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Emerging Issues Workshops

Causes and Consequences of Biodiversity Loss Across Global Ecosystems

Saturday, 14 July, 08:30 to 17:00, Prince Hotel – Room 102B

This ASLO Emerging Issues Workshop will take place on the weekend after the ASLO summer meeting in Lake Biwa, Japan. It is facilitated to encourage communication across disciplines, geographical barriers, or conceptual approaches. 

This is an invitation-only workshop organized in association with Session: SS62: Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Relationships Across Trophic Levels and Gradients in the Context of Global Change

Seminar description: Societal well-being is both directly and indirectly related to biodiversity (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005), which is projected to become increasingly threatened by climate change (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007) and other drivers. Human activities impact ecosystem functioning directly by altering physical and chemical processes, and indirectly by reducing the diversity of species, which maintain ecosystem processes and stability. Global-scale drivers like climate change, population growth and resource consumption, land use changes, and invasive species should reduce diversity by similar mechanisms among systems, although these drivers may be modulated (dampened or enhanced) by ecosystem properties that differ among or within aquatic and terrestrial systems. Several recently-published meta-analyses have addressed questions related to consequences of biodiversity loss, roles of top-down and bottom-up controls on primary production and diversity, and impacts of various environmental drivers on biodiversity loss. We see intriguing opportunities for higher-level syntheses that explore more complex causal relationships and hypotheses by integrating multiple effect size estimates from these studies. In this workshop, we will explore the feasibility of a “meta-synthesis” approach to address multi-level questions concerning causes and consequences of biodiversity loss and direct effects of global change on ecosystem function across freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. We aim to identify consistent patterns where systems are impacted by similar drivers of diversity loss and where losses of diversity have similar consequences for ecosystem function, and to identify varying degrees by which causal factors differ both within and between freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems.

Organizers: W. Stanley Harpole, Iowa State University, harpole@iastate.edu; Christopher T. Filstrup, Iowa State University, filstrup@iastate.edu; Adam J. Heathcote, Iowa State University, aheathco@iastate.edu; Jonathan Shurin, UC San Diego, jshurin@ucsd.edu.