The Dukes Lab at Purdue and UMass Boston
Spring 2015: Experiment on photosynthetic and respiratory temperature acclimation in leaves begins, led by Purdue University as part of a larger collaborative effort with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and other institutions.
February 2013: BACE exhibit featured as part of NSF's installation at the 2013 AAAS annual meeting in Boston. Camilla, NASA's space chicken, came by and helped us measure soil respiration. Our "moving billboard" video from the exhibit can be seen here, or at the bottom of this page. Also at the bottom of this page is a Prezi presentation featured on a touch-screen display at our AAAS installation.
January 2013: Babson Magazine highlights Vikki Rodgers' research at the BACE.
Summer 2012: New DOE-funded research on soil carbon begins; this is a collaboration between Purdue and Indiana University (Rich Phillips).
December 2011: The BACE is mentioned in a New Scientist story about discrepancies in the temperature sensitivity of plant phenological events as measured in experiments vs. observations.
October 2011: The BACE is featured in a Boston University story about phenological work done by students in Richard Primack's lab. See story and video.
June 2011: Story and press release discuss new publication on the effects of warming and drought on the chemistry of dead leaves, and possible consequences for ecosystems.
The first meeting of all BACE researchers was held on July 16-17, 2009 in Waltham. See the picture below.
On November 19, 2007 the Daily News Tribune covered the BACE in "Professor is plotting the path of global warming."
On July 10, 2007 the BACE was featured on the 5 o'clock news on WCVB-TV Boston (Channel 5; ABC). You can read or view the story here.
Climate of the future? Boston Globe story about the BACE (June 21, 2007)
On April 26, 2007 the BACE was featured on the 6 o'clock news on WBZ-TV Boston (Channel 4; CBS), as one installment of their "Project Mass.: Global Warming" series. You can read or view the story here.
On Earth Day 2007 the BACE opened its "Climate Change Classroom" with displays on the topic of climate change. This area is open to the public.

Part of the BACE public exhibit was displayed at the 2007 New England Spring Flower Show at the Bayside Expo Center, where it won a Silver Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

You can view many of the displays and obtain more information here.
What is the BACE?

The Boston-Area Climate Experiment (BACE) is designed to characterize ecosystem responses to climate change over a response surface, as opposed to testing responses to single step increases. Will the processes and properties of communities and ecosystems respond linearly to changes in temperature, or are there important threshold temperatures that could be reached? To what extent does an ecosystem's response to warming depend on precipitation patterns? The BACE will test these questions experimentally, in a New England old-field ecosystem. Researchers will measure responses of several variables, including growth of wildflowers, grasses, and tree seedlings.

The BACE is coordinated by the Dukes lab at Purdue University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. For more information, contact Jeff Dukes by email (dukes (at)

Collaborating laboratories include those of: Carol Adair (University of Vermont), Richard Conant (Colorado State University), Michael Daley (Lasell College), Alden Griffith (Wellesley College), Rich Phillips (Indiana University), Richard Primack (Boston University), Eldor Paul (CSU), Vikki Rodgers (Babson College), Nishanth Tharayil (Clemson), Matthew Wallenstein (CSU), and Baoshan Xing (University of Massachusetts Amherst).

The BACE was constructed with funding from the National Science Foundation, and is supported by the Department of Energy's National Institute for Climatic Change Research and Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences program. The BACE is endorsed by the Global Land Project.

Volunteering at BACE

We are always looking for volunteers who would be interested in helping us out at our field site in Waltham, Massachusetts. Vounteers can expect to learn more about climate change and old-field ecosystems, as well as the science of ecology. If you're a high school student, college student, recent graduate, or community member and you're interested in getting involved, please email Jeff Dukes at dukes (at)


Auyeung, D.S.N., Martiny, J.B.H., Dukes, J.S. 2015. Nitrification kinetics and ammonia-oxidizing community respond to warming and altered precipitation. Ecosphere 6: 83. Open access article from publisher.

Suseela, V., Tharayil, N., Xing, B., Dukes, J.S. Accepted. Warming and drought differentially influence the resorption of elemental and metabolite nitrogen pools in Quercus rubra. Global Change Biology.

Polgar, C.A., Primack, R.B., Dukes, J.S., Schaaf, C., Wang, Z., Hoeppner, S.S. 2014. Tree leaf out response to temperature: comparing field observations, remote sensing, and a warming experiment. International Journal of Biometeorology 58: 1251-1257. Article in pdf.

Sierra, C. A., S. E. Trumbore, E. A. Davidson, S. Vicca, and I. Janssens. 2015. Sensitivity of decomposition rates of soil organic matter with respect to simultaneous changes in temperature and moisture. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7: 335-356.

Suseela, V., Tharayil, N., Xing, B., Dukes, J.S. 2014. Warming alters potential enzyme activity but precipitation regulates chemical transformations in grass litter exposed to simulated climatic changes. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 75: 102-112. Article in pdf.

Vicca, S., Bahn, M., Estiarte, M., van Loon, E. E., Vargas, R., Alberti, G., Ambus, P., Arain, M. A., Beier, C., Bentley, L. P., Borken, W., Buchmann, N., Collins, S. L., de Dato, G., Dukes, J. S., Escolar, C., Fay, P., Guidolotti, G., Hanson, P. J., Kahmen, A., Kröel-Dulay, G., Ladreiter-Knauss, T., Larsen, K. S., Lellei-Kovacs, E., Lebrija-Trejos, E., Maestre, F. T., Marhan, S., Marshall, M., Meir, P., Miao, Y., Muhr, J., Niklaus, P. A., Ogaya, R., Peñuelas, J., Poll, C., Rustad, L. E., Savage, K., Schindlbacher, A., Schmidt, I. K., Smith, A. R., Sotta, E. D., Suseela, V., Tietema, A., van Gestel, N., van Straaten, O., Wan, S., Weber, U., and Janssens, I. A. 2014. Can current moisture responses predict soil CO2 efflux under altered precipitation regimes? A synthesis of manipulation experiments. Biogeosciences 11: 2991-3013. Article in pdf (with corrected Figure 1).

Auyeung, D.S.N., Suseela, V., Dukes, J.S. 2013. Warming and drought reduce temperature sensitivity of nitrogen transformations. Global Change Biology. 19: 662-676. Article in pdf. Press release.

Smith, N.G., Dukes, J.S. 2013. Plant respiration and photosynthesis in global-scale vegetation models: Incorporating acclimation to temperature and CO2. Global Change Biology 19: 45-63. Article in pdf.

Steinweg, J.M., Dukes, J.S., Paul, E.A., Wallenstein, M.D. 2013. Microbial responses to multi-factor climate change: Effects on soil enzymes. Frontiers in Terrestrial Microbiology 4: 146. Open access article.

Suseela, V., Dukes, J.S. 2013. The responses of soil and rhizosphere respiration to simulated climatic changes vary by season. Ecology 94: 403-413. Article in pdf.

Suseela, V., Tharayil, N., Xing, B., Dukes, J. S. 2013. Labile compounds in plant litter reduce the sensitivity of decomposition to warming and altered precipitation. New Phytologist 200: 122-133. Article in pdf.

Brzostek, E.R., Blair, J.M., Dukes, J.S., Frey, S.D., Hobbie, S.E., Melillo, J.M., Mitchell, R.J., Pendall, E., Reich, P.B., Shaver, G.R., Stefanski, A., Tjoelker, M.G. and Finzi, A.C. 2012. The effect of experimental warming and precipitation change on proteolytic enzyme activity: positive feedbacks to nitrogen availability are not universal. Global Change Biology 18: 2617-2625. Article in pdf.

Hoeppner, S.S., Dukes, J.S. 2012. Interactive responses of old-field plant growth and composition to warming and precipitation. Global Change Biology 18: 1754-1768. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02626.x

Rodgers, V.L., Hoeppner, S.S., Daley, M.J., Dukes, J.S. 2012. Leaf-level gas exchange and foliar chemistry of common old-field species responding to warming and precipitation treatments. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 173: 957-970. Article in pdf.

Steinweg, J.M., Dukes, J.S., Wallenstein, M.D. 2012. Modeling the effects of temperature and moisture on soil enzyme activity: Linking laboratory assays to continuous field data. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 55: 85-92. Article in pdf.

Suseela, V., Conant, R.T., Wallenstein, M.D., Dukes, J.S. 2012. Effects of soil moisture on the temperature sensitivity of heterotrophic respiration vary seasonally in an old-field climate change experiment. Global Change Biology 18: 336-348. Article in pdf.

Vicca, S., Gilgen, A.K., Camino Serrano, M., Dreesen, F.E., Dukes, J.S., Estiarte, M., Gray, S.B., Guidolotti, G., Hoeppner, S.S., Leakey, A.D.B., Ogaya, R., Ort, D.R., Ostrogovic, M.Z., Rambal, S., Sardans, J., Schmitt, M., Siebers, M., van der Linden, L., van Straaten, O., Granier, A. 2012. Urgent need for a common metric to make precipitation manipulation experiments comparable. New Phytologist 195: 518-522. Article in pdf.

Tharayil, N., V. Suseela, D. J. Triebwasser, C. M. Preston, P. D. Gerard, and J. S. Dukes. 2011. Changes in the structural composition and reactivity of Acer rubrum leaf litter tannins exposed to warming and altered precipitation: climatic stress-induced tannins are more reactive. New Phytologist 191: 132-145. Article in pdf. The definitive version is available at

Dukes, J.S., Pontius, J., Orwig, D.A., Garnas, J.R., Rodgers, V.L., Brazee, N.J., Cooke, B.J., Theoharides, K.A., Stange, E.E., Harrington, R.A., Ehrenfeld, J.G., Gurevitch, J., Lerdau, M., Stinson, K., Wick, R., Ayres, M.P. 2009. Responses of insect pests, pathogens and invasive species to climate change in the forests of northeastern North America: What can we predict? Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 39: 231-248. Article in PDF.

Theoharides, K.A., Dukes, J.S. 2007. Plant invasion across space and time: factors affecting nonindigenous species success during four stages of invasion. New Phytologist 176: 256-273. (Tansley Review) The definitive version of this paper is available for free here.

Climate Change Links

An informative blog about climate change, and climate science in general, written by climate scientists. Find good responses to your burning questions here.

The Nobel-prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or "IPCC"), which produces the most comprehensive and authoritative reports on climate change (all available free online).

BACE researchers collecting data in June 2009

BACE researchers at the meeting in July 2009

Moving billboard from the 2013 AAAS meeting.

A Prezi presentation about the BACE developed for a touch-screen billboard at the 2013 AAAS meeting.

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