Emma Chandler

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Central

  • Organization
    North Dakota State University

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I AM INTERESTED IN HOW PLANTS RESPOND TO CLIMATE CHANGE, WHETHER THAT MEANS SHIFTING RANGES, ADAPTING TO LOCAL CONDITIONS, OR ACCLIMATING. CURRENTLY MY FOCUS IS ON THE EVOLUTION OF TEMPERATURE TOLERANCE IN SOLANUM CAROLINENSE (HORSENETTLE). HORSENETTLE IS A WEED THAT ORIGINATED IN THE CAROLINAS BUT HAS SINCE SPREAD TO ALMOST ALL OF THE STATES IN THE CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES. THIS WIDE RANGE SUGGESTS THAT THIS SPECIES HAS IN SOME WAY MANAGED TO WITHSTAND A WIDE RANGE OF TEMPERATURE REGIMES. I AM INTERESTED IN HOW THIS SPECIES SURVIVES THE BONE-CHILLING WINTERS IN MINNESOTA TO THE SEARING, HOT SUMMERS IN TEXAS AND WHETHER THIS IS DUE TO LOCAL ADAPTATION OR ACCLIMATION. ADAPTATION OCCURS WHEN NATURAL SELECTION FAVORS THE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE BEST SUITED FOR THAT ENVIRONMENT. AS AN EXAMPLE, WE WOULD EXPECT THAT IN TEXAS, ONLY HORSENETTLES TOLERANT OF HIGH HEAT WOULD SURVIVE AND REPRODUCE TO PASS ON THEIR GENES WITH HIGH HEAT TOLERANCE. EVENTUALLY, MOST HORSENETTLES IN TEXAS WOULD HAVE THE HIGH HEAT TOLERANCE TRAITS. ADAPTATION, THEREFORE, IS A SHIFT IN THE GENETIC MAKEUP OF A POPULATION IN RESPONSE TO LOCAL CONDITIONS. ACCLIMATION OCCURS WHEN THE PHENOTYPE (WHAT GENES CODE FOR AND WHAT WE OBSERVE) OF AN INDIVIDUAL CHANGES DEPENDING ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS. THIS IS KNOWN AS PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY, OR ONE SET OF GENES PRODUCING SEVERAL DIFFERENT PHENOTYPES IN RESPONSE TO THE ENVIRONMENT. IN THIS CASE, THE GENETIC MAKEUP OF A POPULATION ISN’T CHANGING. UNDERSTANING HOW PLANTS RESPOND TO THESE EXTREME TEMPERATURES WILL HELP US PREDICT FUTURE SPECIED DISTRIBUTION, FIND WAYS TO SELECT MORE TOLERANT CROPS, AND ANTICIPATE THE DANGERS THAT PLANT SPECIES FACE AS CLIMATE CHANGE CONTINUES TO ALTER OUR SURROUNDINGS.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    Currently, my favorite plants are in the Castilleja genus and are commonly known as Indian paintbrushes. These plants are gorgeous with very unique flower heads that come in many different colors depending on the species. A super cool fact about these plants is that they are partially parasitic, meaning that they leach nutrients and sugars off of other plants through the roots.

  • Profile Question 2
    What was the first science experiment you ever designed? How did it turn out?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    The first experiment I ever designed was measuring the temperature inside anthills during the winter. I am originally from Montana and it gets pretty cold there during the winter. So, I hypothesized that if ants are capable of surviving over the winter in ground that freezes, then they must have a way to heat and keep their anthill above the freezing temperatures of the surrounding soil. After placing temperature sensors in the anthills, I found that that was not the case. The anthills ended up being colder than the surrounding ground- most likely because they stick up in the air, which is often much cooler than the ground. I learned a lot of lessons doing this first experiment. One lesson was that things don't always go how you expect them to, but that in and of itself is a result. Another lesson was that things don't always go how you want them to go. I had one temperature sensor that died in the middle of the experiment, so I lost a lot of data. Of course I was upset, but that sometimes happens in science and you just have to roll with the punches, try to solve problems when they arise, and do what you can with what you have. Lastly, I learned how fun it is to solve a problem on your own, especially when the answer isn't out there yet, and then to share it with other people and make them excited about your work too. Science is cool!!

  • Profile Question 3
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    There are so many cool things about plants, but I will only share one thing that I think is pretty cool. Bee orchids, or Ophrys apifera, have flowers with a pattern and shape that resemble a female bee. Instead of producing nectar as a pollinator reward, this sneaky flower fools a male bee into thinking that it is a female bee and a potential mate. The male, attracted to the "female bee" attempts to mate with the modified petals of the flower, all the while getting covered in pollen. Once the bee realizes that something is wrong, it leaves looking for another mate and possibly another bee orchid to deliver the pollen load. Tricky flower! I highly suggest looking up a picture or video of this plant, because it is pretty cool!

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    2

Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.