by Jonathan Wilson, assistant professor of biology
Editor’s Note: Last semester Jon joined program Chairman Helen White, chemistry professor, and Nikhil Anand, anthropology professor, in the college’s new environmental studies interdisciplinary program which aims to bring students and faculty together to explore the interactions among earth systems, human societies, and local and global environments. This article is taken from the arboretum newsletter.
I’m a new tenure-track faculty member in the Biology Department, and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I came to Haverford last summer as part of the new Tri-Co (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore) Environmental Studies program after two years as a geobiology postdoc at the California Institute of Technology. I did my undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University in computer science and Earth and planetary sciences, and at Harvard University wrote my dissertation on the physiology of extinct plants.
My primary area of interest is using mathematical modeling to quantify the trade-offs plants make to maximize carbon dioxide uptake and minimize water loss.
Four Haverford biology majors are working on their senior thesis projects in the lab: Kelsey Capron, Emily Dutrow, Anna Rayne, and Rebecca Tobet. Our current lab projects include: the comparative physiology of leafless ferns, investigating whether leaf fossils faithfully record deep-time environmental change, vascular plant response to simulated herbivory, and the biomechanics and cell wall chemistry of sphenopsid fossils
We will be working closely with the Arboretum staff, which has provided crucial support for plant science in the biology curriculum. As projects develop, you’ll hear more. Stay tuned to this space!