Shrubs have become more abundant in the Arctic over the past 30 years as air temperatures have increased, a change that is likely to affect the grazing of caribou and the communities that rely on them for food. According to an article in the January 2005 issue of BioScience, a variety of evidence now suggests that winter biological processes form a positive feedback mechanism that is contributing to the expansion of shrubs in the Arctic. The effect could have important implications for the global carbon budget, as the mechanism may liberate large stores of carbon that are currently frozen and not participating in the carbon cycle.
The article, by Matthew Sturm of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory-Alaska and seven coauthors, notes that the evidence for increasing shrub abundance--including historical photographs-- is most comprehensive in northern Alaska. Information from other arctic regions supports the idea, however. Sturms group argues that observations indicate that shrubs encourage deeper snowdrifts, which warm the soil below, preventing some subsurface water from freezing even during winter. This effect alters and boosts the winter activity of subsurface soil bacteria and fungi that provide accessible nutrients for shrubs, notably nitrogen. As a result, shrubs grow more rapidly, and so the spread continues.
Donna Royston | EurekAlert!
Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding