Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Temperature Increases Causing Tropical Forests to Blossom, According to Study

10.07.2013
A new study led by Florida State University researcher Stephanie Pau shows that tropical forests are producing more flowers in response to only slight increases in temperature.

The study examined how changes in temperature, clouds and rainfall affect the number of flowers that tropical forests produce. Results showed that clouds mainly have an effect over short-term seasonal growth, but longer-term changes of these forests appear to be due to temperature.

While other studies have used long-term flower production data, this is the first study to combine these data with direct estimates of cloud cover based on satellite information.

The results of the study, “Clouds and Temperature Drive Dynamic Changes in Tropical Flower Production,” was published July 7 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Tropical forests are commonly thought of as the lungs of the earth and how many flowers they produce is one vital sign of their health,” said Pau, an assistant professor in Florida State’s Department of Geography. “However, there is a point at which forests can get too warm and flower production will decrease. We’re not seeing that yet at the sites we looked at, and whether that happens depends on how much the tropics will continue to warm.”

U.S. Geological Survey Senior Scientist Julio Betancourt, who was not involved in the study, described Pau’s research as “clever.”

“It integrates ground and satellite observations over nearly three decades to tease apart the influence of temperature and cloudiness on local flower production,” Betancourt said. “It confirms other recent findings that, in the tropics, even a modest warming can pack quite a punch.”

Pau led a team of international researchers who studied seasonal and year-to-year flower production in two contrasting tropical forests — a seasonally dry forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, and an “ever-wet” forest in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

The seasonally dry site, according to Pau, has been producing more flowers at an average rate of 3 percent each year over the last several decades, an increase that appears to be tied to warming temperatures.

“We studied flowers because their growth is a measure of the reproductive health and overall growth of the forests, and because there is long-term data on flower production available,” Pau said.

The amount of sunlight reaching tropical forests due to varying amounts of cloud cover is an important factor, just not the most important when it comes to flower production.

“Clouds are a huge uncertainty in understanding the impacts of climate change on tropical forests,” Pau said. “Both sites still appear to respond positively to increases in light availability. Yet temperature was the most consistent factor across multiple time-scales.

“With most projections of future climate change, people have emphasized the impact on high-latitude ecosystems because that is where temperatures will increase the most,” Pau said. “The tropics, which are already warm, probably won’t experience as much of a temperature increase as high-latitude regions. Even so, we’re showing that these tropical forests are still really sensitive to small degrees of change.”

Pau conducted the research as part of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) Forecasting Phenology Working Group and with Elizabeth M. Wolkovich of the University of British Columbia’s Biodiversity Research Centre; Benjamin I. Cook of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Christopher J. Nytch of the University of Puerto Rico’s Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies; James Regetz of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; Jess K. Zimmerman of the University of Puerto Rico’s Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies; and S. Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

CONTACT: Stephanie Pau, FSU Department of Geography
(850) 644-8377; spau@fsu.edu

Stephanie Pau | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>