Biology Graduate Student, Bridget Murphy, Wins Prestigious Award for Undergraduate Work

Bridget Murphy, BSc’17, was named a Global Winner in the Category of Earth & Environmental Sciences, for her submission “Future Climate Conditions Alter Leaf Thermotolerance in Canadian Boreal Trees.”

Working out of Western’s Biotron Experimental Climate Change Research Centre, Murphy’s work focused on extreme heat events and their impact on trees. “Climate Change means we are seeing increased frequency in severe weather events, like we are seeing now with the recent hurricanes,” says Murphy. “My research focuses on extreme heat events and their impact on Canada’s boreal forest.”

By testing the effects of higher temperatures and increased carbon dioxide concentration on two species, the Black Spruce and the Tamarack, Murphy’s research concluded that that elevated temperature and carbon dioxide increased the thermotolerance of both species to brief, extreme heat exposure.

“Future climates may actually increase the thermotolerance of Canadian trees, reducing predicted damage from climate change.”

Both Lewis and Murphy are now graduate students at Western in their respective fields of study.