PD-A3 Grassland plant responses to changes in climate and land management

Postdoc: Alexander Keyel

I am using a meta-community model to evaluate the role of response trait diversity in maintaining ecosystem stability. The meta-community model is spatially explicit, and represents a landscape as a series of grid cells. This introduces a number of scaling issues. For example, the choice of grid cell size may influence the results of the model. Assigning landcover to grid cells based on aerial photographs requires decisions when more than one landcover is present in a cell. Even assessments of temperature raise the question of scale. The timestep of our model is one year, but we have hourly temperature data. While a simple average is possible, this may not be the most ecologically appropriate use of the data (e.g., extreme weather events may be more influential than a mean temperature). Even assessing the diversity of traits to use in the model is a question of scaling. For example, how different do continuous trait values have to be to constitute diverse functional values? My research addresses numerous scaling issues throughout all parts of the project.

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