University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > Carbon uptake, water and light use in a temperate forest: growing season phenology.

Carbon uptake, water and light use in a temperate forest: growing season phenology.

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As a marker of a changing climate there have been marked changes in seasonal plant activity, or phenology, recently. Variation in phenological events such as flowering, budburst and leaf senescence are closely linked to carbon and water cycles in forests, and may be a sensitive and easily observable indicator of the effects of climate variability on ecosystem productivity.

The aim of this study was to compare the seasonal progression in CO2 flux exchanging across a forest canopy with sap flow by individual trees, as compared to canopy phenology indicators for a temperate forest in the UK.

During the 2012 growing season, CO2 and H2O fluxes were measured from the footprint of a 90 ha block of plantation of mixed oak and ash woodland with an Eddy Covariance system, and associated meteorological observations. Sap flow was measured on 4 individual oak and ash trees using the THB (thermal heat balance). The quality of light reflected from the canopy was measured through webcam digital images and analysed as RGB (red, green and blue) wavelength fluctuations.

Preliminary analyses from sap flow, RGB signals and CO2 exchange measurements allowed us to determine the onset and the end of the growing season for one of the wettest years on record, and identify the dates when key phenological events occurred for the two species. Find out whether the saw “Oak before ash, in for a splash. Ash before oak, in for a soak” held for that blighted summer of 2012!

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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