Investigating the leading edge of landscape change in an Alaskan subalpine chronosequence
Sarah Stehn with the National Park Service speaks on Arctic and subarctic Alaska are warming twice as fast as the rest of the United States due to widespread climatic change. Considered a ”canary in the coal mine” of our global climate system, many landscapes within these regions are undergoing dramatic shifts in community composition and structure with cascading consequences to ecosystem function. But vegetation of the arctic and subarctic is at once resilient and vulnerable. Thus, understanding and attention to the variability of change within particular landscapes is important when considering potential future landscape scenarios. In this seminar, I will discuss a re-visit of a legacy study site in Denali National Park, Alaska, wherein we evaluated whether the tempo and trajectory of vegetation succession has changed over a 54-year period during which summer temperatures have warmed over 2°C. Findings of this study highlight the capacity of a single species to catalyze changes that may eventually lead to the altering of an entire landscape mosaic, and the importance of promoting place-based science in public lands where minimal human interference, intact ecosystems, and administrative records preserving research histories provide valuable opportunities to increase our understanding of earth’s changing ecosystems.
Friday, September 13 at 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Science and Engineering Research Facility (SERF), 307
1414 Circle Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996