Micro-climates may help save plant species as global temperatures rise

Missouri
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

EUREKA, Mo. – Missouri Botanical Garden researchers are using the diverse landscape at Washington University’s Tyson Research Center in Eureka, Missouri to find what kind of landscapes can buffer plants against climate change.

“For example, we know that for some plants, their pollen dies when it reached 95 degrees, so they won’t reproduce. On the other hand, a lot of the plants around here need seeds to go below freezing for a certain number of days in the winter or they won’t germinate,” said Adam Smith, a global change conservation scientist with the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The large-scale warming of the planet is likely to shift the range of species but small‐scale temperature differences near the ground may modify these shifts.

“It’s about 54 degrees in St. Louis. But out here at Tyson, I can go on top of a ridge or down in a valley and I can find almost a 10-degree difference,” Smith said.

This means a cold‐adapted species might survive in a sheltered cove or on a north-facing bluff where the temperatures stay cooler than surrounding areas.

Starting over the summer, field techs like Katie Skinker worked at 35 different plots, surveying trees and seedlings, and recording temperature and soil moisture readings from homespun weather stations.

“We’d just record data like that to kind of get the diversity here, the growth here, things like that,” Skinker said.

Their goal is to identify landscape features that can buffer against climate change.

“Climate change affects each part of the world differently,” Skinker said. “But overall, the issue is that it is happening so quickly that species like our red oak may not be able to adapt quick enough to just how warm the summer might be.”

“It’s important to identify places that say remain very cool and perhaps moist for these plants so they survive in the future,” Smith said.

Researchers are now crunching the summer data.

The weather stations are still up and running and will record data into the winter months as well.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News