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Plant processes and biodiversity in ecosystem response to global climate change


The objective is to study the processes involved in the fluxes of carbon and nitrogen within multi-species plant communities growing under conditions of natural soil and natural microflora. This will provide a mechanistic analysis of the functional role of biodiversity in mature ecosystem response to global climate change.

The proposed project will be the first major focus of effort on the effects of CO2, nutrient and temperature changes on multi-species systems growing under predominantly natural soils and microflora conditions. To understand the links between plant processes and ecosystem biodiversity, the research tasks have been classified according to physical scale (from physiology to ecosystems) and level of analysis (from causes to consequences). Once completed, the projet will allow to predict the consequences of global changes, both on the systems studied and on other systems of different biodiversity.

This collaboration between four leading laboratories will allow comparisons to be made between the responses to global climate change of a very large number of herbaceous species in at least five different European ecosystems. By means of a classification of plant functional types (from J.P. Grime, and others), the different systems' responses will be compared and developed into a more general model of response of vegetation to climate change across a wider range of ecosystems.

A common element at all sites is a study of the CO2 relations of a multi-species system under predominantly natural soil/microflora conditions. Each site will nominate on or more local vegetation containing a diversity of functional types to be studied in a 2-year experiment. This experiment will be of standard design at each site, having two levels each of CO2, temperature and nutrients. Some of the experiments will be done under conditions of free-air enrichment, some in open-top chambers, some in glasshouse facilities, and some in growth cabinets.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


University of Sheffield
Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
United Kingdom

Participants (2)

Route De Mende 1919
34293 Montpellier
United Kingdom
LA1 4YQ Lancaster /High Bantham