In April of 2012, twenty-four researchers met at Konza Prairie Biological Station near Manhattan, Kansas. The workshop, titled PaleoReconstructions of Biogeochemical Environments (PROBE) focused on unifying records of disturbance and ecosystem response over decadal to multimillennial timescales. This workshop was initial effort that brought together researchers for the Novus RCN, which was funded later that year.
Out of the PROBE workshop, a manuscript was developed which integrated disturbance impacts from ecosystem ecologists and paleoecologists, developed conceptual frameworks for biogeochemical responses to disturbance, and outlined priorities for future research. The abstract is provided below and the full paper can be reviewed here.
Abstract: Ongoing changes in disturbance regimes are predicted to cause acute changes in ecosystem structure and function in the coming decades, but many aspects of these predictions are uncertain. A key challenge is to improve the predictability of postdisturbance biogeochemical trajectories at the ecosystem level. Ecosystem ecologists and paleoecologists have generated complementary data sets about disturbance (type, severity, frequency) and ecosystem response (net primary productivity, nutrient cycling) spanning decadal to millennial timescales. Here, we take the first steps toward a full integration of these data sets by reviewing how disturbances are reconstructed using dendrochronological and sedimentary archives and by summarizing the conceptual frameworks for carbon, nitrogen, and hydrologic responses to disturbances. Key research priorities include further development of paleoecological techniques that reconstruct both disturbances and terrestrial ecosystem dynamics. In addition, mechanistic detail from disturbance experiments, long-term observations, and chronosequences can help increase the understanding of ecosystem resilience.
Full citation:McLauchlan, K , P. E. Higuera, D. G. Gavin, S. S. Perakis, M. C. Mack, H. Alexander, J. Battles, F. Biondi, B. Buma, D. Colombaroli, S. Enders, D. R. Engstrom, F. S. Hu, J. R. Marlon, J. Marshall, M. McGlone, J. L. Morris, L. E. Nave, B. N. Shuman, E. Smithwick, D. H. Urrego, D. A. Wardle, C. J. Williams, J. J. Williams. In press, 2013. Reconstructing disturbances and their biogeochemical consequences over multiple timescales. BioScience.