Professor Jennifer McElwain's research group includes expertise in a broad range of scientific disciplines including paleobotany, palynology, plant ecophysiology, geology, paleoecology and plant sciences. The group is primarily interested in the role of past changes in atmospheric composition (CO2, O2, SO2) and climate in large scale patterns in plant ecology and evolution and how the acquisition of new morphological and/or anatomical traits influenced subsequent plant-atmosphere interactions and plant macroevolution. Current research projects include the development and testing of new palaeoatmospheric, palaeoclimate and palaeoelevation proxies, tracking vegetations dynamics associated with first and second order mass extinction events in Earth history, testing geochemical models of the long-term and short-term carbon cycle (particularly those associated with oceanic anoxic events), investigating the role of atmospheric oxygen in plant macroevolution and using inferences fom past plant-climate interactions to improve future flood risk prediction.
Field Work in Puerto Rico, Summer 2014
Follow UCD undergraduate student Emma Doyle's blog as she documents her experience as a plant biology field assistant on a Science Foundation Ireland expedition to Puerto Rico this summer (2014).
Science for Schools, Summer 2013
In summer 2013, two teachers, Louise Bailey and Eileen Nertney joined our research group for a behind the scenes view of plant science research at UCD. Go to Science for Schools page to download Transition Year (TY) rescources that Louise and Eileen developed based on their experience with our research team.