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Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Ecosystems
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Skid Trail Effects on Soil Methane and Carbon Dioxide Flux in a Selection-Managed Northern Hardwood Forest
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...
Direct and Indirect Effects of Forest Anthropogenic Disturbance on Above and Below Ground Communities and Litter Decomposition
Abstract Direct and indirect effects of habitat modification and changes in biotic interactions should be taken into consideration to understand the ecological consequences of forest anthropogenic disturbance on forest ecosystems. Few empirical studies assess indirect effects and consider multiple trophic levels, but recent statistical and theoretical advances provide new paths to do so. Here, we investigate direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic disturbances on multi-trophic soil communities in a boreal forest. We assessed the short term (2 years) abiotic and...
Assessing the Risk of Losing Forest Ecosystem Services Due to Wildfires
Abstract Disturbances such as wildfires are an integral part of forest ecosystems, but climate change is increasing their extent, frequency, intensity and severity, compromising forest ecosystem services (ES) that are fundamental to human well-being. Thus, evaluating the risk of losing ecosystem services due to wildfires is essential for anticipating and adapting to future conditions. Here, we analyze the spatial patterns of the risk of losing key forest ES and biodiversity (that is, carbon sink, bird richness, hydrological control and erosion control) due to wildfires in...
Early Warning Signals for Rate-induced Critical Transitions in Salt Marsh Ecosystems
Abstract Intertidal ecosystems are important because of their function as coastal protection and ecological value. Sea level rise may lead to submergence of salt marshes worldwide. Salt marshes can exhibit critical transitions if the rate of sea level rise exceeds salt marsh sedimentation, leading to a positive feedback between reduced sedimentation and vegetation loss, drowning the marshes. However, a general framework to recognize such rate-induced critical transitions and predict salt marsh collapse through early warning signals is lacking. Therefore, we apply the...
Precipitation Pattern Regulates Soil Carbon Flux Responses to Nitrogen Addition in a Temperate Forest
Abstract Changes in precipitation frequency and intensity are predicted to be more intense and frequent accompanying climate change and may have immediate or potentially prolonged effects on soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes. However, how soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes respond to change in precipitation patterns remains poorly understood, especially under nitrogen (N) addition. In this study, we investigated the fluxes of soil CO2 and CH4 during a two-year field experiment and the effects of long-time precipitation reduction (− 30% of through-fall), short-term precipitation pulse and...
White-Sand Savannas Expand at the Core of the Amazon After Forest Wildfires
Abstract Across the tropics, climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires, exposing tropical forests to the risk of shifting into an open vegetation state. A recent satellite analysis of the Amazon basin suggests this might happen first in floodplains where forests are particularly fragile. We studied floodplain landscapes of the middle Rio Negro, covering ~ 4100 km2 at the Central Amazon region, where forest ecosystems are dominant. We used Landsat images to map 40 years of wildfire history and test the hypothesis that repeatedly burnt...
A View From Both Ends: Shifts in Herbivore Assemblages Impact Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes on Coral Reefs
Abstract A fundamental goal in ecology is to understand the role of consumers in top-down (TD) and bottom-up (BU) processes that affect the functioning of ecosystems. Consumers ingest organic matter and excrete inorganic nutrients, and individual roles are influenced by body size and functional identity. Our study quantifies how alterations to herbivore assemblages affect both TD and BU processes on coral reefs in the South Pacific. We collected empirical data on consumption and nutrient excretion rates from 300 individual herbivorous fishes belonging to five functional...
Early Tree Diversity and Composition Effects on Topsoil Chemistry in Young Forest Plantations Depend on Site Context
25. Februar 2021
Abstract Trees have a strong influence on the chemical properties of the soil in which they grow. Establishing plantations with different tree species combinations thus potentially leads to divergence in soil chemistry. To study the degree to which differentiation already occurs during the first years after establishment, we made use of a biodiversity–ecosystem functioning experiment in Belgium, FORBIO. The multi-site experiment replicates tree species richness (1–4 species) and composition in three sites. The sites represent contrasting site contexts, mostly land-use...
Frequent Fire Reduces the Magnitude of Positive Interactions Between an Invasive Grass and Soil Microbes in Temperate Forests
25. Februar 2021
Abstract Fire activity is increasing in many regions. Although increased fire activity is expected to promote plant invasion, over longer time periods, frequent fire can shift the nutrient status of ecosystems, which may alter interactions between invasive plants and soil microbial decomposers. Here, we applied a fire treatment to plots embedded in deciduous forests under regimes of either fire exclusion or frequent fire and invaded by the most widespread invasive grass in the eastern USA (Microstegium vimineum) to determine how frequent fire affects plant–soil...
Impact of Ocean Acidification on Ecosystem Functioning and Services in Habitat-Forming Species and Marine Ecosystems
25. Februar 2021
Abstract Ocean acidification (OA) is expected to impact habitat-forming species (HFS), with cascading effects on the whole marine ecosystem and related services that are seldom quantified. Here, the changes in HFSs biomass due to OA are modeled using a food web ecosystem model, and the trophic and non-trophic cascading effects on the marine community are investigated. The food web model represents a well-studied coastal marine protected area in the NW Mediterranean Sea where coralligenous reefs and Posidonia oceanica meadows constitute important HFS. The model is used to...
Significant Pico- and Nanoplankton Contributions to Biogenic Silica Standing Stocks and Production Rates in the Oligotrophic Eastern Indian Ocean
23. Februar 2021
Abstract The present study involves the first measurements of size-fractionated biogenic silica (bSi) standing stocks and production rates in the oligotrophic Eastern Indian Ocean. The 150-m integrated bSi standing stocks in the pico- and nanosized fractions averaged 49% and 39%, respectively, of the total; the contributions of pico- and nanoplankton to total bSi production rates were 43% and 38%, respectively, together suggesting that these smaller plankton contributed a significant proportion of both the total bSi standing stock and its rate of production. The total bSi...
2020 Reviewer Thank You
11. Februar 2021
Keystone Perennial Grassland Species Control Soil Nitrogen Flows
08. Februar 2021
Abstract Restoration of many grassland ecosystems is dependent on restoring native N cycling regimes, through methods such as nutrient stripping, C addition, and/or re-establishment of keystone species. We studied topsoil N pools and fluxes under five different understorey vegetation communities of different degradation states of grassy eucalypt woodlands across 11 sites in New South Wales, Australia, in order to identify whether high N flux but low standing N concentrations were responsible for the success of reference Themeda triandra communities. The presence of NO3...
Methane Concentration in the Heartwood of Living Trees and Estimated Methane Emission on Stems in Upland Forests
08. Februar 2021
Abstract The stems of living trees in upland forests might contribute to the global methane (CH4) source, but the contribution is poorly understood. We investigated CH4 concentration in the heartwood of living trees in dominant upland forests using field campaign and subsequently evaluated the importance of stem CH4 emission in the context of the global total. We found that only 0%, 9.8%, and 1.8% of stems of living trees had substantial CH4 concentration in heartwood of ≥ 10,000 μL L–1 in the boreal, temperate, and tropical and subtropical upland forests...
Dwarf Shrubs Impact Tundra Soils: Drier, Colder, and Less Organic Carbon
02. Februar 2021
Abstract In the tundra, woody plants are dispersing towards higher latitudes and altitudes due to increasingly favourable climatic conditions. The coverage and height of woody plants are increasing, which may influence the soils of the tundra ecosystem. Here, we use structural equation modelling to analyse 171 study plots and to examine if the coverage and height of woody plants affect the growing-season topsoil moisture and temperature (< 10 cm) as well as soil organic carbon stocks (< 80 cm). In our study setting, we consider the hierarchy of the ecosystem...
Litter Decomposition Rates of Biocrust-Forming Lichens Are Similar to Those of Vascular Plants and Are Affected by Warming
28. Januar 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...
Spatially Continuous Land-Cover Reconstructions Through the Holocene in Southern Sweden
28. Januar 2021
Abstract Climate change and human activities influence the development of ecosystems, with human demand of ecosystem services altering both land use and land cover. Fossil pollen records provide time series of vegetation characteristics, and the aim of this study was to create spatially continuous reconstructions of land cover through the Holocene in southern Sweden. The Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm (LRA) was applied to obtain quantitative reconstructions of pollen-based vegetation cover at local scales, accounting for pollen production, dispersal, and deposition...
Loss of Key Riparian Plant Species Impacts Stream Ecosystem Functioning
28. Januar 2021
Abstract Leaf litter of alder (Alnus glutinosa) is a key resource to detrital stream food webs. Due to its high quality and palatability, it is readily colonised by microorganisms and consumed by detritivores, contributing significantly to carbon and nutrient cycling and to ecosystem functioning. Given that this species has declined due to the spread of the pathogen Phytophthora alni, we investigated how its loss would alter leaf litter decomposition and associated stream assemblages of aquatic hyphomycetes and invertebrates, in a field experiment conducted in three...
Impacts of Canopy and Understory Nitrogen Additions on Stomatal Conductance and Carbon Assimilation of Dominant Tree Species in a Temperate Broadleaved Deciduous Forest
28. Januar 2021
Abstract Excess N deposition has aroused concerns about its negative impacts on forest ecosystems. A two-year study was conducted to assess the responses of stomatal conductance (Gc) and carbon assimilation (Anet) of dominant tree species (Liquidambar formosana, Quercus acutissima and Quercus variabilis) to increased N deposition at a canopy and understory N additions experimental platform in a temperate deciduous broadleaved forest. Five treatments included N addition of 25 and 50 kg ha−1 y−1 onto either the canopy (C25 and C50) or the understory (U25 and U50...
Ecosystem Processes Show Uniform Sensitivity to Winter Soil Temperature Change Across a Gradient from Central to Cold Marginal Stands of a Major Temperate Forest Tree
28. Januar 2021
Abstract The magnitude and frequency of soil frost events might increase in northern temperate regions in response to climate warming due to reduced insulation caused by declining snow cover. In temperate deciduous forests, increased soil frost severity can hamper tree growth and increase the mortality of fine roots, soil fauna and microorganisms, thus altering carbon and nutrient cycling. From single-site studies, however, it is unclear how the sensitivities of these responses change along continental gradients from regions with low to high snowfall. We conducted a...