To join our listserv, send an email to email@example.com with the text SUBSCRIBE DROUGHTMORTALITY in the body of the email (no subject).
Large sections of the continental US are currently under varying degrees of drought, and many areas are projected to remain in drought through the end of the summer. We believe that this summer could be an ideal time to take an extremely collaborative approach to examine tree mortality from drought across multiple systems that no research group could tackle alone. We are interested in organizing an informal, small, and short-term “open-source ecology” project concerning forests and drought.
What is open-source ecology?
This is a collaborative approach to ecology where individual research groups or individuals sign up to do a relatively simple set of measurements that, when combined, help shed insight into fundamental questions across many systems. Here is a Science profile describing the genesis of open source ecology. While what we're proposing is not as formalized or ambitious as the pioneer open-source ecology project NutNet, we feel this coming drought, the option to convene and discuss at the ESA conference (see below) and growing interest in this area could lead to a perfect pilot of this method in forest drought ecology.
What are we envisioning?
During this continental-scale drought, interested individuals or research groups would take a small, manageable set of identical field measurements in their tree-dominated ecosystem during this upcoming field season. These “measurements of opportunity” would be simple, standardized, and something that should take a single person less than a day per measurement event and would occur 3 times: one in the early part of the field season (early June), one at the height of summer (late July) and a follow-up the next year (June 2013). We will be coordinating with the Wood & Sheffield group at Princeton to examine assimilated fields of hydrology & climate (e.g. soil moisture) from the NLDAS2 multi-model drought monitor for all participating sites, which we could provide to participants as well. Broad involvement across ecosystems and tree species would really allow the sorts of exciting cross-system comparisons which no single group can generally do alone and have been relatively rare to date.
We hope to organize a meeting with any and all interested participants in early August in Portland at the ESA annual meeting. This informal meeting would be a great way to bring together those interested to compare notes, synthesize the early results, and provide a springboard for future drought monitoring and collaborations.
Please contact one of us if you might be interested in participating. Given both the continental scale of the drought as well as the opportunity to initiate discussion and collaboration at ESA, we feel this could be a very exciting and community-driven project.
Bill Anderegg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Adam Wolf (email@example.com)
Melanie Zeppel (firstname.lastname@example.org)