SSCZO_rform_Diez - University of California, Merced

Project Director/Principal Investigator (include contact information):
Jeff Diez
Assistant Professor
Department of Botany and Plant Sciences
University of California, Riverside
Batchelor Hall 2140
[email protected]
Jake Alexander
Institute of Integrative Biology
ETH Zurich
Universitätsstrasse 16
ETH Zentrum, CHN H68
CH-8092 Zurich
Project Title: Assessing the ability of non-native species to colonize montane meadows
under climate change
Project proposal (background, justification, objectives, methods, timeline, etc.):
It is expected that climate change will increase the susceptibility of plant communities to
invasion (Thuiller et al., 2007; Walther et al., 2009; Diez et al., 2012; Sorte et al., 2012).
This could occur by inducing stress in native species that are not adapted to warmer
conditions and so reducing their ability to competitively exclude invaders (Chesson and
Huntly, 1997). Eventually, poorly adapted species will be lost from a community,
creating gaps for invaders to colonise. Additionally, climate change might increase
resource availability and so provide further opportunities for new species to establish
(e.g. increased decomposition of organic matter stored in alpine soils) (Davis et al.,
2000). On the other hand, native species that are already present within a community
might also profit directly or indirectly from climate warming and so resist invasion by
new species.
Although any species might capitalise on the opportunities provided by climate warming,
non-native species might be especially likely to do so (Sorte et al., 2012). This is because
they are successful at coping with environmental variation (e.g. which they encounter
during establishment and spread in a new region), are often adapted to disturbance (e.g.
exploiting the creation of gaps in a community), and they are also well dispersed.
This project is focused on answering the following overall question: Does climate
warming promote the invasion of native communities by (non-native) species?
We will simulate climate warming by transplanting whole plant communities from high
to low elevation. Gardens will be established at two sites, one at high and one at low
elevation. The ability of focal species to establish in local (control) communities is tested
at both sites, and experimentally warmed (transplanted) communities at the lower site.
This will be done by monitoring the establishment and performance of species (alien or
native “invaders”) that are sown into these communities. Invaders will also be grown in
bare-soil plots to disentangle the effects on performance of (1) climate vs. competition
and (2) community vs. soil type.
The experiment thus includes two sites, with two treatments replicated 10 times (blocks)
at the high site, and four treatments replicated 10 times at the low site. Seeds of 5 focal
species are sown into stations arranged in a grid within each treatment/block. We
hypothesise that establishment/performance will be poorer in the local community at each
site than in the community exposed to experimental warming by being transplanted to
low elevation.
The timeframe for the study is to be established late autumn 2013 and data recorded in
summer 2014. Thus the total duration of the study is approximately one year.
Describe the project location (attach map if necessary):
Locations (both on SCE land):
(1) Sulphur meadow, near Shaver Lake: 37°08'29''N; 119°16'59''W; elevation: 1665m
(2) Jackass meadow: 37°29'50''N; 119°20'21''W; 2126m
Duration and period of use:
1 year: October 2013 – September 2014
Describe any markers, including tags, flagging, stakes, fencing, or other to be used:
Flagging used to mark the 10 blocks at each site
Will other USFS facilities or resources be needed? ☐ Yes ☐ NO
If Yes, please describe:
Do you intend to publish your results? ☐ Yes ☐ No
If Yes, please remember to site necessary parties (ex. SSCZO, KREW, etc.)
If implementation of your project includes use of humans as experimental subjects
or radiation, biological, or toxic chemicals, please explain.
Please provide the required proof of liability insurance, or fill out the necessary UC
Merced liability waiver form before accessing research site.
I will provide annual progress reports, electronic copies of all published reports, and a
final report at the end of the study. I agree to remove all study markers and equipment at
the end of the study. I also plan to adhere to the SSCZO data policy.
Project Director/Principle Investigator
Matthew Meadows
SSCZO Hydrologist
Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Merced
USFS Forestry Sciences Lab
2081 E. Sierra Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710
559-323-3218 (o)
209-233-2802 (c)
[email protected]
Roger Bales, PhD
Sierra Nevada Research Institute
University of California Merced
5200 N lake Rd
Merced, CA 95343
[email protected]
Carolyn Hunsaker, PhD
Research Ecologist
USFS Forestry Sciences Lab
2081 E. Sierra Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710
[email protected]
Distribution: M. Meadows, R. Bales, C. Hunsaker.
Rev 11/12
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