As Earth warmed, ancient rainforests thrived

While environmental theorists speculate that rainforests could be destroyed by rapid global warming, two scientists with ties to Missouri S&T believe otherwise. In the November issue of the journal Science, the researchers report that tropical rain forests thrived during a period of global warming almost 60 million years ago.


Carlos Jaramillo, MS GGph’95, the study’s lead author, is a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. In 2009, in the journal Nature, Jaramillo and colleagues reported the discovery of bones from what is believed to be the largest snake to slither the earth. The constrictor, which they named Titanoboa, was about 50 feet long. (Jaramillo and his discovery were featured in the Summer 2010 issue of Missouri S&T Magazine.)
When Titanoboa was living, the world was going through a quick period of warming. Temperatures went up 3 to 5 degrees Celsius in about 10,000 years. Carbon levels doubled. The warm conditions lasted about 200,000 years.
Contrary to speculation that tropical forests could be devastated by rapid global warming, the researchers found that forest diversity also increased rapidly during this past warming event. New plant species were added to the existing pool of vegetation. The Science researchers examined pollen trapped in rock cores and outcrops — from Colombia and Venezuela — to form their conclusions.
Guillermo Rodriguez, MS GGph’10, one of the co-authors who contributed to the Science study, is a palynologist at the Colombian Petroleum Institute.

Around the Puck

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2018

8,607 Students enrolled for the fall semester at Missouri S&T. Classes started Aug. 20. 91 Percentage of first-year freshmen who receive scholarships and financial aid.

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Making tornado alley safer

Growing up in northeast China, Guirong “Grace” Yan didn’t see many tornados in a country where the number of documented twisters is a fraction of those that hit the United States. But as her academic career took Yan to several postdoctoral fellowships and then faculty positions in Indiana, Missouri and Texas, the assistant professor of […]

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Living laboratory houses lead battery research

This past November, Missouri S&T installed two new advanced lead battery microgrid systems at the EcoVillage, a “living laboratory” that is home to S&T’s solar-powered homes.

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Partners for progress

An expansion of the partnership between Missouri S&T and Missouri State University will allow students to pursue a mechanical engineering degree on the Missouri State campus with courses taught by faculty from both institutions. Students began applying this fall. The program will begin in fall 2019.

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Chancellor search is underway

This past August, University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced the formation of a 23-member committee to lead a nationwide search for a chancellor at Missouri S&T.

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