Hello, or as it is said in Fiji, ‘Bula’!
My name is Ciara Egan and I am a research assistant working with the Plant Palaeoecology and Palaeobiology Research Group based at University College Dublin, Ireland.
I have decided to write this blog as a means of recording my trip to Fiji this May, where I will assist a small team of scientists to carry out fieldwork in the tropical rainforests of Fiji. The fieldwork is being undertaken as part of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded project ‘Biome-level vegetation response to future global change: implications for flood risk’.
The project aims to investigate whether future changes in plant physiology, driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide, will enhance global runoff and flooding risk. This overarching objective is being achieved by investigating if forest transpiration (water loss) has decreased over the past 20+ years of CO2 rise from 22 geographically widespread sites representing seven world biomes or climate zones. Decreased transpiration leads to less water being recycled by vegetation, less held in soils, more runoff and greater flooding risk. The global database of forest transpiration change will ultimately be incorporated into a next-generation global climate model to assess the impact of future vegetation responses on future runoff / flood risk.
Our fieldwork is being carried out at two sites, Natua and Seqaqa, which are located on Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji. While carrying out our fieldwork, we will be based in the town of Savusavu. This small town is affectionately known as Fiji’s ‘hidden paradise’!