Changes in membrane lipid composition play multiple roles in plant adaptation and survival in the face of chilling and freezing damage. An electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS)-based approach has been used to quantitatively profile membrane lipid molecular species in plant response to low temperatures. This method involves the direct infusion of unfractionated lipid extracts into a mass spectrometer in the precursor and neutral loss scanning modes to identify and quantify lipid species. The profiling analysis reveals significant and distinct lipid changes during cold acclimation and freezing. Comparative profiling of wildtype and mutants provides information about the metabolic and cellular functions of specific phospholipase D genes and enzymes.