Carbon dioxide readings that high are expected everywhere by mid-century. The findings suggest some woody tree species could, in the future, out-compete grasses and other herbaceous plants that scientists had previously found can also produce more seeds under high-CO2, but of inferior quality.
"Even if both groups were producing twice as many seeds, if the trees are producing high-quality seeds and the herbaceous species aren't, then competitively you can get a shift," said Danielle Way, a Duke post-doctoral researcher.
Way is scheduled to present the results at a poster session 5 p.m. Aug. 3 during the Ecological Society of America's 2009 annual meeting in Albuquerque, N.M. She is also first author of a report on the study scheduled for publication in the research journal Global Change Biology.
Way and her co-researchers collected, counted and analyzed seeds produced at the Duke Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) site in Duke Forest, near the university's campus. There, growing parcels of loblolly pine trees have been receiving elevated amounts of CO2 around the clock since 1997 in a Department of Energy-funded project designed to simulate natural growing conditions.
Their analysis found the high-CO2 loblolly seeds were similar in nutrient content, germination and growth potential to seeds from trees growing under present-day CO2 concentrations. "If anything, they actually seem to be slightly better seeds rather than more seeds of poorer quality," Way said.
"The notion here is that if the trees are producing more high-quality seeds at high CO2 compared to grasses and herbs, then the trees may be at an advantage," added study participant Robert Jackson. Jackson is Way's advisor at Duke, where he is a biology professor, as well as professor of global environmental change at the university's Nicholas School of the Environment.
The ultimate competitive outcome will depend on how other trees comparatively respond to high-CO2, said James Clark, another Duke biology professor and Nicholas School professor of the environment who also participated in the study. "We don't know that yet, because we only have estimates for loblolly pines," Clark said.
Other study participants included Shannon LaDeau, now at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies at Millbrook, N.Y.; Heather McCarthy, now at the University of California at Irvine; Ram Oren, a Nicholas School ecology professor who directs the FACE experiments; and Adrien Finzi, an associate biology professor at Boston University.
Jackson is also organizing a symposium Thursday, Aug. 6, at the ecological society annual meeting on using geo-engineering to fight climate change. Information on that symposium is available at http://eco.confex.com/eco/2009/techprogram/S4143.HTM .
Monte Basgall | EurekAlert!
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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,...
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...
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...
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...
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...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences