A paper co-authored by Boise State University geochemist Matt Kohn will be published in the Jan. 16 edition of the journal Science. The academic paper, titled Linked canopy, climate, and faunal change in the Cenozoic of Patagonia, offers the first-ever tool to identify the type of vegetation that defined the southern tip of South America between 45 million and 15 million years ago.
“To study climate or ecosystem change, we have to understand how plants are affected.” Kohn said. “The carbon cycle is important to climate change, so it’s important to understand about plants through time.”
Kohn and his colleagues are using a new method for reconstructing leaf area index (LAI) to measure terrestrial plant density, which should assist researchers in understanding ecosystems and habitat change through time and resolve outstanding hypotheses in paleoecology.