I am an ecophysiologist and an evolutionary biologist. I use a combination of approaches, from experimental plant physiology to phylogenetics and evolutionary models to investigate how plants adapt to different climates. For my PhD at the Université de Bordeaux (2016), I worked on the evolution of drought resistance in conifers. I am now working there again, staying involved with Naturalis as a guest researcher.
My postdoc project at Naturalis focuses on drought resistance in herbaceous plants of family Brassicaceae, and the role that positive root pressure could play in dealing with severe drought conditions and the resulting disruption of the water transport system. It's funded through NWO grant ALWOP.488.
Ecophysiology, wood anatomy, root pressure, embolism resistance, drought, evolution, Brassicaceae, herbs
My main interest is understanding how plants have become so diverse, widespread and successful even in the world's harshest environments.
We are seeing the impacts of climate change on the world's forested ecosystems, with massive fires and insect outbreaks further compounding the effects of lack of water during droughts and heatwaves. My research addresses this by studying how plants have evolved strategies to deal with the risk of hydraulic failure.
I study the link between plant hydraulics (embolism resistance, root pressure) and xylem anatomy (inter-conduit pits) and climate, all brought together in an evolutionary context, to understand how drought and aridity have shaped plant evolution in the past, and how trees and herbs will adapt, looking into the future.
A selection of the topics I am working on currently.
- M Larter, A Dunbar-Wallis, AE Berardi, SD Smith (2018) Convergent evolution at the pathway level: predictable regulatory changes during flower color transitions, Molecular biology and evolution, 35 (9), 2159-2169
- M Larter, S Pfautsch, JC Domec, S Trueba, N Nagalingum, S Delzon (2017) Aridity drove the evolution of extreme embolism resistance and the radiation of conifer genus Callitris, New Phytologist, 215 (1), 97-112
- M Larter, TJ Brodribb, S Pfautsch, R Burlett, H Cochard, S Delzon (2015) Extreme aridity pushes trees to their physical limits, Plant physiology, 168 (3), 804-807
- PS Bouche, M Larter, JC Domec, R Burlett, P Gasson, S Jansen, S Delzon (2014) A broad survey of hydraulic and mechanical safety in the xylem of conifers, Journal of Experimental Botany, 65 (15), 4419-4431