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Issue 15
July , 2009
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Circadian Clocks to ascertain climate change accurately

Source: Science Daily, Date: July , 2009

The ability of plants to tell the time, a mechanism common to all living beings, enables them to survive, grow and reproduce. An international team has studied this circadian clock from a molecular viewpoint and has found an ecological implication: it makes climate change scenarios and CO2 level figures more accurate.


Plants take up CO2 by means of photosynthesis and can potentially mitigate climate change. However, “in studies performed by ecologists to ascertain the level of CO2 in the models, circadian regulation was not taken into account,” the researcher underlines.

 

Now a team of scientists suggests this regulation should be included in climate models based on the study of plant life in order to obtain better and more accurate results. “A normal climate change model would forecast photosynthesis to be uniform between 6am and 10am in a tropical forest if environmental conditions (light, humidity, temperature, etc) are constant. However, as plants have a circadian clock, photosynthesis is seen to increase during that time of the day”, the ecologist states.

 

According to the scientists, the circadian clock may well be the key for plants to survive a rise in temperatures. Plants without optimised circadian regulation will have “more difficulty to adjust to climate changes and survive the stress”.

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