LTER Science Update provides short, accessible articles describing recent news and publications from across the Network. We hope you will be informed and inspired. Subscribers can sign up online and manage their own subscription settings, so feel free to share with interested colleagues. Have a recent paper or project that may be of interest? Please send us a few basic details using our news submission form and we’ll follow up.

NCO and other organizational updates will continue to appear in Network News on a quarterly basis or as needed.

Integrating plant community and ecosystem responses to chronic global change drivers: Toward an explanation of patterns and improved global predictions

JRN LTER researchers prepare a precipitation addition/reduction experiment.

Background and plans Many global change drivers (GCDs) lead to chronic alterations in resource availability. As communities change through time in response to these GCDs, the magnitude and direction of ecosystem responses are also predicted to change in a non-linear fashion. We proposed to examine whether plant community dynamics are predictive of shifts in ecosystem… Read more »

Understanding Farmer Attitudes Can Help Address Water Quality Issues

satellite view of gulf of mexico dead zone

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is predicted to be a near record size in 2019. By the end of summer, the hypoxic region at the mouth of the Mississippi River is expected to occupy over 22,000 square kilometers—an area the size of Massachusetts. The culprit? Nitrogen-based fertilizers applied to crops across the Midwest that… Read more »

Can corals ride the tide of climate change?

Damselfish and their coral host (Pocillopora eydouxi).

Researchers at Mo’orea LTER did not observe evidence that corals acclimatize to ocean acidification, but they did observe that some are more sensitive to it than others.

LTER Related Oral Sessions at American Geophysical Union Meeting (2019)

AGU Centennial logo The organized oral sessions below are being convened at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting 9-13 December by LTER investigators and students. Abstract submissions are open until midnight EDT 31 July, 2019. Want to add a session to the list? Contact Marty Downs, downs@nceas.ucsb.edu. Workshop: Metrics that Make a Difference: How to analyze change and... Read more »

Plant communities likely to be “vastly different” in the future

Grassland plot experiments at Cedar Creek LTER in Minnesota.

Farmers have known for centuries that fertilizer and irrigation help boost crop growth. But how does long-term application of fertilizer and water affect the composition of surrounding plant communities? In a study based at the Cedar Creek LTER, early signs suggest that added water and nutrients support the survival of new species and encourage more… Read more »

When it Rains, it’s Gonna Pour

Fires and floods are becoming all too common for coastal Southern California residents — but are these ‘extreme’ events likely to become even more frequent? Answering this question requires a comprehensive understanding of precipitation patterns in the region and how they are likely to change in the coming decades. Most previous research on climate change… Read more »

Keeping an eye out for drought

Screenshot from Drought Eye.

Researchers from Coweeta LTER are changing the way we monitor drought by showing that indicators of drought can be monitored at large spatial scales and in near real-time.

Got Shrubs? Woody plants are changing ecological communities around the globe

The Knights Who Say “Ni” would be delighted by a growing trend across many of the planet’s major biomes—tree and grass species are being taken over by shrubbery. Unfortunately, this phenomenon isn’t so favorable for native vegetation that struggles to compete with an invading shrub army (the term ecologists often use is ‘woody plant encroachment’)…. Read more »

Integrating Human and Environmental Responses in Urban Ecology

Multidisciplinary research is a positive shift toward understanding the complexity of human-natural systems. However, combining social science and ecological science methods does not necessarily equate to integration of ideas. Drawing from their urban ecology and environmental anthropology backgrounds, a group of LTER researchers propose using conceptual frameworks that go beyond characterizing social-ecological interactions as stepwise… Read more »