Public lecture by SDSU Professor Dr. Walter Oechel in Tbilisi

2018-05-04

On May 2, 2018 at the Georgian National Museum, SDSU Distinguished Professor of Biology Dr. Walter Oechel presented the lecture, “Ecosystem feedbacks on climate change: From the Arctic to the South Pacific”. Dr. Oechel highlighted how climate change and human activity can affect greenhouse gas fluxes from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and thereby impact atmospheric feedback on warming. Dr. Oechel introduced current and recent research in Arctic Alaska, the California chaparral, Indonesia, and coastal waters of California and American Samoa. The lecture was widely attended by students, staff, MCC/MCA representatives and members of the public.

Professor Oechel was the first to show that Arctic ecosystems, a long-term sink and repository of atmospheric CO2, could become a source of CO2 to the atmosphere. In fact, the Alaska North Slope, which had been a sink of carbon for atmospheric CO2 throughout the Holocene, very recently became a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, beginning probably in the mid-1970’s. This seminar provided an opportunity to hear first-hand about Professor Oechel’s current innovative research and the concepts of temporal and spatial feedbacks from ecosystems on climate.