Palmerston North, New Zealand
Palmerston North, New Zealand

Landcare Research is one of New Zealand's Crown Research Institutes. The focus of the research at this company is the environment, biodiversity, and sustainability. Wikipedia.

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Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 401.39K | Year: 2011

Future climate change is one of the most challenging issues facing humankind and an enormous research effort is directed at attempting to construct realistic projections of 21st century climate based on underlying assumptions about greenhouse gas emissions. Climate models now include many of the components of the earth system that influence climate over a range of timescales. Understanding and quantifying earth system processes is vital to projections of future climate change because many processes provide feedbacks to climate change, either reinforcing upward trends in greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature (positive feedbacks) or sometimes damping them (negative feedbacks). One key feedback loop is formed by the global carbon cycle, part of which is the terrestrial carbon cycle. As carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures rise, carbon sequestration by plants increases but at the same time, increasing temperatures lead to increased decay of dead plant material in soils. Carbon cycle models suggest that the balance between these two effects will lead to a strong positive feedback, but there is a very large uncertainty associated with this finding and this process represents one of the biggest unknowns in future climate change projections. In order to reduce these uncertainties, models need to be validated against data such as records for the past millennium. Furthermore, it is extremely important to make sure that the models are providing a realistic representation of the global carbon cycle and include all its major component parts. Current models exclude any consideration of the reaction of peatlands to climate change, even though these ecosystems contain almost as much carbon as the global atmosphere and are potentially sensitive to climate variability. On the one hand, increased warmth may increase respiration and decay of peat and on the other hand, even quite small increases in productivity may compensate for this or even exceed it in high latitude peatlands. A further complication is that peatlands emit quite large quantities of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas. Our proposed project aims to assess the contribution of peatlands to the global carbon cycle over the past 1000 years by linking together climate data and climate model output with models that simulate the distribution and growth of peatlands on a global scale. The models will also estimate changes in methane emissions from peatlands. In particular, we will test the hypotheses that warmth leads to lower rates of carbon accumulation and that this means that globally, peatlands will sequester less carbon in future than they do now. We will also test whether future climate changes lead to a positive or negative feedback from peatland methane emissions. To determine how well our models can simulate the peatland-climate links, we will test the model output for the last millennium against fossil data of peat growth rates and hydrological changes (related to methane emissions). To do this, we will assemble a large database of published information but also new data acquired in collaboration with partners from other research organisations around the world who are involved in collecting information and samples that we can make use of once we undertake some additional dating and analyses. Once the model has been evaluated against the last millennium data, we will make projections of the future changes in the global carbon cycle that may occur as a result of future climate change. This will provide a strong basis for making a decision on the need to incorporate peatland dynamics into the next generation of climate models. Ultimately we expect this to reduce uncertainty in future climate change predictions.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2013-1.5 | Award Amount: 3.36M | Year: 2013

The research and innovation landscape of the Pacific is extremely diverse, ranging from Pacific Island Countries and Territories with little or no ST&I capacity, Overseas Countries Territories with strong capacities, to New Zealand and Australia, which have numerous networks of research and innovation institutions. The EU, which maintains a long standing relationship with the Pacific, aims for enhancing its profile and reinforcing cooperation in ST&I with the region, in the perspective of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 Programme, and promote the development of mutually beneficial partnerships Considering the results of past and ongoing initiatives supporting the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, PACE-Net Plus will: - Support the EU-Pacific policy dialogue in ST&I, including dialogue on innovation issues. - Reinforce the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, focusing on 3 major societal challenges: 1) health, demographic change and wellbeing; 2) food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; and 3) climate action, resource use and efficiency, and raw materials; Encourage the coordination between the EU and Member States ST&I programmes and policies targeting the Pacific by promoting the implementation of joint actions. - Enhance the cooperation on innovation issues, by helping in bridging the gap between public and private sectors. The project will promote the idea of innovation as an essential mean for tackling global challenges and will respond to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and its Innovation Union Flagship Initiative. - Strengthen the Pacific-EU research cooperation partnerships, through the promotion of EC and MS&AC programmes, especially Horizon 2020, among Pacific research community, as well as the Pacific opportunities for European researchers.

Natural History Collections (NHCs) play a central role as sources of data for biodiversity and conservation. Yet, few NHCs have examined whether the data they contain is adequately representative of local biodiversity. I examined over 15,000 databased records of Hymenoptera from 1435 locations across New Zealand collected over the past 90 years. These records are assessed in terms of their geographical, temporal, and environmental coverage across New Zealand. Results showed that the spatial coverage of records was significantly biased, with the top four areas contributing over 51% of all records. Temporal biases were also evident, with a large proportion (40%) of records collected within a short time period. The lack of repeat visits to specific locations indicated that the current set of NHC records would be of limited use for long-term ecological research. Consequently, analyses and interpretation of historical data, for example, shifts in community composition, would be limited. However, in general, NHC records provided good coverage of the diversity of New Zealand habitats and climatic environments, although fewer NHC records were represented at cooler temperatures (<5°C) and the highest rainfalls (>5000 mm/yr). Analyses of NHCs can be greatly enhanced by using simple techniques that examine collection records in terms of environmental and geographical space. NHCs that initiate a systematic sampling strategy will provide higher quality data for biodiversity research than ad hoc or point samples, as is currently the norm. Although NHCs provide a rich source of information they could be far better utilised in a range of large-scale ecological and conservation studies. © 2012 Darren F.

In empirically deriving the temperature dependence of organic matter decomposition, changing substrate availability can confound the derivation of any inferred intrinsic temperature dependence. In essence, when conditions are favourable for rapid decomposition, that fast rate can deplete the pool of available substrate leading to reduced subsequent decomposition rates. This is a potential problem under any experimental or observational setting. Its potential effect for measurements under seasonally varying temperatures is investigated here in a modelling study.Soil organic matter continuously loses carbon through decomposition which is generally replenished through new litter influx from senescing plant leaves, roots or other carbon sources. The CenW/CENTURY model was used to investigate to what extent inclusion of varying substrate supply within a realistic modelling framework modified the derived temperature dependence of organic matter decomposition. The model was run with different lignin to nitrogen ratios of fresh litter, and with litter either being generated continuously at a constant rate, or with litter fall being restricted to autumn.In systems with recalcitrant litter, as might be produced by conifers or eucalypts, the confounding effect of changing substrate supply was only slight. In systems with more labile litter, however, such as that produced by nutrient-rich grasslands, the confounding effect of varying substrate availability substantially weakened the derived temperature dependence. This effect was even more pronounced in systems with litter fall restricted to the autumn months. Reported temperature dependencies inferred from measurements with seasonally varying temperatures have shown weaker temperature dependencies than those inferred from laboratory incubation. The direction and magnitude of the confounding effect of changing substrate supply modelled here was consistent with the difference in temperature response observed in these different systems. It thus helps to reconcile these different reported temperature dependencies. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Tate K.R.,Landcare Research
Soil Biology and Biochemistry | Year: 2015

Global atmospheric methane (CH4) concentrations are now approaching 1800ppbv as a result of the growing imbalance between the net CH4 emissions from natural and anthropogenic sources of this potent greenhouse gas, and its consumption by physical and biological processes. The main focus of this review is on how land-use change and soil management can be used to correct this imbalance. Currently, the main terrestrial source for CH4 is from natural wetlands and irrigated rice cultivation, although improvements in water management during rice production have resulted in major reductions of CH4 emissions from this source. Afforestation and reforestation can also enhance soil CH4 oxidation by influencing the composition and activity of the soil methanotroph (aerobic proteobacteria) community. The effects of these and other land-use changes on soil CH4 oxidation are not generally well understood, but are known to influence this process through their effects on a range of soil properties such as soil moisture, nitrogen status, and pH that also affects methanotroph community structure and function.Recent advances in molecular techniques have confirmed the central role of methanotroph communities in regulating soil CH4 consumption by revealing how they respond to land-use change. Community-level molecular analyses of methanotroph populations under different conditions now provide new insights into the distinct traits of the different subgroups and their ecology.These advances in understanding the abiotic and biological processes regulating soil CH4 oxidation now offers the possibility of being able to predict which land-use and management practices, especially for afforestation and reforestation, will achieve high soil CH4 oxidation rates They also improve the prospects for integrated assessment of the atmospheric impacts on the global greenhouse gas budget from net soil emissions of CH4, N2O, and CO2 with land use and management change. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

For the kingdom Animalia, 1,552,319 species have been described in 40 phyla in a new evolutionary classification. Among these, the phylum Arthropoda alone represents 1,242,040 species, or about 80% of the total. The most successful group, the Insecta (1,020,007 species), accounts for about 66% of all animals. The most successful insect order, Coleoptera (387,100 species), represents about 38% of all species in 39 insect orders. Another major group in Arthropoda is the class Arachnida (112,201 species), which is dominated by the mites and ticks (Acari 54,617 species) and spiders (43,579 species). Other highly diverse arthropod groups include Crustacea (66,914 species), Trilobitomorpha (19,606 species) and Myriapoda (11,885 species). The phylum Mollusca (117,358 species) is more diverse than other successful invertebrate phyla Platyhelminthes (29,285 species), Nematoda (24,783 species), Echinodermata (20,509 species), Annelida (17,210 species) and Bryozoa (10,941 species). The phylum Craniata, including the vertebrates, represents 64,832 species (for Recent taxa, except for amphibians): among these 7,694 described species of amphibians, 31,958 species of "fish" and 5,750 species of mammals. Copyright © 2011 - Magnolia Press.

The temperature dependence of organic matter decomposition is a critically important determinant of any long-term changes of soil-carbon stocks in response to global warming. Because of practical experimental constraints, most knowledge of this temperature dependence is based on short-term studies. These studies generally show a strong temperature dependence of organic matter decomposition. At the same time, many modelling studies, especially global studies, or studies that investigate the effects of climate change, use longer time steps, such as annual. It is investigated here to what extent the use of short-term temperature dependencies are appropriate, or how they may need to be modified, for application over longer time steps. The work indicated that for global applications, it is critically important to explicitly consider seasonal temperature variations. Across the globe, observed annual mean temperature and the annual temperature range are negatively correlated. Inclusion of this correlation means that the strong short-term temperature dependence becomes much weaker when data are expressed as annual averages for the temperatures experienced across the globe. For short-term responses, the temperature dependence of organic matter decomposition is greater at low than high temperature and deviates strongly from an assumption of a constant Q 10 across temperature. For annually averaged values, this pattern also weakens, and temperature dependencies change only slightly with temperature. Using short time steps for simulations leads to the expectation of more positive changes (sequestration) in soil carbon especially for cold regions of the globe than would be predicted for simulations at annual time steps without explicit consideration of seasonal temperature variations. These considerations help to reconcile some of the apparent differences in temperature dependencies obtained by different workers using different approaches. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Laubach J.,Landcare Research
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2010

Results from an experiment measuring methane emissions from a herd of cattle are used to investigate the performance of a backward-Lagrangian stochastic model (distributed under the name WindTrax). The availability of simultaneous mass-budget measurements of the emission rate, together with a unique setup geometry, allow to compare modelled and measured normalised concentration profiles and horizontal flux profiles with five sensor heights, z, and for four horizontal source-sensor distances, x. Simulated emission rates differ typically by 10-20% to those obtained from the mass-budget measurements, which is in agreement with previous tests of the accuracy of WindTrax. Thus, the idealisation of a herd of animals as a homogeneous area source at ground level does not seriously affect the model's applicability to infer emission rates. The profile comparison suggests that WindTrax may overestimate the speed of vertical dispersion. As a consequence, for this experiment an ideal z/. x ratio exists where the modelled emission rate is unbiased. Its value is about 0.080 in unstable and 0.067 in stable stratification. Using concentration measurements taken above or below this z/. x threshold leads to emission rates that are slightly under- or overestimated, respectively. Simultaneous measurements with an open-path methane laser are compatible with this finding. Possible causes of the apparent overestimate of vertical dispersion rates are discussed, leading to the cautious suggestion that it may stem from the choices for the Kolmogorov constant and/or the normalised dissipation rate in the model, which reflects gaps in our understanding of the atmospheric surface layer. It is argued that this notion does not contradict the earlier results from a number of controlled tracer-release experiments that had been designed to test WindTrax. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Landcare Research | Date: 2013-11-06

The present invention discloses an automated method for optimizing irrigation, whereby different parts of a field are irrigated different amounts, based at least in part on an analysis of spatial soil properties of the field, and extrapolation of data from soil sensors placed in the different parts of a field.

Landcare Research | Date: 2013-03-11

The present invention relates to norbormide analogues having rodenticidal activity; rodenticidal compositions comprising the analogues; uses of the analogues as rodenticides; uses of the analogues in the manufacture of rodenticidal compositions; and methods for controlling rodents using the compositions.

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