SYMP 21 - Connecting the Dots from Polar and Hot Desert Ecosystems: What Climate Changes in Extreme Environments Tell Us

Thursday, August 11, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Uffe N. Nielsen
Co-organizer: Diana H. Wall
Moderator: Uffe N. Nielsen
Polar and hot desert ecosystems that function under extreme climatic conditions, where high or low temperature and limited water availability is normal, are particularly sensitive to climatic changes. Hence, even minor climatic changes may have disproportionally large impacts on these ecosystems with unknown feedbacks at local to global scales. For example, rapid warming occurring in the Arctic and Antarctic is affecting hydrology, biodiversity above- and belowground, nutrient cycling, and the connectivity within the landscape. However, the implications for local methane and global carbon flux differ between the two regions. Therefore, it will be valuable to determine similarities and differences in responses to climate changes across extreme ecosystems. This symposium will examine responses of polar and hot desert ecosystems to changes in temperature and moisture availability, and compare patterns across systems and spatial scales through talks by experts ranging from soil chemists to plant community ecologists. As these ecosystem types cover a large proportion of the earth’s land surface area, are very sensitive to climate changes, and show divergent rates of climate change they may be of particular value for such comparisons. Presentations will include experimental and observational data showing the consequences of climate change on ecosystems and their functioning, and will be linked with potential impacts in other ecosystems. An ‘open floor session’ will be used to initiate a discussion that may form the basis for a synthesis of climate change effects in these ecosystems and their potential for predicting climate change responses in other ecosystem types.
1:35 PM
2:05 PM
2:25 PM
Influence of experimental climate changes and herbivores on C & N processes in arctic Alaska and western Greenland
J. M. Welker, University of Alaska Anchorage; Patrick F. Sullivan, University of Alaska Anchorage; C. Czimczik, University of California, Irvine; Adam Csank, University of Alaska Anchorage; Sean Cahoon, Pennsylvania State University; Elizebeth Sharp, University of Alaska Anchorage; Matthew Rogers, University of Alaska Anchorage; Lisa Ebbs, University of Alaska Anchorage; Andy Anderson-Smith, University of Alaska Anchorage; Eric Post, Pennsylvania State University
2:45 PM
Influence of climate variation on soil ecosystems of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica
John E. Barrett, Virginia Polytechnic and State University; Byron J. Adams, Brigham Young University; Becky A. Ball, Arizona State University at the West Campus; Uffe N. Nielsen, University of Western Sydney; Ross A. Virginia, Dartmouth College; Diana H. Wall, Colorado State University
3:05 PM
3:35 PM
Can climate change in extreme ecosystems inform future scenarios of soil biodiversity
Diana H. Wall, Colorado State University; Byron J. Adams, Brigham Young University; Uffe N. Nielsen, University of Western Sydney; Ross A. Virginia, Dartmouth College
3:55 PM
Summary and envoi:  Why dry, low productivity systems matter?
William H. Schlesinger, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
4:15 PM
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