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Ecosystems 

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Shortened Fire Intervals Stimulate Carbon Losses from Heterotrophic Respiration and Reduce Understorey Plant Productivity in Boreal Forests
16. Mai 2022
Abstract Fire frequency is increasing with climate warming in the boreal regions of interior Alaska, with short fire return intervals (< 50 years) becoming more common. Recent studies suggest these “reburns” will reduce the insulating surface organic layer (SOL) and seedbanks, inhibiting black spruce regeneration and increasing deciduous cover. These changes are projected to amplify soil warming, increasing mineral soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition rates, and impair re-establishment of understorey vegetation and the SOL. We examined how reburns changed...
Seafloor Terrain Shapes the Three-dimensional Nursery Value of Mangrove and Seagrass Habitats
10. Mai 2022
Abstract Mangroves and seagrasses are important nurseries for many marine species, and this function is linked to the complexity and context of these habitats in coastal seascapes. It is also connected to bathymetric features that influence habitat availability, and the accessibility of refuge habitats, but the significance of terrain variation for nursery function is unknown. To test whether seafloor terrain influences nursery function, we surveyed fish assemblages from mangrove and seagrass habitats in 29 estuaries in eastern Australia with unbaited underwater cameras...
Shifting Forests and Carbon: Linking Community Composition and Aboveground Carbon Attributes
02. Mai 2022
Abstract Forest communities—assemblages of tree species at stand- to landscape-scales—vary in their capacity to capture and store carbon, but previous attempts using discrete forest types to quantify this relationship often fail to consider gradual changes to the seedling, live tree, and standing dead tree demographic components of the community. We analyzed two decades of plot remeasurements (20,680 remeasurements of 5594 unique plots) from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program across the Great Lakes...
Contrasting Dynamics in the Fine Root Mass of Angiosperm and Gymnosperm Forests on the Global Scale
02. Mai 2022
Abstract Predicting forest carbon cycling requires the accurate assessment of large-scale patterns of fine root seasonal dynamics, and thorough comprehension of how biotic and abiotic factors exert direct and/or indirect control over the variation in fine root biomass (FB), necromass stocks (FN) and the biomass/necromass ratio (FBN). We analyzed 67 studies with 1119 observations of FB and FN and used structural equation modeling to examine the relative contributions of the forest biome (boreal versus temperate versus tropical), evolutionary division (angiosperms versus...
Diverse Effects of Climate, Land Use, and Insects on Dung and Carrion Decomposition
26. April 2022
Abstract Land-use intensification and climate change threaten ecosystem functions. A fundamental, yet often overlooked, function is decomposition of necromass. The direct and indirect anthropogenic effects on decomposition, however, are poorly understood. We measured decomposition of two contrasting types of necromass, rat carrion and bison dung, on 179 study sites in Central Europe across an elevational climate gradient of 168–1122 m a.s.l. and within both local and regional land uses. Local land-use types included forest, grassland, arable fields, and settlements and...
Anion Exchange Capacity Explains Deep Soil Nitrate Accumulation in Brazilian Amazon Croplands
21. April 2022
Abstract Deep tropical soils with net anion exchange capacity can adsorb nitrate and might delay the eutrophication of surface waters that is often associated with many temperate croplands. We investigated anion exchange capacity and soil nitrate pools in deep soils in the Southern Brazilian Amazon, where conversion of tropical forest and Cerrado to intensive fertilized soybean and soybean-maize cropping expanded rapidly in the 2000s. We found that mean soil nitrate pools in the top 8 m increased from 143 kg N ha−1 in forest to 1,052 in soybean and...
Climate and Landscape Controls on Old-Growth Western Juniper Demography in the Northern Great Basin, USA
20. April 2022
Abstract Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.) woodlands have persisted for millennia in semiarid parts of the northern Great Basin, USA, providing critical habitat for plant and animal species. Historical records suggest that the establishment of western juniper is strongly associated with regional climatic variability. For example, the abundance of western juniper pollen and macrofossils measured in lake sediment cores increased rapidly in the mid-1500s, concurrent with a regional increase in winter precipitation. However, little is known about how climatic...
Nutrients Alter Methane Production and Oxidation in a Thawing Permafrost Mire
14. April 2022
Abstract Permafrost thaw releases nutrients and metals from previously frozen soils and these nutrients may affect important biogeochemical processes including methane (CH4) production and oxidation. Here we assessed how concentrations of nutrients, solutes, and metals varied across four plant communities undergoing permafrost thaw and if these geochemical characteristics affected rates of CH4 production and oxidation. We tested nutrient limitation in CH4 production and oxidation by experimentally adding nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and a permafrost leachate to peat...
Impacts of Riparian and Non-riparian Woody Encroachment on Tallgrass Prairie Ecohydrology
13. April 2022
Abstract Woody encroachment has impacted grassland ecohydrology worldwide, prompting management strategies aimed at woody vegetation removal to prevent or mitigate loss of water yield. We measured stream discharge following sustained cutting of riparian trees (2010–2020) in a native tallgrass prairie (northeastern Kansas, USA). Discharge has declined at this site since the 1980’s despite a concurrent increase in precipitation. This decline has been previously attributed to increased transpiration of stream water by riparian vegetation. We used water stable isotopes...
Large-Scale Quantification and Correlates of Ungulate Carrion Production in the Anthropocene
13. April 2022
Abstract Carrion production is one of the most crucial yet neglected and understudied processes in food webs and ecosystems. In this study, we performed a large-scale estimation of the maximum potential production and spatial distribution of ungulate carrion biomass from five major sources in peninsular Spain, both anthropogenic (livestock, big game hunting, roadkills) and natural (predation, natural mortality). Using standardized ungulate carrion biomass (kg/year/100km2) estimates, we evaluated the relationship between ungulate carrion production and two ecosystem-level...
Resolving the Drivers of Algal Nutrient Limitation from Boreal to Arctic Lakes and Streams
07. April 2022
Abstract Nutrient inputs to northern freshwaters are changing, potentially altering aquatic ecosystem functioning through effects on primary producers. Yet, while primary producer growth is sensitive to nutrient supply, it is also constrained by a suite of other factors, including light and temperature, which may play varying roles across stream and lake habitats. Here, we use bioassay results from 89 lakes and streams spanning northern boreal to Arctic Sweden to test for differences in nutrient limitation status of algal biomass along gradients in colored dissolved...
Integrating Aquatic Metabolism and Net Ecosystem CO2 Balance in Short- and Long-Hydroperiod Subtropical Freshwater Wetlands
01. April 2022
Abstract How aquatic primary productivity influences the carbon (C) sequestering capacity of wetlands is uncertain. We evaluated the magnitude and variability in aquatic C dynamics and compared them to net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) rates within calcareous freshwater wetlands in Everglades National Park. We continuously recorded 30-min measurements of dissolved oxygen (DO), water level, water temperature (Twater), and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). These measurements were coupled with ecosystem CO2 fluxes over 5 years...
Topography and Tree Species Improve Estimates of Spatial Variation in Soil Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in a Subtropical Forest
01. April 2022
Abstract Subtropical and tropical forests account for over 50% of soil CO2 production, 47% of N2O fluxes of natural ecosystems, and act as both significant sources and sinks of atmospheric CH4. However, ecosystem-scale estimates of these fluxes typically do not account for uncertainty that arises from environmental heterogeneity over small spatial scales. To assess the effects of small-scale environmental heterogeneity on GHG fluxes in a tropical forest ecosystem, we measured fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O across a topographic gradient and at the base of different tree...
Are Northern Lakes in Relatively Intact Temperate Forests Showing Signs of Increasing Phytoplankton Biomass?
01. April 2022
Abstract Increased reports of phytoplankton blooms in remote pristine lakes provide the perception that climate-driven fundamental changes may be occurring in lake ecosystems. There is a crucial need for detailed surveys of lakes covering large spatial and temporal scales to determine whether phytoplankton biomass is on the rise in northern forested landscapes. To characterize spatial and temporal variation in chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) as a proxy of phytoplankton biomass in lakes located in the relatively intact northern temperate forest in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence...
Agricultural Landscape Transformation Needed to Meet Water Quality Goals in the Yahara River Watershed of Southern Wisconsin
01. April 2022
Abstract Balancing agricultural production with other ecosystem services is a vexing challenge. The Yahara River watershed in southern Wisconsin is a place where tensions among farmers, policymakers, and citizens at-large run high because nutrient loss from the agricultural practices of a few drive the impairment of surface waters for many. Reducing manure and fertilizer application, as well as increasing perennial grass cover have been proposed as potential solutions. Using the Agro-IBIS agroecosystem model, we examined 48 scenarios of future land management and...
Snail Mucus Increases the CO2 Efflux of Biological Soil Crusts
01. April 2022
Abstract Biological soil crusts (hereafter, biocrusts) are communities of microorganisms that regulate key ecosystem processes such as water distribution, soil erosion, and nutrient cycling in drylands worldwide. The nature of biocrust function can be influenced by multiple environmental factors, including climatic conditions (for example, precipitation), interactions with plants, and anthropogenic disturbances. Animal regulation of biocrust function has received less research attention, focusing primarily on livestock trampling and to a much lesser extent on biocrust...
Anthropogenic Transformation Disconnects a Lowland River From Contemporary Carbon Stores in Its Catchment
01. April 2022
Abstract Rivers transport carbon from continents to oceans. Surprisingly, this carbon has often been found to be centuries old, not originating from contemporary plant biomass. This can be explained by anthropogenic disturbance of soils or discharge of radiocarbon–depleted wastewater. However, land enclosure and channel bypassing transformed many rivers from anabranching networks to single–channel systems with overbank sediment accumulation and lowered floodplain groundwater tables. We hypothesized that human development changed the fluvial carbon towards older...
Sea-Level Rise and the Persistence of Tree Islands in Coastal Landscapes
01. April 2022
Abstract Naturally formed forest patches known as tree islands are found within lower-statured wetland matrices throughout the world, where they contrast sharply with the surrounding vegetation. In some coastal wetlands they are embedded in former freshwater marshes that are currently exposed to saltwater intrusion and mangrove encroachment associated with accelerating sea-level rise. In this study we resurveyed tree composition and determined environmental conditions in tree islands of the coastal Florida Everglades that had been examined two decades earlier. We asked...
Fine Wood Decomposition Rates Decline with the Age of Tropical Successional Forests in Southern Mexico: Implications to Ecosystem Carbon Storage
01. April 2022
Abstract Wood decomposition in tropical forests is strongly linked to the terrestrial carbon cycle. Our understanding of the successional changes in wood decomposition in diverse tropical forests is still limited. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that fine wood decomposition rates decline with the increasing age of successional forests due to the interspecific variation in wood density and changes in species composition. We studied fine wood decomposition in a chronosequence of tropical forests representing four successional phases in southern Mexico. Wood...
Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond
01. April 2022
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...