Department of Biology

Faculty Research

Plant Ecophysiology Laboratory

Dennis A Gravatt, PhD

Stephen F. Austin State University
Department of Biology
Box 13003 SFA Station Nacogdoches, TX 75962
Office: 936-468-3601

     To be a plant physiologist you need to understand botany, ecology, chemistry, cell biology, and mathematics. Because plant physiologists support scientists in other disciplines, they need to know about biochemistry, meteorology, horticulture, economics, philosophy and the human condition, politics and history. My research efforts are directed toward advancing our knowledge of plant ecology and physiology. Broadly defined, my research interests include the study of the impact of environmental stress on plants. Current and predicted changes in the environment underscore the importance of understanding the interaction of plants with their environment. Discover how environmental changes, caused in part by man, affect the physiology of plants!

Potential Areas of Study

● The effects of environmental stress (e.g., drought, flood, pollutants etc.) on photosynthesis are the focal point of past and current work on carbon uptake by plants.

● Discover the explanations for the physiological and morphological adaptations of plants to the desert habitat. Most of this research features succulents, especially members of the genus Sedum, many of which have a unique photosynthetic pathway.

● “Cloning” has been around in the plant kingdom for a long time. Learn how the physiology, morphology and anatomy of developing plantlets of the genus Sedum allow these vegetative propagules to survive. In addition, I am interested in the physiological ecology of all species found on shallow soils through out the United States.

● Not all research in my lab is with succulent plants. I search for answers to questions relating to the physiological and ecological adaptations of plants to stress. Such studies include biochemical and morphological response to flooding and physiological responses to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Undergraduate and Graduate Projects

• Physiology of Propagules from a Madagascar Succulent (Bryoplyllum)

• Morphological Development of Plantlets: Shoot System, Especially Stomata Distribution, Root System, Root Cap and Geotropic Response of Roots

• Stomatal Patterns and Anthocyanin Accumulation in a Texas Desert Rock Outcrop Species (Sedum wrightii)

• Light Microscopy of Propagule Vascular Formation With Respect to the Mother Leaf in Sedum wrightii

• Physiology of a non-succulent spiderwort, Tradescantia brevifolia (Torrey) Rose, co-occurring with Sedum wrightii on a Texas Rock Outcrop: Photosynthesis and Water Relations

• Vegetative Propagule Success of a Threatened Texas Desert Plant, Lenophyllym texanum

• Physiological and Genetic Variability in Red Maple (Acer rubrum): Flood Tolerance

• A Microscopic Study of the Vascular Development in Plantlets in Relation to the Parent Leaf of Lenophyllum texanum using Light Microscopy

• Root Respiration Rates of Desert Succulents

• Effect of UV-B Light on the Physiology of Plants and the Anthocyanin Accumulation in Roots and Leaves

• Ecological Significance of Asexual Reproduction, Using Field and Molecular Studies, and Comparative Study with other Species

• Physiology and ecology of a Texas pitcher plant, Sarracennia alata

• Environmental and Biochemical Limitations on Photosynthetic Capacity in Stressful Environments

• Plus, many more!


Stephen F. Austin State University . The College of Science and Mathematics  

 Department of Biology   ||   Phone: 936.468.3601   ||