Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
15, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: M. Luke McCormack
Co-organizer: David M. Eissenstat
Moderator: Richard NorbyEffective earth stewardship requires accurate descriptive and predictive capabilities from ecosystem and landscape scale models. Today, our most efficient road to improve these modeling efforts is to increase collaboration between the often separate communities of field ecology and ecological modeling. This is particularly true for the belowground portion or “hidden half” of terrestrial ecosystems. Here, modeling efforts have been hampered by a lack of empirical data and few broad patterns to describe key processes. Still, recent advances are shedding light on what previously were poorly understood or entirely unmeasured facets of belowground ecology. This organized session seeks to expand dialogue between empiricists and ecological modelers and more tightly couple empirical observations with model descriptions of belowground processes. To do this the session focuses on three key objectives: 1) expose modelers to relevant, cutting-edge belowground ecology providing new evidence or mechanisms that could be incorporated into models 2) expose empiricists to advanced models so that they may better understand how field observations are used in models and 3) allow modelers and field ecologists to jointly identify what information is critical for the next generation of model improvements allowing for more directed research efforts. Furthermore, we intend for the presentations to encourage discussion between speakers and attendees during and following the session. **Travel support for international speakers and early career scientists was given by the New Phytologist Trust Innovation Grants program and by a Long Term Planning Grant from the Physiological Ecology Section of ESA.
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