Dr Christa Mulder – Understanding How Flowering Plants Respond to Climate Change

May 18, 2022 | biology, earth and environment, earth and environment animated, research animated

About this episode

A welcome sign of a change in seasons, the year’s first flowers usher in the start of spring. Yet, as the climate warms, some flowers are blooming earlier. Since plants respond to environmental cues, such as temperature, shifts in their annual development has long been considered an effect of climate change. However, significant warming does not always lead to earlier flowering.

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Gyroscopes are widely used to measure the orientations and rotation speeds of moving objects – but according to one pair of researchers, the techniques we currently use to measure them are introducing significant and easily avoidable errors. Through their research, Dr Sara Stančin and Dr Sašo Tomažič, both at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, introduce a mathematical framework which accounts for how all three rotations measured by a gyroscope happen simultaneously, rather than in a sequence.

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Human activity slowed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental researchers have taken this opportunity to investigate how ecosystems respond to a decrease in human-related stressors. One human-related stressor is shipping, which can impact ocean ecosystems by creating intense underwater sounds. Fritjof Basan and his colleagues at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany set out to determine whether reduced shipping activity in 2020 significantly affected the underwater soundscape.

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Walnuts are one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, and could play a large role in achieving global food security. However, in non-organic walnut orchards, chemical fertilisers are typically applied to boost nut yields. When excessive amounts of these chemicals are applied, they can leach into the surrounding environment, damaging local ecosystems. To ensure that correct amounts of fertilisers are applied to walnut orchards, leaf samples are often analysed beforehand, but analysing enough leaf samples is time consuming and expensive. Now, Dr Ana Elisa Rato, Dr Adélia Sousa and their colleagues at MED Institute in the University of Évora have developed an inexpensive approach to assess nutrient levels in walnut orchards, by harnessing the power of satellite technology.

Engineering With a Mission

Engineering With a Mission

Santa Clara University’s mission is to educate the whole person, instilling competence, compassion, and conscience. Through this approach, students are empowered to excel at their studies, and to use their knowledge and skills to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

 

 

 

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