Western News: Tree chambers allowing scientists to bring heat

Western News: Tree chambers allowing scientists to bring heat


So right now we have Eucalyptus Parramattensis,
a Parramatta Red Gum. We’re testing whether this threatened species can cope with
3 degrees of warming. So behind me we have one of the whole tree chambers that we have
here at western Sydney where we have a tree rooted in soil in a chamber that’s 9 metres
tall where we’re controlling the temperature, the CO2 concentration and the humidity. At
the same time we can measure how much carbon it’s taking up through photosynthesis and
how much water it’s losing through transpiration. So one of the really interesting things we
find is that these trees can change their physiology in response to warming. They are
dynamically adjusting their expression of genes and changing protein concentrations
to fine tune growth to their environment. This is one of the trees that has been exposed
to 3 degrees of warming. During the winter and the spring it has grown faster with the
warming but we’re concerned with how it will cope with heatwaves of the future. 3 degrees
of additional warming when it’s already 38 and pushing the trees beyond 40 seems to have
a negative effect on their growth. Trees have an enormous impact on our climate and tree
growth and carbon sequestration is already solving a part of our climate problem for
us and we really need to understand of this enormous service that trees are giving us
will continue into the future.

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