Colony of gannets.
Future-proofing forests, noisy gannets, Antarctica
2 October 2012
This week in the Planet Earth Podcast: the steps scientists are taking to make sure the trees we plant today can cope with tomorrow's warmer climate; tracking gannets to find out how environmental change might affect them; and a tropical Antarctica.
Forests play an essential role in regulating the climate. They absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their roots, branches and leaves.
But, depending on whether or not we slow our CO2 emissions, scientists think that southern England's climate will be closer to that of Bordeaux or even central Italy in 50 to 80 years' time. This means the trees we plant today will face an entirely different climate when they reach maturity, potentially endangering their ability to absorb CO2.
Sue Nelson meets Karsten Schönrogge from NERC's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology to find out what scientists are doing to address these challenges.
In our latest audio diary from Grassholm – an island off the southwest coast of Wales – marine ecologist, Steve Votier from Plymouth University tells us about his research on the island's gannets. He's trying to find out more about how and where they forage, which may affect how we protect the marine environment.
Click the play button above to listen now.
A full text transcript is available.
Finally, researchers recently discovered that Antarctica was once much warmer than it is today and was home to tropical plants like palm trees. Sue meets James Bendle from the University of Glasgow, who was involved in the study, to find out what the continent might have been like 50 million years ago.
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