Wish we were (still) there: Carlos Duarte talks about seagrasses and climate change at UQ

On the second anniversary of UQ’s Centre for Marine Science Professor Carlos Duarte is giving a special seminar on the role seagrass meadows  in mitigating the effects of climate change.  Having just returned from Brisbane, our research group will miss the opportunity to hear this wonderful seminar.  But it’s worth adding our voices to Prof. Duarte’s when he reminds us that “seagrass meadows are important ecosystems in the coastal ocean, but….are in global decline….they perform important functions, which are relevant to mitigate climate change and adapt locally to climate change.” That’s Continue reading →

Survey says: climate change favors soft-bodied seaweeds

A high CO2 world is likely to favor some marine macroalgae over others.  Marguerite Koch and coworkers recently published a meta-analysis, Climate change and ocean acidification effects on seagrasses and marine macroalgae (Global Change Biology 24 SEP 2012), which examines previous research on over 100 species of marine algae and their responses to high CO2 / low pH conditions.  They concluded that  calcareous macroalgae, like many corals and shellfish, are highly vulnerable to future ocean acidification and predict that fleshy macroalgae will take advantage of increased carbon assimilation rates Continue reading →

Global Scholars – Australia study abroad students present their research

Five of the Global Scholars presented their work yesterday at the annual international research symposium hosted by Dickinson’s Center for Global Study and Engagement.  Christine, Nicole and Stephanie  (not shown) presented research on ocean acidification in Moreton Bay, Pheobe presented on the cell line therapies for restoring damaged lung function, and Chris shared his work on invasive lionfish in the Carribean.  Opening remarks were made by executive director Brian Brubaker (left).  Good job all!

First Global Scholars Research Presentations

On Monday, September 24 the Global Scholars Australia group will give their first research presentation during the Center for Global Study and Engagement’s annual study aborad research symposium.  Come learn about the impacts of climate change on coastal marine communities near the Moreton Bay Research Center at the University of Queensland.

Improved facilities and our NSF-sponsored Chemical Ecology course

New greenhouse, lab, and office facilities on the way…… Dickinson College has received a $1 million gift from alumni John ’59 and Inge Paul Stafford ’58 to fund a new research-quality greenhouse on the grounds of Kaufman Hall. The greenhouse is expected to have a transformative effect on sustainability education, interdisciplinary learning and the college’s science curriculum.  see more at: https://www.dickinson.edu/giving/news/ The Rector Science Complex addition will unite the biology department with Dickinson’s other science departments. The new space will provide additional state-of-the-art facilities and Continue reading →

Busy Spring at Dickinson

It’s been a busy spring!  First, while I was finishing up the Global Scholars Program in Australia one of our own was awarded departmental honors for her thesis on the impacts of ocean chemistry on seagrass chemical defenses and graduated in May.  Congrats Hannah – we will miss the shrimp of the week! We’ve also broken ground on two construction projects, the final phase of the Rector Science Complex and the nearby greenhouse facility.  Check them out here. The portable FOCE system (left) is in Continue reading →

New paper on sugar transport and plant defense

New article published in New Phytologist.  JA responses reconfigure the long-distance transport of carbon but not nitrogen in poplar.  Heidi Appel, Tom Arnold, and Jack Schultz Phenolic substances – including those the deter herbivores and serve as pigments – accumulate in plant tissues because plants can actively boost carbon, but not nitrogen import after wounding.  Phenolics are constructed mostly from carbon atoms and one way to predict their occurrence is to track carbon, in the form of carbohydrates, throughout trees.

What’s on our minds: carbon transport in plants

Carbon transport in plants is on our minds lately: Schultz JC, HM Appel, Ferrieri A, Arnold TM (2013) Flexible resource allocation during plant defense response.  Invited review.  Front. Plant Sci. 4:324. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00324 Arnold TM, Appel H, and Schultz JC (2012) Is polyphenol induction simply a result of altered carbon and nitrogen accumulation?  Plant Signaling & Behavior 7:11, 1-3. Appel H, Arnold TM, and Schultz J (2012) JA responses reconfigure the long-distance transport of carbon but not nitrogen in poplar.  New Phytologist. 195 (2) 419–426

New student research course in Australia

The new Dickinson Global Scholars program kicked off with our class, which studied climate change and the potential impacts of ocean acidification on Moreton Bay, Australia.  Eighteen students conducted research at the Moreton Bay Research Station on North Stradbrook Island and at the University of Queensland, discovering anew naturally-acidified sites in the bay.       

Study of ocean acidification highlights impacts on macroalgae and fish

Viv Johnson and colleagues recently published their paper, Temperate and tropical brown macroalgae thrive, despite decalcification, along natural CO2 gradients, in Global Change Biology 2012 18(9).  Their work relates to our work with seagrasses and is more evidence that in order to understand the true impacts of climate change and ocean acidification we need to examine species interactions in nature.  Their underwater volcanic vents sites are excellent “natural experiments” for understanding future ecosystem changes. Summary: Here, we compare ecological shifts in subtidal rocky shore systems Continue reading →

New NSF-TUES program course in Chemical Ecology

We’ve recently completed our second year of an experimental problem-based learning course in Chemical Ecology with a class of 24 upper-level chemistry and biology students at Dickinson.  The course encourages students with diverse interests to work together to solve complex problems involving the extraction and identification of natural products – such as toxins, attractants, and other chemical cues – and to explore their roles in nature.  The course includes intensive training on analytical instruments such as spectrophotometers, HPLC and GC-MS.   The development of this Continue reading →