Project workflow

Project workflow

COCOS will develop through three working packages (see figure above):

WP1 - Data preparation and management

I will retrieve data on plant biomass and cover from LOTVS, which is a global collection of time-series of vegetation data yearly collected in permanent plots across different ecosystems (more info here). Along with the LOTVS data, I will compile information on plant communities’ functional (i.e., functional diversity and dominant functional strategy) and taxonomic (i.e., species richness) composition.
I will then combine vegetation data with indices of climatic extremes, which I will mostly derive from the HadEX3 and the ERA-5 Land datasets (more info here).

WP2 - Comparing ecosystem-specific resistance and recovery under climatic extremes

In WP2, I will investigate how different ecosystems respond to extreme climatic events in terms of resistance (i.e., a system capacity of buffering from exogenous disturbances) and recovery (i.e., a system capacity of getting back to its reference state after disturbance). To this aim, I will:

  • identify extreme climatic events that happened during the vegetation time-series;
  • using plant biomass and cover, I will compute different measures of resistance and recovery;
  • analyse how the functional and taxonomic composition of vegetation communities support ecosystems’ resistance and recovery.

WP3 - Assessing the effect of extremes on ecosystems’ critical transitions

In WP3, I will investigate whether and how extreme climatic events favor critical transitions of ecosystem functions such as biomass production. To this aim, I will monitor the value of plant biomass or cover before extreme climatic events take place and will compute leading indicators to evidence potential signals of critical slowing down, which is a condition preceding critical transitions.