When things get MESI: The Manipulation Experiments Synthesis Initiative—A coordinated effort to synthesize terrestrial global change experiments

Kevin Van Sundert*, Sebastian Leuzinger, Martin K.F. Bader, Scott X. Chang, Martin G. De Kauwe, Jeffrey S. Dukes, J. Adam Langley, Zilong Ma, Bertold Mariën, Simon Reynaert, Jingyi Ru, Jian Song, Benjamin Stocker, César Terrer, Joshua Thoresen, Eline Vanuytrecht, Shiqiang Wan, Kai Yue, Sara Vicca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Responses of the terrestrial biosphere to rapidly changing environmental conditions are a major source of uncertainty in climate projections. In an effort to reduce this uncertainty, a wide range of global change experiments have been conducted that mimic future conditions in terrestrial ecosystems, manipulating CO2, temperature, and nutrient and water availability. Syntheses of results across experiments provide a more general sense of ecosystem responses to global change, and help to discern the influence of background conditions such as climate and vegetation type in determining global change responses. Several independent syntheses of published data have yielded distinct databases for specific objectives. Such parallel, uncoordinated initiatives carry the risk of producing redundant data collection efforts and have led to contrasting outcomes without clarifying the underlying reason for divergence. These problems could be avoided by creating a publicly available, updatable, curated database. Here, we report on a global effort to collect and curate 57,089 treatment responses across 3644 manipulation experiments at 1145 sites, simulating elevated CO2, warming, nutrient addition, and precipitation changes. In the resulting Manipulation Experiments Synthesis Initiative (MESI) database, effects of experimental global change drivers on carbon and nutrient cycles are included, as well as ancillary data such as background climate, vegetation type, treatment magnitude, duration, and, unique to our database, measured soil properties. Our analysis of the database indicates that most experiments are short term (one or few growing seasons), conducted in the USA, Europe, or China, and that the most abundantly reported variable is aboveground biomass. We provide the most comprehensive multifactor global change database to date, enabling the research community to tackle open research questions, vital to global policymaking. The MESI database, freely accessible at doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7153253, opens new avenues for model evaluation and synthesis-based understanding of how global change affects terrestrial biomes. We welcome contributions to the database on GitHub.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1922-1938
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume29
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This initiative was made possible with support from Auckland University of Technology and iLEAPS. KVS, SR, and SV acknowledge support from the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO), Flanders (Belgium). KVS was further funded by the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) and the Fulbright Commission in Belgium and Luxembourg. MGDK acknowledges support from the Australian Research Council Discovery Grants (DP190101823, DP190102025). JS is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32101346). SQW is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31830012) and Hebei Natural Science Foundation (C2022201042). BDS was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation grant PCEFP2_181115. We wish to thank the following contributors to data collection: Jonas Torfs, Dries Vrijens, Oberon Geunens, Adrita Ballal, Thomas D'heer, Amélie De La Rocha, Gert‐Jan Goeminne, Jaime Escobar, Robin Halffman, Lena Kuperus, Pieter Luys, and Quinten Versmissen. Several of our institutions sit on indigenous peoples' lands. These include but are not limited to MIT, Stanford University, and Northern Arizona University. MIT acknowledges Indigenous Peoples as the traditional stewards of the land, and the enduring relationship that exists between them and their traditional territories. The land on which MIT sits is the traditional unceded territory of the Wampanoag Nation. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced occupation of their territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous people connected to this land on which we gather from time immemorial. Stanford sits on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Ohlone people. Consistent with Stanford's values of community and inclusion, the university has a responsibility to acknowledge, honor, and make visible its relationship to Native peoples. Northern Arizona University sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, on homelands sacred to Native Americans throughout the region. We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for millennia and will forever call this place home.

Funding Information:
This initiative was made possible with support from Auckland University of Technology and iLEAPS. KVS, SR, and SV acknowledge support from the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO), Flanders (Belgium). KVS was further funded by the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) and the Fulbright Commission in Belgium and Luxembourg. MGDK acknowledges support from the Australian Research Council Discovery Grants (DP190101823, DP190102025). JS is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32101346). SQW is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31830012) and Hebei Natural Science Foundation (C2022201042). BDS was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation grant PCEFP2_181115. We wish to thank the following contributors to data collection: Jonas Torfs, Dries Vrijens, Oberon Geunens, Adrita Ballal, Thomas D'heer, Amélie De La Rocha, Gert-Jan Goeminne, Jaime Escobar, Robin Halffman, Lena Kuperus, Pieter Luys, and Quinten Versmissen. Several of our institutions sit on indigenous peoples' lands. These include but are not limited to MIT, Stanford University, and Northern Arizona University. MIT acknowledges Indigenous Peoples as the traditional stewards of the land, and the enduring relationship that exists between them and their traditional territories. The land on which MIT sits is the traditional unceded territory of the Wampanoag Nation. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced occupation of their territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous people connected to this land on which we gather from time immemorial. Stanford sits on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Ohlone people. Consistent with Stanford's values of community and inclusion, the university has a responsibility to acknowledge, honor, and make visible its relationship to Native peoples. Northern Arizona University sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, on homelands sacred to Native Americans throughout the region. We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for millennia and will forever call this place home.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • CO
  • drought
  • manipulation experiment
  • meta-analysis
  • nitrogen
  • precipitation
  • warming

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