Advancing understanding of ecosystem responses to climate change with warming experiments: what we have learned and what is unknown?

Science Center Objects

Advancing our mechanistic understanding of ecosystem responses to climate change is critical to improve ecological theories, develop predictive models to simulate ecosystem processes, and inform sound policies to manage ecosystems and human activities. Manipulation of temperature in the field, or the “ecosystem warming experiment,” has proved to be a powerful tool to understand ecosystem respon...

Advancing our mechanistic understanding of ecosystem responses to climate change is critical to improve ecological theories, develop predictive models to simulate ecosystem processes, and inform sound policies to manage ecosystems and human activities. Manipulation of temperature in the field, or the “ecosystem warming experiment,” has proved to be a powerful tool to understand ecosystem responses to changes in temperature. No comprehensive synthesis has been conducted since the last one more than 10 years ago. A new synthetic analysis is critically needed to advance our understanding of ecosystem responses to warming, to highlight experimental artifacts and appropriate interpretations, and to guide development of the next generation of experiments and predictive models.

The objective of this proposal is to conduct a comprehensive data synthesis of results from warming experiments (including multi-factorial global change experiments) across a variety of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems to address what we have learned from these warming experiments, what is unknown, and what are the potential future directions and challenges.

We propose to organize a working group with members who have been conducting warming experiments across different ecosystems. The working group will meet at the USGS Powell Center in June 2013 and 2014 to conduct data synthesis across the sites. Unpublished and published data will be assembled before the meetings. Two videoconferences in March 2013 and 2014 will be conducted for meeting preparation. We expect to publish 6 papers in Global Change Biology and a perspective paper in Science. We plan to convene an organized session for the Ecological Society of America meeting in 2014. We plan to develop a web site that includes descriptions of all the warming projects and all data used in our synthesis.

Principal Investigator(s):

Kevin D Kroeger (Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center)

Jianwu Tang (Marine Biological Laboratory)

Pamela Templer (Boston University)

Participant(s):

Peter B. Reich (University of Minnesota)

Andrew J. Burton (Michigan Tech)

Joanna C. Carey (Marine Biological Laboratory)

Jeffrey S Dukes (Purdue University)

Bridget A Emmett (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

Serita D Frey (University of New Hampshire)

Mary A. Heskel (Marine Biological Laboratory)

Lifen Jiang (University of Oklahoma)

Jacqueline Mohan (University of Georgia)

Shuli Niu (University of Oklahoma)

Product(s):

Carey, J.C., Tang, Jianwu , Templer, P.H., Kroeger, K.D., Crowther, T.W., Burton, Andrew, Dukes, J.S., Emmett, Bridget, Frey, Serita, Heskel, Mary, Jiang, Lifen, Machmuller, Megan , Mohan, J.E., Panetta, Anne Marie, Reich, P.B., Wang, Xin, Allison, S.D., Bamminger, Chrisopher , Bridgham, S.D., Collins, S.L., de Dato, Giovanbattista, Eddy, W.C., Enquist, B.J., Estiarte, Marc, Harte, John, Henderson, Amanda, Johnson, B.R., Larsen, K.S., Luo, Yiqi, Marhan, Sven, Melillo, Jerry, Peñuelas, Josep, Pfeifer-Meister, Laurel, Poll, Christian, Rastetter, E.B., Reinmann, Andy, Reynolds, L.L., Schmidt, I.K., Shaver, G.R., Strong, A.L., Suseela, Vidya, and Tietema, Albert , 2016, Data compilation of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements from global warming experiments from 1994-2014: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7MK6B1X.