Each RET will work  closely with scientist mentors and at least one other RET to engage in authentic research projects related to the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. In the first summer, the length of the field experience varies depending on the site, but participants should plan to spend up to 6 weeks total on field work, sample, and data analysis. In the second summer, participants may spend up to 2 weeks in the field collecting data and tying up loose ends. Cross-ecosystem comparisons will provide insight into the  following questions: 

  1. How do drivers of biodiversity differ across terrestrial, freshwater aquatic, and saltwater aquatic environments?; 
  2. How do biodiversity and climate combine to influence ecosystem function  (e.g. net primary productivity, natural carbon sequestration by ecosystems)?; or 
  3. How do marine and  terrestrial heat waves, drought, or other extreme climate-related events influence species populations and  ultimately biodiversity? 

Project options at the individual sites include: 

Arctic LTER: Fertilization, fire and plant community change

Santa Barbara Coastal LTER: Biodiversity and marine heatwaves in the kelp forest ecosystem.