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Climate Change: a Retrospective Look

August 1, 2008
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The National Science Foundation has awarded $465,000 for a collaborative research project involving scientists from Harvard Forest, Emerson College, Brown University, and the University of Wyoming. The research will explore the potential for abrupt shifts in species abundances and assemblages to result from interactions between gradual, long-term changes in climate and episodic drought, fire, or human activities. The retrospective project involves the use of complementary approaches to reconstruct past climate-ecosystem dynamics. High-resolution analyses of lake-sediment records from southern New England will reveal past changes in climate, vegetation, and disturbance for the past 15,000 years, thus improving our knowledge of the mechanisms by which climate change interacts with environmental extremes and disturbance to control the pace and patterns of ecological change. 

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