Science Questions

Graphic representing the gradient of topography, permafrost, vegetation, and hydrology

Landscapes in Transition A mechanistic understanding of what controls the coupled nature of hydrology, biogeochemistry, and vegetation dynamics is needed for system-wide understanding and prediction of a range of tundra ecosystems underlain by continuous and discontinuous permafrost. NGEE Arctic research activities are designed to identify and quantify the mechanisms underlying processes.

These are the Science Questions that NGEE Arctic seeks to answer:

  • Question 1

    Landscape Heterogeneity

    How does landscape organization control permafrost evolution and associated C and nutrient fluxes in a changing environment?

  • Question 2

    Soil Biogeochemistry

    What will control rates of CO2 and CH4 fluxes across a range of permafrost conditions?

  • Question 3

    Plant Traits

    How do plant functional traits change across environmental gradients, and what are the consequences for carbon, water, and nutrient fluxes?

  • Question 4

    Shrub Dynamics

    What controls the distribution of shrubs, and how will shrub distributions and associated climate feedbacks shift with warming in the 21st century?

  • Question 5

    Watershed Hydrology

    Where, when, and why will the Arctic become wetter or drier, and what are the implications for climate forcing?

  • Question 6


    What controls the vulnerability of Arctic ecosystems to disturbance, and how do disturbances alter the structure and function of these ecosystems?