U.S. Senator Visits BER Research Project


U.S. Senator Carl Levin (Michigan) spent several hours (on February 21, 2002) with the BER-sponsored research team at Michigan Technological University. The research team is studying effects of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone, both products of energy production, on northern hardwood forest ecosystems. The project findings have important implications for the structure and functioning of forest ecosystems during the coming decades as both carbon dioxide and ozone levels continue to increase. Since the BER-funded study began in 1998, the researchers have discovered significant differences in how various tree species (aspen, birch, and maple) respond to the two-gas mixture, and even differences between trees of the same species (aspen) but with different genetic makeups. Effects of the treatments have been observed at scales ranging from the molecular level up to the entire forest ecosystem. The project was recently renewed, following a peer review, and the senator complimented the research team, saying, “I’m just here to congratulate you, and I’m grateful you received a grant to continue your work.”