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Green Tongues into the Arid Zone: River Floodplains Extend the Distribution of Terrestrial Bird Species
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Floodplain and riparian ecosystems have cooler, wetter microclimatic conditions, higher water availability and greater vegetation biomass than adjacent terrestrial zones. Given these conditions, we investigated whether floodplain ecosystems allow terrestrial bird species to extend into more arid regions than they otherwise would be expected to occupy. We evaluated associations between aridity and the occurrence of 130 species using bird survey data from 2998 sites along the two major river corridors in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. We compared the...
How Regime Shifts in Connected Aquatic Ecosystems Are Affected by the Typical Downstream Increase of Water Flow
01. Juni 2017
Abstract All over the world freshwater ecosystems like ponds, ditches and lakes suffer from nutrient-driven regime shifts from submerged plants to dominance by algae or free-floating plants. Although freshwaters are often connected and part of a network, most of our current knowledge on regime shifts comes from studies of isolated ecosystems. The few studies that have assessed the spatial manifestation of regime shifts overlooked the hydrological fact that the water flow through connected waters typically increases in the downstream direction. Here, we use a complex...
Modeling Allochthonous Dissolved Organic Carbon Mineralization Under Variable Hydrologic Regimes in Boreal Lakes
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Here, we explore the interaction between hydrology and the reactivity of allochthonous dissolved organic carbon (DOCalloch) in determining the potential of DOCalloch to generate CO2 through biological and photo-chemical mineralization in boreal lakes. We developed a mechanistic model that integrates the reactivity continuum (RC) concept to reconstruct in-lake mineralization of DOCalloch under variable hydrologic conditions using empirical measurements of DOCalloch concentrations and reactivity as model inputs. The model predicts lake DOCalloch concentration...
Conifer Presence May Negatively Affect Sugar Maple’s Ability to Migrate into the Boreal Forest Through Reduced Foliar Nutritional Status
01. Juni 2017
Abstract The discipline of ecology suffers from a lack of knowledge of non-climatic factors (for example, plant–soil, plant–plant and plant–insect interactions) to predict tree species range shifts under climate change. The next generation of simulation models of forest response to climate change must build upon local observations of species interactions and growth along climatic gradients. We examined whether sugar maple (Acer saccharum) seedlings were disadvantaged with respect to soil nutrient uptake under coniferous canopies, as this species would need to...
Sustained Biogeochemical Impacts of Wildfire in a Mountain Lake Catchment
01. Juni 2017
ABSTRACT Wild and prescribed fires can cause severe deterioration in water quality, including increases in sediment, nutrients and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Due to the unpredictability of wildfires, few studies have been able to employ before-after, control-intervention experimental designs, or to evaluate fire-induced water-quality changes in the context of long-term datasets. Here, we present data from a lake draining a moorland catchment in the United Kingdom, part of a 22-site, 25 year monitoring network, which experienced a major wildfire in 2011. The main...
New Directions for Understanding the Spatial Resilience of Social–Ecological Systems
01. Juni 2017
Abstract The concept of spatial resilience has brought a new focus on the influence of multi-scale processes on the dynamics of ecosystems. Initial ideas about spatial resilience focused on coral reefs and emphasized escalating anthropogenic disturbances across the broader seascape. This perspective resonated with a new awareness of global drivers of change, such as growth in international trade and shifts in climate, and the need to respond by scaling up governance and management. We review recent trends and emerging ideas in spatial resilience, using coral...
Managed Wildfire Effects on Forest Resilience and Water in the Sierra Nevada
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Fire suppression in many dry forest types has left a legacy of dense, homogeneous forests. Such landscapes have high water demands and fuel loads, and when burned can result in catastrophically large fires. These characteristics are undesirable in the face of projected warming and drying in the western US. Alternative forest and fire treatments based on managed wildfire—a regime in which fires are allowed to burn naturally and only suppressed under defined management conditions—offer a potential strategy to ameliorate the effects of fire suppression...
Control Points in Ecosystems: Moving Beyond the Hot Spot Hot Moment Concept
01. Juni 2017
Abstract The phrase “hot spots and hot moments” first entered the lexicon in 2003, following the publication of the paper “Biogeochemical hot spots and hot moments at the interface of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems” by McClain and others (Ecosystems 6:301–312, 2003). This paper described the potential for rare places and rare events to exert a disproportionate influence on the movement of elements at the scale of landscapes and ecosystems. Here, we examine how the cleverly named hot spot and hot moment concept (hereafter HSHM) has influenced...
Inter-annual Variability of Soil Respiration in Wet Shrublands: Do Plants Modulate Its Sensitivity to Climate?
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Understanding the response of soil respiration to climate variability is critical to formulate realistic predictions of future carbon (C) fluxes under different climate change scenarios. There is growing evidence that the influence of long-term climate variability in C fluxes from terrestrial ecosystems is modulated by adjustments in the aboveground–belowground links. Here, we studied the inter-annual variability in soil respiration from a wet shrubland going through successional change in North Wales (UK) during 13 years. We hypothesised that the decline in...
Back to the Future: The Responses of Alpine Treelines to Climate Warming are Constrained by the Current Ecotone Structure
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Alpine treeline ecotones are considered early-warning monitors of the effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems, but it is still unclear how accurately treeline dynamics may track the expected temperature rises. Site-specific abiotic constraints, such as topography and demographic trends may make treelines less responsive to environmental fluctuations. A better understanding on how local processes modulate treelines’ response to warming is thus required. We developed a model of treeline dynamics based on individual data of growth, mortality and...
Impact of Grazing Intensity and Seasons on Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Tropical Grassland
01. Juni 2017
ABSTRACT Greenhouse gases (GHG) can be affected by grazing intensity, soil, and climate variables. This study aimed at assessing GHG emissions from a tropical pasture of Brazil to evaluate (i) how the grazing intensity affects the magnitude of GHG emissions; (ii) how season influences GHG production and consumption; and (iii) what are the key driving variables associated with GHG emissions. We measured under field conditions, during two years in a palisade-grass pasture managed with 3 grazing intensities: heavy (15 cm height), moderate (25 cm height), and light...
Temporal and Spatial Patterns in Inputs and Stock of Organic Matter in Savannah Streams of Central Brazil
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) inputs from riparian vegetation into streams and CPOM benthic stock vary naturally in space and time, but most studies in the tropical savannah (Cerrado) have been done over a small temporal scale (<1 year), which does not allow for the determination of inter-annual patterns. We found that CPOM collected over two years differed temporally and spatially, whereas there was no significant variation between years for the benthic stock, which indicates high stability in the energy balance of streams. The largest monthly...
Abundance and Impact on Soil Properties of Cathedral and Lenticular Termite Mounds in Southern Indian Woodlands
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Despite the acknowledged roles of termites in tropical ecosystems, the majority of published studies of epigeal mounds still address the African fauna and are principally concerned with spatial patterns and putative inter-colony competition, rather than the links between parent soil properties and mound establishment. Further, information about the effects of habitat disturbance, and especially fragmentation, is lacking. This study assessed the abundance and distribution of the cathedral- and lenticular-type aboveground mounds of fungus-growing termites...
The Contribution of Litterfall to Net Primary Production During Secondary Succession in the Boreal Forest
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Litterfall is a fundamental process in the nutrient cycle of forest ecosystems and a major component of annual net primary production (NPP). Despite its importance for understanding ecosystem energetics and carbon accounting, the dynamics of litterfall production following disturbance and throughout succession remain poorly understood in boreal forest ecosystems. Using a replicated chronosequence spanning 209 years following fire and 33 years following logging in Ontario, Canada, we examined the dynamics of litterfall production associated with stand...
Converging Climate Sensitivities of European Forests Between Observed Radial Tree Growth and Vegetation Models
23. Mai 2017
Abstract The impacts of climate variability and trends on European forests are unevenly distributed across different bioclimatic zones and species. Extreme climate events are also becoming more frequent and it is unknown how they will affect feedbacks of CO2 between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere. An improved understanding of species differences at the regional scale of the response of forest productivity to climate variation and extremes is thus important for forecasting forest dynamics. In this study, we evaluate the climate sensitivity of aboveground net...
Shellfish Reefs Increase Water Storage Capacity on Intertidal Flats Over Extensive Spatial Scales
12. Mai 2017
Abstract Ecosystem engineering species can affect their environment at multiple spatial scales, from the local scale up to a significant distance, by indirectly affecting the surrounding habitats. Structural changes in the landscape can have important consequences for ecosystem functioning, for example, by increasing retention of limiting resources in the system. Yet, it remains poorly understood how extensive the footprint of ecosystem engineers on the landscape is. Using remote sensing techniques, we reveal that depression storage capacity on intertidal flats is greatly...
Non-native Fish Occurrence and Biomass in 1943 Western Palearctic Lakes and Reservoirs and their Abiotic and Biotic Correlates
10. Mai 2017
Abstract Invasion of non-native species is considered a major threat to global biodiversity. Here we present a comprehensive overview of the occurrence, richness and biomass contribution of non-native fish species in 1943 standing water bodies from 14 countries of the Western Palearctic, based on standardised fish catches by multi-mesh gillnetting. We expected strong geographical gradients to emerge in the occurrence of non-natives. We further hypothesised that the contribution by non-natives to the local fish community biomass was correlated with local richness and the...
The Deep Root System of Fagus sylvatica on Sandy Soil: Structure and Variation Across a Precipitation Gradient
08. Mai 2017
Abstract When applied to climate change-related precipitation decline, the optimal partitioning theory (OPT) predicts that plants will allocate a larger portion of carbon to root growth to enhance the capacity to access and acquire water. However, tests of OPT applied to the root system of mature trees or stands exposed to long-term drying show mixed, partly contradicting, results, indicating an overly simplistic understanding of how moisture affects plant-internal carbon allocation. We investigated the response of the root system (0–240 cm depth) of European beech...
Climate-Induced Changes in Spring Snowmelt Impact Ecosystem Metabolism and Carbon Fluxes in an Alpine Stream Network
08. Mai 2017
Abstract Although stream ecosystems are recognized as an important component of the global carbon cycle, the impacts of climate-induced hydrological extremes on carbon fluxes in stream networks remain unclear. Using continuous measurements of ecosystem metabolism, we report on the effects of changes in snowmelt hydrology during the anomalously warm winter 2013/2014 on gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), and net ecosystem production (NEP) in an Alpine stream network. We estimated ecosystem metabolism across 12 study reaches of the 254 km2 subalpine...
Biotic and Abiotic Controls Over Canopy Function and Structure in Humid Hawaiian Forests
28. April 2017
Abstract Foliar nitrogen (N) plays a key role in ecosystem function and dynamics, including processes such as photosynthesis, productivity, and decomposition. Aboveground carbon density (ACD Mg C ha−1) represents a cumulative functional outcome of these and other ecosystem processes and is an important metric for monitoring current carbon stocks. Despite their importance, multiple interacting controls over landscape-level variation in foliar N and ACD are poorly understood. We assessed the relative importance of individual ecologically important state factors...

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