Jennifer C McElwain

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* Variation in the size and shape (physiognomy) of leaves has long been correlated to climate, and paleobotanists have used these correlations to reconstruct paleo-climate. Most studies focus on site-level means of largely nonoverlapping species sets. The sensitivity of leaf shape to climate within species is poorly known, which limits our general(More)
The species-specific inverse relation between atmospheric CO(2) concentration and stomatal frequency for many woody angiosperm species is being used increasingly with fossil leaves to reconstruct past atmospheric CO(2) levels. To extend our limited knowledge of the responsiveness of conifer needles to CO(2) fluctuations, the stomatal frequency response of(More)
Five mass extinction events have punctuated the geological record of marine invertebrate life. They are characterized by faunal extinction rates and magnitudes that far exceed those observed elsewhere in the geological record. Despite compelling evidence that these extinction events were probably driven by dramatic global environmental change, they were(More)
Several studies have attempted to determine the lower limit of atmospheric oxygen under which combustion can occur; however, none have been conducted within a fully controlled and realistic atmospheric environment. We performed experimental burns (using pine wood, moss, matches, paper, and a candle) at 20 degrees C in O2 concentrations ranging from 9 to 21%(More)
Metazoan diversification occurred during a time when atmospheric oxygen levels fluctuated between 15 and 30%. The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a primary regulator of the adaptive transcriptional response to hypoxia. Although the HIF pathway is highly conserved, its complexity increased during periods when atmospheric oxygen concentrations were(More)
Plant stomata display a wide range of short-term behavioural and long-term morphological responses to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]). The diversity of responses suggests that plants may have different strategies for controlling gas exchange, yet it is not known whether these strategies are co-ordinated in some way. Here, we test the(More)
Understanding the drivers of geological-scale patterns in plant macroevolution is limited by a hesitancy to use measurable traits of fossils to infer palaeoecophysiological function. Here, scaling relationships between morphological traits including maximum theoretical stomatal conductance (gmax ) and leaf vein density (Dv ) and physiological measurements(More)
The marine sedimentary record exhibits evidence for episodes of enhanced organic carbon burial known as 'oceanic anoxic events' (OAEs). They are characterized by carbon-isotope excursions in marine and terrestrial reservoirs and mass extinction of marine faunas. Causal mechanisms for the enhancement of organic carbon burial during OAEs are still debated,(More)
Atmospheric oxygen (O(2)) is estimated to have varied greatly throughout Earth's history and has been capable of influencing wildfire activity wherever fuel and ignition sources were present. Fires consume huge quantities of biomass in all ecosystems and play an important role in biogeochemical cycles. This means that understanding the influence of O(2) on(More)
The inverse relationship between the number of stomata on a leaf surface and the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) in which the leaf developed allows plants to optimise water-use efficiency (WUE), but it also permits the use of fossil plants as proxies of palaeoatmospheric [CO2]. The ancient conifer family Araucariaceae is often represented(More)