April 2011

Field & Berry Groups

April 4: Kyla Dahlin practiced her talk that she will be giving to the Jasper Ridge Docents later this week. She has titled it: Mapping Plant Diversity and Biomass at Jasper Ridge. She described some of the field work and data-collecting that will be a major part of her PhD thesis. These included finding patterns of vegetation, using the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), leading to maps that show the variety of plants which, in turn, are the basis for determining the biomass or stored carbon in a given area.
Tasting: Jen Johnson brought some rare, wild, Black Trumpet mushrooms that she had picked, chopped & warmed in butter to be spread on fresh French bread. A delicious mid-afternoon snack!
April 6: Congratulations to Kyla Dahlin who was just awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, and Robert Heilmayer who recently received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
April 11: Bill Anderegg gave us a research update focusing mostly on upcoming summer fieldwork and experiments. He will continue to look for clues to explain why whole groves of Aspens suddenly decline (SAD) concentrating on their below-ground biomass. A new approach may involve nighttime lighting.
Tasting: Bill also tempted us with what he called "potted plants in chocolate." This was a cup with chocolate pudding (soil) in the bottom under a layer of chocolate cookies crumbs (litter) and a sprig of mint representing the "plant." You might want to serve this at your next dinner party!!
April 18: Lena Perkins talked about the subject of her Dissertation which is Biomass thermokinetics for efficient bioelectricity and carbon sequestration. She is a PhD candidate in Stanford's Department of Mechanical Engineering. She outlined several possible methods of removing the carbon from fuel both before and after it's burned for power generation.
Tasting: Lena's unique tasting was of freshly boiled eggs from her friend's 14 chickens. These hens lay on average, one egg/day, mostly brown but one blue variety. We judged the brown more tasty than the blue, but the freshness of all the eggs was delicious.
April 25: Lee Anderegg, a Stanford Senior & Bill's brother, is also working on the Aspen Project in Colorado trying to determine why so many groves of these trees are dying. Lee's particular approach has been to use the stable isotopes of hydrogen & oxygen to study how Aspens use water under drought conditions. So far, the results are not significant.
Tasting: Lee brought a variety of citrus (oranges & a grapefruit) for us to sample.

April 1-2: Chris Field was one of the organizers of a National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquium on  "Fostering Advances in Interdisciplinary Climate Science" in Washington, DC.
April 3:
Chris wrote that one may see and hear him explaining the aim of the IPCC by going to this Web site:
April 8: Chris presented the 41st Oosting Lecture at Duke University .

April 25: The DGE internal 45-minute dual seminar series started with Ken Caldeira giving us an overview of his Lab's activities. Mike Mastrandrea was the second speaker talking about what he and Kate Mach are doing with the IPCC. Jen Johnson has kindly volunteered to help coordinate speakers for this series which are planned to occur every two weeks and include all students & post-docs. 

Jan Brown, Editor, Email: jbrown1@stanford.edu
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Seminar Speakers

April 19: David A. Randall, Dept. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University spoke to the title: Counting the Clouds. He was introduced informally as "one of the few people in the world who could construct a GCM (global circulation model) from the ground up." Dave and his colleagues are hard at work collecting data to more accurately model cloud formation and behavior from tiny droplets to large clouds circling the globe.

April 26: Prof James Ehleringer, Univ. Utah at Salt Lake spoke to the title: Insights into the carbon cycles of natural and human-built ecosystems based on CO2 observations. Jim first led us through some CO2 history including the contributions of Joe Berry & Olle Bjorkman with whom he had worked here in Plant Biology. He then described how social activities in an urban setting greatly affect the local carbon balance and how they may be mitigated.

April 27: Dr. Britaldo Silveira Soares-Filho, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil spoke to the title: The Amazon Scenarios Project: Modeling in support of sound policy development. He described the increasing use of "Protected Areas" in Brazil and the problems of reconciling agricultural use with forest conservation.


April 28: Dr. Jung-Eun Lee who has worked for NASA and is currently at the JPL visited Joe Berry and gave us a seminar with the title Amazon drought: Are we responsible? She also discussed her current project measuring chlorophyll fluorescence from space by the GOSAT satellite.  We learned that over land, solar energy is more important than wind speed in determining the evaporative flux.

Asner Group

April 4: Greg Asner writes about a paper just out using the CAO to map and assess grazing forage quality for African animal populations.  Nicky is one of many graduates students in the CAO program.  Interestingly we found that we need to add new capabilities to the CAO – mainly shortwave IR mapping – which we happen to be adding on April 27 when we launch CAO-2.
April 15: In her final week at Carnegie, Mona Houcheime inspired three Plant Biology-DGE inter-department social events including a second international food day, a potluck, and a BBQ on Roble Field. After two-plus years of careful and dedicated work, Mona is leaving the Asner lab and DGE for even greener pastures. Working on the Spectranomics project at Global Ecology has inspired Mona to continue her pursuit of a multidisciplinary career in the sciences in a way that will positively impact communities.

Caldeira Group

April 14: Ken Caldeira, along with colleagues George Ban-Weiss (currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) and Govindasamy Bala, quantifies how black carbon’s impact on climate depends on its altitude in the atmosphere. Their work, published online by the journal Climate Dynamics, could have important implications for combating global climate change.
April 27: Steve Davis spoke at the EESS noon Seminar Series on the topic – The Supply Chain of CO2 Emissions. He had given this talk previously at SLAC on April 25.  Along the supply chain of global CO2 emissions, 10.2 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2, or 37% of global emissions, are from fossil fuels that have been traded internationally, and an additional 6.4 Gt CO2, or 23% of global emissions, are embodied in goods and services traded internationally.  The detailed model results reveal vulnerabilities and benefits related to current patterns of energy use that are relevant to climate and energy policy.