Ecosystems are being affected by a diverse set of natural and anthropogenic stressors such as nitrogen (N) enrichment and global climate change. Comparing data gathered from different experiments at multiple sites enables us to gain a more extensive understanding of how these stressors are impacting different ecosystems.
Our lab has worked on several projects that synthesize data collected from different herbaceous communities across the United States, including several Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. These projects help us not only to understand cross-site variation in ecosystem form and function, but also to identify the factors and conditions that confer differential sensitivities to natural and anthropogenic stressors.
Questions being addressed by this research include the following: under what conditions does N enrichment lead to a loss in plant diversity? Why are some communities more sensitive to increases in interannual precipitation variability?
To address these questions, we take advantage of natural climate gradients across sites and use a variety of tools, including formal meta-analyses.