October 30, 2014


Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lamont Research Professor

Abstract: Arctic regions have been warming at a rate two to three times higher than the global average, and the physical and biological responses are proving acute. The main documented responses include increasing vegetation productivity, lengthened growing seasons, and a shift towards greater deciduous shrub dominance. Numerous studies have focused on understanding the consequences of these changes in vegetation dynamics on nutrient cycling and energy balance, but few have explicitly considered the impacts on Arctic fauna - such as the millions of songbirds that migrate to northern Alaska to breed every spring. This presentation will focus on how both increasing deciduous shrub dominance and changing seasonality in northern Alaska will indirectly impact breeding songbirds that depend on tundra habitats for both food and shelter.