The effects of a globally changing climate are especially apparent in the Arctic. Rising temperatures can lead to shifts in the composition and phenology of Arctic plant communities. One observed response is so-called Arctic greening, an observed increase of greenness through satellite imagery, which is thought to represent the productivity of Arctic vegetation. In recent years it's become clear that the patterns of Arctic greening and browning are complex and not uniform across ecosystems. Increased plant productivity would increase carbon dioxide uptake by these ecosystems, the extent of which determines the direction of climate models and policy decisions based on those. In this intro seminar I will lay out my plans to identify and quantify the environmental drivers of these patterns.
In addition to air temperature, water and nutrient availability are incredibly important factors influencing plant phenology, which themselves can be influenced by climate change in unexpected ways. For example, changing snow-fall patterns alter water availability throughout the growing season, while an increasing frequency of extreme weather events can cause a sudden, local increase of plant mortality in less resilient species. In my research I will conduct field studies to determine the effects of temperature at different scales, extreme weather events and snowfall patterns on Arctic plant phenology with the use of timelapse cameras.