LTER shares international perspectives at INTECOL

Network News Fall 2013, Vol. 26 No. 3

The US International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Committee organized two symposia at the recent 2013 INTECOL Meeting in London.  The goals of the symposia were to highlight long-term site-based research around the globe, particularly efforts involving comparative studies across more than one country, and also to bring ILTER scientists together to inspire future collaborative work.   

The symposium entitled “International perspectives from long term research on ecosystem carbon budget” was organized by Tiffany Troxler of the Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) LTER program and Guanghui Lin of the Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN).  Keynote speaker Rodrigo Vargas (University of Delaware) discussed the challenges of developing a coordinated international long-term research program for carbon science, which requires that national and international networks commit resources to a long-term effort, standardize protocols, share data, and support a transparent policy to ensure proper recognition of data sources. 

Other speakers discussed collaborative ILTER projects:  Dario Fornara (University of Ulster, UK) presented results from two long-term fertilization experiments (one at Cedar Creek  LTER in the  US, and one in the UK) that show how chronic fertilization affects above- and below-ground carbon budgets.   Kate Lajtha (Andrews LTER, US) described the “Detrital Inputs and Removal Treatment (DIRT)” network, which includes sites in the US, Germany, and Hungary.  The goal of DIRT is to study the roles of soil organic matter within ecosystems and the global Carbon cycle, and to determine the generality of processes across disparate sites.   Springer expressed an interest in publishing a volume based on the symposium.  

The second symposium, “Phenology and Climate Change: Perspectives from ecosystems across the International Long Term Ecological Research Network”, organized by Jim Tang (Arctic LTER) and Kristin Vanderbilt (Sevilleta LTER), aimed to explore phenological research from molecular to global scales.  ILTER has much to offer the science of phenology, as long-term datasets are valuable for discerning changes in phenological processes.  Keynote speaker Stephen Thackeray (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK) gave an overview of drivers and consequences of trophic asynchrony across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Talking about the molecular level, Christian Körner  (University of Basel, Switzerland) offered evidence of genetic constraints to phenological advances in the taxa of alpine and temperate plants.  Hiroyuki Muraoka (Gifu University, Japan) described  the “Phenological Eyes Network” that was established by Japan LTER in 2003 to scale up studies of the timing of phenological phenomena, such as snowmelt and leaf expansion, from plot level to broader temporal and geographic scales.  He suggested that ILTER form a phenology research group to generate synthesis publications from across the network. Participants concurred, and Jim Tang (US LTER) will lead that effort.