February 16, 2011 – "Forests in a Changing Climate"
Paul Moorcroft, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Ongoing changes in climate, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and disturbance regimes are transforming the composition, structure, and functioning of the earth's terrestrial ecosystems. Thus far, insights into how forests and other terrestrial ecosystems will change in response to changes in climate and rising atmospheric CO2 levels have relied heavily on the predictions of terrestrial biosphere models that contain detailed, mechanistic representationsof the biological processes that underpin terrestrial ecosystem dynamics. In this talk Professor Moorcroft will discuss some recent insights these models have provided on the impacts of changes in climate forcing on the fate of temperate forest ecosystems. He will then discuss some recent progress on bridging between these complex, process-based models and simpler, analytically-tractable formulations in order to develop a predictive, non-equilibrium theory of terrestrial ecosystem dynamics.
Professor Moorcroft investigates the ecological dynamics of terrestrial plant communities and ecosystems, biosphere-atmosphere interactions, and mechanistic models of animal movement.