Herbivory in changing northern and alpine ecosystems
The workshop ‘Herbivory in changing northern and alpine ecosystems’ was held last April 9, 2014 in Helsinki, as part of the Arctic Science Summit Week 2014 and the Arctic Observing Summit. The aim of the workshop was to bring together researchers to investigate the role of herbivory in changing northern and alpine ecosystems across large spatial scales, with the goal of laying the foundation for a plant-herbivore interaction-focused research network. 32 researchers from different circum-arctic regions attended this meeting. Overall, there was a broad agreement on the need to consolidate such a research network that, in addition to serving as a platform for communication and exchange among researchers, should be focused on developing common research interests. A fair amount of time during the workshop was devoted to defining a common conceptual model, identifying the knowledge gaps of the field and formulating an overarching research question that a collaborative effort may be able to answer. For addressing this question a common, standardized protocol is needed, based on a well-replicated, relatively simple experimental design. The first steps towards this protocol were defined during the workshop. Other points were also discussed at the meeting, including the possibility of writing a multi-authored opinion paper on the workshop outcomes, further development of a manuscript that was presented at the meeting, and the possibility of a joint funding application.