Cross site investigation using LTER Data.

A Data Synthesis Working Group: Disappearing Snow in the Western US: Ecosystem Implications for the Rain-Snow Transition Zone

Introduction and Goals:

In the Western US mountain regions, winter temperature increases will lead to the reduction and even loss of winter snowpacks.

A shift from snow to rain-dominated systems will alter seasonal patterns of streamflow, soil moisture, soil temperature, etc. affecting a myriad of ecosystem processes.

This proposed work will develop a working group and fund a student to aggregate and synthesize data relevant to the ecosystem implications of disappearing snow in the rain-snow transition of the Western US.

Understanding Interactions within the LTER Network for Improved Collaboration

This proposed effort will “stimulate cross-site and Network-level synthesis” by addressing issues of collaboration within the LTER network. Scientific synthesis should be promoted as we better understand the nature of that collaboration.

The concept that the LTER program works as a network of interacting sites and scientists is grounded in the earliest documents of the US LTER (Callahan 1984) through the most recent decadal plan (US LTER 2007).

The initiatives proposed in recent documents (US LTER 2007) cannot be achieved without this interaction.

The Influence of Precipitation Variability on Diversity and Composition of North American Grasslands


We propose to organize a working group that will analyze and synthesize long-term data on the relationship between precipitation variability and the structure of North American (NA) grassland plant communities.

This project will build on prior LTER-related synthetic efforts that have evaluated the response of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) to precipitation variability [1-2] and the relationships among ANPP, plant community composition and resource availability [3-7] in NA grasslands.

Cross-Site Synthesis between CCE, MCR and SBC: Working group to develop comparative regional ocean modeling effort

We propose a new synthesis effort between the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) LTER, the Mo’orea Coral Reef (MCR) LTER and the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) LTER to incorporate regional modeling of physical processes around islands in both the tropical Pacific and California Current regions.

While these LTERs are focused on two vastly different oceanic regions, they each contain a number of small islands that interfere with larger-scale ocean circulation by producing wakes, trapped circulation patterns and other island topographic effects.

State Changes and Threshold Dynamics

A four-day workshop will use LTER data, including data from the EcoTrends project, to bridge the gap between the relatively mature theoretical understanding of thresholds and state changes in ecological systems and the emerging empirical databases that allow us to actually test models of state changes.

Many of these changes represent “tipping points” or dramatic changes in the states of the systems, and our workshop will use data from terrestrial, coastal, and open-ocean systems to illustrate common mechanisms underlying state changes and threshold dynamics.

Development of a hydrochemical database – StreamchemDB

We are requesting Synthesis Working Group funds to support LTER participation in StreamchemDB.

StreamchemDB is focused on aquatic chemistry data, and builds on former data synthesis projects ClimDB and HydroDB, all of which have been collaborative LTER-Forest Service cross-site synthesis and cyber-infrastructure projects.

Synthesis and Establishment of Guidelines Toward the Management of Next-Generation Sequence Data

Long-term ecological studies have expanded our view of microbial biology with the incorporation of long-term monitoring programs of diversity, plant and animal ecology, and decomposition processes in the context of global climate change.

The full integration of meaningful cross-site ecological-genomic studies into LTER research will require either substantial new infrastructure or access to existing infrastructure in terms of both sequencing technology and data handling.

Engaging Arts/Humanities in Future Scenarios Work

We propose to hold a workshop to explore challenges, opportunities, and potential outcomes of engaging the humanities and arts in consideration of future scenarios of landscape change in the face of climate change, land use, and human population growth.