Role of elevation and latitude in plant and soil functional traits and feedbacks
Humans are directly and indirectly affecting the environment at a large and potentially irreversible scale. While climate strongly impacts where species occur, climate change is restructuring the distribution of a wide variety of species across the globe. In particular, evidence suggests plants may shift their boundaries polewards and towards higher elevations. In 2012, we collected a range of plant and arthropod community data, plant cuttings and soils (from beneath individual genotypes and adjacent interspaces) from genotypes of Populus angustifolia along elevational gradients associated with 17 watersheds from Arizona to northern Montana. Over the next few years, common gardens from these cuttings will be planted in multiple locations and a series of field and greenhouse experiments will address hypotheses regarding the role of latitude and elevation on plant functional traits and their community and ecosystem consequences. Stay tuned for results, data and updates on projects!
See new documentary on Populus genes to ecosystem work, hopefully showing on a PBS station near you: http://athousandinvisiblecords.org/