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Latest Results for Ecosystems
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Suspended Sections Within Downed Deadwood Are Drier, Have Altered Decomposer Communities, and Slower Decomposition
15. September 2023
Abstract The decomposition of deadwood plays a key role in forest carbon emissions. Most pieces of downed deadwood are partially suspended above the forest floor, but how this suspension affects decomposition rates is typically ignored and remains largely unexplored. Here, we combine field observations and experimental manipulations to explore how partial suspension of downed wood (that is, wood debris in contact with the ground) influences decomposer communities and patterns of decomposition in a lowland tropical forest. Experimental manipulations of wood sticks showed...
Compensatory Mechanisms Absorb Regional Carbon Losses Within a Rapidly Shifting Coastal Mosaic
15. September 2023
Abstract Coastal landscapes are naturally shifting mosaics of distinct ecosystems that are rapidly migrating with sea-level rise. Previous work illustrates that transitions among individual ecosystems have disproportionate impacts on the global carbon cycle, but this cannot address nonlinear interactions between multiple ecosystems that potentially cascade across the coastal landscape. Here, we synthesize carbon stocks, accumulation rates, and regional land cover data over 36 years (1984 and 2020) for a variety of ecosystems across a large portion of the rapidly...
Impact of Drought on Ecohydrology of Southern California Grassland and Shrubland
05. September 2023
Abstract Through their rooting profiles and water demands, plants affect the distribution of water in the soil profile. Simultaneously, soil water content controls plant development and interactions within and between plant communities. These plant-soil water feedbacks might vary across plant communities with different rooting depths and species composition. In semiarid environments, understanding these differences will be essential to predict how ecosystems will respond to drought, which may become more frequent and severe with climate change. In this study, we tested...
Correction to: Early Differentiation of the Phenotypic Space and Performance of Juniperus thurifera Across Woodland-Expanding Area
31. August 2023
Co-limitation of Fine Root Growth by Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Early Successional Northern Hardwood Forests
31. August 2023
Abstract Functional balance theory predicts that plants will allocate less carbon belowground when the availability of nutrients is elevated. We tested this prediction in two successional northern hardwood forest stands by quantifying fine root biomass and growth after 5–7 years of treatment in a nitrogen (N) x phosphorus (P) factorial addition experiment. We quantified root responses at two different levels of treatment: the whole-plot scale fertilization and small-patch scale fertilization of ingrowth cores. Fine root biomass was higher in plots receiving P, and fine...
Rewilding Risks for Peatland Permafrost
31. August 2023
Abstract Permafrost thaw is projected to reinforce climate warming by releasing large stocks of stored carbon. Rewilding northern high latitude regions with large herbivores has been proposed as a climate mitigation strategy to protect frozen soils and increase ecosystem resilience to climate warming. We explored the impact of summer reindeer density on subarctic peatlands by comparing 17 peatlands differing in reindeer density in Fennoscandia. We used a combination of high-resolution image analyses and field assessments along 50 transects to assess microtopography...
Trait-Based Response of Deadwood and Tree-Related Microhabitats to Decline in Temperate Lowland and Montane Forests
31. August 2023
Abstract Forest decline caused by climate change has been a growing challenge for European foresters for decades. The accumulation of tree-related microhabitats (TreMs) and deadwood during decline can enhance stand structural heterogeneity and provide crucial habitat features for many forest ecological guilds. We analysed changes in deadwood and TreM assemblages using a trait-based approach in three case studies: drought-induced decline in highland Pyrenean fir and lowland oak forests, and windstorm/pest-induced dieback in highland Bavarian spruce forests. Decline caused...
Current Forest–Savanna Transition in Northern South America Departs from Typical Climatic Thresholds
25. August 2023
Abstract The forest–savanna transition is the most widespread ecotone in the tropics, with important ecological, climatic, and biogeochemical implications at local to global scales. However, the factors and mechanisms that control this transition vary among continents and regions. Here, we analyzed which factors best explain the transition in northern South America (Llanos ecoregion and northwestern Amazon), where common thresholds on typical environmental factors (for example, mean annual precipitation (MAP), wet season precipitation) fail to predict it. For instance...
Spatial and Temporal Variation of Large Wood in a Coastal River
17. August 2023
Abstract Large wood (LW) is a critical habitat-forming feature in rivers, but our understanding of its spatial and temporal dynamics remains incomplete due to its historical removal from waterways. Few studies have the necessary spatial and temporal extent and resolution to assess wood dynamics over long time periods or in response to flood disturbance. We used an exceptional dataset from 65 km of a free-flowing coastal river in Oregon, USA, to characterize LW dynamics over a 12-year period (1989–2000). Our objectives were to assess the spatial dynamics of LW over...
Integrating Remote Sensing with Ground-based Observations to Quantify the Effects of an Extreme Freeze Event on Black Mangroves (Avicennia germinans) at the Landscape Scale
14. August 2023
Abstract Climate change is altering the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Quantifying ecosystem responses to extreme events at the landscape scale is critical for understanding and responding to climate-driven change but is constrained by limited data availability. Here, we integrated remote sensing with ground-based observations to quantify landscape-scale vegetation damage from an extreme climatic event. We used ground- and satellite-based black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) leaf damage data from the northern Gulf of Mexico (USA and Mexico) to examine...
Exploring the Frequency and Distribution of Ecological Non-monotonicity in Associations among Ecosystem Constituents
14. August 2023
Abstract Complex links between biotic and abiotic constituents are fundamental for the functioning of ecosystems. Although non-monotonic interactions and associations are known to increase the stability, diversity, and productivity of ecosystems, they are frequently ignored by community-level standard statistical approaches. Using the copula-based dependence measure qad, capable of quantifying the directed and asymmetric dependence between variables for all forms of (functional) relationships, we determined the proportion of non-monotonic associations between different...
Effect of Drought and Heavy Precipitation on CH4 Emissions and δ13C–CH4 in a Northern Temperate Peatland
09. August 2023
Abstract Shifting precipitation patterns due to climate change may impact peatland methane (CH4) emissions, as precipitation affects water table level which largely controls CH4 cycling. To investigate the impact of variable precipitation on peatland CH4 emissions, we measured CH4 fluxes and their 13C isotope composition (δ13C–CH4) across two summers marked by drought (2020) and heavy precipitation (2021) in a northern temperate poor fen in New Hampshire, USA. Monthly variation in CH4 fluxes and δ13C–CH4 was larger than interannual variation and variation between...
Standing Litter Modifies Top-Down Effects of Large Herbivores on a Grassland Plant Community
07. August 2023
Abstract Large herbivores can exert pronounced top-down effects on plant communities in grassland ecosystems. Previous studies highlighted the importance of the composition and traits of living plants in regulating the impact of herbivores on plant community. However, there has been little consideration of whether and how plant litter, a ubiquitous “after-life” plant component, affects the outcome of herbivore grazing on grasslands. Here, we conducted a large-scale field experiment in temperate grasslands of northeastern China to investigate how standing plant...
Pattern of Litterfall Production Throughout a Tropical Humid Forest Chronosequence
07. August 2023
Abstract Neotropical landscapes are often characterized as mosaics of actively grazed pastures and forest fragments at various stages of succession. Restoring abandoned pastures requires intervening with actions informed by local ecological succession. Here we evaluate how litter production, a key component of nutrient cycling in forests, varies between physiographic landscapes (hill and lowland mountain), among stand age groups (early-secondary: 0–20 year, intermediate-secondary: 20–40 year, and old-growth forests: > 40 year), and in response to climatic...
Soil Abiotic Properties Shape Plant Functional Diversity Across Temperate Grassland Plant Communities
01. August 2023
Abstract There is increasing awareness that plant community functional properties can be an important driver of ecosystem functioning. However, major knowledge gaps exist about how environmental factors, especially climate and soil abiotic properties, shape plant functional diversity at a regional scale. Furthermore, at those scales the relationships between plant functional and taxonomic diversity have rarely been considered. Here, we used a large database of plant species and functional trait data from 180 temperate grasslands across England, covering a broad range of...
Impact of Sediment Bioturbation on Microphytobenthic Primary Producers: Importance of Macrobenthic Functional Traits
01. August 2023
Abstract Microphytobenthos (MPB) is one of the most important primary producers in coastal and estuarine ecosystems, where it plays a substantial role in many ecological functions. Although the influence of several environmental factors on MPB biomass and productivity is well documented, the effects of macrofaunal bioturbation remain poorly assessed. The purpose of this study was to experimentally quantify the influence of sediment bioturbation processes (that is, sediment reworking and bioirrigation) on biogeochemical fluxes across the sediment–water interface and...
Variability in Tree-ring Width and NDVI Responses to Climate at a Landscape Level
01. August 2023
Abstract Inter-annual climatically driven growth variability of above-ground biomass compartments (for example, tree stems and foliage) controls the intensity of carbon sequestration into forest ecosystems. However, understanding the differences between the climatic response of stem and foliage at the landscape level is limited. In this study, we examined the climate-growth response of stem and leaf biomass and their relationship for Pinus sylvestris (PISY) and Picea abies (PCAB) in topographically complex landscapes. We used tree-ring width chronologies and time series...
Fishers' Knowledge Reveals Ecological Interactions Between Fish and Plants in High Diverse Tropical Rivers
01. August 2023
Abstract Frugivory and seed dispersal by fish is an important mutualistic interaction in complex and species-rich tropical rivers. The local ecological knowledge (LEK) held by fishers can provide new information on relationships between fishes and plants in less studied rivers. This study aims to investigate the feeding interactions between frugivorous fish and plants through interaction networks based on the fishers' LEK in three rivers in the Brazilian Amazon (Negro, Tapajós and Tocantins). A total of 418 fishers were interviewed in 24 communities (eight in each...
Macroscale Variation in Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Foliar Carbon, Nitrogen, and Nitrogen Resorption
01. August 2023
Abstract Many tree species grow across large climatic and geographical gradients, but there is a lack of information related to intraspecific variation in leaf traits for some of the most abundant trees in temperate forests as related to these gradients. In particular, understanding intraspecific variation in carbon (C)- and nitrogen (N)-based traits of both plant foliage and senesced leaves is important as they provide insight into leaf physiology, tree nutrient status, and forest biogeochemical processes. We report on a community science project that focused on...
Structuring Life After Death: Plant Leachates Promote CO2 Uptake by Regulating Microbial Biofilm Interactions in a Northern Peatland Ecosystem
01. August 2023
Abstract Shifts in plant functional groups associated with climate change have the potential to influence peatland carbon storage by altering the amount and composition of organic matter available to aquatic microbial biofilms. The goal of this study was to evaluate the potential for plant subsidies to regulate ecosystem carbon flux (CO2) by governing the relative proportion of primary producers (microalgae) and heterotrophic decomposers (heterotrophic bacteria) during aquatic biofilm development in an Alaskan fen. We evaluated biofilm composition and CO2 flux inside...