Organized Oral Session
A warmer and drier climate, exacerbated by extreme weather events, alters the rates of numerous processes in terrestrial ecosystems, but can also lead to more fundamental changes in the mechanisms governing ecosystem functioning. Climate change can force surface moisture and temperature across thresholds, beyond which mechanisms currently prevalent in dry biomes will emerge in historically more humid biomes. These ‘dryland mechanisms’ include drying-wetting cycles, hydraulic redistribution, humidity-enhanced biotic activity, soil hydrophobicity, photochemical and thermal degradation. These and other mechanisms affect multiple processes of ecosystem functioning, and it is anticipated that they will increasingly control ecosystems in historically more humid biomes, such as forests, savannas, grasslands and agricultural fields in temperate, tropical and boreal regions.
Presentations will synthesize our current knowledge on ecological responses to a drier and warmer climate, and provide an outlook to a broadly applicable concept of dryland mechanisms and their implications for ecology. The session will further highlight how a future warmer and drier climate and associated changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems will alter ecosystem responses to drought events. Contributions to the session will also exemplify the operation of dryland mechanisms underlying major ecosystem processes, such as plant activity and organic matter decay in drylands and more humid biomes. Incorporation of newly gained understanding of the operation of dryland mechanisms and their contribution to ecosystem processes is a vital aspect of implementing this new concept in science. Finally, new research methodologies and experimental approaches targeting dryland mechanisms will be outlined. Such newly gained knowledge will enhance predictions of ecological responses to climate change on a regional and global scale.
Presenting Author: Michael Bahn – University of Innsbruck
Presenting Author: Heather Throop – School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University
Presenting Author: Lingli Liu – Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Co-author: Sen Yang – Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Presenting Author: Benjamin Hafner – Technical University of Munich
Co-author: Benjamin Hesse – Technical University of Munich
Co-author: Taryn Bauerle – Cornell University
Co-author: Thorsten Grams – Technical University of Munich
Presenting Author: Omar Flores – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Presenting Author: Hans J. De Boeck – Plants and Ecosystems (PLECO), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp