Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Largest ever analysis of respiration reveals insight into climate change

Date:
June 20, 2012
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
In the largest ever analysis of rates of respiration, scientists have found aquatic ecosystems have the potential to release more CO2 to the atmosphere in a warmer climate than land ecosystems.

Marine and freshwater environments have the potential to release more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere in a warmer climate than their land counterparts, scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have found.

In the largest ever analysis of rates of respiration, published online in the journal Nature June 20, 2012, scientists compared the temperature dependence of respiration between aquatic and land ecosystems.

Lead author, Dr Gabriel Yvon-Durocher from Queen Mary, University of London explained the context of the research: "In the carbon cycle, photosynthesis by plants absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) while respiration by animals returns CO2 to the atmosphere. Understanding how rates of respiration of entire ecosystems respond to changes in temperature will be crucial for forecasting future climate change as the planet warms in the coming decades."

In analysing annual rates of respiration across different ecosystems around the world, they found that aquatic ecosystems had a stronger response to temperature changes than land ecosystems.

"Respiration has a higher 'activation energy' than photosynthesis, meaning that it increases more rapidly with increasing temperature. But over a longer time period, the carbon fixed by photosynthesis limits respiration on the land. However, many aquatic ecosystems receive additional carbon from the land, which washes into lakes, rivers, estuaries and the sea from rainfall. This extra carbon means that respiration in aquatic ecosystems is not limited by photosynthesis and can have a stronger response to temperature than ecosystems on the land," explained Dr Yvon-Durocher.

"These findings demonstrate that aquatic ecosystems have a greater potential to release CO2 to the atmosphere as the climate warms, over long periods of time."

The authors warn that there are many other factors that need to be considered when analysing the links between global warming and changes in the carbon cycle.

"Our research has highlighted the potential of aquatic ecosystems to contribute more CO2 to the atmosphere as global temperatures rise, but we can not definitively say that this will exacerbate the effects of climate change -- it merely highlights a new mechanism that must be considered when making future predictions," Dr Yvon-Durocher said.

"Further research should be done to characterise the temperature sensitivities of the other key fluxes mediated by ecosystems that control the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to make more accurate predictions of future climate change."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, Jane M. Caffrey, Alessandro Cescatti, Matteo Dossena, Paul del Giorgio, Josep M. Gasol, José M. Montoya, Jukka Pumpanen, Peter A. Staehr, Mark Trimmer, Guy Woodward, Andrew P. Allen. Reconciling the temperature dependence of respiration across timescales and ecosystem types. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11205

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Largest ever analysis of respiration reveals insight into climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133155.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2012, June 20). Largest ever analysis of respiration reveals insight into climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133155.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Largest ever analysis of respiration reveals insight into climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133155.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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