"Under today's conditions, grasses flower early in the growing season and wildflowers flower later, but when we increased the concentration of carbon dioxide to mirror conditions 50 years from now, these two groups flowered at the same time," said Elsa Cleland, lead author with the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.* The results are published in the on-line early edition (September 4-8) of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.**
In recent decades, scientists have observed accelerated springtime phenology--the timing of developmental activity in many plant and animal species--and assumed it is a response to global warming. The Jasper Ridge researchers wanted to know if phenology responded similarly to other important aspects of global change, such as increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, altered rainfall patterns, and increased nitrogen deposition.
While the researchers found that experimental warming accelerated springtime flowering of all species, they were surprised to find differing responses to elevated CO2 and nitrogen deposition, both alone and in combination. For each of these factors, wildflowers responded by flowering earlier, while the grasses flowered later. Because grasses dominate this ecosystem, the scientists found that the overall timing of plant growth was delayed under elevated CO2.
"This research shows that global warming is just part of the picture," said Christopher Field, director of the project. "It highlights the fact that opposing responses of different species to global changes may cause us to underestimate the degree to which natural communities are already responding to changing environmental conditions."
Elsa Cleland | EurekAlert!
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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