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Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Ecosystems
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Hurricane-Induced Massive Nutrient Return via Tropical Dry Forest Litterfall: Has Forest Biogeochemistry Resilience Changed?
09. Juni 2022
Abstract High-intensity hurricane disturbances have severe consequences on forest structure and functioning. Through wind force and heavy rainfall, they cause extensive canopy removal and an input of fine litter and woody debris well above normal levels. We examined litterfall N and P concentrations and fluxes before and after Hurricane Patricia (category 4) landfall in October 2015 in the seasonally dry tropical forest of the Chamela region, Jalisco, Mexico. Additionally, we compared the forest response to Patricia with those to Hurricane Jova (2011), from the Eastern...
Biophysical Heterogeneity, Hydrologic Connectivity, and Productivity of a Montane Floodplain Forest
07. Juni 2022
Abstract Floodplains display exceptional variation in habitat type, connectivity, and vegetation structure that make them ideal landscapes in which to address biophysical controls on primary production. However, our ability to do so requires fine-scale assessment of biophysical complexity over large spatial gradients in habitat heterogeneity, species composition, and productivity. We used LiDAR data and hydrologic modeling to quantify surface elevation, hydrologic connectivity, and a vegetation structural diversity index (VSDI) in 551 patches across a floodplain forest of...
Soil Fungi Promote Biodiversity–Productivity Relationships in Experimental Communities of Young Trees
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Soil fungi are a major factor maintaining plant diversity and productivity, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. Based on a biodiversity–ecosystem functioning experiment in southeast China, we evaluated the impacts of root-associated soil fungi on plant total, above- and belowground biomass production in monocultures and in different 2- and 4-tree species mixtures using two pools of four subtropical tree species each. All plots were inoculated with forest soil but half of the plots were additionally treated with fungicide to suppress...
Ocean Warming Will Reduce Standing Biomass in a Tropical Western Atlantic Reef Ecosystem
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Ocean warming is altering life on Earth from individuals to ecosystems. The impacts on standing biomass and food webs functioning are less evident due to the paucity of data and difficulty to generate reliable models. We modeled the food web of a tropical near-pristine reef ecosystem and analyzed changes on living biomass across trophic levels as a response to ocean warming over the twenty-first century. By the end of the century, total standing biomass will decrease by 1%, 8% and 44% under different ocean warming scenarios (from reduced RCP 2.6 emission...
Predicting Dissolved Organic Matter Lability and Carbon Accumulation in Temperate Freshwater Ecosystems
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Dissolved organic matter (DOM) dynamics influence aquatic ecosystem metabolism with ecological and biogeochemical effects. During microbial degradation, certain DOM molecules accumulate in the environments constituting the residual refractory carbon (C) pool that has a key role in the global carbon cycle in lakes and oceans. The present study aims to model the factors driving bacterial C-consumption, thus predicting the potential residual carbon accumulation. We developed mechanistic models to represent bacterial C-consumption, considering the contribution of...
Large Mammalian Herbivores and the Paradox of Soil Carbon in Grazing Ecosystems: Role of Microbial Decomposers and Their Enzymes
01. Juni 2022
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...
Mapping the Delivery of Ecological Functions Combining Field Collected Data and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
01. Juni 2022
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...
Modeling Patterns and Controls of Food Web Structure in Saline Wetlands of a Rocky Mountain Basin
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Semiarid intermountain basins of western North America contain many wetlands driven by flood irrigation from mountain snowpack. With decreasing snowpack and increasing urban water demands, maintaining these islands of productivity within otherwise dry shortgrass steppe requires understanding factors that support wetland food webs. In the Laramie Basin, Wyoming, USA the two main wetland types differ in consistency of freshwater inflow and salinity—oligosaline (0.5–5‰ TDS) wetlands dominated by the macroalgae Chara spp., and mesosaline (5–18‰) wetlands...
Response of Stream Metabolism to Coarse Woody Debris Additions Along a Catchment Disturbance Gradient
01. Juni 2022
Abstract We evaluated the ecological effectiveness of an in-stream restoration project involving coarse woody debris (CWD) additions to streams along an upland soil and vegetation disturbance gradient at the Fort Benning Military Installation near Columbus, GA. We examined short-term (immediate effectiveness) and longer-term (sustainability) responses to CWD additions by measuring ecosystem metabolism rates in 8 streams quarterly over a 6-year period, including 3 years before (2001–2003) and 3 years after (2004–2006) CWD additions that were made to half of the...
Modelling Marine Predator Habitat Using the Abundance of Its Pelagic Prey in the Tropical South-Western Pacific
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Understanding the ecological mechanisms underpinning distribution patterns is vital in managing populations of mobile marine species. This study is a first step towards an integrated description of the habitats and spatial distributions of marine predators in the Natural Park of the Coral Sea, one of the world’s largest marine-protected areas at about 1.3 million km2, covering the entirety of New Caledonia’s pelagic waters. The study aims to quantify the benefit of including a proxy for prey abundance in predator niche modelling, relative to other marine...
Inundation, Hydrodynamics and Vegetation Influence Carbon Dioxide Concentrations in Amazon Floodplain Lakes
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Extensive floodplains and numerous lakes in the Amazon basin are well suited to examine the role of floodable lands within the context of the sources and processing of carbon within inland waters. We measured diel, seasonal and inter-annual variations of CO2 concentrations and related environmental variables in open water and flooded vegetation and estimated their habitat area using remote sensing in a representative Amazon floodplain lake, Lake Janauacá. Variability in CO2 concentrations in open water resulted from changes in the extent of inundation and...
BVOC Emissions From a Subarctic Ecosystem, as Controlled by Insect Herbivore Pressure and Temperature
01. Juni 2022
Abstract The biogenic volatile organic compounds, BVOCs have a central role in ecosystem–atmosphere interactions. High-latitude ecosystems are facing increasing temperatures and insect herbivore pressure, which may affect their BVOC emission rates, but evidence and predictions of changes remain scattered. We studied the long-term effects of + 3 °C warming and reduced insect herbivory (achieved through insecticide sprayings) on mid- and late summer BVOC emissions from field layer vegetation, supplemented with birch saplings, and the underlying soil in Subarctic...
Fungal Biodiversity Mediates the Effects of Drying on Freshwater Ecosystem Functioning
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Investigating the influence of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning over environmental gradients is needed to anticipate ecosystem responses to global change. However, our understanding of the functional role of freshwater biodiversity, especially for microbes, is mainly based on manipulative experiments, where biodiversity and environmental variability are minimized. Here, we combined observational and manipulative experiments to analyse how fungal biodiversity responds to and mediates the impacts of drying on two key ecosystem processes: organic matter...
Tracking the Rates and Mechanisms of Canopy Damage and Recovery Following Hurricane Maria Using Multitemporal Lidar Data
01. Juni 2022
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...
Positive Effects of Legumes on Soil Organic Carbon Stocks Disappear at High Legume Proportions Across Natural Grasslands in the Pyrenees
01. Juni 2022
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...
Climate Change Driving Widespread Loss of Coastal Forested Wetlands Throughout the North American Coastal Plain
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Coastal forested wetlands support many endemic species, sequester substantial carbon stocks, and have been reduced in extent due to historic drainage and agricultural expansion. Many of these unique coastal ecosystems have been drained, while those that remain are now threatened by saltwater intrusion and sea level rise in hydrologically modified coastal landscapes. Several recent studies have documented rapid and accelerating losses of coastal forested wetlands in small areas of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America, but the full extent of loss across...
Landscape Controls on Nutrient Stoichiometry Regulate Lake Primary Production at the Margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet
01. Juni 2022
Abstract Global change is reshaping the physical environment and altering nutrient dynamics across the Arctic. These changes can affect the structure and function of biological communities and influence important climate-related feedbacks (for example, carbon (C) sequestration) in biogeochemical processing hot spots such as lakes. To understand how these ecosystems will respond in the future, this study examined recent (< 10 y) and long-term (1000 y) shifts in autotrophic production across paraglacial environmental gradients in SW Greenland. Contemporary lake...
Sclerophyllous Forest Tree Growth Under the Influence of a Historic Megadrought in the Mediterranean Ecoregion of Chile
25. Mai 2022
Abstract The Mediterranean-type Ecosystems of Central Chile is one of the most threatened regions in South America by global change, particularly evidenced by the historical megadrought that has occurred in central Chile since 2010. The sclerophyllous forest stands out, whose history and relationship with drought conditions has been little studied. Cryptocarya alba and Beilschmiedia miersii (Lauraceae), two large endemic trees, represent an opportunity to analyze the incidence of intense droughts in the growth of sclerophyllous forests by analyzing their tree rings. Here...
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...