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Ecosystems 

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Long-Term Drought and Warming Alter Soil Bacterial and Fungal Communities in an Upland Heathland
19. Oktober 2021
Abstract The response of soil microbial communities to a changing climate will impact global biogeochemical cycles, potentially leading to positive and negative feedbacks. However, our understanding of how soil microbial communities respond to climate change and the implications of these changes for future soil function is limited. Here, we assess the response of soil bacterial and fungal communities to long-term experimental climate change in a heathland organo-mineral soil. We analysed microbial communities using Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and ITS2 region...
Integrating Decomposers, Methane-Cycling Microbes and Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes Along a Peatland Successional Gradient in a Land Uplift Region
19. Oktober 2021
Abstract Peatlands are carbon dioxide (CO2) sinks that, in parallel, release methane (CH4). The peatland carbon (C) balance depends on the interplay of decomposer and CH4-cycling microbes, vegetation, and environmental conditions. These interactions are susceptible to the changes that occur along a successional gradient from vascular plant-dominated systems to Sphagnum moss-dominated systems. Changes similar to this succession are predicted to occur from climate change. Here, we investigated how microbial and plant communities are interlinked with each other and with...
Land Use Modeling Predicts Divergent Patterns of Change Between Upper and Lower Elevations in a Subalpine Watershed of the Alps
19. Oktober 2021
Abstract The synergic influence of land use and climate change on future forest dynamics is hard to disentangle, especially in human-dominated forest ecosystems. Forest gain in mountain ecosystems often creates different spatial–temporal patterns between upper and lower elevation belts. We analyzed land cover dynamics over the past 50 years and predicted Business as Usual future changes on an inner subalpine watershed by using land cover maps, derived from five aerial images, and several topographic, ecological, and anthropogenic predictors. We analyzed historical...
Contrasting Patterns of Soil Chemistry and Vegetation Cover Determine Diversity Changes of Soil Phototrophs Along an Afrotropical Elevation Gradient
18. Oktober 2021
Abstract Soil phototrophic microbes play key roles in many ecosystem functions, including nutrient cycling, water absorption and retention, substrate weathering and soil stabilization, as well as colonization and persistence of other organisms. Knowledge about the diversity and biomass of soil phototrophs remains limited, especially in tropical forests and savannas. Here, we investigate changes in the diversity and abundance of soil phototrophs across the 4-km elevation gradient on Mt. Cameroon, Africa, from tropical forests (0–2300 m) to treeless savanna...
Grasslands Maintain Stability in Productivity Through Compensatory Effects and Dominant Species Stability Under Extreme Precipitation Patterns
13. Oktober 2021
Abstract Extreme climatic events are likely to intensify under climate change and can have different effects on ecosystems depending on their timing and magnitude. Understanding how productivity responds to extreme precipitation patterns requires assessing stability and vulnerability during critical growing periods at the plant community level. In this study, we experimentally imposed two contrasting types of extreme precipitation patterns, including extreme drought (excluding all rainfall for 30 consecutive days) during early-, mid-, and late-stages of the growing season...
Evidence of the Significant Contribution of Heterotrophic Diazotrophs to Nitrogen Fixation in the Eastern Indian Ocean During Pre-Southwest Monsoon Period
08. Oktober 2021
Abstract Nitrogen fixation continually transforms atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into biologically available nitrogen in the oceans, which actively sustains marine new production, especially in oligotrophic ecosystems. Recently, heterotrophic diazotrophs were found to be widespread and potentially important for nitrogen fixation in the Eastern Indian Ocean (EIO). However, no direct measurement has been taken in this region to explore the contribution of heterotrophic diazotrophs to total nitrogen fixation. To address this gap, we examined size-fractioned nitrogen fixation...
A Classification Framework to Assess Ecological, Biogeochemical, and Hydrologic Synchrony and Asynchrony
07. Oktober 2021
Abstract Ecosystems in the Anthropocene face pressures from multiple, interacting forms of environmental change. These pressures, resulting from land use change, altered hydrologic regimes, and climate change, will likely change the synchrony of ecosystem processes as distinct components of ecosystems are impacted in different ways. However, discipline-specific definitions and ad hoc methods for identifying synchrony and asynchrony have limited broader synthesis of this concept among studies and across disciplines. Drawing on concepts from ecology, hydrology...
Multi-Scale Temporal Patterns in Stream Biogeochemistry Indicate Linked Permafrost and Ecological Dynamics of Boreal Catchments
04. Oktober 2021
Abstract Temporal patterns in stream chemistry provide integrated signals describing the hydrological and ecological state of whole catchments. However, stream chemistry integrates multi-scale signals of processes occurring in both the catchment and stream. Deconvoluting these signals could identify mechanisms of solute transport and transformation and provide a basis for monitoring ecosystem change. We applied trend analysis, wavelet decomposition, multivariate autoregressive state-space modeling, and analysis of concentration–discharge relationships to assess temporal...
Grazing Increases Soil Warming in Headwater Wetlands: Importance to Land Managers and Water Users
29. September 2021
Abstract The earth’s mountains continue to lose water. Glaciers are melting and mountain snow/rain balance tilts increasingly liquescent. Water is running off sooner—sometimes overfilling reservoirs, causing flooding, and setting the stage for late-season shortages. One adaptive strategy is to recover and enhance water-storage capacities of headwater riparian systems. Grazing, a common use of headwater lands, affects both soils and vegetation. To better understand how grazing might affect water storage and other ecosystem services of high elevation riparian wetlands...
Natural Advance Regeneration of Native Tree Species in Pinus radiata Plantations of South-Central Chile Suggests Potential for a Passive Restoration Approach
29. September 2021
Abstract Restoration of natural forests previously replaced by plantations is a widespread challenge for forestry in Chile and elsewhere. However, there is little documented evidence for successful restoration, either through active or passive approaches. In this study, we aimed at (1) determining the potential for passive restoration in first-rotation Pinus radiata plantations through natural regeneration of native tree species and (2) identifying drivers of this advance regeneration. Across different regions in south-central Chile, we established nearly 260 plots to...
Risk Assessment for Key Socio-Economic and Ecological Species in a Sub-Arctic Marine Ecosystem Under Combined Ocean Acidification and Warming
28. September 2021
Abstract The Arctic may be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of both ocean acidification (OA) and global warming, given the faster pace of these processes in comparison with global average speeds. Here, we use the Atlantis ecosystem model to assess how the trophic network of marine fishes and invertebrates in the Icelandic waters is responding to the combined pressures of OA and warming. We develop an approach where we first identify species by their economic (catch value), social (number of participants in fisheries), or ecological (keystone species) importance...
Ecosystem Functioning Influences Species Fitness at Upper Trophic Levels
28. September 2021
Abstract Global change is severely affecting ecosystem functioning and biodiversity globally. Remotely sensed ecosystem functional attributes (EFAs) are integrative descriptors of the environmental change—being closely related to the processes directly affecting food chains via trophic cascades. Here we tested if EFAs can explain the species fitness at upper trophic levels. We took advantage of a long-term time series database of the reproductive success of the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)—an apex predator at the upper trophic level—over a 17-year period across...
Habitat Adaptation Mediates the Influence of Leaf Traits on Canopy Productivity: Evidence from a Tropical Freshwater Swamp Forest
13. September 2021
Abstract Functional traits offer generalizability to the prediction of ecosystem processes such as production, and community-weighted mean trait values are increasingly used for such predictions. However, the underlying causal direction between traits and ecosystem processes are often indirect and sometimes even tenuous. In this study, we aimed to uncover underlying causal mechanisms between traits, habitat adaptation and canopy productivity. We used canopy production data estimated from leaf litter traps, and trait and habitat association data obtained from 40 permanent...
Positive Effects of Legumes on Soil Organic Carbon Stocks Disappear at High Legume Proportions Across Natural Grasslands in the Pyrenees
12. September 2021
Abstract Soil is the largest terrestrial carbon pool, making it crucial for climate change mitigation. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is suggested to depend on biodiversity components, but much evidence comes from diversity-function experiments. To disentangle the relationships of plant guild diversity with SOC storage (kg m−2) at broad spatial scales, we applied diversity-interaction models to a regional grassland database (n = 96) including wide environmental conditions and management regimes. The questions were: (1) Are the effects of plant guilds on SOC stocks in...
Large Mammalian Herbivores and the Paradox of Soil Carbon in Grazing Ecosystems: Role of Microbial Decomposers and Their Enzymes
10. September 2021
Abstract Grazing is the dominant land use across the world, and large mammalian herbivores exert strong influence over biogeochemical cycles. Grazing ecosystems feature C-rich soils, even though herbivores consume a major fraction of plant production to reduce detrital input to soil. Yet, counter-intuitively, moderate grazing can promote net soil-C storage in many ecosystems compared to grazer-exclusion. We address this enigmatic influence of grazers on soil-C and test their indirect effect on proximate drivers of decomposition: microbial extracellular enzyme activity. We...
Tracking the Rates and Mechanisms of Canopy Damage and Recovery Following Hurricane Maria Using Multitemporal Lidar Data
09. September 2021
Abstract Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, snapped and uprooted canopy trees, removed large branches, and defoliated vegetation across Puerto Rico. The magnitude of forest damages and the rates and mechanisms of forest recovery following Maria provide important benchmarks for understanding the ecology of extreme events. We used airborne Lidar data acquired before (2017) and after Maria (2018, 2020) to quantify landscape-scale changes in forest structure along a 439-ha elevational gradient (100–800 m) in the Luquillo Experimental Forest. Damages from Maria were...
Mapping the Delivery of Ecological Functions Combining Field Collected Data and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
07. September 2021
Abstract Mapping ecosystem functions and services has gained considerable importance, particularly for its applications in ecosystem management and conservation. While practices for terrestrial ecosystems are well established and mainly rely on land cover, marine ecosystems face challenges that hinder our ability to quantify and understand the distribution of ecosystem services. In particular, soft-sediment marine habitats are complex and heterogeneous but data on the distribution of communities and habitats in these systems in scarce. Mapping relies primarily on the...
Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond
07. September 2021
Abstract The increasing frequency of extreme events, exogenous and endogenous, poses challenges for our societies. The current pandemic is a case in point; but "once-in-a-century" weather events are also becoming more common, leading to erosion, wildfire and even volcanic events that change ecosystems and disturbance regimes, threaten the sustainability of our life-support systems, and challenge the robustness and resilience of societies. Dealing with extremes will require new approaches and large-scale collective action. Preemptive measures can increase general...
Skid Trail Effects on Soil Methane and Carbon Dioxide Flux in a Selection-Managed Northern Hardwood Forest
01. September 2021
Abstract Temperate forest soils are an important sink for methane (CH4); however, disturbance through forest management and the creation of skid trails may significantly decrease soil’s ability to uptake CH4 or in some cases cause CH4 emissions. Skid trails might also be expected to show reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) flux due to anaerobic conditions and reduced root activity. Studies to date have investigated skid trail greenhouse gas flux dynamics on experimentally created skid trails, which may not experience the full extent of traffic intensity or contain the...
Litter Decomposition Rates of Biocrust-Forming Lichens Are Similar to Those of Vascular Plants and Are Affected by Warming
01. September 2021
Abstract Despite the high relevance of communities dominated by lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria living on the soil surface (biocrusts) for ecosystem functioning in drylands, no study to date has investigated the decomposition of biocrust-forming lichen litter in situ. Thus, we do not know whether the drivers of its decomposition are similar to those for plant litter (for example, importance of abiotic degradation through UV radiation), the magnitude of lichen decomposition rates and whether they will be affected by ongoing climate change. Here we report the results from...