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DGE Newsletter, July/August 2008
Field & Berry Lab Groups
Asner Lab Group

Elliott Campbell will be joining the Faculty at UC Merced, School of Engineering next Fall. In addition, Elliott & his wife, Elizabeth co- authored their first publication together in the form of a birth certificate called Hazel Harmony Campbell (54 cm, 8 lb., 1 oz) on July 7, 2008.
Noel Gurwick has
accepted a Science-Policy Fellowship from the AAAS to work at the State Department beginning Sept 2. He'll be in the Bureau of Economics, Energy, and Business Affairs, Office of International Energy and Commodities Policy, working on the US-Brazil Biofuels Partnership and on Alternative Energy Technologies and climate generally.
August 17-22: Joe Berry and Roland Pieruschka attended a Gordon Conference on CO2 Assimilation in Plants: Genome to Biome at the Univ. of New England, Biddeford, ME. Berry was discussion leader for two Poster Sessions: Environmental Aspects of Photosynthesis and Photosynthesis in the Global Carbon Balance.

Scott Loarie, a recent PhD from Duke Univ., has joined the Asner Group to continue and broaden his research interests, partly in Africa. Before going to Duke, Scott worked here for Chris Field in Carnegie's Dept. Plant Biology. On July 28, KQED TV aired a story and slide show on Scott's PLOS paper.
Mat Vitousek has joined the Asner Lab as a Student Technician for the summer and plans to return to Willamette Univ. in Oregon next Fall.
Greg reports that in July, he with Robin Martin, John Clark, Kiki Caldeira and a 20 person Peruvian team worked in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon.  The team climbed more than 450 of the tallest trees in the forest, collecting leaves for detailed chemical, spectral and genetic analyses.  This was the first of more than 30 trips to remote tropical forests worldwide for the new Carnegie Spectranomics Project.  The project seeks to understand the chemical, spectral and genetic diversity of tropical forest canopy trees around the world.
In August, Greg Asner joined twenty other experts in tropical ecology at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.  The group debated about the magnitude and speed of the tropical species extinction crisis, and are developing a scientific consensus to guide policy development.
Also in August, Asner and a multi-agency group met to plan for a multi-billion dollar program to restore Hawaii's native ecosystems.  Hawaii contains the largest number of federally listed endangered species, and has become a focus for large-scale ecological restoration globally.
In both July and August, members of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory team, including Dave Knapp, Ty Kennedy-Bowdoin, Ruth Emerson, James Jacobson, Matt Colgan, and Greg Asner began producing the first 3-D ecological maps of Kruger National Park in South Africa. This follows the 5-week expedition of the team to South Africa earlier in the year.
Tea Time
July 9: An especially pleasant break happened at 10:30 AM when cyclepower was used to prepare smoothies. Frozen & fresh fruits included raspberries, blueberries, strawberries & plums plus orange juice provided by Elliott, Chris & Joe, were mixed in a Waring Blender with Ken, Ty and others in turn, providing the power.
Caldeira Lab

July 14-15: Ken Caldeira spent two days at the porous basalt formation that lies on the Juan de Fuca Plate off the coast of Oregon where researchers say its features virtually guarantee that the carbon dioxide would stay safely in place, deep beneath the ocean floor. Ken and his Field Guide, Jason Hall-Spencer watched volcanic CO2 bubbling through the water in the bay. Far from the CO2 vents, oysters, sea urchins, and other calcareous organisms are common. As you approach the vents, the pH level decreases to levels similar to what we are likely to see globally in a few decades, and these organisms disappear. In the high-CO2 region, invasive, non-native species are in the process of supplanting the indigenous species. It's not definitive, but it looks like the weeds may be the winners with ocean acidification. It is both beautiful and disconcerting.

July 31: A new paper by Eben Broadbent et al. is probably the most comprehensive piece on the extent and ecological effects of fragmentation in topical forests. Forest fragmentation and edge effects from deforestation and selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon in Biol. Conservation 141, Pg 1745 (2008).
August 7 Spectranomics Project: In the coming months, you will notice thousands of plant samples coming in from the tropical forests of the world, you will meet new staff technicians (positions available!), and you will see a lot of new equipment arriving to the analytical lab downstairs. This is certainly the largest field project undertaken in our department! The spectranomics project is designed to address two major and connected challenges. First, we want to understand the chemical diversity of tropical forest canopies. Detailed canopy chemistry is central to understanding the functional diversity of tropical canopies and their evolutionary history. Second, we want to understand how to map multiple chemicals in tropical canopies from high-fidelity spectroscopy, and how to relate spectral and chemical diversity to geographic changes in taxonomic composition and diversity that may occur with land-use and climate change. The latter goal is directly linked to our evolving airborne program. This new program is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Our kick-off field campaign just ended in Tambopata National Forest in southeastern Peru. For a snapshot experience of the effort, take a look at:http://picasaweb.google.com/Spectranomics/Spectranomics
Thanks for your interest thus far, and stay tuned, Greg
Aug. 19: The Asner Group has a series of papers coming out from their canopy diversity work in Australian tropical rain forests. They are about scaling foliar chemical properties from leaf to canopy levels. In short, they are repeatedly finding that tropical forest canopies maintain unique chemical portfolios and spectral signatures at the species level, and that chemical/spectral diversity is as high among species within a site as it is across very different sites.
Traditional efforts to reduce our understanding of temperate forest canopies to well-behaved systems of known chemical behavior do not apply in the humid tropics.  Evolution has taken its course in the tropics, not only taxonomically, but chemically and spectrally.
July 30: Dr. Jack Silverman from Israel joined the lab as a post doc for the next six months. He will be working with Ken on coral reef calcification and ocean acidification. In August, they plan to visit Lizard Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
August 7: Julia Pongratz from the Max Plank Inst. for Meteorology (Hamburg) gave a special seminar titled Historical Land Cover Change and Climate over the Past 1000 Years. She divided this subject (that will be part of her doctoral thesis) into three parts: I. Preindustrial Climate, II. Reconstruction, & III. Effects on climate system — 1. Energy balance & 2. Carbon cycle.
Aug. 13: Cristina Archer has moved to Chico to begin the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Cal State Univ, Chico. Although her Stanford email address will continue to work because she will retain her Consulting Assistant Professor title, she prefers you to use the new one <carcher@csuchico.edu>.
Aug. 20: Jack Silverman (pictured above) gave us a Seminar titled The Estimated Response of Coral Reefs to Ocean Acidification and Global Warming. This was based on his doctoral studies and field work, primarily in the Gulf of Eilat, but also including data from other reefs around the world.

July 18: DGE alum Dave Kroodsma is organizing The Brita Climate Ride, a five-day 320-mile 120-person ride from New York City to Washington DC this September to raise money and awareness to fight climate change. He is also working to publish a book about his two years biking and spreading the word on global warming.

July 28-31: Green-house Manager, Dahlia Wist attended the Annual Meeting of the Assoc. for Educational & Research Greenhouse Curators at Texas Tech. Univ. in Lubbock. She gave a short talk on green-house testing procedures.
August 28: Marion O'Leary, Ph.D. who is the Senior Advancement Advisor for DGE, gave us his practice seminar for one he proposes to give to a general audience, titled Sustainability—Past, Present, and Future. He talked about the concept of sustainability as applied to succeeding generations between 1800 and 2100 using his own family tree as an example.
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Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu