Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Danish expert at UC for two years to study climate change

Danish expert at UC for two years to study climate change impact on NZ ecosystems

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that human activities are driving global environmental changes, including increasing temperatures.

The changes have had a dramatic influence worldwide on how different organisms interact with each other and with the environment where they live, a University of Canterbury (UC) researcher says.

Dr Stinus Lindgreen, Danish post-doctoral researcher who is currently working on biological sciences at the University of Canterbury, is studying climate change’s impact on ecosystems. Dr Lindgreen was recently awarded a prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Union as part of his New Zealand study.

``It is extremely important we get a better understanding of what mechanisms are at work and how climate change is influencing the biosphere,’’ he says.

``One of the most serious concerns about climate change is the possibility of so-called positive feedback between rising temperatures and increasing emission of carbon from the soil which then leads to an even greater increase in the greenhouse effect.

``This increasing emission is partly caused by micro-organisms living in the soil. It is also important to remember that micro-organisms are involved in some of the most crucial environmental processes such as nitrogen metabolism, respiration and decomposition.

``We need to investigate how microbes respond to climate change. To date, research in climate change and ecosystems has focused mostly on plants and animals, ignoring the important role of micro-organisms. So my research at UC is important at scientific, political and socio-economic levels.’’

Dr Lindgreen will use a field study where UC researchers have established a number of plots to investigate how the ecosystems respond to different drivers of climate change. Some plots have been heated by cables to have a temperature 3Cdegrees above the daily temperature. Other plots have been treated with nitrogen to simulate the use of fertilisers. The role of invasive species is also studied. All of these factors will also be combined during the study.

Dr Lindgreen will investigate how factors affect the microbial community in the soil by looking at which micro-organisms are there and what they do. This can be done using the latest technology to directly find out which genes are actively being used and from this he can find out not only which micro-organisms are present but also what they are doing.

``In our research we’ll be asking `does increasing temperatures change the composition of micro-organisms in the soil? If so, how does that affect the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil? Do other micro-organisms take over a specific function when an organism disappears or does the ecosystem as a whole change behaviour?’

``The answers to those questions can be used to guide decisions about how to respond to changes in the climate and it will help us get a much better understanding of an important part of the ecosystems on which we all depend.’’

Dr Lindgreen will return to the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in early 2015. He will be researching on the project in collaboration with Professor Jason Tylianakis, Dr Anthony Poole and Dr Paul Gardner.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Werewolf: Music Criticism As A Dating Metaphor

Music criticism can be just another form of consumer advic... Yet ever since pop music criticism first entered the media mainstream it has played a wider role, too. Rather than a decree with a numerical score attached, this kind of criticism functions more like travel notes. A conversation, even a form of seduction. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Rushing For Gold

The first section focuses particularly on the Victorian connections – commercial, legal, mining and personal, including migration statistics. But for me the most interesting chapters were in the middle sections about the people of the goldfields. More>>

Comedy Festival Review: VOTE BATT

The political campaigning in the US over the last eight months or so has provided a stark insight into how far political candidates are willing to go. This background came into focus as “former comedian” – now politician – Tim Batt ushered people up into the front seats, passing out badges and taking photographs with his not entirely adoring public... More>>

HRH QEII's 90th: New Zealand Post Birthday Stamps Fit For A Queen

New Zealand Post is celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday with a special series of stamps and a limited edition silver coin. The Queen was born on 21 April 1926. To mark her birthday, New Zealand Post has produced ‘lenticular’ or moving stamps that feature nine different images of the Queen on just three stamps. More>>

ALSO:

Anzac Day: A Time To Stand Against Hatred

The Human Rights Commission says ANZAC Day is a time for New Zealanders to remember those things our grandparents stood for and stand up against intolerance and prejudice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news