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Joint research project
Experimental site
Aim of the project
Innovative character


This project has both scientific and institutional justifications. This proposal addresses key topics of global change biology (climate change effects on ecosystems, C cycle, and biodiversity) and has strong connections with several projects that operate mostly in Western Europe. We will use similar or identical methodologies to those used in these projects to maximize the added value of comparisons and meta-analyses of data. Experimental sites were set up in French and Swiss Jura Mountains and a new site will be set up in Western Siberia as part of a French-Russia research initiative (project CLIMIRESIB, see above). The Polish experimental site will represent a geographical link between the French and the Siberian site and will allow assessing how peatlands located in different climate settings (oceanic-continental) respond to climate change. Furthermore, the polish site will add an additional question with an original experimental approach, which is the effect of drought (transplantation) when combined with warming treatment.

Many progresses have been made to better understand the response of peatland ecosystems to the global change factors using either field observations along gradients and modeling, or mesocosm experiments. However, only few studies have addressed these issues using in situ manipulations of forcing climatic factors to simulate increased temperature, change in precipitation/water table, elevated atmospheric CO2, or change in snow cover. The present project, in bringing together geochemists, physicists, meteorologists, ecologists, biologists, geographers and paleoecologists in an interdisciplinary effort aims to test experimentally the response of Sphagnum peatlands to drought and climate warming using three complementary approaches : a natural climate gradient, experimental warming and a mesocosm experiment.

With respect to institutional aspects, this project will strengthen existing cooperation between Swiss and Polish experts and significantly contribute to increasing the impact of Polish ecological research. This project therefore represents a unique opportunity to combine further and across countries observational, experimental and palaeoecological studies.

Among the approaches to be used, some are entirely new for this part of Europe:

Original data and novel methods will be provided. Contrary to the former projects, in the experiment we will manipulate not only temperature but also drought (combined temperature and water table decrease). Therefore we will simulate long lasting heat waves.

The experimental heating system "Open-Top Chambers" based on a standardized ITEX protocol will be used for the first time in a polish peatland ecosystems. This will enable comparison with other sites in Europe, in particular in the arctic, Jura Mountains and Siberia.

High-tech equipment is going to be used to constantly monitor climate and greenhouse gas emission. Linje site will become a reference point in this part of Europe for the monitoring of carbon budget in peatlands. Keystone species in the vegetation, methanotrophic bacteria and testate amoebae – key ecological groups of indicators, will be used to track response of peat-land in the natural and manipulated conditions.

A novel aspect of our research is the combination of several disciplines to obtain an optimal view of the complex ecosystem processes in relation to global change. Adjustment of the planned scientific infrastructure to existing monitoring sites is an important aspect. Linje experimental site will be functioning as part of the network.

We refer to the existing research and we will benefit from the experience of already realized projects like PEATWARM and we already know which topic should be stressed and where the difficulties are.

We will benefit not only from the foreign study sites but also from the one existing in N Poland (Rzecin mire) where carbon sequestration is currently monitored. However, as a complementary approach at Linje site, we will focus only on the smaller scale for tackling ecological above-belowground processes and add an experimental approach.

The project will operate in various time scales. The experiment is planned for three years but it hopefully will be extended. Furthermore, we will look at the past changes and relate it to the future perspective.

We expect to extend our work in new sites located in different types of landscapes. Our monitoring and experimental approach along a west-east transect will trigger new ideas and methods for interdisciplinary cooperation in peatland science. It will become obvious that only close cooperation/integration of various groups of scientists can lead to progress in under-standing how peatlands are sensitive to climate change in the different region of Europe and how this will impact carbon budget and GHG’s.


Joint research project
Experimental site

Aim of the project


Innovative character



Work Packages

Experimental setting and environmental monitoring
Vegetation monitoring, plant standing biomass, net primary production and total nutrient content in plants

Microbial biomass and microbial diversity

Soil enzymatic activities

Micrometeorology, carbon accumulation, soil respiration and litter decomposition

Microcosm experiment (Neuchâtel)

Drought palaeohydrology and carbon accumulation during the last 1000 years


Advisory board



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