Plant Thermal Tolerance


Over the last 100 years, researchers have sought to understand plant thermal tolerance to improve food security, predict native vegetation response to changing environmental conditions, and gain insights into fundamental evolution and ecology. However, it remains unclear whether techniques for assessing thermal tolerance are standardized enough to enable comparison among species or generalizations about productivity and survival.

To this end, we conducted a large-scale collaborative systematic review of almost 25,000 published papers. We asked questions about whether or how generalities can be achieved across agricultural and ecological research fields when investigating the thermal tolerance of leaves and buds in land plants. This research is critical going forward, as we seek to assess thermal tolerance with maximal efficiency and effect in the face of rapid climate change.

This manuscript was published in New Phytologist in 2020.

We are now conducting a meta-regression based off this dataset to assess how well these thermal tolerance estimates correlate with extreme rather than average environmental conditions, and also to evaluate how comparable the different thermal tolerance metrics are.