Jordan Lubkeman, 2016, Undeclared

The objective of my summer internship was to help develop and use a new technique for studying leaf respiration in the light, using stable isotope measurements. Leaf respiration in the light is one important parameter in our understanding of the global carbon cycle and climate change. However, most models assume in their calculations that a plant’s respiratory metabolism occurs at the same rate in the light as it does in the dark. This might not be the case, as respiration is inhibited in the light. Data on this phenomenon have been considered too scant to be incorporated into models. Through our research, we hope to change this and improve the accuracy of those models. During my internship, I got to participate in every step of the research process. I germinated seeds and grew them into plants for experimentation, helped calibrate and perform maintenance on instruments and alter the experimental design, ran experiments and collected data, processed these data, read many journal articles, and participated in lab meetings. I learned a great deal about plant physiology, climate change and modeling, the nuances involved when working with living plants, and the many facets of academic research.