Navigation Links
'Epidemiological' study demonstrates climate change effects on forests
Date:4/4/2011

An 18-year study of 27,000 individual trees by National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientists finds that tree growth and fecundity--the ability to produce viable seeds--are more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.

The results, published tomorrow in the journal Global Change Biology, identify earlier spring warming as one of several factors that affect tree reproduction and growth.

They also show summer drought as an important but overlooked risk factor for tree survival, and that species in four types of trees--pine, elm, beech, and magnolia--are especially vulnerable to climate change.

The findings may help scientists and policymakers better predict which species are vulnerable to climate change and why.

"In a sense, what we've done is an epidemiological study on trees to better understand how and why certain species, or demographics, are sensitive to variation and in what ways," says James Clark of Duke University, lead author of the paper.

To conduct the study, Clark and colleagues measured and recorded the growth, mortality and fecundity of each of the 27,000 trees at least once every three years, ultimately compiling an archive of more than 280,000 tree-years of data.

Using a specially designed bioinformatic analysis, they quantified the effects of climate change on tree species over time.

"This work demonstrates the limitations of current modeling approaches to predict which species are vulnerable to climate change and illustrates the importance of incorporating ecological factors such as species competition," says Alan Tessier, program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research.

The approach allowed the scientists to calculate the relative importance of various factors, alone and in combination, including the effects of localized variables such as competition with other trees for light, or the impact of summer drought.

"As climate continues to change, we know forests will respond," says Clark.

"The problem is, the models scientists have used to predict forest responses focus almost solely on spatial variation in tree species abundance--their distribution and density over geographic range."

If all trees of a species grew in the same conditions--the same light, moisture, soil and competition for resources--this generalized, species-wide spatial analysis might suffice, Clark says.

Then scientists wouldn't need to worry about demographic variables and risk factors when trying to predict biodiversity losses due to climate change.

"But in the real world, we do," Clark says. "That's where the new concept of climate and resource tracking of demographic rates comes in.

"Trees are much more sensitive to climate variation than can be interpreted from regional climate averages."

The trees studied included 40 species, located in eleven different forest stands in three geographic regions of the Southeast--the southern Appalachians, the Piedmont and the coastal plain.

They were subjected to both natural and experimental variations.

"By quantifying the effects and relative importance of competition [between species] and climate variables," says Clark, "including impacts on fecundity, over both time and space, the model we've developed addresses this need and can be used to guide planning."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Neiker-Tecnalia confirms need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programs for ticks
2. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
3. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
4. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
5. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
6. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
7. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
8. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
9. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
10. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
11. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Epidemiological' study demonstrates climate change effects on forests
(Date:2/28/2017)... 28, 2017 News solutions for biometrics, bag ... ... from 14 to 16 March, Materna will present its complete ... seamless travel is a real benefit for passengers. To accelerate ... their passenger touch point solutions to take passengers through the complete ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... 22, 2017 With the biometrics market ... identifies four technologies that innovative and agile startups ... share in the changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication ...   "Companies can no longer afford ... says Dimitrios Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... a centralized platform that is designed to enhance ... the latest release in the RSA Fraud & ... to enable organizations to leverage additional insights from ... anti-fraud tools to better protect their customers from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/20/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... March ... ... are substances that interfere with the ability of endogenous hormones to regulate ... inhibiting ligand binding activity (antagonists), EDCs produce adverse reproductive, neurological, proliferative, and ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... ... March 20, 2017 , ... Avexegen Therapeutics ... announced that it has entered into an exclusive global license agreement with Children’s ... including Necrotizing Enterocolitis (rare orphan disease) as well as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... ... March 20, 2017 , ... Charm ... plug & play system that counts Peel Plate microbial test colonies, stores plate ... secure, stand-alone unit has an internal computer, and is accurate within 10% of ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... , ... March 20, 2017 , ... Park Systems, a ... Demo on Friday, March 24, 2017 from 5-7pm at their Santa Clara facility ... special presentation from imec Senior Researcher, Dr. Tae-Gon Kim. , Dr. Tae-Gon Kim, Senior ...
Breaking Biology Technology: