SAFL faculty, staff, and students
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 3:30pm

James Cotner, Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota

Most of us take for granted how much biology has shaped our world. Although there are 100-plus elements in the periodic table, only about 20 of them are required for life and it is these 20 elements that living things and living systems are continually manipulating, redistributing and recycling. Nonetheless, living things are constantly responding to their physical-chemical environment. In this seminar, I will discuss a fundamental biological process, growth, that affects the relative abundance of different elements in microbial biomass. In addition, we will examine how variations in the physical-chemical environment can alter the biomass composition of these and other organisms. One of the key variables that affects stoichiometry is temperature with obvious implications from climate change. Lastly, we will discuss how increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increasing temperatures may be fundamentally changing the stoichiometry of all organisms, from microbes to humans.