The objective of this working group is to stimulate comparative studies and data syntheses on inland freshwater wetlands across the LTER network. Broad-scale comparative studies and long time series are invaluable to elucidate the linkages between drivers and ecosystem responses across spatial and temporal scales. Collaborative efforts like the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) and the stream research within the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) are exploiting this approach, but those programs do not look specifically at wetlands. Wetlands are far less studied, despite their areal dominance of inland waters and their increasingly appreciated role as reservoirs of biodiversity and regulators of global biogeochemical cycles. To evaluate how these ecosystems are changing and to anticipate how wetlands will respond to global change, we need to increase our understanding of their ecological functions in heterogeneous landscapes. The LTER network is uniquely situated to address these challenges in a more comparative and synthetic manner. In a recent informal survey we conducted, 16 of the 18 reporting sites indicated that there is at least one type of freshwater wetland within their study area and most (14) have collected some sort of data on wetlands. In aggregate these data address the five core research themes central to the LTER Network. Join us as we review available data from across the network and explore research questions regarding wetlands that could be addressed by exploiting the long-term, comparative, and cross-site opportunities offered by the LTER network.
Breakout subgroups will include: (1) hydrologic processes, (2) biogeochemical processes, (3) biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and biotic interactions, (4) food webs and terrestrial-aquatic subsidies, and (5) socio-ecological dimensions including restoration.