While surface temperatures are rising globally, warming is more pronounced in the tundra than in other areas of the planet. The rapid climate warming in the tundra is already leading to changes in species distribution and plant abundance. This underlines the importance of research on vegetation responses to warming as vegetation-climate feedback are predicted to have global consequences. In addition, the tundra stores a large proportion of the global carbon pool and therefore has the potential to regulate carbon feedbacks to climate change on a global scale. As primary producers, plants undoubtedly influence the carbon balance but exactly how remains unclear. Determining the links between vegetation changes and carbon cycling in the tundra is therefore critical to improve forecasting of future climate scenarios.
The broad aim of my PhD project is to investigate how tundra vegetation will respond to changes in environmental conditions, and further link these responses to different ecosystem functions such as decomposition and carbon fluxes. In this introductory seminar, I will introduce my research and lay out my plans for the next coming years.