Integrating Biodiversity into Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions Using an Individual-Based Model (IBM)

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Wang, Bin, Environmental Sciences - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Wang, Bin, Arts & Sciences Graduate-wasg, University of Virginia

Biosphere-atmosphere interactions (BAIs) are integral to the functioning of the whole Earth System. The complexity of ecological systems profoundly determines these complex, nonlinear, and dynamic interactions. This complexity fundamentally originates from the high degree of biodiversity, resulting in complex interactions among individuals constituting a system and thus emergent system level behaviors. However, biodiversity has long been overlooked either intentionally or unintentionally largely because of methodological limitations. In particular, the currently widely used ecosystem model frameworks of aggregate representation of vegetation using plant functional types (PFTs) have severe deficiencies in integration of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. To address this grand issue, this dissertation primarily focuses on the development of an individual-based forest volatile organic compounds emission model, UVAFME-VOC (v1.0), and applications of this IBM (individual-based model) to addressing questions revolving around the roles of forest system diversity in influencing forest dynamics, biomass production, and isoprene (the most abundant VOC species) emissions responding to climate warming and ozone pollution. Specifically, this dissertation found that ozone may not suppress forest productivity and that climate warming does not necessarily always stimulate isoprene emissions all because of an explicit integration of species diversity and ecological interactions. These findings challenge long-held paradigms that are established on a linear scale-up of plant leaf physiology to the ecosystem level circumventing the community scale. This dissertation is concluded with discussing the deficiencies of IBMs and pointing out the challenges/directions, and advocates the development of IBM in truly integrating biodiversity into biosphere-atmosphere interactions in the Anthropocene Epoch.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
IBM, UVAFME-VOC, isoprene, ozone, forest, meta-analysis, GHG, warming, biodiversity, individual-based model, air pollution, system complexity, community ecology, vegetation, volatile organic compounds, VOC
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