Coordinating and Synthesizing Tropical Forest Root Trait Studies: Understanding belowground NPP, root responses to global change, and nutrient acquisition dynamics across tropical forests

Roots and their growth, activity, and turnover represent a fundamentally important but poorly understood component of ecosystem function. Globally, all terrestrial biomes are facing multiple global change factors, and the response of root dynamics to global change is a crucial uncertainty. Roots also play major roles in the cycling of nutrients, and root dynamics may shape plant-plant interactions and belowground food webs. Tropical forests are among the largest soil carbon stocks and largest plant biomass stocks on Earth, so root traits governing responses to global change are of broad importance in this biome.
 
This workshop arises from a need for tropical root ecologists to assess the rapidly growing body of root trait data for tropical forests and to adapt and standardize root trait assessment methods that were largely developed for temperate ecosystems. 
 
The workshop will bring together leading and emerging root ecologists from tropical forest ecosystems worldwide with the goal of writing a synthesis paper addressing: 1) What is known about how root traits relate to ecosystem function in global forests; 2) How emerging trends differ among tropical forest types and from temperate forests; 3) Best practices and prioritization categories of which root traits to measure across tropical forest studies. The resulting paper will serve both as a review of what is known, and as a guide for tropical root ecologists to help ensure that growing data sets on tropical root traits are comparable, both in traits measured and in the methods used.
 
Organising committee: Daniela Cusack, Amanda Longhi Cordeiro, Rich Norby, S. Joseph Wright, Kelly M. Andersen