Recovery as a signal - understanding long term ecological change with discrete disturbances

Global climate change is altering the conditions in which our ecosystems exist. As those conditions gradually shift, ecosystems may cross critical points and experience irreversible collapse. Managers need tools to identify those points before they are crossed. This project will test one potential tool in the bogs of British Columbia. At the verge of collapse, ecosystems are thought to slow down in how they respond to disturbance or damage. We are trampling bog ecosystems and measuring how plant communities respond based on whether they are experiencing long term drought or not. The results will inform whether predictive tools can be used to prevent ecosystem-level collapse. In coordination with the Hakai Institute, the project will link ecological theories with the expanding knowledge of Central Coast bog and forest. The study will give us a better overall understanding of the ecosystems in which we live and research.

Intern: 
Nancy Shackelford
Faculty Supervisor: 
Brian Starzomski
Province: 
British Columbia
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