Nutrient Cycles in Earth System Models Seminar Series

Spring 2021 Online Seminar Series: Nutrient Cycles in Earth System Models – Challenges, opportunities, and frontiers

When: Wednesdays, 9-10:30 am US MST/11-12:30pm US EST/4-5:30pm UTC, January 13th – April 7th 2021

Format: 1.5 hours weekly Zoom meeting for 13 weeks, with a mix of presentations by invited speakers and collaborative discussions

Invited participants: ecologists and biogeoscientists (both empirical/experimental and modelers) of all career stages (early career participants are welcome!!)

Description: Nutrient cycling strongly regulates the global carbon (C) cycle. Yet, few Earth system models (ESMs) represent nutrient cycling and/or nutrient interactions, and those that do often use different approaches that may lead to very different predictions about how nutrients influence the C cycle.  Often, the way nutrients are represented in ESMs reflects an incomplete understanding of the underlying biological processes (e.g. controls over biological nitrogen fixation), a lack of necessary data on a global scale (e.g. the spatial extent of nitrogen and/or phosphorus limitation of primary productivity), or the absence of strong empirical relationships between nutrient cycles and known mechanistic controls.

This remote seminar series will explore how nutrients (i.e. nitrogen and phosphorus) are currently represented in ESMs, and we will consider strategies for improving how nutrient cycling is represented. Communication and collaboration between the modeling and ecology/biogeoscience communities is critical to answer the most pressing questions in nutrient cycling and incorporate the answers into ESMs, and this seminar will provide an opportunity to work to begin doing that.

The goal of this remote seminar series is for ecologists and biogeoscientists of all career stages (graduate students, postdocs, and PIs) to develop a clear understanding of how nutrient cycles are represented (or not represented) in ESMs. Emphasis will be placed on identifying key knowledge gaps that need to be addressed with “on-the-ground” research before they can be incorporated into models. Considerable time will be spent collaboratively envisioning and developing a “distributed experiment” plan that can be used to addresses a pressing question/s - jointly identified in the series, and carried out by INCyTE Network participants. We anticipate that many more questions will be identified than can be addressed but we hope that the conversations in this seminar can lay out a road map for future research priorities in support of more robust inclusion of nutrient cycles in ESMs.