their leaves. Preliminary data collected at the Arboretum indicate that both the structural and mechanical properties of xylem are distinct in the two types. These distinct properties may play a role in increased sensitivity to drought and increased levels of hydraulic conductivity (movement of water through the plant) observed in deciduous conifers. During his Putnam Fellowship, Dr. Hao will use a phylogenetic context to make detailed comparisons of the structural, physiological, and mechanical properties of these two growth habits toward a more enhanced understanding of how plants in each category will fare in a changing climate.
The Katharine H. Putnam Fellowships in Plant Science are made possible by the generosity of George and Nancy Putnam through the Putnam Fellows Fund.