About 4,000 people are expected to attend the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Portland, Ore., Aug. 5-10. The theme of this year’s conference is “Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing and Sustaining our Ecosystems.”
Increased Temperatures May Reduce Growth of a Dominant Bunchgrass: Average annual temperature for the southwestern United States is expected to increase 2-4oC by 2100. While this increase seems modest, even small temperature increases can negatively affect vegetation in already warm dryland communities. USGS researchers examined whether a +2oC increase in temperature would adversely affect growth of Indian ricegrass, a prominent bunchgrass in the Southwest USA. They found that elevated temperatures significantly reduced net photosynthesis in the grass, thought the effect was greatest in the spring when the plants are most active. The decrease in spring photosynthesis resulted in a significant decline in growth, reproductive output and soil respiration. Overall, these findings suggest that a +2oC increase in temperature can substantially and negatively affect growth and carbon cycling associated with this bunchgrass. This and other USGS research will help resource managers make more effective land-management decisions in preparing for climate change effects on ecosystems they manage. Increased temperature negatively affects carbon assimilation and growth of Achantherum hymenoides bunchgrass, will be in Room F151 on Aug. 8 at 3:20 p.m. Contact: Timothy Wertin, 435-719-2334.