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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Human impacts on ecosystems can result in persistent compositional shifts that are difficult to reverse even after relaxation from perturbations. Considerable debate remains on whether these observed shifts in ecosystems are due to the existence of tipping points and systems with alternative attractors, or whether observed shifts in ecosystems represent communities in alternative trajectories that will eventually reach a common stable point. However, in addition to human perturbations, ecosystems are also experiencing other transient dynamics, like climate variability, which could promote or prevent state shifts. Using cross-site synthesis of LTER experiments that have manipulated human perturbations or climate variability, we will test whether and which observed compositional shifts across the network are a result of critical transitions or transient dynamics. We will use this data to develop and inform theory that will allow us to make and test predictions on the magnitude and frequency of perturbations and climate variability needed to promote or prevent compositional shifts in ecosystems.

LTER Transitions working group

Principal Investigator(s)

Maria Cristina Portales-Reyes, Anny Chung

Project Dates

Start: March 1, 2021

End: December 31, 2023



Beatriz Aguirre
Cornell University
Lukas Bell-Dereske
Czech Academy of Sciences
Julien Brun
University of California, Santa Barbara
Angel Chen
University of California, Santa Barbara
Anny Chung
University of Georgia
Joan Dudney
University of California, Berkeley
Hanan Farah
University of Minnesota
Tadashi Fukami
Stanford University
Laureano A. Gherardi
University of California, Berkeley
Lauren M. Hallett
University of Oregon
David Hoover
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Forest Isbell
University of Minnesota
Nick Lyon
University of California, Santa Barbara
Kate J. Meyer
Carleton College
Maria Cristina Portales-Reyes
Saint Louis University
Jennifer A. Rudgers
University of New Mexico
Katharine N. Suding
University of Colorado, Boulder
Carmen Watkins
University of Oregon
Megan Wilcots
University of Minnesota