Title: Testing theory and quantifying contingency: How distributed experiments advance ecological knowledge
Elizabeth Borer, Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Abstract: Among the greatest current challenges for ecology is developing a predictive understanding of links between biodiversity and ecosystem function, on one hand, and ongoing, global-scale changes to nutrient cycles and species distributions, on the other. While these challenges are global in scale, experiments and sampling to measure changes in community composition and function must be done at local scales. I will discuss my experience with conceiving and implementing a globally-distributed, collaborative network of identically-replicated grassland experiments, the Nutrient Network, and will present some of the network’s insights into the role of mammalian herbivores and nutrients in controlling biodiversity and ecosystem processes in the world’s grassland ecosystems.