Doe Science news source
The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2018-01-17 08:05:45
  • Article ID: 688015

Remotely Predicting Leaf Age in Tropical Forests

New approach offers data across species, sites, and canopies, providing insights into carbon uptake by forests.

  • Credit: Wu et al., New Phytologist 214(3), 1033 (2016). [DOI: 10.1111/nph.10451]

    Leaf growth changes over time, as shown here by a six leaves from a mid‐canopy tree in Brazil. The leaves are visibly different but also have different capacities to take up carbon dioxide.

  • Credit: Wu et al., New Phytologist 214(3), 1033 (2016). [DOI: 10.1111/nph.10451]

    Leaf growth changes over time, as shown here by a six leaves from a mid‐canopy tree in Brazil. The leaves are visibly different but also have different capacities to take up carbon dioxide.

The Science

In tropical forests, knowing the age of leaves is vital to understand how trees take up carbon during different seasons. However, a robust method for efficiently estimating leaf age across multiple species and sites did not exist. Scientists designed a way to measure leaf age. The resulting method worked in diverse canopies. The team tested their method on contrasting forests in Peru and Brazil.

The Impact

This study shows that the age of leaves in tropical forest canopies can be monitored and mapped using an imaging spectroscopy approach. In addition, the research, in combination with an earlier study, highlights a way to reconstruct changes in leaf shape, physiology, and biochemistry over time. Finally, the work offers insights into age-dependent trends in plants. These trends could further inform terrestrial biosphere models and enable more accurate prediction of the terrestrial carbon sink that currently subsidizes fossil fuel use by absorbing approximately one-third of carbon dioxide emissions.

Summary

Knowing the age of leaves in a forest offers valuable information regarding the volume of carbon dioxide “consumed” by photosynthesis. Efficiently and accurately determining the age of the leaves is difficult.  Researchers devised a new way. They determined the leaf age by tagging developing leaves at budburst and following their development. They assembled data on 759 leaves from 11 tree species covering four canopy environments in forests in Brazil and Peru. The team also compared the results to a model developed for a Peruvian forest. The results suggest that canopy leaves follow constrained developmental trajectories, even in contrasting forests. The Peruvian model did not perform as well for Brazilian mid-canopy and understory leaves. Why? Because leaves in different environments have distinct traits and develop these traits in distinct trajectories. The team accounted for environment-trait linkages. The resulting, more general, model predicted leaf age across diverse forests and canopies.

Funding

J. Wu and S.P. Serbin were supported in part by the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE-Tropics) project. The NGEE-Tropics project is supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science. Research in Brazil was supported by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and DOE. Research in Peru was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Publication

J. Wu, C. Chavana-Bryant, N. Prohaska, S.P. Serbin, K. Guan, L.P. Albert, X. Yang, W.J.D. van Leeuwen, A.J. Garnello, G. Martins, Y. Malhi, F. Gerard, R. Cosme Oliviera, and S.R. Saleska  “Convergence in relationships between leaf traits, spectra and age across diverse canopy environments and two contrasting tropical forests.” New Phytologist 214(3), 1033 (2016). [DOI: 10.1111/nph.10451]

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Theorists Publish Highest-Precision Prediction of Muon Magnetic Anomaly

UPTON, NY--Theoretical physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Brookhaven National Laboratory and their collaborators have just released the most precise prediction of how subatomic particles called muons--heavy cousins of electrons--"wobble" off their path in a powerful magnetic field.

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Star-shaped gold nanoparticles, coated with a semiconductor, can produce hydrogen from water over four times more efficiently than other methods - opening the door to improved storage of solar energy and other advances that could boost renewable energy use and combat climate change, according to Rutgers University-New Brunswick researchers.

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser system has set a new record, firing 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy to its target chamber - a 15 percent improvement over NIF's design specification of 1.8 MJ, and more than 10 percent higher than the previous 1.9 MJ energy record set in March 2012. Increasing NIF's energy limit will expand the parameter space for stockpile stewardship experiments and provide a significant boost to the pursuit of ignition.

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X-Ray Experiment Confirms Theoretical Model for Making New Materials

Experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have confirmed the predictive power of a new computational approach to materials synthesis. Researchers say that this approach, developed at the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, could streamline the creation of novel materials for solar cells, batteries and other sustainable technologies.

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Seth Davidovits Wins 2018 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Dissertation Award

Article describes dissertation award won by Seth Davidovits.

DOE Launches New Lab Partnering Service

The U.S. Department of Energy officially launched the Lab Partnering Service (LPS), an on-line, single access point platform for investors, innovators, and institutions to identify, locate, and obtain information from DOE's 17 national laboratories.

Department of Energy Announces $75 Million for High Energy Physics Research

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Thesis Prize Winner's Calculations Characterize Neutrino Interactions

Alessandro Baroni is helping demystify one of the most mysterious particles. His work is contributing to our understanding of neutrinos, and it has earned him the 2017 Jefferson Science Associates Thesis Prize for work performed on a thesis related to research at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

10 Questions for Steven Cowley, New Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Steven Cowley, a theoretical physicist and international authority on fusion energy, became the seventh Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPon July 1 and will be Princeton professor of astrophysical sciences on September 1.

Ames Laboratory to lead new Center for Advancement of Topological Semimetals

Ames Laboratory will receive $10.75 million over four yearrs for a new Center for Advancement of Topological Semimetals as one of the Department of Energy's Energy Frontier Research Centers.

DOE Awards $100 Million for Energy Frontier Research Centers

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced $100 million in funding for 42 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to strengthen U.S. economic leadership and energy security.

Argonne welcomes <em>The Martian</em> author Andy Weir

Best-selling science fiction author Andy Weir visited Argonne to give a series of standing-room-only talks, inspiring students and scientists alike.

United States and Italy Sign Agreement to Collaborate on Sterile Neutrino Research

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Italian Embassy, on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, signed an agreement for collaboration on research with the international Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) program hosted at DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

UW Professor and Clean Energy Institute Director Daniel Schwartz Wins Highest U.S. Award for STEM Mentors

Daniel Schwartz, University of Washington Professor and Clean Energy Institute Director, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) this week.


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Tracking Down Helium-4's Quarks and Gluons

Scientists obtain the first exclusive measurement of deeply virtual Compton scattering of electrons off helium-4, vital to obtaining an unambiguous 3-D view of quarks and gluons within nuclei.

Predicting Magnetic Explosions: From Plasma Current Sheet Disruption to Fast Magnetic Reconnection

Supercomputer simulations and theoretical analysis shed new light on when and how fast reconnection occurs.

Is Nature Exclusively Left Handed? Using Chilled Atoms to Find Out

Elegant techniques of trapping and polarizing atoms open vistas for beta-decay tests of fundamental symmetries, key to understanding the most basic forces and particles constituting our universe.

As Future Batteries, Hybrid Supercapacitors Are Super-Charged

A new supercapacitor could be a competitive alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

Forever Young Catalyst Reduces Diesel Emissions

Atom probe tomography reveals key explanations for stable performance over a cutting-edge diesel-exhaust catalyst's lifetime.

Sense Like a Shark: Saltwater-Submersible Films

A nickelate thin film senses electric field changes analogous to the electroreception sensing organ in sharks, which detects the bioelectric fields of prey.

A Bit of Quantum Logic--What Did the Atom Say to the Quantum Dot?

Let's talk! Scientists demonstrate coherent coupling between a quantum dot and a donor atom in silicon, vital for moving information inside quantum computers.

New Tech Uses Isomeric Beams to Study How and Where the Galaxy Makes One of Its Most Common Elements

A new measurement using a beam of aluminum-26 prepared in a metastable state allows researchers to better understand the creation of the elements in our galaxy.

Simulations of Magnetically Confined Plasmas Reveal a Self-Regulating Stabilizing Mechanism

A mysterious mechanism that prevents instabilities may be similar to the process that maintains the Earth's magnetic field.

Seeing All the Colors of the Plasma Wind

2-D velocity imaging helps fusion researchers understand the role of ion winds (aka flows) in the boundary of tokamak plasmas.


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