Letitia Da Ros

PhD Candidate


Mitigating the downstream effects of excess soil phosphorus through cultivar selection and increased foliar reabsorption

Research Interests

Phosphorus is a contaminant of concern in agricultural systems as increased concentrations in surface water runoff have led to escalating incidents of eutrophication. A potential solution involves planting buffer strips of high biomass producing tree species along riparian zones to stabilize river banks, preventing sedimentary addition of phosphorus, while minimizing seasonal soluble phosphorus inputs from water runoff via vegetative filtering and growth.

My current research includes determining the phosphate uptake, compartmentalization and resorption capabilities of high biomass-yielding hybrid poplar and willow which are essential to establishing the phytoremediation capabilities of these trees.

Subsequent misregulation of phosphate transporters in both Arabidopsis and poplar is intended to identify how members of the PHT1 family of transporters are involved in phosphate translocation, specifically during senescence. Should higher resorption rates be achievable in the phosphorus accumulating poplar hybrid, phytoremediation of phosphorus heavy soils could be attained by coppicing existing stands and then turning the material into value added products.


BSc – Major in Applied Plant and Soil Sciences (Honours), UBC (2013)

Selected Publications and Conference Presentations

Da Ros L*, Soolanayakanahally R, Guy R, Mansfield S (2015) Phosphorus Storage and Reabsorption in Riparian Tree Species: Environmental Applications of Canadian Poplar and Willow. Botany 2015, Edmonton AB. (Poster presentation) July 25-29, 2015.

Da Ros L*, Mansfield S (2014) TREES: Tools for Remediation and Efficient Energy Supply. BiofuelNet Canada Advanced Biofuels Symposium, Ottawa, Ontario. (Poster presentation) May 27-29, 2014. Project 61.

Awards, Grants, Scholarships

  • Mary and David Macaree Fellowship, UBC (2016)
  • VanDusen Graduate Fellowship in Forestry, UBC (2015)
  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Graduate Scholarship – Master’s, UBC (2014/15)
  • Faculty of Forestry Strategic Recruitment Fellowship, UBC (2013/14)