Enhancing Existing Experiments (EEE)
There are numerous precipitation manipulation experiments currently being carried out by the scientific community, and these have already been subjected to meta-analysis. With Drought-Net, we will take the next step forward by coordinating new standardized measurements across a range of ongoing experiments – essentially envisioning these as a network-scale platform that can be leveraged to advance our understanding of drought beyond the individual site scale.
Drought-Net participants will be challenged to recruit researchers and take advantage of existing experiments in a highly coordinated and systematic fashion. Special emphasis will be put on standardized sampling to maximize comparability. This will require Drought-Net participants to:
1) Determine the kinds of response variables that, if measured comparably in existing experiments, would yield new insight into the mechanistic basis of differential ecosystem sensitivity to drought
2) Agree upon standardized and relatively non-intrusive measurement protocols for these response variables
3) Publicize these research plans and actively advocate for them in order to enlist participants
4) Directly recruit PIs of ongoing experiments to either make these measurements themselves or allow others to do so
5) Synthesize data resulting from EEE studies to assess mechanisms underlying differential ecosystem sensitivity to drought.
The success of EEE ultimately will depend on cooperation from those currently conducting precipitation manipulation experiments. Recent coordination efforts, such as ClimMani, INTERFACE, the Nutrient Network (www.nutnet.unm.edu), PrecipNet, and TERACC, suggest that the ecological community is willing and eager invest time and resources in these efforts, particularly when mechanisms for participation in such endeavors are made available.