STRI News is published weekly for Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute staff by the Development Office. It is printed and distributed to all staff and is offered online in an 8.5x11 PDF format.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) in Panama, is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution based outside of the United States, is dedicated to understanding biological diversity.
Mon., Feb. 4, 4pm
Long-term memory and contextual
learning in the fringe-lipped bat
Tues., Feb. 5, 4pm
Scripps Institute of
Consequences of rapid mtDNA
evolution on hybrid breakdown and
Thur., Feb. 7, 7pm
Scripps Institute of
Barro Colorado Island
The molecular basis of local
responses to thermal stress in
populations of an intertidal
FEBRUARY 1, 2013
Rainforest trees grown at higher nighttime
temperatures put on more than twice as much
weight as their counterparts grown under normal
circumstances, according to a new study by
scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research
Institute. This result may force climate modelers
who assume trees grow slower at increased
temperatures to reconsider the impacts of climate
change on tropical forests.
Although global temperatures rose on average
by about 0.2°C per decade since 1975, the
tropics warmed more quickly, with an average
temperature increase of about 0.26°C per decade.
And nighttime temperatures rose even faster than
daytime temperatures, at least in central Panama.
According to Alexander Cheesman, a post-
doctoral fellow who co-authored the study with
STRI staff scientist Klaus Winter: “Meteorological
monitoring on Panama’s Barro Colorado Island
revealed an increase in nighttime temperatures
of 1.5 °C since 1971.” Seemingly small changes
may appear insignificant but they mean our
biological support systems may soon experience
temperatures more extreme than anything felt in
the last million years.
Researchers subjected fig and balsa tree seedlings
to increased nighttime temperatures. The increase
in biomass they observed counters conventional
wisdom: increased respiration at higher
temperatures is supposed to reduce plant weight
WARM NIGHTS STIMULATE