Project Summary

Patterns of biodiversity, such as the increase toward the tropics and the peaked curve during ecological succession, are fundamental phenomena for ecology. Such patterns have multiple, interacting causes, but temperature emerges as a dominant factor across organisms from microbes to trees and mammals, and across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments. However, there is little consensus on the underlying mechanisms, even as global temperatures increase and the need to predict their effects becomes more pressing.

The purpose of this project is to generate and test theory for how temperature impacts biodiversity through its effect on biochemical processes and metabolic rate. A combination of standardized surveys in the field and controlled experiments in the field and laboratory measure diversity of three taxa -- trees, invertebrates, and microbes -- and key biogeochemical processes of decomposition in seven forests distributed along a geographic gradient of increasing temperature from cold temperate to warm tropical.

This ambitious, multi-pronged, highly integrated program of theoretical and empirical research takes advantage of the special expertise at the three collaborating institutions -- University of New Mexico, University of Arizona, and University of Oklahoma.

Participating labs within each university are as follows: The Brown Lab (UNM), The Enquist Lab (UA), The Institute for Environmental Genomics (UO), The Kaspari Ant Lab (UO), and the LTER Network Office (UNM).

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© Copyright 2013 LTER. MSC03 2020, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA 87131.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #DEB#1065836. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.