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NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (2021)

Understanding spatiotemporal dynamics of plant-soil feedbacks : Consequences for shrub-grass interactions in a dryland ecotone

Plant-Soil Dryland

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Titre : Understanding spatiotemporal dynamics of plant-soil feedbacks : Consequences for shrub-grass interactions in a dryland ecotone

Organismes NSF : DEB Division Of Environmental Biology

Durée : June 1, 2021 — May 31, 2025 (Estimated)

Résumé
Understanding factors that allow species to migrate into new suitable habitats has become increasingly urgent because of the rapid pace of human-caused environmental change. This project combines field and lab experiments to evaluate how plant-plant and plant-microbe interactions influence the migration of creosote, one of the most common and important shrubs of the warm deserts of North America (Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave), into adjacent grasslands. The expansion of woody plants at the expense of grassland, a phenomenon called shrub encroachment, is global in scale and expected to accelerate under future warmer climates and elevated atmospheric CO2. The microbes that live in and near plant roots (the plant microbiome) likely play key roles in affecting the rate of shrub encroachment but their influence on shrub establishment and migration success has not yet been examined. To predict how plant-microbe and plant-plant (in this case shrub/grass) interactions will drive or slow plant population expansion in future climates requires evaluating the spatial and temporal scales at which these interactions occur. Using both field and lab experiments and mathematical models, this project will enable forecasts of how plant-plant and plant-microbe interactions reshape the abundance and distributions of shrub and grass species at the limits of their geographic distributions. Shrubland-grassland dynamics affect the amount of carbon stored by an ecosystem, drive rangeland management decisions, influence strategies to conserve biodiversity, and extend over 330 million hectares of North America alone. This project trains students at many levels, and builds partnerships with stakeholders and managers to ensure knowledge transfer to the benefit of society. A science-art collaboration is also embedded in the research activities, including the design and creation of 3D-printed plant models and artistic interpretations of plant morphologies. A museum exhibit of these models and microbe plant interactions will be created to expand public outreach and create an aesthetic expression of the inter-relationships of microbes and plants.

Partenaire (s) : Yan Yi Chung (Principal Investigator)

Bureau de recherche parrainé  : University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc 310 East Campus Rd ATHENS GA US 30602-1589

Financement : $630,572.00

National Science Foundation

Page publiée le 23 juin 2021