There are four people travelling from University College Dublin to carry out the fieldwork in Fiji. These include Dr. Wuu Kuang Soh, Dr. Charilaos Yiotis and PhD student Michelle Murray. I will be acting as fieldwork assistant.
Wuu Kuang is a post doctoral researcher working on the SFI project. He is mainly working to develop a proxy to track the functional responses of palaeo-ecosystems to past global warming events. The proxy is based on leaf cuticle and leaf functional traits. Wuu Kuang’s research will be used to improve general circulation models which will ultimately make future predictions of flood risks more accurate.
Michelle’s PhD aims to investigate the impact of recent climate change by developing a global database of biome-level plant stomatal conductance responses of selected woody taxa to the rise by 61 ppm of CO2 over the last 40 years. This information will be used to develop improved climate model prediction of continental runoff and flood risk for the years 2030 and 2050, and to assess the impact that plant responses to CO2 will have on the hydrological cycle at both global and regional levels. This is being achieved by collecting historical and modern samples of representative woody vegetation types from all nine world biomes. The historical samples have already been taken from an archive of herbarium specimens from 22 of 173 global vegetation sites called CLAMP (Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Programme), collected by the late Jack Wolfe in the 1970s and 1980s. The modern samples are being collected during fieldwork to all 22 CLAMP sites, including the two sites in Fiji. The stomatal conductance of the modern samples will be compared to the that of the historical samples collected some 30 years ago.
Charilaos is a post doctoral researcher working on the European Funded research project ‘OxyEvol’. His research focuses on how simulated changes in Earth’s atmospheric composition at different intervals in Earth history influence stomatal behaviour and photosynthetic physiology in different plant groups. Charilaos will be travelling to Fiji to carry out his research as well as contribute some of his data to the SFI project.
While in Fiji we will be collaborating closely with researchers from the Institute of Applied Science at the University of the South Pacific (USP). They will be on hand to provide logistical advice in relation to the sites and will be joining us in the field to assist with the fieldwork and sample collection.