Icelandic farming as an indicator of climate change effects on grassland agroecosystems

Iceland’s latitude (66 N) situates it as a sensitive indicator of the effects of climate change. Working with Dr. Claudio Gratton, a food-web ecologist, and others, we hypothesize that grass farmers around Iceland’s many lakes depend on nutrient and carbon inputs to their hayfields from small insects, mainly midges, emerging from the benthos. We are exploring the link between midge abundance and grassland NPP while simultaneously modeling predicted climate change effects on midge abundance. These relationships should help us generalize a model of how climate change will affect grassland agroecosystems, which support millions of people globally.

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