Craig Brodersen, doctoral candidate at the University of Vermont, is using Montgomery  Botanical
Center’s (MBC) extensive palm and cycad collections for his research on photosynthesis. Palms and cycads, many of which are well adapted to a high light environment, are good study species for this work. Cycads are key to this study because they proliferated during the Mesozoic Era, a time of high atmospheric carbon dioxide. By investigating cycads in this way, Mr. Brodersen’s research can illuminate how deep plant lineages cope with changes in atmospheric conditions.

While here, Mr. Brodersen presented A New Paradigm in Leaf-level Photosynthesis: Direct and Diffused Light Are Not Created Equal. The photo at right shows Mr. Brodersen and the laser-powered apparatus he designed to investigate how leaves function under different light conditions. (Photo, courtesy Nathan Poirier)