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

 

August 4: Centenary Of New Zealand Entering The First World War

PM John Key: I move, that this House recognise that on the 4th of August 2014, we will mark the centenary of New Zealand entering the First World War... More>>

ALSO:

Cyclists Net First NZ Gold

New Zealand won a gold meal and two bronzes on the first day of the Commonwealth Games. There was joy and heartbreak in an incredibly full day of sport. Here's how the New Zealanders fared. More>>

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news