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Total solar eclipse had effects on Wyoming sagebrush, UW research results



(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – People from across the country flocked to places like Casper to capture a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

A university student in Wyoming studied the effects of the overall eclipse on large sagebrush.

Daniel Beverly, a UW botany and hydrology doctoral student, found that the eclipse reduced large sagebrush photosynthesis and perspiration and interrupted the plant's circadian rhythm, according to a June 20 UW press release.

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"He found out that the short period of darkness caused a significant reduction in photosynthesis and transpiration in the desert bush, but not entirely to the levels at night," it is reported. [19659003] "The circadian rhythm – the response to the inner clock common to almost all organisms including humans – was interrupted by the sudden changes in sunlight beyond the typical cloud cover."

Beverl's research was published in Scientific Reports, added to UW.

"& # 39; The reduced temperature and lack of sunshine shocked the big sagebrush's circadian clock, triggering a response far beyond what happens when clouds block sunlight," Beverly said in the release. .

"& # 39; But the duration of the eclipse totality was not sufficient to bring the plants to their night state."

Beverly carried out field work southeast of Yellowstone National Park.

"This area is dominated by mountains great sagebrush, "said UW." The site experienced 2 minutes, 18 seconds of eclipse totality, with the total duration of partial and total solar eclipse reaching 2 hours, 45 minutes, 36 seconds. "

Beverly used different units to monitor the effects of the eclipse on plants. They included a micrometeorological tower that was used to "absorb the sun's radiation and changes in temperature," according to UW.

To measure photosynthesis, Beverly used an infr An arduous gas analyzer, and he used flurometers to analyze how the leaves of the saw-brush reacted to the changing light conditions.

"In the short duration of near darkness, they found significant reductions in perspiration – evaporation of water from sagebrush leaves – as well as photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy that converts carbon dioxide and water to sugar and oxygen", continued UW.

Beverly and other researchers also found that there was a 14% reduction in carbon conversion across large saw-bush ecosystems in the West on the eclipse day, UW said.

Despite the relatively short duration, the eclipse caused a significant reduction in the estimated daily carbon uptake to August 21, 2017 in large sagebrush ecosystem ems, "says Beverly." This information gives us a more comprehensive understanding of the plant's physiological reactions to sudden changes in light, temperature and humidity that the internal clock fails to predict. "

Beverly's research adopts work done by other researchers to study the effects of the eclipse on animals.

"These results have been mixed with birds, bees and spiders that behave as at dusk, while no behavioral changes were seen in animals such as dairy cattle and imprisoned chimpanzees," UW said.

"On the other hand, very little is known about plant responses to eclipses, either on a small scale or across broad ecosystems. Beverly's study – which involved colleagues UW researchers at the Botanical Institute, the Program in Ecology and Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center – Provides some of the most detailed information ever reported on individual plant responses and potential broad ecosystem impacts. "

This article contains images of the total solar eclipse and of those who came to Casper to look at it.


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