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“After the extreme – measuring and modeling impacts on terrestrial ecosystems when thresholds are exceeded”
Accademia dei Georgofili, Florence 12-15, April 2016

The workshop is organized by the two international research networks, INTERFACE and CLIMMANI.

INTERFACE is based in US and CLIMMANI in Europe, and both networks aim at bringing together researchers working on climate change effects in terrestrial ecosystems in order to facilitate interaction, syntheses of results and collaboration. In particular, bringing experimentalists and ecosystem and earth system modelers together has a special priority.

The international workshop is organized by Claus Beier, Aimee Classen and Klaus S Larsen, University of Copenhagen (DK), Jeff Dukes, Purdue University (US), Anke Jentsch from University of Bayreuth (DE) and Franco Miglietta, Institute for Biometeorology, National Research Council (IT).

Extreme events – the topic
Ecosystem experimentation related to climate change has been carried on for several decades providing valuable information on ecosystem responses to increased atmospheric CO2 and temperatures and altered precipitation. Experiments have been carried out in a wide range of ecosystems and climatic conditions and for time ranges of years to decades. They include many single-factor experiments as well as a more limited number of multifactor experiments in which interactions among factors have been addressed. These experiments have generated significant knowledge about ecosystem responses to the main climatic stressors, have informed and tested models, and have built the foundation for major policy advice, e.g., in the IPCC assessment reports.

Common to these experiments is that they have in most cases been based on “most likely scenarios” or “average scenarios” and in cases where extreme weather conditions have been addressed, these extremes are mostly “moderately extreme”. This means that our knowledge about the harshest, most extreme conditions that surpass thresholds and tipping points is generally limited and mostly lacks experimental confirmation. Further, this means that ecosystem models also lack that knowledge and/or validation against measurements.

Therefore, the workshop in Florence will focus on “extreme extremes”. What is our current understanding of such events, and their corresponding thresholds and tipping points? How do thresholds differ across ecosystems and successional states? How do organisms and ecosystems respond and recover when thresholds are exceeded, and how will global changes affect the recovery trajectories? How have and can we address these questions experimentally and in models? What is our current understanding of plant and ecosystem responses to very extreme events and how do we close the gaps in knowledge from an experimental and modelling point of view?

Session details
The workshop will consist of 4 sessions that could be seen as a road map for identifying the gaps and the answers:

1. What is the current conceptual understanding of ecosystem responses to very extreme conditions and ecosystem recovery?
2. Long term ecosystem responses to climate change - what do current models tell us?
3. Interactions between climate change, disturbance regimes and successional stages - what does the experimental evidence tell us?
4. Impacts of extremes - how do we design future experiments and models to tackle the unknowns?

The meeting time will be split 50:50 between scientific presentations (incl. posters) and group discussions. This means that we specifically designed the workshop with ample time for discussions and interaction among participants. Talks will vary in length, with most talks being short and “statement-like” rather than long and comprehensive.

Breakout sessions: The group discussions will be organized in smaller breakout sessions with the goal of outlining a plan or a synthesis paper identifying key messages related to the overall topic. Each breakout group should ideally synthesize and discuss the state of knowledge within the area and identify gaps in knowledge and abilities to model it at a local and global scale. The breakout groups will be given sufficient time to discuss and condense their thoughts and outline a plan for developing a product after the end of the meeting. In order to organize the breakout sessions most efficiently and with the greatest relevance to the participants’ interests, we will ask all participants to share their views on the most urgent science questions and gaps in knowledge as part of the meeting registration process.

Model session: Session 2 on modelling differs from a typical model session in the sense that we have asked 2 model groups Ben Smith (LPJguess) and David Medigvy (ED2) to run a given set of scenarios relevant to the topic and provide the results. Given that models are a conceptualization of our current understanding, these outputs can be considered hypotheses of ecosystem responses. They may be wrong, meaning that there is something wrong with our understanding, which is what we want to get at. The model results will be commented by a panel of modellers and form the basis for discussion with the whole audience.

Poster session: Many of the participants will not be given a slot to present, and some presentations will be short. Therefore, and because all participants have great experiences to bring, we encourage all participants to bring a poster for the poster session at day 1 of the workshop.
The poster session will be initiated with a “pitch-presentation” where each presenter will be given 15 seconds to show one slide and highlight the poster.

Field trip: The workshop will start on Tuesday 12th with an excursion in the area around Florence with both scientific and historical/cultural highlights.


For further information and registration, please contact Alberto Mattedi - alberto.mattedi@fmach.it

Further information about the session descriptions and the preliminary program are available at the following link.
More information about the venue of the workshop are available at the following link.

Mar 11, 2016, 1:40 AM
Mar 11, 2016, 2:11 AM