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Waking Before the Snow Melts? Insights into the Seasonal Patterns of Photosynthesis in Evergreen Forests

Troy Magney, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis

Oct 30 2023 | 11:00am to 12:00pm PT Bren Hall 1414 / Online

Troy Magney stands on a platform in the snow
Troy Magney

An exciting new leader in plant systems and remote sensing, Troy is uniquely adept at cross-scale analyses, using leaf-to-satellite data to draw novel insights into global vegetation dynamics.
—Joan Dudney, Assistant Professor, Bren School

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Climate change has led to dramatic changes in the seasonal timing and magnitude of photosynthesis in evergreen needleleaf forests (ENFs). This has major implications for the carbon cycle, as an earlier onset to photosynthesis in the spring can lead to increased carbon uptake throughout the growing season; while in some cases, an early depletion of water reserves can lead to early photosynthetic cessation. Despite this importance, determining the start and end of the growing season in ENFs is challenging due to a lack of field measurements and difficulty interpreting satellite data. Here, I will show how a multi-scale approach can help reconcile these challenges with needle, tower and satellite remote sensing data at four different ENF sites across a large latitudinal gradient (Florida, Alaska, Colorado, Saskatchewan). Additionally, I will discuss how a model-data fusion approach can predict the onset of drought in the Sierra Nevada. Taken together, these approaches allow us to probe the spectral biology of evergreen forests, advancing our understanding of how climate change is impacting changes in the carbon cycle of ENFs.


Troy Magney is the Principal Investigator of the Plant Optics Lab at UC Davis. The lab seeks to better understand how photons bounce off or come from plants, and use this to monitor plant productivity and stress at large scales (i.e. ecosystem ecology).  Prior to joining UC Davis in 2020, Troy was a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he also did a joint postdoc at Caltech, and obtained his PhD in forestry at the University of Idaho. He likes pop music, whitewater, and tinkering.


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