We have just got back from KL where the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research held its biennial meeting. Mel and I went via Singapore so we could catch up with Jessica on the way. We got to see the Singapore Botanical Gardens as well and meet some VIP orchids. Diana and Mick met up with us in KL. Xurxo Gago who is visiting our lab for a few months came from Spain. We also met up with our Antarctic collaborators Todd from Portland, USA and Angelica from Concepcion, Chile as well as several hundred other Antarctic Scientists. We were surprised to find that fashion week was on in KL but we couldn’t find a red shoe to pose in (see news from SCAR 2014 in NZ).
Many ecological questions require information on species' optima in relation to environmental gradients. These attributes can be important in determining which species will coexistence and how this may vary with climate changes. However, existing methods do not quantify the uncertainty in the attributes or they rely on assumptions about the shape of species' responses to the environmental gradient. To remedy this, Mick Ashcroft and the team recently developed a model to quantify the uncertainty in the attributes of species response curves and allow them to be tested for differences without making assumptions about the shape of the responses.
by Dr Laurence Clarke
Just over 10 years ago, Sharon and I got within 12 nautical miles of Mawson station when we came to Antarctica to collect moss samples as part of my PhD project. At the time the sea ice was too thick and we had to turn back, but we already had enough samples from Casey and Davis so it wasn’t a big deal.
Ex Lab member Dr Laurence Clarke has been on the Kerguelen (k)-Axis Marine Science Voyage aboard the Aurora Australis for about 6 weeks now. He was collecting samples to barcode marine life and wrote a guest blog about his research here.
There is also a news feature on the Australian Antarctic Division web site.
Recent PhD graduate Dr Jessica Bramley-Alves has written an article for the Guardian Higher Education section Why I love my PhD. Like Laurence she worked in Antarctica. She writes “My PhD takes me to one of the last truly wild places on earth. I thought a PhD wouldn’t suit me or I’d find the lab work tedious. But it’s actually been a great adventure”
Read more here
On Monday I gave a class on Antarctica and our research to a second year Plant Physiology class at Bowdoin College in the US. This was my first experience of doing a remote class and I was glad that I was at the University of Santiago de Chile and could do the class at 12.30pm instead of the middle of the night in Australia.
While I was at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham last year I met Juliet Coastes and Dan Gibbs who also work on mosses. Juliet and I have written a short article on why mosses are so cool which you can read on Ian Street's the Quiet Branches blog.
Hope you learn something new about marvelous moss.
Just back from a visit to Perth, Western Australia for the United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (UNEP-EEAP). While we were there someone asked if the ozone hole was still there. The answer is very much so. It is predicted to recover by about 2060, but here is what it looked like last week and you can see all of Antarctica beneath it. So as we think about the Paris meeting and what we should do with greenhouse gases it is a useful reminder that we can act together and change things. In the 1980s we regulated CFC and other Ozone Depleting Substances. BUT once you mess with Earth's climate it takes a while to fix. So we need to get on with it.
You might think moss was just something we walk on but think again. Recent graduate Dr Jessica Bramley-Alves has written an article for the public about how we can use mosses to tell us how climates are changing in Antarctica. You can read the article here
We will have more articles for the public coming out this month so watch this space!