Adaptive origins

Silicon is a beneficial nutrient that allows grasses to better withstand solar radiation, salinity, toxic metals, pathogens, herbivores, and other stresses. Among angiosperms, grasses are perhaps the best known Si-accumulators and have been recorded having leaf dry weight composed of > 10% Si!

By combining laboratory and field studies with conceptual synthesis and meta-analysis, I hope to improve our understanding of why grasses incorporate such impressive amounts of silica (SiO2) phytoliths into their aboveground tissues.

Recent interest in this topic has led to special issues of Frontiers in Plant Science and Functional Ecology!