The North American Monsoon Macrosystem Project
We are modeling effects of changes in the North American monsoon on shifts between grasslands and shrublands throughout the Southwest through a large collaborative project funded by the Macrosystems Program at the National Science Foundation. Using funds provided by NSF we are studying climate-biosphere interactions in the Western US and Northern Mexico that are determined by spatial and temporal dynamics in the North American Monsoon System. Go to the Monsoon Macrosystem Project website for more information and view the informative video.
The principal question that we are addressing is: what are the forcings that provide spatial coherency and temporal synchrony to the ecosystems that occupy this geographic region and how do those forcings influence the propagation of ecological perturbations within the system? We are focusing on processes that cross ecosystem boundaries, creating connectivity among the ecosystems and producing a synergy that we refer to as an ecological macrosystem. The issues we are studying include the spread of summer-active invasive grasses through rangelands and deserts, and the movement of wildfires from lower elevation, grassland ecosystems into higher elevation, forest ecosystems.