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February 1, 2023

12:00pm, PST 1100 Terasaki Life Sciences Building (TLSB)

Kyla M. Dahlin
Department of Geography, Environment, & Spatial Sciences Program in Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior Michigan State University

" Predicting ecosystem processes from structure, history, and functional traits "

The terrestrial biosphere is the largest source of uncertainty in the global carbon budget. We know that Earth system models (ESMs) over-simplify patterns and processes, yet often we lack global
scale information that could constrain these models. This situation is, however, rapidly changing with the development of new observational tools, new ESMs, and new approaches to data analysis. To help constrain and inform ESMs, my group is working to understand ecological diversity at multiple spatial and temporal scales. We are quantifying plant functional traits in four-dimensions (x-y-z and through time) using data collected from the field and with the NEON Airborne Observation Platform and NASA’s G-LiHT. We are using the 40-year Landsat timeseries to map phenological diversity and woody cover in east African savannas and to map disturbance syndromes in the eastern US. And we are working with collaborators to develop new statistical tools to understand the drivers of ecological diversity across different resolutions and extents. These projects all target the same fundamental
question: How can we better quantify the myriad dimensions of ecological diversity to improve forecasts of the Earth system?

Host: Elsa Ordway