The role of plant species composition on peatland carbon cycles: importance of above-belowpeat linkages
|Dates:||6 November 2014|
|Times:||14:00 - 15:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Faculty of Life Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff|
Climate change, as currently projected, may alter peatland carbon cycles, through changes in environmental conditions or by alterations in the plant community composition. More and more we gain understanding on the effects of climate change on C cycles, yet the mechanism underlying apparent plant controls are hitherto not fully known. Here, I will present data from a series of experiments –field and glasshouse studies– which all aimed to research the role of peatland vascular plants on CO2 and CH4 fluxes. In general, the results from these studies show that changing environmental conditions will, directly and indirectly, affect existing carbon processes in peatlands and may cause unprecedented changes in CO2 and CH4 dynamics. As such, I conclude that in order to maintain current peatland carbon dynamics we need not only to maintain the peatlands abiotic conditions, but also the balance between plant functional types. Especially the latter is difficult, as I will highlight with the results from a European-wide study aiming to elucidate the effects of bio-climatological variables and nutrient deposition on peatland plant community composition.
Organisation: Utrecht University
Biography: My research focuses on understanding the functional link between aboveground and belowground communities, and how these interactions control ecological processes under changing environmental conditions. Main topics of interest include the effects of drought and freeze-thaw cycles on ecosystem (and microbial) processes, and the effects of plant functional types on the robustness of ecosystem processes during extreme climatic events.
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