Project Description

Collectively, the LTER community is well positioned to address many of the overarching questions in community ecology regarding how ecological context can influence the community assembly mechanisms underlying observed biodiversity patterns. Because the metacommunity concept integrates local (e.g., biotic interactions, niche-based species sorting) and regional (e.g., biogeography, regional colonization histories) factors, it has the potential to serve as a framework to synthesize biodiversity patterns across ecosystems and taxa represented in the LTER network. This working group had three objectives at the 2015 ASM: (1) promote discussion about how the metacommunity concept has been applied to interpret biodiversity data at LTER sites, (2) identify specific questions and challenges that the LTER community is uniquely suited to address in a cross-site metacommunity synthesis, and (3) develop a working plan and a proposal to submit to NSF for a follow-up workshop to move forward with the synthesis project. The working plan will summarize LTER data sets and quantitative approaches that are identified by the working group as crucial for understanding biodiversity pattern across the LTER network.

The purpose of this site is to promote collaboration within the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) working group on Metacommunities. This working group initially met at the LTER All Scientists Meeting (ASM 2015), which took place from 30 August through 2 September 2015. See the working group description at the ASM 2015 website:

Working group organizers

Eric R. Sokol (MCM, NWT)

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Email: or

Christopher M. Swan (BES)

Dept. of Geography & Environmental Systems

University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD