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The word “community” has so many meanings for ecologists! There is the scientific community: colleagues, mentors, funders, students, and aspiring scientists. There is the human community: residents of cities and towns, nature-lovers, and beneficiaries of ecosystem services. There are ecological communities: consistent groupings of organisms that function together in (sometimes) predictable ways.

The word has particular resonance for the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, which often sees itself as an extended family, integrally woven into the fabric of the larger ecological community. Many members of the LTER family will feature prominently at this year’s Ecological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting, which takes place August 11-16 in Louisville, KY with a theme of “Bridging Communities and Ecosystems: Inclusion as an Ecological Imperative.”

In her keynote address, MacArthur Award winner and Niwot Ridge LTER Principal Investigator Katherine Suding challenges ecologists to take a hard look at the concepts of resilience and recovery and asks whether interdisciplinary concepts such as adaptive capacity might prove more useful in applying ecological science in the face of climate change.

Social-ecological science at the urban interface is the topic of a second plenary, offered by Daniel Childers, principal investigator of the Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER. Childers, a wetland ecologist with a substantial body of work in urban sustainability, water dynamics in cities, and ecology-design nexus, has also co-directed the Urban Sustainability Research Coordination Network.

A Tuesday afternoon talk presents results from the LTER Metacommunities synthesis working group, which combined community-scale data from LTER sites in a wide variety of biomes to understand what factors maintain stability in ecological metacommunities — the assemblages of individual local communities found in a given region. Climatic and resource variability are important factors, the researchers find, but frequently work in opposing directions at different scales or in different biomes. The findings results from more than two years of intense collaboration, most recently funded through a synthesis working group supported by the LTER Network Office. The Office will be requesting new proposals for synthesis groups in the coming weeks, which will be announced on the LTER Network web site and the LTER Science Update newsletter.

Other LTER-related events include an ESA Inspire session on how (and how not to) assemble diverse data for synthesis, and a data help desk jointly organized by the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) and several other members of the ecological data community.

Individual talks and posters are listed below and cover topics as diverse as the ecology of segregation, connectivity in barrier island communities, and modeling complex landscapes using machine learning.

Data Help Desk

Ecological data repositories, search frameworks and data specialists will collaborate at the ESA 2019 meeting in Louisville to bring a Data Help Desk to the Exhibit Hall. The Environmental Data Initiative (EDI), iDigBio, Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), DataCite, DataONE, and Arctic Data Center will offer three types of assistance:

  1. Data Reference Desk – For general information management and data discovery and use questions.
  2. Meet the Expert – One-on-one sessions. Stop by the Help Desk and make an appointment!
  3. Presentations/Software demos – About ecological data topics ranging from data repositories to analytical tools to creating metadata.

LTER Talks and Posters

wdt_ID Site Title Presentation-type Day/Time Location
1 FCE Hurricanes interact with disturbance legacies to effect ecosystem resilience Oral Presentation 08.12.19 01:50 PM M109/110
3 Synthesis Group Insights from the synthesis of long-term biodiversity data: resources and tools available to community ecologists Lightning Presentation 08.13.19 01:30 PM M108
4 Synthesis Group Patterns and drivers of stability in long-term metacommunity data Oral Presentation 08.13.19 03:40 PM M109/110
7 KBS Differences between corn and switchgrass for buffering the effects of extreme rainfall events on N2O production Oral Presentation 08.15.19 08:40 AM M107
8 VCR Connectivity in coastal systems: Barrier island change through decadal and isolated storm events Oral Presentation 08.15.19 11:10 AM L006
11 LUQ The food web is not collapsing at the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico Poster 08.16.19 08:30 AM Exhibit Hall
35 NWT Resilience, recovery, and the ecology of change Plenary Presentation 08.12.19 08:00 AM Ballroom C
36 CAP How long-term urban systems research has informed interdisciplinary social-ecological approaches in an era of convergence science? Plenary Presentation 08.13.19 08:00 AM Ballroom C
37 SEV Dominance and diversity in desert grasslands Oral Presentation 08.13.19 02:30 PM L007/008
39 JRN Using cultural ecosystem services to inform grassland restoration: Uniting management and societal goals Poster 08.16.19 08:30 AM Exhibit Hall
Site Title Presentation-type Day/Time Location

Not seeing your LTER-related talk or poster poster here? Please be sure to tell us about it, either by including LTER in your title, abstract, or affiliation — or via our online form.