NCEAS Project 12477

Improving our understanding of the ecological controls on the distribution and phenology of C3 and C4 grasses in response to climate variations

  • Stephanie Pau

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow11th January 2010—31st December 2012Participant List  

This proposed project seeks to analyze and synthesize herbarium, climate, and satellite data over several decades to address the spatial and temporal response of C3 and C4 grasses to climate variability in the Hawaiian Islands. Complicating our understanding of C3 and C4 response to climate change and increased CO2 are large uncertainties regarding their differential response to climate variability. Numerous studies have demonstrated ecological sorting of C3 and C4 grasses along static spatial climate gradients, though few studies have focused on phenological differences between C3 and C4 grasses. In Hawaii, C4 grasses initiate a grass-fire feedback cycle that directly affects ecosystem structure and function. El Niño-driven droughts, the greatest source of interannual climate variability in Hawaii, may contribute to this feedback by providing a “tipping point” for C4 grass invasion into new regions. Results from this project will provide new information on the functional significance of C4 photosynthesis and the invasion dynamics of C4 grasses. This work will also provide insight on the response of these grasses to climate variability, and lay the groundwork for merging herbarium datasets with satellite data to create an ecological informatics database for grasses.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Cleland, Elsa E.; Allen, Jenica M.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Dunne, Jennifer A.; Pau, Stephanie; Travers, Steven E.; Zavaleta, Erika; Wolkovich, Elizabeth M. 2012. Phenological tracking enables positive species responses to climate change. Ecology. Vol: 93. Pages 1765-1771. (Online version)
Journal Article Gillespie, Thomas; Lipkin, Boris; Sullivan, Lauren; Benowitz, David R.; Pau, Stephanie; Keppel, Gunnar. 2012. The rarest and least protected forests in biodiversity hotspots. Biodiversity and Conservation. Vol: 21. Pages 3597-3611. (Online version)
Journal Article Pau, Stephanie; Wolkovich, Elizabeth M.; Cook, Benjamin I.; Davies, T. Jonathan; Kraft, Nathan J.B.; Bolmgren, Kjell; Betancourt, Julio L.; Cleland, Elsa E. 2011. Predicting phenology by integrating ecology, evolution and climate science. Global Change Biology. Vol: 17(12). Pages 3633-3643. (Online version)
Journal Article Pau, Stephanie; Gillespie, Thomas; Wolkovich, Elizabeth M. 2012. Dissecting NDVI-species richness relationships in Hawaiian dry forests. Journal of Biogeography. Vol: 39(9). Pages 1678-1686. (Online version)
Journal Article Pau, Stephanie; Wolkovich, Elizabeth M.; Cook, Benjamin I.; Nytch, Christopher J.; Regetz, Jim; Zimmerman, Jess K.; Wright, S. Joseph. 2013. Clouds and temperature drive dynamic changes in tropical flower production. Nature Climate Change. (Online version)
Journal Article Pau, Stephanie; Edwards, Erika J.; Still, Christopher J. 2013. Improving our understanding of environmental controls on the distribution of C3 and C4 grasses. Global Change Biology. Vol: 19. Pages 184-196. (Online version)
Journal Article Still, Christopher J.; Pau, Stephanie; Edwards, Erika J. 2014. Land surface skin temperature captures thermal environments of C3 and C4 grasses. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Vol: 23. Pages 286-296.