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Conservation Research Institute


CRI Seminar - Prof. Elizabeth Borer, University of Minnesota

Energy, elements, elk, and elephants — climate, nutrients, and herbivores are shaping Earth’s grasslands 

Changing climate poses such existential challenges that we often equate global change with climate change. But while predicting and mitigating the impacts of climate change is critically important, it is only one of many ongoing global changes shaping the ecology of current and future Earth. In addition to climate, humans are altering global cycles of elements like nitrogen and phosphorus and influencing species’ distributions and abundances by causing extinctions and invasions of plant and animal species. Understanding the conditions under which these many concurrent changes may amplify or mitigate impacts on plant biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems is among the greatest current challenges for ecology. Tackling this challenge includes recognizing that while these impacts are global in extent, experiments and sampling to measure changes in community composition and function must be done at local scales. I will synthesize results arising a globally distributed, collaborative network of identically replicated grassland experiments, the Nutrient Network, and will present a cross section of the network’s insights into the role of climate in shaping how mammalian herbivores and nutrients control plant and animal biodiversity and ecosystem processes in the world’s grassland ecosystems. 

Drinks will be served afterwards in the DAB Common Room

Online participants need to register via Eventbrite for a Zoom link:

Wednesday, 10 May, 2023 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event location: 
Main Seminar Room, David Attenborough Building