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United States : Scientists to present new long-term ecological research findings at fall American Geophysical Union meeting.

Microbes and plant roots are hard at work under snow and ice, deep in desert soils, and in the ground beneath our feet. Their activities affect water clarity, salt marsh survival, the impact of drought and the pace of climate change.

New results presented by National Science Foundation (NSF) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) scientists at the 2018 American Geophysical Union fall meeting reveal hidden realms in ice-covered lakes and deep soils. The conference will take place from Dec. 10 to Dec. 14 in Washington, D.C.

NSF's LTER Network is made up of 28 sites in ecosystems from freshwater lakes and deserts to salt marshes and forests.

NSF LTER findings presented at the conference include:

Scientists affiliated with the North Temperate Lakes LTER site in Wisconsin are conducting research on the importance of microbial activity in frozen lakes. The results will help researchers predict the effects of longer ice-free periods on water quality and fish populations.

Studies of deep soil layers at two LTER sites, Hubbard Brook and Harvard Forest in the U.S. Northeast, show that more frequent freeze and thaw cycles in winter are leading to more active microbes and a greater production of carbon dioxide in deep soils.

At the Jornada Basin LTER site in New Mexico, scientists studying the effects of drought on plant leaves and roots are finding that the above-ground portion of desert shrubs recovers rapidly from severe drought, but that plants facing successive droughts lose more roots with each incident.

Other NSF LTER presentations will address such topics as coastal sediment transport, the pace of permafrost thaw, the mechanisms involved in salt marsh collapse and the resilience of mangrove ecosystems to the effects of hurricanes. Scientists affiliated with a new NSF LTER site - the Northeast U.S. Shelf - will present information on the importance of marine plankton to fisheries.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Dec 3, 2018
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