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News Release 16-140

NSF-funded scientists to present on long-term ecological research findings at AGU fall meeting

Research topics range from kelp forest changes and life in ice to Midwest rainfall and crops

Climate change is affecting the giant kelp ecosystem at the NSF Santa Barbara Coastal LTER site.

Climate change is affecting the giant kelp ecosystem at the NSF Santa Barbara Coastal LTER site.

November 15, 2016

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Find related stories on NSF's Long-Term Ecological Research Program at this link.

Climate change effects on the U.S. West Coast's undersea kelp forests. Life in ice. Extreme rainfall patterns and how they affect Midwest crops. These are just a few of the topics scientists affiliated with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network will discuss at the upcoming American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting, Dec. 12-16.

Scientists funded by NSF's Geosciences and Biological Sciences directorates conducted research at two dozen NSF LTER sites around the world in ecosystems ranging from deserts and grasslands to coral reefs and Arctic tundra. LTER researchers work to identify the factors driving future environmental change, and to map potential ecosystem responses that could result.

Presentations at AGU will address social and ecological change; ecosystem vulnerability, resilience and adaptability; and why long-term data are essential to understanding and predicting future responses to natural and human-caused environmental changes.

For example, scientists at the Kellogg Biological Station LTER site in Michigan conducted a multi-year experiment to look at how extreme rainfall patterns affect nitrogen leaching from row-crop ecosystems in the upper Midwest, and to what extent tillage (the preparation of land for growing crops) might moderate these effects. As global surface temperatures rise, rainfall in heavy storm events is increasing in many areas, including the U.S. Midwest, a major agricultural region. That may result in changes in nutrients in soils, especially in agricultural ecosystems.

Links to this and other NSF LTER presentations at AGU are listed below. The meeting will be held in San Francisco. For more on the NSF LTER Network, please see NSF LTER Network and NSF LTER Discovery Article Series.

Monday, Dec. 12

Life in Ice: Microbial Growth Dynamics and Greenhouse Gas Production During Winter in a Thermokarst Bog Revealed by Stable Isotope Probing Targeted Metagenomics

The effects of more extreme rainfall patterns on nitrogen leaching from a field crop system in the upper Midwest, USA

Effect of Weather Patterns in Cities Across the United States on Surface Runoff, Deep Drainage, and Evapotranspiration from a Residential Parcel

Soil Microbial and Biogeochemical Response to Simultaneous Warming and Nitrogen Additions in a Temperate Forest

Measurement of Near-Surface Carbon Dioxide Concentrations with an Open-Path Tunable Diode Laser Sensor and a Non-Dispersive Infrared Sensor at the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research Site near Fairbanks, Alaska

Stand structure and composition provide differential tree-ring growth signals in eastern U.S. forests

Tuesday, Dec. 13

Permafrost in Earth System Models: Recent Progress and Future Challenges

Pyrogenic carbon distribution in landscapes and input to aquatic systems

Impacts of storm events on salt marsh sediment dynamics

Examining the interactive effects of oceanographic and anthropogenic influences with the SST anomaly, or Warm Blob on the bloom response of the toxigenic HAB genus Pseudo-nitzschia in the Santa Barbara Channel

Scaling measurements of metabolism in stream ecosystems: challenges and approaches to estimating reaeration

Estimating Rates of Permafrost Degradation and their Impact on Ecosystems across Alaska and Northwest Canada using the Process-based Permafrost Dynamics Model GIPL as a Component of the Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM)

Wednesday, Dec. 14

Simultaneously Assessing Climate and Vegetation Drivers of Carbon Residence Time and Net Primary Productivity across Six US Grasslands

Climate Sensitivity Functions and Ecosystem Dynamics Across a Grassland to Shrubland Transition Zone

Microbial community controls on decomposition and soil carbon storage

Integrating Legacy Data to Understand Agroecosystem Regional Dynamics to Catastrophic Events

Moving Uphill: Microbial Facilitation at the Leading Edge of Plant Species Distributional Shifts

Topography and traits modulate drought effects on tree growth in a tropical second-growth forest

Thursday, Dec. 15

Assessing hydrological changes due to the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestation in New England using field measurements and ecohydrological modeling

Estimates of Phytoplankton Community Composition in the Productive Coastal Waters of Antarctica and Potential Impacts on Carbon Cycling

Diurnal and Seasonal Cloud Base Patterns Highlight Small-Mountain Tropical Cloud Forest Vulnerability

Twenty-Five Years of Flux Observations at the Harvard Forest; Mature Northeastern Forests are a Consistent Carbon Sink

Climate change and climate variability in an eastern boundary current upwelling ecosystem: Insights from the California Current Ecosystem

Human adaptation responses to a rapidly changing Arctic: A research context for building system resilience

Friday, Dec. 16

Grassland Responses to Precipitation Extremes

Climatic impacts of managed landscapes for sustainable biofuel feedstocks production

Soil Phosphorus Cycling from the Tropics to the Poles II

The Resilience and Vulnerability of Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems to Climate Change IV

Consequences of Changes in Vegetation and Snow Cover for Climate Feedbacks in Alaska and Northwest Canada

Apatite grain weathering and soil phosphorus availability in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, email:
Peter West, NSF (Polar Regions LTER Sites), (703) 292-7530, email:
Marty Downs, LTER Network Office, (805) 893-7549, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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