Plants and the Atmosphere: Air Pollution to Climate Change

Botanist and plant ecologist Jim Nellessen discusses his knowledge of air pollution and climate change impacts to plants. His career has encompassed numerous aspects of how human-induced environmental changes have impacted plants, ranging from air pollution to coal mining. He has been employed by the New Mexico Environment Department, Air Quality Bureau for 10 years. Jim will talk about his early years of research on plants and air pollution, including research performed while working on his Master’s Degree from Virginia Tech. He will talk about how air pollutants damage plants with special focus on ozone (O3). The U.S. EPA recently increased the stringency of the ambient ozone standards, which will benefit not only humans but also our plants. Finally, Jim will spend some time discussing climate change and the complexities of greenhouse gas impacts to photosynthesis, subsequent ecological interactions between species, and plant phenology.