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Sample records for ecosystem production plant

  1. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens.

    PubMed

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D; Fafard, Paul M; Markham, John H

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ(15)N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  2. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    PubMed Central

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  3. Enhanced seasonal CO2 exchange caused by amplified plant productivity in northern ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forkel, Matthias; Carvalhais, Nuno; Rödenbeck, Christian; Keeling, Ralph; Heimann, Martin; Thonicke, Kirsten; Zaehle, Sönke; Reichstein, Markus

    2016-04-01

    Atmospheric monitoring has shown an increase in the seasonal cycle of carbon dioxide (CO2) in high northern latitudes (> 40°N) since the 1960s. The much stronger increase of the seasonal CO2 amplitude in high latitudes compared to low latitudes suggests that northern ecosystems are experiencing large changes in carbon cycle dynamics. However the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood and current climate/carbon cycle models under-estimate observed changes in the seasonal CO2 amplitude. Here we aim to explain the observed latitudinal gradient of seasonal CO2 amplitude trends by contrasting observations from long-term monitoring sites of atmospheric CO2 concentration, satellite observation of vegetation greenness, and global observation-based datasets of gross primary production and net biome productivity, with results from the LPJmL dynamic global vegetation model coupled to the TM3 atmospheric transport model. Our results demonstrate that the latitudinal gradient of the enhanced seasonal CO2 amplitude is mainly driven by positive trends in photosynthetic carbon uptake caused by recent climate change and mediated by changing vegetation cover in boreal and arctic ecosystems. Climate change affects processes such as plant physiology, phenology, water availability, and vegetation dynamics, ultimately leading to increased plant productivity and vegetation cover in northern ecosystems in the last decades. Thereby photosynthetic carbon uptake has reacted much more strongly to warming than respiratory carbon release processes. Continued long-term observation of atmospheric CO2 together with ground and satellite observations of land surface and vegetation dynamics will be the key to detect, model, and better predict changes in high-latitude land/carbon cycle dynamics.

  4. Net ecosystem production in a Little Ice Age moraine: the role of plant functional traits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varolo, E.; Zanotelli, D.; Tagliavini, M.; Zerbe, S.; Montagnani, L.

    2015-07-01

    Current glacier retreat allows vast mountain ranges available for vegetation establishment and growth. Little is known about the effective carbon (C) budget of these new ecosystems and how the presence of different vegetation communities, characterized by their specific physiology and life forms influences C fluxes. In this study, using a comparative analysis of the C fluxes of two contrasting vegetation types, we intend to evaluate if the different physiologies of the main species have an effect on Ecosystem Respiration (Reco), Gross Primary Production (GPP), annual cumulated Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE), and long-term carbon accumulation in soil. The NEE of two plant communities present on a Little Ice Age moraine in the Matsch glacier forefield (Alps, Italy) was measured over two growing seasons. They are a typical C3 grassland, dominated by Festuca halleri All. and a community dominated by CAM rosettes Sempervivum montanum L. on rocky soils. Using transparent and opaque chambers, we extrapolated the ecophysiological responses to the main environmental drivers and performed the partition of NEE into Reco and GPP. Soil samples were collected from the same site to measure long-term C accumulation in the ecosystem. The two communities showed contrasting GPP but similar Reco patterns and as a result significantly different in NEE. The grassland acted mainly as a carbon sink with a total cumulated value of -46.4 ± 35.5 g C m-2 NEE while the plots dominated by the CAM rosettes acted as a source with 31.9 ± 22.4 g C m-2. In spite of the NEE being different in the two plant communities, soil analysis did not reveal significant differences in carbon accumulation. Grasslands showed 1.76 ± 0.12 kg C m-2, while CAM rosettes showed 2.06 ± 0.23 kg C m-2. This study demonstrates that carbon dynamics of two vegetation communities can be distinct even though the growing environment is similar. The physiological traits of the dominant species determine large differences in

  5. The response of aboveground plant productivity to earlier snowmelt and summer warming in an Arctic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Livensperger, C.; Steltzer, H.; Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Sullivan, P.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Weintraub, M. N.

    2012-12-01

    Plant communities in the Arctic are undergoing changes in structure and function due to shifts in seasonality from changing winters and summer warming. These changes will impact biogeochemical cycling, surface energy balance, and functioning of vertebrate and invertebrate communities. To examine seasonal controls on aboveground net primary production (ANPP) in a moist acidic tundra ecosystem in northern Alaska, we shifted the growing season by accelerating snowmelt (using radiation absorbing shadecloth) and warming air and soil temperature (using 1 m2 open-top chambers), individually and in combination. After three years, we measured ANPP by harvesting up to 16 individual ramets, tillers and rhizomes for each of 7 plant species, including two deciduous shrubs, two graminoids, two evergreen shrubs and one forb during peak season. Our results show that ANPP per stem summed across the 7 species increased when snow melt occurred earlier. However, standing biomass, excluding current year growth, was also greater. The ratio of ANPP/standing biomass decreased in all treatments compared to the control. ANPP per unit standing biomass summed for the four shrub species decreases due to summer warming alone or in combination with early snowmelt; however early snowmelt alone did not lead to lower ANPP for the shrubs. ANPP per tiller or rhizome summed for the three herbaceous species increased in response to summer warming. Understanding the differential response of plants to changing seasonality will inform predictions of future Arctic plant community structure and function.

  6. Responses of Plant Community Composition and Biomass Production to Warming and Nitrogen Deposition in a Temperate Meadow Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Song; Guo, Jixun; Sun, Wei

    2015-01-01

    Climate change has profound influences on plant community composition and ecosystem functions. However, its effects on plant community composition and biomass production are not well understood. A four-year field experiment was conducted to examine the effects of warming, nitrogen (N) addition, and their interactions on plant community composition and biomass production in a temperate meadow ecosystem in northeast China. Experimental warming had no significant effect on plant species richness, evenness, and diversity, while N addition highly reduced the species richness and diversity. Warming tended to reduce the importance value of graminoid species but increased the value of forbs, while N addition had the opposite effect. Warming tended to increase the belowground biomass, but had an opposite tendency to decrease the aboveground biomass. The influences of warming on aboveground production were dependent upon precipitation. Experimental warming had little effect on aboveground biomass in the years with higher precipitation, but significantly suppressed aboveground biomass in dry years. Our results suggest that warming had indirect effects on plant production via its effect on the water availability. Nitrogen addition significantly increased above- and below-ground production, suggesting that N is one of the most important limiting factors determining plant productivity in the studied meadow steppe. Significant interactive effects of warming plus N addition on belowground biomass were also detected. Our observations revealed that environmental changes (warming and N deposition) play significant roles in regulating plant community composition and biomass production in temperate meadow steppe ecosystem in northeast China. PMID:25874975

  7. Trade-offs Between Electricity Production from Small Hydropower Plants and Ecosystem Services in Alpine River Basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meier, Philipp; Schwemmle, Robin; Viviroli, Daniel

    2015-04-01

    The need for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the decision to phase out nuclear power plants in Switzerland and Germany increases pressure to develop the remaining hydropower potential in Alpine catchments. Since most of the potential for large reservoirs is already exploited, future development focusses on small run-of-the-river hydropower plants (SHP). Being considered a relatively environment-friendly electricity source, investment in SHP is promoted through subsidies. However, SHP can have a significant impact on riverine ecosystems, especially in the Alpine region where residual flow reaches tend to be long. An increase in hydropower exploitation will therefore increase pressure on ecosystems. While a number of studies assessed the potential for hydropower development in the Alps, two main factors were so far not assessed in detail: (i) ecological impacts within a whole river network, and (ii) economic conditions under which electricity is sold. We present a framework that establishes trade-offs between multiple objectives regarding environmental impacts, electricity production and economic evaluation. While it is inevitable that some ecosystems are compromised by hydropower plants, the context of these impacts within a river network should be considered when selecting suitable sites for SHP. From an ecological point of view, the diversity of habitats, and therefore the diversity of species, should be maintained within a river basin. This asks for objectives that go beyond lumped parameters of hydrological alteration, but also consider habitat diversity and the spatial configuration. Energy production in run-of-the-river power plants depends on available discharge, which can have large fluctuations. In a deregulated electricity market with strong price variations, an economic valuation should therefore be based on the expected market value of energy produced. Trade-off curves between different objectives can help decision makers to define policies

  8. Plant hydraulics as a hub integrating plant and ecosystem function

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Water plays a central role in plant biology and the efficiency of water transport throughout the plant (i.e., “plant hydraulics”) affects both photosynthetic rate and growth, an influence that scales up deterministically to the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, hydraulic traits media...

  9. Attenuation of pharmaceuticals and their transformation products in a wastewater treatment plant and its receiving river ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Aymerich, I; Acuña, V; Barceló, D; García, M J; Petrovic, M; Poch, M; Rodriguez-Mozaz, S; Rodríguez-Roda, I; Sabater, S; von Schiller, D; Corominas, Ll

    2016-09-01

    Pharmaceuticals are designed to improve human and animal health, but may also be a threat to freshwater ecosystems, particularly after receiving urban or wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. Knowledge on the fate and attenuation of pharmaceuticals in engineered and natural ecosystems is rather fragmented, and comparable methods are needed to facilitate the comprehension of those processes amongst systems. In this study the dynamics of 8 pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, sulfapyridine, sulfamethoxazole, carbamazepine, venlafaxine, ibuprofen, diclofenac, diazepam) and 11 of their transformation products were investigated in a WWTP and the associated receiving river ecosystem. During 3 days, concentrations of these compounds were quantified at the influents, effluents, and wastage of the WWTP, and at different distances downstream the effluent at the river. Attenuation (net balance between removal and release from and to the water column) was estimated in both engineered and natural systems using a comparable model-based approach by considering different uncertainty sources (e.g. chemical analysis, sampling, and flow measurements). Results showed that pharmaceuticals load reduction was higher in the WWTP, but attenuation efficiencies (as half-life times) were higher in the river. In particular, the load of only 5 out of the 19 pharmaceuticals was reduced by more than 90% at the WWTP, while the rest were only partially or non-attenuated (or released) and discharged into the receiving river. At the river, only the load of ibuprofen was reduced by more than 50% (out of the 6 parent compounds present in the river), while partial and non-attenuation (or release) was observed for some of their transformation products. Linkages in the routing of some pharmaceuticals (venlafaxine, carbamazepine, ibuprofen and diclofenac) and their corresponding transformation products were also identified at both WWTP and river. Finally, the followed procedure showed that dynamic

  10. Enhanced seasonal CO2 exchange caused by amplified plant productivity in northern ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Forkel, Matthias; Carvalhais, Nuno; Rödenbeck, Christian; Keeling, Ralph; Heimann, Martin; Thonicke, Kirsten; Zaehle, Sönke; Reichstein, Markus

    2016-02-12

    Atmospheric monitoring of high northern latitudes (above 40°N) has shown an enhanced seasonal cycle of carbon dioxide (CO2) since the 1960s, but the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. The much stronger increase in high latitudes relative to low ones suggests that northern ecosystems are experiencing large changes in vegetation and carbon cycle dynamics. We found that the latitudinal gradient of the increasing CO2 amplitude is mainly driven by positive trends in photosynthetic carbon uptake caused by recent climate change and mediated by changing vegetation cover in northern ecosystems. Our results underscore the importance of climate-vegetation-carbon cycle feedbacks at high latitudes; moreover, they indicate that in recent decades, photosynthetic carbon uptake has reacted much more strongly to warming than have carbon release processes. PMID:26797146

  11. Enhanced seasonal CO2 exchange caused by amplified plant productivity in northern ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forkel, Matthias; Carvalhais, Nuno; Rödenbeck, Christian; Keeling, Ralph; Heimann, Martin; Thonicke, Kirsten; Zaehle, Sönke; Reichstein, Markus

    2016-02-01

    Atmospheric monitoring of high northern latitudes (above 40°N) has shown an enhanced seasonal cycle of carbon dioxide (CO2) since the 1960s, but the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. The much stronger increase in high latitudes relative to low ones suggests that northern ecosystems are experiencing large changes in vegetation and carbon cycle dynamics. We found that the latitudinal gradient of the increasing CO2 amplitude is mainly driven by positive trends in photosynthetic carbon uptake caused by recent climate change and mediated by changing vegetation cover in northern ecosystems. Our results underscore the importance of climate-vegetation-carbon cycle feedbacks at high latitudes; moreover, they indicate that in recent decades, photosynthetic carbon uptake has reacted much more strongly to warming than have carbon release processes.

  12. Plant materials for novel ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The preservationist approach to restoration plant materials has 'local' as its centerpiece, emphasizing taxonomic and genetic patterns (in space). This view can be seen to be at odds with an alternative interventionist point of view that emphasizes the 'processes' (across time) of ecosystem functio...

  13. Residues of plant protection products in grey partridge eggs in French cereal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bro, Elisabeth; Devillers, James; Millot, Florian; Decors, Anouk

    2016-05-01

    The contamination of the eggs of farmland birds by currently used plant protection products (PPPs) is poorly documented despite a potential to adversely impact their breeding performance. In this context, 139 eggs of 52 grey partridge Perdix perdix clutches, collected on 12 intensively cultivated farmlands in France in 2010-2011, were analysed. Given the great diversity of PPPs applied on agricultural fields, we used exploratory GC/MS-MS and LC/MS-MS screenings measuring ca. 500 compounds. The limit of quantification was 0.01 mg/kg, a statutory reference. A total of 15 different compounds were detected in 24 clutches. Nine of them have been used by farmers to protect crops against fungi (difenoconazole, tebuconazole, cyproconazole, fenpropidin and prochloraz), insects (lambda-cyhalothrin and thiamethoxam/clothianidin) and weeds (bromoxynil and diflufenican). Some old PPPs were also detected (fipronil(+sulfone), HCH(α,β,δ isomers), diphenylamine, heptachlor(+epoxyde), DDT(Σisomers)), as well as PCBs(153, 180). Concentrations ranged between <0.01 and 0.05 mg/kg but reached 0.067 (thiamethoxam/clothianidin), 0.11 (heptachlor + epoxyde) and 0.34 (fenpropidin) mg/kg in some cases. These results testify an actual exposure of females and/or their eggs to PPPs in operational conditions, as well as to organochlorine pollutants or their residues, banned in France since several years if not several decades, that persistently contaminate the environment.Routes of exposure, probability to detect a contamination in the eggs, and effects on egg/embryo characteristics are discussed with regard to the scientific literature. PMID:26841780

  14. Plant ecology. Anthropogenic environmental changes affect ecosystem stability via biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Yann; Tilman, David; Isbell, Forest; Seabloom, Eric W; Borer, Elizabeth T; Reich, Peter B

    2015-04-17

    Human-driven environmental changes may simultaneously affect the biodiversity, productivity, and stability of Earth's ecosystems, but there is no consensus on the causal relationships linking these variables. Data from 12 multiyear experiments that manipulate important anthropogenic drivers, including plant diversity, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, fire, herbivory, and water, show that each driver influences ecosystem productivity. However, the stability of ecosystem productivity is only changed by those drivers that alter biodiversity, with a given decrease in plant species numbers leading to a quantitatively similar decrease in ecosystem stability regardless of which driver caused the biodiversity loss. These results suggest that changes in biodiversity caused by drivers of environmental change may be a major factor determining how global environmental changes affect ecosystem stability. PMID:25883357

  15. Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isbell, Forest; Craven, Dylan; Connolly, John; Loreau, Michel; Schmid, Bernhard; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Bezemer, T. Martijn; Bonin, Catherine; Bruelheide, Helge; de Luca, Enrica; Ebeling, Anne; Griffin, John N.; Guo, Qinfeng; Hautier, Yann; Hector, Andy; Jentsch, Anke; Kreyling, Jürgen; Lanta, Vojtěch; Manning, Pete; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Mori, Akira S.; Naeem, Shahid; Niklaus, Pascal A.; Polley, H. Wayne; Reich, Peter B.; Roscher, Christiane; Seabloom, Eric W.; Smith, Melinda D.; Thakur, Madhav P.; Tilman, David; Tracy, Benjamin F.; van der Putten, Wim H.; van Ruijven, Jasper; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Wilsey, Brian; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2015-10-01

    It remains unclear whether biodiversity buffers ecosystems against climate extremes, which are becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. Early results suggested that the ecosystem productivity of diverse grassland plant communities was more resistant, changing less during drought, and more resilient, recovering more quickly after drought, than that of depauperate communities. However, subsequent experimental tests produced mixed results. Here we use data from 46 experiments that manipulated grassland plant diversity to test whether biodiversity provides resistance during and resilience after climate events. We show that biodiversity increased ecosystem resistance for a broad range of climate events, including wet or dry, moderate or extreme, and brief or prolonged events. Across all studies and climate events, the productivity of low-diversity communities with one or two species changed by approximately 50% during climate events, whereas that of high-diversity communities with 16-32 species was more resistant, changing by only approximately 25%. By a year after each climate event, ecosystem productivity had often fully recovered, or overshot, normal levels of productivity in both high- and low-diversity communities, leading to no detectable dependence of ecosystem resilience on biodiversity. Our results suggest that biodiversity mainly stabilizes ecosystem productivity, and productivity-dependent ecosystem services, by increasing resistance to climate events. Anthropogenic environmental changes that drive biodiversity loss thus seem likely to decrease ecosystem stability, and restoration of biodiversity to increase it, mainly by changing the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate events.

  16. Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes.

    PubMed

    Isbell, Forest; Craven, Dylan; Connolly, John; Loreau, Michel; Schmid, Bernhard; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Bezemer, T Martijn; Bonin, Catherine; Bruelheide, Helge; de Luca, Enrica; Ebeling, Anne; Griffin, John N; Guo, Qinfeng; Hautier, Yann; Hector, Andy; Jentsch, Anke; Kreyling, Jürgen; Lanta, Vojtěch; Manning, Pete; Meyer, Sebastian T; Mori, Akira S; Naeem, Shahid; Niklaus, Pascal A; Polley, H Wayne; Reich, Peter B; Roscher, Christiane; Seabloom, Eric W; Smith, Melinda D; Thakur, Madhav P; Tilman, David; Tracy, Benjamin F; van der Putten, Wim H; van Ruijven, Jasper; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Wilsey, Brian; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2015-10-22

    It remains unclear whether biodiversity buffers ecosystems against climate extremes, which are becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. Early results suggested that the ecosystem productivity of diverse grassland plant communities was more resistant, changing less during drought, and more resilient, recovering more quickly after drought, than that of depauperate communities. However, subsequent experimental tests produced mixed results. Here we use data from 46 experiments that manipulated grassland plant diversity to test whether biodiversity provides resistance during and resilience after climate events. We show that biodiversity increased ecosystem resistance for a broad range of climate events, including wet or dry, moderate or extreme, and brief or prolonged events. Across all studies and climate events, the productivity of low-diversity communities with one or two species changed by approximately 50% during climate events, whereas that of high-diversity communities with 16-32 species was more resistant, changing by only approximately 25%. By a year after each climate event, ecosystem productivity had often fully recovered, or overshot, normal levels of productivity in both high- and low-diversity communities, leading to no detectable dependence of ecosystem resilience on biodiversity. Our results suggest that biodiversity mainly stabilizes ecosystem productivity, and productivity-dependent ecosystem services, by increasing resistance to climate events. Anthropogenic environmental changes that drive biodiversity loss thus seem likely to decrease ecosystem stability, and restoration of biodiversity to increase it, mainly by changing the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate events. PMID:26466564

  17. Effects of repeated burning of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) dominated ecosystems on plant density, biomass and seed production: Implications for restoration

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Restoration of sagebrush ecosystems dominated by cheatgrass depends on both controlling the invader and providing the conditions for native species establishment. Reducing available soil nitrogen (N) decreases cheatgrass growth and reproduction and native species opportunities for establishment. A m...

  18. Plant hydraulic transport as a central hub integrating plant and ecosystem function

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Water plays a central role in plant biology and the efficiency of water transport throughout the plant (i.e., “plant hydraulics”) affects both photosynthetic rate and growth, an influence that scales up deterministically to the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, hydraulic traits media...

  19. Consistent drivers of plant biodiversity across managed ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Minden, Vanessa; Scherber, Christoph; Cebrián Piqueras, Miguel A; Trinogga, Juliane; Trenkamp, Anastasia; Mantilla-Contreras, Jasmin; Lienin, Patrick; Kleyer, Michael

    2016-05-19

    Ecosystems managed for production of biomass are often characterized by low biodiversity because management aims to optimize single ecosystem functions (i.e. yield) involving deliberate selection of species or cultivars. In consequence, considerable differences in observed plant species richness and productivity remain across systems, and the drivers of these differences have remained poorly resolved so far. In addition, it has remained unclear if species richness feeds back on ecosystem functions such as yield in real-world systems. Here, we establish N = 360 experimental plots across a broad range of managed ecosystems in several European countries, and use structural equation models to unravel potential drivers of plant species richness. We hypothesize that the relationships between productivity, total biomass and observed species richness are affected by management intensity, and that these effects differ between habitat types (dry grasslands, grasslands, and wetlands). We found that local management was an important driver of species richness across systems. Management caused system disturbance, resulting in reduced productivity yet enhanced total biomass. Plant species richness was directly and positively driven by management, with consistently negative effects of total biomass. Productivity effects on richness were positive, negative or neutral. Our study shows that management and total biomass drive plant species richness across real-world managed systems. PMID:27114585

  20. Plants as ecosystem engineers in subsurface-flow treatment wetlands.

    PubMed

    Tanner, C C

    2001-01-01

    Mass balance performance data from side by side studies of planted and unplanted gravel-bed treatment wetlands with horizontal subsurface-flow are compared. Planted systems showed enhanced nitrogen and initial phosphorus removal, but only small improvements in disinfection, BOD, COD and suspended solids removal. Direct nutrient uptake by plants was insufficient to account for more than a fraction of the improved removal shown by planted systems. Roles of plants as ecosystem engineers are summarised, with organic matter production and root-zone oxygen release identified as key factors influencing nutrient transformation and sequestration. PMID:11804163

  1. Linking plant and ecosystem functional biogeography

    PubMed Central

    Reichstein, Markus; Bahn, Michael; Mahecha, Miguel D.; Kattge, Jens; Baldocchi, Dennis D.

    2014-01-01

    Classical biogeographical observations suggest that ecosystems are strongly shaped by climatic constraints in terms of their structure and function. On the other hand, vegetation function feeds back on the climate system via biosphere–atmosphere exchange of matter and energy. Ecosystem-level observations of this exchange reveal very large functional biogeographical variation of climate-relevant ecosystem functional properties related to carbon and water cycles. This variation is explained insufficiently by climate control and a classical plant functional type classification approach. For example, correlations between seasonal carbon-use efficiency and climate or environmental variables remain below 0.6, leaving almost 70% of variance unexplained. We suggest that a substantial part of this unexplained variation of ecosystem functional properties is related to variations in plant and microbial traits. Therefore, to progress with global functional biogeography, we should seek to understand the link between organismic traits and flux-derived ecosystem properties at ecosystem observation sites and the spatial variation of vegetation traits given geoecological covariates. This understanding can be fostered by synergistic use of both data-driven and theory-driven ecological as well as biophysical approaches. PMID:25225392

  2. POTENTIAL ECOLOGICAL AND NONTARGET EFFECTS OF TRANSGENIC PLANT GENE PRODUCTS ON AGRICULTURE, SILVICULTURE, AND NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS: GENERAL INTRODUCTION

    EPA Science Inventory

    A symposium was held at the University of Maryland Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 1992, to discuss transgenic plant risk assessment issues for measurement and identification of potential ecological and nontarget organism effects. he goal was to identify available scientific information and hi...

  3. Net ecosystem production in a subarctic peatland

    SciTech Connect

    Luken, J.O.

    1984-01-01

    A mass balance approach was used to determine the rates of carbon storage in three areas of a subarctic bog near Fairbanks, Alaska (latitude 64/sup 0/52'N). Aboveground net primary production was 20.3, 74.2, and 77.4 gm/sup -2/yr/sup -1/ for nonvascular plants, the shrub and herb layer, and the tree layer of the bog forest, respectively. Aboveground net primary production was 83.7 and 58.2 g m/sup -2/yr/sup -1/ for nonvascular plants and the shrub and herb layer of the Andromeda bog, respectively, in the Carex lawns, aboveground net primary production was 194.9 and 111.7 g m/sup -2/yr/sup -1/ for nonvascular and vascular plants, respectively. Sphagnum mosses are important components of this peatbog ecosystem due to their high rates of net primary production and slow rates of decomposition. Experimental manipulations of light level, water table level, and nutrient availability indicated that terminal extension rates and volumetric density of the Sphagnum stands are controlled primarily by light and water table levels. An explanation of Sphagnum zonation in hummock-hollow complexes is presented which incorporates aspects of growth rate, stand morphology, and reproductive mode. Soil carbon dioxide efflux rates were measured in a number of different hummock-hollow microhabitats. Approximately 75% of the variance associated with soil respiration could be explained by regression equations with soil moisture and soil temperature as independent variables. Carbohydrate limitation of soil microbial populations was demonstrated in both laboratory and field experiments.

  4. Does competition among ecosystem engineering species result in tradeoffs in the production of ecosystem services?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Production of ecosystem services depends on the ecological community structure at a given location. Ecosystem engineering species (EES) can strongly determine community structure, but do they consequently determine the production of ecosystem services? We explore this question ...

  5. Management and fertility control ecosystem carbon allocation to biomass production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campioli, Matteo; Vicca, Sara; Janssens, Ivan

    2015-04-01

    Carbon (C) allocation within the ecosystem is one of the least understood processes in plant- and geo-sciences. The proportion of the C assimilated through photosynthesis (gross primary production, GPP) that is used for biomass production (BP) is a key variable of the C allocation process and it has been termed as biomass production efficiency (BPE). We investigated the potential drivers of BPE using a global dataset of BP, GPP, BPE and ancillary ecosystem characteristics (vegetation properties, climatic and environmental variables, anthropogenic impacts) for 131 sites comprising six major ecosystem types: forests, grasslands, croplands, tundra, boreal peatlands and marshes. We obtained two major findings. First, site fertility is the key driver of BPE across forests, with nutrient-rich forests allocating 58% of their photosynthates to BP, whereas this fraction is only 42% for nutrient-poor forests. Second, by disentangling the effect of management from the effect of fertility and by integrating all ecosystem types, we observed that BPE is globally not driven by the 'natural' site fertility, but by the positive effect brought by management on the nutrient availability. This resulted in managed ecosystems having substantially larger BPE than natural ecosystems. These findings will crucially improve our elucidation of the human impact on ecosystem functioning and our predictions of the global C cycle.

  6. Plant species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality in global drylands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maestre, Fernando T.; Quero, Jose L.; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Escudero, Adrian; Ochoa, Victoria; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Garcia-Gomez, Miguel; Bowker, Matthew A.; Soliveres, Santiago; Escolar, Cristina; Garcia-Palacios, Pablo; Berdugo, Miguel; Valencia, Enrique; Gozalo, Beatriz; Gallardo, Antonio; Aguilera, Lorgio; Arredondo, Tulio; Blones, Julio; Boeken, Bertrand; Bran, Donaldo; Conceicao, Abel A.; Cabrera, Omar; Chaieb, Mohamed; Derak, Mchich; Eldridge, David J.; Espinosa, Carlos I.; Florentino, Adriana; Gaitan, Juan; Gatica, M. Gabriel; Ghiloufi, Wahida; Gomez-Gonzalez, Susana; Gutie, Julio R.; Hernandez, Rosa M.; Huang, Xuewen; Huber-Sannwald, Elisabeth; Jankju, Mohammad; Miriti, Maria; Monerris, Jorge; Mau, Rebecca L.; Morici, Ernesto; Naseri, Kamal; Ospina, Abelardo; Polo, Vicente; Prina, Anibal; Pucheta, Eduardo; Ramirez-Collantes, David A.; Romao, Roberto; Tighe, Matthew; Torres-Diaz, Cristian; Val, James; Veiga, Jose P.; Wang, Deli; Zaady, Eli

    2012-01-01

    Experiments suggest that biodiversity enhances the ability of ecosystems to maintain multiple functions, such as carbon storage, productivity, and the buildup of nutrient pools (multifunctionality). However, the relationship between biodiversity and multifunctionality has never been assessed globally in natural ecosystems. We report here on a global empirical study relating plant species richness and abiotic factors to multifunctionality in drylands, which collectively cover 41% of Earth's land surface and support over 38% of the human population. Multifunctionality was positively and significantly related to species richness. The best-fitting models accounted for over 55% of the variation in multifunctionality and always included species richness as a predictor variable. Our results suggest that the preservation of plant biodiversity is crucial to buffer negative effects of climate change and desertification in drylands.

  7. Plant species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality in global drylands

    PubMed Central

    Maestre, Fernando T.; Quero, José L.; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Escudero, Adriá; Ochoa, Victoria; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; García-Gómez, Miguel; Bowker, Matthew A.; Soliveres, Santiago; Escolar, Cristina; García-Palacios, Pablo; Berdugo, Miguel; Valencia, Enrique; Gozalo, Beatriz; Gallardo, Antonio; Aguilera, Lorgio; Arredondo, Tulio; Blones, Julio; Boeken, Bertrand; Bran, Donaldo; Conceição, Abel A.; Cabrera, Omar; Chaieb, Mohamed; Derak, Mchich; Eldridge, David J.; Espinosa, Carlos I.; Florentino, Adriana; Gaitán, Juan; Gatica, M. Gabriel; Ghiloufi, Wahida; Gómez-González, Susana; Gutiérrez, Julio R.; Hernández, Rosa M.; Huang, Xuewen; Huber-Sannwald, Elisabeth; Jankju, Mohammad; Miriti, Maria; Monerris, Jorge; Mau, Rebecca L.; Morici, Ernesto; Naseri, Kamal; Ospina, Abelardo; Polo, Vicente; Prina, Aníbal; Pucheta, Eduardo; Ramírez-Collantes, David A.; Romão, Roberto; Tighe, Matthew; Torres-Díaz, Cristian; Val, James; Veiga, José P.; Wang, Deli; Zaady, Eli

    2013-01-01

    Experiments suggest that biodiversity enhances the ability of ecosystems to maintain multiple functions, such as carbon storage, productivity, and buildup of nutrient pools (multifunctionality). However, the relationship between biodiversity and multifunctionality has never been assessed globally in natural ecosystems. We report on the first global empirical study relating plant species richness and abiotic factors to multifunctionality in drylands, which collectively cover 41% of Earth’s land surface and support over 38% of the human population. Multifunctionality was positively and significantly related to species richness. The best-fitting models accounted for over 55% of the variation in multifunctionality, and always included species richness as a predictor variable. Our results suggest that preservation of plant biodiversity is crucial to buffer negative effects of climate change and desertification in drylands. PMID:22246775

  8. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

    Plants make important contributions to the services provided by engineered ecosystems such as green roofs. Ecologists use plant species traits as generic predictors of geographical distribution, interactions with other species, and ecosystem functioning, but this approach has been little used to optimize engineered ecosystems. Four plant species traits (height, individual leaf area, specific leaf area, and leaf dry matter content) were evaluated as predictors of ecosystem properties and services in a modular green roof system planted with 21 species. Six indicators of ecosystem services, incorporating thermal, hydrological, water quality, and carbon sequestration functions, were predicted by the four plant traits directly or indirectly via their effects on aggregate ecosystem properties, including canopy density and albedo. Species average height and specific leaf area were the most useful traits, predicting several services via effects on canopy density or growth rate. This study demonstrates that easily measured plant traits can be used to select species to optimize green roof performance across multiple key services. PMID:25599106

  9. Decomposer diversity and identity influence plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Reich, Peter B; Isbell, Forest

    2012-10-01

    Plant productivity and other ecosystem functions often increase with plant diversity at a local scale. Alongside various plant-centered explanations for this pattern, there is accumulating evidence that multi-trophic interactions shape this relationship. Here, we investigated for the first time if plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning are mediated or driven by decomposer animal diversity and identity using a double-diversity microcosm experiment. We show that many ecosystem processes and ecosystem multifunctionality (herbaceous shoot biomass production, litter removal, and N uptake) were affected by both plant and decomposer diversity, with ecosystem process rates often being maximal at intermediate to high plant and decomposer diversity and minimal at both low plant and decomposer diversity. Decomposers relaxed interspecific plant competition by enlarging chemical (increased N uptake and surface-litter decomposition) and spatial (increasing deep-root biomass) habitat space and by promoting plant complementarity. Anecic earthworms and isopods functioned as key decomposers; although decomposer diversity effects did not solely rely on these two decomposer species, positive plant net biodiversity and complementarity effects only occurred in the absence of isopods and the presence of anecic earthworms. Using a structural equation model, we explained 76% of the variance in plant complementarity, identified direct and indirect effect paths, and showed that the presence of key decomposers accounted for approximately three-quarters of the explained variance. We conclude that decomposer animals have been underappreciated as contributing agents of plant diversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Elevated decomposer performance at high plant diversity found in previous experiments likely positively feeds back to plant performance, thus contributing to the positive relationship between plant diversity and ecosystem functioning. PMID:23185884

  10. Positive feedback between increasing atmospheric CO2 and ecosystem productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gelfand, I.; Hamilton, S. K.; Robertson, G. P.

    2009-12-01

    Increasing atmospheric CO2 will likely affect both the hydrologic cycle and ecosystem productivity. Current assumptions that increasing CO2 will lead to increased ecosystem productivity and plant water use efficiency (WUE) are driving optimistic predictions of higher crop yields as well as greater availability of freshwater resources due to a decrease in evapotranspiration. The plant physiological response that drives these effects is believed to be an increase in carbon uptake either by (a) stronger CO2 gradient between the stomata and the atmosphere, or by (b) reduced CO2 limitation of enzymatic carboxylation within the leaf. The (a) scenario will lead to increased water use efficiency (WUE) in plants. However, evidence for increased WUE is mostly based on modeling studies, and experiments producing a short duration or step-wise increase in CO2 concentration (e.g. free-air CO2 enrichment). We hypothesize that the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is having a positive effect on ecosystem productivity and WUE. To investigate this hypothesis, we analyzed meteorological, ANPP, and soil CO2 flux datasets together with carbon isotopic ratio (13C/12C) of archived plant samples from the long term ecological research (LTER) program at Kellogg Biological Station. The datasets were collected between 1989 and 2007 (corresponding to an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration of ~33 ppmv at Mauna Loa). Wheat (Triticum aestivum) samples taken from 1989 and 2007 show a significant decrease in the C isotope discrimination factor (Δ) over time. Stomatal conductance is directly related to Δ, and thus Δ is inversely related to plant intrinsic WUE (iWUE). Historical changes in the 13C/12C ratio (δ13C) in samples of a perennial forb, Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), taken from adjacent successional fields, indicate changes in Δ upon uptake of CO2 as well. These temporal trends in Δ suggest a positive feedback between the increasing CO2 concentration in the

  11. The functional role of carbonate-cemented soil horizons in desert ecosystems: Spatial and temporal dynamics of plant water availability

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In water limited ecosystems, soil profile characteristics can control plant community composition and production through their effects on spatial and temporal patterns of plant available water. Little is known, however, about water availability in soil horizons cemented with carbonates (petrocalcic ...

  12. Plant diversity effects on ecosystem evapotranspiration and carbon uptake: a controlled environment (Ecotron) and modeling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milcu, Alexandru; Roy, Jacques

    2016-04-01

    Effects of species and functional diversity of plants on ecosystem evapotranspiration and carbon fluxes have been rarely assessed simultaneously. Here we present the results from an experiment that combined a lysimeter setup in a controlled environment facility (Ecotron) with large ecosystem samples/ monoliths originating from a long-term biodiversity experiment ("The Jena Experiment") and a modelling approach. We aimed at (1) quantifying the impact of plant species richness (4 vs. 16 species) on day- and night-time ecosystem water vapor fluxes and carbon uptake, (2) partitioning ecosystem evapotranspiration into evaporation and plant transpiration using the Shuttleworth and Wallace (SW) energy partitioning model, and (3) identifying the most parsimonious predictors of water vapor vapor and CO2 fluxes using plant functional trait-based metrics such as functional diversity and community weighted means. The SW model indicated that at low plant species richness, a higher proportion of the available energy was diverted to evaporation (a non-productive flux), while at higher species richness the proportion of ecosystem transpiration (a production-related water flux) increased. This led to an increased carbon gain per amount of water vapor loss (i.e. increased water use efficiency). While the LAI controlled the carbon and water fluxes, we also found that the diversity of plant functional traits, and in particular of leaf nitrogen concentration are potential important predictors of ecosystem transpiration and carbon uptake and consequently significantly contributed to increase in water use efficiency in communities with higher plant diversity.

  13. Functional Diversity of Boreal Bog Plant Species Decreases Seasonal Variation of Ecosystem Carbon Sink Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korrensalo, A.

    2015-12-01

    Species diversity has been found to decrease the temporal variance of productivity of a plant community, and diversity in species responses to environmental factors seems to make a plant community more stable in changing conditions. Boreal bogs are nutrient poor peatland ecosystems where the number of plant species is low but the species differ greatly in their growth form. In here we aim to assess the role of the variation in photosynthesis between species for the temporal variation in ecosystem carbon sink function. To quantify the photosynthetic properties and their seasonal variation for different bog plant species we measured photosynthetic parameters and stress-inducing chlorophyll fluorescence of vascular plant and Sphagnum moss species in a boreal bog over a growing season. We estimated monthly gross photosynthesis (PG) of the whole study site based on species level light response curves and leaf area development. The estimated PG was further compared with a gross primary production (GPP) estimate measured by eddy covariance (EC) technique. The sum of upscaled PG estimates agreed well with the GPP estimate measured by the EC technique. The contributions of the species and species groups to the ecosystem level PG changed over the growing season. The sharp mid-summer peak in sedge PG was balanced by more stable PG of evergreen shrubs and Sphagna. Species abundance rather than differences in photosynthetic properties between species and growth forms determined the most productive plants on the ecosystem scale. Sphagna had lower photosynthesis and clorophyll fluorescence than vascular plants but were more productive on the ecosystem scale throughout the growing season due to their high areal coverage. These results show that the diversity of growth forms stabilizes the seasonal variation of the ecosystem level PG in an ombrotrophic bog ecosystem. This may increase the resilience of the ecosystem to changing environmental conditions.

  14. Photosynthetic properties of boreal bog plant species and their contribution to ecosystem level carbon sink

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korrensalo, Aino; Hájek, Tomas; Alekseychik, Pavel; Rinne, Janne; Vesala, Timo; Mehtätalo, Lauri; Mammarella, Ivan; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina

    2016-04-01

    Boreal bogs have a low number of plant species, but a large diversity of growth forms. This heterogeneity might explain the seasonally less varying photosynthetic productivity of these ecosystems compared to peatlands with vegetation consisting of fewer growth forms. The differences in photosynthetic properties within bog species and phases of growing season has not been comprehensively studied. Also the role of different plant species for the ecosystem level carbon (C) sink function is insufficiently known. We quantified the seasonal variation of photosynthetic properties in bog plant species and assessed how this variation accounts for the temporal variation in the ecosystem C sink. Photosynthetic light response of 11 vascular plant and 8 Sphagnum moss species was measured monthly over the growing season of 2013. Based on the species' light response parameters, leaf area development and areal coverage, we estimated the ecosystem level gross photosynthesis rate (PG) over the growing season. The level of upscaled PG was verified by comparing it to the ecosystem gross primary production (GPP) estimate calculated based on eddy covariance (EC) measurements. Although photosynthetic parameters differed within plant species and months, these differences were of less importance than expected for the variation in ecosystem level C sink. The most productive plant species at the ecosystem scale were not those with the highest maximum potential photosynthesis per unit of leaf area (Pmax), but those having the largest areal coverage. Sphagnum mosses had 35% smaller Pmax than vascular plants, but had higher photosynthesis at the ecosystem scale throughout the growing season. The contribution of the bog plant species to the ecosystem level PG differed over the growing season. The seasonal variation in ecosystem C sink was mainly controlled by phenology. Sedge PG had a sharp mid-summer peak, but the PG of evergreen shrubs and Sphagna remained rather stable over the growing season

  15. A model of global net ecosystem production

    SciTech Connect

    Potter, C.S.; Matson, P.A. ); Field, C.B.; Randerson, J. ); Vitousek, P.M.; Mooney, H.A. )

    1993-06-01

    We present an ecosystem modeling approach to resolve global climate and edaphic controls on seasonal NEP patterns. Global remote sensing, climate and land surface data sets are used as inputs to drive a terrestrial carbon cycle model at 1[degrees]lat/lon resolution. monthly net primary productivity (NPP) is calculated using surface radiation and NDVI to determine photosynthesis, which is subsequently adjusted by temperature, water and nitrogen stress factors. Total nitrogen availability is coupled to net mineralization rates from litter soil carbon pools. Soil respiration and NPP balance one another globally at around 60 Gt C yr[sup [minus]1]. The seasonal amplitude of global NEP is 1.2 Gt C. Although substantial month-to-month variation is observed for tropical forest areas, seasonal amplitude is driven globally by boreal and temperate forest ecosystems between 650 and 30[degrees] N latitude.

  16. Climate extremes and ecosystem productivity in global warming simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, I. N.; Torn, M. S.; Riley, W. J.; Wehner, M. F.; Collins, W.

    2013-12-01

    Ecosystem responses to present-day droughts and heat-waves are often considered indicative of future global warming impacts on ecosystems, under the assumption that the temperature above which vegetation experiences heat and drought stress is invariant with changes in climate and carbon dioxide concentration. Understanding how the impacts of temperature extremes on ecosystems can change with climate change is essential for correctly evaluating and developing Earth System Models (ESMs). The Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5) historical and future (RCP8.5) climate predictions were analyzed in this study to illustrate non-stationarity of climate impacts on ecosystems, as evident by changes in the distribution of Gross Primary Production (GPP) as a function of temperature between future and historical climates. These changes consist of (1) a uniform shift in the GPP distribution toward warmer temperatures between future and historical climates, and (2) a proportional increase in GPP at all temperatures, consistent with CO2 fertilization. The temperature at which GPP has a local maximum within a given climate increases with global warming and closely tracks the change in mean temperature for each ecosystem. This maximum GPP temperature can be conceptualized as a stable equilibrium determined by the temperature at which an increase in plant water stress is compensated by a decrease in light stress (decreasing cloud cover) with increasing temperature. Temperature relative to the temperature of maximum GPP is proposed as an improved measure of climate extremes more relevant to ecosystem productivity than absolute temperature. The percentage change in GPP attributed to changes in relative temperature extremes is up to 3% per K (decrease in GPP), and reflects both an increase in the frequency of climate extremes in global warming scenarios and the change in temperature criteria for negative climate impacts on ecosystem productivity. Temperature at GPP maximum as

  17. Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    It remains unclear whether biodiversity buffers ecosystems against extreme climate events, which are becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. Although early results suggested that biodiversity might provide both resistance and resilience (sensu rapid recovery) of ecosystem productivity to drought, ...

  18. Meaningful traits for grouping plant species across arid ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bär Lamas, Marlene Ivonne; Carrera, A L; Bertiller, M B

    2016-05-01

    Grouping species may provide some degree of simplification to understand the ecological function of plants on key ecosystem processes. We asked whether groups of plant species based on morpho-chemical traits associated with plant persistence and stress/disturbance resistance reflect dominant plant growth forms in arid ecosystems. We selected twelve sites across an aridity gradient in northern Patagonia. At each site, we identified modal size plants of each dominant species and assessed specific leaf area (SLA), plant height, seed mass, N and soluble phenol concentration in green and senesced leaves at each plant. Plant species were grouped according with plant growth forms (perennial grasses, evergreen shrubs and deciduous shrubs) and plant morphological and/or chemical traits using cluster analysis. We calculated mean values of each plant trait for each species group and plant growth form. Plant growth forms significantly differed among them in most of the morpho-chemical traits. Evergreen shrubs were tall plants with the highest seed mass and soluble phenols in leaves, deciduous shrubs were also tall plants with high SLA and the highest N in leaves, and perennial grasses were short plants with high SLA and low concentration of N and soluble phenols in leaves. Grouping species by the combination of morpho-chemical traits yielded 4 groups in which species from one growth form prevailed. These species groups differed in soluble phenol concentration in senesced leaves and plant height. These traits were highly correlated. We concluded that (1) plant height is a relevant synthetic variable, (2) growth forms adequately summarize ecological strategies of species in arid ecosystems, and (3) the inclusion of plant morphological and chemical traits related to defenses against environmental stresses and herbivory enhanced the potential of species grouping, particularly within shrubby growth forms. PMID:26897637

  19. How plant functional traits cascade to microbial function and ecosystem services in mountain grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lavorel, S.; Grigulis, K.; Krainer, U.; Legay, N.; Turner, C.; Dumont, M.; Kastl, E.; Arnoldi, C.; Bardgett, R.; Poly, F.; Pommier, T.; Schloter, M.; Tappeiner, U.; Bahn, M.; Clément, J.-C.

    2012-04-01

    1. There is growing evidence that plant functional diversity and microbial communities of soil are tightly coupled, and that this coupling influences a range of ecosystem functions. Moreover, it has been hypothesized that changes in the nature of interactions between plant functional diversity and microbial communities along environmental gradients contributes to variation in the delivery of ecosystem services. Although there is empirical support for such relationships using broad plant and microbial functional classifications, or from studies of plant monocultures, such relationships and their consequences for ecosystem services have not been quantified under complex field conditions with diverse plant communities. 2. We aimed to provide an explicit quantification of how plant and microbial functional properties interplay to determine key ecosystem functions underlying ecosystem services provided by grasslands. At three mountain grassland sites in the French Alps, Austrian Tyrol and northern England, we quantified, along gradients of management intensity, (i) plant functional diversity, (ii) soil microbial community composition and parameters associated with nitrogen cycling, and (iii) key ecosystem processes related to the carbon and nitrogen cycles including aboveground biomass production, standing litter, litter decomposition, soil organic matter and nitrate and ammonium leaching . Considering that plants strongly determine microbial communities, we used a hierarchical approach that considered first direct effects of plant traits and then effects of soil microorganisms on processes, to determine the relative effects of plant and microbial functional parameters on key ecosystem properties. 3. We identified a gradient of relative effects of plant and microbial traits from properties controlled mostly by aboveground processes, such as plant biomass production and standing litter, to properties controlled mostly by microbial processes, such as soil leaching of

  20. Spectral properties of subarctic plants for remote ecosystem assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golubeva, Elena; Tutubalina, Olga; Rees, Gareth; Zimin, Mikhail; Mikheeva, Anna

    2014-05-01

    Multispectral and hyperspectral satellite images are increasingly used to identify properties of vegetation, its state, dynamics and productivity. Arctic vegetation is sensitive to changing habitat conditions related to both natural causes (in particular climatic trends), and human impact (both direct and indirect, e.g. associated with air, soil and water pollution). Change in the state of individual plants and of vegetation cover in general enables their use as indicators of natural and anthropogenic processes, manifested in satellite images through change of their spectral reflectance properties. These processes can be studied by identifying significant links between spectral properties of objects in satellite images and corresponding properties of plants, recorded in situ. We focus on the spectral signatures of subarctic plants dominating treeline ecotone ecosystems to assess the feasibility of mapping the spatial structure and dynamics of vegetation using multispectral and hyperspectral satellite imagery. Our model objects are tundra plants and ecosystems in both natural and technogenically disturbed environments in the central part of the Kola Peninsula, Russia. We conducted ground spectroradiometry with two spectroradiometers: ASD FieldSpec 3 Hi-res (350-2500 nm range with resolution from 3 to 10 nm) and SkyeInstruments SpectroSense 2+ (bands centred at 480, 550, 680, 840 nm, 50-130 nm wide) for samples of different species: Betula pubescens S.L., B. tortuosa, Picea abies, Betula nana, Ledum palustre, Vaccinium uligimosum, V. myrtillus, V. vitis-idaea, Empetrum hermaphroditum, Cetraria islandica (L), Flavocetraria nivalis (Cetraria nivalis), Alectoria ochroleuca, Cladonia arbuscula S.L., Hylocomium splendens and Pleurozium Shreberi. The results demonstrate the ability of green vegetation to selectively reflect solar radiation, depending on the species composition and state of the plants. Our results will be included in a spectral library of northern plants

  1. Plant invasion impacts on the gross and net primary production of the salt marsh on eastern coast of China: Insights from leaf to ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Guo, Hai-Qiang; Zhao, Bin; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2015-01-01

    exotic Spartina alterniflora from North America has been rapidly invading the entire Chinese coast, while the impacts of plant invasion on the gross (GPP) and net primary production (NPP) of the coastal salt marshes were less known. In this study, we investigated the photosynthetic performance, leaf characteristics, and primary production of the exotic C4 grass and the dominant native C3 grass (Phragmites australis) in two marsh mixtures (equipped with eddy covariance systems) in the Yangtze Estuary. The light-saturated photosynthetic rate and annual peak leaf area index (LAI) of S. alterniflora was higher than that of P. australis throughout the growing season. The leaf nitrogen content of P. australis declined sharper during the latter growing season than that of S. alterniflora. The leaf-to-canopy production model with species-specific (C3 and C4 types) parameterizations could reasonably simulate the daily trends and annual GPP amount against the 3 year flux measurements from 2005 to 2007, and the modeled NPP agreed with biomass measurements from the two species during 2012. The percentage contributions of GPP between S. alterniflora and P. australis were on average 5.82:1 and 2.91:1 in the two mixtures, respectively. The annual NPP amounts from S. alterniflora were higher by approximately 1.6 times than that from P. australis. Our results suggested that higher photosynthesis efficiency, higher LAI, and longer growing season resulted in greater GPP and NPP in the exotic species relative to the native species. The rapid expansion rate of S. alterniflora further made it the leading contributor of primary production in the salt marsh.

  2. Chemolithotrophic Primary Production in a Subglacial Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hamilton, Trinity L.; Havig, Jeff R.; Skidmore, Mark L.; Shock, Everett L.

    2014-01-01

    Glacial comminution of bedrock generates fresh mineral surfaces capable of sustaining chemotrophic microbial communities under the dark conditions that pervade subglacial habitats. Geochemical and isotopic evidence suggests that pyrite oxidation is a dominant weathering process generating protons that drive mineral dissolution in many subglacial systems. Here, we provide evidence correlating pyrite oxidation with chemosynthetic primary productivity and carbonate dissolution in subglacial sediments sampled from Robertson Glacier (RG), Alberta, Canada. Quantification and sequencing of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) transcripts suggest that populations closely affiliated with Sideroxydans lithotrophicus, an iron sulfide-oxidizing autotrophic bacterium, are abundant constituents of microbial communities at RG. Microcosm experiments indicate sulfate production during biological assimilation of radiolabeled bicarbonate. Geochemical analyses of subglacial meltwater indicate that increases in sulfate levels are associated with increased calcite and dolomite dissolution. Collectively, these data suggest a role for biological pyrite oxidation in driving primary productivity and mineral dissolution in a subglacial environment and provide the first rate estimate for bicarbonate assimilation in these ecosystems. Evidence for lithotrophic primary production in this contemporary subglacial environment provides a plausible mechanism to explain how subglacial communities could be sustained in near-isolation from the atmosphere during glacial-interglacial cycles. PMID:25085483

  3. Chemolithotrophic primary production in a subglacial ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Boyd, Eric S; Hamilton, Trinity L; Havig, Jeff R; Skidmore, Mark L; Shock, Everett L

    2014-10-01

    Glacial comminution of bedrock generates fresh mineral surfaces capable of sustaining chemotrophic microbial communities under the dark conditions that pervade subglacial habitats. Geochemical and isotopic evidence suggests that pyrite oxidation is a dominant weathering process generating protons that drive mineral dissolution in many subglacial systems. Here, we provide evidence correlating pyrite oxidation with chemosynthetic primary productivity and carbonate dissolution in subglacial sediments sampled from Robertson Glacier (RG), Alberta, Canada. Quantification and sequencing of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) transcripts suggest that populations closely affiliated with Sideroxydans lithotrophicus, an iron sulfide-oxidizing autotrophic bacterium, are abundant constituents of microbial communities at RG. Microcosm experiments indicate sulfate production during biological assimilation of radiolabeled bicarbonate. Geochemical analyses of subglacial meltwater indicate that increases in sulfate levels are associated with increased calcite and dolomite dissolution. Collectively, these data suggest a role for biological pyrite oxidation in driving primary productivity and mineral dissolution in a subglacial environment and provide the first rate estimate for bicarbonate assimilation in these ecosystems. Evidence for lithotrophic primary production in this contemporary subglacial environment provides a plausible mechanism to explain how subglacial communities could be sustained in near-isolation from the atmosphere during glacial-interglacial cycles. PMID:25085483

  4. Within and between population variation in plant traits predicts ecosystem functions associated with a dominant plant species

    PubMed Central

    Breza, Lauren C; Souza, Lara; Sanders, Nathan J; Classen, Aimée T

    2012-01-01

    Linking intraspecific variation in plant traits to ecosystem carbon uptake may allow us to better predict how shift in populations shape ecosystem function. We investigated whether plant populations of a dominant old-field plant species (Solidago altissima) differed in carbon dynamics and if variation in plant traits among genotypes and between populations predicted carbon dynamics. We established a common garden experiment with 35 genotypes from three populations of S. altissima from either Tennessee (southern populations) or Connecticut (northern populations) to ask whether: (1) southern and northern Solidago populations will differ in aboveground productivity, leaf area, flowering time and duration, and whole ecosystem carbon uptake, (2) intraspecific trait variation (growth and reproduction) will be related to intraspecific variation in gross ecosystem CO2 exchange (GEE) and net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) within and between northern and southern populations. GEE and NEE were 4.8× and 2× greater in southern relative to northern populations. Moreover, southern populations produced 13× more aboveground biomass and 1.4× more inflorescence mass than did northern populations. Flowering dynamics (first- and last-day flowering and flowering duration) varied significantly among genotypes in both the southern and northern populations, but plant performance and ecosystem function did not. Both productivity and inflorescence mass predicted NEE and GEE between S. altissima southern and northern populations. Taken together, our data demonstrate that variation between S. altissima populations in performance and flowering traits are strong predictors of ecosystem function in a dominant old-field species and suggest that populations of the same species might differ substantially in their response to environmental perturbations. PMID:22833791

  5. Biomass production efficiency controlled by management in temperate and boreal ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campioli, M.; Vicca, S.; Luyssaert, S.; Bilcke, J.; Ceschia, E.; Chapin, F. S., III; Ciais, P.; Fernández-Martínez, M.; Malhi, Y.; Obersteiner, M.; Olefeldt, D.; Papale, D.; Piao, S. L.; Peñuelas, J.; Sullivan, P. F.; Wang, X.; Zenone, T.; Janssens, I. A.

    2015-11-01

    Plants acquire carbon through photosynthesis to sustain biomass production, autotrophic respiration and production of non-structural compounds for multiple purposes. The fraction of photosynthetic production used for biomass production, the biomass production efficiency, is a key determinant of the conversion of solar energy to biomass. In forest ecosystems, biomass production efficiency was suggested to be related to site fertility. Here we present a database of biomass production efficiency from 131 sites compiled from individual studies using harvest, biometric, eddy covariance, or process-based model estimates of production. The database is global, but dominated by data from Europe and North America. We show that instead of site fertility, ecosystem management is the key factor that controls biomass production efficiency in terrestrial ecosystems. In addition, in natural forests, grasslands, tundra, boreal peatlands and marshes, biomass production efficiency is independent of vegetation, environmental and climatic drivers. This similarity of biomass production efficiency across natural ecosystem types suggests that the ratio of biomass production to gross primary productivity is constant across natural ecosystems. We suggest that plant adaptation results in similar growth efficiency in high- and low-fertility natural systems, but that nutrient influxes under managed conditions favour a shift to carbon investment from the belowground flux of non-structural compounds to aboveground biomass.

  6. Chemical sensing of plant stress at the ecosystem scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karl, T.; Guenther, A.; Turnipseed, A.; Patton, E. G.; Jardine, K.

    2008-09-01

    Significant ecosystem-scale emissions of methylsalicylate (MeSA), a semivolatile plant hormone thought to act as the mobile signal for systemic acquired resistance (SAR), were observed in an agroforest. Our measurements show that plant internal defence mechanisms can be activated in response to temperature stress and are modulated by water availability on large scales. Highest MeSA fluxes (up to 0.25 mg/m2/h) were observed after plants experienced ambient night-time temperatures of ~7.5°C followed by a large daytime temperature increase (e.g. up to 22°C). Under these conditions estimated night-time leaf temperatures were as low as ~4.6°C, likely inducing a response to prevent chilling injury. Our observations imply that plant hormones can be a significant component of ecosystem scale volatile organic compound (VOC) fluxes (e.g. as high as the total monoterpene (MT) flux) and therefore contribute to the missing VOC budget. If generalized to other ecosystems and different types of stresses these findings suggest that semivolatile plant hormones have been overlooked by investigations of the impact of biogenic VOCs on aerosol formation events in forested regions. Our observations show that the presence of MeSA in canopy air serves as an early chemical warning signal indicating ecosystem-scale stresses before visible damage becomes apparent. As a chemical metric, ecosystem emission measurements of MeSA in ambient air could therefore support field studies investigating factors that adversely affect plant growth.

  7. Chemical sensing of plant stress at the ecosystem scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karl, T.; Guenther, A.; Turnipseed, A.; Patton, E. G.; Jardine, K.

    2008-06-01

    Significant ecosystem-scale emissions of methylsalicylate (MeSA), a semivolatile plant hormone thought to act as the mobile signal for systemic acquired resistance (SAR) (Park et al., 2006), were observed in an agroforest. Our measurements show that plant internal defence mechanisms can be activated in response to temperature stress and are modulated by water availability on large scales. Highest MeSA fluxes (up to 0.25 mg/m2/h) were observed after plants experienced ambient night-time temperatures of ~7.5°C followed by a large daytime temperature increase (e.g. up to 22°C). Under these conditions estimated night-time leaf temperatures were as low as ~4.6°C, likely inducing a response to prevent chilling injury (Ding et al., 2002). Our observations imply that plant hormones can be a significant component of ecosystem scale volatile organic compound (VOC) fluxes (e.g. as high as the total monoterpene (MT) flux) and therefore contribute to the missing VOC budget (de Carlo et al., 2004; Goldstein and Galbally, 2007). If generalized to other ecosystems and different types of stresses these findings suggest that semivolatile plant hormones have been overlooked by investigations of the impact of biogenic VOCs on aerosol formation events in forested regions (Kulmala et al., 2001; Boy et al., 2000). Our observations show that the presence of MeSA in canopy air serves as an early chemical warning signal indicating ecosystem-scale stresses before visible damage becomes apparent. As a chemical metric, ecosystem emission measurements of MeSA in ambient air could therefore support field studies investigating factors that adversely affect plant growth.

  8. Climate change, plant traits, and invasion in natural and agricultural ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive species and climate change, each of which is likely to influence agricultural productivity and biological diversity, are also likely to interact. This chapter explores characteristics of both invasive plants and invaded ecosystems to search for generalizations that may allow us to predict w...

  9. Linking Ecosystem Services Benefit Transfer Databases and Ecosystem Services Production Function Libraries

    EPA Science Inventory

    The quantification or estimation of the economic and non-economic values of ecosystem services can be done from a number of distinct approaches. For example, practitioners may use ecosystem services production function models (ESPFMs) for a particular location, or alternatively, ...

  10. Assessing the transferability of ecosystem service production estimates and functions

    EPA Science Inventory

    Estimates of ecosystem service (ES) production, and their responses to stressors or policy actions, may be obtained by direct measurement, other empirical studies, or modeling. Direct measurement is costly and often impractical, and thus many studies transfer ES production estim...

  11. Use of terrestrial model ecosystem data in environmental risk assessment for industrial chemicals, biocides and plant protection products in the EU.

    PubMed

    Weyers, Arnd; Sokull-Klüttgen, Birgit; Knacker, Thomas; Martin, Sabine; Van Gestel, Cornelis A M

    2004-01-01

    Risk assessment approaches within the regulatory framework of the European Union (EU) based on single species tests were compared to those using data from terrestrial model ecosystems (TMEs). In a case study with the fungicide carbendazim, single species data led to ratios of the predicted environmental concentration (PEC) and predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) of above 1000, depending on available data and related assessment factors, indicating concern for the terrestrial environment. Considering the high degree of realism of the TME studies with multiple endpoints measured, but also residual uncertainty related to higher variability of endpoints, an assessment factor of 5 was applied on TME data. The most sensitive reliable endpoint was earthworm biomass. With the TME studies yielding slightly higher effect thresholds compared to laboratory data, and due to the lower assessment factor, the PEC/PNEC ratio was lowered to 5. This means that there would be concern for high application rates of carbendazim. PMID:14992478

  12. Explaining plant-soil diversity in Alpine ecosystems: more than just time since ecosystem succession started

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lane, Stuart; Baetz, Nico; Borgeaud, Laure; Verrecchia, Eric; Vittoz, Pascal

    2014-05-01

    Ecosystem succession in Alpine environments has been a focus of research for many decades. Following from the classic ideas of Jenny (1941, 1961), following perturbation, an ecosystem (flora, fauna and soil) should evolve as a function of time at a rate conditioned by external variables (relief, climate, geology). More recently, biogeomorphologists have focused upon the notion of co-evolution of geomorphic processes with ecosystems over very short through to very long (evolutionary) time-scales. Alpine environments have been a particular focus of models of co-evolution, as a means of understanding the rate of plant colonization of previously glaciated terrain. However, work in this field has tended to adopt an over simplified view of the relationship between perturbation and succession, including: how the landform and ecosystem itself conditions the impact of a perturbation to create a complex spatial impact; and how perturbations are not simply ecosystem destroyers but can be a significant source of ecosystem resources. What this means is that at the within landform scale, there may well be a complex and dynamic topographic and sedimentological template that co-evolves with the development of soil, flora and fauna. In this paper, we present and test conceptual models for such co-evolution for an Alpine alluvial fan and an Alpine piedmont braided river. We combine detailed floristic inventory with soil inventory, survey of edaphic variables above and below ground (e.g. vertical and lateral sedimentological structure, using electrical resistance tomography) and the analysis of historical aerial imagery. The floristic inventory shows the existence of a suite of distinct plant communities within each landform. Time since last perturbation is not a useful explanatory variable of the spatial distribution of these communities because: (1) perturbation impacts are spatially variable, as conditioned by the extent distribution of topographic, edaphic and ecological

  13. Net ecosystem production: A comprehensive measure of net carbon accumulation by ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Randerson, J.T.; Chapin, F. S., III; Harden, J.W.; Neff, J.C.; Harmon, M.E.

    2002-01-01

    The conceptual framework used by ecologists and biogeochemists must allow for accurate and clearly defined comparisons of carbon fluxes made with disparate techniques across a spectrum of temporal and spatial scales. Consistent with usage over the past four decades, we define "net ecosystem production" (NEP) as the net carbon accumulation by ecosystems. Past use of this term has been ambiguous, because it has been used conceptually as a measure of carbon accumulation by ecosystems, but it has often been calculated considering only the balance between gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration. This calculation ignores other carbon fluxes from ecosystems (e.g., leaching of dissolved carbon and losses associated with disturbance). To avoid conceptual ambiguities, we argue that NEP be defined, as in the past, as the net carbon accumulation by ecosystems and that it explicitly incorporate all the carbon fluxes from an ecosystem, including autotrophic respiration, heterotrophic respiration, losses associated with disturbance, dissolved and particulate carbon losses, volatile organic compound emissions, and lateral transfers among ecosystems. Net biome productivity (NBP), which has been proposed to account for carbon loss during episodic disturbance, is equivalent to NEP at regional or global scales. The multi-scale conceptual framework we describe provides continuity between flux measurements made at the scale of soil profiles and chambers, forest inventories, eddy covariance towers, aircraft, and inversions of remote atmospheric flask samples, allowing a direct comparison of NEP estimates made at all temporal and spatial scales.

  14. Plant community controls on short-term ecosystem nitrogen retention.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Franciska T; Bardgett, Richard D

    2016-05-01

    Retention of nitrogen (N) is a critical ecosystem function, especially in the face of widespread anthropogenic N enrichment; however, our understanding of the mechanisms involved is limited. Here, we tested under glasshouse conditions how plant community attributes, including variations in the dominance, diversity and range of plant functional traits, influence N uptake and retention in temperate grassland. We added a pulse of (15) N to grassland plant communities assembled to represent a range of community-weighted mean plant traits, trait functional diversity and divergence, and species richness, and measured plant and microbial uptake of (15) N, and leaching losses of (15) N, as a short-term test of N retention in the plant-soil system. Root biomass, herb abundance and dominant plant traits were the main determinants of N retention in the plant-soil system: greater root biomass and herb abundance, and lower root tissue density, increased plant (15) N uptake, while higher specific leaf area and root tissue density increased microbial (15) N uptake. Our results provide novel, mechanistic insight into the short-term fate of N in the plant-soil system, and show that dominant plant traits, rather than trait functional diversity, control the fate of added N in the plant-soil system. PMID:26749302

  15. Productivity and biomass of trematode (Digenea) parasites in lake ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Yurlova, N I

    2016-01-01

    The first estimation of the annual production and biomass of cercariae (free swimming transmission stage of digenetic trematodes) in a lake ecosystem has been performed. The biomass of cercariae is comparable with that of free-living invertebrates and may make a significant contribution to the energy flow in lake ecosystems. PMID:27021366

  16. Occult precipitation and plants: its consequences for individuals and ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawson, T. E.

    2006-12-01

    Fog, dew and cloud water inputs, aptly termed, occult precipitation", are not traditionally quantified yet more than two decades of research has revealed their importance to a wide range of vegetation types. Utilizing stable isotope methods, field and laboratory based physiological measurements, and a suite of occult precipitation collection approaches we now know that plants inhabiting a wide range of ecosystem types from the coastal California redwood forests and grasslands, to the Brazilian Cerrado (savanna), the Chilean community types are utilizing fog, dew and cloud water. Hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope analysis have revealed that both fog drip into the rooting zone and direct foliar-uptake of occult precipitation can occur and in some species, seasons and in drought-prone ecosystems it can easily constitute 30% of the annual hydrological inputs and between 20-60+% of all the water used by the vegetation. Fog and cloud water inputs can also be a significant source of water for re-supplying depleted sub-surface water stores. Perhaps most importantly, this important hydrological input not only helps sustain the physiological integrity of individual plants by allowing root and leaf functions to occur but has a marked impact on the manner and magnitude but which biogeochemical cycling proceeds. I will review the available data that point to the importance of quantifying occult precipitation inputs and then discuss its consequences for both individual plants and the entire ecosystems then compose. The data suggest that such information can now be incorporated into hydrological budgets and biogeochemical models.

  17. Bottom-up regulation of plant community structure in an aridland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Báez, Selene; Collins, Scott L; Lightfoot, David; Koontz, Terri L

    2006-11-01

    We conducted a long-term rodent exclosure experiment in native grass- and shrub-dominated vegetation to evaluate the importance of top-down and bottom-up controls on plant community structure in a low-productivity aridland ecosystem. Using multiple regressions and analysis of covariance, we assessed how bottom-up precipitation pulses cascade through vegetation to affect rodent populations, how rodent populations affect plant community structure, and how rodents alter rates of plant community change over time. Our findings showed that bottom-up pulses cascade through the system, increasing the abundances of plants and rodents, and that rodents exerted no control on plant community structure and rate of change in grass-dominated vegetation, and only limited control in shrub-dominated vegetation. These results were discussed in the context of top-down effects on plant communities across broad gradients of primary productivity. We conclude that bottom-up regulation maintains this ecosystem in a state of low primary productivity that constrains the abundance of consumers such that they exert limited influence on plant community structure and dynamics. PMID:17168019

  18. Plant hydraulics as a central hub integrating plant and ecosystem function: meeting report for 'Emerging Frontiers in Plant Hydraulics' (Washington, DC, May 2015).

    PubMed

    Sack, Lawren; Ball, Marilyn C; Brodersen, Craig; Davis, Stephen D; Des Marais, David L; Donovan, Lisa A; Givnish, Thomas J; Hacke, Uwe G; Huxman, Travis; Jansen, Steven; Jacobsen, Anna L; Johnson, Daniel M; Koch, George W; Maurel, Christophe; McCulloh, Katherine A; McDowell, Nate G; McElrone, Andrew; Meinzer, Frederick C; Melcher, Peter J; North, Gretchen; Pellegrini, Matteo; Pockman, William T; Pratt, R Brandon; Sala, Anna; Santiago, Louis S; Savage, Jessica A; Scoffoni, Christine; Sevanto, Sanna; Sperry, John; Tyerman, Stephen D; Way, Danielle; Holbrook, N Michele

    2016-09-01

    Water plays a central role in plant biology and the efficiency of water transport throughout the plant affects both photosynthetic rate and growth, an influence that scales up deterministically to the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, hydraulic traits mediate the ways in which plants interact with their abiotic and biotic environment. At landscape to global scale, plant hydraulic traits are important in describing the function of ecological communities and ecosystems. Plant hydraulics is increasingly recognized as a central hub within a network by which plant biology is connected to palaeobiology, agronomy, climatology, forestry, community and ecosystem ecology and earth-system science. Such grand challenges as anticipating and mitigating the impacts of climate change, and improving the security and sustainability of our food supply rely on our fundamental knowledge of how water behaves in the cells, tissues, organs, bodies and diverse communities of plants. A workshop, 'Emerging Frontiers in Plant Hydraulics' supported by the National Science Foundation, was held in Washington DC, 2015 to promote open discussion of new ideas, controversies regarding measurements and analyses, and especially, the potential for expansion of up-scaled and down-scaled inter-disciplinary research, and the strengthening of connections between plant hydraulic research, allied fields and global modelling efforts. PMID:27037757

  19. Warming and Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Alter Plant Production and Ecosystem gas Exchange in a Semi-Arid Grassland Through Direct Responses to Global Change Factors and Indirect Effects on Water Relations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, J. A.; Pendall, E.; Williams, D. G.; Bachman, S.; Dijkstra, F. A.; Lecain, D. R.; Follett, R.

    2007-12-01

    The Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment (PHACE) experiment was initiated in Spring, 2007 to evaluate the combined effects of warming and elevated CO2 on a northern mixed-grass prairie. Thirty 3-m diameter circular experimental plots were installed in Spring, 2006 at the USDA-ARS High Plains Grasslands Research Station, just west of Cheyenne, WY, USA. Twenty plots were assigned to a two-level factorial combination of two CO2 concentrations (present ambient, 380 ppmV; and elevated, 600 ppmV), and two levels of temperature (present ambient; and elevated temperature, 1.5/3.0 C warmer day/night), with five replications for each treatment. Five of the ten remaining plots were subjected to either frequent, small water additions throughout the growing season, and the other five to a deep watering once or twice during the growing season. The watering treatments were imposed to simulate hypothesized water savings in the CO2-enriched plots, and to contrast the influence of variable water dynamics on ecosystem processes. Carbon dioxide enrichment of the ten CO2- enriched plots is accomplished with Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) technology and occurs during daylight hours of the mid-April - October growing season. Warming is done year-round with circularly-arranged ceramic heater arrays positioned above the ring perimeters, and with temperature feed-backs to control day/night canopy surface temperatures. Carbon dioxide enrichment began in Spring, 2006, and warming was added in Spring, 2007. Results from the first year of CO2 enrichment (2006) confirmed earlier reports that CO2 increases productivity in semi-arid grasslands (21% increase in peak seasonal above ground biomass for plants grown under elevated CO2 compared to non-enriched controls), and that the response was related to CO2- induced water savings. Growth at elevated CO2 reduced leaf carbon isotope discrimination and N concentrations in plants compared to results obtained in control plots, but the magnitude of changes

  20. Tradeoffs in ecosystem services of prairies managed for bioenergy production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jarchow, Meghann Elizabeth

    The use of perennial plant materials as a renewable source of energy may constitute an important opportunity to improve the environmental sustainability of managed land. Currently, the production of energy from agricultural products is primarily in the form of ethanol from corn grain, which used more than 45% of the domestic U.S. corn crop in 2011. Concomitantly, using corn grain to produce ethanol has promoted landscape simplification and homogenization through conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual row crops, and has been implicated in increasing environmental damage, such as increased nitrate leaching into water bodies and increased rates of soil erosion. In contrast, perennial prairie vegetation has the potential to be used as a bioenergy feedstock that produces a substantial amount of biomass as well as numerous ecosystem services. Reincorporating prairies to diversify the landscape of the Midwestern U.S. at strategic locations could provide more habitat for animals, including beneficial insects, and decrease nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment movement into water bodies. In this dissertation, I present data from two field experiments that examine (1) how managing prairies for bioenergy production affects prairie ecology and agronomic performance and (2) how these prairie systems differ from corn systems managed for bioenergy production. Results of this work show that there are tradeoffs among prairie systems and between corn and prairie systems with respect to the amount of harvested biomass, root production, nutrient export, feedstock characteristics, growing season utilization, and species and functional group diversity. These results emphasize the need for a multifaceted approach to fully evaluate bioenergy feedstock production systems.

  1. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Matthew C; Henk, Daniel A; Briggs, Cheryl J; Brownstein, John S; Madoff, Lawrence C; McCraw, Sarah L; Gurr, Sarah J

    2012-04-12

    The past two decades have seen an increasing number of virulent infectious diseases in natural populations and managed landscapes. In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security. Human activity is intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and thus creating new opportunities for evolution. We argue that nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition of biodiversity, with wider implications for human and ecosystem health, unless steps are taken to tighten biosecurity worldwide. PMID:22498624

  2. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Matthew C.; Henk, Daniel. A.; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Brownstein, John S.; Madoff, Lawrence C.; McCraw, Sarah L.; Gurr, Sarah J.

    2013-01-01

    The past two decades have seen an increasing number of virulent infectious diseases in natural populations and managed landscapes. In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security. Human activity is intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and thus creating new opportunities for evolution. We argue that nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition of biodiversity, with wider implications for human and ecosystem health, unless steps are taken to tighten biosecurity worldwide. PMID:22498624

  3. Ecosystem engineers modulate exotic invasions in riparian plant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corenblit, D.; Tabacchi, E.; Steiger, J.; Gonzales, E.; Planty-Tabacchi, A. M.

    2012-04-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and invasibility of exotic plant species within different environments and at different spatial scales is still being discussed amongst scientists. In this study, patterns of native and exotic plant species richness and cover were examined in relation with ecosystem engineer effects of pioneer vegetation within the active tract of the Mediterranean gravel bed river Tech, South France. The floristic composition was characterized according to two distinct vegetation types corresponding to two habitats with contrasted conditions: (i) open and exposed alluvial bars dominated by herbaceous communities and (ii) islands and river margins partly stabilized by ecosystem engineer plants, disconnected from annual hydrogeomorphic disturbances, and covered by woody vegetation. A significant positive correlation between exotic and native plant species richness and cover was observed for the herbaceous and the woody types, indicating that both native and exotic richness benefit from the prevailing environmental conditions. However, significant differences in native and exotic specific richness and cover were found between these two vegetation types. Higher values of total species richness and Shannon diversity of native and exotic species were attained within the herbaceous vegetation type compared to the woody type. These differences may be related to changes in local exposure to hydrogeomorphic disturbances driven by engineer plant species, and to vegetation succession. A lower exotic cover within the woody vegetation type compared to the herbaceous type suggested an increase of resistance to invasion by exotic species during the biogeomorphic succession. The engineer effects of woody vegetation resulted in a decrease of alpha (α) diversity at patch scale but, in parallel, caused an increase in gamma (γ) diversity at the scale of the studied river segment. Our study corroborates recent investigations that support the theory of biotic

  4. Habitat connectivity and ecosystem productivity: implications from a simple model.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cloern, J.E.

    2007-01-01

    The import of resources (food, nutrients) sustains biological production and food webs in resource-limited habitats. Resource export from donor habitats subsidizes production in recipient habitats, but the ecosystem-scale consequences of resource translocation are generally unknown. Here, I use a nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton model to show how dispersive connectivity between a shallow autotrophic habitat and a deep heterotrophic pelagic habitat can amplify overall system production in metazoan food webs. This result derives from the finite capacity of suspension feeders to capture and assimilate food particles: excess primary production in closed autotrophic habitats cannot be assimilated by consumers; however, if excess phytoplankton production is exported to food-limited heterotrophic habitats, it can be assimilated by zooplankton to support additional secondary production. Transport of regenerated nutrients from heterotrophic to autotrophic habitats sustains higher system primary production. These simulation results imply that the ecosystem-scale efficiency of nutrient transformation into metazoan biomass can be constrained by the rate of resource exchange across habitats and that it is optimized when the transport rate matches the growth rate of primary producers. Slower transport (i.e., reduced connectivity) leads to nutrient limitation of primary production in autotrophic habitats and food limitation of secondary production in heterotrophic habitats. Habitat fragmentation can therefore impose energetic constraints on the carrying capacity of aquatic ecosystems. The outcomes of ecosystem restoration through habitat creation will be determined by both functions provided by newly created aquatic habitats and the rates of hydraulic connectivity between them.

  5. Production of virus resistant plants

    DOEpatents

    Dougherty, W.G.; Lindbo, J.A.

    1996-12-10

    A method of suppressing virus gene expression in plants using untranslatable plus sense RNA is disclosed. The method is useful for the production of plants that are resistant to virus infection. 9 figs.

  6. Evaluation of Environmental Quality Productive Ecosystem Guayas (Ecuador).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pozo, Wilson; Pardo, Francisco; Sanfeliu, Teófilo; Carrera, Gloria; Jordan, Manuel; Bech, Jaume; Roca, Núria

    2015-04-01

    Natural resources are deteriorating very rapidly in the Gulf of Guayaquil and the area of influence in the Guayas Basin due to human activity. Specific problems are generated by the mismanagement of the aquaculture industry affecting the traditional agricultural sectors: rice, banana, sugarcane, cocoa, coffee, and soya also studied, and by human and industrial settlements. The development of industrial activities such as aquaculture (shrimp building for shrimp farming in ponds) and agriculture, have increasingly contributed to the generation of waste, degrading and potentially toxic elements in high concentrations, which can have adverse effects on organisms in the ecosystems, in the health of the population and damage the ecological and environmental balance. The productive Guayas ecosystem, consists of three interrelated ecosystems, the Gulf of Guayaquil, the Guayas River estuary and the Guayas Basin buffer. The objective of this study was to evaluate the environmental quality of the productive Guayas ecosystem (Ecuador), through operational and specific objectives: 1) Draw up the transition coastal zone in the Gulf of Guayaquil, 2) Set temporal spatial variability of soil salinity in wetlands rice, Lower Guayas Basin, 3) evaluate the heavy metals in wetland rice in the Lower Basin of Guayas. The physical and chemical parameters of the soils have been studied. These are indicators of environmental quality. The multivariate statistical method showed the relations of similarities and dissimilarities between variables and parameter studies as stable. Moreover, the boundaries of coastal transition areas, temporal spatial variability of soil salinity and heavy metals in rice cultivation in the Lower Basin of Guayas were researched. The sequential studies included and discussed represent a broad framework of fundamental issues that has been valued as a basic component of the productive Guayas ecosystem. They are determinants of the environmental quality of the Guayas

  7. The imprint of plants on ecosystem functioning: A data-driven approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Musavi, Talie; Mahecha, Miguel D.; Migliavacca, Mirco; Reichstein, Markus; van de Weg, Martine Janet; van Bodegom, Peter M.; Bahn, Michael; Wirth, Christian; Reich, Peter B.; Schrodt, Franziska; Kattge, Jens

    2015-12-01

    Terrestrial ecosystems strongly determine the exchange of carbon, water and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. These exchanges are influenced by environmental conditions (e.g., local meteorology, soils), but generally mediated by organisms. Often, mathematical descriptions of these processes are implemented in terrestrial biosphere models. Model implementations of this kind should be evaluated by empirical analyses of relationships between observed patterns of ecosystem functioning, vegetation structure, plant traits, and environmental conditions. However, the question of how to describe the imprint of plants on ecosystem functioning based on observations has not yet been systematically investigated. One approach might be to identify and quantify functional attributes or responsiveness of ecosystems (often very short-term in nature) that contribute to the long-term (i.e., annual but also seasonal or daily) metrics commonly in use. Here we define these patterns as "ecosystem functional properties", or EFPs. Such as the ecosystem capacity of carbon assimilation or the maximum light use efficiency of an ecosystem. While EFPs should be directly derivable from flux measurements at the ecosystem level, we posit that these inherently include the influence of specific plant traits and their local heterogeneity. We present different options of upscaling in situ measured plant traits to the ecosystem level (ecosystem vegetation properties - EVPs) and provide examples of empirical analyses on plants' imprint on ecosystem functioning by combining in situ measured plant traits and ecosystem flux measurements. Finally, we discuss how recent advances in remote sensing contribute to this framework.

  8. Bedrock composition limits mountain ecosystem productivity and landscape evolution (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riebe, C. S.; Hahm, W.; Lukens, C.

    2013-12-01

    We used measurements of bedrock geochemistry, forest productivity and cosmogenic nuclides to explore connections among lithology, ecosystem productivity and landscape evolution across a lithosequence of 21 sites in the Sierra Nevada Batholith, California. Our sites span a narrow range in elevations and thus share similar climatic conditions. Meanwhile, underlying bedrock varies from granite to diorite and spans nearly the entire range of geochemical compositions observed in Cordilleran granitoids. Land cover varies markedly, from groves of Giant Sequoia, the largest trees on Earth, to pluton-spanning swaths of little or no soil and vegetative cover. This is closely reflected in measures of forest productivity, such as remotely sensed tree-canopy cover, which varies by more than an order of magnitude across our sites and often changes abruptly at mapped contacts between rock types. We find that tree-canopy cover is closely correlated with the concentrations in bedrock of major and minor elements, including several plant-essential nutrients. For example, tree-canopy cover is virtually zero where there is less than 0.3 mg/g phosphorus in bedrock. Erosion rates from these nearly vegetation-free, nutrient deserts are more than 2.5 times slower on average than they are from surrounding, relatively nutrient-rich, soil-mantled bedrock. Thus by influencing soil and forest cover, bedrock nutrient concentrations may provoke weathering-limited erosion and thus may strongly regulate landscape evolution. Our analysis suggests that variations in bedrock nutrient concentrations can also provoke an intrinsic limitation on primary productivity. These limitations appear to apply across all our sites. To the extent that they are broadly representative of conditions in granitic landscapes elsewhere around the world, our results are consistent with widespread, but previously undocumented lithologic control of the distribution and diversity of vegetation in mountainous terrain.

  9. Will Global Change Effect Primary Productivity in Coastal Ecosystems?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.; Peterson, David L. (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    Algae are the base of coastal food webs because they provide the source of organic carbon for the remaining members of the community. Thus, the rate that they produce organic carbon to a large extent controls the productivity of the entire ecosystem. Factors that control algal productivity range from the physical (e.g., temperature, light), chemical (e.g., nutrient levels) to the biological (e.g., grazing). Currently, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide surficial fluxes of ultraviolet radiation are rising. Both of these environmental variables can have a profound effect on algal productivity. Atmospheric carbon dioxide may increase surficial levels of dissolved inorganic carbon. Our laboratory and field studies of algal mats and phytoplankton cultures under ambient and elevated levels of pCO2 show that elevated levels of inorganic carbon can cause an increase in photosynthetic rates. In some cases, this increase will cause an increase in phytoplankton numbers. There may be an increase in the excretion of fixed carbon, which in turn may enhance bacterial productivity. Alternatively, in analogy with studies on the effect of elevated pCO2 on plants, the phytoplankton could change their carbon to nitrogen ratios, which will effect the feeding of the planktonic grazers. The seasonal depletion of stratospheric ozone has resulted in elevated fluxes of UVB radiation superimposed on the normal seasonal variation. Present surface UV fluxes have a significant impact on phytoplankton physiology, including the inhibition of the light and dark reactions of photosynthesis, inhibition of nitrogenase activity, inhibition of heterocyst formation, reduction in motility, increased synthesis of the UV-screening pigment scytonemin, and mutation. After reviewing these issues, recent work in our lab on measuring the effect of UV radiation on phytoplankton in the San Francisco Bay Estuary will be presented.

  10. Water management and productivity in planted forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nettles, J. E.

    2014-09-01

    As climate variability endangers water security in many parts of the world, maximizing the carbon balance of plantation forestry is of global importance. High plant water use efficiency is generally associated with lower plant productivity, so an explicit balance in resources is necessary to optimize water yield and tree growth. This balance requires predicting plant water use under different soil, climate, and planting conditions, as well as a mechanism to account for trade-offs in ecosystem services. Several strategies for reducing the water use of forests have been published but there is little research tying these to operational forestry. Using data from silvicultural and biofuel feedstock research in pine plantation ownership in the southeastern USA, proposed water management tools were evaluated against known treatment responses to estimate water yield, forest productivity, and economic outcomes. Ecosystem impacts were considered qualitatively and related to water use metrics. This work is an attempt to measure and compare important variables to make sound decisions about plantations and water use.

  11. Analysing global ecosystem CO2 uptake capacity with plant trait data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Weg, Martine; Sadat Musavi, Talie; van Bodegom, Peter; Kattge, Jens; Mahecha, Miguel; Reichstein, Markus; Bahn, Michael

    2014-05-01

    Given the modulating role of vegetation in the global carbon cycle, there is a demand for simple and general scaling relationships of vegetation characteristics and ecosystem CO2-uptake and emissions. On a leaf level, is it well established that plant trait foliar nitrogen (N) relates strongly with leaf level CO2. Furthermore, ecosystem productivity or CO2 uptake capacity have been related directly with whole-canopy N concentrations for a variety of ecosystems such as grasslands, and boreal, temporal and tropical forests. However, studies on the global validity of these leaf and ecosystem level relationships have been lacking up to date. The arrival of the large plant trait database TRY database offers the opportunity to link plant trait and ecosystem functioning on a global scale. In this study, we used CO2 flux data from the FLUXNET database, with plant trait (Narea) data from TRY and Narea measurements from a selection of FLUXNET sites as well. For 83 global FLUXNET sites, which had information available on species composition, we derived the light saturated gross primary productivity (GPP1000). We used MODIS LAI and fPAR, together with the species' relative height and abundance data, to up-scale the TRY derived Narea values to a canopy value per site (Ncanopy). For this calculation we assumed that top canopy leaves contribute more to CO2 uptake, and used a Lambert-Beer canopy light extinction principle to weigh the relative contribution per species to the final Ncanopy value. For our analyses, we divided the sites in five different vegetation classes: broad leaved forests, needle leaved forests, grasslands, crops and (sub)arctic non-forest vegetation. Site-measured Nareadata corroborated well with TRY derived Narea data, giving confidence in using a database such as TRY for global analyses like ours. Ncanopy alone explained 18 % of the observed variation in maximum (90th percentile) GPP1000 with a linear model. When adding the different vegetation types as a

  12. INVASIVE PLANTS HARBOR HUNGRY DETRITIVORES THAT ALTER ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecosystems are expected to function more efficiently in response to a diverse community of inhabitants. However, biological invasions may change expected relationships between ecosystem function and diversity. We observed increased decomposition, a measure of ecosystem function...

  13. Reconciling Harvest Intensity and Plant Diversity in Boreal Ecosystems: Does Intensification Influence Understory Plant Diversity?

    PubMed

    Kershaw, H Maureen; Morris, Dave M; Fleming, Robert L; Luckai, Nancy J

    2015-11-01

    Overall demand for forest products in the boreal forest is increasing to supply growing bio-energy demands in addition to traditional forest products. As a result, there is a need to refine current forest policies to reconcile production and ecosystem function within the context of ecologically sustainable management. This study assessed understory plants' richness, evenness, and diversity in six harvested boreal black spruce-dominated stands situated on loam, sand, and peat site types 15 years after the application of four harvest treatments of increasing biomass removals. Treatments included uncut, stem-only harvest, full-tree harvest, and full-tree harvest + blading of O horizon. Following canopy removal, species richness and diversity (Shannon's and Simpson's indices) increased on all soil types. The more than doubling of slash loading on the stem-only treatment plots compared to the full-tree plots led to significantly lower species diversity on loam sites; however, the reverse was observed on peat sites where the slash provided warmer, drier microsites facilitating the establishment of a broader array of species. Preexisting ericaceous shrub and sphagnum components continued to dominate on the peat sites. Compositional shifts were most evident for the full-tree + bladed treatment on all soil types, with increases in herbaceous cover including ruderal species. The results suggest that the intensification of harvesting on plant diversity varies with soil type, and these differential results should be considered in the refinement of forest biomass-harvesting guidelines to ensure ecological sustainability and biodiversity conservation over a broad suite of soil types. PMID:26092048

  14. Reconciling Harvest Intensity and Plant Diversity in Boreal Ecosystems: Does Intensification Influence Understory Plant Diversity?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kershaw, H. Maureen; Morris, Dave M.; Fleming, Robert L.; Luckai, Nancy J.

    2015-11-01

    Overall demand for forest products in the boreal forest is increasing to supply growing bio-energy demands in addition to traditional forest products. As a result, there is a need to refine current forest policies to reconcile production and ecosystem function within the context of ecologically sustainable management. This study assessed understory plants' richness, evenness, and diversity in six harvested boreal black spruce-dominated stands situated on loam, sand, and peat site types 15 years after the application of four harvest treatments of increasing biomass removals. Treatments included uncut, stem-only harvest, full-tree harvest, and full-tree harvest + blading of O horizon. Following canopy removal, species richness and diversity (Shannon's and Simpson's indices) increased on all soil types. The more than doubling of slash loading on the stem-only treatment plots compared to the full-tree plots led to significantly lower species diversity on loam sites; however, the reverse was observed on peat sites where the slash provided warmer, drier microsites facilitating the establishment of a broader array of species. Preexisting ericaceous shrub and sphagnum components continued to dominate on the peat sites. Compositional shifts were most evident for the full-tree + bladed treatment on all soil types, with increases in herbaceous cover including ruderal species. The results suggest that the intensification of harvesting on plant diversity varies with soil type, and these differential results should be considered in the refinement of forest biomass-harvesting guidelines to ensure ecological sustainability and biodiversity conservation over a broad suite of soil types.

  15. [Nitric oxide production in plants].

    PubMed

    Małolepsza, Urszula

    2007-01-01

    There are still many controversial observations and opinions on the cellular/subcellular localization and sources of endogenous nitric oxide synthesis in plant cells. NO can be produced in plants by non-enzymatic and enzymatic systems depending on plant species, organ or tissue as well as on physiological state of the plant and changing environmental conditions. The best documented reactions in plant that contribute to NO production are NO production from nitrite as a substrate by cytosolic (cNR) and membrane bound (PM-NR) nitrate reductases (NR), and NO production by several arginine-dependent nitric oxide synthase-like activities (NOS). The latest papers indicate that mitochondria are an important source of arginine- and nitrite-dependent NO production in plants. There are other potential enzymatic sources of NO in plants including xanthine oxidoreductase, peroxidase, cytochrome P450. PMID:18399354

  16. A synthesis of postfire recovery traits of woody plants in Australian ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Peter J; Lawes, Michael J; Murphy, Brett P; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Nano, Catherine E M; Bradstock, Ross; Enright, Neal J; Fontaine, Joseph B; Gosper, Carl R; Radford, Ian; Midgley, Jeremy J; Gunton, Richard M

    2015-11-15

    Postfire resprouting and recruitment from seed are key plant life-history traits that influence population dynamics, community composition and ecosystem function. Species can have one or both of these mechanisms. They confer resilience, which may determine community composition through differential species persistence after fire. To predict ecosystem level responses to changes in climate and fire conditions, we examined the proportions of these plant fire-adaptive traits among woody growth forms of 2880 taxa, in eight fire-prone ecosystems comprising ~87% of Australia's land area. Shrubs comprised 64% of the taxa. More tree (>84%) than shrub (~50%) taxa resprouted. Basal, epicormic and apical resprouting occurred in 71%, 22% and 3% of the taxa, respectively. Most rainforest taxa (91%) were basal resprouters. Many trees (59%) in frequently-burnt eucalypt forest and savanna resprouted epicormically. Although crown fire killed many mallee (62%) and heathland (48%) taxa, fire-cued seeding was common in these systems. Postfire seeding was uncommon in rainforest and in arid Acacia communities that burnt infrequently at low intensity. Resprouting was positively associated with ecosystem productivity, but resprouting type (e.g. basal or epicormic) was associated with local scale fire activity, especially fire frequency. Although rainforest trees can resprout they cannot recruit after intense fires and may decline under future fires. Semi-arid Acacia communities would be susceptible to increasing fire frequencies because they contain few postfire seeders. Ecosystems dominated by obligate seeders (mallee, heath) are also susceptible because predicted shorter inter-fire intervals will prevent seed bank accumulation. Savanna may be resilient to future fires because of the adaptive advantage of epicormic resprouting among the eucalypts. The substantial non-resprouting shrub component of shrublands may decline, but resilient Eucalyptus spp. will continue to dominate under future

  17. Soil ecosystem functioning under climate change: plant species and community effects

    SciTech Connect

    Kardol, Paul; Cregger, Melissa; Campany, Courtney E; Classen, Aimee T

    2010-01-01

    Feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change depend on soil ecosystem dynamics. Soil ecosystems can directly and indirectly respond to climate change. For example, warming directly alters microbial communities by increasing their activity. Climate change may also alter plant community composition, thus indirectly altering the microbial communities that feed on their inputs. To better understand how climate change may directly and indirectly alter soil ecosystem functioning, we investigated old-field plant community and soil ecosystem responses to single and combined effects of elevated [CO2], warming, and water availability. Specifically, we collected soils at the plot level (plant community soils), and beneath dominant plant species (plant-specific soils). We used microbial enzyme activities and soil nematodes as indicators for soil ecosystem functioning. Our study resulted in two main findings: 1) Overall, while there were some interactions, water, relative to increases in [CO2] and warming, had the largest impact on plant community composition, soil enzyme activities, and soil nematodes. Multiple climate change factors can interact to shape ecosystems, but in this case, those interactions were largely driven by changes in water availability. 2) Indirect effects of climate change, via changes in plant communities, had a significant impact on soil ecosystem functioning and this impact was not obvious when looking at plant community soils. Climate change effects on enzyme activities and soil nematode abundance and community structure strongly differed between plant community soils and plant-specific soils, but also within plant-specific soils. In sum, these results indicate that accurate assessments of climate change impacts on soil ecosystem functioning require incorporating the concurrent changes in plant function and plant community composition. Climate change-induced shifts in plant community composition will likely modify or counteract the direct

  18. Measuring and modelling ecosystem productivity: a PhenoCam-based approach.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hufkens, K.; Keenan, T. F.; Flanagan, L. B.; Richardson, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    Phenology controls feedbacks to the climate system through abiotic and biotic forces such as albedo or fluxes of water, energy and CO2. Understanding and modelling these vegetation-climate feedbacks is key to accurately predicting a future climate. For the past 6 years the PhenoCam network, a network of near-surface remote sensing cameras, has consistently monitored vegetation phenology in a wide range of ecoregions, climate zones, and plant functional types. Here we explore the tight coupling between canopy greenness and rates of photosynthesis using two studies. A first study highlights how PhenoCam data can be used to quantify the effect of a late spring frost event on ecosystem productivity, introducing a 7-14% loss in annual gross productivity across 8753 km2 in the northeastern United States. This case study emphasizes the use of the PhenoCam data in estimating productivity loss / the opportunity cost of ecosystem disturbance in areas not covered by ecosystem flux measurement equipment. In a more recent, second, study we developed a PhenoCam data-informed pulse-response model of grassland growth to explore potential responses of grasslands to future climate change across North America. Our findings projected widespread and consistent increase in grassland productivity (for the current range of grassland ecosystems of North American) over the coming century, despite a general increase in aridity projected across most of our study area. Once more PhenoCam data allowed us to inform our modelling efforts with data of a high temporal and spatial resolution. In conclusion, both studies illustrate direct applications of the ever growing PhenoCam network (http://phenocam.sr.unh.edu/webcam/) in scaling the effects of ecosystem disturbances, predicting future ecosystem productivity and underscore the complementary nature of PhenoCam data with ecosystem exchange measurements.

  19. Root contact responses and the positive relationship between intraspecific diversity and ecosystem productivity

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Lixue; Callaway, Ragan M.; Atwater, Daniel Z.

    2015-01-01

    High species and functional group richness often has positive effects on ecosystem function including increasing productivity. Recently, intraspecific diversity has been found to have similar effects, but because traits vary far less within a species than among species we have a much poorer understanding of the mechanisms by which intraspecific diversity affects ecosystem function. We explored the potential for identity recognition among the roots of different Pseudoroegneria spicata accessions to contribute to previously demonstrated overyielding in plots with high intraspecific richness of this species relative to monocultures. First, we found that when plants from different populations were planted together in pots the total biomass yield was 30 % more than in pots with two plants from the same population. Second, we found that the elongation rates of roots of Pseudoroegneria plants decreased more after contact with roots from another plant from the same population than after contact with roots from a plant from a different population. These results suggest the possibility of some form of detection and avoidance mechanism among more closely related Pseudoroegneria plants. If decreased growth after contact results in reduced root overlap, and reduced root overlap corresponds with reduced growth and productivity, then variation in detection and avoidance among related and unrelated accessions may contribute to how ecotypic diversity in Pseudoroegneria increases productivity. PMID:25990363

  20. Soil nutrient heterogeneity modulates ecosystem responses to changes in the identity and richness of plant functional groups

    PubMed Central

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Maestre, Fernando T.; Gallardo, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Summary Recent research has shown that biodiversity may has its greatest impact on ecosystem functioning in heterogeneous environments. However, the role of soil heterogeneity as a modulator of ecosystem responses to changes in biodiversity remains poorly understood, as few biodiversity studies have explicitly considered this important ecosystem feature. We conducted a microcosm experiment over two growing seasons to evaluate the joint effects of changes in plant functional groups (grasses, legumes, non-legume forbs and a combination of them), spatial distribution of soil nutrients (homogeneous and heterogeneous) and nutrient availability (50 and 100 mg of nitrogen [N] added as organic material) on plant productivity and surrogates of carbon, phosphorous and N cycling (β-glucosidase and acid phosphatase enzymes and in situ N availability, respectively). Soil nutrient heterogeneity interacted with nutrient availability and plant functional diversity to determine productivity and nutrient cycling responses. All the functional groups exhibited precise root foraging patterns. Above- and belowground productivity increased under heterogeneous nutrient supply. Surrogates of nutrient cycling were not directly affected by soil nutrient heterogeneity. Regardless of their above- and belowground biomass, legumes increased the availability of soil inorganic N and the activity of the acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase enzymes. Our study emphasizes the role of soil nutrient heterogeneity as a modulator of ecosystem responses to changes in functional diversity beyond the species level. Functional group identity, rather than richness, can play a key role in determining the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. Synthesis. Our results highlight the importance of explicitly considering soil heterogeneity in diversity-ecosystem functioning experiments, where the identity of the plant functional group is of major importance. Such consideration will improve our ability to

  1. The Limits of Acclimation of land plants in a Terrestrial Ecosystems Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kothavala, Zavareh

    2014-05-01

    In this study, we examine the role of the terrestrial carbon cycle and the ability of different plant types to acclimate to a changing climate at the centennial scale using a global ecosystems model with updated biogeochemical processes related to moisture, carbon, and nitrogen. Elevated level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increases CO2 fertilization, resulting in more CO2 uptake by vegetation, whereas the concomitant warming increases autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration, releasing CO2 to the atmosphere. Additionally, warming will enhance photosynthesis if current temperatures are below the optimal temperature for plant growth, while it will reduce photosynthesis if current temperatures are above the optimal temperature for plant growth. We present a series of ensemble simulations to evaluate the ability of plants to acclimate to changing conditions over the last century and how this affects the terrestrial carbon sink. A set of experiments related to (a) the varying relationship between CO2 fertilization and the half saturation constant, (b) the factors related to gross primary productivity and maintenance respiration, and (c) the variables related to heterotrophic respiration, were conducted with thirteen plant functional types. The experiments were performed using the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) with a present-day vegetation distribution without the effects of natural or human disturbance, and a closed Nitrogen cycle, at a half-degree resolution over the globe. The experiment design consisted of eight scenarios that are consistent with past and future ecosystem conditions, presented in other scientific studies. The significance of model trends related to runoff, soil moisture, soil carbon, Net Primary Productivity (NPP), crop yield, and Net Ecosystem Productivity (NEP) for different seasons, as well as surface temperature, precipitation, vapor pressure, and photosynthetically active radiation are analyzed for various ecosystems at the global

  2. The use of a new ecosystem services assessment tool, EPA H2O, for identifying, quantifying, and valuing ecosystem services production.

    EPA Science Inventory

    The task of estimating ecosystem service production and delivery deserves special attention. Assessment tools that incorporate both supply and delivery of ecosystem services are needed to better understand how ecosystem services production becomes realized benefits. Here, we de...

  3. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation. PMID:26994604

  4. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P.; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation.

  5. Isolation and enzyme bioprospection of endophytic bacteria associated with plants of Brazilian mangrove ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Castro, Renata A; Quecine, Maria Carolina; Lacava, Paulo T; Batista, Bruna D; Luvizotto, Danice M; Marcon, Joelma; Ferreira, Anderson; Melo, Itamar S; Azevedo, João L

    2014-01-01

    The mangrove ecosystem is a coastal tropical biome located in the transition zone between land and sea that is characterized by periodic flooding, which confers unique and specific environmental conditions on this biome. In these ecosystems, the vegetation is dominated by a particular group of plant species that provide a unique environment harboring diverse groups of microorganisms, including the endophytic microorganisms that are the focus of this study. Because of their intimate association with plants, endophytic microorganisms could be explored for biotechnologically significant products, such as enzymes, proteins, antibiotics and others. Here, we isolated endophytic microorganisms from two mangrove species, Rhizophora mangle and Avicennia nitida, that are found in streams in two mangrove systems in Bertioga and Cananéia, Brazil. Bacillus was the most frequently isolated genus, comprising 42% of the species isolated from Cananéia and 28% of the species from Bertioga. However, other common endophytic genera such as Pantoea, Curtobacterium and Enterobacter were also found. After identifying the isolates, the bacterial communities were evaluated for enzyme production. Protease activity was observed in 75% of the isolates, while endoglucanase activity occurred in 62% of the isolates. Bacillus showed the highest activity rates for amylase and esterase and endoglucanase. To our knowledge, this is the first reported diversity analysis performed on endophytic bacteria obtained from the branches of mangrove trees and the first overview of the specific enzymes produced by different bacterial genera. This work contributes to our knowledge of the microorganisms and enzymes present in mangrove ecosystems. PMID:25110630

  6. Belowground plant biomass allocation in tundra ecosystems and its relationship with temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Peng; Heijmans, Monique M. P. D.; Mommer, Liesje; van Ruijven, Jasper; Maximov, Trofim C.; Berendse, Frank

    2016-05-01

    Climate warming is known to increase the aboveground productivity of tundra ecosystems. Recently, belowground biomass is receiving more attention, but the effects of climate warming on belowground productivity remain unclear. Enhanced understanding of the belowground component of the tundra is important in the context of climate warming, since most carbon is sequestered belowground in these ecosystems. In this study we synthesized published tundra belowground biomass data from 36 field studies spanning a mean annual temperature (MAT) gradient from ‑20 °C to 0 °C across the tundra biome, and determined the relationships between different plant biomass pools and MAT. Our results show that the plant community biomass–temperature relationships are significantly different between above and belowground. Aboveground biomass clearly increased with MAT, whereas total belowground biomass and fine root biomass did not show a significant increase over the broad MAT gradient. Our results suggest that biomass allocation of tundra vegetation shifts towards aboveground in warmer conditions, which could impact on the carbon cycling in tundra ecosystems through altered litter input and distribution in the soil, as well as possible changes in root turnover.

  7. Managing for ecosystem services and livestock production: Are there tradeoffs?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Most all rangelands have traditionally been managed to provide food and fiber through management practices to achieve sustainable forage and livestock production (Dunn et al. 2010). Yet, society is desiring that these lands also be managed for multiple ecosystem services (defined as provisioning, re...

  8. Impacts of invasive plants on resident animals across ecosystems, taxa, and feeding types: a global assessment.

    PubMed

    Schirmel, Jens; Bundschuh, Mirco; Entling, Martin H; Kowarik, Ingo; Buchholz, Sascha

    2016-02-01

    As drivers of global change, biological invasions have fundamental ecological consequences. However, it remains unclear how invasive plant effects on resident animals vary across ecosystems, animal classes, and functional groups. We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis covering 198 field and laboratory studies reporting a total of 3624 observations of invasive plant effects on animals. Invasive plants had reducing (56%) or neutral (44%) effects on animal abundance, diversity, fitness, and ecosystem function across different ecosystems, animal classes, and feeding types while we could not find any increasing effect. Most importantly, we found that invasive plants reduced overall animal abundance, diversity and fitness. However, this significant overall effect was contingent on ecosystems, taxa, and feeding types of animals. Decreasing effects of invasive plants were most evident in riparian ecosystems, possibly because frequent disturbance facilitates more intense plant invasions compared to other ecosystem types. In accordance with their immediate reliance on plants for food, invasive plant effects were strongest on herbivores. Regarding taxonomic groups, birds and insects were most strongly affected. In insects, this may be explained by their high frequency of herbivory, while birds demonstrate that invasive plant effects can also cascade up to secondary consumers. Since data on impacts of invasive plants are rather limited for many animal groups in most ecosystems, we argue for overcoming gaps in knowledge and for a more differentiated discussion on effects of invasive plant on native fauna. PMID:26390918

  9. TRANSGENIC PLANTS: ENVIRONMENTAL PERSISTENCE AND EFFECTS ON SOIL AND PLANT ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The genetic engineering of plants has facilitated the production of valuable agricultural and forestry crops. Transgenic plants have been created that have increased resistance to pests, herbicides, pathogens, and environmental stress, enhanced qualitative and quantitative trait...

  10. DISTRIBUTION OF SELECTED INVASIVE PLANTS IN RIPARIAN ECOSYSTEMS OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Riparian ecosystems typically exhibit high levels of plant species richness, physical disturbance, and interconnectedness; characteristics that may favor establishment and spread of invasive plant species. To assess the magnitude of this invasion, we organized an extensive surve...

  11. Declining plant nitrogen supply and carbon accumulation in ageing primary boreal forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Högberg, Mona N.; Yarwood, Stephanie A.; Trumbore, Susan; Högberg, Peter

    2016-04-01

    Boreal forest soils are commonly characterized by a low plant nitrogen (N) supply. A high tree below-ground allocation of carbon (C) to roots and soil microorganisms in response to the shortage of N may lead to high microbial immobilisation of N, thus aggravating the N limitation. We studied the N supply at a Swedish boreal forest ecosystem chronosequence created by new land rising out of the sea due to iso-static rebound. The youngest soils develop with meadows by the coast, followed by a zone of dinitrogen fixing alder trees, and primary boreal conifer forest on ground up to 560 years old. With increasing ecosystem age, the proportion of microbial C out of the total soil C pool from the youngest to the oldest coniferous ecosystem was constant (c. 1-1.5%), whereas immobilised N (microbial N out of total soil N) increased and approached the levels commonly observed in similar boreal coniferous forests (c. 6-7 %), whereas gross N mineralization declined. Simultaneously, plant foliar N % decreased and the natural abundance of N-15 in the soil increased. More specifically, the difference in N-15 between plant foliage and soil increased, which is related to greater retention of N-15 relative to N-14 by ectomycorrhizal fungi as N is taken up from the soil and some N is transferred to the plant host. In the conifer forest, where these changes were greatest, we found increased fungal biomass in the F- and H-horizons of the mor-layer, in which ectomycorrhizal fungi are known to dominate (the uppermost horizon with litter and moss is dominated by saprotrophic fungi). Hence, we propose that the decreasing N supply to the plants and the subsequent decline in plant production in ageing boreal forests is linked to high tree belowground C allocation to C limited ectomycorrhizal fungi (and other soil microorganisms), a strong sink for available soil N. Data on organic matter C-14 suggested that the largest input of recently fixed plant C occurred in the younger coniferous forest

  12. Diverging Plant and Ecosystem Strategies in Response to Climate Change in the High Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maseyk, K. S.; Welker, J. M.; Czimczik, C. I.; Lupascu, M.; Lett, C.; Seibt, U. H.

    2014-12-01

    Increasing summer precipitation means Arctic growing seasons are becoming wetter as well as warmer, but the effect of these coupled changes on tundra ecosystem functioning remains largely unknown. We have determined how warmer and wetter summers affect coupled carbon-water cycling in a High Arctic polar semi-desert ecosystem in NW Greenland. Measurements of ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes throughout the growing season and leaf ecophysiological traits (gas exchange, morphology, leaf chemistry) were made at a long-term climate change experiment. After 9 years of exposure to warmer (+ 4°C) and / or wetter (+ 50% precipitation) treatments, we found diverging plant strategies between the responses to warming with or without an increase in summer precipitation. Warming alone resulted in an increase in leaf nitrogen, mesophyll conductance and leaf-mass per area and higher rates of leaf-level photosynthesis, but with warming and wetting combined leaf traits remain largely unchanged. However, total leaf area increased with warming plus wetting but was unchanged with warming alone. The combined effect of these leaf trait and canopy adjustments is a decrease in ecosystem water-use efficiency (the ratio of net productivity to evapotranspiration) with warming only, but a substantial increase with combined warming and wetting. We conclude that increasing summer precipitation will alter tundra ecohydrological responses to warming; that leaf-level changes in ecophysiological traits have an upward cascading consequence for ecosystem and land surface-climate interactions; and the current relative resistance of High Arctic ecosystems to warming may mask biochemical and carbon cycling changes already underway.

  13. Maintaining ecosystem services through continued livestock production on California rangelands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barry, S.; Becchetti, T.

    2015-12-01

    Nearly 40% of California is rangeland comprising the largest land type in California and providing forage for livestock, primarily beef cattle. In addition to forage, rangelands provide a host of ecosystem systems services, including habitat for common and endangered species, fire fuels management, pollination services, clean water, viewsheds, and carbon sequestration. Published research has documented that most of these ecosystem services are positively impacted by managed livestock grazing and rancher stewardship. Ranchers typically do not receive any monetary reimbursement for their stewardship in providing these ecosystem services to the public. Markets have been difficult to establish with limited ability to adequately monitor and measure services provided. At the same time, rangelands have been experiencing rapid conversion to urbanization and more profitable and intensive forms of agriculture such as almond and walnut orchards. To prevent further conversion of rangelands and the loss of the services they provide, there needs to be a mechanism to identify and compensate landowners for the value of all products and services being received from rangelands. This paper considers two methods (opportunity cost and avoided cost) to determine the value of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for rangelands. PES can raise the value of rangelands, making them more competitive financially. Real estate values and University of California Cooperative Extension Cost Studies, were used to demonstrate the difference in value (lost opportunity cost) between the primary products of rangelands (livestock production) and the products of the converted rangelands (almond and walnut orchards). Avoided costs for vegetation management and habitat creation and maintenance were used to establish the value of managed grazing. If conversion is to be slowed or stopped and managed grazing promoted to protect the ecosystem services rangelands provide, this value could be compensated through

  14. Plant Diversity Surpasses Plant Functional Groups and Plant Productivity as Driver of Soil Biota in the Long Term

    PubMed Central

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Milcu, Alexandru; Sabais, Alexander C. W.; Bessler, Holger; Brenner, Johanna; Engels, Christof; Klarner, Bernhard; Maraun, Mark; Partsch, Stephan; Roscher, Christiane; Schonert, Felix; Temperton, Vicky M.; Thomisch, Karolin; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Scheu, Stefan

    2011-01-01

    Background One of the most significant consequences of contemporary global change is the rapid decline of biodiversity in many ecosystems. Knowledge of the consequences of biodiversity loss in terrestrial ecosystems is largely restricted to single ecosystem functions. Impacts of key plant functional groups on soil biota are considered to be more important than those of plant diversity; however, current knowledge mainly relies on short-term experiments. Methodology/Principal Findings We studied changes in the impacts of plant diversity and presence of key functional groups on soil biota by investigating the performance of soil microorganisms and soil fauna two, four and six years after the establishment of model grasslands. The results indicate that temporal changes of plant community effects depend on the trophic affiliation of soil animals: plant diversity effects on decomposers only occurred after six years, changed little in herbivores, but occurred in predators after two years. The results suggest that plant diversity, in terms of species and functional group richness, is the most important plant community property affecting soil biota, exceeding the relevance of plant above- and belowground productivity and the presence of key plant functional groups, i.e. grasses and legumes, with the relevance of the latter decreasing in time. Conclusions/Significance Plant diversity effects on biota are not only due to the presence of key plant functional groups or plant productivity highlighting the importance of diverse and high-quality plant derived resources, and supporting the validity of the singular hypothesis for soil biota. Our results demonstrate that in the long term plant diversity essentially drives the performance of soil biota questioning the paradigm that belowground communities are not affected by plant diversity and reinforcing the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning. PMID:21249208

  15. Plant litter decomposition in a semi-arid ecosystem controlled by photodegradation.

    PubMed

    Austin, Amy T; Vivanco, Lucía

    2006-08-01

    The carbon balance in terrestrial ecosystems is determined by the difference between inputs from primary production and the return of carbon to the atmosphere through decomposition of organic matter. Our understanding of the factors that control carbon turnover in water-limited ecosystems is limited, however, as studies of litter decomposition have shown contradictory results and only a modest correlation with precipitation. Here we evaluate the influence of solar radiation, soil biotic activity and soil resource availability on litter decomposition in the semi-arid Patagonian steppe using the results of manipulative experiments carried out under ambient conditions of rainfall and temperature. We show that intercepted solar radiation was the only factor that had a significant effect on the decomposition of organic matter, with attenuation of ultraviolet-B and total radiation causing a 33 and 60 per cent reduction in decomposition, respectively. We conclude that photodegradation is a dominant control on above-ground litter decomposition in this semi-arid ecosystem. Losses through photochemical mineralization may represent a short-circuit in the carbon cycle, with a substantial fraction of carbon fixed in plant biomass being lost directly to the atmosphere without cycling through soil organic matter pools. Furthermore, future changes in radiation interception due to decreased cloudiness, increased stratospheric ozone depletion, or reduced vegetative cover may have a more significant effect on the carbon balance in these water-limited ecosystems than changes in temperature or precipitation. PMID:16885982

  16. The Flora Mission for Ecosystem Composition, Disturbance and Productivity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Asner, Gregory P.; Knox, Robert G.; Green, Robert O.; Ungar, Stephen G.

    2005-01-01

    Global land use and climate variability alter ecosystem conditions - including structure, function, and biological diversity - at a pace that requires unambiguous observations from satellite vantage points. Current global measurements are limited to general land cover, some disturbances, vegetation leaf area index, and canopy energy absorption. Flora is a pathfinding mission that provides new measurements of ecosystem structure, function, and diversity to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of human and natural disturbances, and the biogeochemical and physiological responses of ecosystems to disturbance. The mission relies upon high-fidelity imaging spectroscopy to deliver full optical spectrum measurements (400-2500 nm) of the global land surface on a monthly time step at 45 meter spatial resolution for three years. The Flora measurement objectives are: (i) fractional cover of biological materials, (ii) canopy water content, (iii) vegetation pigments and light-use efficiency, (iv) plant functional types, (v) fire fuel load and fuel moisture content, and (vi) disturbance occurrence, type and intensity. These measurements are made using a multi-parameter, spectroscopic analysis approach afforded by observation of the full optical spectrum. Combining these measurements, along with additional observations from multispectral sensors, Flora will far advance global studies and models of ecosystem dynamics and change.

  17. Plant traits as predictor of ecosystem carbon fluxes - a case study across European grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klumpp, Katja; Bahn, Michael; Acosta, Manuel; Altimir, Nuria; Gimeno, Cristina; Jongen, Marjan; Merbold, Lutz; Moors, Eddy; Pinter, Kistina; Darsonville, Olivier

    2015-04-01

    Predicting ecosystem responses to global change has become a major challenge, particularly as terrestrial ecosystems contribute to the mitigation of global climate change through carbon sequestration. Plant traits are major surrogates of ecosystem physiology may thus help to predict carbon (C) fluxes and their consequences for the delivery of ecosystem services (e.g. C sequestration) across climatic gradients and in changing environments. However, linkages between community abundance-weighted means (CWM) of plant functional traits and ecosystem C fluxes have rarely been tested. It is also not known to what degree traits, which are typically measured at a defined point in time, are suitable for predicting annual C fluxes. We analysed the relationships between ecosystem fluxes and community level plant traits for 13 European grasslands under contrasting climate and management regimes, using multiyear eddy covariance data. Plant traits (specific leaf area SLA, leaf dry matter content LDMC, specific root length SLR) were determined at peak biomass. Analyses showed that GPPmax (at maximum radiation) was related to SLA, SRL and LDMC across sites and management, where GPPmax was an excellent indicator for annual GPP. Similar relations were found between for root density (and -diameter) and ecosystem respiration. Ecosystems respiration at GPPmax was also in line with annual respiration, indicating the strong predictive potential of plant community traits. Our study therefore suggests that above- and belowground community level plant traits are well suited surrogates for predicting ecosystem C fluxes at peak biomass and at annual scale.

  18. Ecosystem Responses To Plant Phenology Across Scales And Trophic Levels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoner, D.; Sexton, J. O.; Nagol, J. R.; Ironside, K.; Choate, D.; Longshore, K.; Edwards, T., Jr.

    2015-12-01

    Plant phenology in arid and semi-arid ecoregions is constrained by water availability and governs the life history characteristics of primary and secondary consumers. We related the behavior, demography, and distribution of mammalian herbivores and their principal predator to remotely sensed vegetation and climatological indices across the western United States for the period 2000-2014. Across scales, terrain and topographic position moderates the effects of climatological drought on primary productivity, resulting in differential susceptibility among plant functional types to water stress. At broad scales, herbivores tie parturition to moist sites during the period of maximum increase in local forage production. Consequently, juvenile mortality is highest in regions of extreme phenological variability. Although decoupled from primary production by one or more trophic levels, carnivore home range size and density is negatively correlated to plant productivity and growing season length. At the finest scales, predation influences the behavior of herbivore prey through compromised habitat selection, in which maternal females trade nutritional benefits of high plant biomass for reduced mortality risk associated with increased visibility. Climate projections for the western United States predict warming combined with shifts in the timing and form of precipitation. Our analyses suggest that these changes will propagate through trophic levels as increased phenological variability and shifts in plant distributions, larger consumer home ranges, altered migration behavior, and generally higher volatility in wildlife populations. Combined with expansion and intensification of human land use across the region, these changes will likely have economic implications stemming from increased human-wildlife conflict (e.g., crop damage, vehicle collisions) and changes in wildlife-related tourism.

  19. Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche–efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Jingjing; Zhou, Mo; Tobin, Patrick C.; McGuire, A. David; Reich, Peter B.

    2015-01-01

    The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Previous research has focused on the positive role of biodiversity on resource acquisition (i.e., niche complementarity), but a lack of study on resource utilization efficiency, a link between resource and productivity, has rendered it difficult to quantify the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship. Here we demonstrate that biodiversity loss reduces plant productivity, other things held constant, through theory, empirical evidence, and simulations under gradually relaxed assumptions. We developed a theoretical model named niche–efficiency to integrate niche complementarity and a heretofore-ignored mechanism of diminishing marginal productivity in quantifying the effects of biodiversity loss on plant productivity. Based on niche–efficiency, we created a relative productivity metric and a productivity impact index (PII) to assist in biological conservation and resource management. Relative productivity provides a standardized measure of the influence of biodiversity on individual productivity, and PII is a functionally based taxonomic index to assess individual species’ inherent value in maintaining current ecosystem productivity. Empirical evidence from the Alaska boreal forest suggests that every 1% reduction in overall plant diversity could render an average of 0.23% decline in individual tree productivity. Out of the 283 plant species of the region, we found that large woody plants generally have greater PII values than other species. This theoretical model would facilitate the integration of biological conservation in the international campaign against several pressing global issues involving energy use, climate change, and poverty. PMID:25901325

  20. Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche-efficiency.

    PubMed

    Liang, Jingjing; Zhou, Mo; Tobin, Patrick C; McGuire, A David; Reich, Peter B

    2015-05-01

    The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Previous research has focused on the positive role of biodiversity on resource acquisition (i.e., niche complementarity), but a lack of study on resource utilization efficiency, a link between resource and productivity, has rendered it difficult to quantify the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. Here we demonstrate that biodiversity loss reduces plant productivity, other things held constant, through theory, empirical evidence, and simulations under gradually relaxed assumptions. We developed a theoretical model named niche-efficiency to integrate niche complementarity and a heretofore-ignored mechanism of diminishing marginal productivity in quantifying the effects of biodiversity loss on plant productivity. Based on niche-efficiency, we created a relative productivity metric and a productivity impact index (PII) to assist in biological conservation and resource management. Relative productivity provides a standardized measure of the influence of biodiversity on individual productivity, and PII is a functionally based taxonomic index to assess individual species' inherent value in maintaining current ecosystem productivity. Empirical evidence from the Alaska boreal forest suggests that every 1% reduction in overall plant diversity could render an average of 0.23% decline in individual tree productivity. Out of the 283 plant species of the region, we found that large woody plants generally have greater PII values than other species. This theoretical model would facilitate the integration of biological conservation in the international campaign against several pressing global issues involving energy use, climate change, and poverty. PMID:25901325

  1. Using plant traits to evaluate the resistance and resilience of ecosystem service provision

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Marina; Devaux, Caroline; Fontana, Veronika; Grigulis, Karl; Lavorel, Sandra; Leitinger, Georg; Schirpke, Uta; Tasser, Erich; Tappeiner, Ulrike

    2015-04-01

    Mountain grassland ecosystems are a hotspot of biodiversity and deliver a multiplicity of ecosystem services. Due to a long history of well adapted agricultural use and specific environmental conditions (e.g. slope, altitude, or climate), various types of grassland ecosystems have developed. Each of them shows specific attributes in forms of plant communities and abiotic characteristics, which lead to particular ranges of ecosystem service provision. However, ongoing climate and societal changes thread plant community composition and may lead to changes in plant traits, and therefore, the provision of ecosystem services. Currently it is not clear how vulnerable these ecosystems are to disturbances, or whether they have developed a high resilience over time. Thus, it is essential to know the ranges of resistance and resilience of an ecosystem service. We, therefore, developed a static approach based on community weighted mean plant traits and abiotic parameters to measure the boundaries of resistance and resilience of each ecosystem service separately. By calculating actual minimum and maximum amounts of ecosystem services, we define the range of resistance of an ecosystem service. We then calculate the potential amount of an ecosystem services (via simulated plant communities) by assuming that no species is lost or added to the system. By comparing actual and potential values, we can estimate whether an ecosystem service is in danger to lose its resilience. We selected different ecosystem services related to mountain grassland ecosystems, e.g. carbon storage, forage quality, forage quantity, and soil fertility. We analysed each ecosystem service for different grassland management types, covering meadows and pastures of very low land-use intensity through to grasslands of high land-use intensity. Results indicate that certain ecosystem services have a higher resilience than others (e.g. carbon storage) for all management types. The ecosystem may provide steady

  2. Regulating plant/insect interactions using CO2 enrichment in model ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grodzinski, B.; Schmidt, J. M.; Watts, B.; Taylor, J.; Bates, S.; Dixon, M. A.; Staines, H.

    1999-01-01

    The greenhouse environment is a challenging artificial ecosystem in which it is possible to study selected plant/insect interaction in a controlled environment. Due to a combination of ``direct'' and ``indirect'' effects of CO2 enrichment on plant photosynthesis and plant development, canopy productivity is generally increased. In this paper, we discuss the effects of daytime and nighttime CO2 enrichment protocols on gas exchange of pepper plants (Capsicum annuum L, cv Cubico) grown in controlled environments. In addition, we present the effects of thrips, a common insect pest, on the photosynthetic and respiratory activity of these plant canopies. Carbon dioxide has diverse effects on the physiology and mortality of insects. However, our data indicate that thrips and whiteflies, at least, are not killed ``directly'' by CO2 levels used to enhance photosynthesis and plant growth. Together the data suggest that the insect population is affected ``indirectly'' by CO2 and that the primary effect of CO2 is via its effects on plant metabolism.

  3. Global evidence on nitrogen saturation of terrestrial ecosystem net primary productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tian, Dashuan; Wang, Hong; Sun, Jian; Niu, Shuli

    2016-02-01

    The continually increasing nitrogen (N) deposition is expected to increase ecosystem aboveground net primary production (ANPP) until it exceeds plant N demand, causing a nonlinear response and N saturation for ANPP. However, the nonlinear response of ANPP to N addition gradient and the N saturation threshold have not been comprehensively quantified yet for terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, we compiled a global dataset of 44 experimental studies with at least three levels of N treatment. Nitrogen response efficiency (NRE, ANPP response per unit N addition) and the difference in NRE between N levels (ΔNRE) were quantified to test the nonlinearity in ANPP response. We found a universal response pattern of N saturation for ANPP with N addition gradient across all the studies and in different ecosystems. An averaged N saturation threshold for ANPP nonlinearity was found at the N addition rates of 5-6 g m-2 yr-1. The extent to which ANPP approaches N saturation varied with ecosystem type, N addition rate and environmental factors. ANPP in grasslands had lower NRE than those in forests and wetlands. Plant NRE decreased with reduced soil C:N ratio, and was the highest at intermediate levels of rainfall and temperature. These findings suggest that ANPP in grassland or the ecosystems with low soil C:N ratio (or low and high rainfall or temperature) is easier to be saturated with N enrichment. Overall, these results indicate that the beneficial effect of N deposition on plant productivity likely diminishes with continuous N enrichment when N loading surpasses the N saturation threshold for ANPP nonlinearity.

  4. Regional signatures of plant response to drought and elevated temperature across a desert ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Munson, Seth M; Muldavin, Esteban H; Belnap, Jayne; Peters, Debra P C; Anderson, John P; Reiser, M Hildegard; Gallo, Kirsten; Melgoza-Castillo, Alicia; Herrick, Jeffrey E; Christiansen, Tim A

    2013-09-01

    The performance of many desert plant species in North America may decline with the warmer and drier conditions predicted by climate change models, thereby accelerating land degradation and reducing ecosystem productivity. We paired repeat measurements of plant canopy cover with climate at multiple sites across the Chihuahuan Desert over the last century to determine which plant species and functional types may be the most sensitive to climate change. We found that the dominant perennial grass, Bouteloua eriopoda, and species richness had nonlinear responses to summer precipitation, decreasing more in dry summers than increasing with wet summers. Dominant shrub species responded differently to the seasonality of precipitation and drought, but winter precipitation best explained changes in the cover of woody vegetation in upland grasslands and may contribute to woody-plant encroachment that is widespread throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Temperature explained additional variability of changes in cover of dominant and subdominant plant species. Using a novel empirically based approach we identified "climate pivot points" that were indicative of shifts from increasing to decreasing plant cover over a range of climatic conditions. Reductions in cover of annual and several perennial plant species, in addition to declines in species richness below the long-term summer precipitation mean across plant communities, indicate a decrease in the productivity for all but the most drought-tolerant perennial grasses and shrubs in the Chihuahuan Desert. Overall, our regional synthesis of long-term data provides a robust foundation for forecasting future shifts in the composition and structure of plant assemblages in the largest North American warm desert. PMID:24279274

  5. Regional signatures of plant response to drought and elevated temperature across a desert ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Munson, Seth M.; Muldavin, Esteban H.; Belnap, Jayne; Peters, Debra P.C.; Anderson, John P.; Reiser, M. Hildegard; Gallo, Kirsten; Melgoza-Castillo, Alicia; Herrick, Jeffrey E.; Christiansen, Tim A.

    2013-01-01

    The performance of many desert plant species in North America may decline with the warmer and drier conditions predicted by climate change models, thereby accelerating land degradation and reducing ecosystem productivity. We paired repeat measurements of plant canopy cover with climate at multiple sites across the Chihuahuan Desert over the last century to determine which plant species and functional types may be the most sensitive to climate change. We found that the dominant perennial grass, Bouteloua eriopoda, and species richness had nonlinear responses to summer precipitation, decreasing more in dry summers than increasing with wet summers. Dominant shrub species responded differently to the seasonality of precipitation and drought, but winter precipitation best explained changes in the cover of woody vegetation in upland grasslands and may contribute to woody-plant encroachment that is widespread throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Temperature explained additional variability of changes in cover of dominant and subdominant plant species. Using a novel empirically based approach we identified ‘‘climate pivot points’’ that were indicative of shifts from increasing to decreasing plant cover over a range of climatic conditions. Reductions in cover of annual and several perennial plant species, in addition to declines in species richness below the long-term summer precipitation mean across plant communities, indicate a decrease in the productivity for all but the most drought-tolerant perennial grasses and shrubs in the Chihuahuan Desert. Overall, our regional synthesis of long-term data provides a robust foundation for forecasting future shifts in the composition and structure of plant assemblages in the largest North American warm desert.

  6. Elevated carbon dioxide and ozone alter productivity and ecosystem carbon content in northern temperate forests.

    PubMed

    Talhelm, Alan F; Pregitzer, Kurt S; Kubiske, Mark E; Zak, Donald R; Campany, Courtney E; Burton, Andrew J; Dickson, Richard E; Hendrey, George R; Isebrands, J G; Lewin, Keith F; Nagy, John; Karnosky, David F

    2014-08-01

    Three young northern temperate forest communities in the north-central United States were exposed to factorial combinations of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2 ) and tropospheric ozone (O3 ) for 11 years. Here, we report results from an extensive sampling of plant biomass and soil conducted at the conclusion of the experiment that enabled us to estimate ecosystem carbon (C) content and cumulative net primary productivity (NPP). Elevated CO2 enhanced ecosystem C content by 11%, whereas elevated O3 decreased ecosystem C content by 9%. There was little variation in treatment effects on C content across communities and no meaningful interactions between CO2 and O3 . Treatment effects on ecosystem C content resulted primarily from changes in the near-surface mineral soil and tree C, particularly differences in woody tissues. Excluding the mineral soil, cumulative NPP was a strong predictor of ecosystem C content (r(2) = 0.96). Elevated CO2 enhanced cumulative NPP by 39%, a consequence of a 28% increase in canopy nitrogen (N) content (g N m(-2) ) and a 28% increase in N productivity (NPP/canopy N). In contrast, elevated O3 lowered NPP by 10% because of a 21% decrease in canopy N, but did not impact N productivity. Consequently, as the marginal impact of canopy N on NPP (∆NPP/∆N) decreased through time with further canopy development, the O3 effect on NPP dissipated. Within the mineral soil, there was less C in the top 0.1 m of soil under elevated O3 and less soil C from 0.1 to 0.2 m in depth under elevated CO2 . Overall, these results suggest that elevated CO2 may create a sustained increase in NPP, whereas the long-term effect of elevated O3 on NPP will be smaller than expected. However, changes in soil C are not well-understood and limit our ability to predict changes in ecosystem C content. PMID:24604779

  7. Regional Scale Prioritisation for Key Ecosystem Services, Renewable Energy Production and Urban Development

    PubMed Central

    Casalegno, Stefano; Bennie, Jonathan J.; Inger, Richard; Gaston, Kevin J.

    2014-01-01

    Although the importance of addressing ecosystem service benefits in regional land use planning and decision-making is evident, substantial practical challenges remain. In particular, methods to identify priority areas for the provision of key ecosystem services and other environmental services (benefits from the environment not directly linked to the function of ecosystems) need to be developed. Priority areas are locations which provide disproportionally high benefits from one or more service. Here we map a set of ecosystem and environmental services and delineate priority areas according to different scenarios. Each scenario is produced by a set of weightings allocated to different services and corresponds to different landscape management strategies which decision makers could undertake. Using the county of Cornwall, U.K., as a case study, we processed gridded maps of key ecosystem services and environmental services, including renewable energy production and urban development. We explored their spatial distribution patterns and their spatial covariance and spatial stationarity within the region. Finally we applied a complementarity-based priority ranking algorithm (zonation) using different weighting schemes. Our conclusions are that (i) there are two main patterns of service distribution in this region, clustered services (including agriculture, carbon stocks, urban development and plant production) and dispersed services (including cultural services, energy production and floods mitigation); (ii) more than half of the services are spatially correlated and there is high non-stationarity in the spatial covariance between services; and (iii) it is important to consider both ecosystem services and other environmental services in identifying priority areas. Different weighting schemes provoke drastic changes in the delineation of priority areas and therefore decision making processes need to carefully consider the relative values attributed to different services

  8. Regional scale prioritisation for key ecosystem services, renewable energy production and urban development.

    PubMed

    Casalegno, Stefano; Bennie, Jonathan J; Inger, Richard; Gaston, Kevin J

    2014-01-01

    Although the importance of addressing ecosystem service benefits in regional land use planning and decision-making is evident, substantial practical challenges remain. In particular, methods to identify priority areas for the provision of key ecosystem services and other environmental services (benefits from the environment not directly linked to the function of ecosystems) need to be developed. Priority areas are locations which provide disproportionally high benefits from one or more service. Here we map a set of ecosystem and environmental services and delineate priority areas according to different scenarios. Each scenario is produced by a set of weightings allocated to different services and corresponds to different landscape management strategies which decision makers could undertake. Using the county of Cornwall, U.K., as a case study, we processed gridded maps of key ecosystem services and environmental services, including renewable energy production and urban development. We explored their spatial distribution patterns and their spatial covariance and spatial stationarity within the region. Finally we applied a complementarity-based priority ranking algorithm (zonation) using different weighting schemes. Our conclusions are that (i) there are two main patterns of service distribution in this region, clustered services (including agriculture, carbon stocks, urban development and plant production) and dispersed services (including cultural services, energy production and floods mitigation); (ii) more than half of the services are spatially correlated and there is high non-stationarity in the spatial covariance between services; and (iii) it is important to consider both ecosystem services and other environmental services in identifying priority areas. Different weighting schemes provoke drastic changes in the delineation of priority areas and therefore decision making processes need to carefully consider the relative values attributed to different services

  9. State power plant productivity programs

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1981-02-01

    The findings of a working group formed to review the status of efforts by utilities and utility regulators to increase the availability and reliability of generating units are presented. Representatives from nine state regulatory agencies, NRRI, and DOE, participated on the Working Group. The Federal government has been working cooperatively with utilities, utility organizations, and with regulators to encourage and facilitate improvements in power plant productivity. Cooperative projects undertaken with regulatory and energy commissions in California, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina and Mighigan are described. Following initiation of these cooperative projects, DOE funded a survey to determine which states were explicitly addressing power plant productivity through the regulatory process. The Working Group was formed following completion of this survey. The Working Group emphasized the need for those power plant productivity improvements which are cost effective. The cost effectiveness of proposed availability improvement projects should be determined within the context of opportunities for operating and capital improvements available to an entire utility. The Working Group also identified the need for: allowing for plant designs that have a higher construction cost, but are also more reliable; allowing for recovery and reducing recovery lags for productivity-related capital expenditures; identifying and reducing disincentives in the regulatory process; ascertaining that utilities have sufficient money available to undertake timely maintenance; and support of EPRI and NERC to develop a relevant and accurate national data base. The DOE views these as extremely important aspects of any regulatory program to improve power plant productivity.

  10. Large Uncertainties in Estimating Grassland Carbon Fluxes: Can Net Ecosystem Production Be Inferred?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cahill, K. N.; Foley, J. A.; Kucharik, C. J.

    2003-12-01

    Despite interest in estimating ecosystem carbon budgets based on easily collected field data, no previous study to our knowledge has compared various methods of estimating total above- and belowground net primary production (NPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP, the annual carbon accumulated by an ecosystem) from commonly measured biomass and soil surface CO2 flux data in grasslands. Here we used field data from two grassland restorations and a row-crop agriculture treatment enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program as a model for an analysis of methodological uncertainty in estimating ecosystem carbon budgets over a short time period. The goal of this study was to investigate how a range of methods for estimating NPP and NEP suggested in the literature might be used to predict ecosystem carbon budgets based on short-term field measurements. We conclude that it is extremely difficult to close the carbon budget of a temperate grassland using flux-based methods that account for plant-derived carbon inputs and soil surface CO2 losses. Current uncertainties in (1) estimating aboveground NPP, (2) determining belowground NPP, and (3) splitting soil respiration into heterotrophic and autotrophic components strongly affect the magnitude, and even the sign, of NEP. A comparison of these estimates, across a treatment of different plant species mixes and land management, cannot reliably distinguish differences in NEP, nor the absolute sign of the overall carbon budget. These uncertainties likely exist in all grassland carbon budget studies using this approach, so conclusions about whether these systems are truly carbon sinks, or how they should be managed to sequester carbon, must be made with extreme care. Longer-term stocks methods, periodically linked to flux-based measurements of individual processes, may be the only way to close the carbon budget in these systems with any reasonable degree of certainty at the present time.

  11. A dynamic model to assess tradeoffs in power production and riverine ecosystem protection.

    PubMed

    Miara, Ariel; Vörösmarty, Charles J

    2013-06-01

    Major strategic planning decisions loom as society aims to balance energy security, economic development and environmental protection. To achieve such balance, decisions involving the so-called water-energy nexus must necessarily embrace a regional multi-power plant perspective. We present here the Thermoelectric Power & Thermal Pollution Model (TP2M), a simulation model that simultaneously quantifies thermal pollution of rivers and estimates efficiency losses in electricity generation as a result of fluctuating intake temperatures and river flows typically encountered across the temperate zone. We demonstrate the model's theoretical framework by carrying out sensitivity tests based on energy, physical and environmental settings. We simulate a series of five thermoelectric plants aligned along a hypothetical river, where we find that warm ambient temperatures, acting both as a physical constraint and as a trigger for regulatory limits on plant operations directly reduce electricity generation. As expected, environmental regulation aimed at reducing thermal loads at a single plant reduces power production at that plant, but ironically can improve the net electricity output from multiple plants when they are optimally co-managed. On the technology management side, high efficiency can be achieved through the use of natural gas combined cycle plants, which can raise the overall efficiency of the aging population of plants, including that of coal. Tradeoff analysis clearly shows the benefit of attaining such high efficiencies, in terms of both limiting thermal loads that preserve ecosystem services and increasing electricity production that benefits economic development. PMID:23636670

  12. Water use, productivity and interactions among desert plants

    SciTech Connect

    Ehleringer, J.R.

    1992-11-17

    Water plays a central role affecting all aspects of the dynamics in aridland ecosystems. Productivity, stability, and competitive interactions among ecosystem components within aridlands are key processes related directly to water in deserts. The ecological studies in this project revolve around one fundamental premise: that integrated aspects of plant metabolism provide insight into the structure and function of plant communities and ecosystems. While it is difficult to extrapolate from instantaneous physiological observations to higher scales, such as whole plant performance or to interactions between plants as components of ecosystems, several key aspects of plant metabolism are scalable. Analyses of stable isotopic composition in plant tissues at natural abundance levels provide a useful tool that can provide insight into the consequences of physiological processes over temporal and spatial scales. Some plant processes continuously fractionate among light and heavy stable isotopic forms of an element; over time this results in integrated measures of plant metabolism. For example, carbon isotope fractionation during photosynthesis results in leaf carbon isotopic composition that is a measure of the set-point for photosynthetic metabolism and of water-use efficiency. Thus it provides information on the temporal scaling of a key physiological process. In contrast, hydrogen is not fractionated during water uptake through the root. Soil water availability in shallow, deep, and/or groundwater layers vary spatially; therefore hydrogen isotope ratios of xylem sap provide a direct measure of the water source currently used by a plant. The longer-term record of carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios is recorded annually in xylem tissues (tree rings). The research in this project addresses variation in stable isotopic composition of aridland plants and its consequences for plant performance and community-level interactions.

  13. Water use, productivity and interactions among desert plants. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Ehleringer, J.R.

    1992-11-17

    Productivity, stability, and competitive interactions among ecosystem components within aridlands are key processes related directly to water in deserts. This project assumes that integrated aspects of plant metabolism provide insight into the structure and function of plant communities and ecosystems. While it is difficult to extrapolate from instantaneous physiological observations to higher scales, such as whole plant performance or to the interactions between plants as components of ecosystems, several key aspects of plant metabolism are scalable. Analyses of stable isotopic composition in plant tissues at natural abundance levels provide a useful tool that can provide insight into the consequences of physiological processes over temporal and spatial scales. Some plant processes continuously fractionate among light and heavy stable isotopic forms of an element; over time this results in integrated measures of plant metabolism. For example, carbon isotope fractionation during photosynthesis results in leaf carbon isotopic composition that is a measure of the set-point for photosynthetic metabolism and of water-use efficiency. Thus it provides information on the temporal scaling of a key physiological process.

  14. Water use, productivity and interactions among desert plants

    SciTech Connect

    Ehleringer, J.R.

    1992-11-17

    Productivity, stability, and competitive interactions among ecosystem components within aridlands are key processes related directly to water in deserts. This project assumes that integrated aspects of plant metabolism provide insight into the structure and function of plant communities and ecosystems. While it is difficult to extrapolate from instantaneous physiological observations to higher scales, such as whole plant performance or to the interactions between plants as components of ecosystems, several key aspects of plant metabolism are scalable. Analyses of stable isotopic composition in plant tissues at natural abundance levels provide a useful tool that can provide insight into the consequences of physiological processes over temporal and spatial scales. Some plant processes continuously fractionate among light and heavy stable isotopic forms of an element; over time this results in integrated measures of plant metabolism. For example, carbon isotope fractionation during photosynthesis results in leaf carbon isotopic composition that is a measure of the set-point for photosynthetic metabolism and of water-use efficiency. Thus it provides information on the temporal scaling of a key physiological process.

  15. Soil biota can change after exotic plant invasion: Does this affect ecosystem processes?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.; Sherrod, S.K.; Moldenke, A.

    2005-01-01

    Invasion of the exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum into stands of the native perennial grass Hilaria jamesii significantly reduced the abundance of soil biota, especially microarthropods and nematodes. Effects of invasion on active and total bacterial and fungal biomass were variable, although populations generally increased after 50+ years of invasion. The invasion of Bromus also resulted in a decrease in richness and a species shift in plants, microarthropods, fungi, and nematodes. However, despite the depauperate soil fauna at the invaded sites, no effects were seen on cellulose decomposition rates, nitrogen mineralization rates, or vascular plant growth. When Hilaria was planted into soils from not-invaded, recently invaded, and historically invaded sites (all currently or once dominated by Hilaria), germination and survivorship were not affected. In contrast, aboveground Hilaria biomass was significantly greater in recently invaded soils than in the other two soils. We attributed the Hilaria response to differences in soil nutrients present before the invasion, especially soil nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as these nutrients were elevated in the soils that produced the greatest Hilaria biomass. Our data suggest that it is not soil biotic richness per se that determines soil process rates or plant productivity, but instead that either (1) the presence of a few critical soil food web taxa can keep ecosystem function high, (2) nutrient loss is very slow in this ecosystem, and/or (3) these processes are microbially driven. However, the presence of Bromus may reduce key soil nutrients over time and thus may eventually suppress native plant success. ?? 2005 by the Ecological Society of America.

  16. Phytoplankton primary production in the world's estuarine-coastal ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cloern, James E.; Foster, S.Q.; Kleckner, A.E.

    2014-01-01

    Estuaries are biogeochemical hot spots because they receive large inputs of nutrients and organic carbon from land and oceans to support high rates of metabolism and primary production. We synthesize published rates of annual phytoplankton primary production (APPP) in marine ecosystems influenced by connectivity to land – estuaries, bays, lagoons, fjords and inland seas. Review of the scientific literature produced a compilation of 1148 values of APPP derived from monthly incubation assays to measure carbon assimilation or oxygen production. The median value of median APPP measurements in 131 ecosystems is 185 and the mean is 252 g C m−2 yr−1, but the range is large: from −105 (net pelagic production in the Scheldt Estuary) to 1890 g C m−2 yr−1 (net phytoplankton production in Tamagawa Estuary). APPP varies up to 10-fold within ecosystems and 5-fold from year to year (but we only found eight APPP series longer than a decade so our knowledge of decadal-scale variability is limited). We use studies of individual places to build a conceptual model that integrates the mechanisms generating this large variability: nutrient supply, light limitation by turbidity, grazing by consumers, and physical processes (river inflow, ocean exchange, and inputs of heat, light and wind energy). We consider method as another source of variability because the compilation includes values derived from widely differing protocols. A simulation model shows that different methods reported in the literature can yield up to 3-fold variability depending on incubation protocols and methods for integrating measured rates over time and depth. Although attempts have been made to upscale measures of estuarine-coastal APPP, the empirical record is inadequate for yielding reliable global estimates. The record is deficient in three ways. First, it is highly biased by the large number of measurements made in northern Europe (particularly the Baltic region) and North America. Of the 1148

  17. Phytoplankton primary production in the world's estuarine-coastal ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cloern, J. E.; Foster, S. Q.; Kleckner, A. E.

    2014-05-01

    Estuaries are biogeochemical hot spots because they receive large inputs of nutrients and organic carbon from land and oceans to support high rates of metabolism and primary production. We synthesize published rates of annual phytoplankton primary production (APPP) in marine ecosystems influenced by connectivity to land - estuaries, bays, lagoons, fjords and inland seas. Review of the scientific literature produced a compilation of 1148 values of APPP derived from monthly incubation assays to measure carbon assimilation or oxygen production. The median value of median APPP measurements in 131 ecosystems is 185 and the mean is 252 g C m-2 yr-1, but the range is large: from -105 (net pelagic production in the Scheldt Estuary) to 1890 g C m-2 yr-1 (net phytoplankton production in Tamagawa Estuary). APPP varies up to 10-fold within ecosystems and 5-fold from year to year (but we only found eight APPP series longer than a decade so our knowledge of decadal-scale variability is limited). We use studies of individual places to build a conceptual model that integrates the mechanisms generating this large variability: nutrient supply, light limitation by turbidity, grazing by consumers, and physical processes (river inflow, ocean exchange, and inputs of heat, light and wind energy). We consider method as another source of variability because the compilation includes values derived from widely differing protocols. A simulation model shows that different methods reported in the literature can yield up to 3-fold variability depending on incubation protocols and methods for integrating measured rates over time and depth. Although attempts have been made to upscale measures of estuarine-coastal APPP, the empirical record is inadequate for yielding reliable global estimates. The record is deficient in three ways. First, it is highly biased by the large number of measurements made in northern Europe (particularly the Baltic region) and North America. Of the 1148 reported values of

  18. EXPOSURE OF RIPARIAN ECOSYSTEMS TO NON-INDIGENOUS PLANT SPECIES: A CONCEPTUAL RISK ASSESSMENT MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    Biological invasions are one of the foremost threats to the integrity of riparian

    ecosystems worldwide, but little is known regarding the long-term invasion dynamics of

    non-indigenous plant species (NIPS) along rivers. Riparian ecosystems are of great

    importa...

  19. Twelve invasive plant taxa in U.S. western riparian ecosystems

    EPA Science Inventory

    Assessments of stream ecosystems often include an evaluation of riparian condition; a key stressor in riparian ecosystems is the presence of invasive plants. We analyzed the distribution of 12 invasive taxa (common burdock [Arctium minus], giant reed [Arundo donax], cheatgrass [B...

  20. Exotic plant traits lead to functional diversity decline in novel ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exotic species have become common and even dominant in some grasslands forming novel ecosystems because the species in them have no common evolutionary history. Recent work on these novel ecosystems suggest that exotic species contribute to diversity declines. In order to identify the plant traits...

  1. Economic valuation of plant diversity storage service provided by Brazilian rupestrian grassland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Resende, F M; Fernandes, G W; Coelho, M S

    2013-11-01

    The rupestrian grassland ecosystems provide various goods and services to society and support a significant amount of biological diversity. Notably the rich plant diversity has high levels of endemism and a variety of uses among the local communities and general society. Despite the socio-ecological importance of these ecosystems, they are subjected to significant anthropogenic pressures. The goal of this study is to perform economic valuation of the plant diversity storage service provided by rupestrian grassland ecosystems to provide grounds for the development of conservation policies and encourage sustainable practices in these ecosystems. Given the intense human disturbances and unique flora, the Serra do Cipó (southern portion of the Espinhaço Range in southeast Brazil) was selected for the study. We estimate the monetary value related to the plant diversity storage service provided by the study area using the maintenance costs of native plants in the living collections of the botanical garden managed by the Zoobotanical Foundation - Belo Horizonte (located 97 km from Serra do Cipó). The plant diversity storage value provided by Serra do Cipó ecosystems is significant, reaching US$25.26 million year-1. This study contributes to the development of perspectives related to the conservation of rupestrian grassland ecosystems as well as others threatened tropical ecosystems with high biodiversity. PMID:24789385

  2. Biomass and productivity of trematode parasites in pond ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Preston, Daniel L; Orlofske, Sarah A; Lambden, Jason P; Johnson, Pieter T J

    2013-05-01

    1. Ecologists often measure the biomass and productivity of organisms to understand the importance of populations and communities in the flow of energy through ecosystems. Despite the central role of such studies in the advancement of freshwater ecology, there has been little effort to incorporate parasites into studies of freshwater energy flow. This omission is particularly important considering the roles that parasites sometimes play in shaping community structure and ecosystem processes. 2. Using quantitative surveys and dissections of over 1600 aquatic invertebrate and amphibian hosts, we calculated the ecosystem-level biomass and productivity of trematode parasites alongside the biomass of free-living aquatic organisms in three freshwater ponds in California, USA. 3. Snails and amphibian larvae, which are both important intermediate trematode hosts, dominated the dry biomass of free-living organisms across ponds (snails = 3.2 g m(-2); amphibians = 3.1 g m(-2)). An average of 33.5% of mature snails were infected with one of six trematode taxa, amounting to a density of 13 infected snails m(-2) of pond substrate. Between 18% and 33% of the combined host and parasite biomass within each infected snail consisted of larval trematode tissue, which collectively accounted for 87% of the total trematode biomass within the three ponds. Mid-summer trematode dry biomass averaged 0.10 g m(-2), which was equal to or greater than that of the most abundant insect orders (coleoptera = 0.10 g m(-2), odonata = 0.08 g m(-2), hemiptera = 0.07 g m(-2) and ephemeroptera = 0.03 g m(-2)). 4. On average, each trematode taxon produced between 14 and 1660 free-swimming larvae (cercariae) infected snail(-1) 24 h(-1) in mid-summer. Given that infected snails release cercariae for 3-4 months a year, the pond trematode communities produced an average of 153 mg m(-2) yr(-1) of dry cercarial biomass (range = 70-220 mg m(-2) yr(-1)). 5. Our results suggest that a significant amount of energy

  3. Impacts of extreme hydro-meteorological conditions on ecosystem functioning and productivity patterns across Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huete, Alfredo; Ma, Xuanlong; Xie, Zunyi; Restrepo-Coupe, Natalia; Ponce-Campos, Guillermo

    2016-04-01

    As Earth's climate continues to change, the frequency and intensity of warm droughts, extreme precipitation patterns, and heat waves will alter in potentially different ways, ecosystem structure and functioning with major impacts on carbon and water balance, and food security. The extreme hydro-meteorological conditions that are presently impacting Australia approach those anticipated with future climate change and thus provide unique opportunities to study ecological sensitivity and functional responses and cross-biome productivity changes using contemporary, in-situ and satellite observational datasets. Here, we combined satellite vegetation index products from MODIS and AVHRR, total water storage (TWS) from the GRACE twin satellites, precipitation data and in-situ tower flux measurements to characterise ecosystem sensitivity, and analyse climate change impacts on ecosystem productivity and resilience. Recent advances in eddy covariance tower flux measurements and spatially contiguous remote sensing data provide innovative and promising capabilities to extend ecosystem functioning and productivity studies from local to regional and continental scales. In general, Australia exhibited ecosystem-level shifts in water demands with water availability across wet and dry years, and over all biomes analysed (arid grasslands to humid forests). In the drier years, higher ecosystem water use efficiencies (WUEe) enabled plants to maintain higher levels of productivity than would otherwise be expected for the lower amounts of rainfall and available water. Further, there were unique, functional class-specific coping strategies to drought and water availability. With prolonged warm drought conditions, biomes became increasingly water-limited and WUEe continued to increase until reaching a 'dry edge' threshold, a cross biome maximum WUEe, that cannot be sustained with further reductions in water availability and could potentially break down ecosystem resilience and induce

  4. Asymmetric warming significantly affects net primary production, but not ecosystem carbon balances of forest and grassland ecosystems in northern China

    PubMed Central

    Su, Hongxin; Feng, Jinchao; Axmacher, Jan C.; Sang, Weiguo

    2015-01-01

    We combine the process-based ecosystem model (Biome-BGC) with climate change-scenarios based on both RegCM3 model outputs and historic observed trends to quantify differential effects of symmetric and asymmetric warming on ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP), heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of six ecosystem types representing different climatic zones of northern China. Analysis of covariance shows that NPP is significant greater at most ecosystems under the various environmental change scenarios once temperature asymmetries are taken into consideration. However, these differences do not lead to significant differences in NEP, which indicates that asymmetry in climate change does not result in significant alterations of the overall carbon balance in the dominating forest or grassland ecosystems. Overall, NPP, Rh and NEP are regulated by highly interrelated effects of increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations and precipitation changes, while the magnitude of these effects strongly varies across the six sites. Further studies underpinned by suitable experiments are nonetheless required to further improve the performance of ecosystem models and confirm the validity of these model predictions. This is crucial for a sound understanding of the mechanisms controlling the variability in asymmetric warming effects on ecosystem structure and functioning. PMID:25766381

  5. Asymmetric warming significantly affects net primary production, but not ecosystem carbon balances of forest and grassland ecosystems in northern China.

    PubMed

    Su, Hongxin; Feng, Jinchao; Axmacher, Jan C; Sang, Weiguo

    2015-01-01

    We combine the process-based ecosystem model (Biome-BGC) with climate change-scenarios based on both RegCM3 model outputs and historic observed trends to quantify differential effects of symmetric and asymmetric warming on ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP), heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of six ecosystem types representing different climatic zones of northern China. Analysis of covariance shows that NPP is significant greater at most ecosystems under the various environmental change scenarios once temperature asymmetries are taken into consideration. However, these differences do not lead to significant differences in NEP, which indicates that asymmetry in climate change does not result in significant alterations of the overall carbon balance in the dominating forest or grassland ecosystems. Overall, NPP, Rh and NEP are regulated by highly interrelated effects of increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations and precipitation changes, while the magnitude of these effects strongly varies across the six sites. Further studies underpinned by suitable experiments are nonetheless required to further improve the performance of ecosystem models and confirm the validity of these model predictions. This is crucial for a sound understanding of the mechanisms controlling the variability in asymmetric warming effects on ecosystem structure and functioning. PMID:25766381

  6. Asymmetric warming significantly affects net primary production, but not ecosystem carbon balances of forest and grassland ecosystems in northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Su, Hongxin; Feng, Jinchao; Axmacher, Jan C.; Sang, Weiguo

    2015-03-01

    We combine the process-based ecosystem model (Biome-BGC) with climate change-scenarios based on both RegCM3 model outputs and historic observed trends to quantify differential effects of symmetric and asymmetric warming on ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP), heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of six ecosystem types representing different climatic zones of northern China. Analysis of covariance shows that NPP is significant greater at most ecosystems under the various environmental change scenarios once temperature asymmetries are taken into consideration. However, these differences do not lead to significant differences in NEP, which indicates that asymmetry in climate change does not result in significant alterations of the overall carbon balance in the dominating forest or grassland ecosystems. Overall, NPP, Rh and NEP are regulated by highly interrelated effects of increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations and precipitation changes, while the magnitude of these effects strongly varies across the six sites. Further studies underpinned by suitable experiments are nonetheless required to further improve the performance of ecosystem models and confirm the validity of these model predictions. This is crucial for a sound understanding of the mechanisms controlling the variability in asymmetric warming effects on ecosystem structure and functioning.

  7. Ecosystem development in roadside grasslands: Biotic control, plant-soil interactions, and dispersal limitations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garcia-Palacios, P.; Bowker, M.A.; Maestre, F.T.; Soliveres, S.; Valladares, F.; Papadopoulos, J.; Escudero, A.

    2011-01-01

    Roadside grasslands undergoing secondary succession are abundant, and represent ecologically meaningful examples of novel, human-created ecosystems. Interactions between plant and soil communities (hereafter plant-soil interactions) are of major importance in understanding the role of biotic control in ecosystem functioning, but little is known about these links in the context of ecosystem restoration and succession. The assessment of the key biotic communities and interactions driving ecosystem development will help practitioners to better allocate the limited resources devoted to roadside grassland restoration. We surveyed roadside grasslands from three successional stages (0-2, 7-9, and > 20 years) in two Mediterranean regions of Spain. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate how interactions between plants, biological soil crusts (BSCs), and soil microbial functional diversity (soil microorganisms) affect indicators of ecosystem development and restoration: plant similarity to the reference ecosystem, erosion control, and soil C storage and N accumulation. Changes in plant community composition along the successional gradient exerted the strongest influence on these indicators. High BSC cover was associated with high soil stability, and high soil microbial functional diversity from late-successional stages was associated with high soil fertility. Contrary to our expectations, the indirect effects of plants, mediated by either BSCs or soil microorganisms, were very weak in both regions, suggesting a minor role for plant-soil interactions upon ecosystem development indicators over long periods. Our results suggest that natural vegetation dynamics effectively improved ecosystem development within a time frame of 20 years in the grasslands evaluated. They also indicate that this time could be shortened if management actions focus on: (1) maintaining wellconserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late

  8. Characterizing isotopic variability of primary production and consumers in Great Plains ecosystems during protracted regional drought

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haveles, A. W.; Fox-Dobbs, K.; Talmadge, K. A.; Fetrow, A.; Fox, D. L.

    2012-12-01

    Over the last few years (2010-2012), the Great Plains of the central USA experienced protracted drought conditions, including historically severe drought during Summer, 2011. Drought severity in the region generally decreases with increasing latitude, but episodic drought is a fundamental trait of grassland ecosystems. Documenting above ground energy and nutrient flow with current drought is critical to understanding responses of grassland ecosystems in the region to predicted increased episodicity of rainfall and recurrence of drought due to anthropogenic climate change. Characterization of biogeochemical variability of modern ecosystems at the microhabitat, local landscape, and regional scales is also necessary to interpret biogeochemical records of ancient grasslands based on paleosols and fossil mammals. Here, we characterize three grassland ecosystems that span the drought gradient in the Great Plains (sites in the Texas panhandle, southwest Kansas, and northwest Nebraska). We measured δ13C and δ15N values of plants and consumers to characterize the biogeochemical variability within each ecosystem. Vegetation at each site is a mix of trees, shrubs, herbs, and cool- and warm-growing season grasses (C3 and C4, respectively). Thus, consumers have access to isotopically distinct sources of forage that vary in abundance with microhabitat (e.g., open grassland, shrub thicket, riparian woodland). Observations indicate herbivorous arthropod (grasshoppers and crickets) abundance follows drought severity, with high abundance of many species in Texas, and low abundance of few species in Nebraska. Small mammal (rodents) abundance follows the inverse pattern with 0.8%, 3.2% and 17.2% capture success in Texas, Kansas and Nebraska, respectively. The inverse abundance patterns of consumer groups may result from greater sensitivity of small mammal consumers with high metabolic needs to lower local net primary productivity and forage quality under drought conditions. As a

  9. Using a Multi-Trait Approach to Manipulate Plant Functional Diversity in a Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Schittko, Conrad; Hawa, Mahmoud; Wurst, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    A frequent pattern emerging from biodiversity-ecosystem function studies is that functional group richness enhances ecosystem functions such as primary productivity. However, the manipulation of functional group richness goes along with major disadvantages like the transformation of functional trait data into categories or the exclusion of functional differences between organisms in the same group. In a mesocosm study we manipulated plant functional diversity based on the multi-trait Functional Diversity (FD)-approach of Petchey and Gaston by using database data of seven functional traits and information on the origin of the species in terms of being native or exotic. Along a gradient ranging from low to high FD we planted 40 randomly selected eight-species mixtures under controlled conditions. We found a significant positive linear correlation of FD with aboveground productivity and a negative correlation with invasibility of the plant communities. Based on community-weighted mean calculations for each functional trait, we figured out that the traits N-fixation and species origin, i.e. being native or exotic, played the most important role for community productivity. Our results suggest that the identification of the impact of functional trait diversity and the relative contributions of relevant traits is essential for a mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions such as aboveground biomass production and resistance against invasion. PMID:24897501

  10. Biodiversity and the resistance and resilience of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    It remains unclear whether biodiversity buffers ecosystems against extreme climate events, which are becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. Although early results suggested that biodiversity might provide both resistance and resilience (sensu rapid recovery) of ecosystem productivity to drought, ...

  11. Modeling Hawaiian ecosystem degradation due to invasive plants under current and future climates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vorsino, Adam E.; Fortini, Lucas B.; Amidon, Fred A.; Miller, Stephen E.; Jacobi, James D.; Price, Jonathan P.; `Ohukani`ohi`a Gon, Sam, III; Koob, Gregory A.

    2014-01-01

    Occupation of native ecosystems by invasive plant species alters their structure and/or function. In Hawaii, a subset of introduced plants is regarded as extremely harmful due to competitive ability, ecosystem modification, and biogeochemical habitat degradation. By controlling this subset of highly invasive ecosystem modifiers, conservation managers could significantly reduce native ecosystem degradation. To assess the invasibility of vulnerable native ecosystems, we selected a proxy subset of these invasive plants and developed robust ensemble species distribution models to define their respective potential distributions. The combinations of all species models using both binary and continuous habitat suitability projections resulted in estimates of species richness and diversity that were subsequently used to define an invasibility metric. The invasibility metric was defined from species distribution models with 0.8; True Skill Statistic >0.75) as evaluated per species. Invasibility was further projected onto a 2100 Hawaii regional climate change scenario to assess the change in potential habitat degradation. The distribution defined by the invasibility metric delineates areas of known and potential invasibility under current climate conditions and, when projected into the future, estimates potential reductions in native ecosystem extent due to climate-driven invasive incursion. We have provided the code used to develop these metrics to facilitate their wider use (Code S1). This work will help determine the vulnerability of native-dominated ecosystems to the combined threats of climate change and invasive species, and thus help prioritize ecosystem and species management actions.

  12. Effects of productivity on biodiversity in forest ecosystems across the United States and China.

    PubMed

    Liang, Jingjing; Watson, James V; Zhou, Mo; Lei, Xiangdong

    2016-04-01

    In the global campaign against biodiversity loss in forest ecosystems, land managers need to know the status of forest biodiversity, but practical guidelines for conserving biodiversity in forest management are lacking. A major obstacle is the incomplete understanding of the relationship between site primary productivity and plant diversity, due to insufficient ecosystem-wide data, especially for taxonomically and structurally diverse forest ecosystems. We investigated the effects of site productivity (the site's inherent capacity to grow timber) on tree species richness across 19 types of forest ecosystems in North America and China through 3 ground-sourced forest inventory data sets (U.S. Forest Inventory and Analysis, Cooperative Alaska Forest Inventory, and Chinese Forest Management Planning Inventory). All forest types conformed to a consistent and highly significant (P < 0.001) hump-shaped unimodal relationship, of which the generalized coefficients of determination averaged 20.5% over all the forest types. That is, tree species richness first increased as productivity increased at a progressively slower rate, and, after reaching a maximum, richness started to decline. Our consistent findings suggest that forests of high productivity would sustain few species because they consist mostly of flat homogeneous areas lacking an environmental gradient along which a diversity of species with different habitats can coexist. The consistency of the productivity-biodiversity relationship among the 3 data sets we examined makes it possible to quantify the expected tree species richness that a forest stand is capable of sustaining, and a comparison between the actual species richness and the sustainable values can be useful in prioritizing conservation efforts. PMID:26954431

  13. Simulating net ecosystem productivity and the sensitivity of a sub-arctic boreal forest ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ueyama, M.; Harazono, Y.; Kim, Y.; Tanaka, N.

    2005-12-01

    BIOME-BGC was used to examine how air temperature and precipitation affect NEP in a sub-arctic black spruce forest. The model was tuned using data from the eddy correlation measurement site in UAF black spruce forest during 2003 and 2004. The climate dataset of Fairbanks airport between 1949 and 2004 was used for the model spin-up. The model almost reproduced the observed NEE, in which climate in 2003 was normal and that in 2004 was drought in summer. The model, however, failed to simulate the late winter NEE, during which obvious daytime uptake were observed under extreme low temperature. Annual simulation of GPP and ecosystem respiration was 2.2 and 1.8 kg CO2 m-2 yr-1 in 2003 and 2.4 and 1.9 kg CO2 m-2 yr-1 in 2004. While warm growing season temperature enhanced the photosynthesis and respiration in 2004, significant drought in August 2004 were restricted both the photosynthesis and heterotrophic respiration. Simulated annual NEE was 0.2 kg CO2 m-2 yr-1 in 2003 and 0.3 kg CO2 m-2 yr-1 in 2004. The simulation explored the impact of seasonal warmer (+5oC), wetter (120% of precipitation) and drier (80% of precipitation) spells on net ecosystem productivity, comparing the long term Fairbanks weather between 1980 and 2000. Wetter condition in either season did not significantly affect annual NEP. While drought summer decreased annual NEP by 30% mainly due to reduction in GPP by 9%, low snowfall winter also reduced the annual NEP by 19%, in which low snow water brought drought stress in following summer and then suppressed both GPP to 93% and ecosystem respiration to 96%. Warmer summer and autumn decreased annual NEP to 37% and 65%. In this case, GPP did not increase and maintenance and heterotrophic respiration were enhanced to 120% and 126%, respectively, in warmer summer and 103% and 107%, respectively, in warmer autumn. The simulation unambiguously showed productivity of the sub-arctic boreal forest was significantly sensitive to warmer temperature in summer and

  14. Plant sciences and biofuels production

    SciTech Connect

    Ranney, J.W.; Cushman, J.H.

    1987-04-01

    Integrating the production of lignocellulosic energy crops with conversion into efficient biofuel pathways requires the identification and prioritization of plant qualities that affect the conversion processes. When desirable or undesirable characteristics have been identified, potential crop species must be evaluated to determine how much genetic improvement is possible while maintaining a thriving fast-growing plant. Lignin, as an example, can be important in both thermochemical and biochemical conversion systems. Lignin's chemical composition is complex and varies among species. Lignin is energetically expensive for plants to produce, and it plays an important role in plant viability. To improve biomass feedstocks, lignin may be desired in increased or decreased amounts depending on the fuel pathway involved. Changes in chemical composition may also be desirable. The lignin component of biomass feedstocks can be significantly affected, both in amount and in chemical composition, by species selection. Changing lignin content or chemical composition of a species is possible but will be more difficult, more expensive, and may affect plant growth and survival. Other biomass components are similar. Such considerations will strongly affect the choice and efficiency of breeding and bioengineering strategies. The selection of traits for improvement in energy crops is an important decision which must be made by plant scientists and investigators developing conversion technologies working as a team. 5 figs.

  15. Quantifying Ecological Memory of Plant and Ecosystem Processes in Variable Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ogle, K.; Barron-Gafford, G. A.; Bentley, L.; Cable, J.; Lucas, R.; Huxman, T. E.; Loik, M. E.; Smith, S. D.; Tissue, D.

    2010-12-01

    Precipitation, soil water, and other factors affect plant and ecosystem processes at multiple time scales. A common assumption is that water availability at a given time directly affects processes at that time. Recent work, especially in pulse-driven, semiarid systems, shows that antecedent water availability, averaged over several days to a couple weeks, can be just as or more important than current water status. Precipitation patterns of previous seasons or past years can also impact plant and ecosystem functioning in many systems. However, we lack an analytical framework for quantifying the importance of and time-scale over which past conditions affect current processes. This study explores the ecological memory of a variety of plant and ecosystem processes. We use memory as a metaphor to describe the time-scale over which antecedent conditions affect the current process. Existing approaches for incorporating antecedent effects arbitrarily select the antecedent integration period (e.g., the past 2 weeks) and the relative importance of past conditions (e.g., assign equal or linearly decreasing weights to past events). In contrast, we utilize a hierarchical Bayesian approach to integrate field data with process-based models, yielding posterior distributions for model parameters, including the duration of the ecological memory (integration period) and the relative importance of past events (weights) to this memory. We apply our approach to data spanning diverse temporal scales and four semiarid sites in the western US: leaf-level stomatal conductance (gs, sub-hourly scale), soil respiration (Rs, hourly to daily scale), and net primary productivity (NPP) and tree-ring widths (annual scale). For gs, antecedent factors (daily rainfall and temperature, hourly vapor pressure deficit) and current soil water explained up to 72% of the variation in gs in the Chihuahuan Desert, with a memory of 10 hours for a grass and 4 days for a shrub. Antecedent factors (past soil water

  16. Plant and arthropod community sensitivity to rainfall manipulation but not nitrogen enrichment in a successional grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Lee, Mark A; Manning, Pete; Walker, Catherine S; Power, Sally A

    2014-12-01

    Grasslands provide many ecosystem services including carbon storage, biodiversity preservation and livestock forage production. These ecosystem services will change in the future in response to multiple global environmental changes, including climate change and increased nitrogen inputs. We conducted an experimental study over 3 years in a mesotrophic grassland ecosystem in southern England. We aimed to expose plots to rainfall manipulation that simulated IPCC 4th Assessment projections for 2100 (+15% winter rainfall and -30% summer rainfall) or ambient climate, achieving +15% winter rainfall and -39% summer rainfall in rainfall-manipulated plots. Nitrogen (40 kg ha(-1) year(-1)) was also added to half of the experimental plots in factorial combination. Plant species composition and above ground biomass were not affected by rainfall in the first 2 years and the plant community did not respond to nitrogen enrichment throughout the experiment. In the third year, above-ground plant biomass declined in rainfall-manipulated plots, driven by a decline in the abundances of grass species characteristic of moist soils. Declining plant biomass was also associated with changes to arthropod communities, with lower abundances of plant-feeding Auchenorrhyncha and carnivorous Araneae indicating multi-trophic responses to rainfall manipulation. Plant and arthropod community composition and plant biomass responses to rainfall manipulation were not modified by nitrogen enrichment, which was not expected, but may have resulted from prior nitrogen saturation and/or phosphorus limitation. Overall, our study demonstrates that climate change may in future influence plant productivity and induce multi-trophic responses in grasslands. PMID:25224801

  17. Productivity and nutrient cycling in salt marshes: Contribution to ecosystem health

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sousa, Ana I.; Lillebø, Ana I.; Pardal, Miguel A.; Caçador, Isabel

    2010-05-01

    This study aimed to assess the contribution of different salt marsh halophytes ( Spartina maritima, Scirpus maritimus, Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia fruticosa, and Sarcocornia perennis) to nutrient cycling and sequestration in warm-temperate salt marshes. Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus concentration in plant organs and rhizosediment, as well as plant biomass were monitored every two months during one year. Results show that the C retained in the rhizosediment does not seem to be species or site specific. However, some halophytes seem to have a higher contribution to retain C from external sources, namely S. perennis and S. maritima. Regarding N, halophytes colonizing the upper and middle marsh areas had the highest NBPP (net belowground primary production) as well as the retention of N in the rhizosediment. Yet, excluding S. maritimus, all halophytes seem to contribute to the retention of N from external sources. The P retained in the rhizosediment does not seem to be species or site specific. Still, only S. maritima colonizing the lower marsh areas, which also had comparatively lower NBPP, seem to have a higher contribution to retain P from external sources. Additionally, it seems that there is no relation between plants sequestration capacity for nutrients and plant photosynthetic pathway. This work shows that nutrient cycling and accumulation processes by salt marsh halophytes contribute to reduce eutrophication (N and P retention) and also to reduce atmospheric CO 2 (C retention), highlighting salt marsh ecosystems services and the crucial role of halophytes in maintaining ecosystem functions and health.

  18. Some Perspectives on the Risks and Benefits of Biological Control of Invasive Alien Plants in the Management of Natural Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Wilgen, B. W.; Moran, V. C.; Hoffmann, J. H.

    2013-09-01

    Globally, invasions by alien plants are rapidly increasing in extent and severity, leading to large-scale ecosystem degradation. Weed biological control offers opportunities to arrest or even reverse these trends and, although it is not always effective or appropriate as a management strategy, this practice has an excellent record of safety and many notable successes over two centuries. In recent years, growing concerns about the potential for unintended, non-target damage by biological control agents, and fears about other unpredictable effects on ecosystems, have created an increasingly demanding risk-averse regulatory environment. This development may be counter-productive because it tends to overemphasize potential problems and ignores or underestimates the benefits of weed biological control; it offers no viable alternatives; and it overlooks the inherent risks of a decision not to use biological control. The restoration of badly degraded ecosystems to a former pristine condition is not a realistic objective, but the protection of un-invaded or partial restoration of invaded ecosystems can be achieved safely, at low cost and sustainably through the informed and responsible application of biological control. This practice should therefore be given due consideration when management of invasive alien plants is being planned. This discussion paper provides a perspective on the risks and benefits of classical weed biological control, and it is aimed at assisting environmental managers in their deliberations on whether or not to use this strategy in preference, or as a supplement to other alien invasive plant control practices.

  19. Can the Results of Biodiversity-Ecosystem Productivity Studies Be Translated to Bioenergy Production?

    PubMed Central

    Dickson, Timothy L.; Gross, Katherine L.

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity experiments show that increases in plant diversity can lead to greater biomass production, and some researchers suggest that high diversity plantings should be used for bioenergy production. However, many methods used in past biodiversity experiments are impractical for bioenergy plantings. For example, biodiversity experiments often use intensive management such as hand weeding to maintain low diversity plantings and exclude unplanted species, but this would not be done for bioenergy plantings. Also, biodiversity experiments generally use high seeding densities that would be too expensive for bioenergy plantings. Here we report the effects of biodiversity on biomass production from two studies of more realistic bioenergy crop plantings in southern Michigan, USA. One study involved comparing production between switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) monocultures and species-rich prairie plantings on private farm fields that were managed similarly to bioenergy plantings. The other study was an experiment where switchgrass was planted in monoculture and in combination with increasingly species-rich native prairie mixtures. Overall, we found that bioenergy plantings with higher species richness did not produce more biomass than switchgrass monocultures. The lack of a positive relationship between planted species richness and production in our studies may be due to several factors. Non-planted species (weeds) were not removed from our studies and these non-planted species may have competed with planted species and also prevented realized species richness from equaling planted species richness. Also, we found that low seeding density of individual species limited the biomass production of these individual species. Production in future bioenergy plantings with high species richness may be increased by using a high density of inexpensive seed from switchgrass and other highly productive species, and future efforts to translate the results of biodiversity experiments

  20. Response of plants and ecosystems to CO{sub 2} and climate change. Final technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Reynolds, J.F.

    1993-12-31

    In recognition of the important role of vegetation in the bio-geosphere carbon cycle, the Carbon Dioxide Research Program of the US Department of Energy established the research program: Direct Effects of increasing Carbon Dioxide on Vegetation. The ultimate goal is to develop a general ecosystem model to investigate, via hypothesis testing, the potential responses of different terrestrial ecosystems to changes in the global environment over the next century. The approach involves the parallel development of models at several hierarchical levels, from the leaf to the ecosystem. At the plant level, mechanism and the direct effects of CO{sub 2} in the development of a general plant growth model, GEPSI - GEneral Plant SImulator has been stressed. At the ecosystem level, we have stressed the translation Of CO{sub 2} effects and other aspects of climate change throughout the ecosystem, including feedbacks and constraints to system response, in the development of a mechanistic, general ecosystem model SERECO - Simulation of Ecosystem Response to Elevated CO{sub 2} and Climate Change has been stressed.

  1. Discriminating plant species across California's diverse ecosystems using airborne VSWIR and TIR imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meerdink, S.; Roberts, D. A.; Roth, K. L.

    2015-12-01

    Accurate knowledge of the spatial distribution of plant species is required for many research and management agendas that track ecosystem health. Because of this, there is continuous development of research focused on remotely-sensed species classifications for many diverse ecosystems. While plant species have been mapped using airborne imaging spectroscopy, the geographic extent has been limited due to data availability and spectrally similar species continue to be difficult to separate. The proposed Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) space-borne mission, which includes a visible near infrared/shortwave infrared (VSWIR) imaging spectrometer and thermal infrared (TIR) multi-spectral imager, would present an opportunity to improve species discrimination over a much broader scale. Here we evaluate: 1) the capability of VSWIR and/or TIR spectra to discriminate plant species; 2) the accuracy of species classifications within an ecosystem; and 3) the potential for discriminating among species across a range of ecosystems. Simulated HyspIRI imagery was acquired in spring/summer of 2013 spanning from Santa Barbara to Bakersfield, CA with the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) and the MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER) instruments. Three spectral libraries were created from these images: AVIRIS (224 bands from 0.4 - 2.5 µm), MASTER (8 bands from 7.5 - 12 µm), and AVIRIS + MASTER. We used canonical discriminant analysis (CDA) as a dimension reduction technique and then classified plant species using linear discriminant analysis (LDA). Our results show the inclusion of TIR spectra improved species discrimination, but only for plant species with emissivities departing from that of a gray body. Ecosystems with species that have high spectral contrast had higher classification accuracies. Mapping plant species across all ecosystems resulted in a classification with lower accuracies than a single ecosystem due to the complex nature of

  2. Gross primary production of global forest ecosystems has been overestimated

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Jianyong; Yan, Xiaodong; Dong, Wenjie; Chou, Jieming

    2015-01-01

    Coverage rate, a critical variable for gridded forest area, has been neglected by previous studies in estimating the annual gross primary production (GPP) of global forest ecosystems. In this study, we investigated to what extent the coverage rate could impact forest GPP estimates from 1982 to 2011. Here we show that the traditional calculation without considering the coverage rate globally overestimated the forest gross carbon dioxide uptake by approximately 8.7%, with a value of 5.12 ± 0.23 Pg C yr−1, which is equivalent to 48% of the annual emissions from anthropogenic activities in 2012. Actually, the global annual GPP of forest ecosystems is approximately 53.71 ± 4.83 Pg C yr−1 for the past 30 years by taking the coverage rate into account. Accordingly, we argue that forest annual GPP calculated by previous studies has been overestimated due to the exaggerated forest area, and therefore, coverage rate may be a required factor to further quantify the global carbon cycle. PMID:26027557

  3. Ecohydrological Consequences of Shifts in Grass-to-Woody Plant Dominance in Water Limited Ecosystems 1916

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An increase in the representation of woody plants in historic grasslands has been a wide-spread recent phenomena in the drylands of North America. The consequences of this vegetation change for ecosystem services are uncertain and likely related to how soil-plant interactions are influenced by preci...

  4. Fine Scale ANUClimate Data for Ecosystem Modeling and Assessment of Plant Functional Types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hutchinson, M. F.; Kesteven, J. L.; Xu, T.; Evans, B. J.; Togashi, H. F.; Stein, J. L.

    2015-12-01

    High resolution spatially extended values of climate variables play a central role in the assessment of climate and projected future climate in ecosystem modeling. The ground based meteorological network remains a key resource for deriving these spatially extended climate variables. We report on the production, and applications, of new anomaly based fine scale spatial interpolations of key climate variables at daily and monthly time scale, across the Australian continent. The methods incorporate several innovations that have significantly improved spatial predictive accuracy, as well as providing a platform for the incorporation of additional remotely sensed data. The interpolated climate data are supporting many continent-wide ecosystem modeling applications and are playing a key role in testing optimality hypotheses associated with plant functional types (PFTs). The accuracy, and robustness to data error, of anomaly-based interpolation has been enhanced by incorporating physical process aspects of the different climate variables and employing robust statistical methods implemented in the ANUSPLIN package. New regression procedures have also been developed to estimate "background" monthly climate normals from all stations with minimal records to substantially increase the density of supporting spatial networks. Monthly mean temperature interpolation has been enhanced by incorporating process based coastal effects that have reduced predictive error by around 10%. Overall errors in interpolated monthly temperature fields are around 25% less than errors reported by an earlier study. For monthly and daily precipitation, a new anomaly structure has been devised to take account of the skewness in precipitation data and the large proportion of zero values that present significant challenges to standard interpolation methods. The many applications include continent-wide Gross Primary Production modeling and assessing constraints on light and water use efficiency derived

  5. Ecosystem engineering and manipulation of host plant tissues by the insect borer Oncideres albomarginata chamela.

    PubMed

    Calderón-Cortés, Nancy; Uribe-Mú, Claudia A; Martínez-Méndez, A Karen; Escalera-Vázquez, Luis H; Cristobal-Pérez, E Jacob; García-Oliva, Felipe; Quesada, Mauricio

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering by insect herbivores occurs as the result of structural modification of plants manipulated by insects. However, only few studies have evaluated the effect of these modifications on the plant responses induced by stem-borers that act as ecosystem engineers. In this study, we evaluated the responses induced by the herbivory of the twig-girdler beetle Oncideres albomarginata chamela (Cerambycidae: Lamiinae) on its host plant Spondias purpurea (Anacardiaceae), and its relationship with the ecosystem engineering process carried out by this stem-borer. Our results demonstrated that O. albomarginata chamela branch removal induced the development of lateral branches increasing the resources needed for the development of future insect generations, of its own offspring and of many other insect species. Detached branches represent habitats with high content of nitrogen and phosphorous, which eventually can be incorporated into the ecosystem, increasing nutrient cycling efficiency. Consequently, branch removal and the subsequent plant tissue regeneration induced by O. albomarginata chamela represent key mechanisms underlying the ecosystem engineering process carried out by this stem-borer, which enhances arthropod diversity in the ecosystem. PMID:26654885

  6. Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Hardman-Mountford, Nick J; Polimene, Luca; Hirata, Takafumi; Brewin, Robert J W; Aiken, Jim

    2013-12-01

    Geo-engineering proposals to mitigate global warming have focused either on methods of carbon dioxide removal, particularly nutrient fertilization of plant growth, or on cooling the Earth's surface by reducing incoming solar radiation (shading). Marine phytoplankton contribute half the Earth's biological carbon fixation and carbon export in the ocean is modulated by the actions of microbes and grazing communities in recycling nutrients. Both nutrients and light are essential for photosynthesis, so understanding the relative influence of both these geo-engineering approaches on ocean ecosystem production and processes is critical to the evaluation of their effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between light and nutrient availability on productivity in a stratified, oligotrophic subtropical ocean ecosystem using a one-dimensional water column model coupled to a multi-plankton ecosystem model, with the goal of elucidating potential impacts of these geo-engineering approaches on ecosystem production. We find that solar shading approaches can redistribute productivity in the water column but do not change total production. Macronutrient enrichment is able to enhance the export of carbon, although heterotrophic recycling reduces the efficiency of carbon export substantially over time. Our results highlight the requirement for a fuller consideration of marine ecosystem interactions and feedbacks, beyond simply the stimulation of surface blooms, in the evaluation of putative geo-engineering approaches. PMID:24132201

  7. Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hardman-Mountford, Nick J.; Polimene, Luca; Hirata, Takafumi; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Aiken, Jim

    2013-01-01

    Geo-engineering proposals to mitigate global warming have focused either on methods of carbon dioxide removal, particularly nutrient fertilization of plant growth, or on cooling the Earth's surface by reducing incoming solar radiation (shading). Marine phytoplankton contribute half the Earth's biological carbon fixation and carbon export in the ocean is modulated by the actions of microbes and grazing communities in recycling nutrients. Both nutrients and light are essential for photosynthesis, so understanding the relative influence of both these geo-engineering approaches on ocean ecosystem production and processes is critical to the evaluation of their effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between light and nutrient availability on productivity in a stratified, oligotrophic subtropical ocean ecosystem using a one-dimensional water column model coupled to a multi-plankton ecosystem model, with the goal of elucidating potential impacts of these geo-engineering approaches on ecosystem production. We find that solar shading approaches can redistribute productivity in the water column but do not change total production. Macronutrient enrichment is able to enhance the export of carbon, although heterotrophic recycling reduces the efficiency of carbon export substantially over time. Our results highlight the requirement for a fuller consideration of marine ecosystem interactions and feedbacks, beyond simply the stimulation of surface blooms, in the evaluation of putative geo-engineering approaches. PMID:24132201

  8. Synoptic events force biological productivity in Patagonian fjord ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daneri, Giovanni

    2016-04-01

    an extremely productive bloom of the dinoflagellate Heterocapsa sp. in July 2014, after the passage of a synoptic low pressure front provided, for the first time, strong evidence that phytoplankton blooming in the Patagonian fjord ecosystems is controlled by synoptic processes and that they are not limited by light as previously reported. This research was funded by COPAS Sur-Austral (PFB-31) and FONDECYT 1131063

  9. Plant Products as Antimicrobial Agents

    PubMed Central

    Cowan, Marjorie Murphy

    1999-01-01

    The use of and search for drugs and dietary supplements derived from plants have accelerated in recent years. Ethnopharmacologists, botanists, microbiologists, and natural-products chemists are combing the Earth for phytochemicals and “leads” which could be developed for treatment of infectious diseases. While 25 to 50% of current pharmaceuticals are derived from plants, none are used as antimicrobials. Traditional healers have long used plants to prevent or cure infectious conditions; Western medicine is trying to duplicate their successes. Plants are rich in a wide variety of secondary metabolites, such as tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, and flavonoids, which have been found in vitro to have antimicrobial properties. This review attempts to summarize the current status of botanical screening efforts, as well as in vivo studies of their effectiveness and toxicity. The structure and antimicrobial properties of phytochemicals are also addressed. Since many of these compounds are currently available as unregulated botanical preparations and their use by the public is increasing rapidly, clinicians need to consider the consequences of patients self-medicating with these preparations. PMID:10515903

  10. Direct utilization of human liquid wastes by plants in a closed ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lisovsky, G. M.; Gitelson, J. I.; Shilenko, M. P.; Gribovskaya, I. V.; Trubachev, I. N.

    1997-01-01

    Model experiments in phytotrons have shown that urea is able to cover 70% of the demand in nitrogen of the conveyer cultivated wheat. At the same time wheat plants can directly utilize human liquid wastes. In this article by human liquid wastes the authors mean human urine only. In a long-term experiment on ``man-higher plants'' system with two crewmen, plants covered 63 m^2, with wheat planted to - 39.6 m^2. For 103 days, complete human urine (total amount - 210.7 l) was supplied into the nutrient solution for wheat. In a month and a half NaCl supply into the nutrient solution stabilized at 0.9-1.65 g/l. This salination had no marked effect on wheat production. The experiment revealed the realistic feasibility to directly involve liquid wastes into the biological turnover of the life support system. The closure of the system, in terms of water, increased by 15.7% and the supply of nutrients for wheat plants into the system was decreased. Closedness of biological turnover of matter in a man-made ``man - higher plants'' ecological system might involve, among other processes, direct utilization of human liquid wastes by plants. The amount of urine comprises 15-20% of the total amount of water cycling within the system including water as part of food, household, hygiene and potable water necessary for man. What is more, it they contains most nitrogen-bearing compounds emitted by man, almost all of the NaCl and some other substances involved in the biological turnover. Human liquid wastes can be utilized either by preliminary physical-chemical treatment (evaporating or freezing out the water, finally oxidizing the organic matter, isolating the mineral components required for plants, etc.) and further involvement of the obtained products or by direct application into the nutrient solution for plants. The challenge of direct utilization is that plants have no need of Na^+ and Cl^-, and also the organic forms of nitrogen emitted by man cannot fully meet the demand of

  11. The importance of plant genotype and contemporary evolution for terrestrial ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Connor R; Agrawal, Anurag A; Basiliko, Nathan; Hastings, Amy P; Isaac, Marney E; Preston, Michael; Johnson, Marc T J

    2015-10-01

    Plant genetic variation and evolutionary dynamics are predicted to impact ecosystem processes but these effects are poorly understood. Here we test the hypothesis that plant genotype and contemporary evolution influence the flux of energy and nutrients through soil, which then feedback to affect seedling performance in subsequent generations. We conducted a multiyear field evolution experiment using the native biennial plant Oenothera biennis. This experiment was coupled with experimental assays to address our hypothesis and quantify the relative importance of evolutionary and ecological factors on multiple ecosystem processes. Plant genotype, contemporary evolution, spatial variation, and herbivory affected ecosystem processes (e.g., leaf decay, soil respiration, seedling performance, N cycling), but their relative importance varied between specific ecosystem variables. Insect herbivory and evolution also contributed to a feedback that affected seedling biomass of O. biennis in the next generation. Our results show that heritable variation among plant genotypes can be an important factor affecting local ecosystem processes, and while effects of contemporary evolution were detectable and sometimes strong, they were often contingent on other ecological, factors. PMID:26649385

  12. Extreme precipitation patterns reduced terrestrial ecosystem production across biomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Y.; Moran, S. M.; Nearing, M.; Ponce Campos, G. E.; Huete, A. R.; Buda, A. R.; Bosch, D. D.; Gunter, S. A.; Kitchen, S. G.; McNab, W.; Morgan, J. A.; McClaran, M. P.; Montoya, D. S.; Peters, D. P.; Starks, P. J.

    2012-12-01

    Precipitation regimes are predicted to shift to more extreme patterns that are characterized by more intense rainfall events and longer dry intervals, yet their ecological impacts on vegetation production remain uncertain across biomes in natural climatic conditions. This in situ study investigated the effects of novel climatic conditions on aboveground net primary production (ANPP) by combining a greenness index from satellite measurements and climatic records during 2000 to 2009 from 11 long-term experimental sites in multiple biomes and climates. Results showed that extreme precipitation patterns decreased the sensitivity of ANPP to total annual precipitation (PT), at the regional and decadal scales, leading to a mean 20% decrease in rain-use efficiency across biomes. Relative decreases in ANPP were greatest for arid grassland (16%) and Mediterranean forest (20%), and less for mesic grassland and temperate forest (3%). The co-occurrence of more heavy rainfall events and longer dry intervals caused greater water stress that resulted in reduced vegetation production. A new generalized model was developed to improve predictions of the ANPP response to changes in extreme precipitation patterns by using a function of both PT and an index of precipitation extremes. These findings suggest that extreme precipitation patterns have more substantial and complex effects on vegetation production across biomes, and are as important as total annual precipitation in understanding vegetation processes. With predictions of more extreme weather events, forecasts of ecosystem production should consider these non-linear responses to altered precipitation patterns associated with climate change. Figure. Relation of production across precipitation gradients for 11 sites for two groups (Low: R95p% < 20%, High: R95p% ≥ 20%). See Table 2 for R95p% definitions. The relations were significantly different for the two groups (F2, 106 = 18.51, P < 0.0001).

  13. Plant Species and Functional Group Combinations Affect Green Roof Ecosystem Functions

    PubMed Central

    Lundholm, Jeremy; MacIvor, J. Scott; MacDougall, Zachary; Ranalli, Melissa

    2010-01-01

    Background Green roofs perform ecosystem services such as summer roof temperature reduction and stormwater capture that directly contribute to lower building energy use and potential economic savings. These services are in turn related to ecosystem functions performed by the vegetation layer such as radiation reflection and transpiration, but little work has examined the role of plant species composition and diversity in improving these functions. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a replicated modular extensive (shallow growing- medium) green roof system planted with monocultures or mixtures containing one, three or five life-forms, to quantify two ecosystem services: summer roof cooling and water capture. We also measured the related ecosystem properties/processes of albedo, evapotranspiration, and the mean and temporal variability of aboveground biomass over four months. Mixtures containing three or five life-form groups, simultaneously optimized several green roof ecosystem functions, outperforming monocultures and single life-form groups, but there was much variation in performance depending on which life-forms were present in the three life-form mixtures. Some mixtures outperformed the best monocultures for water capture, evapotranspiration, and an index combining both water capture and temperature reductions. Combinations of tall forbs, grasses and succulents simultaneously optimized a range of ecosystem performance measures, thus the main benefit of including all three groups was not to maximize any single process but to perform a variety of functions well. Conclusions/Significance Ecosystem services from green roofs can be improved by planting certain life-form groups in combination, directly contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. The strong performance by certain mixtures of life-forms, especially tall forbs, grasses and succulents, warrants further investigation into niche complementarity or facilitation as mechanisms

  14. The relation between productivity and species diversity in temperate-Arctic marine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Witman, Jon D; Cusson, Mathieu; Archambault, Philippe; Pershing, Andrew J; Mieszkowska, Nova

    2008-11-01

    Energy variables, such as evapotranspiration, temperature, and productivity explain significant variation in the diversity of many groups of terrestrial plants and animals at local to global scales. Although the ocean represents the largest continuous habitat on earth with a vast spectrum of primary productivity and species richness, little is known about how productivity influences species diversity in marine systems. To search for general relationships between productivity and species richness in the ocean, we analyzed data from three different benthic marine ecosystems (epifaunal communities on subtidal rock walls, on navigation buoys in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Canadian Arctic macrobenthos) across local to continental spatial scales (<20 to >1000 km) using a standardized proxy for productivity, satellite-derived chlorophyll a. Theoretically, the form of the function between productivity and species richness is either monotonically increasing or decreasing, or curvilinear (hump- or U-shaped). We found three negative linear and three hump-shaped relationships between chlorophyll a and species richness out of 10 independent comparisons. Scale dependence was suggested by more prevalent diversity-productivity relationships at smaller (local, landscape) than larger (regional, continental) spatial scales. Differences in the form of the functions were more closely allied with community type than with scale, as negative linear functions were restricted to sessile epifauna while hump-shaped functions occurred in Arctic macrobenthos (mixed epifauna, infauna). In two of the data sets, (St. Lawrence epifauna and Arctic macrobenthos) significant effects of chlorophyll a co-varied with the effects of salinity, suggesting that environmental stress as well as productivity influences diversity in these marine systems. The co-varying effect of salinity may commonly arise in broad-scale studies of productivity and diversity in marine ecosystems when attempting to sample the

  15. Influence of productivity on the stability of real and model ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Moore, J.C. ); Ruiter, P.C. de ); Hunt, H.W. )

    1993-08-13

    The lengths of food chains within ecosystems have been thought to be limited either by the productivity of the ecosystem or by the resilience of that ecosystem after perturbation. Models based on ecological energetics that follow the form of Lotka-Volterra equations and equations that include material (detritus) recycling show that productivity and resilience are inextricably interrelated. The models were initialized with data from 5- to 10-year studies of actual soil food webs. Estimates indicate that most ecological production worldwide is from ecosystems that are themselves sufficiently productive to recover from minor perturbations.

  16. A simple estimate of ecosystem respiration across biomes based on MODIS products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaegermeyr, J.; Hostert, P.; Lucht, W.

    2010-12-01

    Beside carbon sequestration by terrestrial photosynthesis, in particular the subsequent carbon release by ecosystem respiration (Reco) is a crucial flux for estimating carbon budgets. Heterotrophic soil decomposition rates (Rh) and autotrophic respiration rates (Ra), which add up to Reco, are highly sensitive to environmental conditions and in some cases they determine net ecosystem productivity. Prior respiration modeling approaches revealed that a precise process-based and bottom-up modeling is important for realistic estimates. On a short timescale, as in the case of satellite environmental monitoring, simplified empirical models are not necessarily less accurate, though. For most major biomes, ecosystem carbon efflux is predominantly driven by air temperature. It can further be limited by water stress, plant activity and substrate quality. Developing simple, empirical and wall-to-wall respiration models from continuous Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land products on a continental scale can enhance our understanding of spatially explicit respiration patterns. We therefore accept model uncertainties by simplifying decay and respiratory processes in that we account for a single static carbon pool and do not include any feedback mechanisms. Preliminary results suggest that the 8-day MODIS 1km land surface temperature product (LST) and the vegetation-water index (NDWI) derived from the 8-day MODIS 500m surface reflectance product are sufficient to largely explain the variability of Reco. Spatial flux variations can be attributed to plant activity variation. We therefore introduce a site-specific, maximum leaf area index (LAI) from the MODIS 1km LAI product as a proxy. A biome-specific model parameterization and validation is performed, based on 8-day composite FLUXNET tower data representing major global biomes. We found that the frequently used temperature model by Loyd and Taylor (1994) does not show superior performance on 8-day ecosystem

  17. State power plant productivity programs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1981-02-01

    The findings of a working group formed to review the status of efforts by utilities and utility regulators to increase the availability and reliability of generating units are presented. The Federal government has been working cooperatively with utilities, utility organizations, and with regulators to encourage and facilitate improvements in power plant productivity. Cooperative projects undertaken with regulatory and energy commissions in California, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina and Michigan are described. The cost effectiveness of proposed availability improvement projects should be determined within the context of opportunities for operating and capital improvements available to an entire utility.

  18. Ecohydrology in semiarid urban ecosystems: Modeling the relationship between connected impervious area and ecosystem productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shields, Catherine; Tague, Christina

    2015-01-01

    In water-stressed, semiarid urban environments, connections between impervious surfaces and drainage networks may strongly impact the water use and ecosystem productivity of neighboring vegetated areas. We use an ecohydrologic model, the Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSys), to quantify the sensitivity of vegetation water use and net primary productivity (NPP) to fine-scale impervious surface connectivity. We develop a set of very fine-scale (2 m2) scenarios that vary both the percentage of impervious surface and fraction of this impervious surface with direct hydrologic connections to urban drainage systems for a small hillslope. When driven by Mediterranean climate forcing, model estimates suggest that total vegetation water use declines with increasing impervious area. However, when impervious area is hydrologically disconnected from the urban drainage network, declines in water and carbon fluxes with decreased vegetated area can be partially, or in some cases even completely, offset by increased transpiration and NPP in the remaining vegetation. Relative increases in water use and NPP of remaining vegetation are much greater for deeply rooted shrubs and trees and negligible for shallow rooted grasses. We extrapolate our findings to the catchment scale by developing a first-order approximation of fine-scale impervious connection impacts on aggregate watershed water and carbon flux estimates. Our approach offers a computationally and data-efficient method for estimating the impact of impervious area connectivity on these ecohydrologic fluxes. For our only partially urbanized Santa Barbara watershed, estimates of water use and NPP that account for fine-scale impervious connection differed by more than 10% from those that did not.

  19. Habitat productivity influences root mass vertical distribution in grazed Mediterranean ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rueda, Marta; Rebollo, Salvador; Rodríguez, Miguel Á.

    2010-07-01

    Herbivores are expected to influence grassland ecosystems by modifying root biomass and root spatial distribution of plant communities. Studies in perennial dominated grasslands suggest that grazing intensity and primary productivity may be strong determinants of the vertical distribution of subterranean biomass. However, no studies have addressed this question in annual dominated pastures. In this study we assess the effect of grazing and habitat productivity on the vertical distribution of root mass in an annual dominated Mediterranean pasture grazed by free-ranging sheep and wild rabbits. We evaluate the effects of grazing on total root mass and vertical root distribution (0-4, 4-8 and 8-12 cm depths) in two neighboring topographic sites (uplands and lowlands) with different productivity using a replicated fence experiment which excludes sheep and sheep plus rabbits. We found evidences that grazing affected root biomass and vertical distribution at lowlands (high productivity habitats), where places grazed by sheep plus rabbits exhibit more root mass and a higher concentration of it towards the soil surface than only rabbits and ungrazed places. In contrast, grazing did not affect root biomass and vertical distribution at uplands (low productivity habitats). We suggest that higher nitrogen and organic matter found in lowlands permit a plant adjustment for nitrogen acquisition by increasing biomass allocation to root production which would allow plant regrowth and the quick completion of the annual life cycle. Contrary, soil resources scarcity at uplands do not permit plants modify their root growth patterns in response to grazing. Our study emphasizes the importance of primary productivity in predicting grazing effect on belowground processes in Mediterranean environments dominated by annuals.

  20. Modelling of plant-soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in semi-natural terrestrial ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, Jessica; Quinton, John; Rowe, Ed; Tipping, Ed

    2013-04-01

    In recent centuries pools and fluxes of C, N and P in natural and semi-natural UK ecosystems have been transformed by atmospheric pollution leading to: acidification; eutrophication of surface waters; loss of biodiversity; and increased greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, climate change now threatens to perturb these systems further. Understanding in this field is vital in determining the consequences of artificial nutrient enrichment and land use and climate change, and mitigating against their effects. The N14CP model has been recently developed to assess the temporal responses of soil C, N and P pools to nutrient enrichment in semi-natural ecosystems, and explore the connections between these nutrients. It is a dynamic, mechanistic model, driven by: climate; CO2, N (fixation and pollutant deposition), and P (weathering and atmospheric deposition) inputs; and plant cover type. It explicitly links C, N, and P in both plants and soils, using plant element stoichiometry as the primary constraint. Net primary production, and plant/soil element pools, are calculated over time, and output fluxes of dissolved organic and inorganic, and gaseous, forms of C, N, and P produced. Radiocarbon data are used to constrain Soil Organic Matter (SOM) turnover. The SOM is represented as three pools, undergoing first-order decomposition reactions with turn-over rates ranging from 2 to 1000 years. The N14CP modelling methodology is discussed and its calibration and verification using observations from 200 northern European sites presented. Whilst the primary period of interest with respect to nutrient enrichment is from the industrial revolution onwards, plant-soil C, N and P are simulated at these sites for a period spanning from the start of the Holocene (to provide a spin-up period) to the present day. Clearly, during this time span land cover and usage will have changed at these sites, and histories of these changes are used as an input to the model. The influence of these land

  1. Can observed ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 and N fertilisation be explained by optimal plant C allocation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stocker, Benjamin; Prentice, I. Colin

    2016-04-01

    The degree to which nitrogen availability limits the terrestrial C sink under rising CO2 is a key uncertainty in carbon cycle and climate change projections. Results from ecosystem manipulation studies and meta-analyses suggest that plant C allocation to roots adjusts dynamically under varying degrees of nitrogen availability and other soil fertility parameters. In addition, the ratio of biomass production to GPP appears to decline under nutrient scarcity. This reflects increasing plant C export into the soil and to symbionts (Cex) with decreasing nutrient availability. Cex is consumed by an array of soil organisms and may imply an improvement of nutrient availability to the plant. These concepts are left unaccounted for in Earth system models. We present a model for the coupled cycles of C and N in grassland ecosystems to explore optimal plant C allocation under rising CO2 and its implications for the ecosystem C balance. The model follows a balanced growth approach, accounting for the trade-offs between leaf versus root growth and Cex in balancing C fixation and N uptake. We further model a plant-controlled rate of biological N fixation (BNF) by assuming that Cex is consumed by N2-fixing processes if the ratio of Nup:Cex falls below the inverse of the C cost of N2-fixation. The model is applied at two temperate grassland sites (SwissFACE and BioCON), subjected to factorial treatments of elevated CO2 (FACE) and N fertilization. Preliminary simulation results indicate initially increased N limitation, evident by increased relative allocation to roots and Cex. Depending on the initial state of N availability, this implies a varying degree of aboveground growth enhancement, generally consistent with observed responses. On a longer time scale, ecosystems are progressively released from N limitation due tighter N cycling. Allowing for plant-controlled BNF implies a quicker release from N limitation and an adjustment to more open N cycling. In both cases, optimal plant

  2. Plant functional traits and diversity in sand dune ecosystems across different biogeographic regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahdavi, P.; Bergmeier, E.

    2016-07-01

    Plant species of a functional group respond similarly to environmental pressures and may be expected to act similarly on ecosystem processes and habitat properties. However, feasibility and applicability of functional groups in ecosystems across very different climatic regions have not yet been studied. In our approach we specified the functional groups in sand dune ecosystems of the Mediterranean, Hyrcanian and Irano-Turanian phytogeographic regions. We examined whether functional groups are more influenced by region or rather by habitat characteristics, and identified trait syndromes associated with common habitat types in sand dunes (mobile dunes, stabilized dunes, salt marshes, semi-wet sands, disturbed habitats). A database of 14 traits, 309 species and 314 relevés was examined and trait-species, trait-plot and species-plot matrices were built. Cluster analysis revealed similar plant functional groups in sand dune ecosystems across regions of very different species composition and climate. Specifically, our study showed that plant traits in sand dune ecosystems are grouped reflecting habitat affiliation rather than region and species pool. Environmental factors and constraints such as sand mobility, soil salinity, water availability, nutrient status and disturbance are more important for the occurrence and distribution of plant functional groups than regional belonging. Each habitat is shown to be equipped with specific functional groups and can be described by specific sets of traits. In restoration ecology the completeness of functional groups and traits in a site may serve as a guideline for maintaining or restoring the habitat.

  3. Effectiveness of Protected Areas in Maintaining Plant Production

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Zhiyao; Fang, Jingyun; Sun, Jinyu; Gaston, Kevin J.

    2011-01-01

    Given the central importance of protected area systems in local, regional and global conservation strategies, it is vital that there is a good understanding of their effectiveness in maintaining ecological functioning. Here, we provide, to our knowledge, the first such global analysis, focusing on plant production, a “supporting” ecosystem function necessary for multiple other ecosystem services. We use data on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as a measure of variation in plant production in the core, boundary and surroundings of more than 1000 large protected areas over a 25 year period. Forested protected areas were higher (or similar), and those non-forested were lower (or similar), in NDVI than their surrounding areas, and these differences have been sustained. The differences from surrounding areas have increased for evergreen broadleaf forests and barren grounds, decreased for grasslands, and remained similar for deciduous forests, woodlands, and shrublands, reflecting different pressures on those surroundings. These results are consistent with protected areas being effective both in the representation and maintenance of plant production. However, widespread overall increases in NDVI during the study period suggest that plant production within the core of non-forested protected areas has become higher than it was in the surroundings of those areas in 1982, highlighting that whilst the distinctiveness of protected areas from their surroundings has persisted the nature of that difference has changed. PMID:21552560

  4. Nitrogen limitation of net primary productivity in terrestrial ecosystems is globally distributed.

    PubMed

    LeBauer, David S; Treseder, Kathleen K

    2008-02-01

    Our meta-analysis of 126 nitrogen addition experiments evaluated nitrogen (N) limitation of net primary production (NPP) in terrestrial ecosystems. We tested the hypothesis that N limitation is widespread among biomes and influenced by geography and climate. We used the response ratio (R approximately equal ANPP(N)/ANPP(ctrl)) of aboveground plant growth in fertilized to control plots and found that most ecosystems are nitrogen limited with an average 29% growth response to nitrogen (i.e., R = 1.29). The response ratio was significant within temperate forests (R = 1.19), tropical forests (R = 1.60), temperate grasslands (R = 1.53), tropical grasslands (R = 1.26), wetlands (R = 1.16), and tundra (R = 1.35), but not deserts. Eight tropical forest studies had been conducted on very young volcanic soils in Hawaii, and this subgroup was strongly N limited (R = 2.13), which resulted in a negative correlation between forest R and latitude. The degree of N limitation in the remainder of the tropical forest studies (R = 1.20) was comparable to that of temperate forests, and when the young Hawaiian subgroup was excluded, forest R did not vary with latitude. Grassland response increased with latitude, but was independent of temperature and precipitation. These results suggest that the global N and C cycles interact strongly and that geography can mediate ecosystem response to N within certain biome types. PMID:18409427

  5. Modeling Hawaiian ecosystem degradation due to invasive plants under current and future climates.

    PubMed

    Vorsino, Adam E; Fortini, Lucas B; Amidon, Fred A; Miller, Stephen E; Jacobi, James D; Price, Jonathan P; Gon, Sam 'ohukani'ohi'a; Koob, Gregory A

    2014-01-01

    Occupation of native ecosystems by invasive plant species alters their structure and/or function. In Hawaii, a subset of introduced plants is regarded as extremely harmful due to competitive ability, ecosystem modification, and biogeochemical habitat degradation. By controlling this subset of highly invasive ecosystem modifiers, conservation managers could significantly reduce native ecosystem degradation. To assess the invasibility of vulnerable native ecosystems, we selected a proxy subset of these invasive plants and developed robust ensemble species distribution models to define their respective potential distributions. The combinations of all species models using both binary and continuous habitat suitability projections resulted in estimates of species richness and diversity that were subsequently used to define an invasibility metric. The invasibility metric was defined from species distribution models with <0.7 niche overlap (Warrens I) and relatively discriminative distributions (Area Under the Curve >0.8; True Skill Statistic >0.75) as evaluated per species. Invasibility was further projected onto a 2100 Hawaii regional climate change scenario to assess the change in potential habitat degradation. The distribution defined by the invasibility metric delineates areas of known and potential invasibility under current climate conditions and, when projected into the future, estimates potential reductions in native ecosystem extent due to climate-driven invasive incursion. We have provided the code used to develop these metrics to facilitate their wider use (Code S1). This work will help determine the vulnerability of native-dominated ecosystems to the combined threats of climate change and invasive species, and thus help prioritize ecosystem and species management actions. PMID:24805254

  6. Modeling Hawaiian ecosystem degradation due to invasive plants under current and future climates.

    PubMed

    Vorsino, Adam E; Fortini, Lucas B; Amidon, Fred A; Miller, Stephen E; Jacobi, James D; Price, Jonathan P; 'Ohukani'ohi'a Gon, Sam; Koob, Gregory A

    2014-01-01

    Occupation of native ecosystems by invasive plant species alters their structure and/or function. In Hawaii, a subset of introduced plants is regarded as extremely harmful due to competitive ability, ecosystem modification, and biogeochemical habitat degradation. By controlling this subset of highly invasive ecosystem modifiers, conservation managers could significantly reduce native ecosystem degradation. To assess the invasibility of vulnerable native ecosystems, we selected a proxy subset of these invasive plants and developed robust ensemble species distribution models to define their respective potential distributions. The combinations of all species models using both binary and continuous habitat suitability projections resulted in estimates of species richness and diversity that were subsequently used to define an invasibility metric. The invasibility metric was defined from species distribution models with <0.7 niche overlap (Warrens I) and relatively discriminative distributions (Area Under the Curve >0.8; True Skill Statistic >0.75) as evaluated per species. Invasibility was further projected onto a 2100 Hawaii regional climate change scenario to assess the change in potential habitat degradation. The distribution defined by the invasibility metric delineates areas of known and potential invasibility under current climate conditions and, when projected into the future, estimates potential reductions in native ecosystem extent due to climate-driven invasive incursion. We have provided the code used to develop these metrics to facilitate their wider use (Code S1). This work will help determine the vulnerability of native-dominated ecosystems to the combined threats of climate change and invasive species, and thus help prioritize ecosystem and species management actions. PMID:24991934

  7. Modeling Hawaiian Ecosystem Degradation due to Invasive Plants under Current and Future Climates

    PubMed Central

    Vorsino, Adam E.; Fortini, Lucas B.; Amidon, Fred A.; Miller, Stephen E.; Jacobi, James D.; Price, Jonathan P.; Gon, Sam 'Ohukani'ohi'a; Koob, Gregory A.

    2014-01-01

    Occupation of native ecosystems by invasive plant species alters their structure and/or function. In Hawaii, a subset of introduced plants is regarded as extremely harmful due to competitive ability, ecosystem modification, and biogeochemical habitat degradation. By controlling this subset of highly invasive ecosystem modifiers, conservation managers could significantly reduce native ecosystem degradation. To assess the invasibility of vulnerable native ecosystems, we selected a proxy subset of these invasive plants and developed robust ensemble species distribution models to define their respective potential distributions. The combinations of all species models using both binary and continuous habitat suitability projections resulted in estimates of species richness and diversity that were subsequently used to define an invasibility metric. The invasibility metric was defined from species distribution models with <0.7 niche overlap (Warrens I) and relatively discriminative distributions (Area Under the Curve >0.8; True Skill Statistic >0.75) as evaluated per species. Invasibility was further projected onto a 2100 Hawaii regional climate change scenario to assess the change in potential habitat degradation. The distribution defined by the invasibility metric delineates areas of known and potential invasibility under current climate conditions and, when projected into the future, estimates potential reductions in native ecosystem extent due to climate-driven invasive incursion. We have provided the code used to develop these metrics to facilitate their wider use (Code S1). This work will help determine the vulnerability of native-dominated ecosystems to the combined threats of climate change and invasive species, and thus help prioritize ecosystem and species management actions. PMID:24805254

  8. Biomass production and net ecosystem exchange following defoliation in a wet sedge community

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Riparian ecosystems provide a multitude of ecosystem services, maintenance of which is tied to sustainable management of stream-side plant communities that provide important forage resources for livestock grazing operations. The objectives of this study were to evaluate above- and below-ground grow...

  9. Exploring Third-Grade Student Model-Based Explanations about Plant Relationships within an Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zangori, Laura; Forbes, Cory T.

    2015-12-01

    Elementary students should have opportunities to develop scientific models to reason and build understanding about how and why plants depend on relationships within an ecosystem for growth and survival. However, scientific modeling practices are rarely included within elementary science learning environments and disciplinary content is often treated as discrete pieces separate from scientific practice. Elementary students have few, if any, opportunities to reason about how individual organisms, such as plants, hold critical relationships with their surrounding environment. The purpose of this design-based research study is to build a learning performance to identify and explore the third-grade students' baseline understanding of and their reasoning about plant-ecosystem relationships when engaged in the practices of modeling. The developed learning performance integrated scientific content and core scientific activity to identify and measure how students build knowledge about the role of plants in ecosystems through the practices of modeling. Our findings indicate that the third-grade students' ideas about plant growth include abiotic and biotic relationships. Further, they used their models to reason about how and why these relationships were necessary to maintain plant stasis. However, while the majority of the third-grade students were able to identify and reason about plant-abiotic relationships, a much smaller group reasoned about plant-abiotic-animal relationships. Implications from the study suggest that modeling serves as a tool to support elementary students in reasoning about system relationships, but they require greater curricular and instructional support in conceptualizing how and why ecosystem relationships are necessary for plant growth and development. This paper is based on data from a doctoral dissertation. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2015 international conference for the National Association for Research in Science

  10. The change of global terrestrial ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP) and its response to climate change in CMIP5

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Suosuo; Lü, Shihua; Zhang, Yongjun; Liu, Yuanpu; Gao, Yanhong; Ao, Yinhuan

    2015-07-01

    Using global terrestrial ecosystem observation and proxy data for net primary productivity (NPP), leaf area index (LAI), and climate data, we compared simulated NPP, LAI, and major climatic factors and explored the relationship between their variations in historical scenarios of ten Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) models. The results showed that global spatial patterns of the simulated terrestrial ecosystem and climate are consistent with proxy data, but the values have some differences for each model. Based on statistical analysis, the simulated climatic factors were found to be better than terrestrial ecosystem NPP and LAI, and the multi-model ensemble (MME) results were better than every single model. For the terrestrial ecosystem, air temperature (Ta) was found to be the major affecting factor, followed by precipitation, meaning the terrestrial ecosystem NPP and LAI are more related to Ta than precipitation. Meanwhile, surface downwelling shortwave radiation (Rsds) was found to inhibit the terrestrial ecosystem in almost all regions of the world. Between 1976 and 2005, precipitation had a slight increasing trend, Ta an obvious increasing trend, and Rsds a slight decreasing trend. The changes of precipitation, air temperature, and Rsds were favorable for the terrestrial ecosystem and for plant growth. Therefore, LAI and NPP showed an obvious increasing temporal trend, and the terrestrial ecosystem showed a positive response to climate change. All the model results showed NPP had an increasing temporal trend in the past 150 years, which also indicated that the terrestrial ecosystem has shown a positive response to climate change in that time period. In terms of the global average, the simulated NPP varied from 21.5 to 69.3 Pg C year-1, and the MME NPP is about 50.6, which was almost consistent with the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) NPP result of 55.1 and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) NPP results of 60.5 Pg

  11. Contributions of woody and herbaceous vegetation to tropical savanna ecosystem productivity: a quasi-global estimate.

    PubMed

    Lloyd, Jon; Bird, Michael I; Vellen, Lins; Miranda, Antonio Carlos; Veenendaal, Elmar M; Djagbletey, Gloria; Miranda, Heloisa S; Cook, Garry; Farquhar, Graham D

    2008-03-01

    To estimate the relative contributions of woody and herbaceous vegetation to savanna productivity, we measured the 13C/12C isotopic ratios of leaves from trees, shrubs, grasses and the surface soil carbon pool for 22 savannas in Australia, Brazil and Ghana covering the full savanna spectrum ranging from almost pure grassland to closed woodlands on all three continents. All trees and shrubs sampled were of the C3 pathway and all grasses of the C4 pathway with the exception of Echinolaena inflexa (Poir.) Chase, a common C3 grass of the Brazilian cerrado. By comparing the carbon isotopic compositions of the plant and carbon pools, a simple model relating soil delta 13C to the relative abundances of trees + shrubs (woody plants) and grasses was developed. The model suggests that the relative proportions of a savanna ecosystem's total foliar projected cover attributable to grasses versus woody plants is a simple and reliable index of the relative contributions of grasses and woody plants to savanna net productivity. Model calibrations against woody tree canopy cover made it possible to estimate the proportion of savanna productivity in the major regions of the world attributable to trees + shrubs and grasses from ground-based observational maps of savanna woodiness. Overall, it was estimated that 59% of the net primary productivity (Np) of tropical savannas is attributable to C4 grasses, but that this proportion varies significantly within and between regions. The C4 grasses make their greatest relative contribution to savanna Np in the Neotropics, whereas in African regions, a greater proportion of savanna Np is attributable to woody plants. The relative contribution of C4 grasses in Australian savannas is intermediate between those in the Neotropics and Africa. These differences can be broadly ascribed to large scale differences in soil fertility and rainfall. PMID:18171668

  12. Ecosystem and physiological controls over methane production in northern wetlands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valentine, David W.; Holland, Elisabeth A.; Schimel, David S.

    1994-01-01

    Peat chemistry appears to exert primary control over methane production rates in the Canadian Northern Wetlands Study (NOWES) area. We determined laboratory methane production rate potentials in anaerobic slurries of samples collected from a transect of sites through the NOWES study area. We related methane production rates to indicators of resistance to microbial decay (peat C: N and lignin: N ratios) and experimentally manipulated substrate availability for methanogenesis using ethanol (EtOH) and plant litter. We also determined responses of methane production to pH and temperature. Methane production potentials declined along the gradient of sites from high rates in the coastal fens to low rates in the interior bogs and were generally highest in surface layers. Strong relationships between CH4 production potentials and peat chemistry suggested that methanogenesis was limited by fermentation rates. Methane production at ambient pH responded strongly to substrate additions in the circumneutral fens with narrow lignin: N and C: N ratios (delta CH4/delta EtOH = 0.9-2.3 mg/g) and weakly in the acidic bogs with wide C: N and lignin: N ratios (delta CH4/delta EtOH = -0.04-0.02 mg/g). Observed Q(sub 10) values ranged from 1.7 to 4.7 and generally increased with increasing substrate availability, suggesting that fermentation rates were limiting. Titration experiments generally demonstrated inhibition of methanogenesis by low pH. Our results suggest that the low rates of methane emission observed in interior bogs during NOWES likely resulted from pH and substrate quality limitation of the fermentation step in methane production and thus reflect intrinsically low methane production potentials. Low methane emission rates observed during NOWES will likely be observed in other northern wetland regions with similar vegetation chemistry.

  13. Ecosystem and physiological controls over methane production in northern wetlands

    SciTech Connect

    Valentine, D.W.; Holland, E.A.; Schimel, D.S.

    1994-01-20

    Peat chemistry appears to exert primary control over methane production rates in the Canadian Northern Wetlands Study (NOWES) area. We determined laboratory methane production rate potentials in anaerobic slurries of samples collected from a transect of sites through the NOWES study area. We related methane production rates to indicators of resistance to microbial decay (peat C:N and lignin:N ratios) and experimentally manipulated substrate availability for methanogenesis using ethanol (EtOH) and plant litter. We also determined responses of methane production to pH and temperature. Methane production potentials declined along the gradient of sites from high rates in the coastal fens to low rates in the interior bogs and were generally highest in surface layers. Strong relationships between CH{sub 4} production potentials and peat chemistry suggested that methanogenesis was limited by fermentation rates. Methane production at ambient pH responded strongly to substrate additions in the circumneutral fens with narrow lignin:N and C:N ratios ({partial_derivative}CH{sub 4}/{partial_derivative}EtOH = 0.9-2.3 mg g{sup {minus}1}) and weakly in the acidic bogs with wide C:N and lignin:N ratios ({partial_derivative}CH{sub 4}/{partial_derivative}EtOH = -0.4-0.02 mg g{sup {minus}1}). Observed Q{sub 10} values ranged from 1.7 to 4.7 and generally increased with increasing substrate availability, suggesting that fermentation rates were limiting. Titration experiments generally demonstrated inhibition of methanogenesis by low pH. Our results suggest that the low rates of methane emission observed in interior bogs during NOWES likely resulted from pH and substrate quality limitation of the fermentation step in methane production and thus reflect intrinsically low methane production potentials. Low methane emission rates observed during NOWES will likely be observed in other northern wetland regions with similar vegetation chemistry. 57 refs., 5 figs., 4 tabs.

  14. Plant traits and ecosystem effects of clonality: a new research agenda

    PubMed Central

    Cornelissen, Johannes H. C.; Song, Yao-Bin; Yu, Fei-Hai; Dong, Ming

    2014-01-01

    Background Clonal plants spread laterally by spacers between their ramets (shoot–root units); these spacers can transport and store resources. While much is known about how clonality promotes plant fitness, we know little about how different clonal plants influence ecosystem functions related to carbon, nutrient and water cycling. Approach The response–effect trait framework is used to formulate hypotheses about the impact of clonality on ecosystems. Central to this framework is the degree of correspondence between interspecific variation in clonal ‘response traits’ that promote plant fitness and interspecific variation in ‘effect traits’, which define a plant's potential effect on ecosystem functions. The main example presented to illustrate this concept concerns clonal traits of vascular plant species that determine their lateral extension patterns. In combination with the different degrees of decomposability of litter derived from their spacers, leaves, roots and stems, these clonal traits should determine associated spatial and temporal patterns in soil organic matter accumulation, nutrient availability and water retention. Conclusions This review gives some concrete pointers as to how to implement this new research agenda through a combination of (1) standardized screening of predominant species in ecosystems for clonal response traits and for effect traits related to carbon, nutrient and water cycling; (2) analysing the overlap between variation in these response traits and effect traits across species; (3) linking spatial and temporal patterns of clonal species in the field to those for soil properties related to carbon, nutrient and water stocks and dynamics; and (4) studying the effects of biotic interactions and feedbacks between resource heterogeneity and clonality. Linking these to environmental changes may help us to better understand and predict the role of clonal plants in modulating impacts of climate change and human activities on

  15. Carbon allocation in plants and ecosystems - insights from stable isotope studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gessler, Arthur

    2014-05-01

    Trees are large global stores of carbon (C) that will be impacted by increased carbon dioxide levels and climate change. However, at present we cannot properly predict the carbon balance of forests in future as we lack knowledge on how plant physiological processes, the transfer of carbon within the plant, carbon storage, and remobilization in the plant tissues as well as the release of carbon from the roots to the soil interact with environmental drivers and ecosystem-scale processes. This paper will summarise how stable isotope techniques can give new insights in the fate of newly assimilated C in plants and ecosystems on time scales from hours to seasons and it will include studies either characterizing temporal and spatial variation in the natural abundance of carbon and oxygen isotopes or applying isotopically enriched tracers. It comprises the assessment of the mechanisms of C partitioning among specific metabolic pathways, between plant organs and into various ecosystem C pools with different residence times. Moreover stable isotopes are highly suitable tools to characterise the role of the phloem, which is the central long-distance conveyer distributing C from source to sinks and thus plays a central role in linking sites and structures of storage, growth and other metabolic activities. A deeper understanding of these processes and their interaction with environmental drivers is critical for predicting how trees and ecosystems will respond to coming global environmental changes, including increased temperature, altered precipitation, and elevated carbon dioxide concentrations.

  16. Solar radiation uncorks the lignin bottleneck on plant litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Austin, A.; Ballare, C. L.; Méndez, M. S.

    2015-12-01

    Plant litter decomposition is an essential process in the first stages of carbon and nutrient turnover in terrestrial ecosystems, and together with soil microbial biomass, provide the principal inputs of carbon for the formation of soil organic matter. Photodegradation, the photochemical mineralization of organic matter, has been recently identified as a mechanism for previously unexplained high rates of litter mass loss in low rainfall ecosystems; however, the generality of this process as a control on carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems is not known, and the indirect effects of photodegradation on biotic stimulation of carbon turnover have been debated in recent studies. We demonstrate that in a wide range of plant species, previous exposure to solar radiation, and visible light in particular, enhanced subsequent biotic degradation of leaf litter. Moreover, we demonstrate that the mechanism for this enhancement involves increased accessibility for microbial enzymes to plant litter carbohydrates due to a reduction in lignin content. Photodegradation of plant litter reduces the structural and chemical bottleneck imposed by lignin in secondary cell walls. In litter from woody plant species, specific interactions with ultraviolet radiation obscured facilitative effects of solar radiation on biotic decomposition. The generalized positive effect of solar radiation exposure on subsequent microbial activity is mediated by increased accessibility to cell wall polysaccharides, which suggests that photodegradation is quantitatively important in determining rates of mass loss, nutrient release and the carbon balance in a broad range of terrestrial ecosystems.

  17. The Importance of Context in Development and Application of Ecosystem Services Production Functions

    EPA Science Inventory

    The task of estimating ecosystem service production and delivery deserves special attention. When approached as a function of land cover at any given time, context driven facets of ecosystem service production, delivery, and resulting effects on human well-being can be overlooke...

  18. Characterizing terrestrial ecosystems and productivity from remote sensing data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, David L.; Running, Steven W.

    1985-01-01

    Predictive relationships were studied between the leaf area index (LAI) of temperate coniferous forests and the canopy of reflective properties as sensed by satellites. Also, the relationship was examined between this sensible variable, LAI, and functional properties such as net primary productivity (NPP) and nitrogen mineralization. Leaf surface area is a locus of many important material and energy exchanges. If LAI can be reasonably estimated from remote sensing measurements, then it could be used with models to predict evapotranspiration, radiation interception, precipitation interception, and other ecosystem processes over large areas. Nineteen mature closed canopy forest stands were measured for leaf area index distributed along a temperature moisture gradient across Oregon. The LAI varies from 15.4 to 0.6. Infrared radiation is strongly scattered by leaves so that it penetrates deeply and its reflectance is proportional to LAI. Red radiation is strongly absorbed by chlorophyll and its reflectance is inversely related to LAI, becoming asymptotic at LAI values of about 3. The ratio of infrared to red radiation compensates for irradiance variations across this transect.

  19. Gloger's rule in plants: The species and ecosystem levels.

    PubMed

    Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2015-01-01

    Gloger's rule posits that darker birds are found more often in humid environments than in arid ones, especially in the tropics. Accordingly, desert-inhabiting animals tend to be light-colored. This rule is also true for certain mammalian groups, including humans. Gloger's rule is manifested at 2 levels: (1) at the species level (different populations of the same species have different pigmentation at different latitudes), and (2) at the species assembly level (different taxa at a certain geography have different pigmentation than other taxa found at different habitats or latitudes). Concerning plants, Gloger's rule was first proposed to operate in many plant species growing in sand dunes, sandy shores and in deserts, because of being white, whitish, or silver colored, based on white trichomes, because of sand grains and clay particles glued to sticky glandular trichomes, or because of light-colored waxes. Recently, Gloger's rule was shown to also be true at the intraspecific level in relation to protection of anthers from UV irradiation. While Gloger's rule is true in certain plant taxa and ecologies, there are others where "anti-Gloger" coloration patterns exist. In some of these the selective agents are known and in others they are not. I present both Gloger and "anti-Gloger" cases and argue that this largely neglected aspect of plant biology deserves much more research attention. PMID:26786012

  20. PLANT SPECIES DIVERSITY, ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION, AND PASTURE MANAGEMENT

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grassland farmers face new challenges in pasture management including improving sustainability, reducing inputs of fertilizers and pesticides, and protecting soil resources. Managing plant diversity within and among pastures may be one tool to aid producers in meeting these new challenges. Pasture e...

  1. Gloger's rule in plants: The species and ecosystem levels

    PubMed Central

    Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2015-01-01

    Gloger's rule posits that darker birds are found more often in humid environments than in arid ones, especially in the tropics. Accordingly, desert-inhabiting animals tend to be light-colored. This rule is also true for certain mammalian groups, including humans. Gloger's rule is manifested at 2 levels: (1) at the species level (different populations of the same species have different pigmentation at different latitudes), and (2) at the species assembly level (different taxa at a certain geography have different pigmentation than other taxa found at different habitats or latitudes). Concerning plants, Gloger's rule was first proposed to operate in many plant species growing in sand dunes, sandy shores and in deserts, because of being white, whitish, or silver colored, based on white trichomes, because of sand grains and clay particles glued to sticky glandular trichomes, or because of light-colored waxes. Recently, Gloger's rule was shown to also be true at the intraspecific level in relation to protection of anthers from UV irradiation. While Gloger's rule is true in certain plant taxa and ecologies, there are others where “anti-Gloger” coloration patterns exist. In some of these the selective agents are known and in others they are not. I present both Gloger and “anti-Gloger” cases and argue that this largely neglected aspect of plant biology deserves much more research attention. PMID:26786012

  2. Fine root production across a primary successional ecosystem chronosequence at Mt. Shasta, California.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Estimating changes in belowground biomass and production is essential for understanding fundamental patterns and processes during ecosystem development. We examined patterns of fine root production, aboveground litterfall, and forest floor accumulation during forest primary succession at the Mt. Sha...

  3. Modeling the response of plants and ecosystems to elevated CO sub 2 and climate change

    SciTech Connect

    Reynolds, J.F.; Hilbert, D.W.; Chen, Jia-lin; Harley, P.C.; Kemp, P.R.; Leadley, P.W.

    1992-03-01

    While the exact effects of elevated CO{sub 2} on global climate are unknown, there is a growing consensus among climate modelers that global temperature and precipitation will increase, but that these changes will be non-uniform over the Earth's surface. In addition to these potential climatic changes, CO{sub 2} also directly affects plants via photosynthesis, respiration, and stomatal closure. Global climate change, in concert with these direct effects of CO{sub 2} on plants, could have a significant impact on both natural and agricultural ecosystems. Society's ability to prepare for, and respond to, such changes depends largely on the ability of climate and ecosystem researchers to provide predictions of regional level ecosystem responses with sufficient confidence and adequate lead time.

  4. Modeling the response of plants and ecosystems to elevated CO{sub 2} and climate change

    SciTech Connect

    Reynolds, J.F.; Hilbert, D.W.; Chen, Jia-lin; Harley, P.C.; Kemp, P.R.; Leadley, P.W.

    1992-03-01

    While the exact effects of elevated CO{sub 2} on global climate are unknown, there is a growing consensus among climate modelers that global temperature and precipitation will increase, but that these changes will be non-uniform over the Earth`s surface. In addition to these potential climatic changes, CO{sub 2} also directly affects plants via photosynthesis, respiration, and stomatal closure. Global climate change, in concert with these direct effects of CO{sub 2} on plants, could have a significant impact on both natural and agricultural ecosystems. Society`s ability to prepare for, and respond to, such changes depends largely on the ability of climate and ecosystem researchers to provide predictions of regional level ecosystem responses with sufficient confidence and adequate lead time.

  5. Dominant plant taxa predict plant productivity responses to CO2 enrichment across precipitation and soil gradients.

    PubMed

    Fay, Philip A; Newingham, Beth A; Polley, H Wayne; Morgan, Jack A; LeCain, Daniel R; Nowak, Robert S; Smith, Stanley D

    2015-01-01

    The Earth's atmosphere will continue to be enriched with carbon dioxide (CO2) over the coming century. Carbon dioxide enrichment often reduces leaf transpiration, which in water-limited ecosystems may increase soil water content, change species abundances and increase the productivity of plant communities. The effect of increased soil water on community productivity and community change may be greater in ecosystems with lower precipitation, or on coarser-textured soils, but responses are likely absent in deserts. We tested correlations among yearly increases in soil water content, community change and community plant productivity responses to CO2 enrichment in experiments in a mesic grassland with fine- to coarse-textured soils, a semi-arid grassland and a xeric shrubland. We found no correlation between CO2-caused changes in soil water content and changes in biomass of dominant plant taxa or total community aboveground biomass in either grassland type or on any soil in the mesic grassland (P > 0.60). Instead, increases in dominant taxa biomass explained up to 85 % of the increases in total community biomass under CO2 enrichment. The effect of community change on community productivity was stronger in the semi-arid grassland than in the mesic grassland, where community biomass change on one soil was not correlated with the change in either the soil water content or the dominant taxa. No sustained increases in soil water content or community productivity and no change in dominant plant taxa occurred in the xeric shrubland. Thus, community change was a crucial driver of community productivity responses to CO2 enrichment in the grasslands, but effects of soil water change on productivity were not evident in yearly responses to CO2 enrichment. Future research is necessary to isolate and clarify the mechanisms controlling the temporal and spatial variations in the linkages among soil water, community change and plant productivity responses to CO2 enrichment. PMID

  6. Plant-to-plant variability in corn production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Corn (Zea mays L.) grain yields are known to vary from plant to plant, but the extent of this variability across a range of environments has not been evaluated. This study was initiated to evaluate by-plant corn grain yield variability over a range of production environments and to establish the rel...

  7. Changes in the flux of carbon between plants and soil microorganisms at elevated CO{sub 2}: Physiological processes with ecosystem-level implications. Progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Zak, D.R.; Pregitzer, K.S.

    1994-05-15

    Our ability to interpret ecosystem response to elevated atmospheric CO{sub 2} is contingent on understanding and integrating a complex of physiological and ecological processes. However, we have a limited understanding of the combined effects of changes in plant carbon (C) allocation, microbial activity, and nitrogen (N) dynamics on the long-term response of terrestrial ecosystems to elevated CO{sub 2}. Individually, these factors are potent modifiers of C and N dynamics, and an in depth understanding of their interactions should provide insight into ecosystem-level responses to global climate change. Our research is aimed at quantifying the physiological mechanisms leading to increased fine root production, microbial biomass and rates of N cycling at elevated atmospheric CO{sub 2}. More specifically, we will experimentally manipulate soil nitrogen availability and atmospheric CO{sub 2} to understand how changes in plant resource availability influence the cycling of carbon between plants and soil microorganisms.

  8. A geomorphic perspective on terrain-modulated organization of vegetation productivity: Analysis in two semiarid grassland ecosystems in Southwestern United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Spatial patterns of ecosystem productivity arise from the terrain-modulated wetting and drying of the landscape. Using a daily relative greenness (rG) index we explore the relations between spatial variability of plant productivity and landscape morphology, and how these relations change over time...

  9. Methane production and consumption in grassland and boreal ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schimel, David S.; Burke, Ingrid C.; Johnston, Carol; Pastor, John

    1994-01-01

    The objectives of the this project were to develop a mechanistic understanding of methane production and oxidation suitable for incorporation into spatially explicit models for spatial extrapolation. Field studies were undertaken in Minnesota, Canada, and Colorado to explore the process controls over the two microbial mediated methane transformations in a range of environments. Field measurements were done in conjunction with ongoing studies in Canada (the Canadian Northern Wetlands Projects: NOWES) and in Colorado (The Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research Project: LTER). One of the central hypotheses of the proposal was that methane production should be substrate limited, as well as being controlled by physical variables influencing microbial activity (temperature, oxidation status, and pH). Laboratory studies of peats from Canada and Minnesota (Northern and Southern Boreal) were conducted with amendments of a methanogenic substrate at multiple temperatures and at multiple pHs (the latter by titrating samples). The studies showed control by substrate, pH, and temperature in order in anaerobic samples. Field and laboratory manipulations of natural plant litter, rather than an acetogenic substrate, showed similarly large effects. The studies concluded that substrate is an important control over methanogenesis, that substrate availability in the field is closely coupled to the chemistry of the dominant vegetation influencing its decomposition rate, that most methane is produced from recent plant litter, and that landscape changes in pH are an important control, highly correlated with vegetation.

  10. Controls on the ratio of mesozooplankton production to primary production in marine ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stock, Charles; Dunne, John

    2010-01-01

    An ecosystem model was used to (1) determine the extent to which global trends in the ratio of mesozooplankton production to primary production (referred to herein as the " z-ratio") can be explained by nutrient enrichment, temperature, and euphotic zone depth, and (2) quantitatively diagnose the mechanisms driving these trends. Equilibrium model solutions were calibrated to observed and empirically derived patterns in phytoplankton biomass and growth rates, mesozooplankton biomass and growth rates, and the fraction of phytoplankton that are large (>5 μm ESD). This constrained several otherwise highly uncertain model parameters. Most notably, half-saturation constants for zooplankton feeding were constrained by the biomass and growth rates of their prey populations, and low zooplankton basal metabolic rates were required to match observations from oligotrophic ecosystems. Calibrated model solutions had no major biases and produced median z-ratios and ranges consistent with estimates. However, much of the variability around the median values in the calibration dataset (72 points) could not be explained. Model results were then compared with an extended global compilation of z-ratio estimates (>10 000 points). This revealed a modest yet significant ( r=0.40) increasing trend in z-ratios from values ˜0.01-0.04 to ˜0.1-0.2 with increasing primary productivity, with the transition from low to high z-ratios occurring at lower primary productivity in cold-water ecosystems. Two mechanisms, both linked to increasing phytoplankton biomass, were responsible: (1) zooplankton gross growth efficiencies increased as their ingestion rates became much greater than basal metabolic rates and (2) the trophic distance between primary producers and mesozooplankton shortened as primary production shifted toward large phytoplankton. Mechanism (1) was most important during the transition from low to moderate productivity ecosystems and mechanism (2) was responsible for a relatively

  11. Exploring Third-Grade Student Model-Based Explanations about Plant Relationships within an Ecosystem

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zangori, Laura; Forbes, Cory T.

    2015-01-01

    Elementary students should have opportunities to develop scientific models to reason and build understanding about how and why plants depend on relationships within an ecosystem for growth and survival. However, scientific modeling practices are rarely included within elementary science learning environments and disciplinary content is often…

  12. Landscape and environmental controls over leaf and ecosystem carbon dioxide fluxes under woody plant expansion

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many regions of the globe are experiencing a simultaneous change in the dominant plant functional type and regional climatology. We explored how atmospheric temperature and precipitation input control leaf- and ecosystem scale carbon fluxes within a pair of semiarid shrublands that had undergone woo...

  13. EFFECTS OF ULTRAVIOLET-B RADIATION ON PLANT COMPETITION IN TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Evidence regarding the interaction of ultraviolet-B (UV-B, 280-320 nm) radiation and plant competition in terrestrial ecosystems is examined. The competitive interactions of some species pairs were affected even by ambient solar UV-B radiation (as exists without ozone depletion),...

  14. NON-TARGET AND ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS CONTAINING PLANT INCORPORATED PROTECTANTS (PIPS)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The risk of unintended and unexpected adverse impacts on non-target organisms and ecosystems is a key issue in environmental risk assessment of PIP crop plants. While there has been considerable examination of the effects of insect resistant crops on certain non-target organisms...

  15. Shifts in plant functional types have time-dependent and regionally variable impacts on dryland ecosystem water balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bradford, John B.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Lauenroth, William K.; Burke, Ingrid C.

    2014-01-01

    5. Synthesis. This study provides a novel, regional-scale assessment of how plant functional type transitions may impact ecosystem water balance in sagebrush-dominated ecosystems of North America. Results illustrate that the ecohydrological consequences of changing vegetation depend strongly on climate and suggest that decreasing woody plant abundance may have only limited impact on evapotranspiration and water yield.

  16. Management of Indigenous Plant-Microbe Symbioses Aids Restoration of Desertified Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Requena, Natalia; Perez-Solis, Estefania; Azcón-Aguilar, Concepción; Jeffries, Peter; Barea, José-Miguel

    2001-01-01

    Disturbance of natural plant communities is the first visible indication of a desertification process, but damage to physical, chemical, and biological soil properties is known to occur simultaneously. Such soil degradation limits reestablishment of the natural plant cover. In particular, desertification causes disturbance of plant-microbe symbioses which are a critical ecological factor in helping further plant growth in degraded ecosystems. Here we demonstrate, in two long-term experiments in a desertified Mediterranean ecosystem, that inoculation with indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and with rhizobial nitrogen-fixing bacteria not only enhanced the establishment of key plant species but also increased soil fertility and quality. The dual symbiosis increased the soil nitrogen (N) content, organic matter, and hydrostable soil aggregates and enhanced N transfer from N-fixing to nonfixing species associated within the natural succession. We conclude that the introduction of target indigenous species of plants associated with a managed community of microbial symbionts is a successful biotechnological tool to aid the recovery of desertified ecosystems. PMID:11157208

  17. Importance of Past Human and Natural Disturbance in Present-Day Net Ecosystem Productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Felzer, B. S.; Phelps, P.

    2014-12-01

    Gridded datasets of Net Ecosystem Exchange derived from eddy covariance and remote sensing measurements provide a means of validating Net Ecosystem Productivity (NEP, opposite of NEE) from terrestrial ecosystem models. While most forested regions in the U.S. are observed to be moderate to strong carbon sinks, models not including human or natural disturbances will tend to be more carbon neutral, which is expected of mature ecosystems. We have developed the Terrestrial Ecosystems Model Hydro version (TEM-Hydro) to include both human and natural disturbances to compare against gridded NEP datasets. Human disturbances are based on the Hurtt et al. (2006) land use transition dataset and include transient agricultural (crops and pasture) conversion and abandonment and timber harvest. We include natural disturbances of storms and fires based on stochastic return intervals. Tropical storms and hurricane return intervals are based on Zheng et al. (2009) and occur only along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Fire return intervals are based on LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment Vegetation Models and vegetation types from the Hurtt dataset. We are running three experiments with TEM-Hydro from 1700-2011 for the conterminous U.S.: potential vegetation (POT), human disturbance only (agriculture and timber harvest, LULC), and human plus natural disturbance (agriculture, timber harvest, storms, and fire, DISTURB). The goal is to compare our NEP values to those obtained by FLUXNET-MTE (Jung et al. 2009) from 1982-2008 and ECMOD (Xiao et al., 2008) from 2000-2006 for different plant functional types (PFTs) within the conterminous U.S. Preliminary results show that, for the entire U.S., potential vegetation yields an NEP of 10.8 gCm-2yr-1 vs 128.1 gCm-2yr-1 for LULC and 89.8 gCm-2yr-1 for DISTURB from 1982-2008. The effect of regrowth following agricultural and timber harvest disturbance therefore contributes substantially to the present-day carbon sink, while stochastic storms and fires

  18. Nematicide impacts on nematodes and feedbacks on plant productivity in a plant diversity gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Ackermann, Michael; Gass, Svenja; Klier, Matthias; Migunova, Varvara; Nitschke, Norma; Ruess, Liliane; Sabais, Alexander C. W.; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Scheu, Stefan

    2010-09-01

    A major issue in current ecological research is the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. Although several studies reported a positive diversity - productivity relationship, the role of soil animals has been largely neglected. Nematodes are among the most widespread and important herbivores causing substantial yield losses in agriculture; however, impacts of nematodes on the diversity - productivity relationship in semi-natural plant communities have not been investigated until today. In the framework of the Jena Experiment (Thuringia, Germany) we established control and nematicide treated subplots to manipulate nematode densities on plots varying in plant species (1-16) and functional group richness (1-4). We explored the interacting effects of nematicide application and plant diversity on the main trophic groups of nematodes and on aboveground plant productivity. Nematicide application reduced the number of nematodes significantly, particularly that of plant feeders and predators. The negative impact of nematicide application on plant and bacterial feeders depended however on the diversity of the plant community. Total plant shoot biomass tended to decrease in the presence of ambient nematode densities. In detail, nematode effects varied however with plant functional group identity by reducing only the shoot biomass of herbs significantly but not that of legumes. Furthermore, the shoot biomass of grasses tended to decrease in the presence of ambient nematode densities. In contrast to total shoot biomass, nematodes decreased grass shoot biomass only in high diverse but not in low diverse plant communities. Thus, the present study for the first time highlights that nematodes likely modify the community structure und functions of semi-natural plant communities by altering the competition between plant functional groups and by attenuating the diversity - productivity relationship.

  19. Developing microbe-plant interactions for applications in plant-growth promotion and disease control, production of useful compounds, remediation, and carbon sequestration

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, C.H.; Bernard, S.; Andersen, G.L.; Chen, W.

    2009-03-01

    Interactions between plants and microbes are an integral part of our terrestrial ecosystem. Microbe-plant interactions are being applied in many areas. In this review, we present recent reports of applications in the areas of plant-growth promotion, biocontrol, bioactive compound and biomaterial production, remediation and carbon sequestration. Challenges, limitations and future outlook for each field are discussed.

  20. Diurnal patterns of productivity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi revealed with the Soil Ecosystem Observatory

    PubMed Central

    Hernandez, Rebecca R; Allen, Michael F

    2013-01-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are the most abundant plant symbiont and a major pathway of carbon sequestration in soils. However, their basic biology, including their activity throughout a 24-h day : night cycle, remains unknown. We employed the in situ Soil Ecosystem Observatory to quantify the rates of diurnal growth, dieback and net productivity of extra-radical AM fungi. AM fungal hyphae showed significantly different rates of growth and dieback over a period of 24 h and paralleled the circadian-driven photosynthetic oscillations observed in plants. The greatest rates (and incidences) of growth and dieback occurred between noon and 18:00 h. Growth and dieback events often occurred simultaneously and were tightly coupled with soil temperature and moisture, suggesting a rapid acclimation of the external phase of AM fungi to the immediate environment. Changes in the environmental conditions and variability of the mycorrhizosphere may alter the diurnal patterns of productivity of AM fungi, thereby modifying soil carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and host plant success. PMID:23844990

  1. Plant productivity in controlled environments.

    PubMed

    Salisbury, F B; Bugbee, B

    1988-04-01

    To assess the cost and area/volume requirements of a farm in a space station or Lunar or Martian base, a few laboratories in the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Japan are studying optimum controlled environments for the production of selected crops. Temperature, light, photoperiod, CO2, humidity, the root-zone environment, and cultivars are the primary factors being manipulated to increase yields and harvest index. Our best wheat yields on a time basis (24 g m-2 day-1 of edible biomass) are five times good field yields and twice the world record. Similar yields have been obtained in other laboratories with potatoes and lettuce; soybeans are also promising. These figures suggest that approximately 30 m2 under continuous production could support an astronaut with sufficient protein and about 2800 kcal day-1. Scientists under Iosif Gitelzon in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, have lived in a closed system for up to 5 months, producing 80% of their own food. Thirty square meters for crops were allotted to each of the two men taking part in the experiment. A functional controlled-environment life-support system (CELSS) will require the refined application of several disciplines: controlled-environment agriculture, food preparation, waste disposal, and control-systems technology, to list only the broadest categories. It has seemed intuitively evident that ways could be found to prepare food, regenerate plant nutrients from wastes, and even control and integrate several subsystems of a CELSS. But could sufficient food be produced in the limited areas and with the limited energy that might be available? Clearly, detailed studies of food production were necessary. PMID:11537758

  2. Plant productivity in controlled environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salisbury, F. B.; Bugbee, B.

    1988-01-01

    To assess the cost and area/volume requirements of a farm in a space station or Lunar or Martian base, a few laboratories in the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Japan are studying optimum controlled environments for the production of selected crops. Temperature, light, photoperiod, CO2, humidity, the root-zone environment, and cultivars are the primary factors being manipulated to increase yields and harvest index. Our best wheat yields on a time basis (24 g m-2 day-1 of edible biomass) are five times good field yields and twice the world record. Similar yields have been obtained in other laboratories with potatoes and lettuce; soybeans are also promising. These figures suggest that approximately 30 m2 under continuous production could support an astronaut with sufficient protein and about 2800 kcal day-1. Scientists under Iosif Gitelzon in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, have lived in a closed system for up to 5 months, producing 80% of their own food. Thirty square meters for crops were allotted to each of the two men taking part in the experiment. A functional controlled-environment life-support system (CELSS) will require the refined application of several disciplines: controlled-environment agriculture, food preparation, waste disposal, and control-systems technology, to list only the broadest categories. It has seemed intuitively evident that ways could be found to prepare food, regenerate plant nutrients from wastes, and even control and integrate several subsystems of a CELSS. But could sufficient food be produced in the limited areas and with the limited energy that might be available? Clearly, detailed studies of food production were necessary.

  3. Comparing the Net Ecosystem Exchange of Two Cropping Systems for Dairy Feed Production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sulaiman, M. F.; Wagner-Riddle, C.; Brown, S. E.

    2015-12-01

    A three-year study was conducted from 2012 to 2014 to determine the net CO2 fluxes from corn and hay, the two main feed crops used in dairy production. The aim of this study is to better understand the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) in annual and perennial cropping systems used in dairy production to benefit greenhouse gas emission model developments and the life cycle analysis of dairy production. The study was conducted on two 4-ha plots where one plot was a 5-year old hayfield and the other plot was planted in a continuous cycle corn. All plots were continuously monitored using the flux-gradient method deployed with a tunable diode laser trace gas analyzer and sonic anemometers. All plots received dairy manure as fertilizer applied according to common practice. The cumulative NEE for the three years of the study was -873.15 g C m-2 for corn and -409.36 g C m-2 for hay. Differences in respiration between the two cropping systems was found to be the larger factor compared to differences in gross ecosystem production (GEP) that resulted in the contrasting cumulative NEE where cumulative respiration for the three years for hay was 3094.23 g C m-2 as opposed to 2078.11 g C m-2 for corn. Cumulative GEP for the three years was 3503.60 and 2951.31 g C m-2 for hay and corn respectively. Inter-annual and inter-crop variability of the NEE, GEP and respiration will be discussed in relation to biomass production, climatic conditions and crop physiological characteristics.

  4. Ecosystem Productivity Responses to Saltwater Intrusion and P Loading As a Result of Future Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, B.; Troxler, T.; Gaiser, E.; Kominoski, J. S.; Richards, J.; Servais, S.; Stachelek, J.; Kelly, S.; Sklar, F.; Coronado-Molina, C.; Madden, C.; Davis, S. E., III; Mazzi, V.; Schulte, N.; Bauman, L.

    2014-12-01

    Coastal wetlands, which have immense potential to store carbon (C) in vegetation and sediments, are a vital part of the global C cycle. How C storage in coastal wetlands will be affected by accelerated sea level rise as a result of a warming climate, however, is uncertain. In oligotrophic wetlands such as the Everglades in the southeastern USA, saltwater intrusion will bring ions (Cl-, SO42-) and phosphorus (P), a limiting nutrient for ecosystem productivity. It is hypothesized that shifts in stressors and subsidies can shift the soil carbon balance from a net C sink to a source, stimulating peat collapse, which will, in turn, accelerate the effects of sea level rise. The objective of this study is to investigate how simulated saltwater intrusion into freshwater and oligohaline wetlands will change net ecosystem productivity and affect the soil C balance. Using coupled field and mesocosm experiments beginning in August 2014, we are examining how plant gross primary production, plant respiration, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem exchange in freshwater and oligohaline wetlands will change when exposed to saltwater and an increase in P loading. We predict that a higher saltwater load will increase ecosystem respiration while decreasing ecosystem productivity, possibly shifting the C balance of these marshes from a net sink to a source. In contrast, increased P loading has been shown to increase ecosystem productivity in oligotrophic wetlands; sawgrass, the dominant macrophyte in Everglades marshes, increases productivity with increased P, but periphyton decreases productivity. Therefore, it is still unknown how the interaction of an increased P subsidy coupled with saltwater intrusion will affect overall net ecosystem productivity and the C balance. Results from this study will reveal how the soil C balance in freshwater and oligohaline wetlands changes with saltwater intrusion due to sea level rise.

  5. Plant diversity and ecosystem multifunctionality peak at intermediate levels of woody cover in global drylands

    PubMed Central

    Soliveres, Santiago; Maestre, Fernando T.; Eldridge, David J.; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Quero, José Luis; Bowker, Matthew A.; Gallardo, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Aim The global spread of woody plants into grasslands is predicted to increase over the coming century. While there is general agreement regarding the anthropogenic causes of this phenomenon, its ecological consequences are less certain. We analyzed how woody vegetation of differing cover affects plant diversity (richness and evenness) and multiple ecosystem functions (multifunctionality) in global drylands, and how this changes with aridity. Location 224 dryland sites from all continents except Antarctica widely differing in their environmental conditions (from arid to dry-subhumid sites) and woody covers (from 0 to 100%). Methods Using a standardized field survey, we measured the cover, richness and evenness of perennial vegetation. At each site, we measured 14 ecosystem functions related to soil fertility and the build-up of nutrient pools. These functions are critical for maintaining ecosystem function in drylands. Results Species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality were strongly influenced by woody vegetation, with both variables peaking at relative woody covers (RWC) of 41-60%. This relationship shifted with aridity. We observed linear positive effects of RWC in dry-subhumid sites. These positive trends shifted to hump-shaped RWC-diversity and multifunctionality relationships under semiarid environments. Finally, hump-shaped (richness, evenness) or linear negative (multifunctionality) effects of RWC were found under the most arid conditions. Main conclusions Plant diversity and multifunctionality peaked at intermediate levels of woody cover, although this relationship became increasingly positive under wetter environments. This comprehensive study accounts for multiple ecosystem attributes across a range of woody covers and environmental conditions. Our results help us to reconcile contrasting views of woody encroachment found in current literature and can be used to improve predictions of the likely effects of encroachment on biodiversity and ecosystem

  6. Alien Roadside Species More Easily Invade Alpine than Lowland Plant Communities in a Subarctic Mountain Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Lembrechts, Jonas J.; Milbau, Ann; Nijs, Ivan

    2014-01-01

    Effects of roads on plant communities are not well known in cold-climate mountain ecosystems, where road building and development are expected to increase in future decades. Knowledge of the sensitivity of mountain plant communities to disturbance by roads is however important for future conservation purposes. We investigate the effects of roads on species richness and composition, including the plant strategies that are most affected, along three elevational gradients in a subarctic mountain ecosystem. We also examine whether mountain roads promote the introduction and invasion of alien plant species from the lowlands to the alpine zone. Observations of plant community composition were made together with abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors in 60 T-shaped transects. Alpine plant communities reacted differently to road disturbances than their lowland counterparts. On high elevations, the roadside species composition was more similar to that of the local natural communities. Less competitive and ruderal species were present at high compared with lower elevation roadsides. While the effects of roads thus seem to be mitigated in the alpine environment for plant species in general, mountain plant communities are more invasible than lowland communities. More precisely, relatively more alien species present in the roadside were found to invade into the surrounding natural community at high compared to low elevations. We conclude that effects of roads and introduction of alien species in lowlands cannot simply be extrapolated to the alpine and subarctic environment. PMID:24586947

  7. Plant responses, climate pivot points, and trade-offs in water-limited ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Munson, Seth M.

    2013-01-01

    Plant species in dryland ecosystems are limited by water availability and may be vulnerable to increases in aridity. Methods are needed to monitor and assess the rate of change in plant abundance and composition in relation to climate, understand the potential for degradation in dryland ecosystems, and forecast future changes in plant species assemblages. I employ nearly a century of vegetation monitoring data from three North American deserts to demonstrate an approach to determine plant species responses to climate and critical points over a range of climatic conditions at which plant species shift from increases to decreases in abundance (climate pivot points). I assess these metrics from a site to regional scale and highlight how these indicators of plant performance can be modified by the physical and biotic environment. For example, shrubs were more responsive to drought and high temperatures on shallow soils with limited capacity to store water and fine-textured soils with slow percolation rates, whereas perennial grasses were more responsive to precipitation in sparse shrublands than in relatively dense grasslands and shrublands, where competition for water is likely more intense. The responses and associated climate pivot points of plant species aligned with their lifespan and structural characteristics, and the relationship between responses and climate pivot points provides evidence of the trade-off between the capacity of a plant species to increase in abundance when water is available and its drought resistance.

  8. Does woody plant encroachment increase ecosystem carbon stocks?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Drylands account for ~30-35% of terrestrial primary production and are an important component of the global carbon cycle. Changes in dryland vegetation thus have implications for carbon uptake and storage. One widely observed change is the conversion of grasslands to shrublands and woodlands. Althou...

  9. Plants cause ecosystem nutrient depletion via the interruption of bird-derived spatial subsidies.

    PubMed

    Young, Hillary S; McCauley, Douglas J; Dunbar, Robert B; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2010-02-01

    Plant introductions and subsequent community shifts are known to affect nutrient cycling, but most such studies have focused on nutrient enrichment effects. The nature of plant-driven nutrient depletions and the mechanisms by which these might occur are relatively poorly understood. In this study we demonstrate that the proliferation of the commonly introduced coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, interrupts the flow of allochthonous marine subsidies to terrestrial ecosystems via an indirect effect: impact on birds. Birds avoid nesting or roosting in C. nucifera, thus reducing the critical nutrient inputs they bring from the marine environment. These decreases in marine subsidies then lead to reductions in available soil nutrients, decreases in leaf nutrient quality, diminished leaf palatability, and reduced herbivory. This nutrient depletion pathway contrasts the more typical patterns of nutrient enrichment that follow plant species introductions. Research on the effects of spatial subsidy disruptions on ecosystems has not yet examined interruptions driven by changes within the recipient community, such as plant community shifts. The ubiquity of coconut palm introductions across the tropics and subtropics makes these observations particularly noteworthy. Equally important, the case of C. nucifera provides a strong demonstration of how plant community changes can dramatically impact the supply of allochthonous nutrients and thereby reshape energy flow in ecosystems. PMID:20133852

  10. Effects of plants and plant products on the testis

    PubMed Central

    D'Cruz, Shereen Cynthia; Vaithinathan, Selvaraju; Jubendradass, Rajamanickam; Mathur, Premendu Prakash

    2010-01-01

    For centuries, plants and plant-based products have been used as a valuable and safe natural source of medicines for treating various ailments. The therapeutic potential of most of these plants could be ascribed to their anticancer, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antispasmodic, analgesic and various other pharmacological properties. However, several commonly used plants have been reported to adversely affect male reproductive functions in wildlife and humans. The effects observed with most of the plant and plant-based products have been attributed to the antispermatogenic and/or antisteroidogenic properties of one or more active ingredients. This review discusses the detrimental effects of some of the commonly used plants on various target cells in the testis. A deeper insight into the molecular mechanisms of action of these natural compounds could pave the way for developing therapeutic strategies against their toxicity. PMID:20562897

  11. Modelling impacts of second generation bioenergy production on Ecosystem Services in Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henner, Dagmar N.; Smith, Pete; Davies, Christian; McNamara, Niall P.

    2015-04-01

    Bioenergy crops are an important source of renewable energy and are a possible mechanism to mitigate global climate warming, by replacing fossil fuel energy with higher greenhouse gas emissions. There is, however, uncertainty about the impacts of the growth of bioenergy crops on ecosystem services. This uncertainty is further enhanced by the unpredictable climate change currently going on. The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive model that covers as many ecosystem services as possible at a Continental level including biodiversity, water, GHG emissions, soil, and cultural services. The distribution and production of second generation energy crops, such as Miscanthus, Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) and Short Rotation Forestry (SRF), is currently being modelled, and ecosystem models will be used to examine the impacts of these crops on ecosystem services. The project builds on models of energy crop production, biodiversity, soil impacts, greenhouse gas emissions and other ecosystem services, and on work undertaken in the UK on the ETI-funded ELUM project (www.elum.ac.uk). In addition, methods like water footprint tools, tourism value maps and ecosystem valuation tools and models (e.g. InVest, TEEB database, GREET LCA Model, World Business Council for Sustainable Development corporate ecosystem valuation, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Ecosystem Services Framework) will be utilised. Research will focus on optimisation of land use change feedbacks on ecosystem services and biodiversity, and weighting of the importance of the individual ecosystem services. Energy crops will be modelled using low, medium and high climate change scenarios for the years between 2015 and 2050. We will present first results for GHG emissions and soil organic carbon change after different land use change scenarios (e.g. arable to Miscanthus, forest to SRF), and with different climate warming scenarios. All this will be complemented by the presentation of a matrix

  12. An Ecosystem Simulation Model for Methane Production and Emission from Wetlands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Potter, C. S.; Peterson, David L. (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    Previous experimental studies suggest that methane emission from wetland is influenced by multiple interactive pathways of gas production and transport through soil and sediment layers to the atmosphere. The objective of this study is to evaluate a new simulation model of methane production and emission in wetland soils that was developed initially to help identify key processes that regulate methanogenesis and net flux of CH4 to the air, but which is designed ultimately for regional simulation using remotely sensed inputs for land cover characteristics. The foundation for these computer simulations is based on a well-documented model (CASA) of ecosystem production and carbon cycling in the terrestrial blaspheme. Modifications to represent flooded wetland soils and anaerobic decomposition include three new sub-models for: (1) layered soil temperature and water table depth (WTD) as a function of daily climate drivers, (2) CH4 production within the anoxic soil layer as a function of WTD and CO2 production under poorly drained conditions, and (3) CH4 gaseous transport pathways (molecular diffusion, ebullition, and plant vascular transport) as a function of WTD and ecosystem type. The model was applied and tested using climate and ecological data to characterize tundra wetland sites near Fairbanks, Alaska studied previously by Whalen and Reeburgh. Comparison of model predictions to measurements of soil temperature and thaw depth, water-table depth, and CH4 emissions over a two year period suggest that inter-site differences in soil physical conditions and methane fluxes could be reproduced accurately for selected periods. Day-to-day comparison of predicted emissions to measured CH4 flux rates reveals good agreement during the early part of the thaw season, but the model tends to underestimate production of CH4 during the months of July and August in both test years. Important seasonal effects, including that of falling WTD during these periods, are apparently

  13. Biological Production in Lakes. Physical Processes in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Ecological Processes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walters, R. A.; Carey, G. F.

    These materials were designed to be used by life science students for instruction in the application of physical theory to ecosystem operation. Most modules contain computer programs which are built around a particular application of a physical process. Primary production in aquatic ecosystems is carried out by phytoplankton, microscopic plants…

  14. Changes in tundra vascular plant biomass over thirty years at Imnavait Creek, Alaska, and current ecosystem C and N dynamics.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bret-Harte, M. S.; Shaver, G. R.; Euskirchen, E. S.; Huebner, D. C.; Drew, J. W.; Cherry, J. E.; Edgar, C.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the magnitude of, and controls over, carbon fluxes in arctic ecosystems is essential for accurate assessment and prediction of their responses to climate change. In 2013, we harvested vegetation and soils in the most common plant community types in source areas for fluxes measured by eddy covariance towers located in three representative Alaska tundra ecosystems along a toposequence (a ridge site of heath tundra and moist non-acidic tundra, a mid-slope site of moist acidic tussock tundra, and a valley bottom site of wet sedge tundra and moist acidic tussock tundra) at Imnavait Creek, Alaska. This harvest sought to relate biomass, production, composition, and C and N stocks in soil and vegetation, to estimates of net ecosystem CO2 exchange obtained by micrometeorological methods. Soil C and N stocks in the seasonally unfrozen soil layer were greatest in the wet sedge community, and least in the heath community. In contrast, moist acidic tussock tundra at the valley bottom site had the highest C and N stocks in vascular plant biomass, while nearby wet sedge tundra had the lowest. Overall, soil C:N ratio was highest in moist acidic tussock tundra at the mid-slope site. Aboveground biomass of vascular plants in moist acidic tundra at the mid-slope site was nearly three times higher than that measured thirty years earlier in vegetation harvests of nearby areas at Imnavait Creek. Other harvests from sites near Toolik Field Station suggest that vascular plant biomass in moist acidic tundra has increased in multiple sites over this time period. Increased biomass in the mid-1990s corresponds with a switch from mostly negative to mostly positive spatially-averaged air temperature anomalies in the climate record. All our sites have been annual net sources of CO2 to the atmosphere over nine years of measurement, but in the last two years, the valley bottom site has been a particularly strong source, due to CO2 losses in fall and winter that correspond with a

  15. Annual Cycle of Bacterial Secondary Production in Five Aquatic Habitats of the Okefenokee Swamp Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Robert E.; Hodson, Robert E.

    1985-01-01

    Rates of bacterial secondary production by free-living bacterioplankton in the Okefenokee Swamp are high and comparable to reported values for a wide variety of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Bacterial production in the water column of five aquatic habitats of the Okefenokee Swamp was substantial despite the acidic (pH 3.7), low-nutrient, peat-accumulating character of the environment. Incorporation of [3H]thymidine into cold-trichloroacetic acid-insoluble material ranged from 0.03 to 2.93 nmol liter−1 day−1) and corresponded to rates of bacterial secondary production of 3.4 to 342.2 μg of carbon liter−1 day−1 (mean, 87.8 μg of carbon liter−1 day−1). Bacterial production was strongly seasonal and appeared to be coupled to annual changes in temperature and primary production. Bacterial doubling times ranged from 5 h to 15 days and were fastest during the warm months of the year, when the biomass of aquatic macrophytes was high, and slowest during the winter, when the plant biomass was reduced. The high rates of bacterial turnover in Okefenokee waters suggest that bacterial growth is an important mechanism in the transformation of dissolved organic carbon into the nutrient-rich bacterial biomass which is utilized by microconsumers. PMID:16346757

  16. Can biomass responses to warming at plant to ecosystem levels be predicted by leaf-level responses?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xia, J.; Shao, J.; Zhou, X.; Yan, W.; Lu, M.

    2015-12-01

    Global warming has the profound impacts on terrestrial C processes from leaf to ecosystem scales, potentially feeding back to climate dynamics. Although numerous studies had investigated the effects of warming on C processes from leaf to plant and ecosystem levels, how leaf-level responses to warming scale up to biomass responses at plant, population, and community levels are largely unknown. In this study, we compiled a dataset from 468 papers at 300 experimental sites and synthesized the warming effects on leaf-level parameters, and plant, population and ecosystem biomass. Our results showed that responses of plant biomass to warming mainly resulted from the changed leaf area rather than the altered photosynthetic capacity. The response of ecosystem biomass to warming was weaker than those of leaf area and plant biomass. However, the scaling functions from responses of leaf area to plant biomass to warming were different in diverse forest types, but functions were similar in non-forested biomes. In addition, it is challenging to scale the biomass responses from plant up to ecosystem. These results indicated that leaf area might be the appropriate index for plant biomass response to warming, and the interspecific competition might hamper the scaling of the warming effects on plant and ecosystem levels, suggesting that the acclimation capacity of plant community should be incorporated into land surface models to improve the prediction of climate-C cycle feedback.

  17. The effect of higher plant microflora on the microbial landscape of a closed ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tirranen, Lyalya; Gitelson, Josef; Borodina, Elena

    2012-07-01

    Having summarized certain data obtained earlier, we defined the aim of this work as an estimation of the effect of higher plant microflora on the microbial landscape of a closed ecosystem (CES). The microflora of such a component as higher plants can influence other system components not only by way of transfer with air and water flows, but also through the direct contact of the crew with the crops cultivated within CES when harvesting, thrashing, using them for food. Involving the higher plant component into the closed system the microorganism diversity and occurrence of microscopic fungi in other components of the closed ecosystem increased. The presence of microscopic fungi, especially on plants and in the air, is potentially dangerous for the health of the system residents. Since the contribution of the higher plant microflora (especially mycoflora) to the microbial landscape of a CES is significant, it is necessary to reduce the microbial flora of the higher plant component and limit its dispersion to other system components. One of the possible measures to limit the higher plant microflora colonization is air purification between components. Reducing the number of microscopic fungi by decreasing the humidity in the system's atmosphere should also be considered.

  18. Do ecohydrology and community dynamics feed back to banded-ecosystem structure and productivity?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callegaro, Chiara; Ursino, Nadia

    2016-04-01

    Mixed communities including grass, shrubs and trees are often reported to populate self-organized vegetation patterns. Patterns of survey data suggest that species diversity and complementarity strengthen the dynamics of banded environments. Resource scarcity and local facilitation trigger self organization, whereas coexistence of multiple species in vegetated self-organizing patches, implying competition for water and nutrients and favorable reproduction sites, is made possible by differing adaptation strategies. Mixed community spatial self-organization has so far received relatively little attention, compared with local net facilitation of isolated species. We assumed that soil moisture availability is a proxy for the environmental niche of plant species according to Ursino and Callegaro (2016). Our modelling effort was focused on niche differentiation of coexisting species within a tiger bush type ecosystem. By minimal numerical modelling and stability analysis we try to answer a few open scientific questions: Is there an adaptation strategy that increases biodiversity and ecosystem functioning? Does specific adaptation to environmental niches influence the structure of self-organizing vegetation pattern? What specific niche distribution along the environmental gradient gives the highest global productivity?

  19. Plant species richness and shrub cover attenuate drought effects on ecosystem functioning across Patagonian rangelands.

    PubMed

    Gaitán, Juan J; Bran, Donaldo; Oliva, Gabriel; Maestre, Fernando T; Aguiar, Martín R; Jobbágy, Esteban; Buono, Gustavo; Ferrante, Daniela; Nakamatsu, Viviana; Ciari, Georgina; Salomone, Jorge; Massara, Virginia

    2014-10-01

    Drought is an increasingly common phenomenon in drylands as a consequence of climate change. We used 311 sites across a broad range of environmental conditions in Patagonian rangelands to evaluate how drought severity and temperature (abiotic factors) and vegetation structure (biotic factors) modulate the impact of a drought event on the annual integral of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI-I), our surrogate of ecosystem functioning. We found that NDVI-I decreases were larger with both increasing drought severity and temperature. Plant species richness (SR) and shrub cover (SC) attenuated the effects of drought on NDVI-I. Grass cover did not affect the impacts of drought on NDVI-I. Our results suggest that warming and species loss, two important imprints of global environmental change, could increase the vulnerability of Patagonian ecosystems to drought. Therefore, maintaining SR through appropriate grazing management can attenuate the adverse effects of climate change on ecosystem functioning. PMID:25339654

  20. Plant species richness and shrub cover attenuate drought effects on ecosystem functioning across Patagonian rangelands

    PubMed Central

    Gaitán, Juan J.; Bran, Donaldo; Oliva, Gabriel; Maestre, Fernando T.; Aguiar, Martín R.; Jobbágy, Esteban; Buono, Gustavo; Ferrante, Daniela; Nakamatsu, Viviana; Ciari, Georgina; Salomone, Jorge; Massara, Virginia

    2014-01-01

    Drought is an increasingly common phenomenon in drylands as a consequence of climate change. We used 311 sites across a broad range of environmental conditions in Patagonian rangelands to evaluate how drought severity and temperature (abiotic factors) and vegetation structure (biotic factors) modulate the impact of a drought event on the annual integral of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI-I), our surrogate of ecosystem functioning. We found that NDVI-I decreases were larger with both increasing drought severity and temperature. Plant species richness (SR) and shrub cover (SC) attenuated the effects of drought on NDVI-I. Grass cover did not affect the impacts of drought on NDVI-I. Our results suggest that warming and species loss, two important imprints of global environmental change, could increase the vulnerability of Patagonian ecosystems to drought. Therefore, maintaining SR through appropriate grazing management can attenuate the adverse effects of climate change on ecosystem functioning. PMID:25339654

  1. Coupling of soil prokaryotic diversity and plant diversity across latitudinal forest ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jun-Tao; Zheng, Yuan-Ming; Hu, Hang-Wei; Li, Jing; Zhang, Li-Mei; Chen, Bao-Dong; Chen, Wei-Ping; He, Ji-Zheng

    2016-01-01

    The belowground soil prokaryotic community plays a cardinal role in sustaining the stability and functions of forest ecosystems. Yet, the nature of how soil prokaryotic diversity co-varies with aboveground plant diversity along a latitudinal gradient remains elusive. By establishing three hundred 400-m2 quadrats from tropical rainforest to boreal forest in a large-scale parallel study on both belowground soil prokaryote and aboveground tree and herb communities, we found that soil prokaryotic diversity couples with the diversity of herbs rather than trees. The diversity of prokaryotes and herbs responds similarly to environmental factors along the latitudinal gradient. These findings revealed that herbs provide a good predictor of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and provide new perspective on the aboveground and belowground interactions in forest ecosystems. PMID:26781165

  2. Coupling of soil prokaryotic diversity and plant diversity across latitudinal forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jun-Tao; Zheng, Yuan-Ming; Hu, Hang-Wei; Li, Jing; Zhang, Li-Mei; Chen, Bao-Dong; Chen, Wei-Ping; He, Ji-Zheng

    2016-01-01

    The belowground soil prokaryotic community plays a cardinal role in sustaining the stability and functions of forest ecosystems. Yet, the nature of how soil prokaryotic diversity co-varies with aboveground plant diversity along a latitudinal gradient remains elusive. By establishing three hundred 400-m(2) quadrats from tropical rainforest to boreal forest in a large-scale parallel study on both belowground soil prokaryote and aboveground tree and herb communities, we found that soil prokaryotic diversity couples with the diversity of herbs rather than trees. The diversity of prokaryotes and herbs responds similarly to environmental factors along the latitudinal gradient. These findings revealed that herbs provide a good predictor of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and provide new perspective on the aboveground and belowground interactions in forest ecosystems. PMID:26781165

  3. Coupling of soil prokaryotic diversity and plant diversity across latitudinal forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jun-Tao; Zheng, Yuan-Ming; Hu, Hang-Wei; Li, Jing; Zhang, Li-Mei; Chen, Bao-Dong; Chen, Wei-Ping; He, Ji-Zheng

    2016-01-01

    The belowground soil prokaryotic community plays a cardinal role in sustaining the stability and functions of forest ecosystems. Yet, the nature of how soil prokaryotic diversity co-varies with aboveground plant diversity along a latitudinal gradient remains elusive. By establishing three hundred 400-m2 quadrats from tropical rainforest to boreal forest in a large-scale parallel study on both belowground soil prokaryote and aboveground tree and herb communities, we found that soil prokaryotic diversity couples with the diversity of herbs rather than trees. The diversity of prokaryotes and herbs responds similarly to environmental factors along the latitudinal gradient. These findings revealed that herbs provide a good predictor of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and provide new perspective on the aboveground and belowground interactions in forest ecosystems.

  4. Dioecy Impacts on Plant Water Fluxes in Riparian Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hultine, K. R.; Bush, S. E.; West, A. G.; Ehleringer, J. R.

    2005-12-01

    Dioecious plants are frequently associated with different spatial distributions of the two sexes across resource gradients. Segregation between sexes might be expected to occur if the cost of reproduction is greater in females than in males. If so, females would be under stronger selection to increase rates of resource uptake. Acer negundo is a dioecious riparian tree species that show spatial segregation among sexes: females are typically more common along streamside (high resource) environments than males. The spatial segregation of the sexes leads to the hypothesis that male and female individuals have varying influence on ecohydrological processes. To address this, we measured sap flux, water relations and hydraulic architecture of mature streamside (less than 1 m from stream channel) male and female Acer negundo trees occurring near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA during the 2004 growing season. Despite similar predawn and midday leaf water potentials, sap flux density ( Js) was 40 percent higher in female trees than in male trees during the 2004 growing season (n = 42 days, F = 73.56, P < 0.0001). Both genders showed a similar relationship between conducting sapwood area to stem diameter ratio suggesting that differences in Js scale to the whole tree level. Sap flux data from Acer negundo trees was compared to five other co-occurring riparian tree species. Female Acer negundo trees showed the highest Js among all species while Js in male Acer negundo trees was lower than all other species except one ( Acer grandidentatum). These data demonstrate that individual female Acer negundo trees have the capacity remove water at higher rates than males in high resource environments. The spatial segregation of the sexes along streamside environments may therefore have profound impacts on ecohydrological processes such as stream discharge, groundwater recharge, and nutrient cycling.

  5. Rising sea level, temperature, and precipitation impact plant and ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 on a Chesapeake Bay wetland: review of a 28-year study.

    PubMed

    Drake, Bert G

    2014-11-01

    An ongoing field study of the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on a brackish wetland on Chesapeake Bay, started in 1987, is unique as the longest continually running investigation of the effects of elevated CO2 on an ecosystem. Since the beginning of the study, atmospheric CO2 increased 18%, sea level rose 20 cm, and growing season temperature varied with approximately the same range as predicted for global warming in the 21st century. This review looks back at this study for clues about how the effects of rising sea level, temperature, and precipitation interact with high atmospheric CO2 to alter the physiology of C3 and C4 photosynthetic species, carbon assimilation, evapotranspiration, plant and ecosystem nitrogen, and distribution of plant communities in this brackish wetland. Rising sea level caused a shift to higher elevations in the Scirpus olneyi C3 populations on the wetland, displacing the Spartina patens C4 populations. Elevated CO2 stimulated carbon assimilation in the Scirpus C3 species measured by increased shoot and root density and biomass, net ecosystem production, dissolved organic and inorganic carbon, and methane production. But elevated CO2 also decreased biomass of the grass, S. patens C4. The elevated CO2 treatment reduced tissue nitrogen concentration in shoots, roots, and total canopy nitrogen, which was associated with reduced ecosystem respiration. Net ecosystem production was mediated by precipitation through soil salinity: high salinity reduced the CO2 effect on net ecosystem production, which was zero in years of severe drought. The elevated CO2 stimulation of shoot density in the Scirpus C3 species was sustained throughout the 28 years of the study. Results from this study suggest that rising CO2 can add substantial amounts of carbon to ecosystems through stimulation of carbon assimilation, increased root exudates to supply nitrogen fixation, reduced dark respiration, and improved water and nitrogen use efficiency. PMID:24820033

  6. The value of livestock production systems and ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As humans, we are obligated to ensure that our methods to achieve and maintain a food-security infrastructure are compatible with the landscapes that we use. We are aware and reminded daily that carelessly implemented agricultural practices can permanently harm landscapes and the inherent ecosystem ...

  7. Herbivore impact on grassland plant diversity depends on habitat productivity and herbivore size.

    PubMed

    Bakker, Elisabeth S; Ritchie, Mark E; Olff, Han; Milchunas, Daniel G; Knops, Johannes M H

    2006-07-01

    Mammalian herbivores can have pronounced effects on plant diversity but are currently declining in many productive ecosystems through direct extirpation, habitat loss and fragmentation, while being simultaneously introduced as livestock in other, often unproductive, ecosystems that lacked such species during recent evolutionary times. The biodiversity consequences of these changes are still poorly understood. We experimentally separated the effects of primary productivity and herbivores of different body size on plant species richness across a 10-fold productivity gradient using a 7-year field experiment at seven grassland sites in North America and Europe. We show that assemblages including large herbivores increased plant diversity at higher productivity but decreased diversity at low productivity, while small herbivores did not have consistent effects along the productivity gradient. The recognition of these large-scale, cross-site patterns in herbivore effects is important for the development of appropriate biodiversity conservation strategies. PMID:16796567

  8. Plant functional traits in relation to fire in crown-fire ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pausas, J.G.; Bradstock, R.A.; Keith, D.A.; Keeley, J.E.; Hoffman, W.; Kenny, B.; Lloret, F.; Trabaud, L.

    2004-01-01

    Disturbance is a dominant factor in many ecosystems, and the disturbance regime is likely to change over the next decades in response to land-use changes and global warming. We assume that predictions of vegetation dynamics can be made on the basis of a set of life-history traits that characterize the response of a species to disturbance. For crown-fire ecosystems, the main plant traits related to postfire persistence are the ability to resprout (persistence of individuals) and the ability to retain a persistent seed bank (persistence of populations). In this context, we asked (1) to what extent do different life-history traits co-occur with the ability to resprout and/or the ability to retain a persistent seed bank among differing ecosystems and (2) to what extent do combinations of fire-related traits (fire syndromes) change in a fire regime gradient? We explored these questions by reviewing the literature and analyzing databases compiled from different crown-fire ecosystems (mainly eastern Australia, California, and the Mediterranean basin). The review suggests that the pattern of correlation between the two basic postfire persistent traits and other plant traits varies between continents and ecosystems. From these results we predict, for instance, that not all resprouters respond in a similar way everywhere because the associated plant traits of resprouter species vary in different places. Thus, attempts to generalize predictions on the basis of the resprouting capacity may have limited power at a global scale. An example is presented for Australian heathlands. Considering the combination of persistence at individual (resprouting) and at population (seed bank) level, the predictive power at local scale was significantly increased.

  9. Effect of vegetation-water table feedbacks on the stability and resilience of plant ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ridolfi, Luca; D'Odorico, Paolo; Laio, Francesco

    2006-01-01

    The interaction of vegetation with the groundwater is one of the key mechanisms affecting the dynamics of wetland plant ecosystems. The main feature of these interactions is the feedback between the downward shift of the water table caused by riparian vegetation and the emergence of soil aeration conditions favorable to plant establishment, growth, and survival. We develop a conceptual framework to explain how vegetation-water table feedbacks may lead to the emergence of multiple stable states in the dynamics of wetland forests and riparian ecosystems. This framework is used to investigate the sensitivity of these ecosystems to vegetation disturbances and changes in water table depth. As a result of these feedbacks, such ecosystems are prone to catastrophic shifts to an unvegetated state. Because of their competitive advantage, water-tolerant and shallow-rooted species can replace the original vegetation, contributing to the occurrence of vegetation succession in riparian zones and to the existence of alternative vegetation states between areas with shallow and deep water tables.

  10. Bridging Multiple Lines Of Evidence To Quantify Plant Phenology And Assess Links To Dryland Ecosystem Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Browning, D. M.; Tweedie, C. E.; Vivoni, E. R.; Maynard, J. J.; Karl, J.

    2015-12-01

    The clear and pressing need to reliably identify and predict shifts in plant phenology at landscape scales requires a critical link between mechanistic understanding of climate drivers and broad scale forecasts of plant responses to climate change. A multi-scale phenology study co-located with two eddy covariance towers was initiated on the Jornada Basin LTER in New Mexico in 2010 to bridge phenology patterns at the plant level with those representing aggregated signals at the landscape level. The study integrates phenology observations collected in the field along with those collected via remotely using imagery from phenocams, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and satellite sensors along with estimates of carbon flux. We applied the Breaks for Additive Seasonal and Trend (BFAST) time series algorithm to MODIS 250-m NDVI greenness index values to partition the NDVI signal into components representing the long-term trend, seasonal periodicity, and residuals and identified significant shifts in the NDVI signal (i.e., "breaks"). Previous work verified breaks representing significant deviations from the BFAST seasonal and trend models using field-estimated plant biomass collected between 2000 and 2014. We subsequently examine estimates of fractional cover by functional group derived from UAV images acquired 2010 through 2015. At a mixed grassland site, the BFAST algorithm detected four breaks in the trend model denoting significant increases in NDVI in May 2004, July 2006, and March 2010 and a significant decrease in May 2012. The 2004 and 2006 breaks corresponded to herbaceous vegetation responses to rainfall following prolonged periods of drought. The 2012 decrease in NDVI corresponded to the marked reduction of herbaceous biomass following an exceptionally dry period in late 2010-2011. Seasonal breaks representing changes in the timing and magnitude of NDVI identified in July 2006 and September 2008 coincide with rapid increases in production of annual species in

  11. Influence of early snowmelt on phenology and ecosystem productivity of an unmanaged mountain grassland of northwestern Italian Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galvagno, M.; Cremonese, E.; Migliavacca, M.; Morra di Cella, U.; Rossini, M.; Colombo, R.

    2012-04-01

    Mountain regions are expected to be particularly influenced by future climate change with increasing temperature, change in precipitation patterns and duration of snow cover. In particular climate change is foreseen to impact alpine ecosystems by increasing of weather extremes (e.g. heat waves, droughts, exceptional anticipated snowmelt). Although different studies attested the effect of climate change on vegetation phenological shifts, uncertainties exist on the impacts of such shifts on ecosystem processes and hence on the ecosystem-climate feedbacks. High-altitude grasslands are snow-covered for most of the year and act as a net carbon source throughout all the snow period. Little is still known on the effects of spring warming and early snowmelt on annual carbon budget of these alpine ecosystems. Being part of the PhenoAlp project (www.phenoalp.eu) this study evaluated the effect of an exceptional early snowmelt observed in 2011 on the relationship between plant phenology and the ecosystem functioning of an unmanaged grassland of northwestern Italian Alps located at 2160 m asl. The following main questions were addressed: does an early snowmelt date increase the length of the growing season? If so, what is the effect on the productivity of the ecosystem? For this purpose continuous measurements of CO2 exchange across the biosphere/atmosphere interface assessed by means of eddy covariance since summer 2008 were evaluated. In order to analyse the relationship between phenology and ecosystem productivity, we extracted phenological indicators from CO2 flux time-series. Results showed shifts in the phenological indicators considered and a clear effect on the dynamics of the NEE (Net Ecosystem CO2 Exchange) and GPP (Gross Primary Production) time-courses as a consequence of earlier snowmelt. The grassland turned from a source to a sink more than one month in advance compared to previous years. The earlier onset of biological activity was also supported by evaluations

  12. Self-organization of plants in a dryland ecosystem: Symmetry breaking and critical cluster size.

    PubMed

    Meyra, Ariel G; Zarragoicoechea, Guillermo J; Kuz, Victor A

    2015-05-01

    Periodical patterns of vegetation in an arid or semiarid ecosystem are described using statistical mechanics and Monte Carlo numerical simulation technique. Plants are characterized by the area that each individual occupies and a facilitation-competition pairwise interaction. Assuming that external resources (precipitation, solar radiation, nutrients, etc.) are available to the ecosystem, it is possible to obtain the persistent configurations of plants compatible with an equitable distribution of resources maximizing the Shannon entropy. Variation of vegetation patterns with density, critical cluster size, and facilitation distance are predicted. Morphological changes of clusters are shown to be a function of the external resources. As a final remark, it is proposed that an early warning of desertification could be detected from the coefficient of variation of the mean cluster size together with the distribution of cluster sizes. PMID:26066215

  13. Self-organization of plants in a dryland ecosystem: Symmetry breaking and critical cluster size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyra, Ariel G.; Zarragoicoechea, Guillermo J.; Kuz, Victor A.

    2015-05-01

    Periodical patterns of vegetation in an arid or semiarid ecosystem are described using statistical mechanics and Monte Carlo numerical simulation technique. Plants are characterized by the area that each individual occupies and a facilitation-competition pairwise interaction. Assuming that external resources (precipitation, solar radiation, nutrients, etc.) are available to the ecosystem, it is possible to obtain the persistent configurations of plants compatible with an equitable distribution of resources maximizing the Shannon entropy. Variation of vegetation patterns with density, critical cluster size, and facilitation distance are predicted. Morphological changes of clusters are shown to be a function of the external resources. As a final remark, it is proposed that an early warning of desertification could be detected from the coefficient of variation of the mean cluster size together with the distribution of cluster sizes.

  14. Potential ecosystem service delivery by endemic plants in New Zealand vineyards: successes and prospects.

    PubMed

    Shields, Morgan W; Tompkins, Jean-Marie; Saville, David J; Meurk, Colin D; Wratten, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    Vineyards worldwide occupy over 7 million hectares and are typically virtual monocultures, with high and costly inputs of water and agro-chemicals. Understanding and enhancing ecosystem services can reduce inputs and their costs and help satisfy market demands for evidence of more sustainable practices. In this New Zealand work, low-growing, endemic plant species were evaluated for their potential benefits as Service Providing Units (SPUs) or Ecosystem Service Providers (ESPs). The services provided were weed suppression, conservation of beneficial invertebrates, soil moisture retention and microbial activity. The potential Ecosystem Dis-services (EDS) from the selected plant species by hosting the larvae of a key vine moth pest, the light-brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana), was also quantified. Questionnaires were used to evaluate winegrowers' perceptions of the value of and problems associated with such endemic plant species in their vineyards. Growth and survival rates of the 14 plant species, in eight families, were evaluated, with Leptinella dioica (Asteraceae) and Acaena inermis 'purpurea' (Rosaceae) having the highest growth rates in terms of area covered and the highest survival rate after 12 months. All 14 plant species suppressed weeds, with Leptinella squalida, Geranium sessiliforum (Geraniaceae), Hebe chathamica (Plantaginaceae), Scleranthus uniflorus (Caryophyllaceae) and L. dioica, each reducing weed cover by >95%. Plant species also differed in the diversity of arthropods that they supported, with the Shannon Wiener diversity index (H') for these taxa ranging from 0 to 1.3. G. sessiliforum and Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Polygonaceae) had the highest invertebrate diversity. Density of spiders was correlated with arthropod diversity and G. sessiliflorum and H. chathamica had the highest densities of these arthropods. Several plant species associated with higher soil moisture content than in control plots. The best performing species in this context

  15. Potential ecosystem service delivery by endemic plants in New Zealand vineyards: successes and prospects

    PubMed Central

    Saville, David J.; Meurk, Colin D.; Wratten, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    Vineyards worldwide occupy over 7 million hectares and are typically virtual monocultures, with high and costly inputs of water and agro-chemicals. Understanding and enhancing ecosystem services can reduce inputs and their costs and help satisfy market demands for evidence of more sustainable practices. In this New Zealand work, low-growing, endemic plant species were evaluated for their potential benefits as Service Providing Units (SPUs) or Ecosystem Service Providers (ESPs). The services provided were weed suppression, conservation of beneficial invertebrates, soil moisture retention and microbial activity. The potential Ecosystem Dis-services (EDS) from the selected plant species by hosting the larvae of a key vine moth pest, the light-brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana), was also quantified. Questionnaires were used to evaluate winegrowers’ perceptions of the value of and problems associated with such endemic plant species in their vineyards. Growth and survival rates of the 14 plant species, in eight families, were evaluated, with Leptinella dioica (Asteraceae) and Acaena inermis ‘purpurea’ (Rosaceae) having the highest growth rates in terms of area covered and the highest survival rate after 12 months. All 14 plant species suppressed weeds, with Leptinella squalida, Geranium sessiliforum (Geraniaceae), Hebe chathamica (Plantaginaceae), Scleranthus uniflorus (Caryophyllaceae) and L. dioica, each reducing weed cover by >95%. Plant species also differed in the diversity of arthropods that they supported, with the Shannon Wiener diversity index (H′) for these taxa ranging from 0 to 1.3. G. sessiliforum and Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Polygonaceae) had the highest invertebrate diversity. Density of spiders was correlated with arthropod diversity and G. sessiliflorum and H. chathamica had the highest densities of these arthropods. Several plant species associated with higher soil moisture content than in control plots. The best performing species in this

  16. Ecosystem productivity is associated with bacterial phylogenetic distance in surface marine waters.

    PubMed

    Galand, Pierre E; Salter, Ian; Kalenitchenko, Dimitri

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the link between community diversity and ecosystem function is a fundamental aspect of ecology. Systematic losses in biodiversity are widely acknowledged but the impact this may exert on ecosystem functioning remains ambiguous. There is growing evidence of a positive relationship between species richness and ecosystem productivity for terrestrial macro-organisms, but similar links for marine micro-organisms, which help drive global climate, are unclear. Community manipulation experiments show both positive and negative relationships for microbes. These previous studies rely, however, on artificial communities and any links between the full diversity of active bacterial communities in the environment, their phylogenetic relatedness and ecosystem function remain hitherto unexplored. Here, we test the hypothesis that productivity is associated with diversity in the metabolically active fraction of microbial communities. We show in natural assemblages of active bacteria that communities containing more distantly related members were associated with higher bacterial production. The positive phylogenetic diversity-productivity relationship was independent of community diversity calculated as the Shannon index. From our long-term (7-year) survey of surface marine bacterial communities, we also found that similarly, productive communities had greater phylogenetic similarity to each other, further suggesting that the traits of active bacteria are an important predictor of ecosystem productivity. Our findings demonstrate that the evolutionary history of the active fraction of a microbial community is critical for understanding their role in ecosystem functioning. PMID:26289961

  17. Farming for Ecosystem Services: An Ecological Approach to Production Agriculture

    PubMed Central

    Philip Robertson, G.; Gross, Katherine L.; Hamilton, Stephen K.; Landis, Douglas A.; Schmidt, Thomas M.; Snapp, Sieglinde S.; Swinton, Scott M.

    2014-01-01

    A balanced assessment of ecosystem services provided by agriculture requires a systems-level socioecological understanding of related management practices at local to landscape scales. The results from 25 years of observation and experimentation at the Kellogg Biological Station long-term ecological research site reveal services that could be provided by intensive row-crop ecosystems. In addition to high yields, farms could be readily managed to contribute clean water, biocontrol and other biodiversity benefits, climate stabilization, and long-term soil fertility, thereby helping meet society's need for agriculture that is economically and environmentally sustainable. Midwest farmers—especially those with large farms—appear willing to adopt practices that deliver these services in exchange for payments scaled to management complexity and farmstead benefit. Surveyed citizens appear willing to pay farmers for the delivery of specific services, such as cleaner lakes. A new farming for services paradigm in US agriculture seems feasible and could be environmentally significant. PMID:26955069

  18. Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought

    PubMed Central

    Isbell, Forest; Manning, Pete; Connolly, John; Bruelheide, Helge; Ebeling, Anne; Roscher, Christiane; van Ruijven, Jasper; Weigelt, Alexandra; Wilsey, Brian; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; de Luca, Enrica; Griffin, John N.; Hautier, Yann; Hector, Andy; Jentsch, Anke; Kreyling, Jürgen; Lanta, Vojtech; Loreau, Michel; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Mori, Akira S.; Naeem, Shahid; Palmborg, Cecilia; Polley, H. Wayne; Reich, Peter B.; Schmid, Bernhard; Siebenkäs, Alrun; Seabloom, Eric; Thakur, Madhav P.; Tilman, David; Vogel, Anja; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2016-01-01

    Global change drivers are rapidly altering resource availability and biodiversity. While there is consensus that greater biodiversity increases the functioning of ecosystems, the extent to which biodiversity buffers ecosystem productivity in response to changes in resource availability remains unclear. We use data from 16 grassland experiments across North America and Europe that manipulated plant species richness and one of two essential resources—soil nutrients or water—to assess the direction and strength of the interaction between plant diversity and resource alteration on above-ground productivity and net biodiversity, complementarity, and selection effects. Despite strong increases in productivity with nutrient addition and decreases in productivity with drought, we found that resource alterations did not alter biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships. Our results suggest that these relationships are largely determined by increases in complementarity effects along plant species richness gradients. Although nutrient addition reduced complementarity effects at high diversity, this appears to be due to high biomass in monocultures under nutrient enrichment. Our results indicate that diversity and the complementarity of species are important regulators of grassland ecosystem productivity, regardless of changes in other drivers of ecosystem function. PMID:27114579

  19. Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought.

    PubMed

    Craven, Dylan; Isbell, Forest; Manning, Pete; Connolly, John; Bruelheide, Helge; Ebeling, Anne; Roscher, Christiane; van Ruijven, Jasper; Weigelt, Alexandra; Wilsey, Brian; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; de Luca, Enrica; Griffin, John N; Hautier, Yann; Hector, Andy; Jentsch, Anke; Kreyling, Jürgen; Lanta, Vojtech; Loreau, Michel; Meyer, Sebastian T; Mori, Akira S; Naeem, Shahid; Palmborg, Cecilia; Polley, H Wayne; Reich, Peter B; Schmid, Bernhard; Siebenkäs, Alrun; Seabloom, Eric; Thakur, Madhav P; Tilman, David; Vogel, Anja; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2016-05-19

    Global change drivers are rapidly altering resource availability and biodiversity. While there is consensus that greater biodiversity increases the functioning of ecosystems, the extent to which biodiversity buffers ecosystem productivity in response to changes in resource availability remains unclear. We use data from 16 grassland experiments across North America and Europe that manipulated plant species richness and one of two essential resources-soil nutrients or water-to assess the direction and strength of the interaction between plant diversity and resource alteration on above-ground productivity and net biodiversity, complementarity, and selection effects. Despite strong increases in productivity with nutrient addition and decreases in productivity with drought, we found that resource alterations did not alter biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Our results suggest that these relationships are largely determined by increases in complementarity effects along plant species richness gradients. Although nutrient addition reduced complementarity effects at high diversity, this appears to be due to high biomass in monocultures under nutrient enrichment. Our results indicate that diversity and the complementarity of species are important regulators of grassland ecosystem productivity, regardless of changes in other drivers of ecosystem function. PMID:27114579

  20. Vegetation component of geothermal EIS studies: Introduced plants, ecosystem stability, and geothermal development

    SciTech Connect

    1994-10-01

    This paper contributes new information about the impacts from introduced plant invasions on the native Hawaiian vegetation as consequences of land disturbance and geothermal development activities. In this regard, most geothermal development is expected to act as another recurring source of physical disturbance which favors the spread and maintenance of introduced organisms throughout the region. Where geothermal exploration and development activities extend beyond existing agricultural and residential development, they will become the initial or sole source of disturbance to the naturalized vegetation of the area. Kilauea has a unique ecosystem adapted to the dynamics of a volcanically active landscape. The characteristics of this ecosystem need to be realized in order to understand the major threats to the ecosystem and to evaluate the effects of and mitigation for geothermal development in Puna. The native Puna vegetation is well adapted to disturbances associated with volcanic eruption, but it is ill-adapted to compete with alien plant species in secondary disturbances produced by human activities. Introduced plant and animal species have become a major threat to the continued presence of the native biota in the Puna region of reference.

  1. Vegetation component of geothermal EIS studies: Introduced plants, ecosystem stability, and geothermal development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1994-10-01

    This paper contributes new information about the impacts from introduced plant invasions on the native Hawaiian vegetation as consequences of land disturbance and geothermal development activities. In this regard, most geothermal development is expected to act as another recurring source of physical disturbance which favors the spread and maintenance of introduced organisms throughout the region. Where geothermal exploration and development activities extend beyond existing agricultural and residential development, they will become the initial or sole source of disturbance to the naturalized vegetation of the area. Kilauea has a unique ecosystem adapted to the dynamics of a volcanically active landscape. The characteristics of this ecosystem need to be realized in order to understand the major threats to the ecosystem and to evaluate the effects of and mitigation for geothermal development in Puna. The native Puna vegetation is well adapted to disturbances associated with volcanic eruption, but it is ill-adapted to compete with alien plant species in secondary disturbances produced by human activities. Introduced plant and animal species have become a major threat to the continued presence of the native biota in the Puna region.

  2. Leaf and life history traits predict plant growth in a green roof ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Heim, Amy; Tran, Stephanie; Smith, Tyler

    2014-01-01

    Green roof ecosystems are constructed to provide services such as stormwater retention and urban temperature reductions. Green roofs with shallow growing media represent stressful conditions for plant survival, thus plants that survive and grow are important for maximizing economic and ecological benefits. While field trials are essential for selecting appropriate green roof plants, we wanted to determine whether plant leaf traits could predict changes in abundance (growth) to provide a more general framework for plant selection. We quantified leaf traits and derived life-history traits (Grime's C-S-R strategies) for 13 species used in a four-year green roof experiment involving five plant life forms. Changes in canopy density in monocultures and mixtures containing one to five life forms were determined and related to plant traits using multiple regression. We expected traits related to stress-tolerance would characterize the species that best grew in this relatively harsh setting. While all species survived to the end of the experiment, canopy species diversity in mixture treatments was usually much lower than originally planted. Most species grew slower in mixture compared to monoculture, suggesting that interspecific competition reduced canopy diversity. Species dominant in mixture treatments tended to be fast-growing ruderals and included both native and non-native species. Specific leaf area was a consistently strong predictor of final biomass and the change in abundance in both monoculture and mixture treatments. Some species in contrasting life-form groups showed compensatory dynamics, suggesting that life-form mixtures can maximize resilience of cover and biomass in the face of environmental fluctuations. This study confirms that plant traits can be used to predict growth performance in green roof ecosystems. While rapid canopy growth is desirable for green roofs, maintenance of species diversity may require engineering of conditions that favor less

  3. Leaf and Life History Traits Predict Plant Growth in a Green Roof Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Heim, Amy; Tran, Stephanie; Smith, Tyler

    2014-01-01

    Green roof ecosystems are constructed to provide services such as stormwater retention and urban temperature reductions. Green roofs with shallow growing media represent stressful conditions for plant survival, thus plants that survive and grow are important for maximizing economic and ecological benefits. While field trials are essential for selecting appropriate green roof plants, we wanted to determine whether plant leaf traits could predict changes in abundance (growth) to provide a more general framework for plant selection. We quantified leaf traits and derived life-history traits (Grime’s C-S-R strategies) for 13 species used in a four-year green roof experiment involving five plant life forms. Changes in canopy density in monocultures and mixtures containing one to five life forms were determined and related to plant traits using multiple regression. We expected traits related to stress-tolerance would characterize the species that best grew in this relatively harsh setting. While all species survived to the end of the experiment, canopy species diversity in mixture treatments was usually much lower than originally planted. Most species grew slower in mixture compared to monoculture, suggesting that interspecific competition reduced canopy diversity. Species dominant in mixture treatments tended to be fast-growing ruderals and included both native and non-native species. Specific leaf area was a consistently strong predictor of final biomass and the change in abundance in both monoculture and mixture treatments. Some species in contrasting life-form groups showed compensatory dynamics, suggesting that life-form mixtures can maximize resilience of cover and biomass in the face of environmental fluctuations. This study confirms that plant traits can be used to predict growth performance in green roof ecosystems. While rapid canopy growth is desirable for green roofs, maintenance of species diversity may require engineering of conditions that favor less

  4. Ecosystem Carbon Stock Influenced by Plantation Practice: Implications for Planting Forests as a Measure of Climate Change Mitigation

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Chengzhang; Luo, Yiqi; Fang, Changming; Li, Bo

    2010-01-01

    Uncertainties remain in the potential of forest plantations to sequestrate carbon (C). We synthesized 86 experimental studies with paired-site design, using a meta-analysis approach, to quantify the differences in ecosystem C pools between plantations and their corresponding adjacent primary and secondary forests (natural forests). Totaled ecosystem C stock in plant and soil pools was 284 Mg C ha−1 in natural forests and decreased by 28% in plantations. In comparison with natural forests, plantations decreased aboveground net primary production, litterfall, and rate of soil respiration by 11, 34, and 32%, respectively. Fine root biomass, soil C concentration, and soil microbial C concentration decreased respectively by 66, 32, and 29% in plantations relative to natural forests. Soil available N, P and K concentrations were lower by 22, 20 and 26%, respectively, in plantations than in natural forests. The general pattern of decreased ecosystem C pools did not change between two different groups in relation to various factors: stand age (<25 years vs. ≥25 years), stand types (broadleaved vs. coniferous and deciduous vs. evergreen), tree species origin (native vs. exotic) of plantations, land-use history (afforestation vs. reforestation) and site preparation for plantations (unburnt vs. burnt), and study regions (tropic vs. temperate). The pattern also held true across geographic regions. Our findings argued against the replacement of natural forests by the plantations as a measure of climate change mitigation. PMID:20523733

  5. Ecosystem carbon stock influenced by plantation practice: implications for planting forests as a measure of climate change mitigation.

    PubMed

    Liao, Chengzhang; Luo, Yiqi; Fang, Changming; Li, Bo

    2010-01-01

    Uncertainties remain in the potential of forest plantations to sequestrate carbon (C). We synthesized 86 experimental studies with paired-site design, using a meta-analysis approach, to quantify the differences in ecosystem C pools between plantations and their corresponding adjacent primary and secondary forests (natural forests). Totaled ecosystem C stock in plant and soil pools was 284 Mg C ha(-1) in natural forests and decreased by 28% in plantations. In comparison with natural forests, plantations decreased aboveground net primary production, litterfall, and rate of soil respiration by 11, 34, and 32%, respectively. Fine root biomass, soil C concentration, and soil microbial C concentration decreased respectively by 66, 32, and 29% in plantations relative to natural forests. Soil available N, P and K concentrations were lower by 22, 20 and 26%, respectively, in plantations than in natural forests. The general pattern of decreased ecosystem C pools did not change between two different groups in relation to various factors: stand age (< 25 years vs. > or = 25 years), stand types (broadleaved vs. coniferous and deciduous vs. evergreen), tree species origin (native vs. exotic) of plantations, land-use history (afforestation vs. reforestation) and site preparation for plantations (unburnt vs. burnt), and study regions (tropic vs. temperate). The pattern also held true across geographic regions. Our findings argued against the replacement of natural forests by the plantations as a measure of climate change mitigation. PMID:20523733

  6. Relationship Between Forage Allowance and Grazing Efficiency in the Great Plains: Implications for Managing Rangelands for Both Livestock Production and Desired Ecosystem Goods and Services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Emergence of desired ecosystem goods and services from rangelands as a societal benefit and a potential income source for land managers has implications regarding the management of plant communities traditionally used primarily for livestock production. Contemporary decision-making on rangelands in ...

  7. Temperature response of methane oxidation and production potentials in peatland ecosystems across Finland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Welti, Nina; Korrensalo, Aino; Kerttula, Johanna; Maljanen, Marja; Uljas, Salli; Lohila, Annalea; Laine, Anna; Vesala, Timo; Elliott, David; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina

    2016-04-01

    It has been suggested that the ecosystems located in the high latitudes are especially sensitive to warming. Therefore, we compared 14 peatland systems throughout Finland along a latitudinal gradient from 69°N to 61°N to examine the response of methane production and methane oxidation with warming climate. Peat samples were taken at the height of the growing season in 2015 from 0 - 10cm below the water table depth. The plant communities in sampling locations were described by estimating cover of each plant species and pH of water was measured. Upon return to the lab, we made two parallel treatments, under anoxic and oxic conditions in order to calculate the CH4 production and consumption potentials of the peat and used three temperatures, 4°C, 17.5°C, and 30°C to examine the temperature effect on the potentials. We hypothesized that there will be an observable response curve in CH4 production and oxidation relative to temperature with a greater response with increasing latitude. In general, increasing temperature increased the potential for CH4 production and oxidation, at some sites, the potential was highest at 17.5°C, indicating that there is an optimum temperature threshold for the in situ methane producing and oxidizing microbial communities. Above this threshold, the peat microbial communities are not able to cope with increasing temperature. This is especially noticeable for methane oxidation at sites above 62°N. As countries are being expected to adequately account for their greenhouse gas budgets with increasing temperature models, knowing where the temperature threshold exists is of critical importance.

  8. Spectral filtering for plant production

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Roy E.; Mcmahon, Margaret J.; Rajapakse, Nihal C.; Decoteau, Dennis R.

    1994-01-01

    Both plants and animals have one general commonality in their perception of light. They both are sensitive primarily to the 400 to 700 nm wavelength portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is referred to as the visible spectrum for animals and as the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) spectrum for plants. Within this portion of the spectrum, animals perceive colors. Relatively recently it has been learned that within this same spectral range plants also demonstrate varying responses at different wavelengths, somewhat analogous to the definition of various colors at specific wavelengths. Although invisible to the human eye, portions of the electromagnetic spectrum on either side of the visible range are relatively inactive photosynthetically but have been found to influence important biological functions. These portions include the ultraviolet (UV approximately equal to 280-400 nm) and the far-red (FR approximately equal to 700-800 nm). The basic photoreceptor of plants for photosynthesis is chlorophyll. It serves to capture radiant energy which combined with carbon dioxide and water produces oxygen and assimulated carbon, used for the synthesis of cell wall polysaccarides, proteins, membrane lipids and other cellular constituents. The energy and carbon building blocks of photosynthesis sustain growth of plants. On the other hand, however, there are other photoreceptors, or pigments, that function as signal transducers to provide information that controls many physiological and morphological responses of how a plant grows. Known photomorphogenic receptors include phytochrome (the red/far-red sensor in the narrow bands of 655-665 nm and 725-735 nm ranges, respectively) and 'cryptochrome' (the hypothetical UV-B sensor in the 280-320 nm range). Since the USDA team of W. L. Butler, S. B. Hendricks, H. A. Borthwick, H. A. Siegleman and K. Norris in Beltsville, MD detected by spectroscopy, extracted and identified phytochrome as a protein in the 1950's, many

  9. Charcoal production in the Mopane woodlands of Mozambique: what are the trade-offs with other ecosystem services?

    PubMed

    Woollen, Emily; Ryan, Casey M; Baumert, Sophia; Vollmer, Frank; Grundy, Isla; Fisher, Janet; Fernando, Jone; Luz, Ana; Ribeiro, Natasha; Lisboa, Sá N

    2016-09-19

    African woodlands form a major part of the tropical grassy biome and support the livelihoods of millions of rural and urban people. Charcoal production in particular is a major economic activity, but its impact on other ecosystem services is little studied. To address this, our study collected biophysical and social datasets, which were combined in ecological production functions, to assess ecosystem service provision and its change under different charcoal production scenarios in Gaza Province, southern Mozambique. We found that villages with longer histories of charcoal production had experienced declines in wood suitable for charcoal, firewood and construction, and tended to have lower perceived availabilities of these services. Scenarios of future charcoal impacts indicated that firewood and woody construction services were likely to trade-off with charcoal production. However, even under the most extreme charcoal scenario, these services were not completely lost. Other provisioning services, such as wild food, medicinal plants and grass, were largely unaffected by charcoal production. To reduce the future impacts of charcoal production, producers must avoid increased intensification of charcoal extraction by avoiding the expansion of species and sizes of trees used for charcoal production. This is a major challenge to land managers and policymakers in the area.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tropical grassy biomes: linking ecology, human use and conservation'. PMID:27502380

  10. Temperature and precipitation controls over leaf- and ecosystem-level CO2 flux along a woody plant encroachment gradient

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Conversion of grasslands to woodlands may alter the sensitivity of CO2 exchange of both the dominant plants and the entire ecosystem to variation in air temperature and precipitation. We used a combination of leaf-level gas exchange experimentation and ecosystem-level eddy covariance monitoring tech...