Current plans call for implementing a 5-year manipulative experiment, focused on increasing and decreasing growing season rainfall amounts, across 15 sites in the central US.
The rationale for a central US grassland focus includes:
- The stature of this biome that makes it amenable to such manipulations
- The presence of several LTER/NEON sites in the region
- The strong N-S temperature gradients orthogonal to E-W precipitation gradients
Thus, the central US grasslands can serve as a test-bed that will allow us to build on a legacy of past LTER research while testing basic ecological theory that can facilitate the identification of mechanisms explaining differences in the sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change.
Results and understanding from this study should be valuable for making and testing predictions in other biomes with respect to the nature and pace of ecological response to climate change.