Montane Elevational Gradients
The picture above depicts a typical Nothofagus treeline in Patagonia, Chile. The nature of ecosystems spanning tree-lines is the focus of my current postdoctoral research project with Dr. David Wardle titled:
Elevation alters ecosystem properties across temperate treelines globally
Just published in Nature: http://rdcu.be/oM9F
Using a series of replicated transects that span montane tree-lines on multiple continents we aim to determine if there are consistent trends in ecosystem properties as elevation increases both below and above tree-lines, and across the tree-line transition zone. We were especially interested in measures of the relative availability of N and P, including whether soil and foliar N to P ratios consistently increases with elevation.
We also examined aspects of soil microbial diversity, abundance, and activity so that we may address how elevation-based variability in temperature leads to differences in the structure and function of the above and below ground components differentially.