Working Group Activities related to the Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III)

  • Arctic snow cover changes and their consequences, Denmark, Copenhagen - May 2014
  • Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure & Climate Change (RATIC), Ottawa, Canada - Dec. 2014
  • Geology of the Arctic – A new synthesis, Potsdam, Germany - Summer 2014

For more information please see the ICARP III website

2016

Herbivory Network Meeting

When: 15-17 September 2016 | Where: Reykjavik (Iceland)

The Herbivory Network is a collaborative research initiative that investigates the role of herbivory in Arctic and alpine ecosystems (http://herbivory.biology.ualberta.ca).  We propose a 1.5-day meeting to form strategies for steering and research collaboration within the network, launch new collaborative projects and strengthen ongoing ones.
As the first global initiative to start coordinated research on the topic, the Herbivory Network was established in 2014 with support of the Terrestrial Working Group of IASC.  The goal of the Herbivory Network is to foster collaborations within and across disciplines that facilitate multi-site comparisons, to assist in understanding the complexity and variability of responses of tundra ecosystems to herbivory.  One of the main priorities of the network is to harmonize research efforts and adopt methods that allow for generalization across sites and plant-herbivore systems for selected research questions.
An upcoming Herbivory Network meeting will consolidate what has started as a grass-roots initiative, and establish strategies for steering and research collaboration within the network.  The meeting will discuss priorities and define new initiatives (e.g. coordinated data collection, future meta-analyses at circumpolar scale and grant proposals towards coordinated experiments).The meeting is planned for September 2016 in Reykjavik (Iceland), linked to  a conference on grazing in Nordic countries (www.nordicgrazing2016.org).

contact:

Isabel C Barrio,
http://herbivory.biology.ualberta.ca

Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) Meeting

When: 19 June 2016 I Where: Potsdam (Germany)

Announcement and Invitation for a Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) Meeting prior to ICOP 2016:

An informal Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) meeting prior to the 11th International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) will take place on Sunday, 13:00 - 15:00, 19 June 2016, Telegrafenberg, A 43.14473 Potsdam, Room A43-KR.

RATIC Meeting PDF

2015

Permafrost Carbon Network

When: 14-16 December 2015 | Where: San Francisco (USA)

The IPCC Working Group 1 Fifth Assessment Report highlighted the cryosphere as a major source of uncertainty in global climate projections. One of the most significant knowledge gaps related to cryosphere is the impact of thawing permafrost on the global carbon cycle. The magnitude and timing of the positive feedback between the warming climate and additional emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from natural sources and particularly from thawing permafrost is unknown. The Permafrost Carbon Network framework organized a series of meetings and workshops that bring together scientists from the international permafrost science community to synthesize data on permafrost carbon.
This meeting brought together network participants that have been leading syntheses in the last four years and continue to be engaged in new synthesis activities planned over the next couple of years. This workshop was also a key event in engaging new participants to start new synthesis activities that have been identified in previous meetings based on missing gaps and important research areas.
The new research areas focussed around a) analysis of permafrost carbon feedback and permafrost physical representation in the context of CMIP6 activities, b) carbon pool estimates in Yedoma, c) radiocarbon dating and carbon cycling in permafrost, and d) methane hydrates in permafrost regions.
This meeting took place during the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in December.

contact:

Ted Schuur,  
http://www.permafrostcarbon.org/

Scientific Highlights

• Discuss circumpolar datasets that link terrestrial ecosystems (boreal forest, tundra, peatlands) with the cryosphere.

• Advance model development by exploring possible benchmarking tools (e.g. planning of possible proposals) that can be provided by field and lab based scientists and finalizing model output from the Permafrost Carbon Model Intercomparison Project that estimates the permafrost carbon climate feedback for this century and beyond.

Catalysts for Treeline Expansion under Global Change Workshop

When: 9-12 October 2015 | Where: Perth (Australia)

Predicting the distribution of future species under climate change is one of the greatest scientific challenges we currently face. Often, scientists try to address this challenge by looking at the direct links between climate and species distributions; however, the effects of non-climatic factors, such as disturbance and species interactions, can sometimes override climate effects. Recent studies have shown mixed responses of treeline ecosystems to global climate change. Along with treeline advance with warmer temperatures, treeline retractions or no response have also been detected. In the latter two cases, non-climatic factors or indirect climate effects (such as disturbance) likely outweigh the direct effects of climate change on tree species distributions. The main goal of this workshop is to collate common datasets and integrate current findings with the established scientific literature in order to address the question of disturbance as a catalyst of global change impacts in treeline ecosystems. This workshop will be held in October 9-12 in Perth, Scotland.

Scientific Highlights

• Synthesize the current state of knowledge on disturbance as a catalyst for treeline ecosystem change

• Synthesize and summarize data collected through the Global Treeline Range Expansion Experiment (G-TREE).

•Identify the next research priorities and form a research framework for future initiatives in treeline ecosystem research.

2nd GTN-P National Correspondents Workshop

When: 19-20 September 2015 | Where: Quebec (Canada)

The Global Terrestrial Network on Permafrost (GTN-P) is the observing network for permafrost sponsored by GCOS and GTOS and managed by the IPA. It monitors the two Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) permafrost temperature and active layer thickness through more than 1000 boreholes and nearly 240 active layer grids globally located in all permafrost regions. GTN-P has gained considerable visibility in the broad science community in providing the baseline against which models are validated globally and incorporated in climate assessments.

The 2nd GTN-P workshop was held on September 19-20, as part of the 7th Canadian Permafrost Conference 2015 in Quebec, with the workshop’s main focus on the GTN-P data quality control and the development of a specific plan to prepare the first GTN-P bi-annual report on the thermal state and the international monitoring quality of the Earth’s permafrost areas. Further, the workshop addressed the meaning and role of GTN-P at the 11th International Conference on Permafrost that will be held in Potsdam, Germany in June, 2016.

contact:
Boris K. Biskaborn,
Vladimir E. Romanovsky,
GTN-P Website: http://gtnp.arcticportal.org/
Info Page for Workshop: http://gtnp.arcticportal.org/index.php/8-news/115-news-gtnp-workshop

Scientific Highlights

• An international body of experts involved in permafrost research from the GTN-P EC and Data Management Group with the National Correspondents of GTN-P assessed the international monitoring quality of the Earth’s permafrost areas by addressing the GTN-P data quality control and the spatial site-distribution on the planet.

• The workshop clearly defined (1) a specific plan of the first GTN-P bi-annual report on the thermal state and (2) the international monitoring quality of the Earth’s permafrost areas as well as (3) the meaning and role of GTN-P.

6th International Conference on Polar & Alpine Microbiology

When: 6-9 September 2015 | Where: Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic)

Climate changes that were observed and documented over the last decades brought polar and alpine areas to the center of attention of the general public and international science community, including microbiologists. Understanding the processes occurring across polar and alpine environments requires a coordinated effort over space and time to capture the naturally high variability associated with Polar and Alpine Regions.
Continuing the series of highly successful meetings previously held in Rovaniemi 2004 (Finland), Innsbruck 2006 (Austria), Banff 2008 (Canada), Ljubljana 2011 (Slovenia) and Big Sky 2013 (USA), the 6th international conference on Polar and Alpine Microbiology was held in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic from September 6-9, bringing together the scientific community for discourse on the latest in all aspects of cold-living microorganisms and their role in polar and alpine environments.). It was also an opportunity to share ideas and build research collaborations addressing the latest developments in microbiology in polar and alpine habitats.

contact:
Josef Elster,
http://polaralpinemicrobiology2015.prf.jcu.cz/

Scientific Highlights

• A study conducted field and laboratory experiments in soils from Raisduoddar, Norway and furthered understanding of the links between grazers and microbial responses to global change. The results indicated that reindeer mediated changes in the soil chemical composition and microclimate have a profound influence on the structure and functional adaptation of soil microbial communities. This role of large grazers may be a key mechanism determining the impact of warming in carbon fluxes in the tundra.

• One study showed a clear succession of microbial communities with age where communities in soils previously overridden by the ice (strongly represented by members of the Betaproteobacteria such as the genus Thiobacillus) are important colonizers of new exposed soils up to 5 years after glacier retreat. Thereafter, presence of typical soil communities such as Acidobacteria and certain members of Actinobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria (e.g. Sphingopyxis) become more prevalent.

Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems Workshop

When: 23-30 April 2015 | Where: Toyama (Japan)

Climate change and variability are affecting freshwater systems within the Arctic and subarctic. As water integrates and propagates effects across the Arctic, these transformations will have a profound effect on both society and environment, also beyond the Arctic.
Held on April 28th in Toyama, Japan during the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) (April 23-30), “Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems” workshop was a contribution to the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis (AFS), a joint project between the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP) Climate and the Cryosphere Project (CliC), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), and the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP).
This symposium-workshop focused on how major Arctic freshwater sources, fluxes and storage components are being modified, including: atmospheric and river transport, precipitation-evaporation-permafrost/soil moisture regimes, glacier and ice cap mass balances, sea-ice formation and dynamics, and marine exchanges including oceanic storage and release of low-salinity water.
The session included a broad range of topics, including biogeochemical processes, water and nutrient fluxes, and biotic communities. The session underscored the importance of Arctic lakes and rivers as integrators of atmospheric and terrestrial processes, as conduits to the near-shore marine environments under a changing climate, and as vital resources for northern communities.

contact:
Vincent F. Warwick,
http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/activities/targeted/afs

Scientific Highlights

• This workshop allowed the exchange of key results concerning the Arctic freshwater system, and collated information on current studies on the biodiversity and ecosystem function of Arctic and sub-arctic freshwater ecosystems.
 
• Identified the need for multi-component numerical models to predict changes in freshwater ecosystems under future climate scenarios and the ability to predict and understand natural variability as distinct from that induced by climate change.

• Identified and discussed the importance of accurate predictions of future changes in freshwater quantity and quality for water resource managers in northern communities and also effects on infrastructure and hydrohazards.

2014

Herbivory Network Workshop

When: 2 – 4 December 2014 | Where: Trondheim (Norway)

To advance the development of a general, standardized protocol for measuring herbivory in tundra ecosystems in Arctic and alpine environments, a scientific session was chaired and a side meeting was organized during the Arctic Biodiversity Congress. The session included expert talks and a final round table discussion. Invited talks focused on main groups of herbivores in these systems (i.e., mammals, birds, insects), on ongoing monitoring efforts such as the one in Hudson Bay (http://www.cen.ulaval.ca/bylot/intro.htm) and on comprehensive monitoring programs proposed by the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme http://www.caff.is/terrestrial/terrestrial-monitoring-plan .

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• Advanced the development of general, standardized protocol for measuring herbivory in tundra ecosystems in arctic and alpine environments

• Case studies presented on the main groups of Arctic herbivores: mammals, birds and invertebrates with different perspectives that will help develop protocols applicable to different type of herbivores.

 A new soil working group created within the HN (see below) to review the effects of herbivory on soils and to develop a soil protocol to evaluate the effects of herbivory on soil.

Herbivory in Changing Northern and Alpine Environments Workshop

When: 9 April 2014 I Where: Helsinki, Finland

The aim of the workshop was to bring together researchers to investigate the role of herbivory in changing northern and alpine ecosystems across large spatial scales, with the goal of laying the foundation for a plant-herbivore interaction-focused research network. 32 researchers from different circum-arctic regions attended this meeting. Overall, there was a broad agreement on the need to consolidate such a research network that, in addition to serving as a platform for communication and exchange among researchers, should be focused on developing common research interests. A fair amount of time during the workshop was devoted to trying to define a common conceptual model, identifying the knowledge gaps of the field and formulating an overarching research question that a collaborative effort may be able to answer. For addressing this question a common, standardized protocol is needed, based on a well-replicated, relatively simple experimental design. The first steps towards this protocol were defined during the workshop. Other points were also discussed at the meeting, including the possibility of writing a multi-authored opinion paper on the workshop outcomes, further development of a manuscript that was presented at the meeting, and the possibility of a joint funding application.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• A set of criteria were identified to define the main research lines for the Herbivory Network, including the need to address questions with simple, replicated experiments over broad spatial gradients, and to focus on processes for which mechanisms are better understood to gauge the causes of temporal and spatial variation more efficiently

• Discussed the idea of defining hotspots of herbivore diversity in the Arctic, specifically for mammals and birds, specifically with the use of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a surrogate of plant productivity.

• Found trends for the occurence of herbivore species richness: herbivore species richness is related to NDVI, but this relationship is not obvious for the Subarctic

Thermokarst Aquatic Ecosystem (THAW) Workshop

When: March 2014 I Where: Quebec City (Canada)

The TWG co-sponsored the THAW (THermokarst Aquatic ecosystem) Workshop, which was held in Quebec City from 11 - 14 March 2014. The workshop, which included a study on “freshwater ecosystems in changing permafrost landscapes,” was closely linked to the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis and the Global Change, Arctic Hydrology and Earth System Processes workshop.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• Discussed the net effects of the accelerated warming of the Arctic and the associated effects on permafrost degradation and peat erosion as some regions of the Arctic permafrost lakes are eroding and draining, while in others they are expanding in size and numerical abundance.

• Discussed the potential of Arctic permafrost lakes to greenhouse gas emissions as they may constitute a large source of particulate and dissolved organic materials that will ultimately drain into the coastal ocean, thereby acting a positive feedback on climate change  

• Brought to light the importance of aquatic ecosystems when investigating permafrost degradation and its associated carbon dynamics, specifically on the strikingly diverse and changing limnology of these systems, including their geomorphological dynamics, hydrological properties, hydrogeochemistry, microbiology, food web structure and regional differences.

Global Change, Arctic Hydrology and Earth System Processes (ARCHES) Workshop

When: 24-25 February 2014 I Where: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland

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. 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.

We therefore proposed 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 brought together a small group (6-8) of experts and 2-3 Early Career Scientists (ECSs) 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 was strongly aligned to the mission of the IASC Terrestrial WG but had 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.

ARCHES Report

Scientific Highlights

• Identied key uncertainties in our understanding of the interactions between reported and predicted climatic and hydrological change in the Arctic, and biogeochemical (and, to a lesser extent, biophysical) processes of broader relevance to the Earth System.

• Discussed how empiral work that coupled biogeochemistry with physics with permafrost and climate dynamics suggests inter-annual and long term variations in hydrology are driving biogeochemical cycling and energy exchange to an extent where it is impossible to make any future projections without considering them.

• Discussed the uncertainties in modelling and predicting how changing permafrost and precipitation patterns (intensity, seasonality, and proportions falling as rain or snow) will affect surface and near-surface hydrological status and thermal regime at subgrid and hill-slope scale.

2013

The International Tundra Experiment ITEX – an international conference and synthesis Workshop (More than 20 years of tundra vegetation change research

When: 17-20 September 2013 I Where: Kurhaus Bergün, Grisons, Switzerland

The International Tundra Experiment is a scientific network of experiments focusing on the impact of climate change on selected plant species in tundra and alpine vegetation. Research teams at more than 61 circumpolar sites in tundra ecosystems have carried out similar, multi-year plant manipulation experiments for up to 20 years that allow them to compare annual variation in plant performance with respect to response to climate conditions.

More than 70 researchers from 15 different countries attended the conference in Switzerland on 17.-20. September 2013. The venue was the Hotel Kurhaus, a charming art-nouveau hotel in Bergün, a small mountain village in a breath-taking alpine landscape of the south-eastern Swiss Alps.

Researchers reported on different aspects of changes in arctic and alpine tundra. Contributions ranged from experiments with open top chambers, to other climate change experiments and long-term observations of tundra change. A workshop discussion laid out paths for upcoming ITEX syntheses. The excursion after the conference led us to Davos, Switzerland, to visit research sites of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape.

This conference was one of the larger ITEX meetings in ITEX history, and IASC enabled 17 early-career researcher to attend.

For more information see: www.wsl.ch/alpine-arctic-flora/itex/index_EN

ITEX Report

Scientific Highlights

• Discussed the testing and analysis of plant traits that were successful under current climate change and decided which soft traits of target species are avaiable or could easily be measured for future analyses of ITEX data.

• The Herbivory work group discussed how herbivores have an important impact on tundra vegetation in many regions of the world, but that usually information on the amount and type of herbivory is scarce.

• The Herbivory work group decided to create a common protocol to determine herbivore in the studied system, which will help determine 1) which herbivores are there and in which densities 2) if the animals in question move on a large scale and 3) if herbivore populations are cyclic in the study area? The protocol will be made available after the conference.

Arctic Vegetation Archive Workshop

When: April 2013 I Where: Kraków, Poland

The Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) Workshop sponsored by the TWG, CAFF Flora Group, and NASA Land Cover and Land Use Change Program, took place during the business meetings of ASSW 2013. The goal of the AVA is to unite and harmonize the vegetation-plot (relevé) data from the Arctic tundra biome for use in developing a pan-Arctic vegetation classification and as a resource for climate-change and biodiversity research. The AVA will be an open access database that will be the first to represent an entire global biome.Forty-two people participated in the workshop and presented 25 papers. The topics of the papers included reviews of the history and need for the AVA, the status of vegetation data collection and classification in each of the circumpolar countries, potential applications of the AVA and reviews of the various database approaches that are being used.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• The status of circumpolar plot-based vegetation studies, including reviews from Alaska, Arctic Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, the boreal tundra region of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, Russia in total, northwest Yakutia, the Kola Peninsula, three sectors of Siberian Arctic, the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas and Chukotka, were presented.

• For each of the circumpolar countries, the status of relevant data, such as the numbers and quality of plot samples, and database approaches were thoroughly reviewed.

• A framework for the database was modified with data nodes in each country.

Global Change, Arctic Hydrology and Earth System Processes Workshop

When: January/February 2013 I Where: Sheffield, UK

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 proposed 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 brought 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.

Scientific Highlights

• Identified key uncertainties in our understanding of the interactions between reported and predicted climatic and hydrological change in the Arctic and biogeochemical (and, to a lesser extent, biophysical) processes of broader relevance to the Earth system.

• Developed the structure of the main manuscript which emphasizes i) the interactions between permafrost and hydrology at hill-slope scales, ii) the significance of changing water flow-paths for key biogeochemical processes, and iii) down-stream processes in surface waters.

• Discussed empirical work derived from coupling biogeochemistry with physics with permafrost and climate dynamics which suggests that inter-annual and long term variations in hydrology are driving biogeochemical cycling and energy exchange to an extent where it is impossible to make any future projections without considering them.

Shaping forces of biodiversity in the Arctic

When: January 2013 I Where: Reykjavik, Iceland

The TWG initiated an activity aiming at identifying the key shaping forces of biodiversity in the Arctic. The first step was to run a small workshop of sixteen scientists, representing a wide range of disciplines, in Reykjavik, January 2013. The workshop explored the feasibility of building a coherent research framework that would address the shaping forces of arctic biodiversity across temporal and spatial scales in search for commonalities across biological hierarchies and organism groups. A special emphasis was on distinguishing between external and internal forces, how they interact and whether they differ between small and large organisms and how they relate to organism mobility and dispersal. To reach a wider audience the outcome of the workshop was presented at the Science Symposium during the ASSW 2013 in Krakow and will also be presented at the ITEX Conference in Switzerland in September 2013. The next step will be to write up a conceptual paper on the workshop outcomes to be published in a special issue of a relevant scientific journal together with invited papers on case studies.

Workshop report

Scientific Highlights

• Identified a large number of potential shaping forces of biodiversity in the Arctic across temporal and spatial scales to investigate the commonalities across biological hierarchies and organism groups. A special emphasis was on distinguishing between external and internal forces, how they interact and whether they differ between small and large organisms

• Concluded that there are both commonalities and differences in shaping forces across biological hierarchies and taxons and that 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

• 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.

2012

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 included 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 focused on 22 herds across the North in Canada, USA, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Russia. The objectives of the meeting was 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.

For more information go to www.carmanetwork.com

Scientific Highlights

• Discussed long-term health monitoring as an essential component of a herd monitoring strategy and the adoption of a standardized approach (based on CARMA manuals) so that there can be mutual learning from each other’s monitoring results.

• Discussed perspectives on how monitoring and management should change through the phrases of a population cycle. Using a cycle “wheel”, data on the George River herd was shown, illustrating changes in body condition, productivity and suggested changes in management as herds rise, peak and recover.  

• Presented the state of knowledge on calving grounds of migratory tundra caribou, the current status of calving ground conservation and proposed a matrix that includes the strongest protection for both habitat and caribou on the largest possible area, through to weakest protection for both habitat and caribou.

Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon Workshop

When: May 2012 Location: Florida, USA

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.

For more information go to: www.biology.ufl.edu/permafrostcarbon/index.html

Workshop report

Scientific Highlights

• The Carbon Quantity group presented one draft manuscript on the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database and one manuscript focusing on the linkage of field information of permafrost carbon to physical vulnerabilities of thawing

• The Carbon Quality group presented a draft manuscript on the vulnerability of permafrost carbon from different soil horizons to decomposition

• The Thermokarst working group (represented by Guido Grosse and Britta Sannel) presented progress on a synthesis activity that focuses on thermokarst and thermo-erosional process rates in a circum-Arctic context.

• The Model-Integration working group showed current progress on protocol development and presented a manuscript on the retrospective evaluation of thermal and carbon dynamic permafrost-carbon models.

2011

Joint conference on “Understanding biodiversity changes and causes”

Location: Denmark 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.

Scientific Highlights

.

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.

Scientific Highlights

.

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.

Scientific Highlights

.