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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research

Title: Urgent need for basic treatment data to make precipitation manipulation experiments comparable

item Vicca, S
item Gilgen, A
item Camino Serrano, M
item Dreesen, F
item Dukes, J
item Estiarte, M
item Gray, S
item Guidolotti, G
item Leakey, A D B
item Ogaya, R
item Ort, Donald
item Ostrogovic, M
item Rambal, S
item Sardans, J
item Schmitt, M
item Siebers, M
item Van Der Linden, L
item Van Straaten, O
item Granier, A

Submitted to: New Phytologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2012
Publication Date: 6/27/2012
Citation: Vicca, S., Gilgen, A.K., Camino Serrano, M., Dreesen, F.E., Dukes, J.S., Estiarte, M., Gray, S.B., Guidolotti, G., Leakey, A., Ogaya, R., Ort, D.R., Ostrogovic, M., Rambal, S., Sardans, J., Schmitt, M., Siebers, M., Van Der Linden, L., Van Straaten, O., Granier, A. 2012. Urgent need for basic treatment data to make precipitation manipulation experiments comparable. New Phytologist. 195(3):518:522.

Interpretive Summary: Effects of climatic change on ecosystem functioning have been an important research topic during the past decades. Effects of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations and increasing temperatures are being intensively studied and synthesized. Consequences of altered precipitation patterns, in contrast, have received far less attention. Results of water manipulation experiments were only recently synthesized for the first time, and the conclusions that can be drawn regarding global patterns remain preliminary. In general, reductions in water inputs slow ecosystem processes, while increased rainfall enhances plant productivity, but it remains unclear how this response differs among ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: Differences in ecosystem process responses between experiments imposing the same manipulation remain attributable to differences in the perceived magnitude of the treatment as well as to differences in biological factors. Conversely, similar responses across sites could either indicate similar process responses and perceived water stress, or offsetting differences in ecosystem process responses and perceived stress. Despite these problems, available data dictate that cross-site analyses focus on precipitation differences at this time. Analyses based on precipitation data are useful in that they are easily compared with model results. However, because of the reasons highlighted above, it is important to recognize that extrapolations are highly uncertain.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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