Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ ( del ICTA-UAB ( y del IMIM ( está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).

Big data reveals extraordinary unity underlying life’s diversity

Limits to growth lie at the heart of how all living things function, according to a new study carried out by ICTA-UAB researchers  .
MdM SEMINAR SERIES: “Understanding past, present and future carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems: a multidisciplinary challenge” by Prof. Iain Colin Prentice FRS

Date: 2019-01-16


Title: “Understanding past, present and future carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems: a multidisciplinary challenge”


Speaker: Prof. Iain Colin Prentice FRS, AXA Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts, Imperial College London

Date: Wednesday, January 16th 2019
Time: 12h
Venue: room Z/022- Z/023

Terrestrial ecosystems are performing a valuable service by taking up, in the decadal average, more than a quarter of the total anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide. Yet the mechanisms involved are still disputed, and numerical models continue to give widely deviating projections of the future of this global uptake. Moreover, despite sustained efforts, these models are not improving (in terms of their agreement with present and historical observations), and their projections of the future are not converging. I will argue that this situation reflects (a) a tradition in biology to focus on the diversity (rather than the unity) of life, which hinders the search for unifying principles; (b) an undue focus on future projection (rather than explanation) as the principal goal of models; and (c) a distortion of research priorities and culture that unconsciously reflects the politicization of climate and carbon cycle science. I will further argue, however, that scientists have a responsibility to be aware of both disciplinary limitations and political pressures, and to consciously resist them. On the other hand, the international “spotlight” on climate and the carbon cycle has permitted huge advances in the availability of relevant data, at scales from individual plant leaves to satellite observations of the whole Earth, and these advances provide immense opportunities: both for improved scientific understanding of the carbon cycle, and for the development of better-founded predictive models. I will show how recent theoretical advances based on eco-evolutionary optimality concepts have led to general, testable hypotheses concerning the most fundamental processes underlying ecosystem function – forming the basis for an emerging new generation of models, resting on firmer theoretical and empirical foundations than those they will eventually replace.

Professor Iain Colin Prentice FRS holds the AXA Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts in the Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, and an Honorary Professorship in Ecology and Evolution at Macquarie University in Sydney. He has a PhD in Botany from Cambridge University and has held academic and research leadership positions in several countries, including the Chair of Plant Ecology at Lund University, and a founding Directorship of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena. He led the research programme Quantifying and Understanding the Earth System for the UK Natural Environment Research Council. He developed the standard model for pollen source area, popularized now widely used techniques to analyse species composition along environmental gradients, and led the international development of succcessive generations of large-scale ecosystem models – from equilibrium biogeography (BIOME) to coupled biogeochemistry and vegetation dynamics (LPJ). He was a founding member and, later, co-chair of the Internal Geosphere-Biosphere programme task force on Global Analysis, Integration and Modelling; and co-chair of its successor project Analysis, Integration and Modelling of the Earth System. He was co-ordinating lead author for “The carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide” in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, and a reviewer in subsequent reports. He is currently Director of the Masters programme in Ecosystems and Environmental Change at Imperial College. His research, now supported by the European Research Council advanced grant Re-Inventing Ecosystem and Land-surface Models (REALM), applies eco-evolutionary optimality concepts to develop and test new quantitative theory for plant and ecosystem function and land-atmosphere exchanges of energy, water and carbon dioxide with the goal of more robust global modelling of terrestrial Earth system processes.

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