Tag Archive for Royer

Royer Author of Fossil Leaf, Fossil Soil Articles

Dana Royer, assistant professor of environmental studies, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the co-author of “Quantification of large uncertainties in fossil leaf paleoaltimetry,” published in Tectonics, doi:10.1029/2009TC002549, 2010; and “Fossil soils constrain ancient climate sensitivity,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107: 517-518, 2010.

5 Questions with . . . Dana Royer

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences.

In this issue we ask 5 Questions to…Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, who has a new study in the American Journal of Botany that examined flowering plant fossils in hopes of uncovering clues about the growth characteristics of some of these ancient angiosperms.

Q. Your study looks at the structure of fossil flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, from more than 100 million years ago. What were you hoping to discover?

A. Flowering plants are ubiquitous in most areas on Earth today. Over 90 percent of all plant species today are angiosperms. Given how important these plants are today, it is surprising how little we know about their origins. We sought to better understand the ecology of early angiosperms. In what kinds of environments did flowering plants rise to dominance? What was their growth strategy: were the slow-growing or fast-growing?

2. What is the basis for the theory that angiosperms from 140-100 million years ago were fast-growing?

A. It has been known for several decades that many of the earliest angiosperm fossils are found in river deposits. Plants growing today along river corridors are usually fast-growing. This is true not just for the weeds but also for the trees such as cottonwood.

Royer Speaks on Palaeo-CO2 Patterns

Dana Royer

Dana Royer

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, was quoted in a Dec. 30, 2009 issue of Nature News in an article titled “Soils give clean look at past carbon dioxide.”

According to the article, scientists believe atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may have been lower in warm eras of the Earth’s distant past than once believed. The finding raises concern that carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning may, in the near future, be closer to those associated with ancient hothouse climates.

More immediately, the work brings one line of palaeoclimate evidence — that deduced from ancient soils — into agreement with other techniques for studying past climate.

“It makes a major revision to one of the most popular methods for reconstructing palaeo-CO2,” Royer says in the article. “This increases our confidence that we have a decent understanding of palaeo-CO2 patterns.”

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising today, and the new finding suggests that climate might be considerably more sensitive to changes in carbon dioxide than previously thought.

“This may have implications for near-future climate change,” Royer says.

Hingorani, Royer Published in National Academy of Sciences

Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, is the author of “S. cerevisiae Msh2-Msh6 DNA binding kinetics reveal a mechanism of targeting sites for DNA mismatch repair,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ” Early Edition,” December 2009.

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the author of “Fossil soils constrain ancient climate sensitivity,” published in the same journal.

Royer Co-Authors Important CO2 Study

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, contributed to an important study on the dangerous levels of Carbon Dioxide on the planet. He is featured in a Nov. 6 issue of Health News Digest. According to the article, if climate disasters are to be averted, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) must be reduced below the levels that already exist today. The model, created by Royer and nine other scientists from the U.S., the U.K. and France, suggests “the only realistic way to sharply curtail CO2 emissions is phase out coal use except where CO2 is captured and sequestered.” According to the study, coal is the largest source of atmospheric CO2 and the one that would be most practical to eliminate. The study was presented in the Open Atmospheric Science Journal, Volume 2, 217-231, published in 2008.