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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Samir Chitnavis


PhD Student



Project Title: Photosynthesis around M-dwarf stars: A general theory of light-harvesting

Summary: If the laws of physics and chemistry are universal, could there be a fundamental set of rules that determines the feasibility and characteristics of biospheres beyond Earth?

On Earth, photosynthetic organisms have been the architects of our complex biosphere. In my project, I am using both computational modelling and experiments to construct a general theory of light harvesting by photosynthetic organisms on exoplanets around the most common stars in our galaxy – M-dwarf stars. 

What are the limits photosynthesis encounters? Which evolutionary strategies may overcome these limits? Are there existing photosynthetic candidates on Earth…and if so, can these feasibly exist around M-dwarf stars?



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