Navigation Links
Tropical forest diversity increased during ancient global warming event
Date:11/11/2010

The steamiest places on the planet are getting warmer. Conservative estimates suggest that tropical areas can expect temperature increases of 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Does global warming spell doom for rainforests? Maybe not. Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and colleagues report in the journal Science that nearly 60 million years ago rainforests prospered at temperatures that were 3-5 degrees higher and at atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 2.5 times today's levels.

"We're going to have a novel climate scenario," said Joe Wright, staff scientist at STRI, in a 2009 Smithsonian symposium on Threats to Tropical Forests. "It will be very hot and wet, and we don't know how these species are going to react." By looking back in time, Jaramillo and collaborators identified one example of a hot, wet climate: rainforests were doing very well.

Researchers examined pollen trapped in rock cores and outcropsfrom Colombia and Venezuelaformed before, during and after an abrupt global warming event called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum that occurred 56.3 million years ago. The world warmed by 3-5 degrees C. Carbon dioxide levels doubled in only 10,000 years. Warm conditions lasted for the next 200,000 years.

Contrary to speculation that tropical forests could be devastated under these conditions, forest diversity increased rapidly during this warming event. New plant species evolved much faster than old species became extinct. Pollen from the passionflower plant family and the chocolate family, among others, were found for the first time.

"It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests," said Klaus Winter, staff scientist at STRI. "However, these horror scenarios probably have some validity if increased temperatures lead to more frequent or more severe drought as some of the current predictions for similar scenarios suggest."

Evidence from this study indicates that moisture levels did not decrease significantly during the warming event. Overall results indicate that tropical forests fared very well during this short and intense warming period.

"The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute celebrates '100 Years of Tropical Science in Panama' starting this year," said Eldredge Bermingham, STRI director. "Today, our scientists are working in more than 40 countries worldwide. We have the long-term and global monitoring experiments in place to begin to evaluate scenarios predicting the effects of climate change and other large-scale processes on tropical forests."


'/>"/>

Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
507-667-38514
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Evidence is weak for tropical rainforest 65 million years ago in Africas low-latitudes
2. GOES-13 sees a weaker Hurricane Julia in the tropical trio
3. Tropical forests slashed for farmland
4. Global tropical forests threatened by 2100
5. Study suggests swimmers at sub-tropical beaches show increased risk of illness
6. Shade-coffee farms support native bees that maintain genetic diversity in tropical forests
7. Temperature constancy appears key to tropical biodiversity
8. Tropical biodiversity is about the neighbors
9. Bacterioplankton responses to desert dust in the (sub)tropical northeast Atlantic
10. Low-tech cool: Shade trees for subtropical streets
11. Local social dynamics key to success of tropical marine conservation areas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tropical forest diversity increased during ancient global warming event
(Date:6/16/2016)... The global Biometric ... USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according to a ... proliferation and increasing demand in commercial buildings, consumer ... the market growth.      (Logo: ... of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric authentication and ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce ... for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" ... by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP ... States based venture capital funds which together ... (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that they ... their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business ... strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the ... such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that ... the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
Breaking Biology Technology: