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For this study, we exclusively focused on plant data from control plots to establish models, referring only to the experimentally warmed plots to compare our results in this study with those presented in a separate study at the same sites (Barrett and Hollister, in press).
Since the 1980s, several long-term research sites have been established in tundra ecosystems making this type of analysis now possible (Chapin et al., 1995; Arft et al., 1999; Dunne et al., 2003; Molau et al., 2005).
We collected data from two sites at each location—one in dry heath tundra and the other in wet meadow tundra.
The Barrow Dry (BD) and Barrow Wet (BW) sites were established in 19, respectively, while both the Atqasuk Dry (AD) and Atqasuk Wet (AW) sites were established in 1996.
Such studies have demonstrated that arctic plants respond to both the direct and indirect effects of warming, including accelerated snowmelt, extended growing season, warmer soils, increased nutrient availability, and increased thaw depth.
In general, these effects tend to increase plant growth and accelerate phenology, but responses are often species and site-specific, making accurate predictions difficult (Walker et al., 1994; Arft et al., 1999; Shaver and Jonasson, 1999; Hollister et al., 2005a; Oberbauer et al., 2013).
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Some addresses or other data might no longer be current.At each site, we collected information on the following abiotic factors: thaw depth, snowmelt date, freeze-up date, growing season length, and air and soil temperatures.Thaw depth values were collected at the end of the summer in each plot within a study site, then averaged for that site each year.We defined snowmelt date as the average date at which each plot was free of snow.When researchers were not present to witness the date of snowmelt, we used the day average soil surface temperatures rose above 0°C at the site.Thus, further work is needed to characterize the relationships between arctic plants and abiotic factors if we are to improve our ability to predict how climate change will affect the Arctic.