Track: Organized Oral Session
Drylands represent our planet’s largest biome, making up more than 40% of Earth’s land surface and supporting roughly 35% of the world’s population, many of whom rely directly on the land for their livelihoods. Drylands provide vital regional services for inhabitants and are increasingly recognized as playing a dominant role in global biogeochemical cycling, including interannual variability in the terrestrial carbon sink. At the same time, drylands are experiencing multiple climate change pressures, including warming temperatures and increasing drought frequency and severity. High levels of human activity, low water and resource availability, and pulsed, dynamic environmental conditions increase the sensitivity of dryland ecosystems to these pressures and drylands are currently considered to be among the most vulnerable systems to climatic change. The expansive nature of drylands and the creation of “fertile islands” beneath shrub canopies support high levels of biogeochemical heterogeneity at both local and regional scales, further complicating the influence of climate change on carbon and nutrient cycling. Despite the vulnerability and critical importance of these vast ecosystems, our understanding of how dryland biogeochemistry will respond to climate change pressures and how we may be able to restore key ecosystem functions is extremely limited. Addressing these questions, which are large in scope and multidisciplinary in nature, will require a diversity of perspectives. The purpose of this session is to bring together some experts and emerging leaders focused on better understanding how key biogeochemical processes are responding to climate change in dryland ecosystems and how best to mitigate those effects.
Presenting Author: Courtney M. Currier – School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
Presenting Author: Brandon T. Bestelmeyer – USDA ARS Jornada Experimental Range
Presenting Author: Sasha Reed – Southwest Biological Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Presenting Author: Peter Homyak – Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside
Presenting Author: Heather L. Throop – School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University
Presenting Author: Kristina E. Young – Biological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso