newsletter
DGE Newsletter, March 2009
Field & Berry Lab Groups
Seminars

The Group welcomes Eve-Lyn Hinckley, our new Post Doc.
March 6: Amy Wolf presented her on-going research at the Mpala Research Center in Kenya. She is studying the commensalism between Acacia trees and four different species of ants. Although

March 4: Prof. Mónica Medina from UC Merced spoke about her research with the title: "From Genes to Ecosystems: Integrative Approaches to the Study of the Coral Holobiont." Her laboratory deals with the use of molecular and genomic techniques to study
these trees have long thorns, they aren't enough to prevent herbivory by elephants and giraffes However, the 5,000 to 50,000 ants which may colonize one tree, do prevent it. Amy measured leaf size, nitrogen & carbon as well as water loss in trees with and without ants (removed by pesticides). The different ant species had somewhat different effects on the trees.
March 9-13: Chris Field attends the IPCC Meeting in Copenhagen.
marine environments, how the organisms that inhabit them evolved, and how physical and biological interactions have shaped their life history. They aim to develop a research plan to study biological interactions in the sea at the genome level that will also have a solid evolutionary foundation.
March 10: Dr. Peter Kareiva, Chief Scientist & Director of Science, The Nature Conservancy spoke to the title: When buying land is not enough – can science rescue the world’s largest private holder of nature reserves? Although the Conservancy, created in 1951,
March 18: Jason Funk returned briefly from his position with the Environmental Defense Fund in DC to defend his PhD Thesis on the subject: Carbon Farming in New Zealand: An Inter-disciplinary Assessment of Indigenous Reforesta-tion as a Land-use System. He built a spatial economic model of land-use decisions that can compare the value of carbon farming with other land uses. Next he explored how land governance structures shape decisions that impact outcomes
was originally to save land within the USA, it soon became apparent that saving biodiversity knows no national borders. Therefore, it has become a global organization devoted to bringing good science to its conservation efforts, and he described a number of examples of what they are doing. More info may be seen at: http://www.nature.org/tncscience/scientists/misc/kareiva.html
for carbon farming and developed four participatory case studies on Maori land. His results showed that carbon farming is only economically worthwhile on a relatively small area of unproductive land in the District. However, if certain barriers were overcome, carbon farming would be adopted extensively by Maori, due in part to non-economic benefits. Jason's work was supported in part by the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.
March 20-25: Chris Field is attending an IPCC Meeting in Oslo, Norway.
March 16: Dr. Luz Boaz, Earth Sciences Institute, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem spoke on New Measurements of Oxygen Produced by Phytoplankton Finally Explain the Dole Effect. Dole made the observation in 1935 that the atomic weight of O2 in air is greater than in sea
water, the difference between 16O & 18O. Recent measurements now show that in some marine micro-algae about 40% of evolved O2 is recycled in the cell before it is evolved, thus changing the ratio of 16O to 18O. It's still intriguing to ask why this variation between plant species?
Asner Group
The Group welcomed four new Lab. Technicians recently who are working with Robin Martin. They are: Aravindh Balaji, Jessica Hunt, Carey Lamprecht, and Parker Weiss.
March 7: Asner comments on his Group's latest paper on the effects of one of Hawaii’s notorious invasive canopy trees on carbon stocks across ecosystems. He thinks this paper uniquely utilizes the known capabilities of the CAO by combining structure, biomass, chemistry and species-level detection and analysis from the air.  As a result, one gets new landscape information understandable by science, conservation and management communities alike.  Most importantly, this work and other forthcoming results suggest that the more aggressive the invader (growth and displacement of natives), the more likely it is to cause a net loss in aboveground forest carbon stocks, even in forests set aside in protected areas.  This is something we are finding at our eddy covariance sites in Hawaii as well – a foreshadowing of other results to come. For more info see: http://asnerlab.stanford.edu/
March 17: Eben Broadbent reported that he was awarded an NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) to support the next year of field work here in Hawaii.
March 18: A paper just out by Robin Martin describes a comprehensive analysis of climate vs substrate controls over the chemistry of what is likely the most chemically plastic tree species found on the planet.  Combined with her previous work published in Oecologia (151:387–400, 2007), the papers show that climate exerts a far larger control over canopy chemistry than does substrate age, and for a species that evolved in extreme isolation, the genetic adaptation to environment is the principal driver of measured chemical variation.  Indirectly, the results are another major reason why the spectranomic (taxonomically-driven) chemical properties of trees is a dominating force in tropical forest chemistry/function and thus response to climate change. See BIOTROPICA 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00491.x,
Leaf Chemical and Optical Properties of Metrosideros polymorpha Across Environmental Gradients in Hawaii. Roberta E. Martin & Gregory P. Asner
March 19: A new paper is also out today led by postdoc Choy Huang.  This unique study scales field-based carbon measurements to a very large portion of the Colorado Plateau using airborne imaging spectroscopy.  The focus here was on determining the total above-ground carbon stock of the US’s third most extensive vegetation type for the North America Carbon Program (NACP). CHO-YING HUANG et al.,Ecological Applications, 19(3), 2009, pp. 668–681, 2009, Multiscale analysis of tree cover and aboveground carbon stocks in pinyon–juniper woodlands. Choy is now in a faculty position at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. 
Caldeira Group
March 13: Jack Silverman, Tanya Rivlin, Kenny Schneider, & Chris Andreassi returned from The Great Barrier Reef on Feb. 26. See the Citation: Silverman, J., B. Lazar, L. Cao, K. Caldeira, and J. Erez (2009), Coral reefs may start dissolving when atmospheric CO2 doubles, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L05606, doi:10.1029/2008GL036282, to view the importance of visiting such sites as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Outreach
March 2: Ken Caldeira was one of the participants in an NSF Roundtable Discussion titled The Challenges of Climate Change sponsored also by the Calif. Acad. Science and the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
March 19:
Ken Caldeira Among Rolling Stone’s Top 100 “Agents of Change” Rolling Stone magazine has ranked Global Ecology’s Ken Caldeira number 36 among 100 “artists and leaders, policymakers, writers, thinkers, scientists and provocateurs who are fighting every day to show us what is possible.”
March 29: Two NY Times columnists quoted DGE Staff members. Tom Friedman — ‘We are basically looking now at a future climate that’s beyond anything we’ve considered seriously in climate model simulations,’ Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, said.”
Andrew Revkin — “I think a lot of this threshold and tipping point talk is dangerous,” said Kenneth Caldeira, an earth scientist at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution and an advocate of swift action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. “If we say we passed thresholds and tipping points today, this will be an excuse for inaction tomorrow,” he said.
New Alum

March 30: Roland Pieruschka wrote— Hello dge, I am already about two weeks back in Germany and finally managed to get a little bit organized. I haven’t managed to say goodbye to so many people at Carnegie which at least I want to do with this email. I also want to thank you for the last three years I was so fortunate to spend in a great environment. My new (and old lab) has changed a lot within the last years and the number of the scientists working here has almost doubled. There are also some parallels to dge, we are also working in a green building but while you try to get rid of all the excess energy we try to keep all the heat inside the building. Thank you again for all the good times and I am sure I will see you at many exciting conferences. Best, Roland

Archives & PDF Archives of past Newsletters
Click on photos for enlargement.
Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu