Timing is everything: Responses of temperate ecosystems to winter climate change


Changes to snow cover with climate change are predicted to increase the severity of soil frost in some regions.  I will synthesize predicted and observed responses of soil freezing dynamics to climate change, and demonstrate how laboratory incubations, snow removal experiments and warming experiments in the field have been used to address the responses of herbaceous plants and soil to changes in the timing, frequency, length and severity of soil freeze-thaw cycles.  My research reveals that while the frequency of soil freeze-thaw cycles may increase in northern temperate regions as a result of decreased snow cover, plant and soil responses depend highly on the timing and severity of freezing.

Hugh Henry is a Professor in Biology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.  He is a plant ecologist and biogeochemist, with a research focus on over-winter processes.  Prior to starting at Western in 2004, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, and he received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and an M.Sc. from Queen’s University. He is a Subject Editor for the journal Ecology, and was a co-author on the textbook Climate Change Biology.

Moderation: Professor Dr. Jürgen Kreyling

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