Dr Holly Beckett

PhD; Bachelor of Science, Honours in Biology,
Postdoctoral Fellow
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Plant Biology 3108
  • Ecological Physiology 310303

Research interests

I investigate how plants adapt to their environment, to understand how plants may respond under future climate change.

Mangroves provide critical ecosystem services from protection of coastlines and coastal communities, to their role as a carbon sink. However, severe drought, heat and rising salinity are causing an increase in large-scale mangrove death.

Hydraulic failure, the process whereby the water transport conduits of a plant fill with air leading to severe dehydration, is widely accepted as the key driver of plant mortality during drought. However, evidence suggests that the capacity to recover from drought depends on the maintenance of cellular function in the living components of the stem. Despite this, plasticity in water relations, hydraulic vulnerability and uptake of atmospheric water that underpin the maintenance of plant function during drought remain poorly resolved. 

I use a combined experimental approach to investigate how mangroves access water and manage water use across canopy organs, and how this confers drought and salinity tolerance. Doing so allows identification of vulnerabilities to water stress within and between plant tissues for better prediction of plant responses during extreme climate conditions, and identification of thresholds for survival.

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Updated:  17 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers