Plants require four simple things to live: water, warm temperature, light, and minerals. Most places that consist partly of these vital requirements will be hospitable environments for plants, but some have adapted to survive in extreme conditions. What can we learn from these adaptations, and can we utilize them in space exploration? How might these plants reveal what extraterrestrial life might look like? Join Jennifer McElwain, Head of the Botany Department at Trinity College Dublin, to find out more.
Jennifer McElwain holds the 1711 Chair of Botany at Trinity College Dublin's School of Natural Sciences. She is currently the Head of Botany within the School. Over the past 20 years her research and teaching have focused on the development and use of palaeobotanical methods (proxies) that use fossil plants to reconstruct the evolution of Earth's atmospheric composition and climate on multimillion year timescales. Her research team use both fossil plants and modern experimentation to investigate how fluctuations in atmospheric composition and climate have influenced plant evolution and ecology throughout Earth history.