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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Duluth
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

PI: Harlan W. Stech
Co-PI: George E. Host

Computational Modeling of the Interacting Effects of Carbon Dioxide and Ozone on Forest Ecosystems

ECOPHYS is a large-scale simulation model for predicting the growth of tree stands subjected to the environmental conditions anticipated during the next century. The model maintains an architecturally correct representation of each leaf of each stand member, and relies on a detailed computational sub-model that computes the hourly light energy intercepted by each leaf. ECOPHYS takes as input hourly environmental data including carbon dioxide, ozone, temperature, light intensity, and relative humidity. The model estimates daily leaf-specific photosynthate production and uses process-based submodels of tree growth/damage to predict tree dimensional and biomass growth over a time interval of up to 8–10 years.

These researchers are focusing on two extensions of the ECOPHYS model. The first involves the expansion of the spatial scale of the model to one that is comparable to the Aspen Free-Air Carbon Dioxide and Ozone Enrichment (FACE) Project. In this application, tree growth is simulated with projected regional ozone concentrations for 2020 and 2040.

A second component of this study involves a computational examination of the anticipated reductions of productivity of dominant midwestern forest species. In this application, ECOPHYS is simulated with environmental data measured across a grid of midwestern geographic sites. This modeling work is part of a larger collaborative study with researchers from the North Central Research Station, Battelle Laboratory, and the University of Wisconsin.

Group Members

Anthony Miller, Undergraduate Student
Kyle Roskoski, Staff