Dawn S. Neuman

Associate Professor and Associate Chair
Ph.D., University of Washington, 1989

Plant Physiology: root development, physiological adaptations of plants to environmental stress.


The research in my laboratory centers on the physiology of plants, especially plant responses to changes in the environment. I have studied the effects of environmental stress on many aspects of growth and metabolism from cellular-molecular levels of organization to whole plant growth responses.

A complete picture of the physiology of plants is needed before we can direct plant responses to the environment. By looking at the system as a whole, we begin to understand mechanisms for coordination of whole plant responses to environmental stress.

Recently, much of my work has been directed at trying to understand the coordinated functions of shoots and roots. Chemical factors that are transported between plant parts may have an important influence on the integrative physiology of plants. Although a great deal is known about the physiology of plants, with regard to the chemical integration between roots and shoots there are more questions than answers. Among the important questions that remain unanswered are: (1) How similar are the control mechanisms from one plant to the next? (2) Does integration occur through a single substance or a complex of two or more substances? (3) Do hormonal substances act as integrators or are nutritional factors important?

Currently, we are comparing crosses between specific bean genotypes from different geographic centers of origin in which Fl plants are dwarfed. This hybrid dwarfing is controlled by independent root and shoot effects. Studies using these plants may allow us to further understand the integration between roots and shoots.


Neuman, D. S. and B. A. Smit (1993) Root-hypoxia induced changes in the pattern of translatable mRNAs in poplar leaves. Journal of Experimental Botany (in press).

Neuman, D. S. (1993) Shoot responses to root stress: A resource gathering point of view. Journal of Arboriculture 19: 118-124.

Neuman, D. S. and B. A. Smit (1991) The influence of leaf water status and ABA on leaf growth and stomata of Phaseolus seedlings with hypoxic roots. Journal of Experimental Botany 42: 1499-1506.

Neuman, D. S., S, B, Rood and B. A. Smit (1990) Does cytokinin transport from root to shoot in xylem sap regulate leaf responses to root hypoxia? Journal of Experimental Botany 41: 13251333.

Neuman, D. S. and B. A. Smit (1990) Stomatal responses to root hypoxia in Phaseolus vulgaris: Involvement of ABA and cytokinins. pp. 320-322 in Importance of root to shoot communication in the responses to environmental stress, Monograph 21, W. J. Davies and B. Jeffcoat, eds. British Society for Plant Growth Regulation, Bristol.