Published: March 24, 2016
Kayla measuring and sampling plants from an observatory tower

Throughout the fall of 2014 I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Australia with the School for International Training.  Upon arriving ‘down under’, I was granted the exciting opportunity to conduct research at Australia’s largest climate change facility, the Eucalyptus Free-Air CO2 Enrichment experiment (EucFACE). The experiment manipulates carbon levels in order to create an environment that parallels the predicted atmospheric CO2 concentration for 2050. The goal of the project is to predict how mature native plants will react to changing external conditions.  I am interested in evaluating the impact of anthropogenic activity on the environment, specifically atmospheric conditions, from an ecological lens. My honors thesis focuses on the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 on mature plant processes in a native Eucalyptus forest. I examined photosynthetic rates, respiration rates, plant water use efficiency, and growth rates. Dr. David Ellsworth, the Scientific Lead, oversaw my research at EucFACE.  Currently, I am working on my undergraduate honors thesis with Dr. Barbara Demmig-Adams at CU Boulder. The incredible opportunity to conduct an honors thesis has reinforced my love of learning and continues to spark my scientific curiosity.