Mikael Schlumpf, a research scientist in the Litvak Lab in the Biology Department at the University of New Mexico, explains long-term monitoring of ecosystem fluxes in drylands of the southwestern U.S.A. This work is important because drylands cover about 45 percent of land surface on Earth and strongly contribute to year-to-year variability in global carbon dynamics. This project spans nine eddy-covariance flux tower sites that form the New Mexico Elevation Gradient, a project supported in part by the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research program as well as by the Department of Energy’s Ameriflux program. To date, these ecosystems have been monitored for 15 years to understand how much carbon, energy, and water is exchanged between the land surface and the atmosphere, providing a window on how variability in climate alters pools and fluxes. This video, filmed in a desert grassland ecosystem, describes the set of detailed observations that are recorded for each dryland ecosystem across the elevation gradient.
This work is part of the Sevilleta LTER project funded by the National Science Foundation.