3/14/2018: Jay Fant; Tree Study; Rob The Shark

Mar 14, 2018

Jay Fant joined Melissa Ross on Wednesday's First Coast Connect.
Credit Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with State Representative and Republican candidate for Attorney General Jay Fant (01:24).

UNF assistant professor of biology Dr. Mike Aspinwall told us about a recent study he participated in to examine how large trees in Australia are affected by climate change (33:08).

Researcher Dr. Jeremy Valdo told us the story of Rob the shark who was tagged by scientists and was recently tracked off the shore of Jacksonville (46:00).

Jay Fant

Fant has positioned himself as the strongest supporter of the 2nd Amendment in the race to become Attorney General. He voted against the legislation approved in Tallahassee to raise the minimum age to purchase a rifle in Florida from 18 to 21.

Tree Study

It was the first ever study of large trees in Australia to a controlled experimental heatwave. The good news is the study, recently published in Global Change Biology, found that the trees can survive and tolerate very hot temperatures by sweating, which is similar to how humans respond to high temperatures.

The bad news is that this short-term experiment showed that heat waves cause trees to temporarily slow down or stop absorbing carbon dioxide. If heatwaves become more frequent and hotter - as they’re expected to - trees and forests may absorb less carbon dioxide, which could mean more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and warmer temperatures for us in the future.

Rob The Shark

It’s been quite a long journey for Rob, a male mako shark tagged off Maryland’s coast last summer.

Rob has migrated all the way down to Jacksonville, traveling nearly 6,000 miles in 279 days.

He’s one of the more than 150 sharks tagged by scientists from Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute in the last decade.

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at kmeerschaert@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.