OOS 14 - Challenges and Opportunities for Investigating Ecological Communities Across Space and Time: Insights from Coordinated Research Networks

Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Portland Blrm 255, Oregon Convention Center
Quentin D. Read, Michigan State University
John M Grady, Bryn Mawr College; Sydne Record, Bryn Mawr College; and Phoebe Zarnetske, Michigan State University
John M Grady, University of New Mexico,
To deepen our understanding of ecological theory and address the challenges posed by global change, ecologists need to gather data on communities that (1) can be compared across disparate environments, (2) span large scales of space and time, and (3) reflect organisms’ functioning. Coordinated research networks that use standardized observational or experimental protocols uniquely allow us to observe patterns and processes that only emerge at larger spatial and longer temporal scales. An impressive array of ecological research networks has proliferated in recent years. This session highlights research from several networks, including: the Long-Term Ecological Research network (LTER), the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), the Nutrient Network (NutNet), the Global Lake Observatory Network (GLEON), the Paleoecological Observatory Network (PaleON), and the Partnership for the Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO). The growing reach of ecological research networks has led to a surge in available data, posing challenges on how to best manage, analyze and interpret incoming information. In this session, speakers will present ongoing research from networks that tests ecological theory, generates predictions about how global change affects biodiversity, and explores ecological patterns and processes across large spatial and long temporal scales. The research projects presented here make use of diverse data collected as part of coordinated research networks, but are united in their focus on using measurements of functional traits to answer theoretical and applied questions in ecology. The session will begin with a talk on NEON’s organismal data to illustrate how observational networks enable scientists to study the response of ecological communities to environmental variability, and the inherent challenges of such a large undertaking. Each presenting researcher will highlight key findings from his or her research using data from a coordinated network. The session includes research spanning terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems, and on taxonomic groups spanning plants, animals, and soil microbes. Presentations will focus on patterns and relationships between organismal traits, community composition, and climate or other environmental gradients. In addition, each researcher will discuss challenges or opportunities that have emerged from her or his work, especially regarding how to predict the impacts of climate change on the diversity and function of ecological communities. This session will showcase cutting-edge data science, tackle long-standing ecological questions, and highlight future directions in the areas of trait ecology and community ecology that are enabled by coordinated research networks.
1:30 PM
 Long-term observations of continental sentinels: NEON’s organismal sampling
Katherine M. Thibault, National Ecological Observatory Network; Andrea S. Thorpe, National Ecological Observatory Network; Keli Goodman, National Ecological Observatory Network; Courtney L. Meier, National Ecological Observatory Network
1:50 PM
 Using NEON soils to investigate earthworm communities at the continental scale: An environmental DNA approach
Chih-Han Chang, University of Maryland; Katalin Szlavecz, Johns Hopkins University; Stephanie A. Yarwood, University of Maryland
2:10 PM
 Thermal physiology and ant diversity: Using a coordinated research network approach to predict assemblage dynamics
Michael D. Weiser, University of Oklahoma; Michael Kaspari, University of Oklahoma; Jelena Bujan, Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma; Karl A. Roeder, Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma
2:30 PM
 Sensivity and velocity of community reorganization across NEON: Plants to insects to mammals responding jointly to climate change
James S. Clark, Duke University; Benedicte Bachelot, Duke University; Robert R. Dunn, North Carolina State University; Alan E. Gelfand, Duke University; Roland W. Kays, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences; Chase Nunez, Duke University; Erin Schliep, University of Missouri; Daniel Taylor-Rodrigues, Michigan State University; Bradley J. Tomasek, Duke University
2:50 PM
 Intraspecific variation reflects drivers of rodent community assembly across the National Ecological Observatory Network
Quentin D. Read, Michigan State University; John M Grady, Bryn Mawr College; Phoebe Zarnetske, Michigan State University; Sydne Record, Bryn Mawr College; Benjamin Baiser, University of Florida; Jonathan Belmaker, Tel Aviv University; Mao-Ning Tuanmu, Yale University; Angela L. Strecker, Portland State University; Lydia Beaudrot, University of Michigan; Katherine M. Thibault, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
3:10 PM
3:20 PM
 Comparing patterns of community structure of adjacent ecosystems along a large scale geographic gradient
Mark H. Carr, University of California, Santa Cruz; Peter T. Raimondi, University of California, Santa Cruz; Jennifer E. Caselle, University of California, Santa Barbara; Daniel Malone, University of California, Santa Cruz; Bruce A. Menge, Oregon State University
4:00 PM
 Evaluating the link between metacommunity stability and environmental variability across trophic groups represented at LTER sites
Nicole M. Voelker, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Eric R. Sokol, University of Colorado; Nathan I. Wisnoski, Indiana University; Christopher M. Swan, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Thomas Lamy, Université de Montréal; Max C.N. Castorani, University of California, Santa Barbara; Luca Marazzi, Florida International University; Aldo Compagnoni, Rice University; Jesse R. Blanchard, Florida International University; Riley Andrade, Arizona State University; Nina K. Lany, Dartmouth College