IGN 13-8 - Lagging behind: Have we overlooked previous-year rainfall effects in annual grasslands?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
C123, Oregon Convention Center
Joan Dudney, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, Lauren M. Hallett, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, Loralee Larios, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, Emily C. Farrer, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA and Katharine Suding, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Weak links between rainfall and semiarid grasslands can occur in the literature, making it difficult to forecast climate-induced community shifts. These weak links are perplexing given what we know is true about water-limited systems and plant growth. Here we delve further into the intricacies of rainfall events to uncover the surprising impacts of lagged rainfall in annual systems. We find that by rethinking rainfall events we can begin to identify complex pathways that are integral for shaping community composition across time. Precipitation lags may even alter the way we think about major drivers of change in semiarid systems.