Stoichiometric flexibility in terrestrial ecosystems under global change

27th New Phytologist Symposium

Download the 27th NPS abstract booklet.


Thanks to all of our organisers, speakers and delegates who helped to make the 27th NPS such a great success. We will continue to update the site with related information. We will continue to Tweet about updates, so visit us on Twitter (#27NPS) for all the latest news.

Holly Slater
Managing Editor, New Phytologist

View from B2 

Poster Prize Winners

Poster First PrizeThe judges awarded first prize to Jordan Mayor, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, República de Panamá. Click here to download the poster.

Poster honorable mentions went to: Michal Filipiak, Jagiellonian University, Poland; Daniel Goll, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany; Stefano Manzoni, Duke University, USA; Luciola Santos Lannes, ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Leiling Tao, University of Michigan, USA; Xiaojuan Yang, ORNL, USA.

Symposium Scope

The goal of this symposium is to apply the rich theoretical framework on stoichiometric flexibility of biological systems to our traditional analyses of ecosystem response to atmospheric and climatic change. Focusing on terrestrial ecosystems, we will consider how the principles of stoichiometry can be applied to global change analyses, discuss examples from experimental research in different biomes and from models at different scales, and consider stoichiometric limitations to different plant and ecosystem processes and whether those limitations will adjust to atmospheric and climatic changes.

Ecological stoichiometry describes the balance of energy and materials in ecological systems. The stoichiometry of cellular metabolites (e.g., C:N:P ratios in proteins) confers constraints on cellular metabolism, and at larger scales, on organisms and ecosystems. Analysis of complex metabolic networks (e.g., E. coli cultures) has been advanced through reliance on stoichiometric principles in which metabolic flexibility, or the range of stoichiometric balance over which function can be maintained, is the manifestation of two principal properties: redundancy and robustness. Applying these principles to ecological systems and evolutionary analyses in the context of atmospheric and climatic change, two overarching questions arise: is there sufficient stoichiometric flexibility in ecosystems to permit a new steady-state metabolism when resources availability changes? And, is the stoichiometric approach valid during the non-steady state (transient) conditions that prevail in climate change experiments? 

Discussion topics at the symposium will include questions such as:

  • How do ecosystem responses to vary with soil fertility? Do fertilizer additions in experiments mimic natural variation in soil fertility? 
  • What are the effects of atmospheric and climatic change on nutrient uptake and nutrient-use efficiency in different ecosystems? 
  • Do changes in aboveground productivity or diversity alter belowground microbial diversity and nutrient metabolism? 
  • Does nutrient supply or availability limit C sequestration in plant and soil?