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 New study first to predict which oil and gas wells are leaking methane
21.12.2018 | University of Vermont

nachricht Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up
21.12.2018 | Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

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: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>