Links to publications and pictures of EVENT 4

Ongoing global warming is expected to increase the recurrence of soil freeze-thaw cycles (FTC) in cool-temperate and other high-latitude regions due to decreases in snow cover and increased variability of air temperature in winter. FTC currently occur in more than half of the land surface of the northern hemisphere, therefore it is important to explore the ecological implications of their altered regimes due to climate change.

Knowledge of FTC effects on plant communities is scarce, although plants may be the decisive factor in controlling ecosystem functions such as nutrient retention. Evidence suggests that FTC alter plant productivity, carbon allocation and competition between plant species. Changes in productivity may potentially result in an altered shoot-to-root ratio and shifts in timing are capable of altering ecosystem stability and ecosystem services, such as nutrient retention. Changes in the occurrence of FTC can therefore alter vegetation composition and species distributions. Nutrient cycling is altered via physical disruption and changes in microbial activity, leading to nutrient leaching and trace gas loss. These processes indirectly affect human interests (e.g. primary productivity, drinking water quality, or greenhouse gas emissions).

EVENT 4 Overview Waldstein
EVENT 4: Experimental Site Waldstein


Within this project, we want to analyze the effects of  intensified FTC in winter for the aboveand below-ground biomass production of two  common vegetation types,  grassland and heath, in a controlled field experiment in  Central Europe. We are  particularly interested in exploring the mechanisms and processes behind observed  effects of FTC on plants addressing nitrogen nutrition,  photosynthetic activity, root  injury, and biotic interactions  such as plant competition and root mycorrhization. Finally, we want to assess the longevity of the observed effects of FTC on ecosystem functioning over  several growing seasons and discuss implications for plant  distribution in future climate of the temperate zone.


Weather research site ÖBG
Niederschlag: 0.0 mm/24h
Sonnenschein: 1 h/d

last modified 2011-11-10