Woods Hole Research Center

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Effects of arctic ground squirrel abundance and distribution on carbon cycling and ecosystem dynamics

Increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases have caused global warming, resulting in considerable shifts in ecosystem function and structure, particularly in sensitive cold climates like the Arctic. As the Arctic continues to warm, the ground thaws and permafrost degrades, resulting in changes to shrub communities. These changes can cause northern tundra soils, which have twice as much below ground carbon (C) as atmospheric carbon, to shift from sinks to sources of C.

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