Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dried Mushrooms Slow Climate Warming In Northern Forests

Date:
November 5, 2008
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
The fight against climate warming has an unexpected ally in mushrooms growing in dry spruce forests covering Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and other northern regions, a study finds. These findings could influence global climate change predictions and policy.

Fungi. The fight against climate warming has an unexpected ally in mushrooms growing in dry spruce forests covering Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and other northern regions, a new UC Irvine study finds.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Irvine

The fight against climate warming has an unexpected ally in mushrooms growing in dry spruce forests covering Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and other northern regions, a new UC Irvine study finds.

Related Articles


When soil in these forests is warmed, fungi that feed on dead plant material dry out and produce significantly less climate-warming carbon dioxide than fungi in cooler, wetter soil. This came as a surprise to scientists, who expected warmer soil to emit larger amounts of carbon dioxide because extreme cold is believed to slow down the process by which fungi convert soil carbon into carbon dioxide.

Knowing how forests cycle carbon is crucial to accurately predicting global climate warming, which in turn guides public policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This is especially important in northern forests, which contain an estimated 30 percent of the Earth's soil carbon, equivalent to the amount of atmospheric carbon.

"We don't get a vicious cycle of warming in dry, boreal forests. Instead, we get the reverse, where warming actually prevents further warming from occurring," said Steven Allison, ecology and evolutionary biology assistant professor and lead author of the study. "The Earth's natural processes could give us some time to implement responsible policies to counteract warming globally."

Soils in the far north contain a lot of carbon from dead grasses, trees and shrubs. Like humans, fungi and bacteria in soil use plant carbon as a food source and convert it into carbon dioxide.

Allison and his colleague, Kathleen Treseder, sought to find out what happens to carbon dioxide levels when boreal forest soil not containing permafrost is warmed. About one-third of the world's boreal forests do not contain permafrost, which is mostly located in Alaska, Canada, Western Siberia and Northern Europe.

Global warming is expected to hit northern latitudes hardest, raising temperatures between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.

The scientists conducted their experiment in a spruce forest near Fairbanks, Alaska. They built small greenhouses and identified similar unheated plots nearby to serve as controls. Both plots received equal amounts of water.

In mid-May when growing season began, air and soil temperatures were the same in greenhouses and control plots. When greenhouses were closed, air temperature rose about 5 degrees Celsius, and soil temperature rose about 1 degree.

The scientists took measurements in the greenhouses and unheated plots and found that by growing season's end in mid-August, soil in warmed greenhouses produced about half as much carbon dioxide as soil in cooler control plots.

A soil analysis found that about half as much active fungi were present in experimental greenhouse samples compared with samples from the controls. When fungi dry out, they either die or become inactive and stop producing carbon dioxide, the scientists said.

"It's fortuitous for humans that the fungi are negatively affected by this warming," said Treseder, ecology and evolutionary biology associate professor. "It's not so great for the fungi, but might help offset a little bit of the carbon dioxide we are putting directly into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels."

This study appears online Nov. 3 in the journal Global Change Biology.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Dried Mushrooms Slow Climate Warming In Northern Forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103084045.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2008, November 5). Dried Mushrooms Slow Climate Warming In Northern Forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103084045.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Dried Mushrooms Slow Climate Warming In Northern Forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103084045.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins