Bocas del Toro Research Station

Research Projects

Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn

PhD candidate
Colorado State University

Plant arsenic hyperaccumulation: functional significance and ecological impacts

Recent research has increased our understanding of plants that accumulate unusually large amounts of metals, termed hyperaccumulators. I am interested in the ecology of hyperaccumulating plants, specifically the functional significance of hyperaccumulation and the mechanisms involved in metal uptake. It is fascinating that some plants accumulate large amounts of metals, and my research focuses on understanding why this characteristic evolved, and the consequences for other organisms interacting with hyperaccumulators. In addition, some hyperaccumulators secrete and obscure form of organic phosphorous to make metal more bioavailable for uptake. Closely examining the root secretions of hyperaccumulators may provide insight into the origin of some soil organic phosphorous. Continued research and understanding of metal uptake mechanisms may also play a key role in the ability to use plants to clean up metal polluted environments.

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