Research Plant Physiologist
Contact David Woodruff
My current work explores a number of research themes. I am investigating the causes of mortality in tree seedlings at very early stages of growth and how seed sources from different regions may be better adapted to future climate regimes. I am investigating storage of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs) in trees as a means to evaluate the balance of carbon sources and sinks and as an indicator of the extent to which tree growth is limited by photosynthesis vs. other physiological processes such as constraints on cell expansion related to dehydration. I am investigating how the cells that transport sugars from one location in a tree to another are impacted by water stress and how this influences tree growth.
Tree physiology, plant stress physiology, impacts of climate change on tree growth, plant/water relations, photosynthetic gas exchange, constraints on tree growth.
My past research has examined leaf structure and function and adaptive responses that offset growth limitations. I have investigated a number of foliar anatomical and physiological parameters to assess how they are affected by water stress and the subsequent impacts on tree growth. I have also investigated adaptive responses in foliage that function to offset growth limitations that are associated with increased height, including anatomical characteristics of different types of tissue in foliage that can affect the efficiency and capacity of a range of processes, such as photosynthesis, transpiration, and water transport.
Why This Research is Important
This research provides insight into the mechanisms involved in constraints on tree growth under current conditions and how changes in climate may influence these relationships. By developing an understanding of not just the extent to which certain factors such as drought and water stress influence tree growth, but how and why these factors affect tree growth, we are able to provide foresters and other resource managers with information that can help them make better decisions and achieve certain objectives more efficiently.
- Oregon State University, Ph.D. Tree Physiology, 2008
Publications & Products
- Johnson, Daniel M.; Domec, Jean-Christophe; Woodruff, David R.; McCulloh, Katherine A.; Meinzer, Frederick C. 2013. Contrasting hydraulic strategies in two tropical lianas and their host trees.
- Sala, Anna; Woodruff, David R.; Meinzer, Fredrick C. 2012. Carbon dynamics in trees: feast or famine?.
- Johnson, Daniel M.; McCulloh, Katherine A.; Woodruff, David R.; Meinzer, Frederick C. 2012. Evidence for xylem embolism as a primary factor in dehydration-induced declines in leaf hydraulic conductance.
- Johnson, Daniel M.; McCulloh, Katherine A.; Woodruff, David R.; Meinzer, Frederick C. 2012. Hydraulic safety margins and embolism reversal in stems and leaves: Why are conifers and angiosperms so different?.
- McCulloh, Katherine A.; Woodruff, David R. 2012. Linking stomatal sensitivity and whole-tree hydraulic architecture.
- Barnard, David M.; Meinzer, Frederick C.; Lachenbruch, Barbara; McCulloh, Katherine A.; Johnson, Daniel M.; Woodruff, David R. 2011. Climate-related trends in sapwood biophysical properties in two conifers: avoidance of hydraulic dysfunction through coordinated adjustments in xylem efficiency, safety and capacitance.
- McCulloh, Katherine A.; Meinzer, Frederick C.; Sperry, John S.; Lachenbruch, Barbara; Voelker, Steven L.; Woodruff, David R.; Domec, Jean-Christophe. 2011. Comparative hydraulic architecture of tropical tree species representing a range of successional stages and wood density.
- Woodruff, David R.; Meinzer, Frederick C. 2011. Water stress, shoot growth and storage of non-structural carbohydrates along a tree height gradient in a tall conifer.
- Meinzer, Frederick C.; McCulloh, Katherine A.; Lachenbruch, Barbara; Woodruff, David R.; Johnson, Daniel M. 2010. The blind men and the elephant: the impact of context and scale in evaluating conflicts between plant hydraulic safety and efficiency.