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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Assessing the Effects of Climate Change on Environmental Variables, Biodiversity, Invasive Species, and Nutrient Cycling in Semiarid Shrublands

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Project Number: 2056-31610-005-02
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 10, 2011
End Date: May 31, 2015

Objective:
Determine how changes in the amount and state of precipitation will alter nutrient cycling and plant community dynamics in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem.

Approach:
Experimental research will rely on manipulations of precipitation amount, seasonality, and state (i.e., warming-induced shift from snow to rain) to study the effects of altered climate on 1) plant demographic rates, 2) plant-plant interactions, 3) carbon and nitrogen cycling, and 4) linkages between nutrient cycling and plant performance. Observational studies will focus on plant demographic rates and interactions in the same permanent plots that have been studied since the 1920's. The experimental and observational results will be used to parametrize and validate demographically mechanistic, multispecies population models. Simulations of these models will project changes in community composition under future climate scenarios, accounting for plant-plant interactions. Results of the nutrient cycling research will be used to evaluate the relative importance of nutrient cycling, soil moisture, and temperature in driving changes in plant demographic rates under altered environmental conditions.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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