PL 1: Opening Plenary Session
Sunday, August 7, 5–6:30pm
Humanity faces a growing need for food, freshwater, energy, and many other resources drawn from Earth’s life support systems. Ensuring that these life support systems remain resilient under increasing human demands, requires stewardship on multiple scales and in multiple communities. Moderated by ESA Vice President for Public Affairs Laura Huenneke, the ESA Opening Plenary panel discussion will explore dimensions beyond ecology, including religious and moral, psychological, and management aspects of Earth stewardship.
PL 2: Scientific Plenary & ESA Awards Session
Monday, August 8, 8-10 am
Currently I direct the Princeton Environmental Institute and co-direct Princeton's Carbon Mitigation Initiative. My research focuses on all aspects of the global carbon cycle. The group is composed of ecologists, physical and biological oceanographers, and atmospheric scientists, and investigates issues ranging from the effects of global vegetation on climate, to the large-scale measurement of natural and anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
I am now working most intensively on a new model of the terrestrial biosphere. Over the past several years, we have developed methods to scale-up individual based models of communities and ecosystems. We use these methods to scale up so called gap models of vegetation. The method provides partial differential equations that govern the behavior of a large scale simulation model of a landscape, without the need to run the individual-based model. Our global model makes predictions about the large-scale distribution of biomes and associated biogeochemical fluxes, as well as specific local predictions including hourly physiological carbon gain and water loss, community composition and dynamics throughout succession, the outcome of spatial competition among plant species, and the fluxes of nitrogen, water and carbon.
Because the model is based on measurable properties of individuals and local-scale processes, the work provide sample opportunities for field studies to calibrate and test it. We are currently working on field projects in Amazonia and the deciduous-evergreen ecotone in the northern Midwest. We are also continuing the theoretical studies of ecological scaling rules, and are coupling the global ecosystem model to regional and global models of atmosphere and oceans.
During the next several years, my research will focus on the following questions. How and to what extent the terrestrial biosphere affects climate? Does the feedback between climate and vegetation lead to multiple stable states of climate? If so, could human land use cause a flip to an alternative state (we are most concerned currently by the possibility of a dry tropics caused by deforestation)? How does biodiversity affect global ecosystem function?
PL 3: Recent Advances Lecture
Wednesday, August 10, 12:15 - 1:15pm
Guest Lecturer: Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas
PL 4: Closing Annual Meeting Plenary
Friday, August 12, 11:30 - 1:15pm
Austin Convention Center, Room 15
Presider: Tom Jurik, ESA Program Chair
Panel Speakers: Steward Pickett, Alan Knapp, Jenny Talbot, and Joe Fader