Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Using long-term data to examine above- and below-ground interactions across a gradient of human influence in diverse ecosystems

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By modifying their habitats, ecosystem engineers living belowground influence soil properties and processes, and in turn aboveground process, from local to regional scales. However, few ecosystems are free from human influence, whether it be through targeted introductions, land management activities, or urbanization. We pose the questions: (1) How do keystone ecosystem engineers alter the composition of soil properties, ecosystem processes (e.g., nutrient cycling), and/or aboveground communities and in the long-term and across multiple scales? And, (2) How do human activities (that change the composition of ecosystem engineers, or affect above/belowground interactions) feedback to ecosystem processes? The goals of this working group will be to refine these research questions, identify appropriate LTER datasets, and eventually generate a cross-site comparison for publication.

This working group will meet in two sessions. The first session will begin with a brief presentation from the organizers, then the focus will shift to brainstorming and refining the research questions. During the second session we will aim to identify appropriate datasets and, if possible, begin preliminary analysis.

Participants may be interested in attending “All creatures great and small: Synthesizing critter control of nutrient dynamics across the LTER network” with Lynn Christenson and Becky Ball Tuesday from 10-noon. Their discussion will complement our goals of identifying existing datasets and relationships between organisms and ecosystem processes.

Monica Palta
Julie Ripplinger
Number of 2 hour sessions requested: 
Equipment requested: 
Projector and screen. Wifi. Working group materials.
Additional Comments: 
We would like to have participants involved from each LTER site. We will be able to make the best use of our working group time, if participants come prepared with long-term data from their respective sites on plant communities, soil nutrients, and ecosystem engineers (e.g. ants, earthworms, nematodes). But, we emphasize that this depth of site knowledge is not required for participation.
Working Group Materials
Related materials: 
Room Assignment: 
Longs Peak Chasm Lake – (Capacity 110)