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Picture of the Day

Plant -- and climate -- versus animal

Annual tree rings in Alaska have revealed clues into the impacts of climate on shrub growth, and thereby on Arctic tundra ecosystems in general. After painstakingly measuring 20,000 individual shrub rings through a microscope, a team of scientists created records of historic shrub growth from across northern Alaska. Next, the team compared these growth records to climate observations, examining factors like precipitation, temperature and solar radiation. According to one researcher, larger shrubs appear to benefit some animals, like moose and ptarmigan, but harm other animals, such as caribou. Shown here: Evidence of how warmer June temperatures drive shifts in the tundra vegetation in northern Alaska, negatively impacting wildlife such as caribou.

Visit Website | Image credit: Daniel Ackerman/University of Minnesota