Posted by Linda, on 3 May 2011More and more, the central dogma is becoming well, dogged, for being a dogma at all. As humans, we have 3 billion nucleotides. Only 1% of it makes up our ...
Hi David, that's a really interesting and complex question. I can only guess what might happen (I'll try to deflect your q at a plant ecologist for their expert opinion). Air pollution from aerosols reduces visibility across the spectrum. And plant growth would be vulnerable to poor light quality, as they rely on light to make food and signal in developmental changes. blue and red light mediate an array of processes in the plant. To list off, developmentally, constant low red/blue light can cause morphological changes like delayed maturation of certain tissues, reduced root mass, longer stems to allow plants to reach the light etc. (refer to article at the end). Blue light is also important in the production of chlorophyll, required in photosynthesis (making food). Red light can signal when to photosynthesize. However, plants are also robust, their photoreceptors are capable of sensing low light intensities, to a degree. (Hence some plants under a dense rainforest canopy being able to grow). If low light stress is perpetual from climate change, it can change a plant community. Species already adapted to low light will thrive and outcompete other types that require more light. For agriculture, constant low light stress would be bad for crops that require higher light intensities (could wind up with lower yields). But, light quality wouldn't be the only thing that air pollution would impact. The hole it creates in the ozone allows more UV light to come in, greenhouse effects traps infrared wavelengths = increasing temperatures. etc. It's a host of different stresses that probably have additive effects. Of course, indirectly, this is bad for animals, as we rely on plants for food and infrastructure. Animal behaviour wise, I'm not sure (i'd have to ask someone studying neuroscience/behaviour), blue/red light would have to be blocked quite significantly I gather, before everyone's biological clock is off-balance. Grey skies from smog and air pollution can cause mood changes, similar to seasonal affective disorder. I found this encyclopaedia of earth article quite helpful, 'impact of air pollution' by a head of environmental research. Also, some research on blue/red light on plant ecology (hopefully it's not too intense): Development and Shade avoidence in response to blue and red lightby Linda in Got the Blues? How Plants Respond to Blue Light on May 1, 2011
I hope Queensland's doing well too. :) Sad to hear about what happened to Chile and its universities! I can't imagine anything worse than several disasters in one go. How have the universities recovered?by Linda in Blogging the Flood at the University of Queensland on February 6, 2011
That's a pretty cool method of getting an organism to take up molecules. Never thought that you could apply electroporation to animals, as well as competent bacteria. It's also a good video, I learned a lot about zebra fish research from it. like..zebra fish are cute!by Linda in Open access video protocol: electroporating zebrafish ears on January 18, 2011
Cheers Jon, will get on to that...by Linda in Arrested Development in Plant miRNA Mutants on January 18, 2011
Will check out your blog soon then :) Yea it's funny how most labs aren't mono-lingual. But 14-15 languages is heaps! Far out..by Linda in The Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss on January 8, 2011