|The International Tundra Experiment is a collaborative effort involving scientists
from more than 11 countries, including all the Arctic nations.
ITEX seeks to examine the response of circumpolar cold adapted plant species and tundra ecosytems to environmental change,
specifically to an increase in summer temperature. Empirical knowledge based on experiments coupled with
available evolutionary history, ecology, and genetics was chosen as the best way to predict species response
to climate change.
The ITEX research model combines long-term and short-term experimentation with monitoring and has the elegance
and simplicity called for to understand ecosystem response and vulnerability to change. The experiment is
designed to examine the effects of temperature change; maximize geographic representation, by minimizing
technical and equipment requirements; be long-term; focus primarily on species; and, if resources permit,
allow for genetic and system level studies.
Participation may be at several levels of complexity and sophistication depending on interests and available
funding support. Each ITEX site operates some form of warming experiment. Most sites use open-top chambers to
warm the tundra. These passive chambers affect plant growth and phenological development in a variety of ways.
Each ITEX study site is expected to collect similar data following established protocols provided in the ITEX
Manual. Collectively the ITEX network is able to pool its data sets to examine vegetation response at varying
levels, for example genetics (from ecotype to functional type), across space (from habitats to ecosystems) and
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