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Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Ecosystems
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Decline in Ecosystem δ 13 C and Mid-Successional Nitrogen Loss in a Two-Century Postglacial Chronosequence
13. April 2018
Abstract Uncertainty about controls on long-term carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) balance, turnover, and isotopic composition currently limits our ability to predict ecosystem response to disturbance and landscape change. We used a two-century, postglacial chronosequence in Glacier Bay, Alaska, to explore the influence of C and N dynamics on soil and leaf stable isotopes. C dynamics were closely linked to soil hydrology, with increasing soil water retention during ecosystem development resulting in a linear decrease in foliar and soil δ13C, independent of shifts in...
Variation in Detrital Resource Stoichiometry Signals Differential Carbon to Nutrient Limitation for Stream Consumers Across Biomes
09. April 2018
Abstract Stoichiometric ratios of resources and consumers have been used to predict nutrient limitation across diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. In forested headwater streams, coarse and fine benthic organic matter (CBOM, FBOM) are primary basal resources for the food web, and the distribution and quality of these organic matter resources may therefore influence patterns of secondary production and nutrient cycling within stream networks or among biomes. We measured carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) content of CBOM and FBOM and calculated their...
Variation in Soil Methane Release or Uptake Responses to Biochar Amendment: A Separate Meta-analysis
09. April 2018
Abstract Agricultural soils play an important role in the atmospheric methane (CH4) budget, where paddy soils can contribute significant CH4 to atmosphere whereas upland soils may act as a source or sink of atmospheric CH4, dependent on soil water conditions. Biochar amendments have effects on soil CH4 production or oxidation processes in individual experiments, but the causative mechanisms are yet to be fully elucidated. To synthesize the response of soil CH4 release or uptake to biochar amendment, we performed a meta-analysis using data from 61 peer-reviewed papers with...
Total C and N Pools and Fluxes Vary with Time, Soil Temperature, and Moisture Along an Elevation, Precipitation, and Vegetation Gradient in Southern Appalachian Forests
09. April 2018
Abstract The interactions of terrestrial C pools and fluxes with spatial and temporal variation in climate are not well understood. We conducted this study in the southern Appalachian Mountains where complex topography provides variability in temperature, precipitation, and forest communities. In 1990, we established five large plots across an elevation gradient allowing us to study the regulation of C and N pools and cycling by temperature and water, in reference watersheds in Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, a USDA Forest Service Experimental Forest, in western NC, USA...
Retention of Nitrogen Following Wildfire in a Chaparral Ecosystem
05. April 2018
Abstract Wildfires alter nitrogen (N) cycling in Mediterranean-type ecosystems, resetting plant and soil microbial growth, combusting plant biomass to ash, and enhancing N availability in the upper soil layer. This ash and soil N pool (that is, wildfire N) is susceptible to loss from watersheds via runoff and leaching during post-fire rains. Plant and soil microbial recovery may mitigate these losses by sequestering N compounds in new biomass, thereby promoting landscape N retention in N-limited chaparral ecosystems. We investigated the relative balance between wildfire N...
Interactions Among Abiotic Drivers, Disturbance and Gross Ecosystem Carbon Exchange on Soil Respiration from Subtropical Pine Savannas
05. April 2018
Abstract Globally, soil CO2 efflux rates (Fs) have been linked to changes in soil water content (SWC), rainfall and temperature and/or productivity. However, within an ecosystem, Fs can vary based on site structure and function, which can be affected by a combination of abiotic and biotic factors. This becomes particularly important when an ecosystem is faced with disturbances, such as drought or fire. Site-specific compensatory responses to disturbances may therefore alter C mineralization, as well as root respiration. Hence, single location Fs estimates may not be a...
Housing Market Activity is Associated with Disparities in Urban and Metropolitan Vegetation
02. April 2018
Abstract In urban areas, the consistent and positive association between vegetation density and household income has been explained historically by either the capitalization of larger lawns and lower housing densities or landscaping and lifestyle districts that convey prestige. Yet cities with shrinking populations and rising land burdens often exhibit high vegetation density in declining neighborhoods. Because the observed associations do not directly address the causal connection between measures of social privilege and vegetation in urban landscapes, it is difficult to...
Aridity Decouples C:N:P Stoichiometry Across Multiple Trophic Levels in Terrestrial Ecosystems
01. April 2018
Abstract Increases in aridity forecasted by the end of this century will decouple the cycles of soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in drylands—the largest terrestrial biome on Earth. Little is known, however, about how changes in aridity simultaneously affect the C:N:P stoichiometry of organisms across multiple trophic levels. It is imperative that we understand how aridity affects ecological stoichiometry so that we can develop strategies to mitigate any effects of changing climates. We characterized the C, N, P concentration and stoichiometry of soils...
Spatial Variability of Plant Litter Decomposition in Stream Networks: from Litter Bags to Watersheds
01. April 2018
Abstract The decomposition of plant litter plays a fundamental role in the cycling of carbon and nutrients and is driven by complex interactions of biological and physical controls, yet little is known about its variability and controls across spatial scales. Here we address the indirect effects of riparian canopy cover on litter decomposition and decomposers and their variability within a set of hierarchical scales (watershed, stream segments and reaches) controlling for confounding factors that could co-vary with canopy cover (for example, temperature and nutrients...
From Bacteria to Fish: Ecological Consequences of Seasonal Hypoxia in a Great Lakes Estuary
01. April 2018
Abstract The occurrence of bottom-water hypoxia is increasing in bodies of water around the world. Hypoxia is of concern due to the way it negatively impacts lakes and estuaries at the whole ecosystem level. During 2015, we examined the influence of hypoxia on the Muskegon Lake ecosystem by collecting surface- and bottom-water nutrient samples, bacterial abundance counts, benthic fish community information, and performing profiles of chlorophyll and phycocyanin as proxies for phytoplankton and cyanobacterial growth, respectively. Several significant changes occurred in...
Converging Climate Sensitivities of European Forests Between Observed Radial Tree Growth and Vegetation Models
01. April 2018
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...
Whole-Lake Sugar Addition Demonstrates Trophic Transfer of Dissolved Organic Carbon to Top Consumers
01. April 2018
Abstract Terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (DOC) provides an external carbon source to lake ecosystems. However, there is ongoing debate about whether external DOC that enters a lake can pass up the food web to support top consumers. We show, from experimental manipulation of a whole lake, that externally loaded DOC can contribute appreciably to fish biomass. Monthly additions of cane sugar with a distinct carbon stable isotope value during 2 years rapidly enriched the 13C content of zooplankton and macroinvertebrates, with a more gradual 13C enrichment of fish...
The Impacts of Above- and Belowground Plant Input on Soil Microbiota: Invasive Spartina alterniflora Versus Native Phragmites australis
01. April 2018
Abstract Invasive plants affect soil food webs through various resource inputs including shoot litter, root litter and living root input. The net impact of invasive plants on soil biota has been recognized; however, the relative contributions of different resource input pathways have not been quantified. Through a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial field experiment, a pair of invasive and native plant species (Spartina alterniflora vs. Phragmites australis) was compared to determine the relative impacts of their living roots or shoots and root litter on soil microbial and...
Seasonal and Long-Term Changes to Active-Layer Temperatures after Tall Shrubland Expansion and Succession in Arctic Tundra
01. April 2018
Abstract Vegetation, active-layer soils, and snow cover regulate energy exchange between the atmosphere and permafrost. Therefore, interactions between changes to tundra vegetation and soil thermal regime will fundamentally affect permafrost in a warmer world. We recorded soil temperatures for approximately 1 year in a Siberian Low Arctic landscape with a known history of alder (Alnus) shrub expansion on disturbed microsites in patterned ground. We recorded near-surface soil temperatures and measured physical properties of soils and vegetation on sorted-circle...
Carbon Accumulation in Neotropical Dry Secondary Forests: The Roles of Forest Age and Tree Dominance and Diversity
01. April 2018
Abstract Tropical secondary forests are important sinks for atmospheric carbon, yet C uptake and accumulation rates are highly uncertain, and the mechanisms poorly understood. We evaluated the recovery of C stocks in four pools (aboveground biomass, litter, roots and topsoil) during dry forest regrowth by combining a space for time replacement (that is, a chronosequence) with a repeated measurements approach (that is, a resampling). We fit nonlinear models to chronosequence data to test whether forest age could explain differences in C stocks across sites, and to changes...
Non-native Fish Occurrence and Biomass in 1943 Western Palearctic Lakes and Reservoirs and their Abiotic and Biotic Correlates
01. April 2018
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...
Fine Root Morphology, Biochemistry and Litter Quality Indices of Fast- and Slow-growing Woody Species in Ethiopian Highland Forest
01. April 2018
Abstract Fine root turnover of trees is a major C input to soil. However, the quality of litter input is influenced by root morphological traits and tissue chemical composition. In this study, fine roots of ten tropical woody species were collected from an Afromontane forest in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. The fine roots were analysed for root morphological traits and tissue chemistry measured as proxy carbon fractionations. Based on stem increment, the 10 species were divided into faster- and slower-growing species. Faster-growing species exhibited higher...
Cotton-Grass and Blueberry have Opposite Effect on Peat Characteristics and Nutrient Transformation in Peatland
01. April 2018
Abstract Peatlands are large repositories of carbon (C). Sphagnum mosses play a key role in C sequestration, whereas the presence of vascular plants is generally thought to stimulate peat decomposition. Recent studies stress the importance of plant species for peat quality and soil microbial activity. Thus, learning about specific plant–microbe–soil relations and their potential feedbacks for C and nutrient cycling are important for a correct understanding of C sequestration in peatlands and its potential shift associated with vegetation change. We studied how the...
Blue Carbon Storage in Tropical Seagrass Meadows Relates to Carbonate Stock Dynamics, Plant–Sediment Processes, and Landscape Context: Insights from the Western Indian Ocean
01. April 2018
Abstract Globally, seagrass ecosystems are considered major blue carbon sinks and thus indirect contributors to climate change mitigation. Quantitative estimates and multi-scale appraisals of sources that underlie long-term storage of sedimentary carbon are vital for understanding coastal carbon dynamics. Across a tropical–subtropical coastal continuum in the Western Indian Ocean, we estimated organic (Corg) and inorganic (Ccarb) carbon stocks in seagrass sediment. Quantified levels and variability of the two carbon stocks were evaluated with regard to the relative...
Consumer Aggregations Drive Nutrient Dynamics and Ecosystem Metabolism in Nutrient-Limited Systems
01. April 2018
Abstract Differences in animal distributions and metabolic demands can influence energy and nutrient flow in an ecosystem. Through taxa-specific nutrient consumption, storage, and remineralization, animals may influence energy and nutrient pathways in an ecosystem. Here we show these taxa-specific traits can drive biogeochemical cycles of nutrients and alter ecosystem primary production and metabolism, using riverine systems that support heterogeneous freshwater mussel aggregations. Freshwater unionid mussels occur as distinct, spatially heterogeneous, dense aggregations...

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