We’ve just returned from a 10-day field trip to Japan where our collaborators Qingwei Wang and Hiroko Kurakawa are studying the effects of shortwave solar radiation on the growth and subsequent decomposition of leaves from shade tolerant and light demanding plant species in controlled experiments under low and high light conditions.
This visit included a fascinating trip to a beech forest in central Japan to an experiment where the rate of leaf litter decomposition is being compared over 1-year on the forest floor and in an open area under filters screening out various parts of the solar spectrum, in an attempt to estimate the role that photodegradation plays in the decomposition from leaves of different functional types of forest plant in open and shaded environments.
A complimentary experiment at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Tsukuba City is testing how these species grow under waveband-selective filters, and whether generalisations between plant life forms can be made about the role of these different wavebands in growth and physiology as well as decomposition.
We recently traveled to Austria to help set-up our collaborators’ experiments monitoring the effects of UV-B radiation exposure on Pinus cembra pollen in the mountains above Innsbruck. If we can understand how exposure to UV radiation affects the accumulation of UV-absorbing compounds in pollen today, we may be able to calibrate the concentrations of these compounds found in ice- and sediment cores used in climatic reconstructions. This information potentially will allow palyontologists to understand how UV radiation changed over geological time and what the implications of these changes might have been for the Earth’s ecosystems. By better understanding past climate we will be better prepared to forecast how modern-day changes in UV radiation might affect the Earth’s ecosystems.
Here we take parallel measurements with broadband UV-B sensors and a spectroradiometer next to a specimen pine tree during the period before flowering.
Shade screen and net are used to control the environment of plants growing in polytunnels and greenhouses but they have some unintended consequences in modifying the spectrum of light that plants receive.
Titta Kotilainen has a new article out describing these effects and what they imply for the use and selection of these products. Check it out in PLOS one – HERE!
We recently spent the week at GreenTech Expo in Amsterdam finding out more about innovations in LED lighting and spectral manipulation of the light used in plant production scenarios. In response we are preparing an extended a continuation of our research into spectral quality with an extended dataset of screen and net assessments.
Some results from our Academy of Finland Key Funding project were recently presented by Titta Kotilainen in the Finnish Growers’ Association “Puutarha & Kauppa” magazine. Climate screens that are typically used inside greenhouses to manage humidity and temperature alter light transmission, resulting in large differences in both the fraction of irradiance attenuated and spectral ratios received underneath.
Different climate-control screens, that are superficially very similar in terms of their appearance and texture, have very different effects on the light environment, which would go unnoticed without this sort of measurement. Spectral characterization of this nature is required to interpret the results of studies examining plant responses to different greenhouse screens. Material manufacturers, growers, and horticultural consultants can all benefit from these data aiding the selection of material to better match the desired end-results.
Congratulations to Twinkle Solanki who has received a year’s grant from the Herlin Foundation to continue her PhD “Improving estimates of carbon assimilation and light use by forests by scaling processes from the leaf to canopy levels”.
Congratulations to Craig Brelsford on the acceptance of the first publication towards his PhD, which will shortly be published in Trees: Structure and Function. But in particular, a big thank you to the two reviewers for this article for Trees who gave us particularly thoughtful and constructive feedback and wrote really well-considered and knowledgeable reviews to help us improve the paper.
Here’s a transcript of some of the best questions in Spanish and translated into English: about research into climate change followed by a discussion of what it’s like working in science. Aquí abajo hay una síntesis de la charla.
I’m just back from 10-days in Malaga writing and the discussing the content of the upcoming assessment by the UNEP Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) for ozone depletion and related climate change. At the end of this year, a comprehensive quadrennial assessment will be published.
With Paul Barnes, Janet Bornman, and Sharon Robinson, we discussed the most important research published during the last 4 years on subjects including, the consequences for terrestrial ecosystems of the positive phase of the Southern Annualar Mode (SAM) over Antarctica and ozone-related climate changes over South America. We considered new research on plant response to fluctuating UV environments and improvements in our mechanistic understanding of the role of UV-photoreceptor UVR8. We highlighted interactions between UV and herbivores, pathogens, and other aspects of climate change, and considered the role of photofacillitation in UV-mediated photodegradation.
The next step in this assessment is to send out the reports for peer-review, before meeting again in September in Vermont to finalize the content, after which it is presented to the Parties of the Montreal Protocol and to the WHO and WMO and then published for the scientific community.
Congratulations to Santa Neimane for successfully defending her Bachaelor’s thesis in Plant Physiology at the University of Latvia of Riga: EFFECT OF LIGHT SPECTRAL QUALITY ON BETULA PENDULA AND FAGUS SYLVATICA LEAF LITTER DECOMPOSITION DURING SENESCENCE.
This research was carried out at the University of Helsinki and supervised by Matthew Robson and Jevgenija Ņečajeva.
We are very happy to announce that Twinkle Solanki has received her PhD Study Rights from the DPPS to start her doctorate studying: Upscaling the Optical Properties of leaves to model their contribution to canopy light use efficiency and carbon assimilation over vertical and horizontal profiles of spectral irradiance, under the supervisions of Matthew Robson, Jon Atherton from the Optics of Photosynthesis Group, and Anu Heikkilä from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.