The Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program expands our understanding of the biological processes in drylands.

Anticipating the consequences of climate change is arguably the most pressing challenge at the interface of science and society. Globally, climate is becoming more variable. Rich theory predicts that variability in climate can have powerful impacts — from the small scale of an individual organism to the large footprint of an ecosystem. However, ecological data on the consequences of this environmental variability has lagged behind theory because these effects play out over timescales that exceed standard funding cycles, making long-term support critical to this scientific frontier. Sevilleta LTER is a member of the U.S. LTER Network.

Arid and semi-arid ecosystems cover nearly 50% of land surface and are expanding in their global extent. Year-to-year differences in climate make these drylands among the most variable ecosystems on Earth. The fluctuating nature of drylands makes them excellent study systems to improve general understanding of the biological consequences of environmental variability. We study drylands in New Mexico, which currently ranks as the #1 most water-challenged state in the US.