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LTER Key Research Findings

Among the many research results from LTER sites, some findings stand out as being particularly important to achieve the LTER goal of providing information to conserve, protect, and manage the nation's ecosystems. Short descriptions of key findings at each site emphasize the importance of long-term data in understanding the pace and pattern of ecological change.

Food Web Base (CCE LTER)
Every second breath you take is courtesy of the phytoplankton -- the tiny single-celled photosynthesizers in the ocean. The oxygen the phytoplankton produce has allowed the proliferation of life on earth, while the carbon dioxide they fix into organic carbon helps to regulate the planet's climate, and forms the base of nearly all ocean food webs. So it is clearly important to know how fast the...
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Iron Importance (CCE LTER)
It has been known for over a decade that the limiting micronutrient iron, supplied from shelf sediments, can fuel the productivity of the nutrient-rich coastal upwelling systems of central California. The significance of iron supply as a factor in community production in the more nutrient-poor waters of southern California, however, has been unstudied. Conventional wisdom would suggest that,...
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Marine Ecosystem Services (CCE LTER)
Sustained, high quality ocean measurements have been made in the California Current System for over 60 years, thanks to the far-sighted work of CalCOFI (the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations). This extensive program initially surveyed the ocean from Baja California, Mexico to the state of Washington, although today it samples a more restricted region from San Diego to San...
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New Climate Pattern (CCE LTER)
Research in the CCE LTER site led to the discovery of a new mode of climate variability that has been named the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO, Di Lorenzo et al. 2008). The NPGO was initially uncovered through the analysis of a computer model of ocean circulation, developed to reproduce and diagnose long-term climate measurements in the North Pacific. The study revealed variation in sea...
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Upwelling Matters (CCE LTER)
Years of previous research have focused on the process of coastal upwelling close to the continental boundary of the west coast of North America. A new study led by CCE-LTER (then) graduate student Ryan Rykaczewski and his advisor David Checkley identified, for the first time, important ecosystem contrasts between the strong nearshore upwelling in the classical coastal boundary region and the...
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