The terrestrial WG has convened sub-groups that will, over the next 12-18 months:
» Develop an action plan for research on the factors that shape biodiversity in the Arctic: a draft proposal on invasive species is already in preparation;
» Facilitate building capacity for species identification, for making a biodiversity inventory and an improved biodiversity monitoring program;
» Develop an action plan to improve the measurement and monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and other feedbacks to climate focusinginitially on the lability of carbon in arctic soils and permafrost to give input to the IPA carbon mapping project; and
» Assess and improve our current understanding of landscapes in rapid transition.
International Arctic Vegetation Database Workshop
When: 14-20 April 2013
I Location: Krakow, Poland
This request asks for funds to bring a few key members of the international community of Arctic vegetation scientists together for the First International Arctic Vegetation Database Workshop. The location of the workshop will be either Krakow, Poland, following the next Arctic Science Summit Week meeting in April 14-20, 2013, or Alterra UR, University of Utrecht, Wageningen, The Netherlands, where the leaders of the European vegetation database effort (SynBioSys) are located.
Background: A CAFF Strategy Series Report provides details of the IAVD project, including the history of the concept, how it fits within the CAFF conservation mandates, a conceptual framework for the database, the potential products, a plan for database construction, expected funding requirements, and an inventory of the existing Arctic vegetation data sets (Walker and Raynolds 2011, http://www.geobotany.org/library/reports/WalkerDA2011_caff5_rep111200.pdf). The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) endorsed the project, and we are currently seeking the endorsement and partial funding for an workshop from IASC.
A preliminary IAVD workshop was held in Roskilde, Denmark, 29-32 May 2012. The workshop was sponsored by the CBIO-NET (Nordic Network on Climate and Biodiversity) project. The workshop determined that the IAVD was an essential element needed for CBIO-NET’s development of species distribution models for Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic. The participants accepted the general goals and methodology proposed for the IAVD and agreed to collaborate on the process of building the database. They also agreed that the first step should be to convene an organizing workshop as soon as possible to bring together the key vegetation scientists from all the Arctic countries to assess the status of vegetation data in each country and begin the process of assembling the database.
Goals of the IAVD: The driving motivations for the IAVD include:
• Locating and preserving legacy vegetation data sets from all the circumpolar countries that are in danger of being lost,
• Creation of an international framework for future Arctic vegetation studies while the task is still manageable,
• Harmonization of the North American and European approaches for archiving and classifying Arctic vegetation.
• Development of an international vegetation database useful for addressing a wide variety of pressing science questions that involve vegetation information, including making a panarctic vegetation classification.
Global Change, Arctic Hydrology and Earth System Processes Workshop
Location: Sheffield, UK I When: January/February 2013
The role of changing hydrology and active layer moisture regimes for ecosystems, biogeochemical and biophysical processes in the arctic terrestrial realm (including surface waters) has been overlooked relative to the much clearer emphasis on climate warming as a key driver of change. This likely partly reflects (i) the weaker consensus regarding the magnitude and direction of precipitation changes predicted by GCMs compared with the strong consensus regarding polar warming, and (ii) the sheer complexity of the linkages, at hillslope to pan-arctic scale, between soil and sediment moisture regimes, macroclimate, permafrost status, biodiversity and biological processes both above- and below-ground (see e.g. Bosson et al. 2012) . The lack of understanding of these processes, their spatial expression and temporal development, is seriously limiting the ability of the science community to model and predict the consequences of global change for the arctic terrestrial realm, including for arctic residents. Furthermore, without a more robust consideration of hydrology, the potential biogeochemical (i.e. net fluxes of radiatively-forcing trace gases) and biophysical (i.e. albedo and surface roughness) feedbacks between the Arctic and the broader earth system cannot be quantified and modelled. In short, an overemphasis on arctic warming, at the expense of explicitly considering the role of hydrology, will not deliver the required step-change in Arctic System Science. For example, Koven et al. (2011) recently reported that inclusion of permafrost in coupled models changes both the magnitude and direction of net C flux – from sink to source – at high northern latitudes (>60°N). However, they also emphasised that a major constraint for modelling is quantifying and understanding fine-scale controls on hydrological processes (at plot, hillslope and headwater catchment scale) which strongly modulate CO2 and CH4 emissions from soils. Since biological communities (from microbes to water fowl), and the ecosystems of which they are a part, are strongly shaped by water availability and fluxes, there are also fundamental implications for the delivery of ecosystem goods and services locally, as well as globally.
We therefore propose a scoping initiative (a) to draft a position/review paper, for possible publication in a high-impact international journal, on the consequences of changing hydrology in the arctic terrestrial realm for biodiversity, biogeochemical and biophysical processes and their coupling with the broader earth system, and (b) to strengthen the links between key actors/organisations in the research community.
This scoping exercise will bring together a small group (6-8) of experts in a two-stage workshop to review the current state of knowledge on arctic hydrological change, to identify research gaps, and to horizon-scan based on best available predictions of change in the arctic terrestrial realm. The exercise is strongly aligned to the mission of the IASC Terrestrial WG but has cross-cutting relevance to each of the other WGs. Links with these groups, potentially in the form of a Cross-Cutting proposal, will be considered during Phase IV of the Timeline.
CARMA workshop on 'Global status of migratory tundra Rangifer'
Location: Vancouver, Canada I When: Late Fall 2012
The Terrestrial Working Group is supporting a CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment (CARMA) workshop on the global status of migratory tundra Rangifer.
The workshop will include academics, aboriginal representatives, co-management group members, climate specialists and agency biologists and managers. The workshop is consistent with IASC's mission to be circumpolar in scope. CARMA focuses on 22 herds across the North in Canada, USA, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Russia. The objectives of the meeting will be 1) to better assess the mechanisms behind the recent declines in Rangifer, 2) to share management experiences over the last decade to deal with these declines and 3) based on these discussions, to recommend monitoring indicators and management actions that should be employed through future cycles of abundance of migratory tundra Rangifer.
The workshop is consistent with the scope and foci of the Terrestrial Working Group to support scientific research on arctic terrestrial environments, and their responses to, and interactions with, other components of the Earth system: past, present and future. Caribou and reindeer have a fundemental role in Arctic terrestial biodiversity, structure and functioning. Better understand the mechanisms behind cycling abundance of tundra Rangifer is an essential step in understanding ecosystem dynamics of the North.
The lead/co-lead meeting of the Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon Research Coordination Network took place in St. Pete Beach, Florida on May 17-18, 2012. The purpose of the meeting of the leadership was to review initial drafts of synthesis products and to identify remaining gaps for future cross-group synthesis opportunities. Short presentations by working group leads/co-leads on current progress were followed by feedback and discussion with the whole group. Remaining gaps were identified and a plan was developed to communicate these to the broader science community, both within and outside of the network, in order to inform members and to get new scientists involved in synthesis activities. Following this workshop, leads/co-leads will update working group scoping documents and initiate new synthesis activities/opportunities by engaging additional RCN members. These new opportunities will be key aspects at our next annual RCN meeting at AGU in December 2, 2012.
When: January 21-22, 2013
Where: Reykjavík, Iceland
The aim of the workshop was to outline the shaping forces of biodiversity in the Arctic across temporal and spatial scales in search for commonalities across biological hierarchies and organism groups. The workshop identified a large number of potential shaping forces and discussed at which scales they operate in space and time. A special emphasis was on distinguishing between external and internal forces, how they interact and whether they differ between small and large organisms. A variety of conceptual models were discussed.
The workshop concluded that there are both commonalities and differences in shaping forces across biological hierarchies and taxons and the commonalities are particularly seen among the internal forces. For instance, microbiological as well as macrobiological systems include predator-prey food web relationships and competition for resources is a shaping force within all organism groups. Differences in organism size and/or mobility are, however, likely to result in differences in external shaping forces. It was also concluded that a coherent research framework with focus on processes that affect diversity and those forces that affect them would be of great value for testing hypotheses about biodiversity trends in the face of climate change and other environmental changes. It was agreed to continue to develop the ideas brought up during the workshop, aiming at writing them up in a scientific paper. In that process we will explore the feasibility of using available data to test hypotheses.
Joint conference on “Understanding biodiversity changes and causes”
When: 12 October 2011
International, regional, national and local actors have initiated projects and programmes to improve our knowledge of landscape, climate and ecosystems to improve our ability to detect changes that allow us to deal with some of the challenging issues that the Arctic is facing to-day. The potential for collaboration was recently discussed among some circumarctic initiatives (IASC, CAFF/CBMP, ISAC) and it was decided to hold a workshop to bring together some of the players in Arctic terrestrial biodiversity research and monitoring to identify synergies and potential areas of collaboration. An international meeting was be held in Denmark on 12th October this year and was partly sponsored by the IASC Terrestrial Working Group.
Microbial genomics of the arctic cryosphere
Lead by: Warwick Vincent and Hiroshi Kanda
Location: Dublin, Ireland
When: October 2011
In cooperation with the Cryosphere Working Group
Molecular technologies in the life sciences are transforming our view of biodiversity, biological processes, ecology and evolution. This is especially true in microbiology, where application of DNA and RNA-based approaches has shown that much of the world’s biodiversity lies within the three domains of microbial life: Eukarya, Archaea and Bacteria. This initiative from the Terrestrial WG in partnership with the Cryosphere WG, aimed to support a symposium on molecular insights into permafrost soils, thaw lakes and related extreme cold environments, at an international conference on life in extreme environments.
Miniconference on Interactions between sea ice, near coastal processes and terrestrial ecosystem dynamics
Lead by: Torben Christensen and Søren Rysgaard
Location: Nuuk, Greenland
When: September 2011
This is an initiative that is joint between the EU-RTN project GREENCYCLES II, the Top-level Research initiative NCoE DEFROST, the EU INTERACT infrastructure project, the Greenland Climate Research Centre and several national Danish, Greenlandic and Swedish projects. The main goal of the mini conference was to get a varied group of experts together and to provide a deliverable that incorporated an integrated view of arctic carbon cycling, with an emphasis on connections and trends with the marine environment that previously have been overlooked or underexposed.