Dr Johannes Kromdijk Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Delivery of carbon dioxide to photosynthesis inside plant leaves is a slow, diffusion-limited process in most plants. However, plants with C4 photosynthesis have the ability to increase carbon dioxide levels inside their leaves and thereby boost the efficiency of photosynthesis, somewhat like a turbo-charger in an internal combustion engine. Using phylogenetically controlled experiments, we are trying to find out in which ways the evolution of C4 photosynthesis has affected physiological responses which are qualitatively unaltered compared to the C3 ancestral state. In this talk I will focus specifically on the regulation of microscopic pores on the leaf surface called ‘stomata’, which control gaseous exchange, as well as the regulation of light harvesting in the chloroplast thylakoids, which is important to protect against high light damage.