Dr. Daniel (Max) Taub
- Andrew Loehman
Much of Dr. Daniel Taub’s recent scholarship has focused on the effects that rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have on plant physiology, growth and chemistry. As photosynthetic organisms, uptake and incorporation of carbon dioxide into organic compounds is central to plant metabolism. As human activities (principally the burning of fossil fuels) lead to increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, plants therefore experience a change in the availability of their primary resource. In an analysis performed with two Southwestern University students, Dr. Taub established that increasing atmospheric CO2 leads to a decrease in the protein concentrations of major food crops including rice and wheat (Taub et al. 2008). The types of crops for which this decrease in protein concentration occurs provide 39.6% of human dietary protein worldwide, with the proportion for individual countries reaching as high as 76.8% for Bangladesh (Taub and Wang 2013 ). Dr. Taub has also written reviews of the research literature on the broader effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on such things as plant growth, water use, and plant tissue mineral concentrations (Taub 2010, Taub and Wang 2013).
Dr. Taub, along with a Southwestern University student, developed and published a detailed exercise for college-level instruction on the climate effects of increased atmospheric CO2 (Taub and Graham 2011). In this exercise, students obtain datasets of the output of sophisticated climate computer simulation models known as general circulation models (GCMs). They then process this data to quantitatively examine and compare GCM-simulated future climates for particular geographic locations under a range of possible future atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Dr. Taub’s Global Change Biology class explores these and other global environmental change issues in depth, and is an offering for both the Environmental Studies and Biology majors.
Taub, Daniel R. and Wang, Xianzhong (2013). Effects of carbon dioxide enrichment on plants. In Pielke, R. Editor-in-Chief, Climate Vulnerability. Academic Press: San Diego, ISBN 978012384703.
*Southwestern University student co-author