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DGE Newsletter, February 2008
Seminars
Field & Berry Lab Groups
Jan. 14: The theme for this Winter Quarter will be Plant Systematics. We listed the many Families that have representatives in this area of California. Each participant will collect information and hopefully a sample from at least one live plant in one of the Families. And each week, three Families will be discussed. We also plan to have three Field Trips to Jasper Ridge.
Feb. 4: The previously scheduled Field Trip to Jasper Ridge was postponed because recent cold weather has delayed flowering of many plants there. As a substitute Nona provided dissecting scopes, several copies of Jepson's Manual, and a few specimens from flowering shrubs for us to identify (key out).
Feb. 11: Claire Lunch led off with descriptions of some of the Liliaceae, members of which have been moved around considerably in various Taxonomies. Katie Amatangelo followed with the Betulaceae that include the alders, birches & poplars with obvious catkins. Then Nona introduced the Rhamnaceae that includes Buckthorns. She also brought several twigs from the Salicaceae & Betulaceae Families for us to key out.
Tasting: Claire
brought six kinds of onions that she had caramelized, a very creative way of eating onions. They included red, white, yellow, shallot, boiling & Walla Walla, differing in their water content and thus time it took to caramelize; no definite conclusions as to differing tastes.
Feb. 25: Kim Nicholas Cahill gave a practice seminar on Sustainability Science that she plans to present to a student group next week. As well as defining what she meant by the title, she also performed an interactive exercise designed to help beginning students better understand both sustainability and science as applied to Climate Change and the Environment.
Feb. 25: Field Trip to Jasper Ridge & Searsville Lake. Six of us including Nona walked around the Lake, stopping frequently to recognize and/or key out various members of the Plant Families we've been studying.
Feb. 5: Andy Ridgwell, Royal Society Univ. Research Fellow, School of Geographical Sciences, Univ. Bristol, UK spoke about Ocean acidification and the future fate of marine calcifiers: Lessons from the past. His conclusions were that focusing on the magnitude of future ocean acidification in isolation is misleading because it is the rate of
environmental change that also determines whether marine calcifiers (such as coral reefs)  will be able to adapt to the effects of continued fossil-fuel emissions.
Feb. 5: Adam Wolf & Rob Genova spoke about their modeling studies. Rob has been studying the vegetation in Kruger National Park (Africa) hoping that it will aid management of the wildlife in the Park. While Adam has been
modifying the Modus System to enhance its modeling capabilities.
Feb. 8: Dr. Peter Franks, Univ. Queensland, Australia spoke on Evolution of plant gas exchange capacity: A deep time perspective. Peter and his Associates have studied the mechanics and physiology of stomatal operation through three ancient time zones of changing CO2 concentration and water availability, using both fossil and current species. They present A 400-Million Year History of Plant Gas Exchange Capacity.
Alumni
We stopped on the dam to view this spectacular waterfall that an unusually high, recent rainfall has created. The photo below shows the Lake from the far side of our starting point. The lower left was taken from the board walk over the swampy west end of the Lake and lower right - trekking back. Feb. 7: Dr. Claudia Tebaldi, Visiting Scientist from Climate Central, Princeton, NJ gave a seminar in the GES Dept. on The use of multi-model ensembles in climate projections.
Faculty/Staff Activities
Feb. 1: Noel Gurwick gave a Seminar about his studies of Riparian Zones and where the information he has gathered may take him in the future.
Feb. 7: Ken Caldeira participated in a panel at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco that discussed the next steps in greenhouse gas emissions control and is scheduled for broadcast on PBR, March 7.
Feb. 22: Ken Caldeira gave a short talk at a side-event at the United Nations Environment Program ministerial-level meeting in Monaco. This talk, to a group of about 100 cabinet-level ministers and their senior aides focussed on the threat of ocean acidification to coral reefs.
Feb. 27: Cristina Archer gave a practice seminar as yet untitled about the use of wind power as a source of electric energy. She has accumulated a tremendous amount of useful data about the altitude and locations of where the winds blow which will be useful for the future extension of wind farms.
Ruth Emerson & James Jacobson have joined the Asner Group as Research Technicians..
Archives and PDF Archives of past Newsletters,
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Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu