Prof. Kevin Griffin
Earth Institute Contact: Prof. Kevin Griffin
This project investigates the interactions between the urban environment of New York City and plant function. We are studying growth and carbon cycling in red oak seedlings growing at four sites along a 200km transect between Central Park and the Catskills. Preliminary results have indicated that environmental factors associated with NYC directly affect plant growth and function; these factors include elevated nighttime temperature, atmospheric nitrogen deposition, other pollutants, and reduced tropospheric ozone relative to surrounding rural areas. The direct impact of urbanization on plant function will have cascading effects on ecosystem function, biogeochemical cycling, and biodiversity on a regional scale. Additionally, this transect may be used as a window into the future of global warming: many studies predict that global temperatures will rise more at night than during the day123. Nocturnal warming is likely to have significant direct effects on plant carbon relations and the role of the biosphere as a sink for fossil fuel CO2. Thus, results from this study may have implications for regional as well as global models of carbon cycling.