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Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory

INVERTEBRATES

The relationships between plant communities and the species that feed on them or on their associated herbivores, is highly complex.


Experiments can provide a microcosm for study, giving an insight into invertebrate life cycles, and how they respond to changes in their hosts and habitats.


 

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OVERVIEW
TREATMENTS
VARIABLES MANIPULATED
CLIMATE EXPERIMENTS

Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory

Harpur Hill

SK17 9JN


j.p.grime@sheffield.ac.uk


Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Alfred Denny Building
University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
UK

Tel:+44 (0)114 2220123
Fax: +44 (0)114 2220002


animal.plant@sheffield.ac.uk



Latitude: 53 20

Plot size:  2 x 2 m

Elevation: 370 m asl

Mean annual rainfall: 1,300 mm

Mean annual temp.: 8 C

pH: 3.9-7.5

Total no. of plant sp. recorded: 60

Main plots:

Orthogonally opposed five-step gradients of soil fertility (NPK additions) and physical disturbance on 2 x 2 m plots.


A total of 36 plots containing the same productivity and disturbance gradients; as a matrix of 25 sub-plot combinations.


All plots were sown with 67 locally collected species.



Fertility (5 step NPK additions 0 to 240 kg / ha)

Disturbance (six variations of gap creation 0-100% bare soil)

Mowing with removal of cuttings to 2.5 cm, 7.5 cm, 15 cm height)

Six combinations and 2 controls of varying treatments for raised winter temperature, summer drought, summer rainfall.


Rainfall

Temperature

Carbon dioxide

U-V B

plant and microbial diversity


Main plots: 3 x 3 m plot in fully randomised block design, replicated 5 times; each with spare plots.



BCCIL is on land owned by the Health and Safety Laboratory, although the experiment is maintained by scientists of University of Sheffield in collaboration with the University of Syracuse, USA. It is funded by the US National Science Foundation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Perennial flax ©P. Wakely/ Natural England, 1987

Calcareous upland grassland

Bi-annual grazing

The experiments, which manipulate fertility, disturbance, rainfall, temperature, carbon dioxide, UVB, plant and microbial diversity of a steep (30 degrees), north-west facing upland limestone grassland, was established in 1990 and developed in 1993.


Initial experiments tested (1) the effects of productivity and disturbance on controlling factors of diversity, invasion and the plant community functions, and (2) the role of different disturbance mechanisms in regeneration and invasion patterns, and the implications this has for maintaining high diversity.


A climate change experiment was initiated in 1993 using heating cables and automated rain guards together with cutting to evaluate the impacts of elevated winter temperatures, controlled summer drought, supplemented summer rainfall, elevated winter temperature and summer drought, elevated winter temperature and supplemented summer rainfall, and ambient controls.


A additional experiment in started in 2002 uses small-scale fumigation technology to compare the responses of small areas of limestone turf to elevated and ambient concentrations of carbon dioxide. Mesocosm experiments at Buxton using clonally propagated herbaceous plants from a local area of calcareous grassland have also been used to study the significance of genetic diversity on species richness in grassland communities.


Results from the experiments at Buxton can be used to define parameters for a number of factors governing the ecology of particular species, as well as the interplay of different factors.


The results also provide a source of measurements to sharpen predictive models of vegetation communities as a result of climate change, nitrogen deposition or carbon dioxide elevation.

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ASSESSMENT FORM