Why coordinated distributed experiments should go global

Laura Yahdjian, Osvaldo E. Sala, Juan Manuel Piñeiro-Guerra, Alan K. Knapp, Scott L. Collins, Richard P. Phillips, Melinda D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The performance of coordinated distributed experiments designed to compare ecosystem sensitivity to global-change drivers depends on whether they cover a significant proportion of the global range of environmental variables. In the present article, we described the global distribution of climatic and soil variables and quantified main differences among continents. Then, as a test case, we assessed the representativeness of the International Drought Experiment (IDE) in parameter space. Considering the global environmental variability at this scale, the different continents harbor unique combinations of parameters. As such, coordinated experiments set up across a single continent may fail to capture the full extent of global variation in climate and soil parameter space. IDE with representation on all continents has the potential to address global scale hypotheses about ecosystem sensitivity to environmental change. Our results provide a unique vision of climate and soil variability at the global scale and highlight the need to design globally distributed networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)918-927
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Climate change
  • Climate-soil parameter space
  • Coordinated-distributed experiments
  • Drought
  • Ecosystem sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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