Are there Drought Effects on Carbon Cycling?

September 3, 2015

Forests store nearly half of the carbon found in land-based ecosystems. But what are the fate of forests under increasingly extreme climate changes? The answer to this question is important to better understand and predict carbon cycle feedbacks to climate change. Anderegg et al. examined the recovery of stem growth in trees after severe drought at 1338 forest sites across the globe. They found that forests exhibit a drought legacy effect of reduced growth and incomplete recovery for 1 to 4 years after severe drought. The study found that forests will be less able to act as a sink for carbon during this period of delayed growth. These new insights can be used to make more accurate predictions of the effects of drought on the global carbon cycle. Source: Anderegg et al. (2015). Pervasive drought legacies in forest ecosystems and their implications for carbon cycle models. SCIENCE. Volume 349, Issue 6247, p. 528.

Dragonflies: calculating predators

January 20, 2015


Dragonflies do not merely react to the movements of their prey when hunting. New research published in the science journal Nature (doi:10.1038/nature14078), shows that dragonflies carefully predict and plan their hunts. Internal calculations about its own movements and the movements of its target enable the dragonfly to anticipate where to strike. The research by Mischiati et al. 1.  shows that these internal calculations performed by hunting dragonflies are just as complex as the internal calculations made by a ballet dancer preparing to catch his partner dancing towards him. This type of complex control had been demonstrated in vertebrates, but the dragonfly is the first example of such predictions in invertebrates. References: 1. Mischiati, M. et al. Nature 517, 333-338 (2015). Image credits: Featured image: Red-veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa) © Lappies Labuschagne Image 1: Orthetrum cancellatum, female with prey © fabiosa_93 Image 2: Dragonfly Devouring an Insect © rck

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