Improving collaborations between empiricists and modelers to advance grassland community dynamics in ecosystem models

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sally E. Koerner, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Climate change, increasing atmospheric CO2, and land use change have altered biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles world-wide, with grassland systems being particularly vulnerable to resulting vegetation shifts (Komatsu et al., 2019). Therefore, incorporating plant community dynamics into ecosystem models is critical for accurate forecasting of ecosystem responses to global change (Levine, 2016). Process-based ecosystem models, which simulate the biogeochemical transfers of mass and energy among biota, the subsurface, and atmosphere, require representation of dynamic composition of organisms within ecosystems. For example, these models simulate leaf and plant-level characteristics, such as electron transport rate and allometry of carbon (C) allocation, to predict how net primary productivity and other ecosystem processes respond to abiotic drivers. These models are particularly useful in scaling from organismal to ecosystem levels but are still underdeveloped in their ability to capture community change, especially in grassland ecosystems. To represent compositional changes, these models must simulate competition, mortality, establishment, and reproduction of plant populations within communities. Yet, current ecosystem modeling approaches to forecast plant community change have derived from studies of forested systems and are either too coarse to capture fine-scale community dynamics (e.g. dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs)) or too complex to be used at large spatial scales (e.g. forest gap models).

Additional Information

New Phytol, 228: 1467-1471.
Language: English
Date: 2021
community ecology, dynamic global vegetation model (DGVM), ecosystem function, gap model, grassland dynamics, process-based models, statistical models, trait-based models

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