School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Toshie Mizunuma

I am a final year PhD student of Ecological Science in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, studying the seasonal change or phenology of forest to understand the spatial and temporal changes in the carbon cycle.

After some 20 years work in Tokyo as a software engineer of business applications, I came to the United Kingdom in 2006 to fulfil a longtime desire of devoting myself to something for wildlife. Firstly I studied Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. Then, narrowed the area down to Forest Ecology, I did MSc degree in Forest GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh.

The length of the growing season of trees is an important variable, as it is increasing significantly under global warming and represents a key constraint on primary productivity.  My current project is the research into variations in forest canopy phenology, using innovative webcam techniques to study ecosystem CO2 sequestration.

In the future, I would like to work as a researcher for the study of temperate and boreal forests in one of research organisations in Japan, United Kingdom or the other countries.


  1. Professor Maurizio Mencuccini, University of Edinburgh
  2. Professor John Grace, University of Edinburgh
  3. Dr Caroline Nichol, University of Edinburgh 

Media Coverage

Pics, Shoots and Leaves: Ecologists Turn Digital Cameras Into Climate Change Tools
Science Daily - Science News, Dec. 20, 2012
Story Source: British Ecological Society (BES)

As digital cameras become better and cheaper, ecologists are turning these ubiquitous consumer devices into scientific tools to study how forests are responding to climate change. And, they say, digital cameras could be a cost-effective way of visually monitoring the spread of tree diseases. The results -- which come from 38,000 photographs -- are presented at this week's British Ecological Society's Annual Meeting at the University of Birmingham. (Read more at

A three-minute video on the research is available at FunctionalEcology's channel on YouTube

The article in Functional Ecology is available at *download free*
Mizunuma et al. (2012) The relationship between carbon dioxide uptake and canopy colour from two camera systems in a deciduous forest in southern England. Functional Ecology 27 196–207.

Capturing Climate Change Digitally
The New York Times - Green - A Blog About Energy and the Environment, December 27, 2012

The changing palette of colors in a forest signals more than the arrival of a new season. For those who know how to look, the colors also reveal how much carbon dioxide the trees are absorbing from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, a new study suggests. By analyzing thousands of photographs of a forest canopy less than 40 miles outside London, the researchers were able to estimate carbon uptake over a two-year period based on the leaves’ hues. (Read more at

Cameras capture climate-cooling efforts of trees

Didigal cameras could become an important tool for monitoring the growing threat of climante change, now ecologists have found a way of using them to measure how much carbon dioxide forests are taking up. (Read more)