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Joy Ward



  • Higher Ed: Science 


I am interested in understanding how global change factors influence the physiology, population structure, and evolution of plants. My laboratory group focuses on the effects of global change factors that alter plant resource availability, such as rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, changing precipitation regimes, and increasing temperatures. In addition to studying how global changes affect the population structure of future plants, we are also investigating how plants have responded to past global changes, such as during ice ages. The tools that we use span from those used in ecosystem ecology to modern molecular biology, and include both laboratory and field approaches. Furthermore, we also apply stable isotope techniques in order to make long-term linkages between resource-use by plants and climate. I have also had a long-term dedication to training the next generation of ecologists, and I work to mentor and support students from under-represented populations for entry into my field of study. 


Plant Physiological Ecology 


Gonzalez-Meler MA, E Blanc-Betes, CE Flower, JK Ward, N Gomez-Casanovas. In press. Plastic and adaptive responses of plant respiration to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Physiologia Plantarum.

Ward JK, DA Myers, RB Thomas. 2008. Physiological and growth responses of C3 and C4 plants to reduced temperature when grown at low CO2 of the last ice age. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 50:1388-1395.

Springer CJ, RA Orozco, JK Kelly, JK Ward. 2008. Elevated CO2 influences the expression of floral-initiation genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytologist 178: 243-255.

Marchin RM, EL Sage, JK Ward. 2008. Population-level variation of Fraxinus americana L. (white ash) is influenced by precipitation differences across the native range. Tree Physiology 28: 151-159.

Springer CJ, JK Ward. 2007. Flowering time and elevated CO2. Invited Tansley Review. New Phytologist 176: 243-255.

Ward JK, JM Harris, TE Cerling, A Wiedenhoeft, MJ Lott, M-D Dearing, JB Coltrain, JR Ehleringer. 2005. Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the La Brea tar pits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102: 690-694 (described in the New York Times).

Ward JK. 2005. Evolution and growth of plants in a low CO2 world. In: A History of Atmospheric CO2 and Its Effects on Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems, eds: Ehleringer J, T Cerling and D Dearing. Springer-Verlag, pp. 232-257.

Ward JK, J Kelly. 2004. Scaling up evolutionary responses to elevated CO2: Lessons from Arabidopsis. Ecology Letters 7: 427-440.