Inaugural Lecture - Prof. Charlotte Grossiord


Event details

Date 13.12.2022
Hour 17:1518:45
Speaker Prof. Charlotte Grossiord
Location Online
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English
Date: 13 December 2022
  • 17:15-17:25 Introduction by the Dean
  • 17:25-17:55 Prof. Charlotte Grossiord
  • 18:00-18:10 Introduction by the Dean
  • 18:10-18:40 Prof. Julia Schmale
  • 18:40-18:45 Closure
  • 18:45 Aperitif
Place: CO 2
Zoom link

"Exploring forest physiology to better address climate change"

As surface temperatures rise, periodic droughts are more often associated with elevated air temperatures leading to a novel type of “atmospheric drought”. Heat exacerbates drought conditions during hot droughts because of increased atmospheric demand for water (i.e., vapor pressure deficit, VPD), resulting in considerable physiological alterations in plants. Recently, hotter droughts have been associated with large-scale tree die-back, reduced forest productivity, and increased wildfire incidence. However, the physiological responses of trees to heat and drought driving carbon, water, and nutrient exchange at multiple time scales are not resolved. While much of our attention has been directed towards forest responses to soil drought acting in isolation, the independent role of high temperature and VPD and the compound impacts of heat and lack of precipitation remain poorly explored. In the Plant Ecology Research Laboratory PERL, we aim to understand the processes driving forest responses to drought exacerbation with global warming. Through a combination of experimental, observational, and modeling approaches at multiple temporal and spatial scales, we assess how heat and drought alter the physiological functions of trees and forests as a whole. In this presentation, I will illustrate how PERL contributes to this general goal by shielding light on the mechanisms driving forest vulnerability to climate change.

About the speaker
How does global warming affect trees – and thus the essential functions and services provided for humans by forests? Charlotte Grossiord, a plant physiologist, specializing in the carbon and hydraulic functioning of trees, has been investigating this question throughout her entire scientific career. She received her Ph.D. in 2015 from INRAE and the University of Lorraine (France), where she examined the functional significance of forest biodiversity in the context of global warming. From 2015-2018, Charlotte Grossiord was a Director’s fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL, USA), where she investigated how forests respond to the worsening of droughts with higher temperatures and its feedback to the global carbon and water cycle. After obtaining an SNSF Ambizione Career grant, she joined the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research WSL (Switzerland) in 2018. In 2020, EPFL and WSL jointly appointed her tenure-track assistant professor. She is now leading the Plant Ecology Research Laboratory PERL.

Practical information

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  • SSIE - Christina Treier