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Archive by Category "Global Change"

Global Change

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The global environment is changing. Climate change, species invasions, and land use all affect Earth’s natural ecosystems and how they function. Changes in ecosystems also affect the global environment. At Ecoss, our work asks, how do ecosystems respond to environmental change and how do those responses shape the environment?
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Overview Using a technique called data-assimilation, we can inform existing ecosystem models with measurements from field experiments. In combination with meta-analysis, this approach becomes a powerful statistical tool to improve our predictions of ecosystem responses to global change. We recently used data-assimilation to study the effect of warming and CO2 enrichment on ecosystem carbon dynamics. Do Soils Store more Carbon in a Warmer World? Field warming experiments have been set up worldwide to address whether climate warming will reduce soil carbon storage. Why is his important? Because when soils release more carbon...
Artist's rendering of the Carbon locked up inside a plant's roots.
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Illustration by Victor Leshyk Overview Over the past several decades, scientists have conducted hundreds of experiments investigating responses of ecosystems to global environmental change. Ecoss synthesizes many of these responses using a statistical technique called meta-analysis. This approach considers all the measurements together and quantifies the overall response, testing whether responses vary among ecosystems, climate regimes, and influences of human management, like fertilizer addition. Here are some topics that we studied using meta-analysis: Climate Change and the Terrestrial Carbon Cycle Plants may store more carbon as CO2 in the atmosphere rises...
Experimental array for the Jasper Ridge Global Change research project showing heat lamps and measurement equipment
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Experimental array for the Jasper Ridge Global Change research project Overview Most global change research focuses on individual components, but the environment is changing in multiple ways simultaneously. The Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment seeks to find out how these combined changes will affect ecosystems. Researchers tested the response of a California grassland to: climate change elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide increased nitrogen pollution disturbance by wildfire (since 2003) Students, faculty, and staff affiliated with the Ecosystem Science and Society Center have been active at the site since the experiment began...
Low intensity fire burning through understory of a mixed conifer forest.
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Low intensity fire burning through understory of a mixed conifer forest. Fire plays an important role in controlling structure and function in many ecosystems. Fire regimes across the globe are changing as a result of human management and climate change. Research in Ecoss seeks to understand feedbacks between fire disturbance and ecosystem structure and function in multiple contexts, from savannas in South Africa to Arctic tundra and boreal forests in Alaska and Siberia. Here are some of the topics we work on: Fire, Management, and the Global Carbon Cycle Fire, a natural...
Early morning at the Carbon in Permafrost Experimental Heating Project (CiPEHR) in Alaska with permafrost in the foreground, mountains in the background.
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Early morning at the Carbon in Permafrost Experimental Heating Project (CiPEHR) in Alaska Global change affects plants and soil in ecosystems across the globe. By doing so, it can alter the composition of ecosystems and the functions they provide. For instance, even small changes in plant growth and soil properties can have a large impact on the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At Ecoss, we use field experiments to manipulate the temperature, rainfall and other environmental factors in various ecosystems. This allows us to mimic...
Permafrost Carbon Network Logo showing the north portion of the globe in red, yellow and orange.
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Permafrost Carbon Network Thousands of researchers worldwide are studying how global change affects ecosystems. Using models and field experiments, they add to our understanding of this area each day. However, individual studies sometimes only tell part of the whole story. By combining results from large numbers of studies, we can discern large-scale patterns across ecosystems, and make better estimates of how global change will affect our environment. Our work on global change synthesis combines several statistical techniques with modeling approaches. Meta-Analysis Over the past several decades, scientists have conducted hundreds...