SDSU Georgia public lecture by Dr. Walter Oechel - May 2, 2018


On May 2, 2018 SDSU Georgia hosted public lecture of interim Dean of College of Sciences, Distinguished Professor of Biology Dr. Walter Oechel: "Ecosystem feedback on climate change: From Arctic to the South Pacific". The event was organized at the National Museum of Georgia 2018.

Professor Oechel has provided highlights of current and recent research in Arctic Alaska, the California Chaparral, Indonesia, and coastal waters of California and American Samoa.  He has highlighted how climate change and human activity can affect greenhouse gas fluxes from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and thereby impact atmospheric feedbacks on warming. The presentation was followed by Q and A.

Prof Oechel was the first to show that Arctic ecosystems, a long-term sink and repository of atmospheric CO2, could become a source to the atmosphere. In fact, the North Slope of Alaska, which had been a sink of carbon for atmospheric CO2 through the Holocene, became a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, beginning probably in the mid 1970’s. Through his research, Prof Oechel was able to provide the first documented case not only of climate change impact on ecosystem metabolism, but provided the first clear case of a positive feedback by an ecosystem on global warming. As part of this work, Prof Oechel has pioneered complex field manipulations of [CO2] and climate, boat based and airborne methods of remote sensing and flux measurement, and is a recognized world expert in these areas. This seminar provides an opportunity to hear first-hand about Professor Oechel’s current innovative research and the range of ecosystems to obtain improved understanding of both temporal and spatial feedbacks from ecosystems on climate.