About the project
Alpine regions contribute important ecosystem functions and services, and are at the same time particularly vulnerable to the ongoing climate change. Recent research, including work by the team behind this proposal, indicates that to understand the impacts of climate and environmental change on alpine ecosystems we urgently need improved knowledge on (i) the effects of both temperature and precipitation change, including disentangling potential interactive effects between these two aspects of climate change, and (ii) the roles of, and interactions between, important functional groups in alpine ecosystems. In particular, to understand alpine biodiversity and carbon ( C) dynamics under climate change, we need to disentangle the roles of and interactions between characteristic and important alpine primary producer (e.g., graminoids, forbs, woody, and non-vascular) and decomposer (e.g., bacteria, fungi) communities under different climatic settings.
FunCaB will use an effective combination of gradient studies, field experiments and model simulations. The experiments are targeted specifically at quantifying and disentangling key climatic and biotic controls of alpine biodiversity and C dynamics, whereas the simulations will enable process-level understanding and assessment of larger-scale and longer-term consequences including feedbacks to the climate system. The comparison of the two approaches will contribute to model validation and guide future development of the nationally facilitated Earth system model NorESM (Norwegian Earth System Model).
The project will enable better estimates of the current biodiversity and C stocks and dynamics of alpine regions, and establish causal linkages between these key ecosystem functions and services and climate. These results will provide an improved knowledge basis for projecting future climate change impacts and feedbacks between terrestrial ecosystems and the climate system.