Plant species adaptation to high irradiances in the French Alps

Among plant species there are large differences in photoprotection against high irradiance and UV radiation. To explore how these differences are driven by taxonomic relatedness, geographical origin, and local environment we compared a huge database of plant species growing in alpine and boreal botanical gardens.

Hartikainen SM, Robson TM (2022) The roles of species’ relatedness and climate of origin in determining optical leaf traits over large set of taxa from high elevation and latitude. Frontiers in Plant Science 13 .

Santa Neimane and Twinkle Solanki recording diurnal patterns in leaf optical properties of alpine plants under UV filters

The Station Alpin du Lautaret in the French Alps, is a Research Platform for long-term ecological studies under the framework of Horizon 2020 Transnational Access – who funded our research visit through the French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS.


Pedro J Aphalo measures solar radiation; to better understand how reflection from the snow pack affects exposure of plants in the environment.


We collaborated with José Ignacio García Plazaola and Beatriz Fernandez-Marin from the University of the Basque-Country, to study how plants response to the steep increases in UV radiation that they receive on emergence from under snow cover in spring.

By characterising the patterns of response to UV radiation in terms of the photoprotection and UV-screening of plants across a diversity of species, we hope to better understand how and why these response evolved and what environmental cues underpin their induction.

Solanki T, García Plazaola JI, Robson TM*, Fernandez-Marin B* (2022) Comparative Assessment of Changes in Leaf Transmittance in Alpine Plant Species Following Freezing. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.

Fernández-Marín B, Sáenz A, Solanki T, Robson TM, García-Plazaola JI, (2021) Alpine forbs rely on different photoprotective strategies during spring snow melt. Physiologia Plantarum. 172, 1506-1517.

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