Did you know that there is a tropical rainforest in the United States? It’s in Puerto Rico—the El Yunque National Forest—and Michigan Technological University researchers are joining U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey scientists there to get a handle on the impact that climate change—particularly warming—is likely to have on the tropical forests of the world.
The Tropical Response to Altered Climate Experiment (TRACE) research project is supported by the U.S. Forest Service with an additional three-year, $960,000 grant from the US Department of Energy.
Molly Cavaleri—a tree physiologist who studies how ecosystems are responding to climate change at Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science—is thrilled to be heading the study. “This is the first field experiment of its kind ever done in a tropical forest,” she says. “We will be manipulating the environment, warming the leaves and branches of the canopy as well as the smaller plants on the forest floor, not just observing.”
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