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Colin Osborne

Colin Osborne
Principal Investigator

E-mail: c.p.osborne@sheffield.ac.uk

Link to departmental webpage

Colin has been in Sheffield for twenty years, as postdoc, Royal Society Research Fellow, and latterly an academic. Before that, he obtained a PhD in plant ecophysiology from the University of Essex, and a BSc in Plant Sciences from the University of Manchester.

Colin’s research investigates how physiological diversity in wild plants arises from evolutionary and ecological processes, and how physiological mechanisms underpin these species differences. Photosynthesis and growth are of particular interest, since the productivity of photosynthetic organisms is the energetic basis for almost all life on Earth. How have evolutionary innovations influenced the productivity of wild species? And how did domestication by humans boost the productivity of our crop plants?

Work in these areas is multi-disciplinary, spanning global ecological analyses, phylogenetic investigations across evolutionary timescales, experimental physiological work comparing multiple species, and genomic investigations of plant evolution (usually in collaboration with others!).

Recent research has investigated the evolution of Cphotosynthesis in tropical environments and taken global and regional perspectives on crop domestication. This work shows that allocation and size play critical roles in addition to the expected effects of photosynthesis on growth, and emphasises the importance of taking a whole organism perspective on physiological processes.