Director of Restoration Ecology, Associate Conservation Scientist, and David Byron Smith Family Curator of Natural Areas The Chicago Botanic Garden
Plants emerging from seeds often first interact with their environment through their embryonic root. The shape and capability of the root system to take up nutrients and water, and to interact with other organisms can mean life or death, especially in seedlings. And while there are many dozens of ways that we could characterize the root traits, often bigger is better. And how do we know all of this? Through important population studies that look at variation in root systems and how it affects survivorship, resource uptake, and interactions like competition. So, let’s explore this.