BNL Home

Alistair Rogers

Research Interests

My research aims to improve understanding of the mechanisms that underlie whole plant and ecosystem responses to global change, and to improve representation of these processes in Terrestrial Biosphere Models. My current work is focused on understanding and model representation of photosynthesis and respiration in Arctic and tropical ecosystems.  My research has covered many natural and managed ecosystems including row and forage crops, decidous and evergreen temperate trees, and most recently Arctic tundra and tropical rainforests.  I'm a whole plant physiologist and my research, whilst focused on photosynthesis, also considers processes down stream of carbon acquistion that can have important feedbacks on photosynthesis and plant growth, specifically whole plant source-sink balance and carbon and nitrogen metabolism. My earlier work was centered on the response of plants to elevated carbon dioxide concentration, in particular, Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments where plants were exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in their natural environment.  My interest in understanding plant responses to global change continues in the Arctic where I am using novel passively warmed field enclosures to study the impact of elevated temperature on Arctic photosynthesis and respiration. I am also interested in measuring plant functional traits using spectroscopy to enable non-destructive, high-throughput, measurements that can be scaled from the leaf to the landscape.

Recent Publications

Full Publication List »

  • Katte J, Bönisch G, Díaz S, Lavoreal S, Prentice IC, Leadley P, Tautenhahm S, Werner GDA, Aakala T, Abedi M et al (2019) TRY plant trait database - enhanced coverage and open access. Global Chnage Biology In Press.
  • Koven CD, Knox RG, Fisher RA, Chambers J, Christoffersen BO, Davies SJ, Detto M, Dietze MC, Faybishenko B, Holm J, Huang M, Kovenock M, Kueppers LM, Lemieux G, Massoud E, McDowell NG, Muller-Landau HC, Needham JF, Norby RJ, Powell T, Rogers A, Serbin SP, Shuman JF, Swann ALS, Varadharajan C, Walker AP, Wright SJ, Xu C (2019) Benchmarking and parameter sensitivity of physiological and vegetation dynamics using the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES) at Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Biogeosciences. In Discussion.
  • Wu J, Serbin SP, Ely KS, Wolfe BT, Dickman LT, Grossiord C, Michaletz ST, Collins AD, Detto M, McDowell NG, Wright SJ, Rogers A (2019) The response of stomatal conductance to seasonal drought in tropical forests. Global Change Biology. In Press.
  • Serbin SP, Wu J, Ely KS, Kruger EL, Townsend PA, Meng R, Wolfe BT, Chlus A, Wang Z, Rogers A (2019) From the Arctic to the tropics: multi-biome prediction of leaf mass per area using reflectance. New Phytologist. 224, 1557-1568.
  • Kumarathunge DP Medlyn BE, Drake JE, Rogers A, Tjoelker MG (2019) No evidence for triose phosphate limitation of light saturated leaf photosynthesis under current atmospheric CO2 concentration. Plant, Cell & Environment. In Press.
  • Wu J, Rogers A, Albert LP, Ely K, Prohaska N, Wolfe BT, Oliveira RC, Saleska SR, Serbin SP (2019) Leaf reflectance spectroscopy captures variation in carboxylation capacity across species, canopy environment, and leaf age in lowland moist tropical forests. New Phytologist. 222, 663-674.
  • Burnett AC, Davidson K, Serbin SP, Rogers A (2019) The 'one-point method' for estimating maximum carboxylation capacity of photosynthesis: a cautionary tale. Plant, Cell & Environment. 42, 2472-2481.
  • Rogers A, Serbin SP, Ely KS, Wullschleger SD (2019) Terrestrial biosphere models may overestimate Arctic CO2 assimilation if they do not account for decreased quantum yield and convexity at low temperature. New Phytologist. 223, 167-179.
  • Ely KS, Burnett AC, Lieberman-Cribbin W, Serbin SP, Rogers A (2019) Spectroscopy can predict key leaf traits associated with source-sink balance and carbon-nitrogen status. Journal of Experimental Botany. 70, 1789-1799.
  • Karamathuge DP, Medlyn BE, Drake JE, Tjoelker MG, Aspinwall MJ, Battaglia M, Cano FJ, Carter KR, Cavaleri MA, Cernusak LA, Chamber JQ, Crous KY, De Kauwe MG, Dillaway DN, Dreyer E, Ellsworth DS, Ghannoum O, Han Q, Hikosaka K, Jensen AM, Kelly JWG, Kruger EL, Mercado LM, Onoda Y, Reich PB, Rogers A, Slot M, Smith NG, Tarvainen L, Tissue DT, Togashi HF, Tribuzy ES, Uddling J, Varhammar A, Wallin G, Warren JM, Way DA (2019) Acclimation and adaptation components of the temperature dependence of plant photosynthesis at the global scale. New Phytologist. 222, 768-784.
  • Dickman LT, McDowell NG, Grossiord C, Collins AD, Wolfe BT, Detto M, Wright SJ, Medina-Vega JA, Goodsman D, Rogers A, Serbin SP, Wu J, Ely KS, Michaletz ST, Xu C, Kueppers L, Chambers JQ (2019) Homeostatic maintenance of non-structural carbohydrates during the 2015-2016 El Nino drought across a tropical forest precipitation gradient. Plant, Cell & Environment. 42, 1705-1714.
  • Smith NG, Keenan TF, Prentice IC, Wang H, Wright IJ, Niinemets U, Crous KY, Domingues TF, Guerrieri R, Ishida FY, Kattge J, Kruger EL, Maire V, Rogers A, Serbin SP, Tarvainen L, Togashi HF, Townsend PA,Wang M, Weerasinghe LK, Zhou SX (2019) Global photosynthetic capacity is optimized to the environment. Ecology Letters. 22, 506-517.

Recent Invited Talks

  • 2019 Improving representation of photosynthesis in Earth System Models. Gordon Research Conference, CO2 assimilation from genome to biome. Newry, MA, USA
  • 2018 From the Arctic to the tropics, improving representation of photosynthesis in Earth system models. Western University, London, ON, Canada.
  • 2018 Plants and Climate Change. Community BBQ and Science Presentation. Utqiagvik, AK.
  • 2017 Low apparent quantum yield in Arctic plants suggests that terrestrial biosphere models will over estimate carbon assimilation at high lattitudes. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA, USA.
  • 2017 The representation of photosynthesis in terrestrial biosphere models. Chemistry Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA.
  • 2017 The representation of photosynthesis in terrestrial biosphere models. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
  • 2017 The representation of photosynthesis in Earth system models. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Climate & Global Dynamics Seminar Series, Boulder, CO, USA.
  • 2017 A roadmap for improving the representation of photosynthesis in Earth system models. Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments - Tropics Monthly Science Talk (on line).


  • Ph.D. Biology, 1998, University of Essex, UK.
  • B.Sc. Biochemistry & Botany, 1994, University of Wales, Bangor, UK.

Alistair Rogers

Group Leader, Terrestrial Ecosystem Science & Technology Group
Environmental Sciences Department
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton, NY 11973-5000

phone: +1 (631) 344-2948
twitter: @TESTgroup_BNL