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Hello all! It's #BlackBotanistsWeek and today, I'd like to share my love for plants by telling you a story about why I chose to study tree responses to #climatechange and how I go about doing so 🌿🍃 #BlackPlantLove 1/10 Image
Years ago, when I was a first year graduate student at @ColumbiaGSAS @LamontEarth, I read about the pressures organisms are facing when it comes to climate change, such as increased air temperatures, changes in precipitation, more extreme weather events, etc. 🌿2/10
In response to persistent climatic changes over the last century, most organisms have shifted their range distributions and even their abundances within their range. The ability to migrate to suitable habitat is much easier for mobile organisms. 🍃3/10
However, plants are sessile, and can only migrate through seed dispersal. Once they migrate, their survival still depends on whether they can successfully reproduce and grow to ensure a thriving population. 🌱4/10
So, the first line of defense for plants is to persist where they are! This requires plants to be long-living, produce dominant seeds, and have high stress tolerances! The tree in our region (NY) that holds these characteristics, is the #NorthernRedOak. 🌱5/10 Me collecting my branch aft...
The northern red oak (one of my favorite trees alongside the Salix spp.) has been the dominant tree for thousands of years. However, large scale disturbances, pathogens, deer browsing could threaten its existence, allowing for other migrant trees to fill its vacant niche! 🍁6/10
My study site has seen a shift in forest composition over the last 87 years, and found that 3 species have migrated northward or became extirpated and 11 have migrated in (or were introduced) from the south. In addition, air temps have risen about 1.5 F over past 30 years! 🌿7/10
So I ask, what would happen to the trees here if the temperatures continue to climb? Would southern ranged trees outcompete the central or northern ranged trees they stand next to? Will southern trees also grow faster (increased net #photosynthesis) than other trees? 🍃8/10
How will this change the amount of carbon our forests can store? Or would the northern migrating trees or central trees (like the Red oak) perform poorly or the adapt to the changing climate? Losing any dominant tree species could shift the forest to a #carbon source, 🍁9/10
... further perpetuating climate change. So, I go out into the field and collect data from different species to get at that answer. And I use pretty cool field methods to do so. This is me collecting branches using the shotgun method (and having fun doing so)! 🌿10/10 Using the shotgun method to...
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