Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, ..

Plant traits, the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological attributes of plants, determine how plants adapt and respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes, functions and services, and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Relationships among plant traits, environmental factors and their changes, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning under global change and anthropogenic perturbations are critical to the comprehensive understanding of life-environment-human interactions. Trait data are thus important and the raw material for a wide range of research from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology to biogeography, as well as to vegetation modelling and even to the earth system model system. In this symposium, we try to present plant trait data and databases at various spatial scales from plots to regions and globe. Broad and deep knowledge on plant traits-environment-ecosystem function relationships will be investigated and synthesized to better understanding our planet changes and human wellbeing. Such trait databases and plant trait mechanisms under global change can be further incorporated into building the next generation of vegetation models. The modelling unit is expected to shift from species and plant functional type used in the past generation of vegetation models to plant trait as a new paradigm of trait-based ecology. Other practical topics, such as plant traits as indicators of biological conservation, ecological restoration and ecosystem service, are also welcome.

Hector A and Bagchi R (2007) Biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature 448: 188–190.

Deoxygenation in the open ocean, upwelling systems, oxygen minimum zones, and coastal waters is expected to accelerate over the next decades in response to warming-induced reduction in O2 solubility and increased ocean stratification that would diminish ventilation of marine waters. In addition, multiple stressors from eutrophication worsen oxygen depletion in coastal waters where hypoxia and harmful algal blooms (including those that are toxin producers) is now a prevalent and worsening situation. Observations indicate that the global ocean oxygen inventory has already decreased by 2% over the past five decades, and the volume occupied by oxygen minimum zones (OMZ) quadrupled over the same time period. Many questions are raised for open ocean and coastal waters. Do the spatial and temporal patterns of observed oxygen changes match projections from climate change models? Do large-scale patterns of atmospheric and oceanic variability such as ENSO (El-Niño Southern Oscillation), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation or the Southern Annular Mode prevent us from detecting multi-decadal oxygen trends with confidence because of a signal to noise ratio that still remains too low? Should we expect that coastal waters, because of their adjoining landscapes and oceanscapes, will be variably affected by warming? Changes in temperature, winds and currents will alter physical processes. Biological process rates should increase up to some point where other limiting factors may intervene. Climate-driven changes in landscape use, particularly agriculture, will occur along with changes in precipitation, weather patterns, freshwater discharge and nutrient loads, all drivers of physical structure and biological production that can cause changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations in the lower water column. How does global warming affect the ocean’s density stratification, vertical mixing rates, deep convection, and ventilation processes in the main thermocline? What are the expected impacts of deoxygenation on various trophic levels, on biogeochemical cycles, on fisheries and on ecosystem functions and services? How can studies of paleo-indicators shed light on what we may expect in the future?

In this session we are seeking contributions that will help address the physics and biogeochemistry of deoxygenation – from continental shelves to the deep ocean – from various angles: causes, impacts, monitoring and modeling. We welcome presentations that include long-term observations that help conceptualize the intricacies of how inter-related biological and physical processes drive oxygen changes.

Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning – Synthesis and Perspectives

Loreau M, Naeem S and Inchausti P (2002) Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Synthesis and Perspectives. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: The …

Thebault E and Loreau M (2005) Trophic interactions and the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem stability. The American Naturalist 166: E95–E114.