Using Drones to Understand the Timing of Fall and Spring

Overhead view of Harvard Forest LTER site.

As this winter continues to bring freezing temperatures and intense “bomb cyclone” snow storms to the eastern U.S., many are wondering: “When, exactly, will spring arrive?” Researchers with the Harvard Forest LTER were wondering the same thing as they conducted a study using drones to track timing of phenological events in a mixed forest ecosystem… Read more »

2018 Ocean Science Meeting Presentations

The Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) has become an important venue for scientific exchange across a wide range of marine science disciplines, especially as human impacts on the oceans reach unprecedented levels. OSM, co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS), will be held 11–16 February, in… Read more »

Water is key to tropical forest carbon storage


Tropical forests are sometimes referred to as the “lungs of the planet,” and for good reason – the high plant biomass of tropical regions produces a large portion of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs significant amounts of carbon dioxide. Rainfall, nutrient availability, and amount of disturbance (natural or human) a forest experiences can all… Read more »

2017 AGU Presentations

AGU logo

At the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting, held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, from December 11-15, 2017, dozens of LTER researchers will present new results on a range of topics, from how ecosystems recover from droughts and hurricanes to what manufactured ice storms can reveal about how to prepare for winter’s worst. Links to the abstracts for over 100 LTER presentations at AGU 2017.

Wildfire Ponzi Scheme? The Continental Carbon Exchange

Wildfire in Alaskan black spruce forests.

If carbon is currency, wildfires are the brokers; that is, they distribute carbon between land and air. In the short-run, fire emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Over time, it also strengthens subsequent carbon uptake through plant regrowth. This exchange is like a natural Ponzi scheme – the carbon offsets from yesterday’s fires take up today’s emissions…. Read more »

A Glimpse into the Future: How Land Use Decisions Will Impact Forest Function

How can researchers project the ways in which land-use changes will affect ecosystem services when they don’t yet know what course development will take? Integrated scenario analysis models several possible trajectories to examine the interactive effects that land-use change could have on ecosystem structure and function.

Just How Does Nitrogen Drive Change in Plant Communities?

Nitrogen enrichment can dramatically change the existing environment for plants and typically leads to increased productivity, decresed diversity, and shifts plant community composition. But what mechanisms are responsible for these changes? Researchers designed a multi-site experiment to find out, experimentally manipulating each of three possible drivers across mesocosms of three ecosystem types (tall grass prairie, alpine tundra, and desert grassland).