Symposium: Discovering the Nature of Ecosystem Change

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Synopsis Even as sea-level rise, drought, and fire increase pressures on some ecological systems, others are benefitting from protection and restoration efforts. But some changes are not reversible. Long-term research employs observations of past changes, together with long-running experiments and modeling to understand the processes responsible for sustaining ecological functions. Drawing on concrete examples and… Read more »

Plausible freshwater futures: Yahara watershed, Wisconsin, USA

aerial of Yahara watershed in Wisconsin

Talk Description: Scenarios can help communities think about alternative futures, but using them to drive decisions requires data. In Wisconsin’s Yahara Watershed, researchers are combining data and modelling from the Northern Temperate lakes LTER with qualitative scenarios based on trends and events from the global scenarios literature and stakeholder perspectives. The resulting assessments can help… Read more »

Legacy of acid rain: A tale of two species

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Talk Description: Air pollution control efforts have succeeded in reducing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, but decades of acid rain have leached calcium and magnesium from Northeastern forest soils. These changes have increased the mobility of dissolved organic matter, and possibly altered soil organic matter dynamics, altering the long-term trajectory for forest ecosystems. What… Read more »

Fire and ice: Carbon cycling feedbacks to climate in a warming Arctic

Arctic wildfire

Talk Description: About 30% of global carbon stocks reside in the vegetation and deep, carbon-rich soils of Arctic tundra and boreal forest biomes. Wildfires—which are becoming more frequent with warmer and drier weather in the Arctic—have the potential to either stabilize or accelerate regional and global warming through carbon feedbacks. By comparing the impact of… Read more »

Beyond desertification: New models for state change in drylands

Landscape in the Chihuahuan desert

Talk Description: One of the classic state-change stories is that over-grazing and drought turn grasslands into shrubby, degraded landscapes. Land managers strive to avoid such irreversible changes, using strategies based on models of how ecosystems change. But misapplication of models can lead to poor management outcomes. Researchers at the Jornada Basin LTER site and its… Read more »

Talks

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Speakers

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Dr. Brandon Bestelmeyer

Brandon Bestelmeyer is research leader and ecologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range and a co-PI of the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research site at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His research focuses on tipping points, strategies to promote resilience, and restoration in rangeland ecosystems. This work emphasize… Read more »

Dr. Karen McGlathery

Karen McGlathery is a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.  A specialist on effects of environmental change, including climate, sea-level rise, eutrophication and species invasions in coastal marine ecosystems, she has co-authored over 80 articles in journals including Nature, Limnology and Oceanography, Marine Ecology Progress Series, and Oceanography.  Her most recent research… Read more »