August 2010

Field & Berry Groups

Aug 6: Nona Chiariello and summer interns Safiyyah Abdul-Khabir and Christina Feng presented some of their latest research about native grass restoration in plots of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Project, especially regarding the legacy effects of invasive species and previous disturbance.  They presented two results. First, they have found that in global change plots previously invaded by a suite of invasive or successional species, seedling establishment of native perennial grasses was enhanced by added precipitation and reduced by added nitrogen.  In uninvaded plots, those treatments had no effect.  Second they found that natural spread of native grasses showed a species-specific pattern when viewed in historical photographs using GoogleEarth.  Nassella pulchra (purple needle grass) established preferentially in areas where the surface topsoil had been displaced about three decades ago, whereas Danthonia californica established primarily in areas that tended to be moist and were undisturbed in historical photos.  The study will continue for another three years. Shane Easter is the newest technician to help analyze the experimental data.

Aug 6: Lena Perkins provided the following notes from the Field Lab Meeting. Group decided to pursue the astroturf vs grass project, with the aim to:
    - Develop model as needed to take into account rainfall amount and distribution, sports, requirements, weather patterns.
    - Do thorough literature search.
    - LCA of production and disposal of astroturf and turf
    - Design an online tool that can be linked to by the Carnegie website, for a 'green' turf calculator, where schools can put in their weather statistics (or it can be a map of the US) and requirements, and relative importance of water, energy, carbon, comfort, price, and it will generate optimal astroturf or other turf decision, potentially with some metrics (Carbon, energy, waste diversion, water requirements) Details on turf model still to be hashed out. 
Aug 13: "Developing a calculating tool for assessing which is more ecologically favorable, synthetic turf or grass." was defined as the Project's purpose. We would want to focus on the energy & carbon trade-offs between astroturf and turf-- even though factors such as heat, disease control (astroturf) and construction cost may be more controlling. Asked participants which parts of the Project each would like to investigate and take the lead on.
Aug. 24: Yuka Estrada announced the latest addition to her family, a baby boy named Kai Esteban Estrada. Mother & child doing well.

August: Katharine (Katie) Mach has joined
the IPCC Group as a Post-doc. She recently defended here PhD Thesis that dwelt with Marine Ecomechanics at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA. This field combines biology and engineering — e.g. the effect of wave action on sea weeds.


Aug. 30: Chris Field met with a few of the IPCC leaders and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon to receive the review of the IPCC from the InterAcademy Council.













Aug: 17: Katherine Pollard, Gladstone Institutes, Institute for Human Genetics & Division of Biostatistics, UC San Francisco spoke to the title
What made us human? Caldeira introduced Dr. Pollard by saying that while DGE usually studies the effect of human activity on the environment, she is investigating the opposite. Using comparative genomics, her lab is identifying evolutionarily conserved gene sequences that have been extensively changed in the human genome since divergence from our common ancestor, the chimpanzee.

Aug 18: Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Inst., Univ. Queensland, Australia speaking to the title; Our changing Ocean: biological evidence,implications and ramifications. His power-point presentation illustrated how Climate Change driven by increases in CO2 also increases seawater acidity that in turn can cause coral bleaching and death. His laboratory on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is carrying out experiments to quantify what happens to the corals and suggest ways to mitigate some of the damage before it is too late.

Caldeira Group

Ken Caldeira was in Urbino, Italy at the Urbino Summer School for Paleoclimatology from July 27-29. This school has been attracting many of the best researchers in climate change over the past 65 million years. It has become increasingly competitive for students to be accepted.  This year the weather was scorching hot before I arrived but completely beautiful and refreshing during my stay.

Asner Group

Aug 5: Asner, Scott Loarie & Ursula Heyder announce a new paper in Conservation Letters titled Combined effects of climate and land-use change on the future of humid tropical forests. It is the first to explicitly consider the combined roles of climate change, deforestation, and degradation on the biodiversity of global humid tropical forests.  Consider it a step in working toward global solutions to this crisis. It will be featured on Discovery, BBC and a few other outlets in the coming days.

Joe Mascaro
has joined Asner's Group as a Post Doc. He received his PhD from the Univ. Wisconsin at Milwaukee and is currently most interested in carbon density mapping with Lidar.

Editor: Click on photos to enlarge them.
Jan Brown, jbrown1@stanford.ed