Doctor Renée Marchin Prokopavicius

Renee Marchin ProkopaviciusDr. Renée Marchin (Prokopavicius) is a plant ecophysiologist who studies the effects of warming and drought on plant function. She joined Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) in August 2017 and is currently working on an ARC DECRA project entitled, “Green or crispy: Which plants use transpiration to survive heatwaves?”. Her aim is to discover which plant species can survive heat and drought in urban areas by determining relevant functional traits that protect droughted plants from thermal damage.

Dr. Prokopavicius’ research aims to improve predictions of the effects of climate change on terrestrial and urban ecosystems. She primarily uses ecophysiological approaches to understand how plant traits determine which species or genotypes succeed in changing environments. Her research has focused on plant traits related to water relations and growth, such as photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, transpiration, and water use efficiency. She has worked in a diverse range of terrestrial ecosystems, from temperate forests to subalpine grasslands to agricultural cropping systems.

Much of Dr. Marchin’s research has direct relevance to land managers, conservation organisations, and the agriculture/horticulture industries. As a rangeland technician for the Bureau of Land Management (California, USA), she monitored the effectiveness of efforts to restore degraded aspen stands. Her Ph.D. research (North Carolina State University, 2013) examined how phenology and transpiration of temperate forests will be affected by future warming. She studied how climate change affects the carbon fluxes of mountain grasslands in the Snowy Mountains (NSW, Australia). Her research for the Which Plant Where? project determined the heat and drought tolerance of over 100 plant species to inform selection of tolerant plants for urban plantings throughout Australia. Find out more on her personal webpage:

Areas of research/teaching expertise

Plant ecology, plant physiology, climate change biology, warming, heatwaves, drought, phenology, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, transpiration, chlorophyll fluorescence, eddy covariance


  • Green or crispy: Which plants use transpiration to survive heatwaves?
    Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, 2020-2024: $415,416 AUD
  • Mitigating climate change in Western Sydney by maintaining green tree canopies 
    Co-researchers: Paul Rymer and Mark Tjoelker NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment via Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils Ltd (WSROC), 2021-2022: $275,000 AUD
  • Assessing the hydrological costs of carbon sequestration in managed forests and biofuel plantations
    Environmental Protection Agency STAR Graduate Fellowship, 2010-2013: $111,000 USD

Awards and Recognition

  • Kenneth R. Keller Award for excellence in Ph.D. research from North Carolina State University, 2014: $2000 USD
  • Africana Studies Project Scholarship, North Carolina State University, 2011: $750 USD
  • Graduate student invitation to the 1st INTERFACEMeeting, 2011, Captiva Island, FL, USA
  • Benjamin Hall and Margaret Hall Foundation Scholarship, University of Kansas, 2005: $2500 USD

Professional Service

  • Organiser for the Sydney Plant Ecophysiology Group meetings, 2017‒2020
  • Vice President of the North Carolina State University Plant Biology Graduate Student Association, 2011–2013

Selected publications

Marchin RM, Medlyn BE, Tjoelker MG, Ellsworth DS, (2023) 'Decoupling between stomatal conductance and photosynthesis occurs under extreme heat in broadleaf tree species regardless of water access', Global Change Biology, vol.29, no.22, pp 6319-6335

Marchin RM, Yuan Z, (2023) 'Editorial: Natural tree seedling establishment and forest regeneration under climate change', Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, vol.6, art. no.1256577

Farrell C, Livesley SJ, Arndt SK, Beaumont L, Burley H, Ellsworth D, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Fletcher TD, Gallagher R, Ossola A, Power SA, Marchin R, Rayner JP, Rymer PD, Staas L, Szota C, Williams NSG, Leishman M, (2022) 'Can we integrate ecological approaches to improve plant selection for green infrastructure?', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.76, Article no.127732

Marchin RM, Backes D, Ossola A, Leishman MR, Tjoelker MG, Ellsworth DS, (2022) 'Extreme heat increases stomatal conductance and drought-induced mortality risk in vulnerable plant species', Global Change Biology, vol.28, no.3, pp 1133-1146

Marchin RM, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Tjoelker MG, Ellsworth DS, (2022) 'Crown dieback and mortality of urban trees linked to heatwaves during extreme drought', Science of the Total Environment, vol.850, Article no.157915

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Power SA, Tjoelker MG, Marchin RM, Rymer PD, (2021) 'Contrasting heat tolerance of urban trees to extreme temperatures during heatwaves', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.66, Article no.127387

Tabassum S, Ossola A, Marchin RM, Ellsworth DS, Leishman MR, (2021) 'Assessing the relationship between trait-based and horticultural classifications of plant responses to drought', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.61, Article no.127109

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Rymer PD, Power SA, Challis A, Marchin RM, Tjoelker MG, (2020) 'Functional adaptations and trait plasticity of urban trees along a climatic gradient', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.54, Article no.126771

Marchin RM, Ossola A, Leishman MR, Ellsworth DS, (2020) 'A Simple Method for Simulating Drought Effects on Plants', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.10, Article no.1715

Marchin RM, McHugh I, Simpson RR, Ingram LJ, Balas DS, Evans BJ, Adams MA, (2018) 'Productivity of an Australian mountain grassland is limited by temperature and dryness despite long growing seasons', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol.256, pp 116-124

Marchin RM, Turnbull TL, Deheinzelin AI, Adams MA, (2017) 'Does triacylglycerol (TAG) serve a photoprotective function in plant leaves? An examination of leaf lipids under shading and drought', Physiologia Plantarum, vol.161, no.3, pp 400-413

Marchin RM, Broadhead AA, Bostic LE, Dunn RR, Hoffmann WA, (2016) 'Stomatal acclimation to vapor pressure deficit doubles transpiration of small tree seedlings with warming', Plant Cell and Environment, vol.39, pp 2221-2234

Marchin RM, Salk CF, Hoffmann WA, Dunn RR, (2015) 'Temperature alone does not explain phenological variation of diverse temperate plants under experimental warming', Global Change Biology, vol.21, pp 3138-3151

Marchin RM, Dunn RR, Hoffmann WA, (2014) 'Are winter-active species vulnerable to climate warming? A case study with the wintergreen terrestrial orchid, Tipularia discolor', Oecologia, vol.176, pp 1161-1172

Hoffmann WA, Marchin RM, Abit PP, Lau OL, (2011) 'Hydraulic failure and tree dieback are associated with high wood density in a temperate forest under extreme drought', Global Change Biology, vol.17, pp 2731-2742

Marchin RM, Zeng H, Hoffmann WA, (2010) 'Drought-deciduous behavior reduces nutrient losses from temperate deciduous trees under severe drought', Oecologia, vol.163, pp 845-854