Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Assumptions of Effects of Rising Carbon Dioxide Probed


How will rising levels of carbon dioxide influence ecosystems? Scientists have tackled this question numerous times, but none have tested the assumption that a single-abrupt increase in CO2 concentrations will produce changes similar to gradual increases over several decades. UCR scientist part of research team published in the journal Nature.

Photo Caption: mycorrhizal fungi

A paper in the Feb. 10 issue of the journal Nature titled Abrupt Rise in Atmospheric CO2 Overestimates Community Response in a Model Plant-Soil System, takes a closer look at this aspect of climate modeling. University of California, Riverside Professor of Plant Pathology and Biology, Michael Allen is part of the research team that wrote the paper with John N. Klironomos, Shokouh Makvandi-Nejad, Benjamin E. Wolfe, and Jeff R. Powell of the Department of Botany, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; and Matthias C. Rilling and Jeff Piotrowski of the Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana. The work was supported by the Canadian Government, the U. S. Department of Energy, and the U. S. National Science Foundation.

The team observed the response of a mycorrhizal fungal community to CO2 concentrations over a span of six years, which included 21 generations. The fungi, which live around the root systems of plants, are considered a beneficial partner to plants – helping them cope with natural stresses, such as low soil fertility, drought and temperature extremes.

The fungi were exposed to either an abrupt or gradual increase in this atmospheric gas. The group exposed to a slow rise in CO2 concentration showed less of a decline in the number of species per sample – a standard ecological measure of biodiversity – of the fungi than did the group exposed to the abrupt change, but the difference was not significant.

The findings suggest that previous work has overestimated the magnitude of community and ecosystem responses to carbon dioxide changes, the researchers say.

The study fulfills a goal in the larger body of climate change research to predict how ecological systems will function and be structured in the future, when the climate is expected to be significantly different from what it is today. Atmospheric CO2 is expected to continue rising during the next century to concentrations of 550 parts per million, significantly greater than today’s concentrations of almost 370 p.p.m. A major research effort is under way to understand the changes that will occur to population, community and ecosystem structures, and functions in response to these expected CO2 increases.

“Climate change is one of several potential responses of the rapidly escalating atmospheric CO2. Subtle ecosystem responses ranging from reduced plant nutrition to increasing crop pest activity are also postulated,” said Allen. “Our research demonstrates that communities of organisms can adjust to shifting conditions, and points to the need for careful experiments that study dynamics of our environment integrating time if we are to predict what factors will be of concern to the future health of our cropping and wildland ecosystems.”

The University of California, Riverside is a major research institution and a national center for the humanities. Key areas of research include nanotechnology, genomics, environmental studies, digital arts and sustainable growth and development. With a current undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 17,000, the campus is projected to grow to 21,000 students by 2010. Located in the heart of inland Southern California, the nearly 1,200-acre, park-like campus is at the center of the region’s economic development. Visit or call 951-UCR-NEWS for more information. Media sources are available at

Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>