Colorado mountains

Belowground Biogeochemical Processes Across the LTER Network

Belowground plant and microbial processes exert major control over the Earth’s biogeochemical cycles and climate.  While fundamentally important they are treated in a rudimentary manner at best in most ecosystem- and Earth-system models, the tools humanity depends upon for the development of strategies to both mitigate and acclimate to climate change. Many of the sites across the LTER network have collected data on key aspects of belowground biogeochemistry including root biomass, production & depth distribution, soil carbon and nitrogen pools, decomposition rates, microbial biomass and physiology, soil physicochemical properties, etc.  The distribution of LTER sites across several biomes raises the possibility of curating a synthetic data set as a means to empirically investigate issues such as the role of vegetation type, mycorrhizal status and climate on the distribution and quantity of C stored in soil organic matter.  This data set could then be used both as a benchmark for model predictions as well as data-assimilation into a biogeochemical model (e.g., Ecosystem Demography V.2, Community Land Model).  The objective of this session is to identify the types of belowground data available across the network, develop a work plan for data compilation and begin identifying data-assimilation frameworks and investigators.  This could then be followed up as a proposal for cross-site, LTER synthesis of belowground processes.

Adrien Finzi
Preferred date(s): 
Sept 12
Number of 2 hour sessions requested: 
Room Assignment: 
Ruesch Auditorium - Billhiemer (50)

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER