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Dr Amanda Porter


Amanda Porter is an ERC funded postdoctoral research fellow at Trinity. She graduated from UCD with a BSc in biochemistry and molecular biology and a MSc in evolutionary biology. She then went onto complete a PhD under the supervision of Jennifer McElwain in 2017. The PhD was part of an ERC funded OXYEVOL group project which set out to investigate the role of atmospheric O2:CO2 ratios on plant evolution. The PhD research focused on the impact of varying O2:CO2 ratios on plant morphological and eco-physiological responses for their use as paleoatmospheric proxies.

Current research project: PlantSenseKit

Research conducted in controlled environment chambers (CECs) can be subject to chamber effects, these being differences between or within CECs that is not the result of a treatment but causes significant variability to the study subject. To date there is no commercial product to test or standardise the environmental conditions within and between CECs produced from the same or different manufacturers. This proof of concept grant aims to develop and commercialise the first plant-based sensor kit that will help calibrate and standardise CECs at a fraction of the cost compared to using a network of artificial sensors. It will help improve CEC architecture and will hopefully be an invaluable tool for climate change and plant research, horticulture, food security.



Selected publications

  • Porter A. S., Yiotis C., Montañez I. P. and McElwain J. C. (2017) Evolutionary differences in Δ13C detected between spore and seed bearing plants following exposure to a range of atmospheric O2:CO2 ratios; implications for paleoatmosphere reconstruction. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 213: 517–533
  • Porter, A. S., Evans-Fitz.Gerald, C., McElwain, J. C., Yiotis, C., and Elliott-Kingston, C. (2015). How well do you know your growth chambers? Testing for chamber effect using plant traits. Plant methods, 11(44):1-10
  • Steinthorsdottir, M., Porter, A. S., Holohan, A., Kunzmann, L., Collinson, M., and McElwain, J. C. (2016). Fossil plant stomata indicate decreasing atmospheric CO2 prior to the Eocene–Oligocene boundary. Climate of the Past, 12(2), 439-454
  • Evans-Fitz.Gerald, C. Porter, A. S., Yiotis, C., Elliott-Kingston, C., and McElwain, J. C. (2016). Co-ordination in morphological leaf traits of early diverging angiosperms is maintained following exposure to experimental palaeo-atmospheric conditions of sub-ambient O2 and elevated CO2. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7 (1368):1-11