Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant 'body clock' observed in tropical rainforest; Research to aid ozone pollution predictions

Date:
September 27, 2011
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
Predictions of the ground-level pollutant ozone may be more accurate in the future, thanks to new research into plant circadian rhythms. Ozone is formed in the atmosphere when volatile organic compounds like isoprene -- which is emitted by some plants - react with nitrogen oxides from car engines or industry. Ozone at ground level is very harmful to human health, may decrease crop yields, and is a greenhouse gas. Researchers have now found that the rate at which plants emit isoprene is influenced by their body clock or circadian rhythm.

Professor Nick Hewitt in Malaysia.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lancaster University

Predictions of the ground-level pollutant ozone may be more accurate in the future, thanks to new research into plant circadian rhythms.

The research was led by Lancaster University and is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Ozone is formed in the atmosphere when volatile organic compounds like isoprene -- which is emitted by some plants -- react with nitrogen oxides from car engines or industry. Ozone at ground level is very harmful to human health, may decrease crop yields, and is a greenhouse gas.

Researchers, led by Professor Nick Hewitt of the Lancaster Environment Centre, have found that the rate at which plants emit isoprene is influenced by their body clock or circadian rhythm.

This 24-hour circadian rhythm, which also controls leaf movement and respiration in plants, has never before been observed operating in concert in a stand of trees. The discovery alters current estimates of plant-derived isoprene emissions. Ground-level ozone concentrations, calculated using the new isoprene emissions, are then closer to observed concentrations, going some way to resolve a long-standing deficiency in computer simulation of ground-level ozone.

Professor Hewitt said: "We spend billions of pounds trying to control ozone -- for example, by putting catalytic convertors in new cars in order to prevent emissions of oxides of nitrogen. This discovery of the circadian rhythm operating on the forest canopy scale is another step in better understanding ozone and improving our models of the atmosphere."

The researchers examined measurements of isoprene made above tropical rainforest and oil palm plantations in Sabah in Malaysia, carried out as part of a 2.5m UK/Malaysian scientific research project.

Dr Eiko Nemitz of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology said: "Our flux measurements show that emissions of isoprene are under circadian control, strongly in the oil palm plantation and less strongly in the rainforest. These ecosystems therefore emit less isoprene than current emissions models predict."

Professor Rob MacKenzie of the University of Birmingham, who led the initial ozone modelling studies, added "Using various models of atmospheric chemistry, we show that this more complete understanding of the processes controlling isoprene emissions yields a better predictive capability for ground-level ozone, especially in isoprene-sensitive regions of the world."

These regions include the south eastern US, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, parts of South East Asia and Japan.

Using computer simulations from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, the team then compared their simulated ground-level ozone with real-life ozone measurements at 290 atmospheric monitoring sites in the US. They found that their model accuracy significantly improved when it included circadian control of isoprene emissions.

The work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the paper is published as part of the Royal Society's South East Asian Rainforest Research Programme.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. N. Hewitt, K. Ashworth, A. Boynard, A. Guenther, B. Langford, A. R. MacKenzie, P. K. Misztal, E. Nemitz, S. M. Owen, M. Possell, T. A. M. Pugh, A. C. Ryan, O. Wild. Ground-level ozone influenced by circadian control of isoprene emissions. Nature Geoscience, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1271

Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "Plant 'body clock' observed in tropical rainforest; Research to aid ozone pollution predictions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926081921.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2011, September 27). Plant 'body clock' observed in tropical rainforest; Research to aid ozone pollution predictions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926081921.htm
Lancaster University. "Plant 'body clock' observed in tropical rainforest; Research to aid ozone pollution predictions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926081921.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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