New PNAS Paper

Congratulations to Laureano Gherardi on his recently published paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences! Check out his paper on the effects of precipitation variability on grass- and shrub-productivity. Most studies on climate change impact focus on the effects of changes in the amount of precipitation in a system, overlooking the effects of interannual variability in precipitation. This 6-year study presents results of manipulated precipitation variability in the field (Fig. 1 below). Interannual precipitation variability was altered between treatments while overall precipitation amount was kept constant. Perennial grass productivity decreased by 81% whereas shrub productivity increased by 67%. This work addresses an understudied dimension of climate change that suggests widespread shrub encroachment under drought conditions, thus reducing the provision of ecosystem services by perennial grasses in these semi-arid systems.