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UNF Limnology Students perform field work at Lake Oneida.
Salt marsh
Oyster beds
Students and professor working with a Benthic tray
gator hatchling
entire class crossing florida creek
Two Herons

Mike Aspinwall

Mike Aspinwall headshot


Faculty Bio



Assistant Professor

Phone: (904) 620-5626

Office: Building 59, Room 2310



Research Interests

Plant physiological ecology, global change biology, forest ecology and management


Areas of Expertise

Plant physiological ecology, global change biology, forests, agriculture



B.S. The Ohio State University (2004)

M.S. North Carolina State University (2007)

Ph.D. North Carolina State University (2010)

Postdoctoral Research Scientist, University of Texas at Austin (2010-2012)

Research Fellow, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University (2012-2017)



My research program in plant physiological ecology is largely focused on: 1) developing a physiologically-based understanding of evolutionary adaptation, and 2) determining the patterns and mechanisms involved in physiological acclimation to environmental change and abiotic stress. I am also interested in developing a global perspective of genetic variation in physiological acclimation, or the way in which adaptation influences acclimation.


I am particularly interested in the following fundamental questions: Does physiological acclimation improve plant growth and fitness in variable or stressful environments? Are there predictable patterns of genetic variation in physiological acclimation across plant function types, species, and populations? If so, is variation in acclimation associated with patterns of adaptation (i.e. environmental selection) within and across species or species/population biogeography (e.g. species distribution)?


Ultimately, I hope that by understanding the patterns, mechanisms, and fitness implications of genetic variation in physiological acclimation we can improve predictions of plant species responses to environmental change, and C and H2O fluxes over space and time. To date, my study systems have included broadleaved trees (Eucalyptus spp.), conifers (Pinus), and perennial C4 grasses (Panicum spp).


Lastly, I have long-standing interests in understanding how genetic and environmental factors combine to influence forest ecosystem function, as well as forest responses to disturbance and threats. At UNF, I hope to explore these and many other important questions relevant to coastal ecosystems.


Selected Publications


Aspinwall MJ, Pfautsch S, Tjoelker MG, Varhammar A, Possell M, Drake JE, Reich PB, Tissue DT, Atkin OK, Rymer PD, Dennison S, Van Sluyter SC. (2019). Range size and growth temperature influence Eucalyptus species responses to an experimental heatwave. Global Change Biology, 25, 1665-1684.


Blackman CJ, Creek D, Maier C, Aspinwall MJ, Drake JE, Pfautsch S, O’Grady A, Delzon S, Medlyn BE, Tissue DT, Choat B. (2019). Drought response strategies and hydraulic traits contribute to mechanistic understanding of plant dry-down to hydraulic failure. Tree Physiology, 39, 910–924.


Kumarathunge DP, Medlyn BE, Drake JE, Tjoelker MG, Aspinwall MJ, Battaglia M, Cano FJ, Carter KR, Cavaleri MA, Cernusak LA, Chambers 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.


Drake JE, Tjoelker MG, Aspinwall MJ, Reich PB, Pfautsch S, Barton CVM. (2019). The partitioning of gross primary production for young Eucalyptus tereticornis trees under experimental warming and altered water availability. New Phytologist, 222, 1298-1312.


Way DA, Aspinwall MJ, Drake JE, Crous KY, Campany C, Ghannoum O, Tissue DT, Tjoelker MG. (2019). Responses of respiration in the light to warming inf field-grown trees: a comparison of the thermal sensitivity of the Kok and Laisk methods. New Phytologist, 222, 132-143.


Polley HW, Aspinwall MJ, Collins HP, Gibson AE, Gill RA, Jackson RB, Jin VL, Khasanova AR, Reichmann LG, Fay PA. (2018). CO2 enrichment and soil type additively regulate grassland productivity. New Phytologist, 222, 183-192.


Crous KY, Drake JE, Aspinwall MJ, Sharwood RE, Tjoelker MG, Ghannoum O. (2018). Photosynthetic capacity and leaf nitrogen decline along a controlled climate gradient in provenances of two widely distributed Eucalyptus species. Global Change Biology, 24, 4626-4644.


Aspinwall MJ, Blackman CJ, Resco de Dios V, Busch FA, Rymer PD, Loik ME, Drake JE, Pfautsch S, Smith RA, Tjoelker MG, Tissue DT. (2018). Photosynthesis and carbon allocation are both important predictors of genotype productivity responses to elevated CO2 in Eucalyptus camaldulensisTree Physiology, 38, 1286-1301.


Taylor SH, Aspinwall MJ, Blackman CJ, Choat B, Tissue DT, Ghannoum O. (2018). CO2 availability influences hydraulic function of C3 and C4 grass leaves. Journal of Experimental Botany, 69, 2731-2741.


Drake JE, Tjoelker MG, Varhammar A, Medlyn BE, Reich PB, Leigh A, Pfautsch S, Blackman CJ, Lopez R, Aspinwall MJ, Crous KY, Duursma RA, Kumarathunge D, De Kauwe MG, Jiang M, Nicotra AB, Tissue DT, Choat B, Atkin OK, Barton CVM. (2018). Trees tolerate an extreme heatwave via sustained transpirational cooling and increased leaf thermotolerance. Global Change Biology, 24, 2390-2402.


Fay PA, Aspinwall MJ, Collins HP, Gibson AE, Gill RH, Jackson RB, Jin VL, Khasanova AR, Reichmann LG, Polley HW. (2018). Flowering in grassland predicted by CO2 and resource effects on species abundance. Global Change Biology, 24, 1771-1781.


Pfautsch S, Aspinwall MJ, Drake JE, Doria LC, Langelaan R, Tissue DT, Tjoelker MG, Lens F. (2018). Traits and trade-offs in whole-tree hydraulic architecture along the vertical axis of Eucalyptus grandisAnnals of Botany, 121, 129-141.


Drake JE, Power SA, Duursma RA, Medlyn BE, Aspinwall MJ, Choat B, Creek D, Eamus D, Maier C, Pfautsch S, Smith RA, Tjoelker MG, Tissue DT. (2017). Stomatal and non-stomatal limitations of photosynthesis under drought: a comparison of model formulations. Agriculture and Forest Meteorology, 247, 454-466.


Aspinwall MJ, Jacob VK, Blackman CJ, Smith RA, Tjoelker MG, Tissue DT. (2017). The temperature response of leaf dark respiration in 15 provenances of Eucalyptus grandis grown in ambient and elevated CO2. Functional Plant Biology, 44, 1075-1086.


Caddy-Retalic S, Anderson AN, Aspinwall MJ, Breed MF, Byrne M, Christmas MJ, Dong N, Evans BJ, Fordham DA, Guerin GR, Hoffmann AA, Hughes AC, van Leeuwen SJ, McInerney FA, Prober SM, Rossetto M, Rymer PD, Steane DA, Wardle GM, Lowe AJ. (2017). Bioclimatic transect networks: powerful observatories of ecological change. Ecology and Evolution, 7, 4607-4619.


Aspinwall MJ, Varhammar A, Blackman CJ, Tjoelker MG, Ahrens C, Byrne M, Tissue DT, Rymer PD. (2017). Adaptation and acclimation both influence photosynthetic and respiratory temperature responses in Corymbia calophyllaTree Physiology, 37, 1095-1112.


Blackman CJ, Aspinwall MJ, Tissue DT, Rymer PD. (2017). Genetic adaptation and phenotypic plasticity contribute to greater leaf hydraulic tolerance in response to drought in warmer climates. Tree Physiology, 37, 583-592.


Taylor SH, Lowry DB, Aspinwall MJ, Bonnette JE, Fay PA, Juenger TE. (2016). Phenotypic plasticity and QTL for leaf physiological traits in lowland Panicum virgatum. BioEnergy Research, 9, 1241-1259.


Lovell JT, Shakirov EV, Schwartz S, Lowry DB, Aspinwall MJ, Taylor SH, Bonette J, Palacio-Mejia JD, Hawkes CV, Fay PA, Juenger TE. (2016). Promises and challenges of eco-physiological genomics in the field: tests of drought responses in switchgrass. Plant Physiology, 172, 734-748.


Aspinwall MJ, Fay PA, Hawkes CV, Lowry DB, Khasanova A, Whitaker BK, Bonnette J, Johnson N, Juenger TE. (2016). Intraspecific variation in precipitation responses of a widespread C4 grass depend on site water limitation. Journal of Plant Ecology, 10, 310-321.


Aspinwall MJ, Drake JE, Campany C, Varhammar A, Ghannoum O, Tissue DT, Reich PB, Tjoelker MG. (2016). Convergent acclimation of leaf photosynthesis and respiration to prevailing ambient temperatures under current and warmer climates in Eucalyptus tereticornisNew Phytologist, 212, 354-367.


Dijkstra FA, Carrillo Y, Aspinwall MJ, Maier C, Canarini A, Choat B, Tahaei H, Tissue DT. (2016). Water, nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiencies by four tree species in response to water and nutrient additions. Plant and Soil, 406, 187-199.


Blackman CJ, Aspinwall MJ, Resco de Dios V, Smith R, Tissue DT. (2016). Leaf photosynthetic, economics and hydraulic traits are decoupled among genotypes of a widespread species of eucalypt grown under ambient and elevated CO2. Functional Ecology, 30, 1491-1500.


Drake JE, Tjoelker MG, Aspinwall MJ, Reich PB, Barton CVM, Duursma RA. (2016). Does physiological acclimation to climate warming stabilize the ratio of canopy respiration to photosynthesis? New Phytologist, 211, 850-863.


Resco de Dios V, Loik ME, Smith R, Aspinwall MJ, Tissue DT. (2016). Genetic variation in circadian regulation of nocturnal stomatal conductance enhances carbon assimilation and growth. Plant, Cell & Environment, 39, 3-11.


Lowry DB, Taylor SH, Bonnette J, Aspinwall MJ, Asmus AL, Keitt TH, Tobias CM, Juenger TE. (2015). QTLs for biomass and developmental traits in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). BioEnergy Research, 8, 1856-1867.


Aspinwall MJ, Loik ME, Resco de Dios V, Tjoelker MG, Payton PR, Tissue DT. (2015). Utilizing intraspecific variation in phenotypic plasticity to bolster agricultural and forest productivity under climate change. Plant, Cell and Environment, 38, 1752-1764.


Falster DS, Duursma RA, Ishihara MI, Barneche DR, FitzJohn RG, Varhammar A, Aiba M, Ando M, Anten N, Aspinwall MJ, et al. (2015). BAAD: a biomass and allometry database for woody plants. Ecology, 96(5), 1445.


Drake JE, Aspinwall MJ, Pfautsch S, Rymer PD, Reich PB, Smith RA, Crous KY, Tissue DT, Ghannoum O, Tjoelker MG. (2015). The capacity to cope with climate warming declines from temperate to tropics within two widely distributed Eucalypts: a climate shift experiment. Global Change Biology, 21, 459-472.


Meyer E, Aspinwall MJ, Lowry DB, Palacio-Mejía JD, Logan TL, Fay PA, Juenger TE. (2014). Integrating physiological, transcriptional, and metabolomic responses to drought stress and recovery in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). BMC Genomics, 15, 527.


Pfautsch S, Aspinwall M, Drake J, Choat B, Tissue D, Burykin T, Tjoelker M. (2013). Putting the puzzle together: investigating hydraulic functioning and water transport at high spatial resolution in tall trees. Acta Horticulturae, 991, 245-252.


Aspinwall MJ, Lowry DB, Taylor SH, Juenger TE, Hawkes CV, Johnson MVV, Kiniry JR, Fay PA. (2013). Genotypic variation in traits linked to climate and aboveground productivity in a widespread C4 grass: evidence for a functional trait syndrome. New Phytologist, 199, 966-980.


Rico C, Pitterman J, Polley HW, Aspinwall MJ, Fay PA. (2013). The effect of subambient to elevated atmospheric CO2 on vascular function in Helianthus annus: implications for plant response to climate change. New Phytologist, 199, 956-965.


King JS, Liu L, Aspinwall M. (2013). Tree and forest responses to interacting elevated atmospheric CO2 and tropospheric O3: a synthesis of experimental evidence. In: Climate change, air pollution and global challenges: understanding and perspectives from forest research. Matyssek R, Clarke N, Cudlin P, Mikkelsen TN, Tuovinen J-P, Wieser G, Paoletti E (eds). Elsevier, Oxford, UK.  pp. 180-208.


Aspinwall MJ, King JS, McKeand SE. (2013). Productivity differences among loblolly pine genotypes are independent of individual-tree biomass partitioning and growth efficiency. Trees, 27, 533-545.


Aspinwall MJ, McKeand SE, King JS. (2012). Carbon sequestration from 40 years of planting genetically improved loblolly pine across the southeast United States. Forest Science, 58, 446-456.


Fay PA, Polley HW, Jin VJ, Aspinwall MJ. (2012). Productivity of well-watered Panicum virgatum does not increase with CO2 enrichment. Journal of Plant Ecology, 5, 366-375.


Aspinwall MJ, King JS, Booker FL, McKeand SE. (2011). Genetic effects on total phenolics, condensed tannins and non-structural carbohydrates in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) needles. Tree Physiology, 31, 831-842.


Aspinwall MJ, King JS, McKeand SE, Bullock BP. (2011). Genetic effects on stand-level uniformity, and above- and belowground biomass production in juvenile loblolly pine. Forest Ecology and Management, 262, 609-619.


Aspinwall MJ, King JS, Domec JC, McKeand SE, Isik F. (2011). Genetic effects on transpiration, canopy conductance, stomatal sensitivity to vapor pressure deficit, and cavitation resistance in loblolly pine. Ecohydrology, 4, 168-182.


Aspinwall MJ, King JS, McKeand SE, Domec JC. (2011). Leaf-level gas-exchange uniformity and photosynthetic capacity among loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) genotypes of contrasting inherent genetic variation. Tree Physiology, 31, 78-91.


Aspinwall MJ, Li B, McKeand SE, Isik F, Gumpertz ML. (2010). Prediction of whole-stem alpha cellulose yield, lignin content, and wood density in juvenile and mature loblolly pine. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry, 34, 84-90.