An Integrated Network for Terrestrial Ecosystem Research on Feedbacks to the Atmosphere and ClimatE (INTERFACE): Linking experimentalists, ecosystem modelers, and Earth system modelers
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Upcoming Activities


After the extreme: Measuring and modeling impacts on terrestrial ecosystems when thresholds are exceeded

Place: Accademia dei Georgofili, Florence, Italy

Date: April 12-15, 2016

We invite applications from US-based graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to attend the workshop “After the extreme: Measuring and modeling impacts on terrestrial ecosystems when thresholds are exceeded” to be held in Florence, Italy 12-15th April 2016. The workshop is organized by the two international research networks, INTERFACE and CLIMMANI. Selected applicants will have their travel and lodging expenses reimbursed by INTERFACE.  Meeting details are below.  Please forward this message to potentially interested candidates.

To apply please submit a one-page CV that includes the name, email address, and phone number for your current dissertation or postdoctoral advisor, a short paragraph on why attending the meeting would enhance your career, a statement if you have received prior INTERFACE support, and a poster abstract to Aimeé Classen ( The application needs to be a single PDF titled "Lastname_INTERFACE_Florence" and the subject line of the email should be the same. Application deadline is March 9, 2016. All students and postdocs will be REQUIRED to present a poster at the meeting.

INTERFACE is based in US and CLIMMANI in Europe, and both networks bring together researchers working on climate change effects in terrestrial ecosystems in order to facilitate interaction, syntheses of results and collaboration. In particular, facilitating interactions among experimentalists and ecosystem and earth system modelers has a special priority.
The international workshop in Florence 12-15th April 2016 is organized by Claus Beier, Aimee Classen and Klaus S Larsen, University of Copenhagen (DK), Jeff Dukes, Purdue University (US), Anke Jentsch from University of Bayreuth (DE) and Franco Miglietta, Institute for Biometeorology, National Research Council.

Extreme events – the topic
Ecosystem experimentation related to climate change has been carried on for several decades providing valuable information on ecosystem responses to increased atmospheric CO2 and temperatures and altered precipitation. Experiments have been carried out in a wide range of ecosystems and climatic conditions and for time ranges of years to decades. They include many single-factor experiments as well as a more limited number of multifactor experiments in which interactions among factors have been addressed. These experiments have generated significant knowledge about ecosystem responses to the main climatic stressors, have informed and tested models, and have built the foundation for major policy advice, e.g., in the IPCC assessment reports.

Common to these experiments is that they have in most cases been based on “most likely scenarios” or “average scenarios” and in cases where extreme weather conditions have been addressed, these extremes are mostly “moderately extreme”. This means that our knowledge about the harshest, most extreme conditions that surpass thresholds and tipping points is generally limited and mostly lacks experimental confirmation. Further, this means that ecosystem models also lack that knowledge and/or validation against measurements.
Therefore, the workshop in Florence will focus on “extreme extremes”. What is our current understanding of such events, and their corresponding thresholds and tipping points? How do thresholds differ across ecosystems and successional states? How do organisms and ecosystems respond and recover when thresholds are exceeded, and how will global changes affect the recovery trajectories? How have and can we address these questions experimentally and in models? What is our current understanding of plant and ecosystem responses to very extreme events and how do we close the gaps in knowledge from an experimental and modelling point of view?

Session details

The workshop will consist of 4 sessions that could be seen as a road map for identifying the gaps and the answers:

1. What is the current conceptual understanding of ecosystem responses to very extreme conditions and ecosystem recovery?
2. Long term ecosystem responses to climate change - what do current models tell us?
3. Interactions between climate change, disturbance regimes and successional stages – what does the experimental evidence tell us?
4. Impacts of extremes - how do we design future experiments and models to tackle the unknowns?

The meeting time will be split 50:50 between scientific presentations (incl. posters) and group discussions. This means that we specifically designed the workshop with ample time for discussions and interaction among participants. Talks will vary in length, with most talks being short and “statement-like” rather than long and comprehensive.
Breakout sessions: The group discussions will be organized in smaller breakout sessions with the goal of outlining a plan or a synthesis paper identifying key messages related to the overall topic. Each breakout group should ideally synthesize and discuss the state of knowledge within the area and identify gaps in knowledge and abilities to model it at a local and global scale. The breakout groups will be given sufficient time to discuss and condense their thoughts and outline a plan for developing a product after the end of the meeting. In order to organize the breakout sessions most efficiently and with the greatest relevance to the participants’ interests, we will ask all participants to share their views on the most urgent science questions and gaps in knowledge as part of the meeting registration process.  
Poster session: The poster session will start with "flash talks," one-minute, one-slide talks to highlight each poster.
Field trip: The workshop will start on the 12th with an excursion in the area around Florence with both scientific and historical/cultural highlights.



Phosphorus Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems: Taking a new approach to advancing our fundamental understanding through a model-data connection

Place: Townsend, Tennessee, USA

Date: May 22-25, 2016

We invite applications from US-based graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to attend the workshop “Phosphorus Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems: Taking a new approach to advancing our fundamental understanding through a model-data connection” to be held in Townsend, Tennessee, from May 22-25, 2016. The workshop is sponsored by the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the NSF-funded INTERFACE Research Coordination Network. Selected applicants will have their travel and lodging expenses reimbursed by INTERFACE.  Meeting details are below.

To apply please submit the following items, consolodated into a single PDF file: 1) a one-page CV that includes the name, email address, and phone number for your current dissertation or postdoctoral advisor, 2) a short paragraph on why attending the meeting would enhance your career, 3) a statement if you have received prior INTERFACE support, and 4) a poster abstract.  The PDF file must be named "Lastname_INTERFACE_Phosphorus" and emailed to Jeff Dukes (jsdukes AT purdue DOT edu). The subject line of the email must be the same as the file name. Application deadline is April 7, 2016. All students and postdocs will be REQUIRED to present a poster at the meeting.


Why hold a workshop on this topic?  Phosphorus (P) has been shown to limit a number of fundamental processes in a wide range of ecosystems; however, despite its importance, most earth system models do not currently include any manner of the P cycle. This hinders the utility of these models for generating and testing hypotheses and for forecasting the effects of global change. Importantly, a critical challenge for P modeling efforts is also a critical challenge for the scientific community as a whole; namely, determining a way forward for improving our understanding of the key drivers, processes, and global change responses of the P cycle. Bringing together P experts would allow for the addressing of this need through: (1) a more synthetic understanding and conceptualization of P cycle dynamics, (2) the merging of varied P and associated data, (3) improved process-based modeling of the P cycle, and (4) P data-model integration. Another potential success stems from the power of explicit collaborations between empiricists who study P cycling and modelers considering the inclusion of P into models.


Participants will represent diverse theoretical, empirical, and numerical modeling perspectives that are critical for improving our understanding of the terrestrial P cycle in the context of global change. The meeting will include experts that span a variety of research perspectives and methods and is expected to have five outcomes: 1) an improved understanding of terrestrial P cycling from varied assessments; 2) synthesized datasets that will be publicly available for analysis and modeling; 3) a meeting report that will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and a complementary set of data-based papers; 4) a set of plans for collaborative research project(s)/grant(s) to identify approaches likely to gain the knowledge necessary for improved understanding in critical areas; and 5) a network of individuals dedicated to fostering cross-disciplinary approaches to P research.


The organizing committee consists of Xiaojuan Yang (ORNL, USA), Rich Norby (ORNL, USA), Sasha Reed (USGS, USA), Jeff Dukes (Purdue University, USA), and Peter Thornton (ORNL, USA). 


Student Collaborative Exchange Program
To further facilitate collaboration in the research community, INTERFACE plans to sponsor a limited number of “collaborative exchanges” for US-based graduate students, in which students who primarily work with models spend a brief period (up to one month) working in an experimental setting, or students who primarily work on global change experiments spend a brief period (up to one month) working in an ecosystem or Earth system modeling setting.  These exchanges should ideally allow the student to continue working on a similar topic, but from a different perspective.  Interested graduate students should identify a laboratory in which they would like to work, and should secure approvals from their advisor and the exchange lab’s PI.  To apply, students should submit as a single PDF file: (1) a two-page proposal explicitly stating the questions being addressed and why the collaboration will facilitate answering them, (2) an NSF-style CV,  (3) a one-page budget justification, and (4) letters of support from the advisor and the PI of the lab the student will visit. Applications should be sent to Aimée Classen <>.  Applications will be reviewed at two times each year, starting on the fourth Monday of April and the fourth Monday of October, through the end of 2016.  Allowable expenses include airfare, meals while traveling to and from the exchange location, and housing. These funds cannot be used to cover classes at the host institution or student/ PI salary.  Exchanges may be partially or fully sponsored by INTERFACE.      

Past Activities


Frontiers in terrestrial climate feedbacks: Integrating models and experiments to explore climate feedbacks in an increasingly managed and warming world.

Place: Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center, St. Pete’s Beach, Florida

Date: January 31 - February 3, 2016

Frontiers in terrestrial climate feedbacks: Integrating models and experiments to explore climate feedbacks in an increasingly managed and warming world took place from Sunday, January 31 to Wednesday, February 3 at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. The workshop’s goal was to develop the foundation for 1-4 concept papers that will each focus on one (or more) of the following four meeting themes:
  • Managed ecosystems under global change: ecosystem responses and climate feedbacks
  • Precipitation extremes and ecosystem dynamics: responses in models vs. responses in reality
  • Do microbes matter? Implicit vs. explicit representation of microbes in models and associated implications for climate feedbacks
  • Combining remote sensing with in situ experiments to reduce uncertainty in terrestrial climate feedbacks
The meeting involved a mixture of short and provocative (5 minute) and longer synthetic (20 minute) talks that challenged our understanding by presenting new experimental and modeling ideas for group discussion. The meeting started in plenary with four sessions of talks (one on each of the proposed themes), but the majority of the time at the workshop was reserved for smaller working groups to develop manuscripts on each of the four topics. Each session /topic included 1-2 organizers, 5 speakers, and 3-8 additional participants. In the working group discussions, participants developed conceptual manuscripts that integrate experimental and modeling perspectives in the different topical areas.   Speakers included: Lisa Ainsworth, Bill Anderegg, Mark Bradford, Bethany Bradley, Wenting Feng, Andy Fox, Anke Jentsch, Danica Lombardozzi, Betsy Middleton, Jessica Moore, Asko Noormets, Thomas Powell, Lara Reichmann, Josh Schimel, Gary Wall, Will Wieder, Chonggang Xu.   Working group chairs:  Lindsey Rustad and Quinn Thomas (Managed ecosystems); Jeff Dukes and Melinda Smith (Precipitation extremes); Aimée Classen and Yiqi Luo (Do microbes matter?); Kyla Dahlin and Shawn Serbin (Remote sensing).   We invited applications to attend from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Funding was provided. All students and postdocs presented a poster at the meeting.      
2nd TERRABITES Symposium: Modelling the terrestrial biosphere: From Ecological Processes to Remote Sensing Observations.  February 6-8, 2012.  Frascati, Italy.
(This activity is not sponsored by INTERFACE).  The 2nd TERRABITES symposium is part of a sequence of bi-annual conferences. The symposium aims at: -providing a comprehensive overview on the current research on the terrestrial biosphere in an Earth System context, -identifying knowledge gaps, and -showing perspectives for future research in the field. In addition, the purpose of the symposium is to foster cross-community exchange and research cooperations in the field.  
1st INTERFACE meeting:
How Do We Improve Earth System Models?  Integrating Earth System Models, Ecosystem Models, Experiments and Long-Term Data   February 28 - March 3, 2011, Captiva Island, Florida.  Thanks for a great meeting!  See website to revisit the agenda and presentations.  The meeting report was published by New Phytologist (2011) 191: 15-18.    
Century/DayCent Model Training Workshop (this activity is not sponsored by INTERFACE)
From Melannie Hartman and Bill Parton: We are pleased to announce that we have selected a date for the next Century/DayCent model training.  We will be conducting the workshop the week of March 16-20, 2015 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The cost for the workshop will be $800.00 (U.S. dollars).  This fee covers the workshop only, individuals who attend the workshop are responsible for making their own travel, lodging, and meal arrangements.   Please send an email to if: 1.  You and/or a coworker or colleague would like to register for the workshop. 2.  You are interested in attending a Century/DayCent workshop but the March 2015 workshop will not fit into your schedule.  In this case we will add you to a list of individuals who would like to be informed of future workshops. Please keep in mind that there will be a limited number of slots available for the training workshop and these will be assigned on a first come first served basis.
OpenScienceConference on Climate Extremes and Biogeochemical Cycles in the Terrestrial Biosphere: Impacts and Feedbacks Across Scales 2 - 5 April 2013, Seefeld (near Innsbruck), Austria
Co-sponsored by Carbo-Extreme, INTERFACE, and iLEAPS.  Session topics include: Ecosystem responses to climate variability and weather extremes, Recovery of ecosystems after extreme events, Long-term observations and large scale modeling, Feedback mechanisms from the biosphere to the climate system.  For more information see the conference web page.  

INTERFACE workshop: Using results from global change experiments to inform land model development and calibration

in Beijing, China, May 10-14, 2014. Reports on the meeting have appeared in New Phytologist and Nature.



Scaling climate change experiments across space and time: Challenges of informing large-scale models with small-scale experiments  4-7 June 2013, Mikulov, Czech Republic (this meeting is jointly sponsored by the INTERFACE and CLIMMANI networks)  
Programme and presentations available here. Climate change experiments in terrestrial ecosystems build our fundamental understanding of plant and ecosystem responses to climatic perturbations, and this information informs model design and parameterization. Experiments typically focus on drivers and responses at relatively small scales (spatial and temporal).  Scaling the information from these plot-level experiments to landscape- or global-scale models operating over decades or centuries provides a significant challenge. In recent years, climate change research has increasingly acknowledged the importance of extreme events as a significant component of climate change. This provides an additional and significant challenge in both experimentation and modelling. This workshop, co-hosted by ClimMani and INTERFACE, brought together experimentalists and modellers to discuss challenges associated with scaling, present the current state of the art, and identify future directions for overcoming the disparities in scales between climate change experiments and plot and global scale models.    

Representing Soil Carbon Dynamics in Glboal Land Models to Improve Future IPCC Assessments.  

Breckenridge, CO, June 11-14, 2014.
This workshop is sponsored by the FORECAST RCN, and co-sponsored by INTERFACE.  Meeting information available here.

Joint INTERFACE - CLIMMANI meeting:  Nutrient constraints on the net carbon balance

June 15-17, 2011; Keflavík, Iceland.  Thanks for a great meeting!  Details and presentations now available here.  Meeting report published in EOS 92(41):353.
INTERFACE kick-off mixer with ESM community
15th Annual CCSM Workshop, Breckenridge, CO, June 30, 2010.  Great Divide Lodge, Denver Room, 5-7 pm.  Open to CCSM Workshop participants and other interested researchers.
INTERFACE Steering Committee Meeting
July 1, 2010, 8:00 am - noon.  Breckenridge, Colorado.  Building and room TBA.
BIOGEOMON 2012: The 7th International Symposium on Ecosystem Behavior
July 15-20, 2012.  Point Lookout Conference Center, Northport, Maine, USA.  (This activity is not sponsored by INTERFACE)  

3rd iLEAPS Science Conference

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
18-23 September 2011 (This meeting is not sponsored by INTERFACE)
27th New Phytologist Symposium: Stoichiometric flexibility in terrestrial ecosystems under global change 25-28 September 2011, Arizona, USA (INTERFACE is not a sponsor of this meeting)


Workshop: Incorporating Mycorrhizal Dynamics Into Large-Scale Models

April 8-10, 2015; Amsterdam, Netherlands
This workshop will bring together an international team of experts to develop the tools and strategies for incorporating mycorrhizal dynamics into models.  Co-sponsored by Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, INTERFACE, and New Phytologist.  Organizers: Richard Phillips, Karin Rebel, Marcel van der Heijden.


Purdue University | Biological Sciences.