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DGE Newsletter, October 2008
Field & Berry Lab Groups

Sept. 26: The Field & Berry Lab Group met at noon to discuss plans for the Fall Quarter. It was decided to continue meeting weekly at this hour with members of the group discussing their current or planned research interests. Four new graduate students were introduced. Chris Field described a Workshop on Biofuels in Germany from which he had just returned. He also described the IPCC Meeting in Geneva when he was elected Co-Chair of Working Group 2 mentioned above. The Stanford Report of Sept. 24 describes what both Stanford and Carnegie may expect from Chris' leadership in this international organization during the next five years. His Co-Chair is Vicente Barros of Argentina.
Tasting: Four different brands of dark chocolate picked up by Chris in Germany. (Always a winner & so good for you!)
Oct. 3: At the weekly Lab Meeting Roland Pieruschka described his research on the stomata of different plants and how they work in different environments. He began with an evolutionary history of how stomata probably evolved through time and the advantages they convey to plant growth.
Tasting: Roland brought four jars of green olives, two of them stuffed with lemon peel or jalapeño pepper, plus accompanying French bread and cream cheese.
Oct. 10: Claire Lunch spoke about her ongoing research project at Jasper Ridge. Basically she is looking to see what potential climate changes may affect primary production of native grasslands. She looked into the effect of litter on growth during the following season over a 10-yr period from 1998-2008. The effects of added CO2, heat, nitrogen & rain were also considered. Nothing definitive has shown up yet although the amount of sunshine correlated with the most growth.
Tasting: Claire brought six cheeses, two each made from sheep, goat or cow's milk. Of the two, one was a soft cheese and the other a hard cheddar. All were from Europe and had good flavor, but the cow's soft cheese was a bit too old.
Oct. 17: Adam Wolf described the Basics of Ensemble Assimilation This means ways of entering biochemical data into a mathematical model that will predict future conditions.
The Tasting was American Coca-Cola, which uses high fructose corn syrup, versus Mexican Coca-Cola, which uses cane sugar.  Although the Mexican cokes had an advantage because they were in glass instead of cans, they were much more enjoyable to all, presumably due to the sweetener.
Oct. 22: This week's Stanford Report as well as the "Spotlight" section on the Stanford home page feature Darcy, Kyla, and the Jasper Ridge summer interns -- Sara, Chris, Briana, and Annie. You may view the article at
Oct. 24: Kyla Dahlin described the research project she did last summer titled Mapping Vegetation at Jasper Ridge with two Stanford student interns. They made measurements of plants in over 50, randomly chosen plots, relating to biomass and carbon sequestration.
Tasting: We tasted two varieties of pine nuts, one from China and a second purchased locally in Albuquerque, NM, and also some Fennel that Kyla had dressed with lemon juice.
Oct. 31: Chris Doughty spoke about How forests and agricultural regions can affect climate through albedo and carbon cycle feedbacks. He reminded us of the complicated interactions between temperature & moisture, light & albedo, clouds, smoke & fungal growth; all responding to climate change. Study of these factors was part of his doctoral thesis at UC Irvine. Now, with the facilities here, he intends to further these studies in new directions.
Tasting: Chris brought five varieties of apples for us to compare including Graeburn, Granny Smith, Johna gold, Fuji & Ambrosia.
In honor of Halloween, Kyla carved a large pumpkin for the Contest at Stanford's Biology Dept.

Oct. 8: Dr. Sharachchandra Lélé, Senior Fellow and Coordinator, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development in Bangalore, talked about Forest Cover Change, Hydrological Services and Economic Impact: Findings from the Western Ghats, India. He spoke about trade-offs between forested areas and
crop lands with regard to water, energy, erosion, sediment, peak flows (floods), ground water recharge and water quality. His studies have shown that the changes/differences in infiltration rates caused by changes/differences in forest condition show up at different scales and may even change sign depending upon the socio-technical context.
Oct. 15: Dr. Aradhuna Tripati, NERC Fellow in the Dept. Earth Sciences, Univ. Cambridge & Visiting Fellow in the Geological & Planetary Sciences Div., Calif. Inst. Technology spoke on Using the geologic record to probe climate-carbon cycle interactions. She outlined the
various methods for measuring pH & CO2 in the distant past using sea shells among others. One conclusion is that during the last 600 million years, climate has been internally controlled by CO2, not by cosmic rays (as some have thought).
This seminar was used as a trial run for video recording future talks and adding them to the DGE Web Site.
Oct. 1: Chris Field spoke about Bioenergy and Bio Conversion at the 5th Annual Global Climate & Energy Project (GCEP) Research Symposium held in the Arrillaga Alumni Center at Stanford, Oct. 1-3. On the second day, Chris chaired a session on Biofuels and Bioenergy Conversion during which Scott Loarie spoke on Biomass Energy: The Climate-Protective Domain—Analytical Models and Techniques.
Luis Fernandez has been in Peru for a recent three weeks serving as Technical Director of an EPA/Argonne National Laboratory project under partnership with UNEP, to study mercury cycling through Amazonian watersheds. So far, at two study sites, they have found very high levels of both elemental mercury and aerosols in air and methylmercury in high-trophic-level fish species that were correlated with upstream artesinal scale gold mining. They also hope to develop intervention measures to reduce mercury releases by use of a simple mercury condenser system developed by the Argonne Lab that reduces airborne Hg releases in rustic mining operations by 85%.
Asner Group
This month, the Group welcomes two new Post Docs, Chris Doughty & Shaun Levick as well as recent and ongoing visitors: Angela de Santis & Jolene Fisher. Greg & Robin Martin, with an Aussie team, were in northern Australia's Wet Tropics Eco-region for three weeks to collect leaf samples from rain forest tree species.
Oct. 22: Greg reports "We just completed the second Spectranomics field campaign throughout the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and Cape York in northern Queensland, Australia.  These rainforests provided us with access to 25-45 m tall trees representing the greater New Guinea/Oceania ecoregion."
Photos available at:
Choy (Cho-ying Huang) recently returned to Taiwan to his position as Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Geomatics at the National Cheng Kung Univ. He sent photos of his Campus that you may view at http://picasaweb.google.com/choyhuang
Oct. 8: David Lobell gave a Seminar in Stanford's new, very green building (Y2E2) about his on-going research titled Prioritizing Investments in Food Security under a Changing Climate. He is identifying food crops which are most sensitive to climate. So far it seems as if many crops are more affected negatively by warmer weather than by decreased rainfall. To adapt a crop genetically to a change in climate takes about 15 yrs. Therefore, it's necessary to do this research now before the anticipated changes occur.
DGE Picnic 2008
The Annual Picnic was held on a lovely, sunny, Saturday, Oct. 25 from 2 to 5 PM. Good fellowship, food and music were enjoyed by over 40 people. Yuka, Chris A. Roland, KT & Chris D. were among the people who helped Chris F. put it all together. Marion O's piano supplemented the band while we ate a marvelous array of
goodies. If you look closely, you may view the new DGE dark green T-shirts designed & ordered by Adam Wolf.
Archives & PDF Archives of past Newsletters
Click on photos for enlargement.
Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu