Tag Archives: global ecology

Hacking Code of Leaf Vein Architecture Solves Mysteries, Allows Predictions of Past Climate

UCLA life scientists have discovered new laws that determine the construction of leaf vein systems as leaves grow and evolve. These easy-to-apply mathematical rules can now be used to better predict the climates of the past using the fossil record.

The research, published May 15 in the journal Nature Communications, has a range of fundamental implications for global ecology and allows researchers to estimate original leaf sizes from just a fragment of a leaf. This will improve scientists’ prediction and interpretation of climate in the deep past from leaf fossils.

Leaf veins are of tremendous importance in a plant’s life, providing the nutrients and water that leaves need to conduct photosynthesis and supporting them in capturing sunlight. Leaf size is also of great importance for plants’ adaptation to their environment, with smaller leaves being found in drier, sunnier places. (more…)

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New Study Finds That Even the Cleanest Wastewater Contains ‘Super Bacteria’

*University of Minnesota research suggests that wastewater treated with standard technologies contains far greater quantities*

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL — A new University of Minnesota study reveals that the release of treated municipal wastewater – even wastewater treated by the highest-quality treatment technology – can have a significant effect on the quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as “superbacteria,” in surface waters.

The study also suggests that wastewater treated using standard technologies probably contains far greater quantities of antibiotic-resistant genes, but this likely goes unnoticed because background levels of bacteria are normally much higher than in the water studied in this research. (more…)

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Carnegie Airborne Observatory: Mapping Video

Some 55% of tropical forests are negatively affected by land use practices and deforestation worldwide. But the ability to penetrate the canopy to see what’s going on has been lacking until now.

Global Ecology’s Greg Asner’s group has developed new airborne methods to peer through the canopy to measure and map, in beautiful 3-D, the underlying vegetation, degradation and deforestation, and the amount of carbon stored and emitted in these forests. (more…)

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Optimizing Climate Change Reduction

Palo Alto, CA — Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology have taken a new approach on examining a proposal to fix the warming planet. So-called geoengineering ideas—large-scale projects to change the Earth’s climate—have included erecting giant mirrors in space to reflect solar radiation, injecting aerosols of sulfate into the stratosphere making a global sunshade, and much more. Past modeling of the sulfate idea looked at how the stratospheric aerosols might affect Earth’s climate and chemistry.

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Carbon Mapping Breakthrough

Palo Alto, CA — By integrating satellite mapping, airborne-laser technology, and ground-based plot surveys, scientists from the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, with colleagues from the World Wildlife Fund and in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), have revealed the first high-resolution maps of carbon locked up in tropical forest vegetation and emitted by land-use practices.

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Global Tropical Forests Threatened by 2100

Palo Alto, CA — By 2100 only 18% to 45% of the plants and animals making up ecosystems in global, humid tropical forests may remain as we know them today, according to a new study led by Greg Asner at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology.

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Plant ‘Breathing’ Mechanism Discovered

Palo Alto, CA — A tiny, little-understood plant pore has enormous implications for weather forecasting, climate change, agriculture, hydrology, and more.  

A study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, with colleagues from the Research Center Jülich in Germany, has now overturned the conventional belief about how these important structures called stomata regulate water vapor loss from the leaf – a process called transpiration.

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