Towards more predictive and interdisciplinary climate change ecosystem experiments

Francois Rineau*, Robert Malina, Natalie Beenaerts, Natascha Arnauts, Richard D. Bardgett, Matty P. Berg, Annelies Boerema, Liesbeth Bruckers, Jan Clerinx, Edouard L. Davin, Hans J. De Boeck, Tom De Dobbelaer, Marta Dondini, Frederik De Laender, Jacintha Ellers, Oscar Franken, Lucy Gilbert, Lukas Gudmundsson, Ivan A. Janssens, David JohnsonSebastien Lizin, Bernard Longdoz, Patrick Meire, Dominique Meremans, Ann Milbau, Michele Moretti, Ivan Nijs, Anne Nobel, Iuliu Sorin Pop, Thomas Puetz, Wouter Reyns, Jacques Roy, Jochen Schuetz, Sonia I. Seneviratne, Pete Smith, Francesca Solmi, Jan Staes, Wim Thiery, Sofie Thijs, Inne Vanderkelen, Wouter Van Landuyt, Erik Verbruggen, Nele Witters, Jakob Zscheischler, Jaco Vangronsveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Despite great advances, experiments concerning the response of ecosystems to climate change still face considerable challenges, including the high complexity of climate change in terms of environmental variables, constraints in the number and amplitude of climate treatment levels, and the limited scope of responses and interactions covered. Drawing on the expertise of researchers from a variety of disciplines, this Perspective outlines how computational and technological advances can help in designing experiments that can contribute to overcoming these challenges, and also outlines a first application of such an experimental design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-816
Number of pages8
JournalNature Climate Change
Early online date28 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

We thank the Flemish government (through Hercules Stichting big infrastructure and the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders project G0H4117N) and LSM (Limburg Sterk Merk, project 271) for providing funds to build the UHasselt Ecotron; Hasselt University for both funding and policy support (project BOF12BR01 and Methusalem project 08M03VGRJ); and the ecotron research committee for comments on the experimental design. We also thank Regional Landscape Kempen and Maasland for its collaboration and support. N.W., S.L., A.N. and I.V. are funded by Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO).


  • biogeochemistry
  • climate-change ecology
  • climate-change impacts
  • ecology
  • environmental social sciences
  • CO2
  • HEAT


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