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Ecosystems 

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Biocrusts Modulate Climate Change Effects on Soil Organic Carbon Pools: Insights From a 9-Year Experiment
27. September 2022
Abstract Accumulating evidence suggests that warming associated with climate change is decreasing the total amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) in drylands, although scientific research has not given enough emphasis to particulate (POC) and mineral-associated organic carbon (MAOC) pools. Biocrusts are a major biotic feature of drylands and have large impacts on the C cycle, yet it is largely unknown whether they modulate the responses of POC and MAOC to climate change. Here, we assessed the effects of simulated climate change (control, reduced rainfall (RE), warming (WA...
Biophysical Factors Influence Methane Fluxes in Subtropical Freshwater Wetlands Using Eddy Covariance Methods
26. September 2022
Abstract Wetlands are the largest natural source of methane (CH4); however, the contribution of subtropical wetlands to global CH4 budgets is still unclear due to difficulties in accurately quantifying CH4 emissions from these complex ecosystems. Both direct (water management strategies) and indirect (altered weather patterns associated with climate change) anthropogenic influences are also leading to greater uncertainties in our ability to determine changes in CH4 emissions from these ecosystems. This study compares CH4 fluxes from two freshwater marshes with different...
Embracing Uncertainty and Probabilistic Outcomes for Ecological Critical Loads
23. September 2022
Abstract Species are a sensitive gauge of air quality only if the “signal” of their response to atmospheric deposition is properly distinguished from the “noise” of model error, measurement error and ecological variation. Here, we quantified and mapped uncertainty in ten lichen-based critical loads (CLs) or exceedances for nitrogen and sulfur deposition in the USA. We tested the effects of model error by Monte Carlo resampling of model parameters, and the effects of measurement error in the number and identity of species using bootstrap resampling. Measurement...
Topography Mediates the Response of Soil CO2 Efflux to Precipitation Over Days, Seasons, and Years
15. September 2022
Abstract Spatiotemporal heterogeneity in soil CO2 efflux (FS) underlies one of our greatest gaps in understanding global carbon (C) cycles. Though scientists recognize this heterogeneity, FS sampling schemes often average across spatial heterogeneity or fail to capture fine temporal heterogeneity, and many ecosystem models assume flat terrain. Here, we test the idea that simple, remotely sensible terrain variables improve regression models of spatiotemporal variation in FS. We used automatic chambers that, for the first time, capture FS in complex temperate forest terrain...
Watershed-scale Variation in Potential Fungal Community Contributions to Ectomycorrhizal Biogeochemical Syndromes
15. September 2022
Abstract Intrinsic soil properties have been shown to mediate the effects of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi and their associated trees on soil organic matter (SOM) and nitrogen (N) cycling, but variation in the contribution of fungal communities to ECM effects across different forests remains uncertain. To investigate the potential role of fungal communities in driving observed variation in ECM effects, we characterized fungal community composition and function using DNA sequence variability of the ITS2 region of the fungal rRNA operon and measured chemical properties of...
Seeing the System from Above: The Use and Potential of Remote Sensing for Studying Ecosystem Dynamics
07. September 2022
Abstract Remote sensing techniques are increasingly used for studying ecosystem dynamics, delivering spatially explicit information on the properties of Earth over large spatial and multi-decadal temporal extents. Yet, there is still a gap between the more technology-driven development of novel remote sensing techniques and their applications for studying ecosystem dynamics. Here, I review the existing literature to explore how addressing these gaps might enable recent methods to overcome longstanding challenges in ecological research. First, I trace the emergence of...
Ectomycorrhizal Stands Accelerate Decomposition to a Greater Extent than Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Stands in a Northern Deciduous Forest
01. September 2022
Abstract It has been proposed that ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungi slow down decomposition by competing with free-living saprotrophs for organic nutrients and other soil resources (known as the “Gadgil effect”), thereby increasing soil carbon sequestration. As such, this Gadgil effect should depend on soil organic matter age and quality, but this remains unstudied. In addition, the Gadgil effect is not expected to occur in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) forests since AM fungi cannot access directly nutrients from soil organic matter, yet few direct comparisons between EcM...
Elevated Allochthony in Stream Food Webs as a Result of Longitudinal Cumulative Effects of Forest Management
01. September 2022
Abstract The river continuum concept (RCC) predicts a downstream shift in the reliance of aquatic consumers from terrestrial to aquatic carbon sources, but this concept has rarely been assessed with longitudinal studies. Similarly, there are no studies addressing how forestry related disturbances to the structure of headwater food webs manifest (accumulate/dissipate) downstream and/or whether forest management alters natural longitudinal trends predicted by the RCC. Using stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen, we investigated how: 1) autochthony in...
Long-Term Drought and Warming Alter Soil Bacterial and Fungal Communities in an Upland Heathland
01. September 2022
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...
Terrestrial Nitrogen Inputs Affect the Export of Unprocessed Atmospheric Nitrate to Surface Waters: Insights from Triple Oxygen Isotopes of Nitrate
01. September 2022
Abstract Atmospheric nitrate (NO3−Atm) deposition has increased dramatically during the past ~ 150 years and contributes to ecosystem eutrophication. NO3−Atm deposition is widespread, but the role of different landscapes in modulating watershed-scale processing and export of NO3−Atm remains unclear. We measured triple oxygen isotopes (a tracer of NO3−Atm) of NO3− for 832 stream samples collected during baseflow and stormflow from 14 watersheds of varied land use throughout two years in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and we used these data to assess the...
Integrating Decomposers, Methane-Cycling Microbes and Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes Along a Peatland Successional Gradient in a Land Uplift Region
01. September 2022
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...
Hydrologic Setting Dictates the Sensitivity of Ecosystem Metabolism to Climate Variability in Lakes
01. September 2022
Abstract Global change is influencing production and respiration in ecosystems across the globe. Lakes in particular are changing in response to climatic variability and cultural eutrophication, resulting in changes in ecosystem metabolism. Although the primary drivers of production and respiration such as the availability of nutrients, light, and carbon are well known, heterogeneity in hydrologic setting (for example, hydrological connectivity, morphometry, and residence) across and within regions may lead to highly variable responses to the same drivers of change...
Fire Recurrence and Time Since Last Fire Interact to Determine the Supply of Multiple Ecosystem Services by Mediterranean Forests
01. September 2022
Abstract Wildfires shape the composition and functioning of Mediterranean ecosystems, but we do not know how these ecosystems respond to both the higher fire recurrence and shorter recovery times expected for future climatic scenarios. We sampled 29 plots with different fire recurrences (from 0 to 4 fires over the past decades) and time since the last fire (up to 35 years; hereafter TSLF) in Southeast Spain, to assess the effect of fire recurrence and TSLF on 25 ecosystem attributes, five related ecosystem services (biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration...
Identifying Carbon-Degrading Enzyme Activities in Association with Soil Organic Carbon Accumulation Under Land-Use Changes
01. September 2022
Abstract Land degradation and restoration strongly influence terrestrial soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics. However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Here, based on a meta-analysis of 803 observations from 138 studies worldwide, our data analyses suggest that C-degrading enzymes play a crucial role in regulating SOC dynamics under land degradation and restoration. Our result showed that decreased cellulase activity but unchanged ligninase activity was associated with land degradation, whereas higher increased cellulase activity compared with ligninase...
Land Use Modeling Predicts Divergent Patterns of Change Between Upper and Lower Elevations in a Subalpine Watershed of the Alps
01. September 2022
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...
Estimating Pelagic Fish Biomass in a Tropical Seascape Using Echosounding and Baited Stereo-Videography
01. September 2022
Abstract The pelagic ecosystem is the ocean’s largest by volume and of major importance for food provision and carbon cycling. The high fish species diversity common in the tropics presents a major challenge for biomass estimation using fisheries acoustics, the traditional approach for evaluating mid-water biomass. Converting echo intensities to biomass density requires information on species identity and size, which are typically obtained by lethal means, and thus unsuitable in the portion of the ocean that is ‘no take’. To improve conservation and...
Sensitive Groups of Bacteria Dictate Microbial Functional Responses to Short-term Warming and N Input in a Semiarid Grassland
01. September 2022
Abstract Environmental change factors can significantly affect the composition and physiology of soil microbes. How the resulting changes in the community composition are related to microbial functions, however, remains poorly understood. We investigated the effects of climate warming (+ 1.4°C of air temperature and + 0.75°C of soil temperature at 10 cm depth) and reactive nitrogen (N) input (12 g N m–2 year–1) on the community composition and physiologies of soil bacteria in a semiarid Loess grassland. Soil bacterial communities were assessed by Miseq...
The Role of Epiphytic Algae and Grazing Snails in Stable States of Submerged and of Free-Floating Plants
01. September 2022
Abstract Dominant floating and submerged rootless vegetation can be regarded as alternative stable states world-wide. The competition between these two vegetation types can be strongly influenced by epiphytic algae. These algae, on the other hand, are partially controlled by grazers like snails. However, how this interaction between snails and epiphyton affects the competition between floating and submerged rootless vegetation remains rather unclear. Here, we investigate this interaction. Floating (Lemna gibba) and submerged rootless (Ceratophyllum demersum) plants were...
Effects of Compounded Precipitation Pattern Intensification and Drought Occur Belowground in a Mesic Grassland
01. September 2022
Abstract Climate change is altering precipitation regimes globally, with expectations of intensified precipitation patterns (for example, larger but fewer rainfall events) and more frequent and extreme drought. Both aspects of precipitation change can impact ecosystem function individually, but it is more likely that they will occur in combination. In a central US mesic grassland, we imposed an extreme 2-year drought (growing season precipitation reduced by 66%) on plots with a long-term (16-year) history of exposure to either ambient or intensified precipitation...
Early Differentiation of the Phenotypic Space and Performance of Juniperus thurifera Across Woodland-Expanding Areas
29. August 2022
Abstract Forest expansion after rural abandonment is changing landscapes, bringing new challenges and opportunities. Juvenile performance has an effect in the establishment of new forests and the subsequent acclimation of adult trees. However, most studies have focused on the performance of adult trees. Here, we analysed differences in the phenotypic trait space of juveniles across gradients of Juniperus thurifera woodland expansion and explored which traits shape juveniles’ performance, seeking specific drivers of such differentiation and the role of the ontogeny. Thus...