Building Better Trees, Supernova Simulations And Holograms

The members of the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Science list are turning science fiction into reality.


“My father was a founder, my uncle has a logging company and my grandmother is a botanist,” says Maddie Hall, founder of the startup Living Carbon, which is growing genetically modified trees that take more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and offer greater durability and faster growth. “So there was a destiny for me to be a founder of a plant biotech company.”

Enlisting genetically engineered trees to fight against climate change may sound like science fiction, but Hall, 28, is just one of the members of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Science with inventions that sound straight out of a sci-fi novel. 

Take Jelena Notaros, 27, for example. This assistant professor at MIT is designing augmented reality displays that produce real-life holograms. Recently, her team developed

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Take A Look At How This Startup Can Digitize Trees

Temperature changes, soil erosion and rainfall can affect a tree farmers’ ability to grow trees. Unlike grapevines, when trees get stressed, they don’t thrive; they die.

Tree crops are one of the most successful forms of perennial agriculture. An apple orchard can survive for up to 50 years, and a well-cared-for pecan tree could produce a crop for up to 150 years. However, temperature changes, soil erosion and rainfall can affect a tree farmers’ ability to grow trees. Unlike grapevines, when trees get stressed, they don’t thrive; they die.

Despite the success of tree crops, they are also one of the most historically complicated farming segments.

According to Orbia CEO Daniel Martínez-Valle farmers need an abundance of information to understand tree health. Just looking at a tree isn’t enough to understand what’s happening inside it.

“Tree orchards are also incredibly

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Google’s new tool helps cities plant trees to combat the climate crisis

googletrees

Google is scoping out tree coverage in Los Angeles.


Google

Google is working on bringing more shade to help cool our cities as the climate crisis worsens. The new Tree Canopy Lab combines artificial intelligence and aerial imaging to help cities see where there are gaps in their tree coverage and tree planting projects. Cities will then know where to plant more trees, Google said.

Google is working with the City of Los Angeles on the project, and said it plans to make insights from Tree Canopy Lab available to hundreds of cities in the next year. 

“Extreme temperatures are becoming more common in cities where concrete and infrastructure are now creating heat islands — areas that experience higher temperatures, leading to poor air quality, dehydration and other public health concerns,” Google

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Trees and green roofs can help reduce the urban heat island effect — ScienceDaily

Air pollution experts from the University of Surrey have found that green infrastructure (GI), such as trees, can help reduce temperatures in many of Europe’s cities and towns.

An urban heat island is an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The temperature difference is typically larger at night than during the day.

With the UK government pledging to build 300,000 new homes every year, it is feared that many of the country’s towns and cities will experience an increase in temperature brought about by more vehicles and building activity.

In a paper published by Environmental Pollution, experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) modelled how a UK town would be affected if its urban landscape included different types of GI.

The study focused on simulating temperature increases in the town of Guildford, UK, under different GI cover (trees, grassland and green

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Google wants to help cities plant trees to combat the climate crisis

googletrees

Google is scoping out tree coverage in Los Angeles.


Google

Google is working on bringing more shade to help cool our cities as the climate crisis worsens. The new Tree Canopy Lab combines artificial intelligence and aerial imaging to help cities see where there are gaps in their tree coverage and tree planting projects. Cities will then know where to plant more trees, Google said.

Google is working with the City of Los Angeles on the project.

“Extreme temperatures are becoming more common in cities where concrete and infrastructure are now creating heat islands — areas that experience higher temperatures, leading to poor air quality, dehydration and other public health concerns,” Google said in a blog post Wednesday. “Trees are increasingly seen as a solution to both lowering street-level temperatures while improving

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Researchers figure out how and why trees in the Amazon perish

Nov. 9 (UPI) — To absorb and store carbon, trees have to stay alive, but increasingly, trees in the Amazon are doing the opposite. Now, scientists know why.

According to a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications, a tree species’ mean growth rate is the primary risk factor for tree death in the Amazon. Researchers found faster-growing trees are more likely to die young.

The findings help explain why tree mortality is increasing throughout the Amazon. Previous studies suggest climate change favors faster-growing tree species. That’s bad news for the planet.

If rising temperatures continue to alter the composition of forests, favoring faster-growers, the Amazon is likely to experience a continued increase in tree mortality. As a result, the latest research suggests the Amazon’s carbon sequestrations abilities are bound to suffer.

“Understanding the main drivers of tree death allows us to better predict and plan for future

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Scientists unravel how and why Amazon trees die

Amazon trees
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The capacity of the Amazon forest to store carbon in a changing climate will ultimately be determined by how fast trees die—and what kills them. Now, a huge new study has unravelled what factors control tree mortality rates in Amazon forests and helps to explain why tree mortality is increasing across the Amazon basin.


This large analysis found that the mean growth rate of the tree species is the main risk factor behind Amazon tree death, with faster-growing trees dying off at a younger age. These findings have important consequences for our understanding of the future of these forests. Climate change tends to select fast-growing species. If the forests selected by climate change are more likely die younger, they will also store less carbon.

The study, co-led by the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds in collaboration with more than 100 scientists, is the first large scale

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China’s most important trees are hiding in plain sight — ScienceDaily

In ecosystems around the globe, the danger of being a common or widespread species is the tendency to be overlooked by conservation efforts that prioritize rarity.

In forests, the most common species can be essential to ecosystem structure and function, which crumble with the decline of these pivotal trees, known collectively as foundation species.

In an effort to identify forest foundation species and elevate their conservation status before they disappear, a unique research collaboration between Chinese and American scientists has synthesized long-term biodiversity data from 12 immense forest study plots spanning 1,500 miles, from China’s far north to its southern tropics.

Their results, published today in the journal Ecology, point to maple trees — long appreciated for their autumn foliage and the syrup that graces our tables — as potential foundation species in both China and North America.

The study comes on the heels of the latest “Red List”

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Soil fungi act like a support network for trees — ScienceDaily

Being highly connected to a strong social network has its benefits. Now a new University of Alberta study is showing the same goes for trees, thanks to their underground neighbours.

The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, is the first to show that the growth of adult trees is linked to their participation in fungal networks living in the forest soil.

Though past research has focused on seedlings, these findings give new insight into the value of fungal networks to older trees — which are more environmentally beneficial for functions like capturing carbon and stabilizing soil erosion.

“Large trees make up the bulk of the forest, so they drive what the forest is doing,” said researcher Joseph Birch, who led the study for his PhD thesis in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.

When they colonize the roots of a tree, fungal networks act as a

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Discovering beetles abroad to protect trees at home

Discovering beetles abroad to protect trees at home
Credit: The Coleopterists Bulletin

Not every child gets a bark beetle named after them. Then again, not every kid has Michigan State University entomologists Sarah Smith and Anthony Cognato as parents.


The duo discovered two new beetle species in Southeast Asia, which they named and announced in the September issue of The Coleopterists Bulletin. (A coleopterist is someone who studies beetles). The diminutive beetle species—they’re roughly as long as a nickel is thick—are both reddish brown and dotted with little spines.

“That’s why we named one after our son, Lorenzo,” Smith said.

“He can be a little prickly,” Cognato explained.

The beetles both belong to the Acanthotomicus genus, with Lorenzo being the namesake for the newly christened Acanthotomicus enzoi. The researchers named the other new species A. diaboliculus, derived from the Latin for “little devil,” just in time for Halloween.

Behind these playful names, however, is a serious motivation for

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