October 1, 2013 at 9:29 am

Plant Bio Colloquium: Forecasting Carbon Storage As Eastern Forests Age, Oct. 25

The PBIO colloquium for Friday, Oct. 25, at 11:50 a.m. in Porter Hall 104, is presented by Dr. Peter S. Curtis, Professor of Ecology in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University. Dr. David Rosenthal is host.

Dr. Peter Curtis

Dr. Peter Curtis

Curtis will discuss “Tree Death Leading To Ecosystem Renewal? Forecasting Carbon Storage As Eastern Forests Age.”

Abstract: The future trajectory of North American carbon (C) stocks remains uncertain as a subset of maturing trees die in mixed deciduous forests of the U.S. Midwest and East transitioning from early to middle and late succession. My group is studying disturbance-structure-function relationships of aging forests in northern Michigan using long-term ecological and meteorological C cycling studies, a large-scale disturbance experiment, a 200-year forest chronosequence, and flux comparisons across three tower sites. We find that ecosystem responses to mortality are characterized by several processes that affect structure-function relationships and alter the way ecosystem functioning interacts with meteorological forcing.

Along a conceptual continuum from structural to functional attributes, our results show that leaf area distribution and its heterogeneity, canopy light, water and nutrient use efficiency, canopy roughness length and turbulent mixing of canopy air, and the coupling between soil moisture and canopy density, all change with successional and disturbance processes and affect ecosystem C fluxes. Patchy mortality and related increases in structural complexity could, against expectations, enhance the C storage of some forests. Our finding that increases in canopy structural complexity improve resource-use efficiency provides a mechanism for maintaining high rates of C storage in aging forests.

Next colloquium: Nov. 8, Simon Queenborough, Ohio State University, “Long-term Flowering and Fruiting Patterns in Dioecious Tropical Forest Trees.” Hosted by Dr. Brian McCarthy.




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