Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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LTER: The Role of Biogeochemical and Community Openness in Governing Arctic Ecosystem Response to Climate Change and Disturbance


March 2011 - April 2021


The Arctic is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. Responses to this warming involve acceleration of processes common to other ecosystems around the world (e.g., shifts in plant community composition) and changes to processes unique to the Arctic (e.g., carbon loss from permafrost thaw). The objectives of the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project for 2017-2023 are to use the concepts of biogeochemical and community “openness” and “connectivity” to understand the responses of arctic terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems to climate change and disturbance. These objectives will be met through continued long-term monitoring of changes in undisturbed terrestrial, stream, and lake ecosystems in the vicinity of Toolik Lake, Alaska, observations of the recovery of these ecosystems from natural and imposed disturbances, maintenance of existing long-term experiments, and initiation of new experimental manipulations. Based on these data, carbon and nutrient budgets and indices of species composition will be compiled for each component of the arctic landscape to compare the biogeochemistry and community dynamics of each ecosystem in relation to their responses to climate change and disturbance and to the propagation of those responses across the landscape.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 235

Phd Students: 161

Post Docs: 57

University Staff: 261

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 685

Scientific Publications: 1884

Presentations: 4375



Funding Agencies

  • NSF Long Term Ecological REsearch


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey