UNEP EEAP meeting in Malaga to discuss the upcoming assessment

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.

UNEP Panel Presentations
Paul Barnes, Robyn Lucas, and Keith Solomon, presenting our findings in a public forum at the Rectory of Malaga University on 20th Feb 2018.

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.

Latest UNEP update published

The latest UNEP update from the EEAP (Environmental Effects Assessment Panel) is out today in PPS.  The report summarizes developments during the past 12 months in our understanding of the effects of ozone depletion and climate changes related issues.

The update precedes a full assessment of our knowledge of the effects of ozone depletion, which we will start to put together when the panel meet in Malaga, Spain next week. The report is divided into sections on: 1. Ozone–climate interactions and effects on solar ultraviolet radiation at the Earth’s surface; 2. Ultraviolet radiation and human health in a changing climate; 3. Implications for terrestrial ecosystems in response to ozone depletion, ultraviolet radiation and interactive effects of rapid climate change; 4. Effects of ultraviolet radiation and climate change on aquatic ecosystems; 5. Interactive effects of solar ultraviolet radiation and climate change on biogeochemical cycles; 6. Interactive effects of changing stratospheric ozone and climate on air quality and composition of the troposphere; 7. Interactive effects of solar ultraviolet radiation and climate change on damage to materials.

Aquaporins and the water household of a plant

Congratulations to David Israel on being granted funding from the Finnish Cultural Foundation to continue his doctoral research project on the ecophysiology of aquaporin’s role in plant function, supervised by Matthew Robson and Janusz Zwiazek.

David is currently in Edmonton visiting Janusz Zwiazek’s group at the University of Alberta, where he is growing PIP aquaporin mutants of Arabidopsis in hydroponics to test their role in root architecture and function.

How a PIP aquaporin channels water through the membrane

Masters Student Projects at ViPS Science Fair

On the 10th October we participated in the ViPS Science Fair where researchers could come along and find out about our research in the CanSEE group as well as the rest of the Viikki Plant Science Centre.

If you are interested in doing a research project with our group get in touch with David Israel (Plant Aquaporin Water Relations), Titta Kotilainen (Applying Photobiology Innovations in Plant Production Settings), Craig Brelsford (Light Responses of Forest Plants in Spring), or Marta Pieriste (Decomposition under Contrasting Forest Canopies) by email <firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi>.

David Israel explaining his research into aquaporin’s role in plant water relations to an eager audience of students and researchers

Plants and Climate Change

From 15-21st September we organised an international course in Plants and Climate Change for the DPPS at the University of Helsinki, with invited speakers giving us the benefit of their expertise over the course of the week. A diverse group of students attended with participants from Mexico, Columbia, and Bangladesh, as well as those from the University of Helsinki.

Students and lecturers discussing their research after a day of lectures

Thanks to all of the lecturers and student who made this a lively and educational course and who gave very positive feedback on the week.

30 Years since the Montreal Protocol

I was very lucky to be in Stratford-upon-Avon, helping to write the latest UNEP report on the effects of the ozone depletion and related climate change on terrestrial ecosystems, during the 30-year celebrations of the signing of the Montreal Protocol.

The international cooperation achieved to implement the Montreal Protocol to stop the production of ozone depleting substances is the best example of cooperation to solve a man-made global problem that would otherwise have catastrophically affected our climate and life of Earth, and serve as a landmark example for future political action on climate change.

You can find out more on the UNEP website or learn about their Ozone Heroes Campaign.

Terrestrial Ecosystems Discussions

 

 

New PhD student Twinkle Solanki

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.

Twinkle has funding from CIMO to come to Finland and already started her research taking measurements from the canopy towers at Hyytiälä Forestry Research Station of the University of Helsinki.

 

Filming for the Lammi Nature Trail

Saara Hartikainen and Matthew Robson recently headed to Lammi Biological Station to “star” in some short films explaining the educational research activities that we designed for the Lammi Research Natural Trail.

We hope to encourage the public to have a go at estimating Leaf Area Index in the young silver birch stand using the canopy scope activity, and to help in assessing leaf, flower, and fruit development in plants growing in quadrats on the forest floor.

You can watch the canopy scope video here in English and in Finnish; and the quadrat phenology video here in English and in Finnish.

The data that we collect from the public will be used to help us estimate phenological development, and will eventually be compared with data from different sites to improve our understanding of the controls on the length of the growing season and forest canopy cover.

Here are some shots from the film-makers in action!

Quadratvideo2NatureTrailMovie