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Project title: Fine-scale monitoring of climate change effects on the high-mountain
grassland ecosystem in the Romanian Carpathians

Project leader: Pavel Dan Turtureanu (BBU Romania)
Mentor: Mihai Pușcaș (BBU Romania)

Collaborators: Philippe Choler (CNRS France, BBU Romania), Daniel Răduțoiu (University of Craiova, Romania), Tudor Ursu (Institute of Biological Research, Romania)

Grant Number: PN-III-P1-1.1-PD2016-0925. Contract no. 99 /02.05.2018. Postdoc project funded by: UEFISCDI – Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding, Romania (2018-2020).





High-mountain ecosystems are considered to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. They are well suited to detect the effects of global warming because of low biotic complexity and dominance of abiotic factors, particularly temperature. Climate change has shown to cause major shifts in biodiversity and nutrient cycling.

Mountains are widely distributed throughout Europe, and the effects of global changes have been increasingly acknowledged. However, important regions such as the Carpathians are still at the background of empirical ecological research. To address this issue, MEMOIRE aims at integrating biodiversity and ecosystem science to predict the dynamics of ecological assemblages in the Romanian Carpathians. The project will focus on grassland ecosystems that constitute a hotspot for biological diversity in Europe.

The study will build on existing knowledge to set up a network of long-term monitoring sites. An unprecedented dataset of ground-based measurements of key ecosystem properties will be assembled, including biodiversity, nutrient pools and stoichiometry of below- and aboveground biomass, soil, and primary productivity. The temperature regime and snowmelt patterns across years, which are known to be major drivers of ecological assemblages, will be recorded as important indicators of climate change. MEMOIRE will also make use remote sensing approaches, cross-validated with ground-measured data, to enlarge the research potential at a regional scale and different time-series.

The empirical data gathered will be used as a benchmark to evaluate the efficiency of the approach to shed light on alteration of the herbaceous ecosystems in the Carpathians. The project will contribute to the development of the long-term ecological research network in Romania, which is still at an early stage. The ultimate challenge will be to track the response of ecological assemblages to climate change in a dynamic landscape.

This is the ongoing journal of the project, photography, experience with people, places, equipment and results.