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Climate change linked to more flowery tropical forests, FSU study shows

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New research from a Florida State University scientist has revealed a surprising relationship between surging atmospheric carbon dioxide and flower blooms in a remote tropical forest.

New research from a Florida State University scientist has revealed a surprising relationship between surging atmospheric carbon dioxide and flower blooms in a remote tropical forest.

FSU researchers studying the rich tropical forests of Panama’s Barro Colorado Island found that climbing rates of carbon dioxide have set the stage for a multidecade increase in overall flower production.

The findings were outlined in a paper published in the journal 

Global Change Biology

“It’s really remarkable,” said Assistant Professor of Geography Stephanie Pau, who led the study. “Over the past several decades, we’ve seen temperatures warming and carbon dioxide increasing, and our study found that this tropical forest has responded to that increase by producing more flowers.”

Pau’s findings suggest that tropical forests, which have evolved over millennia to flourish in warm, equatorial conditions, may be more sensitive to subtle climatic changes than some ecologists predicted.

Read more at Florida State University

Image: Pau and her colleagues set up discreet traps throughout the forest to monitor flower activity.

CREDIT: Stephanie Pau