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Sample records for temperate grassland ecosystem

  1. Net ecosystem productivity of temperate grasslands in northern China: An upscaling study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zhang, Li; Guo, Huadong; Jia, Gensuo; Wylie, Bruce; Gilmanov, Tagir; Howard, Daniel M.; Ji, Lei; Xiao, Jingfeng; Li, Jing; Yuan, Wenping; Zhao, Tianbao; Chen, Shiping; Zhou, Guangsheng; Kato, Tomomichi

    2014-01-01

    Grassland is one of the widespread biome types globally, and plays an important role in the terrestrial carbon cycle. We examined net ecosystem production (NEP) for the temperate grasslands in northern China from 2000 to 2010. We combined flux observations, satellite data, and climate data to develop a piecewise regression model for NEP, and then used the model to map NEP for grasslands in northern China. Over the growing season, the northern China's grassland had a net carbon uptake of 158 ± 25 g C m−2 during 2000–2010 with the mean regional NEP estimate of 126 Tg C. Our results showed generally higher grassland NEP at high latitudes (northeast) than at low latitudes (central and west) because of different grassland types and environmental conditions. In the northeast, which is dominated by meadow steppes, the growing season NEP generally reached 200–300 g C m−2. In the southwest corner of the region, which is partially occupied by alpine meadow systems, the growing season NEP also reached 200–300 g C m−2. In the central part, which is dominated by typical steppe systems, the growing season NEP generally varied in the range of 100–200 g C m−2. The NEP of the northern China's grasslands was highly variable through years, ranging from 129 (2001) to 217 g C m−2 growing season−1 (2010). The large interannual variations of NEP could be attributed to the sensitivity of temperate grasslands to climate changes and extreme climatic events. The droughts in 2000, 2001, and 2006 reduced the carbon uptake over the growing season by 11%, 29%, and 16% relative to the long-term (2000–2010) mean. Over the study period (2000–2010), precipitation was significantly correlated with NEP for the growing season (R2 = 0.35, p-value < 0.1), indicating that water availability is an important stressor for the productivity of the temperate grasslands in semi-arid and arid regions in northern China. We conclude that northern temperate grasslands have the potential to sequester carbon, but the capacity of carbon sequestration depends on grassland types and environmental conditions. Extreme climate events like drought can significantly reduce the net carbon uptake of grasslands.

  2. Components of surface energy balance in a temperate grassland ecosystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Joon; Verma, Shashi B.

    1990-01-01

    Eddy correlation measurements of moisture, heat, and momentum fluxes were made at a tall grassland site in Kansas during the First International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project Field Experiment. The fluxes, stomatal conductance, and leaf water potential of three grass species are reported. The species are big bluestem, indiangrass, and switchgrass. The daily and seasonal variation in the components of the surface energy balance and the aerodynamic and canopy surface conductances for prairie vegetation are examined.

  3. Environmental Controls and Management Effects on Ecosystem Carbon Exchange in Two Grazed Temperate Grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ni Choncubhair, O.; Humphreys, J.; Lanigan, G.

    2013-12-01

    Temperate grasslands constitute over 30% of the Earth's naturally-occurring biomes and make an important contribution towards the partial mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by terrestrial ecosystems. Accumulation of carbon (C) in grassland systems predominantly takes place in below-ground repositories, enhanced by the presence of a stable soil environment with low carbon turnover rates, active rhizodeposition and high levels of residue and organic inputs. However, this C sequestration is strongly influenced by soil characteristics and climatic variables. Furthermore, in managed pasture systems, carbon exchange across the soil-atmosphere boundary is additionally affected by management activities, such as biomass removal, grazing events and the deposition or application of organic amendments. These biotic and abiotic factors contribute greatly towards the large uncertainty associated with the carbon balance of grassland ecosystems and demand further analysis. In the present study, the controls and drivers of carbon dynamics in two rotationally-grazed grasslands in Ireland were examined. The sites experience similar temperate climatic regimes but differ in soil texture classification and stocking rate. Eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem exchange of carbon were complemented by regular assessment of standing biomass, leaf cover, harvest exports and organic amendment inputs. Our study showed that mild weather conditions and an extended growing season sustained net C accumulation at both sites for at least ten months of the year. Despite differing soil drainage characteristics, winter fluxes of net carbon exchange and its component fluxes, gross photosynthesis and ecosystem respiration, were highly comparable between the two sites. Management practices during the active growing season exerted a strong influence on both the direction and the rate of C exchange in the grassland systems, with a strong dependence, however, on the timing and intensity of the management effect. Harvest-induced reductions in productivity and net C uptake were generally greater than grazing-induced shifts, however the effects were at times mediated by environmental conditions. Our research highlighted the complex nature of the investigated grasslands resulting from the heterogeneous footprint induced by rotational grazing, grass harvesting and intensive management practices. Further work will focus on the applicability of different gap-filling methodologies for capturing the temporal and spatial variability observed. The potential of vegetation indices as a means of tracking sward development will also be investigated, with the aim of improving our understanding of the impact of vegetation dynamics on measured ecosystem carbon fluxes.

  4. Nitrogen enrichment weakens ecosystem stability through decreased species asynchrony and population stability in a temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yunhai; Loreau, Michel; Lü, Xiaotao; He, Nianpeng; Zhang, Guangming; Han, Xingguo

    2016-04-01

    Biodiversity generally promotes ecosystem stability. To assess whether the diversity-stability relationship observed under ambient nitrogen (N) conditions still holds under N enriched conditions, we designed a 6-year field experiment to test whether the magnitude and frequency of N enrichment affects ecosystem stability and its relationship with species diversity in a temperate grassland. Results of this experiment showed that the frequency of N addition had no effect on either the temporal stability of ecosystem and population or the relationship between diversity and stability. Nitrogen addition decreased ecosystem stability significantly through decreases in species asynchrony and population stability. Species richness was positively associated with ecosystem stability, but no significant relationship between diversity and the residuals of ecosystem stability was detected after controlling for the effects of the magnitude of N addition, suggesting collinearity between the effects of N addition and species richness on ecosystem stability, with the former prevailing over the latter. Both population stability and the residuals of population stability after controlling for the effects of the magnitude of N addition were positively associated with ecosystem stability, indicating that the stabilizing effects of component populations were still present after N enrichment. Our study supports the theory predicting that the effects of environmental factors on ecosystem functioning are stronger than those of biodiversity. Understanding such mechanisms is important and urgent to protect biodiversity in mediating ecosystem functioning and services in the face of global changes. PMID:26511538

  5. Nitrous oxide emissions from temperate grassland ecosystems in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mller, Christoph; Sherlock, Robert R.

    2004-03-01

    Nitrogen (N) fertilized or grazed grasslands in temperate regions of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere are important sources for atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O). Following synthetic urine applications in a New Zealand grassland ecosystem, and ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) applications to a German grassland ecosystem, approximately 31, 16, and 5%, respectively, of the total emitted N2O (N2Otot) was produced by nitrification (N2Onit) with the rest being produced by denitrification (N2Oden). Analyses of the combined data set showed that 75% of all N2O emissions occurred above 60% water filled porosity (WFPS) and that more than 80% of all N2O emissions occurred at soil temperatures between 10 and 15C. N2Oden emissions were associated with a WFPS value at around 80% at relatively low NO3- concentrations, while N2Onit emissions only occurred at high NH4+ levels shortly after N application at soil temperatures around 10C. To increase the accuracy of predictions with simple mathematical models, such as the "hole-in-the-pipe-model," long-term validation data sets are needed where driving variables are related to measured N2Onit and N2Oden data.

  6. Observing 13C labelling kinetics in CO2 respired by a temperate grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Gamnitzer, Ulrike; Schufele, Rudi; Schnyder, Hans

    2009-10-01

    * The kinetic characteristics of the main sources of ecosystem respiration are quite unknown, partly because of methodological constraints. Here, we present a new open-top chamber (OTC) apparatus for continuous 13C/12C labelling and measurement of ecosystem CO2 fluxes, and report the tracer kinetics of nighttime respiration of a temperate grassland. * The apparatus includes four dynamic flow-through OTCs, a unit mixing CO2-free air with 13C-depleted CO2, and a CO2 analyser and an online isotope ratio mass spectrometer. * The concentration (367 +/- 6.5 micromol mol(-1)) and carbon isotopic composition, delta13C, (-46.9 +/- 0.4 per thousand) of CO2 in the OTCs were stable during photosynthesis as a result of high air through flux and minimal incursion through the buffered vent. Soil CO2 efflux was not affected by pressure effects during respiration measurements. The labelling kinetics of respiratory CO2 measured in the field agreed with that of excised soil + vegetation blocks measured in a laboratory-based system. The kinetics fitted a two-source system (r(2) = 0.97), with a rapidly labelled source (half-life 2.6 d) supplying 48% of respiration, and the other source (52%) releasing no tracer during 14 d of labelling. * Of the two sources supplying ecosystem respiration, one was closely connected to current photosynthesis (approximately autotrophic respiration) and the other was provided by decomposition of structural plant biomass (approximately heterotrophic respiration). PMID:19656304

  7. Uncertainty analysis of a coupled ecosystem response model simulating greenhouse gas fluxes from a temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liebermann, Ralf; Kraft, Philipp; Houska, Tobias; Breuer, Lutz; Müller, Christoph; Kraus, David; Haas, Edwin; Klatt, Steffen

    2015-04-01

    Among anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 is the dominant driver of global climate change. Next to its direct impact on the radiation budget, it also affects the climate system by triggering feedback mechanisms in terrestrial ecosystems. Such mechanisms - like stimulated photosynthesis, increased root exudations and reduced stomatal transpiration - influence both the input and the turnover of carbon and nitrogen compounds in the soil. The stabilization and decomposition of these compounds determines how increasing CO2 concentrations change the terrestrial trace gas emissions, especially CO2, N2O and CH4. To assess the potential reaction of terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions to rising tropospheric CO2 concentration, we make use of a comprehensive ecosystem model integrating known processes and fluxes of the carbon-nitrogen cycle in soil, vegetation and water. We apply a state-of-the-art ecosystem model with measurements from a long term field experiment of CO2 enrichment. The model - a grassland realization of LandscapeDNDC - simulates soil chemistry coupled with plant physiology, microclimate and hydrology. The data - comprising biomass, greenhouse gas emissions, management practices and soil properties - has been attained from a FACE (Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment) experiment running since 1997 on a temperate grassland in Giessen, Germany. Management and soil data, together with weather records, are used to drive the model, while cut biomass as well as CO2 and N2O emissions are used for calibration and validation. Starting with control data from installations without CO2 enhancement, we begin with a GLUE (General Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation) assessment using Latin Hypercube to reduce the range of the model parameters. This is followed by a detailed sensitivity analysis, the application of DREAM-ZS for model calibration, and an estimation of the effect of input uncertainty on the simulation results. Since first results indicate problems with the correct representation of the seasonal cycle of soil moisture and N2O emissions, our model is soon to be augmented with a more elaborate sub model for hydrology. Subsequent steps include the comparison of simulations and measurements under 20% elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and the integration of a Farquhar-type sub model for photosynthesis.

  8. Impact of inter-annual climatic variability on ecosystem carbon exchange in two grazed temperate grasslands with contrasting drainage regimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choncubhair, rlaith N; Humphreys, James; Lanigan, Gary

    2014-05-01

    Temperate grasslands constitute over 30% of the Earth's naturally-occurring biomes and make an important contribution towards the partial mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by terrestrial ecosystems. Accumulation of carbon (C) in grassland systems predominantly takes place in below-ground repositories, enhanced by the presence of a stable soil environment with low carbon turnover rates, active rhizodeposition and high levels of residue and organic inputs. Predicted future warming is expected to increase productivity in temperate zones, thereby enhancing rates of terrestrial carbon sequestration. However, the susceptibility of many ecosystems, including grasslands, to extreme climatic events and inter-annual variability has been demonstrated previously. Temperature anomalies as well as modifications in the temporal pattern and quantity of precipitation alter the balance between carbon uptake and release processes and a mechanistic understanding of ecosystem response to such changes is still lacking. In the present study, the impact of extreme inter-annual variability in summer rainfall and temperature on carbon dynamics in two rotationally-grazed grasslands in Ireland was examined. The sites experience similar temperate climatic regimes but differ in soil drainage characteristics. Eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem exchange of carbon were complemented by regular assessment of standing biomass, leaf cover, harvest exports and organic amendment inputs. The summers of 2012 and 2013 showed contrasting climatic conditions, with summer precipitation 93% higher and 25% lower respectively than long-term means. In addition, soil temperatures were 7% lower and 11% higher than expected. Cool, wet conditions in 2012 facilitated net carbon uptake for more than ten months of the year at the poorly-drained site, however the ecosystem switched to a net source of carbon in 2013 during months with significantly reduced rainfall. In contrast, net C accumulation continued at the well-drained site despite the summer drought conditions. Total cumulative annual ecosystem respiration was 20% higher at the poorly-drained site than at the well-drained site in 2013, while a more modest increase in cumulative gross production (9.6%) was observed at the poorly-drained site for the same period. This research highlights the susceptibility of poorly-drained soils to accelerated efflux of carbon during soil drying cycles and points towards potential negative impacts of future warming scenarios, with significant carbon balance implications for grassland ecosystems.

  9. Evapotranspiration flux partitioning using an Iso-SPAC model in a temperate grassland ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, P.

    2014-12-01

    To partition evapotranspiration (ET) into soil evaporation and vegetation transpiration (T), a new numerical Iso-SPAC (coupled heat, water with isotopic tracer in Soil-Plant-Atmosphere-Continuum) model was developed and applied to a temperate-grassland ecosystem in central Japan. Several models of varying complexity have been tested with the aim of obtaining the close to true value for the isotope composition of leaf water and transpiration flux. The agreement between the model predictions and observations demonstrates that the Iso-SPAC model with a steady-state assumption for transpiration flux can reproduce seasonal variations of all the surface energy balance components?leaf and ground surface temperature as well as isotope data (canopy foliage and ET flux). This good performance was confirmed not only at diurnal timescale but also at seasonal timescale. Thus, although the non-steady-state behavior of isotope budget in a leaf and isotopic diffusion between leaf and stem or root is exactly important, the steady-state assumption is practically acceptable for seasonal timescale as a first order approximation. Sensitivity analysis both in physical flux part and isotope part suggested that T/ET is relatively insensitive to uncertainties/errors in assigned model parameters and measured input variables, which illustrated the partitioning validity. Estimated transpiration fractions using isotope composition in ET flux by Iso-SPAC model and Keeling plot are generally in good agreement, further proving validity of the both approaches. However, Keeling plot approach tended to overestimate the fraction during an early stage of glowing season and a period just after clear cutting. This overestimation is probably due to insufficient fetch and influence of transpiration from upwind forest. Consequently, Iso-SPAC model is more reliable than Keeling plot approach in most cases.The T/ET increased with grass growth, and the sharp reduction caused by clear cutting was well reflected. The transpiration fraction ranges from 0.02 to 0.99 during growing seasons, and the mean value was 0.75 with a standard deviation of 0.24.

  10. Carbon dynamics in aboveground biomass of co-dominant plant species in a temperate grassland ecosystem: same or different?

    PubMed

    Ostler, Ulrike; Schleip, Inga; Lattanzi, Fernando A; Schnyder, Hans

    2016-04-01

    Understanding the role of individual organisms in whole-ecosystem carbon (C) fluxes is probably the biggest current challenge in C cycle research. Thus, it is unknown whether different plant community members share the same or different residence times in metabolic (τmetab ) and nonmetabolic (i.e. structural) (τnonmetab ) C pools of aboveground biomass and the fraction of fixed C allocated to aboveground nonmetabolic biomass (Anonmetab ). We assessed τmetab , τnonmetab and Anonmetab of co-dominant species from different functional groups (two bunchgrasses, a stoloniferous legume and a rosette dicot) in a temperate grassland community. Continuous, 14-16-d-long (13) C-labeling experiments were performed in September 2006, May 2007 and September 2007. A two-pool compartmental system, with a well-mixed metabolic and a nonmixed nonmetabolic pool, was the simplest biologically meaningful model that fitted the (13) C tracer kinetics in the whole-shoot biomass of all species. In all experimental periods, the species had similar τmetab (5-8 d), whereas τnonmetab ranged from 20 to 58 d (except for one outlier) and Anonmetab from 7 to 45%. Variations in τnonmetab and Anonmetab were not systematically associated with species or experimental periods, but exhibited relationships with leaf life span, particularly in the grasses. Similar pool kinetics of species suggested similar kinetics at the community level. PMID:26694950

  11. Soil aggregates crumble as a predictor of ecosystem health in a temperate and semiarid grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Science-based information is needed to identify indicators of ecosystem health that may then be used to monitor natural resources and guide management decisions. We conducted a local gradient study to elucidate correlative associations between vegetation and multiple soil properties for rangelands ...

  12. Seasonal and inter-annual variability of the net ecosystem CO2 exchange of a temperate mountain grassland: effects of climate and management

    PubMed Central

    Wohlfahrt, Georg; Hammerle, Albin; Haslwanter, Alois; Bahn, Michael; Tappeiner, Ulrike; Cernusca, Alexander

    2013-01-01

    The role and relative importance of climate and cutting for the seasonal and inter-annual variability of the net ecosystem CO2 (NEE) of a temperate mountain grassland was investigated. Eddy covariance CO2 flux data and associated measurements of the green area index and the major environmental driving forces acquired during 2001-2006 at the study site Neustift (Austria) were analyzed. Driven by three cutting events per year which kept the investigated grassland in a stage of vigorous growth, the seasonal variability of NEE was primarily modulated by gross primary productivity (GPP). The role of environmental parameters in modulating the seasonal variability of NEE was obscured by the strong response of GPP to changes in the amount of green area, as well as the cutting-mediated decoupling of phenological development and the seasonal course of climate drivers. None of the climate and management metrics examined was able to explain the inter-annual variability of annual NEE. This is thought to result from (1) a high covariance between GPP and ecosystem respiration (Reco) at the annual time scale which results in a comparatively small inter-annual variation of NEE, (2) compensating effects between carbon exchange during and outside the management period, and (3) changes in the biotic response to rather than the climate variables per se. GPP was more important in modulating inter-annual variations in NEE in spring and before the first and second cut, while Reco explained a larger fraction of the inter-annual variability of NEE during the remaining, in particular the post-cut, periods. PMID:24383047

  13. Differences in spatial and temporal root lifespan of temperate steppes across Inner Mongolia grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bai, W.-M.; Zhou, M.; Fang, Y.; Zhang, W.-H.

    2015-12-01

    Lifespan of fine roots plays important roles in regulating carbon (C) cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Determination of root lifespan and elucidation of its regulatory mechanism in different plant communities are essential for accurate prediction of C cycling from ecosystem to regional scales. Temperate steppes in Inner Mongolia grasslands have three major types, i.e., Stipa krylovii, Stipa grandis and Stipa breviflora grasslands. There have been no studies to compare the root dynamics among the three types of grasslands. In the present study, we determined root lifespan of the three grasslands using the rhizotron. We found that root lifespan differed substantially among the three types of grasslands within the temperate steppes of Inner Mongolia, such that root lifespan of Stipa breviflora > Stipa grandis > Stipa krylovii grasslands. Root lifespan across the three types of grasslands in the Inner Mongolian temperate steppes displayed a similar temporal pattern, i.e. lifespan of the roots produced in spring and autumn was shortest and longest, respectively, whereas lifespan of summer-produced roots was between that of roots produced in spring and autumn. The spatial and temporal differences in root lifespan across the three types of grasslands were mainly determined by contents of soluble sugars in roots of the dominant species. The differences in root lifespan across the major types of grasslands and different seasons highlight the necessity to take into account these differences in the prediction of C cycling within grassland ecosystem by the simulating model.

  14. Evolution of Grasses and Grassland Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strmberg, Caroline A. E.

    2011-05-01

    The evolution and subsequent ecological expansion of grasses (Poaceae) since the Late Cretaceous have resulted in the establishment of one of Earth's dominant biomes, the temperate and tropical grasslands, at the expense of forests. In the past decades, several new approaches have been applied to the fossil record of grasses to elucidate the patterns and processes of this ecosystem transformation. The data indicate that the development of grassland ecosystems on most continents was a multistage process involving the Paleogene appearance of (C3 and C4) open-habitat grasses, the mid-late Cenozoic spread of C3 grass-dominated habitats, and, finally, the Late Neogene expansion of C4 grasses at tropical-subtropical latitudes. The evolution of herbivores adapted to grasslands did not necessarily coincide with the spread of open-habitat grasses. In addition, the timing of these evolutionary and ecological events varied between regions. Consequently, region-by-region investigations using both direct (plant fossils) and indirect (e.g., stable carbon isotopes, faunas) evidence are required for a full understanding of the tempo and mode of grass and grassland evolution.

  15. Relation of Chlorophyll Fluorescence Sensitive Reflectance Ratios to Carbon Flux Measurements of Montanne Grassland and Norway Spruce Forest Ecosystems in the Temperate Zone

    PubMed Central

    A?, Alexander; Malenovsk, Zbyn?k; Urban, Otmar; Hanu, Jan; Zitov, Martina; Navrtil, Martin; Vrblov, Martina; Olejn?kov, Julie; punda, Vladimr; Marek, Michal

    2012-01-01

    We explored ability of reflectance vegetation indexes (VIs) related to chlorophyll fluorescence emission (R686/R630, R740/R800) and de-epoxidation state of xanthophyll cycle pigments (PRI, calculated as (R531 ? R570)/(R531 ? R570)) to track changes in the CO2 assimilation rate and Light Use Efficiency (LUE) in montane grassland and Norway spruce forest ecosystems, both at leaf and also canopy level. VIs were measured at two research plots using a ground-based high spatial/spectral resolution imaging spectroscopy technique. No significant relationship between VIs and leaf light-saturated CO2 assimilation (AMAX) was detected in instantaneous measurements of grassland under steady-state irradiance conditions. Once the temporal dimension and daily irradiance variation were included into the experimental setup, statistically significant changes in VIs related to tested physiological parameters were revealed. ?PRI and ?(R686/R630) of grassland plant leaves under dark-to-full sunlight transition in the scale of minutes were significantly related to AMAX (R2 = 0.51). In the daily course, the variation of VIs measured in one-hour intervals correlated well with the variation of Gross Primary Production (GPP), Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE), and LUE estimated via the eddy-covariance flux tower. Statistical results were weaker in the case of the grassland ecosystem, with the strongest statistical relation of the index R686/R630 with NEE and GPP. PMID:22701368

  16. Plant diversity effects on aboveground and belowground N pools in temperate grassland ecosystems: Development in the first 5 years after establishment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oelmann, Yvonne; Buchmann, Nina; Gleixner, Gerd; Habekost, Maike; Roscher, Christiane; Rosenkranz, Stephan; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Steinbeiss, Sibylle; Temperton, Vicky M.; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Wilcke, Wolfgang

    2011-06-01

    Biodiversity is expected to improve ecosystem services, e.g., productivity or seepage water quality. The current view of plant diversity effects on element cycling is based on short-term grassland studies that discount possibly slow belowground feedbacks to aboveground diversity. Furthermore, these grasslands were established on formerly arable land associated with changes in soil properties, e.g., accumulation of organic matter. We hypothesize that the plant diversity-N cycle relationship changes with time since establishment. We assessed the relationship between plant diversity and (1) aboveground and soil N storage and (2) NO3-N and NH4-N availability in soil between 2003 and 2007 in the Jena Experiment, a grassland experiment established in 2002 in which the number of plant species varied from 1 to 60. The positive effect of plant diversity on aboveground N storage (mainly driven by biomass production) tended to increase through time. The initially negative correlation between plant diversity and soil NO3-N availability disappeared after 2003. In 2006 and 2007, a positive correlation between plant diversity and soil NH4-N availability appeared which coincided with a positive correlation between plant diversity and N mineralized from total N accumulated in soil. We conclude that the plant diversity-N cycle relationship in newly established grasslands changes with time because of accumulation of organic matter in soil associated with the establishment. While a positive relationship between plant diversity and soil N storage improves soil fertility and reduces fertilizing needs, increasingly closed N cycling with increasing plant diversity as illustrated by decreased NO3-N concentrations in diverse mixtures reduces the negative impact of agricultural N leaching on groundwater resources.

  17. Nitrogen acquisition by plants and microorganisms in a temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    Liu, Qianyuan; Qiao, Na; Xu, Xingliang; Xin, Xiaoping; Han, Jessie Yc; Tian, Yuqiang; Ouyang, Hua; Kuzyakov, Yakov

    2016-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) limitation is common in most terrestrial ecosystems, often leading to strong competition between microorganisms and plants. The mechanisms of niche differentiation to reduce this competition remain unclear. Short-term (15)N experiments with NH4(+), NO3(-), and glycine were conducted in July, August and September in a temperate grassland to evaluate the chemical, spatial and temporal niche differentiation by competition between plants and microorganisms for N. Microorganisms preferred NH4(+) and NO3(-), while plants preferred NO3(-). Both plants and microorganisms acquired more N in August and September than in July. The soil depth had no significant effects on microbial uptake, but significantly affected plant N uptake. Plants acquired 67% of their N from the 0-5 cm soil layer and 33% from the 5-15 cm layer. The amount of N taken up by microorganisms was at least seven times than plants. Although microorganisms efficiently compete for N with plants, the competition is alleviated through chemical partitioning mainly in deeper soil layer. In the upper soil layer, neither chemical nor temporal niche separation is realized leading to strong competition between plants and microorganisms that modifies N dynamics in grasslands. PMID:26961252

  18. Nitrogen acquisition by plants and microorganisms in a temperate grassland

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Qianyuan; Qiao, Na; Xu, Xingliang; Xin, Xiaoping; Han, Jessie Yc; Tian, Yuqiang; Ouyang, Hua; Kuzyakov, Yakov

    2016-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) limitation is common in most terrestrial ecosystems, often leading to strong competition between microorganisms and plants. The mechanisms of niche differentiation to reduce this competition remain unclear. Short-term 15N experiments with NH4+, NO3−, and glycine were conducted in July, August and September in a temperate grassland to evaluate the chemical, spatial and temporal niche differentiation by competition between plants and microorganisms for N. Microorganisms preferred NH4+ and NO3−, while plants preferred NO3−. Both plants and microorganisms acquired more N in August and September than in July. The soil depth had no significant effects on microbial uptake, but significantly affected plant N uptake. Plants acquired 67% of their N from the 0–5 cm soil layer and 33% from the 5–15 cm layer. The amount of N taken up by microorganisms was at least seven times than plants. Although microorganisms efficiently compete for N with plants, the competition is alleviated through chemical partitioning mainly in deeper soil layer. In the upper soil layer, neither chemical nor temporal niche separation is realized leading to strong competition between plants and microorganisms that modifies N dynamics in grasslands. PMID:26961252

  19. Modeling of Energy, Water, and CO2 Flux in a Temperate Grassland Ecosystem with SiB2: May-October 1987.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colello, G. D.; Grivet, C.; Sellers, P. J.; Berry, J. A.

    1998-04-01

    The Simple Biosphere Model, version 2 (SiB2), was designed for use within atmospheric general circulation models as a soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer scheme that includes CO2 flux prediction. A stand-alone version of SiB2 was used to simulate a grassland at Station 16 of the First ISLSCP Field Experiment (FIFE) located near Manhattan, Kansas, for a period of 142 days of the 1987 growing season. Modeled values of soil temperature and moisture were initialized, using field measurements from the soil profile, and thereafter updated solely by model calculations. The model was driven by half-hourly atmospheric observations and regular observations of canopy biophysics. This arrangement was intended to mimic model forcing in a GCM. Three model versions are compared: (i) a Control run using parameter values taken from look-up tables used for running the Colorado State University GCM; (ii) a Tuned run with many adjustments to optimize SiB2 to this ecosystem; and (iii) a Calibrated run, which calibrated the Control version soil to the local site and incorporated two important changes from the Tuned version. Modeled fluxes of latent heat, sensible heat, soil heat, net radiation, and net site CO2 were compared to over 800 half-hourly observations; modeled surface and deep soil temperatures compared to 6500 observations; and three layers of modeled soil water content compared to 15 measurements of the soil water profile. Statistical methods were used to analyze these results. In the absence of water stress all three versions accurately simulated photosynthesis and canopy conductance. However, during episodes of drought, only the Tuned and Calibrated versions accurately simulated physiological control of canopy fluxes. The largest errors were encountered in the simulation of soil respiration. These were traced to problems predicting water content and temperature in the soil profile. These results highlight the need for improved simulation of soil biophysics to obtain accurate estimates of net CO2 balance. The accuracy of the Tuned version was improved by changes that (i) allowed water extraction by roots from all soil layers, (ii) matched the soil texture specification to the site, and (iii) calibrated the expressions used for diffusion of water and heat within the soil profile.

  20. How generalist herbivores exploit belowground plant diversity in temperate grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Schallhart, Nikolaus; Mitterrutzner, Evi; Steiner, Eva-Maria; Juen, Anita; Traugott, Michael

    2014-01-01

    Belowground herbivores impact plant performance, thereby inducing changes in plant community composition, which potentially leads to cascading effects onto higher trophic levels and ecosystem processes and productivity. Among soil-living insects, external root-chewing generalist herbivores have the strongest impact on plants. However, the lack of knowledge on their feeding behaviour under field conditions considerably hampers achieving a comprehensive understanding of how they affect plant communities. Here, we address this gap of knowledge by investigating the feeding behaviour of Agriotes click beetle larvae, which are common generalist external root-chewers in temperate grassland soils. Utilizing diagnostic multiplex PCR to assess the larval diet, we examined the seasonal patterns in feeding activity, putative preferences for specific plant taxa, and whether species identity and larval instar affect food choices of the herbivores. Contrary to our hypothesis, most of the larvae were feeding-active throughout the entire vegetation period, indicating that the grassland plants are subjected to constant belowground feeding pressure. Feeding was selective, with members of Plantaginaceae and Asteraceae being preferred; Apiaceae were avoided. Poaceae, although assumed to be most preferred, had an intermediate position. The food preferences exhibited seasonal changes, indicating a fluctuation in plant traits important for wireworm feeding choice. Species- and instar-specific differences in dietary choice of the Agriotes larvae were small, suggesting that species and larval instars occupy the same trophic niche. According to the current findings, the food choice of these larvae is primarily driven by plant identity, exhibiting seasonal changes. This needs to be considered when analysing soil herbivoreplant interactions. PMID:24188592

  1. Seasonal and inter-annual dynamics in the stable oxygen isotope compositions of water pools in a temperate humid grassland ecosystem: results from MIBA sampling and MuSICA modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hirl, Regina; Schnyder, Hans; Auerswald, Karl; Vetter, Sylvia; Ostler, Ulrike; Schleip, Inga; Wingate, Lisa; Ogée, Jérôme

    2015-04-01

    The oxygen isotope composition (δ18O) of water in terrestrial ecosystems usually shows strong and dynamic variations within and between the various compartments. These variations originate from changes in the δ18O of water inputs (e.g. rain or water vapour) and from 18O fractionation phenomena in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Investigations of δ18O in ecosystem water pools and of their main drivers can help us understand water relations at plant, canopy or ecosystem scale and interpret δ18O signals in plant and animal tissues as paleo-climate proxies. During the vegetation periods of 2006 to 2012, soil, leaf and stem water as well as atmospheric humidity, rain water and groundwater were sampled at bi-weekly intervals in a temperate humid pasture of the Grünschwaige Grassland Research Station near Munich (Germany). The sampling was performed following standardised MIBA (Moisture Isotopes in the Biosphere and Atmosphere) protocols. Leaf water samples were prepared from a mixture of co-dominant species in the plant community in order to obtain a canopy-scale leaf water δ18O signal. All samples were then analysed for their δ18O compositions. The measured δ18O of leaf, stem and soil water were then compared with the δ18O signatures simulated by the process-based isotope-enabled ecosystem model MuSICA (Multi-layer Simulator of the Interactions between a vegetation Canopy and the Atmosphere). MuSICA integrates current mechanistic understanding of processes in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Hence, the comparison of modelled and measured data allows the identification of gaps in current knowledge and of questions to be tackled in the future. Soil and plant characteristics for model parameterisation were derived from investigations at the experimental site and supplemented by values from the literature. Eddy-covariance measurements of ecosystem CO2 (GPP, NEE) and energy (H, LE) fluxes and soil temperature data were used for model evaluation. The comparison of measured and predicted ecosystem fluxes showed that the model captured the main features of the diurnal cycles of GPP, NEE, LE and H, as well as the soil temperature dynamics. In this presentation I will present the main results of this model-data comparison, as well as results from a model sensitivity analysis performed over a range of soil, plant and meteorological parameters to evaluate the relative importance of each parameter on the δ18O signatures of the various water pools.

  2. [Soil net nitrogen mineralization in the typical temperate grassland].

    PubMed

    Liu, Xing-Ren; Dong, Yun-She; Qi, Yu-Chun; Domroes, Manfred

    2007-03-01

    Soil net nitrogen mineralization rate of three types temperate grassland in Inner Mongolia, China was studied using the resin-core technique. The major results include: the net nitrogen mineralization rate of the Stipa baicalensis meadow grassland, the Aneulolepidum Chinense grassland and the Stipa krylovii grassland were 0.333 kg x (hm2 x d)(-1), 0.316 kg x (hm2 x d)(-1) and 0.211 kg x (hm2 x d)(-1) respectively during the field incubation period of July to October, 2005; Soil net nitrogen mineralization accumulation and rates was remarkably different between phase incubation and continuous incubation during the same field incubation period; Rainfall was one of the main factors affecting nitrogen mineralization. The net nitrogen mineralization rate was correlated with the change of soil moisture in all of the measured sites, the correlation coefficient was 0.80, 0.61 and 0.56. PMID:17633647

  3. Remote estimation of GPP in temperate grassland: implications of the uncertainty in GPP estimation in semi-arid ecosystems using MODIS data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Shishi; Peng, Yi; Brunsell, Nathaniel; Guan, Qingfeng

    2015-09-01

    This study analyzed grassland gross primary production (GPP) estimated by the Temperature and Greenness (TG) model and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) algorithm along the mean precipitation gradient and as a function of interannual variability in site-level precipitation. The calibrated TG model and MODIS algorithm appeared to provide accurate GPP estimations at three study sites with varying precipitation. However, the evaluation for each site/year demonstrated the variations of the accuracy of GPP estimates among different sites and years. GPP were overestimated at the driest site among three study sites, and during the dry years of the semiarid site. Both models provided more accurate GPP estimates for the wet site and during the wet and normal years of the semiarid sites. Calibrating both models for each site/year showed that the parameters of both models varied among sites and years, especially for the TG model. The relationship between flux-tower GPP observations and (scaled EVI *scaled LST) for the TG model and the relationship between GPP observations and (fPAR*PAR*Tmin scalar*VPD scalar) for the MODIS algorithm were different during green-up and dry-down period of grassland during the dry years at semiarid sites. This result implied that different relationships at different growing stages might be one of the major reasons for the overestimation of GPP by the TG model and the MODIS algorithm for semiarid grassland where water is a limiting resource. Thus, both TG model and MODIS algorithm should be used with caution in the arid and semiarid grassland regions

  4. Balancing Tradeoffs in Ecosystem Functions and Services in Grassland Management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Managed grasslands are increasingly expected to provide ecosystem services beyond the traditional provision of food, feed, and fiber. Grassland systems can provide ecosystem services such as soil conservation, water quality protection, wildlife conservation, pleasing landscapes, soil carbon storage,...

  5. Primary Productivity and Precipitation-Use Efficiency in Temperate Grassland in the Loess Plateau of China.

    PubMed

    Jia, Xiaoxu; Xie, Baoni; Shao, Ming'an; Zhao, Chunlei

    2015-01-01

    Clarifying spatial variations in aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and precipitation-use efficiency (PUE) of grasslands is critical for effective prediction of the response of terrestrial ecosystem carbon and water cycle to future climate change. Though the combination use of remote sensing products and in situ ANPP measurements, we quantified the effects of climatic [mean annual precipitation (MAP) and precipitation seasonal distribution (PSD)], biotic [leaf area index (LAI)] and abiotic [slope gradient, aspect, soil water storage (SWS) and other soil physical properties] factors on the spatial variations in ANPP and PUE across different grassland types (i.e., meadow steppe, typical steppe and desert steppe) in the Loess Plateau. Based on the study, ANPP increased exponentially with MAP for the entire temperate grassland; suggesting that PUE increased with increasing MAP. Also PSD had a significant effect on ANPP and PUE; where more even PSD favored higher ANPP and PUE. Then MAP, more than PSD, explained spatial variations in typical steppe and desert steppe. However, PSD was the dominant driving factor of spatial variations in ANPP of meadow steppe. This suggested that in terms of spatial variations in ANPP of meadow steppe, change in PSD due to climate change was more important than that in total annual precipitation. LAI explained 78% of spatial PUE in the entire Loess Plateau temperate grassland. As such, LAI was the primary driving factor of spatial variations in PUE. Although the effect of SWS on ANPP and PUE was significant, it was nonetheless less than that of precipitation and vegetation. We therefore concluded that changes in vegetation structure and consequently in LAI and/or altered pattern of seasonal distribution of rainfall due to global climate change could significantly influence ecosystem carbon and water cycle in temperate grasslands. PMID:26295954

  6. Primary Productivity and Precipitation-Use Efficiency in Temperate Grassland in the Loess Plateau of China

    PubMed Central

    Jia, Xiaoxu; Xie, Baoni; Shao, Ming’an; Zhao, Chunlei

    2015-01-01

    Clarifying spatial variations in aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and precipitation-use efficiency (PUE) of grasslands is critical for effective prediction of the response of terrestrial ecosystem carbon and water cycle to future climate change. Though the combination use of remote sensing products and in situ ANPP measurements, we quantified the effects of climatic [mean annual precipitation (MAP) and precipitation seasonal distribution (PSD)], biotic [leaf area index (LAI)] and abiotic [slope gradient, aspect, soil water storage (SWS) and other soil physical properties] factors on the spatial variations in ANPP and PUE across different grassland types (i.e., meadow steppe, typical steppe and desert steppe) in the Loess Plateau. Based on the study, ANPP increased exponentially with MAP for the entire temperate grassland; suggesting that PUE increased with increasing MAP. Also PSD had a significant effect on ANPP and PUE; where more even PSD favored higher ANPP and PUE. Then MAP, more than PSD, explained spatial variations in typical steppe and desert steppe. However, PSD was the dominant driving factor of spatial variations in ANPP of meadow steppe. This suggested that in terms of spatial variations in ANPP of meadow steppe, change in PSD due to climate change was more important than that in total annual precipitation. LAI explained 78% of spatial PUE in the entire Loess Plateau temperate grassland. As such, LAI was the primary driving factor of spatial variations in PUE. Although the effect of SWS on ANPP and PUE was significant, it was nonetheless less than that of precipitation and vegetation. We therefore concluded that changes in vegetation structure and consequently in LAI and/or altered pattern of seasonal distribution of rainfall due to global climate change could significantly influence ecosystem carbon and water cycle in temperate grasslands. PMID:26295954

  7. Quantifying the pedo-ecohydrological structure and function of degraded, grassland ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brazier, Richard E.

    2015-04-01

    Grassland ecosystems cover significant areas of the terrestrial land mass, across a range of geoclimates, from arctic tundra, through temperate and semi-arid landscapes. In very few locations, such grasslands may be termed 'pristine' in that they remain undamaged by human activities and resilient to changing climates. In far more cases, grasslands are being degraded, often irreversibly so, with significant implications for a number of ecosystem services related to water resources, soil quality, nutrient cycles, and therefore both global food and water security. This paper draws upon empirical research that has been undertaken over the last decade to characterise a range of different grasslands in terms of soil properties, vegetation structure and geomorphology and to understand how these structures or patterns might interact or control how the grassland ecosystems function. Particular emphasis is placed upon quantifying fluxes of water, within and from grasslands, but also fluxes of sediment, via the processes of soil erosion and finally fluxes of the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon from the landscape to surface waters. Data are presented from semi-arid grasslands, which are subject to severe encroachment by woody species, temperate upland grasslands that have been 'improved' via drainage to support grazing, temperate lowland grasslands, that are unimproved (Culm or Rhôs pastures) and finally intensively managed grasslands in temperate regions, that have been significantly modified via land management practices to improve productivity. It is hypothesised that, once degraded, the structure and function of these very diverse grassland ecosystems follows the same negative trajectory, resulting in depleted soil depths, nutrient storage capacities and therefore reduced plant growth and long-term carbon sequestration. Results demonstrate that similar, but highly complex and non-linear responses to perturbation of the ecosystem are observed, regardless of the environmental setting or wider climatic conditions that the grasslands experience. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the relatively stable ecosystem state that has prevailed in the 'pristine' grasslands studied, is in fact very fragile and may be easily altered, either by anthropogenic forcing, due to land management or by 'semi-natural' processes, related to climate change or changes in the incidence of wildfires (for example). Once structurally altered, it is also shown that positive feedbacks will occur to accelerate the loss of critical resources (topsoil and nutrients) from the ecosystem, in particular in drylands, resulting in widespread land degradation that cannot be reversed. In the temperate grasslands studied, it is shown that anthropogenic intervention may halt or even to some degree reverse the degradation of the soil-vegetation-water continuum. However, such 'landscape restoration' approaches are costly and require long-term management commitment if they are to succeed. degrade these critical ecosystems further. Finally, analysis of water, sediment and nutrient fluxes from this range of grasslands also demonstrates how critical ecosystem services that grasslands can provide; including soil water storage to buffer downstream flooding, soil carbon storage and enhanced biodiversity are reduced, often to the point where restoration of the original (pristine) landscape function is impossible. To conclude, discussion is made of how we can learn across grass landscapes globally, to ensure that those ecosystems that might be restored to build resilient landscapes under future climates are well understood and that future efforts to manage grasslands for increased food production do not degrade these critical ecosystems further.

  8. Quantifying the pedo-ecohydrological structure and function of degraded, grassland ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brazier, Richard E.

    2015-04-01

    Grassland ecosystems cover significant areas of the terrestrial land mass, across a range of geoclimates, from arctic tundra, through temperate and semi-arid landscapes. In very few locations, such grasslands may be termed 'pristine' in that they remain undamaged by human activities and resilient to changing climates. In far more cases, grasslands are being degraded, often irreversibly so, with significant implications for a number of ecosystem services related to water resources, soil quality, nutrient cycles, and therefore both global food and water security. This paper draws upon empirical research that has been undertaken over the last decade to characterise a range of different grasslands in terms of soil properties, vegetation structure and geomorphology and to understand how these structures or patterns might interact or control how the grassland ecosystems function. Particular emphasis is placed upon quantifying fluxes of water, within and from grasslands, but also fluxes of sediment, via the processes of soil erosion and finally fluxes of the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon from the landscape to surface waters. Data are presented from semi-arid grasslands, which are subject to severe encroachment by woody species, temperate upland grasslands that have been 'improved' via drainage to support grazing, temperate lowland grasslands, that are unimproved (Culm or Rhôs pastures) and finally intensively managed grasslands in temperate regions, that have been significantly modified via land management practices to improve productivity. It is hypothesised that, once degraded, the structure and function of these very diverse grassland ecosystems follows the same negative trajectory, resulting in depleted soil depths, nutrient storage capacities and therefore reduced plant growth and long-term carbon sequestration. Results demonstrate that similar, but highly complex and non-linear responses to perturbation of the ecosystem are observed, regardless of the environmental setting or wider climatic conditions that the grasslands experience. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the relatively stable ecosystem state that has prevailed in the 'pristine' grasslands studied, is in fact very fragile and may be easily altered, either by anthropogenic forcing, due to land management or by 'semi-natural' processes, related to climate change or changes in the incidence of wildfires (for example). Once structurally altered, it is also shown that positive feedbacks will occur to accelerate the loss of critical resources (topsoil and nutrients) from the ecosystem, in particular in drylands, resulting in widespread land degradation that cannot be reversed. In the temperate grasslands studied, it is shown that anthropogenic intervention may halt or even to some degree reverse the degradation of the soil-vegetation-water continuum. However, such 'landscape restoration' approaches are costly and require long-term management commitment if they are to succeed. Finally, analysis of water, sediment and nutrient fluxes from this range of grasslands also demonstrates how critical ecosystem services that grasslands can provide; including soil water storage to buffer downstream flooding, soil carbon storage and enhanced biodiversity are reduced, often to the point where restoration of the original (pristine) landscape function is impossible. To conclude, discussion is made of how we can learn across grass landscapes globally, to ensure that those ecosystems that might be restored to build resilient landscapes under future climates are well understood and that future efforts to manage grasslands for increased food production do not degrade these critical ecosystems further.

  9. Short sampling intervals reveal very rapid root turnover in a temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    Stewart, Anna M; Frank, Douglas A

    2008-09-01

    Although root growth and mortality play critical regulatory roles in terrestrial ecosystems, little is known about the temporal scale of these dynamics. In temperate grasslands, root dynamics may be particularly rapid because of the high proportion of production allocated to very fine root biomass. In this study, we used minirhizotron tubes to estimate root growth and mortality in an upland grassland in Yellowstone National Park that was grazed by migratory herds of ungulates. Monthly rates of root growth and mortality were estimated from May to September 2005, by measuring the elongation (growth) and disappearance (mortality) of roots at 3-day intervals. Average daily growth (millimeters of root length) was approximately 5 times greater in May and June than in July, August, and September. Average daily mortality (millimeters of root length) did not differ among months. A comparison of the June-September rates of root growth and mortality derived from sampling at short (3-day) and long (1-month) time intervals indicated that the long sampling intervals underestimated both growth and mortality by approximately 60% relative to the short intervals. These results suggest that estimates of grassland root dynamics from minirhizotrons are influenced significantly by sampling interval length, and that rapid root turnover may play a more critical role in regulating energy and nutrient fluxes in temperate grasslands than has previously been recognized. PMID:18566834

  10. Impacts of grassland types and vegetation cover changes on surface air temperature in the regions of temperate grassland of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Xiangjin; Liu, Binhui; Li, Guangdi; Yu, Pujia; Zhou, Daowei

    2015-07-01

    The sensitivity of surface air temperature response to different grassland types and vegetation cover changes in the regions of temperate grassland of China was analyzed by observation minus reanalysis (OMR) method. The basis of the OMR approach is that reanalysis data are insensitive to local surface properties, so the temperature differences between surface observations and reanalysis can be attributed to land effects. Results showed that growing-season air temperature increased by 0.592 C/decade in the regions of temperate grassland of China, with about 31 % of observed warming associated with the effects of grassland types and vegetation cover changes. For different grassland types, the growing-season OMR trend was the strongest for temperate desert steppe (0.259 C/decade) and the weakest for temperate meadow (0.114 C/decade). Our results suggest that the stronger intraseasonal changes of grassland vegetation are present, the more sensitive the OMR trend responds to the intraseasonal vegetation cover changes. In August and September, the OMR of temperate meadow showed a weak cooling trend. For temperate meadow, about 72.2 and 72.6 % of surface cooling were explained by both grassland type and increase of vegetation cover for August and September, respectively. For temperate steppe and temperate desert steppe, due to the limited soil moisture and little evaporative cooling feedback, the vegetation changes have no significant effect on the surface air temperature. These results indicate that the impact of grassland types and vegetation cover changes should be considered when projecting further climate change in the temperate grassland region of China.

  11. Soil Respiration and Organic Carbon Dynamics with Grassland Conversions to Woodlands in Temperate China

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Wei; Zeng, Wenjing; Chen, Weile; Zeng, Hui; Fang, Jingyun

    2013-01-01

    Soils are the largest terrestrial carbon store and soil respiration is the second-largest flux in ecosystem carbon cycling. Across China's temperate region, climatic changes and human activities have frequently caused the transformation of grasslands to woodlands. However, the effect of this transition on soil respiration and soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics remains uncertain in this area. In this study, we measured in situ soil respiration and SOC storage over a two-year period (Jan. 2007Dec. 2008) from five characteristic vegetation types in a forest-steppe ecotone of temperate China, including grassland (GR), shrubland (SH), as well as in evergreen coniferous (EC), deciduous coniferous (DC) and deciduous broadleaved forest (DB), to evaluate the changes of soil respiration and SOC storage with grassland conversions to diverse types of woodlands. Annual soil respiration increased by 3%, 6%, 14%, and 22% after the conversion from GR to EC, SH, DC, and DB, respectively. The variation in soil respiration among different vegetation types could be well explained by SOC and soil total nitrogen content. Despite higher soil respiration in woodlands, SOC storage and residence time increased in the upper 20 cm of soil. Our results suggest that the differences in soil environmental conditions, especially soil substrate availability, influenced the level of annual soil respiration produced by different vegetation types. Moreover, shifts from grassland to woody plant dominance resulted in increased SOC storage. Given the widespread increase in woody plant abundance caused by climate change and large-scale afforestation programs, the soils are expected to accumulate and store increased amounts of organic carbon in temperate areas of China. PMID:24058408

  12. Temperate mountain grasslands: a climate-herbivore hypothesis for origins and persistence

    PubMed Central

    Weigl, Peter D; Knowles, Travis W

    2014-01-01

    Temperate montane grasslands and their unique biotas are declining worldwide as they are increasingly being invaded by forests. The origin and persistence of these landscapes have been the focus of such controversy that in many areas their conservation is in doubt. In the USA some biologists have largely dismissed the grass balds of the Southern Appalachians as human artifacts or anomalous and transitory elements of regional geography, worthy of only limited preservation efforts. On the basis of information from biogeography, community ecology, regional history and palaeontology and from consideration of two other montane grassland ecosystemsEast Carpathian poloninas and Oregon Coast Range grass baldswe hypothesize that these landscapes are more widespread than was formerly recognized; they are, in many cases, natural and ancient and largely owe their origin and persistence to past climatic extremes and the activities of large mammalian herbivores. PMID:24118866

  13. Temperate mountain grasslands: a climate-herbivore hypothesis for origins and persistence.

    PubMed

    Weigl, Peter D; Knowles, Travis W

    2014-05-01

    Temperate montane grasslands and their unique biotas are declining worldwide as they are increasingly being invaded by forests. The origin and persistence of these landscapes have been the focus of such controversy that in many areas their conservation is in doubt. In the USA some biologists have largely dismissed the grass balds of the Southern Appalachians as human artifacts or anomalous and transitory elements of regional geography, worthy of only limited preservation efforts. On the basis of information from biogeography, community ecology, regional history and palaeontology and from consideration of two other montane grassland ecosystems-East Carpathian poloninas and Oregon Coast Range grass balds-we hypothesize that these landscapes are more widespread than was formerly recognized; they are, in many cases, natural and ancient and largely owe their origin and persistence to past climatic extremes and the activities of large mammalian herbivores. PMID:24118866

  14. No Evidence of Complementary Water Use along a Plant Species Richness Gradient in Temperate Experimental Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Bachmann, Drte; Gockele, Annette; Ravenek, Janneke M.; Roscher, Christiane; Strecker, Tanja; Weigelt, Alexandra; Buchmann, Nina

    2015-01-01

    Niche complementarity in resource use has been proposed as a key mechanism to explain the positive effects of increasing plant species richness on ecosystem processes, in particular on primary productivity. Since hardly any information is available for niche complementarity in water use, we tested the effects of plant diversity on spatial and temporal complementarity in water uptake in experimental grasslands by using stable water isotopes. We hypothesized that water uptake from deeper soil depths increases in more diverse compared to low diverse plant species mixtures. We labeled soil water in 8 cm (with 18O) and 28 cm depth (with H) three times during the 2011 growing season in 40 temperate grassland communities of varying species richness (2, 4, 8 and 16 species) and functional group number and composition (legumes, grasses, tall herbs, small herbs). Stable isotope analyses of xylem and soil water allowed identifying the preferential depth of water uptake. Higher enrichment in 18O of xylem water than in H suggested that the main water uptake was in the upper soil layer. Furthermore, our results revealed no differences in root water uptake among communities with different species richness, different number of functional groups or with time. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of increased complementarity in water use in more diverse than in less diverse communities of temperate grassland species. PMID:25587998

  15. No evidence of complementary water use along a plant species richness gradient in temperate experimental grasslands.

    PubMed

    Bachmann, Drte; Gockele, Annette; Ravenek, Janneke M; Roscher, Christiane; Strecker, Tanja; Weigelt, Alexandra; Buchmann, Nina

    2015-01-01

    Niche complementarity in resource use has been proposed as a key mechanism to explain the positive effects of increasing plant species richness on ecosystem processes, in particular on primary productivity. Since hardly any information is available for niche complementarity in water use, we tested the effects of plant diversity on spatial and temporal complementarity in water uptake in experimental grasslands by using stable water isotopes. We hypothesized that water uptake from deeper soil depths increases in more diverse compared to low diverse plant species mixtures. We labeled soil water in 8 cm (with 18O) and 28 cm depth (with H) three times during the 2011 growing season in 40 temperate grassland communities of varying species richness (2, 4, 8 and 16 species) and functional group number and composition (legumes, grasses, tall herbs, small herbs). Stable isotope analyses of xylem and soil water allowed identifying the preferential depth of water uptake. Higher enrichment in 18O of xylem water than in H suggested that the main water uptake was in the upper soil layer. Furthermore, our results revealed no differences in root water uptake among communities with different species richness, different number of functional groups or with time. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of increased complementarity in water use in more diverse than in less diverse communities of temperate grassland species. PMID:25587998

  16. Soil Respiration in Semiarid Temperate Grasslands under Various Land Management

    PubMed Central

    Hou, Xiangyang; Schellenberg, Michael P.

    2016-01-01

    Soil respiration, a major component of the global carbon cycle, is significantly influenced by land management practices. Grasslands are potentially a major sink for carbon, but can also be a source. Here, we investigated the potential effect of land management (grazing, clipping, and ungrazed enclosures) on soil respiration in the semiarid grassland of northern China. Our results showed the mean soil respiration was significantly higher under enclosures (2.17μmol.m−2.s−1) and clipping (2.06μmol.m−2.s−1) than under grazing (1.65μmol.m−2.s−1) over the three growing seasons. The high rates of soil respiration under enclosure and clipping were associated with the higher belowground net primary productivity (BNPP). Our analyses indicated that soil respiration was primarily related to BNPP under grazing, to soil water content under clipping. Using structural equation models, we found that soil water content, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and BNPP regulated soil respiration, with soil water content as the predominant factor. Our findings highlight that management-induced changes in abiotic (soil temperature and soil water content) and biotic (ANPP and BNPP) factors regulate soil respiration in the semiarid temperate grassland of northern China. PMID:26808376

  17. The Effects of Warming and Nitrogen Addition on Soil Nitrogen Cycling in a Temperate Grassland, Northeastern China

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Lin-Na; L, Xiao-Tao; Liu, Yang; Guo, Ji-Xun; Zhang, Nan-Yi; Yang, Jian-Qin; Wang, Ren-Zhong

    2011-01-01

    Background Both climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition are predicted to affect soil N cycling in terrestrial biomes over the next century. However, the interactive effects of warming and N deposition on soil N mineralization in temperate grasslands are poorly understood. Methodology/Principal Findings A field manipulation experiment was conducted to examine the effects of warming and N addition on soil N cycling in a temperate grassland of northeastern China from 2007 to 2009. Soil samples were incubated at a constant temperature and moisture, from samples collected in the field. The results showed that both warming and N addition significantly stimulated soil net N mineralization rate and net nitrification rate. Combined warming and N addition caused an interactive effect on N mineralization, which could be explained by the relative shift of soil microbial community structure because of fungal biomass increase and strong plant uptake of added N due to warming. Irrespective of strong intra- and inter-annual variations in soil N mineralization, the responses of N mineralization to warming and N addition did not change during the three growing seasons, suggesting independence of warming and N responses of N mineralization from precipitation variations in the temperate grassland. Conclusions/Significance Interactions between climate warming and N deposition on soil N cycling were significant. These findings will improve our understanding on the response of soil N cycling to the simultaneous climate change drivers in temperate grassland ecosystem. PMID:22096609

  18. Increasing land-use intensity decreases floral colour diversity of plant communities in temperate grasslands.

    PubMed

    Binkenstein, Julia; Renoult, Julien P; Schaefer, H Martin

    2013-10-01

    To preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functions in a globally changing world it is crucial to understand the effect of land use on ecosystem processes such as pollination. Floral colouration is known to be central in plant-pollinator interactions. To date, it is still unknown whether land use affects the colouration of flowering plant communities. To assess the effect of land use on the diversity and composition of flower colours in temperate grasslands, we collected data on the number of flowering plant species, blossom cover and flower reflectance spectra from 69 plant communities in two German regions, Schwäbische Alb (SA) and Hainich-Dün (HD). We analysed reflectance data of flower colours as they are perceived by honeybees and studied floral colour diversity based upon spectral loci of each flowering plant species in the Maxwell triangle. Before the first mowing, flower colour diversity decreased with increasing land-use intensity in SA, accompanied by a shift of mean flower colours of communities towards an increasing proportion of white blossom cover in both regions. By changing colour characteristics of grasslands, we suggest that increasing land-use intensity can affect the flower visitor fauna in terms of visitor behaviour and diversity. These changes may in turn influence plant reproduction in grassland plant communities. Our results indicate that land use is likely to affect communication processes between plants and flower visitors by altering flower colour traits. PMID:23568710

  19. Patterns of plant biomass allocation in temperate grasslands across a 2500-km transect in northern China.

    PubMed

    Luo, Wentao; Jiang, Yong; L, Xiaotao; Wang, Xue; Li, Mai-He; Bai, Edith; Han, Xingguo; Xu, Zhuwen

    2013-01-01

    Plant biomass allocation between below- and above-ground parts can actively adapt to the ambient growth conditions and is a key parameter for estimating terrestrial ecosystem carbon (C) stocks. To investigate how climatic variations affect patterns of plant biomass allocation, we sampled 548 plants belonging to four dominant genera (Stipa spp., Cleistogenes spp., Agropyron spp., and Leymus spp.) along a large-scale (2500 km) climatic gradient across the temperate grasslands from west to east in northern China. Our results showed that Leymus spp. had the lowest root/shoot ratios among the each genus. Root/shoot ratios of each genera were positively correlated with mean annual temperature (MAT), and negatively correlated with mean annual precipitation (MAP) across the transect. Temperature contributed more to the variation of root/shoot ratios than precipitation for Cleistogenes spp. (C4 plants), whereas precipitation exerted a stronger influence than temperature on their variations for the other three genera (C3 plants). From east to west, investment of C into the belowground parts increased as precipitation decreased while temperature increased. Such changes in biomass allocation patterns in response to climatic factors may alter the competition regimes among co-existing plants, resulting in changes in community composition, structure and ecosystem functions. Our results suggested that future climate change would have great impact on C allocation and storage, as well as C turnover in the grassland ecosystems in northern China. PMID:23977135

  20. Estimating carbon dioxide fluxes from temperate mountain grasslands using broad-band vegetation indices

    PubMed Central

    Wohlfahrt, G.; Pilloni, S.; Hörtnagl, L.; Hammerle, A.

    2013-01-01

    The broad-band normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the simple ratio (SR) were calculated from measurements of reflectance of photosynthetically active and short-wave radiation at two temperate mountain grasslands in Austria and related to the net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) measured concurrently by means of the eddy covariance method. There was no significant statistical difference between the relationships of midday mean NEE with narrow- and broad-band NDVI and SR, measured during and calculated for that same time window, respectively. The skill of broad-band NDVI and SR in predicting CO2 fluxes was higher for metrics dominated by gross photosynthesis and lowest for ecosystem respiration, with NEE in between. A method based on a simple light response model whose parameters were parameterised based on broad-band NDVI allowed to improve predictions of daily NEE and is suggested to hold promise for filling gaps in the NEE time series. Relationships of CO2 flux metrics with broad-band NDVI and SR however generally differed between the two studied grassland sites indicting an influence of additional factors not yet accounted for. PMID:24339832

  1. Belowground grassland herbivores are resistant to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations in grassland ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grasslands are considered to be one of the most sensitive ecosystems to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Moreover, grasslands support large populations of belowground herbivores that consume a major portion of plant biomass. The direct trophic link between herbivores and plants suggests that...

  2. Controls on winter ecosystem respiration in temperate and boreal ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, T.; Ciais, P.; Piao, S. L.; Ottl, C.; Brender, P.; Maignan, F.; Arain, A.; Cescatti, A.; Gianelle, D.; Gough, C.; Gu, L.; Lafleur, P.; Laurila, T.; Marcolla, B.; Margolis, H.; Montagnani, L.; Moors, E.; Saigusa, N.; Vesala, T.; Wohlfahrt, G.; Koven, C.; Black, A.; Dellwik, E.; Don, A.; Hollinger, D.; Knohl, A.; Monson, R.; Munger, J.; Suyker, A.; Varlagin, A.; Verma, S.

    2011-07-01

    Winter CO2 fluxes represent an important component of the annual carbon budget in northern ecosystems. Understanding winter respiration processes and their responses to climate change is also central to our ability to assess terrestrial carbon cycle and climate feedbacks in the future. However, the factors influencing the spatial and temporal patterns of winter ecosystem respiration (Reco) of northern ecosystems are poorly understood. For this reason, we analyzed eddy covariance flux data from 57 ecosystem sites ranging from ~35 N to ~70 N. Deciduous forests were characterized by the highest winter Reco rates (0.90 0.39 g C m-2 d-1), when winter is defined as the period during which daily air temperature remains below 0 C. By contrast, arctic wetlands had the lowest winter Reco rates (0.02 0.02 g C m-2 d-1). Mixed forests, evergreen needle-leaved forests, grasslands, croplands and boreal wetlands were characterized by intermediate winter Reco rates (g C m-2 d-1) of 0.70(0.33), 0.60(0.38), 0.62(0.43), 0.49(0.22) and 0.27(0.08), respectively. Our cross site analysis showed that winter air (Tair) and soil (Tsoil) temperature played a dominating role in determining the spatial patterns of winter Reco in both forest and managed ecosystems (grasslands and croplands). Besides temperature, the seasonal amplitude of the leaf area index (LAI), inferred from satellite observation, or growing season gross primary productivity, which we use here as a proxy for the amount of recent carbon available for Reco in the subsequent winter, played a marginal role in winter CO2 emissions from forest ecosystems. We found that winter Reco sensitivity to temperature variation across space (QS) was higher than the one over time (interannual, QT). This can be expected because QS not only accounts for climate gradients across sites but also for (positively correlated) the spatial variability of substrate quantity. Thus, if the models estimate future warming impacts on Reco based on QS rather than QT, this could overestimate the impact of temperature changes.

  3. Optimising stocking rate and grazing management to enhance environmental and production outcomes for native temperate grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Badgery, Warwick; Zhang, Yingjun; Huang, Ding; Broadfoot, Kim; Kemp, David; Mitchell, David

    2015-04-01

    Stocking rate and grazing management can be altered to enhance the sustainable production of grasslands but the relative influence of each has not often been determined for native temperate grasslands. Grazing management can range from seasonal rests through to intensive rotational grazing involving >30 paddocks. In large scale grazing, it can be difficult to segregate the influence of grazing pressure from the timing of utilisation. Moreover, relative grazing pressure can change between years as seasonal conditions influence grassland production compared to the relative constant requirements of animals. This paper reports on two studies in temperate native grasslands of northern China and south eastern Australia that examined stocking rate and regionally relevant grazing management strategies. In China, the grazing experiment involved combinations of a rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure of sheep in spring, then moderate or heavy grazing in summer and autumn. Moderate grazing pressure at 50% of the current district average, resulted in the better balance between maintaining productive and diverse grasslands, a profitable livestock system, and mitigation of greenhouse gases through increased soil carbon, methane uptake by the soil, and efficient methane emissions per unit of weight gain. Spring rests best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced livestock productivity due to lower feed quality from grazing later in the season. In Australia, the grazing experiment compared continuous grazing to flexible 4- and 20-paddock rotational grazing systems with sheep. Stocking rates were adjusted between systems biannually based on the average herbage mass of the grassland. No treatment degraded the perennial pasture composition, but ground cover was maintained at higher levels in the 20-paddock system even though this treatment had a higher stocking rate. Overall there was little difference in livestock production (e.g. kg lamb/ha), because individual animal performance was greater for continuous grazing than higher intensity grazing systems (4-Paddock and 20-Paddock). Differences in SOC, CO2 flux and erosion were determined by landscape position rather than grazing treatment. To remove the confounding influences of stocking rate and grazing management, the Ausfarm biophysical model, calibrated to the experimental treatments, examined the interaction between grazing management and stocking rates. Ground cover and profitability were similar between grazing systems at lower stocking rates (3 ewes per ha), but continuous grazing had higher profitability and lower ground cover above the optimum stocking rate of 4 ewes per ha. The findings of these two studies suggest that optimising stocking rate is more important than grazing management for a sustainable and profitable grazing system. Grazing management can further enhance environmental outcomes for an optimal stocking rate, but the findings from the Chinese study particularly highlight the need to look at multiple ecosystem services, when optimising systems. The Australian study also suggests the optimum stocking rate is dependent on the intensity of grazing management. Further work is required to understand the influence of landscape on grassland production and how stocking rates and grazing management can be sustainably optimised for different landscape areas to utilise this variation more effectively.

  4. Land surface memory effects on dust emission in a Mongolian temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nandintsetseg, Banzragch; Shinoda, Masato

    2015-03-01

    Aeolian processes in temperate grasslands are unique in that the plant growth-decay cycle, soil moisture/snowpack dynamics, and induced grazing interactively affect seasonal and interannual variations of dust emission. This study uses process-based ecosystem model DAYCENT and unique saltation flux measurements to (1) identify primary land surface factors that control dust emission with soil moisture and vegetation components (live grasses, standing dead grasses, and litter) in a Mongolian grassland and (2) test the dead-leaf hypothesis proposed by previous observational studies that correlates plant biomass in summer and dust events the following spring. In general, the DAYCENT model realistically simulates seasonal and interannual variations of the vegetation components and soil moisture that were captured by field observations during 2003-2010. Then, the land surface components are correlated with measured daily saltation flux in the springs of 2008-2009 and the frequency of monthly dusty days during March-June 2002-2010. Results show that dust emission had a similar amplitude of significant correlation with wind speed and a combination of all land surface components, which demonstrates a memory of the preceding year. The memory analysis reveals that vegetation and soil moisture anomalies during spring dust emission are significantly autocorrelated with the preceding year's (autumn) corresponding anomalies, which were controlled by rainfall during a given summer. Most importantly, of the vegetation components, the standing dead grasses had the strongest memory and simultaneous correlation with spring dust emission, suggesting the validity of the dead-leaf hypothesis.

  5. Acetaldehyde exchange above a managed temperate mountain grassland.

    PubMed

    Hrtnagl, L; Bamberger, I; Graus, M; Ruuskanen, T M; Schnitzhofer, R; Walser, M; Unterberger, A; Hansel, A; Wohlfahrt, G

    2013-10-01

    An overview of acetaldehyde exchange above a managed temperate mountain grassland in Austria over four growing seasons is presented. The meadow acted as a net source of acetaldehyde in all four years, emitting between 7 and 28 mg C m(-2) over the whole growing period. The cutting of the meadow resulted in huge acetaldehyde emission bursts on the day of harvesting or one day later. During undisturbed conditions, both uptake and emission fluxes were recorded. The bidirectional nature of acetaldehyde fluxes was also reflected by clear diurnal cycles during certain time periods, indicating strong deposition processes before the 1st cut and emission towards the end of the growing season. The analysis of acetaldehyde compensation points revealed a complex relationship between ambient acetaldehyde mixing ratios and respective fluxes, significantly influenced by multiple environmental parameters and variable throughout the year. As a major finding of this study, we identified both a positive and negative correlation between concentration and flux on a daily scale, where soil temperature and soil water content were the most significant factors in determining the direction of the slope. In turn, this bidirectional relationship on a daily scale resulted in compensation points between 0.40 ppbv and 0.54 ppbv, which could be well explained by collected ancillary data. We conclude that in order to model acetaldehyde fluxes at the site in Neustift on a daily scale over longer time periods, it is crucial to know the type of relationship, i.e. the direction of the slope, between mixing ratios and fluxes on a given day. PMID:24363666

  6. Acetaldehyde exchange above a managed temperate mountain grassland

    PubMed Central

    Hörtnagl, L.; Bamberger, I.; Graus, M.; Ruuskanen, T. M.; Schnitzhofer, R.; Walser, M.; Unterberger, A.; Hansel, A.; Wohlfahrt, G.

    2013-01-01

    An overview of acetaldehyde exchange above a managed temperate mountain grassland in Austria over four growing seasons is presented. The meadow acted as a net source of acetaldehyde in all four years, emitting between 7 and 28 mg C m−2 over the whole growing period. The cutting of the meadow resulted in huge acetaldehyde emission bursts on the day of harvesting or one day later. During undisturbed conditions, both uptake and emission fluxes were recorded. The bidirectional nature of acetaldehyde fluxes was also reflected by clear diurnal cycles during certain time periods, indicating strong deposition processes before the 1st cut and emission towards the end of the growing season. The analysis of acetaldehyde compensation points revealed a complex relationship between ambient acetaldehyde mixing ratios and respective fluxes, significantly influenced by multiple environmental parameters and variable throughout the year. As a major finding of this study, we identified both a positive and negative correlation between concentration and flux on a daily scale, where soil temperature and soil water content were the most significant factors in determining the direction of the slope. In turn, this bidirectional relationship on a daily scale resulted in compensation points between 0.40 ppbv and 0.54 ppbv, which could be well explained by collected ancillary data. We conclude that in order to model acetaldehyde fluxes at the site in Neustift on a daily scale over longer time periods, it is crucial to know the type of relationship, i.e. the direction of the slope, between mixing ratios and fluxes on a given day. PMID:24363666

  7. Biotic, abiotic, and management controls on methanol exchange above a temperate mountain grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    HRtnagl, Lukas; Bamberger, Ines; Graus, Martin; Ruuskanen, Taina M.; Schnitzhofer, Ralf; Mller, Markus; Hansel, Armin; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2011-09-01

    Methanol (CH3OH) fluxes were quantified above a managed temperate mountain grassland in the Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria) during the growing seasons 2008 and 2009. Half-hourly methanol fluxes were calculated by means of the virtual disjunct eddy covariance (vDEC) method using three-dimensional wind data from a sonic anemometer and methanol volume mixing ratios measured with a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS). During (undisturbed) mature and growing phases, methanol fluxes exhibited a clear diurnal cycle with close-to-zero fluxes during nighttime and emissions, up to 10 nmol m-2 s-1, which followed the diurnal course of radiation and air temperature. Management events were found to represent the largest perturbations of methanol exchange at the studied grassland ecosystem: Peak emissions of 144.5 nmol m-2 s-1 were found during/after cutting of the meadow, reflecting the wounding of the plant material and subsequent depletion of the leaf internal aqueous methanol pools. After the application of organic fertilizer, elevated methanol emissions of up to 26.7 nmol m-2 s-1 were observed, likely reflecting enhanced microbial activity associated with the applied manure. Simple and multiple linear regression analyses revealed air temperature and radiation as the dominant abiotic controls, jointly explaining 47% and 70% of the variability in half-hourly and daily methanol fluxes. In contrast to published leaf-level laboratory studies, the surface conductance and the daily change in the amount of green plant area, used as ecosystem-scale proxies for stomatal conductance and growth, respectively, were found to exert only minor biotic controls on methanol exchange.

  8. Biotic, abiotic and management controls on methanol exchange above a temperate mountain grassland

    PubMed Central

    Hörtnagl, Lukas; Bamberger, Ines; Graus, Martin; Ruuskanen, Taina M.; Schnitzhofer, Ralf; Müller, Markus; Hansel, Armin; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2013-01-01

    Methanol (CH3OH) fluxes were quantified above a managed temperate mountain grassland in the Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria) during the growing seasons 2008 and 2009. Half-hourly methanol fluxes were calculated by means of the virtual disjunct eddy covariance (vDEC) method using 3-dimensional wind data from a sonic anemometer and methanol volume mixing ratios measured with a proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS). During (undisturbed) mature and growing phases methanol fluxes exhibited a clear diurnal cycle with close-to-zero fluxes during nighttime and emissions, up to 10 nmol m−2 s−1, which followed the diurnal course of radiation and air temperature. Management events were found to represent the largest perturbations of methanol exchange at the studied grassland ecosystem: Peak emissions of 144.5 nmol m−2 s−1 were found during/after cutting of the meadow reflecting the wounding of the plant material and subsequent depletion of the leaf internal aqueous methanol pools. After the application of organic fertilizer, elevated methanol emissions of up to 26.7 nmol m−2 s−1 were observed, likely reflecting enhanced microbial activity associated with the applied manure. Simple and multiple linear regression analyses revealed air temperature and radiation as the dominant abiotic controls, jointly explaining 47 % and 70 % of the variability in half-hourly and daily methanol fluxes. In contrast to published leaf-level laboratory studies, the surface conductance and the daily change in the amount of green plant area, used as ecosystem-scale proxies for stomatal conductance and growth, respectively, were found to exert only minor biotic controls on methanol exchange. PMID:24349901

  9. Mechanisms maintaining grassland biodiversity and ecosystem stability

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecologists need to know how particular processes influence biodiversity and ecosystem stability. We demonstrate how data from biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiments can be used to identify and quantify the classes of mechanisms maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem stability. We predicted...

  10. Assessing catchment-scale erosion and yields of suspended solids from improved temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    Bilotta, G S; Krueger, T; Brazier, R E; Butler, P; Freer, J; Hawkins, J M B; Haygarth, P M; Macleod, C J A; Quinton, J N

    2010-03-01

    This paper quantifies the yields of suspended solids (SS) from a headwater catchment managed as improved temperate grassland, providing the first direct, catchment-scale evidence of the rates of erosion from this land-use in the UK and assessing the threat posed to aquatic ecosystems. High-resolution monitoring of catchment hydrology and the concentrations of SS and volatile organic matter (VOM) were carried out in the first-order channel of the Den Brook headwater catchment in Devon (UK) during the 2006-2007 hydrological season. The widely used 'rating curve' (discharge-concentration) approach was employed to estimate yields of SS, but as demonstrated by previous researchers, this study showed that discharge is a poor predictor of SS concentrations and therefore any yields estimated from this technique are likely to be highly uncertain. Nevertheless, for the purpose of providing estimates of yields that are comparable to previous studies on other land uses/sources, this technique was adopted albeit in an uncertainty-based framework. The findings suggest that contrary to the common perception, grasslands can be erosive landscapes with SS yields from this catchment estimated to be between 0.54 and 1.21 t ha(-1) y(-1). In terms of on-site erosion problems, this rate of erosion does not significantly exceed the commonly used 'tolerable' threshold in the UK ( approximately 1 t ha(-1) y(-1)). In terms of off-site erosion problems, it is argued here that the conventional expression of SS yield as a bulk annual figure has little relevance to the water quality and ecological status of surface waters and therefore an alternative technique (the concentration-frequency curve) is developed within this paper for the specific purpose of assessing the ecological threat posed by the delivery of SS into surface waters. This technique illustrates that concentrations of SS recorded at the catchment outlet frequently exceed the water quality guidelines, such as those of the EU Freshwater Fisheries Directive (78/659/EC), and pose a serious threat to aquatic organisms. It is suggested that failure to recognise improved temperate grasslands as a potential source of particulate material could result in the non-compliance of surface waters to water quality guidelines, deterioration of ecological status and failure of water quality remediation measures. PMID:20445863

  11. Drought Experiment of a Mongolian Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shinoda, M.; Tsunekawa, A.; Nemoto, M.; Nachinshonhor, G. U.; Nakano, T.; Tamura, K.; Asano, M.; Erdenetsetseg, D.

    2006-12-01

    Recent large-scale climate change including global warming has likely been manifested as frequent and/or intensive drought occurrences in inland, arid Asia such as Mongolia. In order to investigate the response of a Mongolian grassland ecosystem to such a drought, an artificial drought experiment was conducted at Bayan Unjuul (105.95E, 47.04N) in the Mongolian typical steppe region during the growing season of 2005. The climatological (1995-2004) annul precipitation is 172.9mm, concentrated on the summer months of May- August, while the annual mean temperature is 0.1degC, with soil freezing during the winter. This study site is codominated by perennial grasses such as Stipa krylovii, Agropyron cristatum, and Cleistogenes squarrosa and annual forbs such as Artemisia adamsii and Chenopodium album. An area of 300m w300m in size was surrounded by a fence for protecting this area from grazing. The plots inside and outside of the area are referred to as no-grazing (NG) and grazing (G) plots, respectively. In the NG plot, two plots of 30m w30m with drought (D plot) and mowing (M plot) manipulations are allocated in the southwest part of the NG plot. The drought manipulation was conducted using a rainout shelter with a transparent polyethylene roof, open on all sides during the major growing season from late May to early August 2005. The total precipitation of 60.3mm in the annual total of 96.9mm (that is, a severe drought year) was excluded from the D plot. Thus, natural severe drought and artificial very severe drought conditions were produced in this year. To study the vegetation impact on thermal and moisture conditions at the ground surface, the mowing has been carried out on a monthly basis during the growing season. The initial conditions for each plot were examined during the late growing seasons of 2003 and 2004, showing no significant difference in terms of vegetation (above-/below-ground biomass and species diversity) and physical and chemical soil properties. Comprehensive observations including meteorological, vegetation, and soil elements for each plot have been made to examine two hypothetical processes of how the vegetation-soil system responds to the drought; that is, positive or negative feedback to atmosphere.

  12. Water relations in grassland and desert ecosystems exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2.

    PubMed

    Morgan, J A; Pataki, D E; Krner, C; Clark, H; Del Grosso, S J; Grnzweig, J M; Knapp, A K; Mosier, A R; Newton, P C D; Niklaus, P A; Nippert, J B; Nowak, R S; Parton, W J; Polley, H W; Shaw, M R

    2004-06-01

    Atmospheric CO2 enrichment may stimulate plant growth directly through (1) enhanced photosynthesis or indirectly, through (2) reduced plant water consumption and hence slower soil moisture depletion, or the combination of both. Herein we describe gas exchange, plant biomass and species responses of five native or semi-native temperate and Mediterranean grasslands and three semi-arid systems to CO2 enrichment, with an emphasis on water relations. Increasing CO2 led to decreased leaf conductance for water vapor, improved plant water status, altered seasonal evapotranspiration dynamics, and in most cases, periodic increases in soil water content. The extent, timing and duration of these responses varied among ecosystems, species and years. Across the grasslands of the Kansas tallgrass prairie, Colorado shortgrass steppe and Swiss calcareous grassland, increases in aboveground biomass from CO2 enrichment were relatively greater in dry years. In contrast, CO2-induced aboveground biomass increases in the Texas C3/C4 grassland and the New Zealand pasture seemed little or only marginally influenced by yearly variation in soil water, while plant growth in the Mojave Desert was stimulated by CO2 in a relatively wet year. Mediterranean grasslands sometimes failed to respond to CO2-related increased late-season water, whereas semiarid Negev grassland assemblages profited. Vegetative and reproductive responses to CO2 were highly varied among species and ecosystems, and did not generally follow any predictable pattern in regard to functional groups. Results suggest that the indirect effects of CO2 on plant and soil water relations may contribute substantially to experimentally induced CO2-effects, and also reflect local humidity conditions. For landscape scale predictions, this analysis calls for a clear distinction between biomass responses due to direct CO2 effects on photosynthesis and those indirect CO2 effects via soil moisture as documented here. PMID:15156395

  13. Irrigation and enhanced soil carbon input effects on below-ground carbon cycling in semiarid temperate grasslands.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Chunwang; Janssens, Ivan A; Liu, Ping; Zhou, Zhiyong; Sun, Osbert J

    2007-01-01

    Global climate change is generally expected to increase net primary production, resulting in increased soil carbon (C) inputs. To gain an understanding of how such increased soil C inputs would affect C cycling in the vast grasslands of northern China, we conducted a field experiment in which the responses of plant and microbial biomass and respiration were studied. Our experiment included the below-ground addition of particulate organic matter (POM) at rates equivalent to 0, 60, 120 and 240 g C m(-2), under either natural precipitation or under enhanced precipitation during the summer period (as predicted for that region in recent simulations using general circulation models). We observed that addition of POM had a large effect on soil microbial biomass and activity and that a major part of the added C was rapidly lost from the system. This suggests that microbial activity in the vast temperate grassland ecosystems of northern China is energy-limited. Moreover, POM addition (and the associated nutrient release) affected plant growth much more than the additional water input. Although we performed no direct fertilization experiments, the response of plant productivity to POM addition (and associated release of nutrients) leads us to believe that plant productivity in the semiarid grassland ecosystems of northern China is primarily limited by nutrients and not by water. PMID:17504466

  14. Warming and elevated CO2 lead to longer growing season in temperate grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Observational data over time suggest that as climate has warmed the growing season has lengthened, although experimental warming shortens early-growing species life cycles. Are other plant species living longer? We found that experimental warming in a temperate, semi-arid grassland led to earlier l...

  15. Environmental controls on carbon fluxes over three grassland ecosystems in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Y.; Zheng, Z.; Yu, G.

    2009-12-01

    This study compared the CO2 fluxes over three grassland ecosystems in China, including a semiarid steppe in Inner Mongolia (TS), an alpine shrub-meadow (ASM) in Qinghai and an alpine meadow-steppe (AMS) in Tibet. The measurements were made in 2004 and 2005 using the eddy covariance technique. Objectives were to document the different seasonality of net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) and its components, gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (Reco), and to examine how environmental factors affect carbon exchange in the three grassland ecosystems. It was warmer in 2005 than in 2004, especially during the growing season (from May to September), across the three sites. The annual precipitation at TS in 2004 (364.4mm) was close the annual average (350mm), whereas the precipitation at TS in 2005 (153.3mm) was significantly below the average. Both GEP and Reco of the temperate steppe in 2005 were significantly reduced by the extreme drought stress, resulting in net carbon release during almost the whole growing season. The magnitude of CO2 fluxes (daily and annual sums) was largest for the alpine shrub-meadow and smallest for the alpine meadow-steppe. The seasonal trends of GEP, Reco and NEE of the alpine shrub-meadow tracked closely with the variation in air temperature, while the seasonality of GEP, Reco and NEE of the temperate steppe and the alpine meadow-steppe was more related to the variation in soil moisture. The alpine shrub-meadow was a local carbon sink over the two years. The temperate steppe and alpine meadow-steppe were acting as net carbon source, with more carbon loss to the atmosphere in warmer and drier year of 2005. Annual precipitation was the primary climate driver for the difference in annual GEP and NEE among the three sites and between the two years. We also found the annual GEP and NEE depended significantly on the growing season length, which was mainly a result of the timing and amount of precipitation for the temperate steppe and the alpine meadow-steppe, but was more linked to the variation in air temperature for the alpine shrub-meadow. Relationships of annual gross ecosystems productivity (GEP) and net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) to growing season length (GSL) and annual precipitation (AP) across the three sites in 2004 and 2005.

  16. Flowering phenology in a species-rich temperate grassland is sensitive to warming but not elevated CO2.

    PubMed

    Hovenden, Mark J; Wills, Karen E; Vander Schoor, Jacqueline K; Williams, Amity L; Newton, Paul C D

    2008-01-01

    * Flowering is a critical stage in plant life cycles, and changes might alter processes at the species, community and ecosystem levels. Therefore, likely flowering-time responses to global change drivers are needed for predictions of global change impacts on natural and managed ecosystems. * Here, the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) (550 micromol mol(-1)) and warming (+2 masculineC) is reported on flowering times in a native, species-rich, temperate grassland in Tasmania, Australia in both 2004 and 2005. * Elevated [CO2] did not affect average time of first flowering in either year, only affecting three out of 23 species. Warming reduced time to first flowering by an average of 19.1 d in 2004, acting on most species, but did not significantly alter flowering time in 2005, which might be related to the timing of rainfall. Elevated [CO2] and warming treatments did not interact on flowering time. * These results show elevated [CO2] did not alter average flowering time or duration in this grassland; neither did it alter the response to warming. Therefore, flowering phenology appears insensitive to increasing [CO2] in this ecosystem, although the response to warming varies between years but can be strong. PMID:18346104

  17. Trophic diversity in two grassland ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Pearson, Clark V.; Dyer, Lee A.

    2006-01-01

    The roles of consumers (top-down forces) versus resources (bottom-up forces) as determinants of alpha diversity in a community are not well studied. Numerous community ecology models and empirical studies have provided a framework for understanding how density at various trophic levels responds to variation in the relative strength of top-down and bottom-up forces. The resulting trophic theory can be applied to understanding variation in insect diversity at different trophic levels. The objective of this research was to elucidate the strengths of direct and indirect interactions between plants and entire arthropod communities to determine the effects of trophic interactions on arthropod diversity. Grassland plant and insect diversity was measured in July 2001 to document patterns of diversity at multiple trophic levels. The study site includes riparian grasslands in North-Central Colorado on the Carpenter Ranch, owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. This pastureland consists of sites with different management regimes: unmanaged pasture intermixed along riparian forest, and cattle grazed pasture with flood irrigation. Plant abundance and richness were higher on the grazed-irrigated pasture versus the unmanaged field. Path analysis revealed strong effects of herbivore diversity on diversity of other trophic levels. For the managed fields, top-down forces were important, with increases in enemy diversity depressing herbivore diversity, which in turn depressed plant abundance. For the unmanaged fields, bottom-up forces dominated, with increases in plant diversity causing increased herbivore diversity, which in turn increased enemy diversity. These results support hypotheses from other empirical studies, demonstrating that changes in diversity of a single trophic level can cascade to effect diversity at other, nonadjacent trophic levels. PMID:19537996

  18. Response of grassland ecosystems to prolonged soil moisture deficit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ross, Morgan A.; Ponce-Campos, Guillermo E.; Barnes, Mallory L.; Hottenstein, John D.; Moran, M. Susan

    2014-05-01

    Soil moisture is commonly used for predictions of plant response and productivity. Climate change is predicted to cause an increase in the frequency and duration of droughts over the next century, which will result in prolonged periods of below-normal soil moisture. This, in turn, is expected to impact regional plant production, erosion and air quality. In fact, the number of consecutive months of soil moisture content below the drought-period mean has recently been linked to regional tree and shrub mortality in the southwest United States. This study investigated the effects of extended periods of below average soil moisture on the response of grassland ANPP to precipitation. Grassland ecosystems were selected for this study because of their ecological sensitivity to precipitation patterns. It has been postulated that the quick ecological response of grasslands to droughts can provide insight to large scale functional responses of regions to predicted climate change. The study sites included 21 grassland biomes throughout arid-to-humid climates in the United States with continuous surface soil moisture records for 2-13 years during the drought period from 2000-2013. Annual net primary production (ANPP) was estimated from the 13-year record of NASA MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index extracted for each site. Prolonged soil moisture deficit was defined as a period of at least 10 consecutive months during which soil moisture was below the drought-period mean. ANPP was monitored before, during and after prolonged soil moisture deficit to quantify shifts in the functional response of grasslands to precipitation, and in some cases, new species assemblages that included invasive species. Preliminary results indicated that when altered climatic conditions on grasslands led to an increase in the duration of soil water deficit, then the precipitation-to-ANPP relation became non-linear. Non-linearity was associated with extreme grassland dieback and changes in the historic species assemblage. The magnitude of change was related to the precipitation regime, where grasslands in hyper-arid and humid regimes were least likely to be affected by prolonged soil moisture deficit, and semiarid and mesic grasslands were most likely to be impacted, depending on the duration of the deficit. These results were applied to a large grassland region in Australia with soil moisture estimates from the European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) sensor to demonstrate the continental-scale potential of this application with satellite measurements. These results are even more relevant for application with the higher-resolution NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) products to be available in 2015.

  19. Recurrent winter warming pulses enhance nitrogen cycling and soil biotic activity in temperate heathland and grassland mesocosms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerings, J.; Jentsch, A.; Hammerl, V.; Lenz, K.; Henry, H. A. L.; Malyshev, A. V.; Kreyling, J.

    2014-06-01

    Winter air temperatures are projected to increase in the temperate zone, whereas snow cover is projected to decrease, leading to more extreme soil temperature variability, and potentially to changes in nutrient cycling. Therefore, we applied six winter warming pulses by infra-red heating lamps and surface heating wires in a field experiment over one winter in temperate heathland and grassland mesocosms. The experiment was replicated at two sites, a colder mountainous upland site with high snow accumulation and a warmer and dryer lowland site. Winter warming pulses enhanced soil biotic activity for both sites during winter, as indicated by 35% higher nitrogen (N) availability in the soil solution, 40% higher belowground decomposition and a 25% increase in the activity of the enzyme cellobiohydrolase. The mobilization of N differed between sites, and the incorporation of 15N into leaves was reduced by 31% in response to winter warming pulses, but only at the cold site, with significant reductions occurring for three of four tested plant species at this site. Furthermore, there was a trend of increased N leaching in response to the recurrent winter warming pulses. Overall, projected winter climate change in the temperate zone, with less snow and more variable soil temperatures, appears important for shifts in ecosystem functioning (i.e. nutrient cycling). While the effects of warming pulses on plant N mobilization did not differ among sites, reduced plant 15N incorporation at the colder temperate site suggests that frost damage may reduce plant performance in a warmer world, with important implications for nitrogen cycling and nitrogen losses from ecosystems.

  20. Fine-scale belowground species associations in temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    Frank, Douglas A; Pontes, Alyssa W; Maine, Eleanor M; Fridley, Jason D

    2015-06-01

    Evaluating how belowground processes contribute to plant community dynamics is hampered by limited information on the spatial structure of root communities at the scale that plants interact belowground. In this study, roots were mapped to the nearest one mm and molecularly identified by species on vertical (0-15 cm deep) surfaces of soil blocks excavated from dry and mesic grasslands in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) to examine the spatial relationships among species at the scale that roots interact. Our results indicated that average interspecific root - root distances for the majority of species were within a distance (3 mm) that roots have been shown to compete for resources. Most species placed their roots at random, although low root numbers for many species probably led to overestimating the occurrence of random patterns. According to theory, we expected that most of the remaining species would segregate their root systems to avoid competition. Instead we found that more species aggregated than segregated from others. Based on previous investigations, we hypothesize that species aggregate to increase uptake of water, nitrogen and/or phosphorus made available by neighbouring roots, or as a consequence of a reduction in the pathogenicity of soil biota growing in multispecies mixtures. Our results indicate that YNP grassland root communities are organized as closely interdigitating networks of species that potentially can support strong interactions among many species combinations. Future root research should address the prevalence and functional consequences of species aggregation across plant communities. PMID:25951537

  1. Sustainable management of insect herbivores in grassland ecosystems: New perspectives in grasshopper control

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grasshoppers are insect herbivores commonly found in grassland ecosystems worldwide. They are important components of biodiversity, contribute significantly to grassland function, and periodically exhibit large-scale outbreaks. Under outbreak conditions, they can be important competitors with verteb...

  2. Resistance of a grassland ecosystem to multiple drought events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Melinda; Hoover, David; Knapp, Alan

    2015-04-01

    Climate extremes, such as severe drought, are forecast to be more frequent and severe with climate change. As a consequence, such events will become increasingly important drivers of future ecosystem dynamics and function. We experimentally imposed an extreme growing season drought over two years in a central US grassland, allowed the ecosystem to recover for two years, and then imposed a second drought of similar magnitude. The first (2-yr) drought reduced aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) below the lowest level measured in this grassland for almost thirty years. The extreme reduction in ecosystem function with the first drought was a consequence of reduced productivity of the two dominant functional groups in this grassland - C4 grasses and C3 forbs. However, the most abundant (dominant) C3 forb was negatively impacted by the drought more than the dominant C4 grass. This differential sensitivity led to a reordering of species abundances within the plant community. Yet, despite this large shift in plant community composition, which persisted post-drought, ANPP recovered completely the year after drought. This rapid recovery in function was due to the dominant C4 grass compensating for loss of the dominant C3 forb. However, despite the rapid post-drought recovery, the ecosystem was more susceptible to a second drought of similar magnitude, with productivity reduced more in the previously droughted plots than those experiencing drought for the first time. Overall, our results suggest that low resistance of ecosystem function to an extreme climatic event does not preclude rapid ecosystem recovery, but may lead to greater vulnerability to future climate extremes.

  3. Plant functional group composition modifies the effects of precipitation change on grassland ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Fry, Ellen L; Manning, Pete; Allen, David G P; Hurst, Alex; Everwand, Georg; Rimmler, Martin; Power, Sally A

    2013-01-01

    Temperate grassland ecosystems face a future of precipitation change, which can alter community composition and ecosystem functions through reduced soil moisture and waterlogging. There is evidence that functionally diverse plant communities contain a wider range of water use and resource capture strategies, resulting in greater resistance of ecosystem function to precipitation change. To investigate this interaction between composition and precipitation change we performed a field experiment for three years in successional grassland in southern England. This consisted of two treatments. The first, precipitation change, simulated end of century predictions, and consisted of a summer drought phase alongside winter rainfall addition. The second, functional group identity, divided the plant community into three groups based on their functional traits- broadly described as perennials, caespitose grasses and annuals- and removed these groups in a factorial design. Ecosystem functions related to C, N and water cycling were measured regularly. Effects of functional groupidentity were apparent, with the dominant trend being that process rates were higher under control conditions where a range of perennial species were present. E.g. litter decomposition rates were significantly higher in plots containing several perennial species, the group with the highest average leaf N content. Process rates were also very strongly affected by the precipitation change treatmentwhen perennial plant species were dominant, but not where the community contained a high abundance of annual species and caespitose grasses. This contrasting response could be attributable to differing rooting patterns (shallower structures under annual plants, and deeper roots under perennials) and faster nutrient uptake in annuals compared to perennials. Our results indicate that precipitation change will have a smaller effect on key process rates in grasslandscontaining a range of perennial and annual species, and that maintaining the presence of key functional groups should be a crucial consideration in future grassland management. PMID:23437300

  4. Ecosystem Carbon and Nitrogen Accumulation after Grazing Exclusion in Semiarid Grassland

    PubMed Central

    Qiu, Liping; Wei, Xiaorong; Zhang, Xingchang; Cheng, Jimin

    2013-01-01

    The grazing exclusion in degraded grassland has been extensively used to prevent the loss of grassland resources and to improve grassland services. The effects of grazing exclusion on C and N balance, however, have not been well addressed but are essential for assessing grassland C sinks, the sustainable use of grassland resources and the support of grassland services. To understand the response of ecosystem C and N to grazing exclusion in semiarid grassland, we determined the C and N in litter, aboveground biomass, roots and soils from ungrazed grassland fenced at different times in northwest China. Our results showed that the aboveground biomass, root biomass and plant litter were 7092%, 56151% and 59141% higher, respectively, in grazer excluded grassland than in grazed grassland. Grazing exclusion significantly increased C and N stored in plant biomass and litter and increased the concentrations and stocks of C and N in soils. Grazing exclusion thus significantly increased the C and N stored in grassland ecosystems. The increase in C and N stored in soil contributed to more than 95% and 97% of the increases in ecosystem C and N storage. The highest C and N stocks in ecosystems were observed in 17-year grazer excluded grassland. The results from this study indicate that grazing exclusion has the potential to increase C and N storage in degraded semiarid grassland and that the recovery of ecosystem C and N was mainly due to the accumulation of C and N in soils. PMID:23383191

  5. Ecosystem carbon and nitrogen accumulation after grazing exclusion in semiarid grassland.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Liping; Wei, Xiaorong; Zhang, Xingchang; Cheng, Jimin

    2013-01-01

    The grazing exclusion in degraded grassland has been extensively used to prevent the loss of grassland resources and to improve grassland services. The effects of grazing exclusion on C and N balance, however, have not been well addressed but are essential for assessing grassland C sinks, the sustainable use of grassland resources and the support of grassland services. To understand the response of ecosystem C and N to grazing exclusion in semiarid grassland, we determined the C and N in litter, aboveground biomass, roots and soils from ungrazed grassland fenced at different times in northwest China. Our results showed that the aboveground biomass, root biomass and plant litter were 70-92%, 56-151% and 59-141% higher, respectively, in grazer excluded grassland than in grazed grassland. Grazing exclusion significantly increased C and N stored in plant biomass and litter and increased the concentrations and stocks of C and N in soils. Grazing exclusion thus significantly increased the C and N stored in grassland ecosystems. The increase in C and N stored in soil contributed to more than 95% and 97% of the increases in ecosystem C and N storage. The highest C and N stocks in ecosystems were observed in 17-year grazer excluded grassland. The results from this study indicate that grazing exclusion has the potential to increase C and N storage in degraded semiarid grassland and that the recovery of ecosystem C and N was mainly due to the accumulation of C and N in soils. PMID:23383191

  6. Extensive Management Promotes Plant and Microbial Nitrogen Retention in Temperate Grassland

    PubMed Central

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Bloem, Jaap; Quirk, Helen; Stevens, Carly J.; Bol, Roland; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Leaching losses of nitrogen (N) from soil and atmospheric N deposition have led to widespread changes in plant community and microbial community composition, but our knowledge of the factors that determine ecosystem N retention is limited. A common feature of extensively managed, species-rich grasslands is that they have fungal-dominated microbial communities, which might reduce soil N losses and increase ecosystem N retention, which is pivotal for pollution mitigation and sustainable food production. However, the mechanisms that underpin improved N retention in extensively managed, species-rich grasslands are unclear. We combined a landscape-scale field study and glasshouse experiment to test how grassland management affects plant and soil N retention. Specifically, we hypothesised that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands of high conservation value would have lower N loss and greater N retention than intensively managed, species-poor grasslands, and that this would be due to a greater immobilisation of N by a more fungal-dominated microbial community. In the field study, we found that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands had lower N leaching losses. Soil inorganic N availability decreased with increasing abundance of fungi relative to bacteria, although the best predictor of soil N leaching was the C/N ratio of aboveground plant biomass. In the associated glasshouse experiment we found that retention of added 15N was greater in extensively than in intensively managed grasslands, which was attributed to a combination of greater root uptake and microbial immobilisation of 15N in the former, and that microbial immobilisation increased with increasing biomass and abundance of fungi. These findings show that grassland management affects mechanisms of N retention in soil through changes in root and microbial uptake of N. Moreover, they support the notion that microbial communities might be the key to improved N retention through tightening linkages between plants and microbes and reducing N availability. PMID:23227252

  7. Monitoring Change in Temperate Coniferous Forest Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, Darrel (Technical Monitor); Woodcock, Curtis E.

    2004-01-01

    The primary goal of this research was to improve monitoring of temperate forest change using remote sensing. In this context, change includes both clearing of forest due to effects such as fire, logging, or land conversion and forest growth and succession. The Landsat 7 ETM+ proved an extremely valuable research tool in this domain. The Landsat 7 program has generated an extremely valuable transformation in the land remote sensing community by making high quality images available for relatively low cost. In addition, the tremendous improvements in the acquisition strategy greatly improved the overall availability of remote sensing images. I believe that from an historical prespective, the Landsat 7 mission will be considered extremely important as the improved image availability will stimulate the use of multitemporal imagery at resolutions useful for local to regional mapping. Also, Landsat 7 has opened the way to global applications of remote sensing at spatial scales where important surface processes and change can be directly monitored. It has been a wonderful experience to have participated on the Landsat 7 Science Team. The research conducted under this project led to contributions in four general domains: I. Improved understanding of the information content of images as a function of spatial resolution; II. Monitoring Forest Change and Succession; III. Development and Integration of Advanced Analysis Methods; and IV. General support of the remote sensing of forests and environmental change. This report is organized according to these topics. This report does not attempt to provide the complete details of the research conducted with support from this grant. That level of detail is provided in the 16 peer reviewed journal articles, 7 book chapters and 5 conference proceedings papers published as part of this grant. This report attempts to explain how the various publications fit together to improve our understanding of how forests are changing and how to monitor forest change with remote sensing. There were no new inventions that resulted from this grant.

  8. Sustaining multiple ecosystem functions in grassland communities requires higher biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Zavaleta, Erika S; Pasari, Jae R; Hulvey, Kristin B; Tilman, G David

    2010-01-26

    Society places value on the multiple functions of ecosystems from soil fertility to erosion control to wildlife-carrying capacity, and these functions are potentially threatened by ongoing biodiversity losses. Recent empirically based models using individual species' traits suggest that higher species richness is required to provide multiple ecosystem functions. However, no study to date has analyzed the observed functionality of communities of interacting species over multiple temporal scales to assess the relationship between biodiversity and multifunctionality. We use data from the longest-running biodiversity-functioning field experiment to date to test how species diversity affects the ability of grassland ecosystems to provide threshold levels of up to eight ecosystem functions simultaneously. Across years and every combination of ecosystem functions, minimum-required species richness consistently increases with the number of functions considered. Moreover, tradeoffs between functions and variability among years prevent any one community type from providing high levels of multiple functions, regardless of its diversity. Sustained multifunctionality, therefore, likely requires both higher species richness than single ecosystem functionality and a diversity of species assemblages across the landscape. PMID:20080690

  9. Water and nitrogen availability co-control ecosystem CO2 exchange in a semiarid temperate steppe

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xiaolin; Tan, Yulian; Li, Ang; Ren, Tingting; Chen, Shiping; Wang, Lixin; Huang, Jianhui

    2015-01-01

    Both water and nitrogen (N) availability have significant effects on ecosystem CO2 exchange (ECE), which includes net ecosystem productivity (NEP), ecosystem respiration (ER) and gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP). How water and N availability influence ECE in arid and semiarid grasslands is still uncertain. A manipulative experiment with additions of rainfall, snow and N was conducted to test their effects on ECE in a semiarid temperate steppe of northern China for three consecutive years with contrasting natural precipitation. ECE increased with annual precipitation but approached peak values at different precipitation amount. Water addition, especially summer water addition, had significantly positive effects on ECE in years when the natural precipitation was normal or below normal, but showed trivial effect on GEP when the natural precipitation was above normal as effects on ER and NEP offset one another. Nitrogen addition exerted non-significant or negative effects on ECE when precipitation was low but switched to a positive effect when precipitation was high, indicating N effect triggered by water availability. Our results indicate that both water and N availability control ECE and the effects of future precipitation changes and increasing N deposition will depend on how they can change collaboratively in this semiarid steppe ecosystem. PMID:26494051

  10. Seasonal variability of CH4 and N2O fluxes over a managed temperate mountain grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoertnagl, Lukas; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2013-04-01

    The quantification of greenhouse gas (GHG) budgets on a global scale is an important step in assessing the effect of anthropogenic and biogenic controls on a future climate. In the past, measurements of CO2 fluxes were conducted over a wide array of ecosystems, leading to a better understanding of its exchange patterns on different time scales and more sophisticated models. However, only few studies quantified the fluxes of the other two major GHG, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), mainly due to expensive sensors and their time-consuming maintenance. In addition, early CH4 and N2O measurements mainly focused on ecosystems with presumably high emissions of CH4 (e.g. wetlands) or N2O (e.g. heavily fertilized crops). In recent years, devices for CH4 and N2O measurements became widely available and more studies are conducted over sites that exert small and often close-to-zero fluxes. Despite recent advances in sensor sensitivity and stability, the quantification of CH4 and N2O exchange rates remains challenging. Here we present measurements of CH4 and N2O exchange rates of a temperate mountain grassland managed as a hay meadow near the village Neustift in the Stubai Valley, Austria, that started in April 2010 by means of the eddy covariance method. The three wind components and the speed of sound were acquired at a time resolution of 20 Hz, while CH4 and N2O mixing ratios were recorded at 2 Hz by a quantum cascade laser absorption spectrometer (QCL-AS). Fluxes of both compounds were calculated using the virtual disjunct eddy covariance method (vDEC). For better comparability fluxes of N2O and CH4 were also converted to g CO2-equivalents and compared to the CO2 exchange at the same site. In addition to exchange rates, challenges regarding the calculation of GHG fluxes at the investigated grassland site will also be discussed. In 2011, deposition of CH4 was recorded on 9 days with average uptake rates of -0.6 nmol m-2 s-1. Peak emissions of up to 12.9 nmol m-2 s-1 were found in October, about 10 days after the 3rd cutting of the meadow. First results showed cumulative fluxes amounting to a net emission of CH4, corresponding to 58.6 g CO2-equivalents m-2 in 2011. N2O showed net deposition fluxes on 38 days and maximum uptake rates of -0.3 nmol m-2 s-1 during 7 consecutive days with nitrogen uptake in April 2011. Peak emissions of more than 1.2 nmol m-2 s-1 were observed at the end of November, about one month after fertilization. In total, the meadow was a source of N2O (118.9 g CO2-equivalents m-2). In comparison, cumulative fluxes of CO2 in 2011 resulted in a net uptake of -70.4 g CO2 m-2. Distinct diurnal cycles could be observed for N2O, e.g. in April with peak uptake rates of more than -0.7 nmol m-2 s-1 around noon, or in August with peak midday emissions of around 0.8 nmol m-2 s-1. Diurnal cycles of CH4 were less pronounced and more error-prone due to spikes in methane mixing ratios and fluxes, but nevertheless showed a tendency of methane release during the day, around noon up to 10.1 nmol m-2 s-1 in September.

  11. Carbon dioxide budget in a temperature grassland ecosystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Joon; Verma, Shashi B.; Clement, Robert J.

    1992-01-01

    Eddy correlation measurements of CO2 flux made during May-October 1987 and June-August 1989 were employed, in conjunction with simulated data, to examine the net exchange of CO2 in a temperature grassland ecosystem. Simulated estimates of CO2 uptake were used when flux measurements were not available. These estimates were based on daily intercepted photosynthetically active radiation, air temperature, and extractable soil water. Soil CO2 flux and dark respiration of the aerial part of plants were estimated using the relationships developed by Norman et al. (1992) and Polley et al. (1992) at the study site. The results indicate that the CO2 exchange between this ecosystem and the atmosphere is highly variable. The net ecosystem CO2 exchange reached its peak value (12-18 g/sq m d) during the period when the leaf area index was maximum. Drought, a frequent occurrence in this region, can change this ecosystem from a sink to a source for atmospheric CO2. Comparison with data on dry matter indicated that the aboveground biomass accounted for about 45-70 percent of the net carbon uptake, suggesting the importance of the below ground biomass in estimating net primary productivity in this ecosystem.

  12. Effects of Water and Nitrogen Addition on Species Turnover in Temperate Grasslands in Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Zhuwen; Wan, Shiqiang; Ren, Haiyan; Han, Xingguo; Li, Mai-He; Cheng, Weixin; Jiang, Yong

    2012-01-01

    Global nitrogen (N) deposition and climate change have been identified as two of the most important causes of current plant diversity loss. However, temporal patterns of species turnover underlying diversity changes in response to changing precipitation regimes and atmospheric N deposition have received inadequate attention. We carried out a manipulation experiment in a steppe and an old-field in North China from 2005 to 2009, to test the hypothesis that water addition enhances plant species richness through increase in the rate of species gain and decrease in the rate of species loss, while N addition has opposite effects on species changes. Our results showed that water addition increased the rate of species gain in both the steppe and the old field but decreased the rates of species loss and turnover in the old field. In contrast, N addition increased the rates of species loss and turnover in the steppe but decreased the rate of species gain in the old field. The rate of species change was greater in the old field than in the steppe. Water interacted with N to affect species richness and species turnover, indicating that the impacts of N on semi-arid grasslands were largely mediated by water availability. The temporal stability of communities was negatively correlated with rates of species loss and turnover, suggesting that water addition might enhance, but N addition would reduce the compositional stability of grasslands. Experimental results support our initial hypothesis and demonstrate that water and N availabilities differed in the effects on rate of species change in the temperate grasslands, and these effects also depend on grassland types and/or land-use history. Species gain and loss together contribute to the dynamic change of species richness in semi-arid grasslands under future climate change. PMID:22768119

  13. Carbon dioxide exchange in a temperate grassland ecosystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Joon; Verma, Shashi B.

    1990-01-01

    Carbon dioxide exchange was measured, using the eddy correlation technique, over a tallgrass prairie in northeastern Kansas, U.S.A., during a six-month period in 1987. The diurnal patterns of daytime and nocturnal CO2 fluxes are presented on eight selected days. These days were distributed throughout most of the growing season and covered a wide range of meteorological and soil water conditions. The midday CO2 flux reached a maximum of 1.3 mg/sq m (ground area)/s during early July and was near zero during the dry period in late July. The dependence of the daytime carbon dioxide exchange on pertinent controlling variables, particularly photosynthetically active radiation, vapor pressure deficit, and soil water content is discussed. The nocturnal CO2 flux (soil plus plant respiration) averaged -0.4 m sq m (ground area)/s during early July and was about -0.2 mg sq/m during the dry period.

  14. Biotic, abiotic and management controls on methanol fluxes above a temperate mountain grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hörtnagl, Lukas; Bamberger, Ines; Graus, Martin; Ruuskanen, Taina; Schnitzhofer, Ralf; Müller, Markus; Hansel, Armin; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2010-05-01

    It was previously hypothesised that (i) stomatal conductance and plant growth play a key role in the emission of methanol (Hüve et al. 2007, Niinemets et al. 2004), (ii) methanol fluxes increase with air temperature (Niinemets and Reichstein 2003), and (iii) during cutting (leaf wounding) events and during drying high amounts of methanol are emitted into the atmosphere (Davison et al. 2008). Methanol fluxes were measured above a managed, temperate mountain grassland in Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria) during two growing seasons (2008 and 2009). Half-hourly flux values were calculated by means of the disjunct eddy covariance method using 3-dimensional wind-data of a sonic anemometer and mixing ratios of methanol measured with a proton-transfer-reaction-mass-spectrometer (PTR-MS). The surface conductance to water vapour was derived from measured evapotranspiration by inverting the Penman-Monteith combination equation (Wohlfahrt et al., 2009) for dry canopy conditions and used as a proxy for canopyscale stomatal conductance. Methanol fluxes exhibited a clear diurnal cycle with closetozero fluxes during nighttime and emissions, up to 10 nmol m-2 s-1, which followed the diurnal course of radiation and air temperature during daytime. Higher emissions of up to 30 nmol m-2 s-1were observed during cut events and spreading of organic manure. Methanol fluxes showed positive correlations with air temperature, stomatal conductance, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), confirming previous studies (e.g. Niinemets and Reichstein 2003). All three previously mentioned factors combined together were able to explain 40% of the observed flux variability. The influence of rapid changes in stomatal conductance on methanol fluxes, pointed out in earlier studies at the leaf-level (e.g. Niinemets and Reichstein 2003), could not be confirmed on ecosystem scale, possibly due to within-canopy gradients in stomatal conductance and the fact that fluxes were determined as half-hourly averages. As methanol is produced in expanding cell walls, the change in the measured green area index (?GAI) was used as a proxy for plant growth. However ?GAI was poorly correlated with methanol fluxes, possible explanations will be discussed. References: Davison, B., Brunner, A., Amman, C., Spirig, C., Jocher, M., Neftel, A. Cut-induced VOC emissions from agricultural grasslands. Plant Biol. 10, 76-85, 2008. Harley, P., Greenberg, J., Niinemets, Ü., and Guenther, A..: Environmental controls over methanol emission from leaves. Biogeosciences, 4, 1083-1099, 2007. Hüve, K., Christ, M., Kleist, E., Uerlings, R., Niinemets, Ü., Walter, A. and Wildt, J.: Simultaneous growth and emission measurements demonstrate an interactive control of methanol release by leaf expansion and stomata. doi:10.1093/jxb/erm038, Journal of Experimental Botany, 2007. Niinemets, Ü. and Reichstein, M.: Controls on the emission of plant volatiles through stomata: A sensitivity analysis. J. Geophys. Res., 108, 4211, doi:10.1029/2002JD002626, 2003. Niinemets, Ü., Loreto, F. and Reichstein, M.: Physiological and physicochemical controls on foliar volatile organic compound emissions. Trends in Plant Science,9, 2004. Wohlfahrt G., Haslwanter A., Hörtnagl L., Jasoni R.L., Fenstermaker L.F., Arnone J.A. III, Hammerle A. (2009) On the consequences of the energy imbalance for calculating surface conductance to water vapour. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149, 15561559.

  15. Soil respiration flux in northern coastal temperate rainforest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Amore, D. V.; Nay, S. M.; Edwards, R.; Valentine, D. W.; Hood, E. W.

    2009-12-01

    Forest carbon budgets are of increasing concern because of their linkages with changing climate. The potential source strength of northern forested ecosystems is of great interest due to the large carbon stock of these systems, especially the extensive peatlands. Where very few long-term measurements of soil carbon cycles have been made, such as the North Pacific coastal temperate margin, peatlands have potentially large but largely unknown source strengths, particularly through soil respiration. The easily and widely measured factors that influence the metabolism of plants and microorganisms in soils, such as temperature, moisture and substrate quality, must be coupled with a network of plot-scale measurements of soil respiration fluxes in this region in order to produce reasonable models of soil respiration flux across gradients of climate, vegetation and soil types. We designed a study to address this issue and measured soil respiration across a hydrologic gradient to quantify the influence of soil temperature and moisture on the magnitude and seasonality of carbon fluxes in the coastal temperate rainforest biome. Replicated study sites were established in three common ecosystem types (peatlands, forested wetlands, and upland forest) within three coastal watersheds. In total, nine sites of the three ecosystem types were measured at monthly intervals during the snow-free period between May and November for two years. Soil respiration fluxes during the six-month measurement period were used to construct a respiration flux model for each landscape type. Soil respiration fluxes followed the seasonal temperature pattern in all ecosystem types and also varied with soil saturation as well in uplands. Temperature dependent models of soil respiration flux were best fit to intermediate drainage conditions in forested wetlands and explained up to 85% of the variation in this ecosystem type. Modeled soil respiration estimates were better at low temperatures with high water tables and increased in variability with increasing temperature and lower water tables, confirming an interaction with soil moisture.Despite this variability, we were able to predict soil respiration rates within 10% of the actual flux using temperature-dependent models. The soil respiration model s we developed will be used to calibrate larger scale estimates of soil respiration flux and populate global change models to reduce the uncertainty in outcomes of ecosystem response to global change in the north pacific coastal temperate rainforest.

  16. Soil respiration flux in northern coastal temperate rainforest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Amore, David; Nay, S. Mark; Edwards, Richard; Valentine, David; Hood, Eran

    2010-05-01

    Forest carbon budgets are of increasing concern because of their linkages with changing climate. The potential source strength of northern forested ecosystems is of great interest due to the large carbon stock of these systems, especially the extensive peatlands. Where very few long-term measurements of soil carbon cycles have been made, such as the North Pacific coastal temperate margin, peatlands have potentially large but largely unknown source strengths, particularly through soil respiration. The easily and widely measured factors that influence the metabolism of plants and microorganisms in soils, such as temperature, moisture and substrate quality, must be coupled with a network of plot-scale measurements of soil respiration fluxes in this region in order to produce reasonable models of soil respiration flux across gradients of climate, vegetation and soil types. We designed a study to address this issue and measured soil respiration across a hydrologic gradient to quantify the influence of soil temperature and moisture on the magnitude and seasonality of carbon fluxes in the coastal temperate rainforest biome. Replicated study sites were established in three common ecosystem types (peatlands, forested wetlands, and upland forest) within three coastal watersheds. In total, nine sites of the three ecosystem types were measured at monthly intervals during the snow-free period between May and November for two years. Soil respiration fluxes during the six-month measurement period were used to construct a respiration flux model for each landscape type. Soil respiration fluxes followed the seasonal temperature pattern in all ecosystem types and also varied with soil saturation as well in uplands. Temperature dependent models of soil respiration flux were best fit to intermediate drainage conditions in forested wetlands and explained up to 85% of the variation in this ecosystem type. Modeled soil respiration estimates were better at low temperatures with high water tables and increased in variability with increasing temperature and lower water tables, confirming an interaction with soil moisture.Despite this variability, we were able to predict soil respiration rates within 10% of the actual flux using temperature-dependent models. The soil respiration models we developed will be used to calibrate larger scale estimates of soil respiration flux and populate global change models to reduce the uncertainty in outcomes of ecosystem response to global change in the north pacific coastal temperate rainforest.

  17. Nitrogen deposition weakens plant-microbe interactions in grassland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Wei, Cunzheng; Yu, Qiang; Bai, Edith; Lü, Xiaotao; Li, Qi; Xia, Jianyang; Kardol, Paul; Liang, Wenju; Wang, Zhengwen; Han, Xingguo

    2013-12-01

    Soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stoichiometry is a main driver of ecosystem functioning. Global N enrichment has greatly changed soil C : N ratios, but how altered resource stoichiometry influences the complexity of direct and indirect interactions among plants, soils, and microbial communities has rarely been explored. Here, we investigated the responses of the plant-soil-microbe system to multi-level N additions and the role of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and inorganic N stoichiometry in regulating microbial biomass in semiarid grassland in northern China. We documented a significant positive correlation between DOC and inorganic N across the N addition gradient, which contradicts the negative nonlinear correlation between nitrate accrual and DOC availability commonly observed in natural ecosystems. Using hierarchical structural equation modeling, we found that soil acidification resulting from N addition, rather than changes in the plant community, was most closely related to shifts in soil microbial community composition and decline of microbial respiration. These findings indicate a down-regulating effect of high N availability on plant-microbe interactions. That is, with the limiting factor for microbial biomass shifting from resource stoichiometry to soil acidity, N enrichment weakens the bottom-up control of soil microorganisms by plant-derived C sources. These results highlight the importance of integratively studying the plant-soil-microbe system in improving our understanding of ecosystem functioning under conditions of global N enrichment. PMID:23925948

  18. Separating drought effects from roof artefacts on ecosystem processes in a grassland drought experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vogel, Anja; Fester, Thomas; Eisenhauer, Nico; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Schmid, Bernhard; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2013-04-01

    Given the predictions of increasing risk of long drought periods under various climate change scenarios, there have been numerous experimental field studies simulating drought using transparent roofs in different ecosystems and regions. Such roofs may, however, have unknown side effects, here called artefacts, on the response variables potentially confounding experimental results and misleading conclusions. Knowing the ecosystem response to such roof artefacts is therefore indispensible to correctly predict the effects of drought on the composition and functioning of ecosystems. We therefore aimed at filling this gap by studying the relevance of roof artefacts in a temperate grassland ecosystem. We compared pure drought effects to roof artefacts by measuring the response of three ecosystem properties (aboveground biomass, litter decomposition and plant metabolite profiles). We realized three treatments: a drought treatment simulated by means of transparent roofs, an unroofed control treatment receiving natural rainfall and a roofed control, with rain water applied according to ambient conditions. The roof constructions in our experiment caused a slight change in air (+0.14 C during night) and soil (-0.45C on warm days, +0.25 C on cold nights) temperatures while photosynthetically active radiation was decreased (-16%) on bright days. Aboveground plant community biomass was reduced in the drought treatment (-41%), but there was no significant difference between the roofed and unroofed control, thus there was no measurable response of aboveground biomass to roof artefacts, but a considerable response to drought. Compared to the unroofed control, litter decomposition was decreased both in the drought treatment (-26%) and in the roofed control treatment (-18%), suggesting a response of litter decomposition to roof artefacts in addition to drought. Similarly, aboveground metabolite profiles in the model plant species Medicago x varia were significantly different from the unroofed control both in the drought and in the roofed control treatments. Our results stress the need for roofed control treatments when using transparent roofs for studying drought effects because of significant roof artefacts.

  19. Identifying priority areas for ecosystem service management in South African grasslands.

    PubMed

    Egoh, Benis N; Reyers, Belinda; Rouget, Mathieu; Richardson, David M

    2011-06-01

    Grasslands provide many ecosystem services required to support human well-being and are home to a diverse fauna and flora. Degradation of grasslands due to agriculture and other forms of land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services. Various efforts are underway around the world to stem these declines. The Grassland Programme in South Africa is one such initiative and is aimed at safeguarding both biodiversity and ecosystem services. As part of this developing programme, we identified spatial priority areas for ecosystem services, tested the effect of different target levels of ecosystem services used to identify priority areas, and evaluated whether biodiversity priority areas can be aligned with those for ecosystem services. We mapped five ecosystem services (below ground carbon storage, surface water supply, water flow regulation, soil accumulation and soil retention) and identified priority areas for individual ecosystem services and for all five services at the scale of quaternary catchments. Planning for individual ecosystem services showed that, depending on the ecosystem service of interest, between 4% and 13% of the grassland biome was required to conserve at least 40% of the soil and water services. Thirty-four percent of the biome was needed to conserve 40% of the carbon service in the grassland. Priority areas identified for five ecosystem services under three target levels (20%, 40%, 60% of the total amount) showed that between 17% and 56% of the grassland biome was needed to conserve these ecosystem services. There was moderate to high overlap between priority areas selected for ecosystem services and already-identified terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity priority areas. This level of overlap coupled with low irreplaceability values obtained when planning for individual ecosystem services makes it possible to combine biodiversity and ecosystem services in one plan using systematic conservation planning. PMID:21334134

  20. Convergence of potential net ecosystem production among contrasting C3 grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Peichl, Matthias; Sonnentag, Oliver; Wohlfahrt, Georg; Flanagan, Lawrence B.; Baldocchi, Dennis D.; Kiely, Gerard; Galvagno, Marta; Gianelle, Damiano; Marcolla, Barbara; Pio, Casimiro; Migliavacca, Mirco; Jones, Michael B.; Saunders, Matthew

    2013-01-01

    Metabolic theory and body size dependent constraints on biomass production and decomposition suggest that differences in the intrinsic potential net ecosystem production (NEPPOT) should be small among contrasting C3 grasslands and therefore unable to explain the wide range in the annual apparent net ecosystem production (NEPAPP) reported by previous studies. We estimated NEPPOT for nine C3 grasslands under contrasting climate and management regimes using multi-year eddy covariance data. NEPPOT converged within a narrow range suggesting little difference in the net carbon dioxide uptake capacity across C3 grasslands. Our results indicate a unique feature of C3 grasslands compared to other terrestrial ecosystems and suggest a state of stability in NEPPOT due to tightly coupled production and respiration processes. Consequently, the annual NEPAPP of C3 grasslands is primarily a function of seasonal and short-term environmental and management constraints, and therefore especially susceptible to changes in future climate patterns and associated adaptation of management practices. PMID:23346985

  1. Leaf area controls on energy partitioning of a temperate mountain grassland

    PubMed Central

    Hammerle, A.; Haslwanter, A.; Tappeiner, U.; Cernusca, A.; Wohlfahrt, G.

    2013-01-01

    Using a six year data set of eddy covariance flux measurements of sensible and latent heat, soil heat flux, net radiation, above-ground phytomass and meteorological driving forces energy partitioning was investigated at a temperate mountain grassland managed as a hay meadow in the Stubai Valley (Austria). The main findings of the study were: (i) Energy partitioning was dominated by latent heat, followed by sensible heat and the soil heat flux; (ii) When compared to standard environmental forcings, the amount of green plant matter, which due to three cuts varied considerably during the vegetation period, explained similar, and partially larger, fractions of the variability in energy partitioning; (iii) There were little, if any, indications of water stress effects on energy partitioning, despite reductions in soil water availability in combination with high evaporative demand, e.g. during the summer drought of 2003. PMID:24348583

  2. Ecosystem Change in California Grasslands: Impacts of Species Invasion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koteen, L. E.; Harte, J.; Baldocchi, D. D.

    2009-12-01

    Grassland ecosystems of California have undergone dramatic changes, resulting in the almost complete replacement of native perennial grasses by non-native annuals across millions of hectares of grassland habitat. Our research investigates the effects of this community shift on carbon, water and energy cycles at two sites in northern coastal California. Our goal was to understand how changes to California’s grasslands have affected climate through 1. shifting the balance of carbon storage between terrestrial stocks and the atmosphere, and 2. altering the water and energy regimes that heat or cool the earth's surface. To compare the processes that govern material exchange before and after annual grass invasion, we made use of sites where native vegetation is found adjacent to locations that have undergone non-native invasion. In plots of each vegetation type, we monitored whole plant productivity, root and litter decay rates and soil respiration, as well as soil climatic controls on these processes. At one site, we also measured surface albedo and the components of the surface energy balance in each grass community, using the surface renewal method. Although seemingly subtle, the shift in California grassland communities from native perennial to non-native annual grass dominance has had profound consequences for ecosystem biogeochemical, radiative and hydrological cycles. Soil carbon storage was found to be significantly greater in native perennial grass communities. Across both study sites, we found that non-native grass invasion has resulted in the transfer of from 3 to 6 tons of carbon per hectare from the soil to the atmosphere, dependent on site and species. A soil density fractionation and a radiocarbon analysis also revealed the carbon to be more recalcitrant in native grass dominated locations. The primary plant traits that help explain why soil carbon losses follow annual grass invasion are: 1. differences between annual and perennial grasses in above/ belowground allocation, 2. differences in growth plasticity in response to inter-annual precipitation variability, and 3. the effect of differences in rooting depth and aboveground morphology on soil moisture content and soil respiration. Over the years 2004-2006, we found energy partitioning into latent and sensible heat flux to be similar among annual and perennial grass communities during periods of sufficient soil moisture availability. When water becomes scarce in the late spring, however, and annual grasses die, the ratio of latent to sensible heat loss is reduced in annual grass communities relative to perennials. The deep roots of perennial grasses prolong the period over which transpiration occurs. We also found that albedo differs year-round between perennial and annual grasses, tracking differences in grass phenology. Albedo differences are at a maximum during the summer and autumn months. At this time, the lower albedo in non-native annual communities can raise near surface temperatures up to 6 oC midday relative to native perennials.

  3. Prairie dog decline reduces the supply of ecosystem services and leads to desertification of semiarid grasslands.

    PubMed

    Martnez-Estvez, Lourdes; Balvanera, Patricia; Pacheco, Jess; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2013-01-01

    Anthropogenic impacts on North American grasslands, a highly endangered ecosystem, have led to declines of prairie dogs, a keystone species, over 98% of their historical range. While impacts of this loss on maintenance of grassland biodiversity have been widely documented, much less is known about the consequences on the supply of ecosystem services. Here we assessed the effect of prairie dogs in the supply of five ecosystem services by comparing grasslands currently occupied by prairie dogs, grasslands devoid of prairie dogs, and areas that used to be occupied by prairie dogs that are currently dominated by mesquite scrub. Groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability were consistently quantitatively or qualitatively higher in prairie dog grasslands relative to grasslands or mesquite scrub. Our findings indicate a severe loss of ecosystem services associated to the absence of prairie dogs. These findings suggest that contrary to a much publicize perception, especially in the US, prairie dogs are fundamental in maintaining grasslands and their decline have strong negative impacts in human well - being through the loss of ecosystem services. PMID:24130691

  4. Prairie Dog Decline Reduces the Supply of Ecosystem Services and Leads to Desertification of Semiarid Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Estévez, Lourdes; Balvanera, Patricia; Pacheco, Jesús; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2013-01-01

    Anthropogenic impacts on North American grasslands, a highly endangered ecosystem, have led to declines of prairie dogs, a keystone species, over 98% of their historical range. While impacts of this loss on maintenance of grassland biodiversity have been widely documented, much less is known about the consequences on the supply of ecosystem services. Here we assessed the effect of prairie dogs in the supply of five ecosystem services by comparing grasslands currently occupied by prairie dogs, grasslands devoid of prairie dogs, and areas that used to be occupied by prairie dogs that are currently dominated by mesquite scrub. Groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability were consistently quantitatively or qualitatively higher in prairie dog grasslands relative to grasslands or mesquite scrub. Our findings indicate a severe loss of ecosystem services associated to the absence of prairie dogs. These findings suggest that contrary to a much publicize perception, especially in the US, prairie dogs are fundamental in maintaining grasslands and their decline have strong negative impacts in human well – being through the loss of ecosystem services. PMID:24130691

  5. The impact of human-environment interactions on the stability of forest-grassland mosaic ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Innes, Clinton; Anand, Madhur; Bauch, Chris T.

    2013-01-01

    Forest-grassland mosaic ecosystems can exhibit alternative stables states, whereby under the same environmental conditions, the ecosystem could equally well reside either in one state or another, depending on the initial conditions. We develop a mathematical model that couples a simplified forest-grassland mosaic model to a dynamic model of opinions about conservation priorities in a population, based on perceptions of ecosystem rarity. Weak human influence increases the region of parameter space where alternative stable states are possible. However, strong human influence precludes bistability, such that forest and grassland either co-exist at a single, stable equilibrium, or their relative abundance oscillates. Moreover, a perturbation can shift the system from a stable state to an oscillatory state. We conclude that human-environment interactions can qualitatively alter the composition of forest-grassland mosaic ecosystems. The human role in such systems should be viewed as dynamic, responsive element rather than as a fixed, unchanging entity. PMID:24048359

  6. The impact of human-environment interactions on the stability of forest-grassland mosaic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Innes, Clinton; Anand, Madhur; Bauch, Chris T

    2013-01-01

    Forest-grassland mosaic ecosystems can exhibit alternative stables states, whereby under the same environmental conditions, the ecosystem could equally well reside either in one state or another, depending on the initial conditions. We develop a mathematical model that couples a simplified forest-grassland mosaic model to a dynamic model of opinions about conservation priorities in a population, based on perceptions of ecosystem rarity. Weak human influence increases the region of parameter space where alternative stable states are possible. However, strong human influence precludes bistability, such that forest and grassland either co-exist at a single, stable equilibrium, or their relative abundance oscillates. Moreover, a perturbation can shift the system from a stable state to an oscillatory state. We conclude that human-environment interactions can qualitatively alter the composition of forest-grassland mosaic ecosystems. The human role in such systems should be viewed as dynamic, responsive element rather than as a fixed, unchanging entity. PMID:24048359

  7. Molecular Investigation of the Short-term Sequestration of Natural Abundance 13C -labelled Cow Dung in the Surface Horizons of a Temperate Grassland Soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dungait, J.; Bol, R.; Evershed, R. P.

    2004-12-01

    An adequate understanding of the carbon (C) sequestration potential of grasslands requires that the quantity and residence times of C inputs be measured. Herbivore dung is largely comprised of plant cell wall material, a significant source of stable C in intensively grazed temperate grassland ecosystems that contributes to the soil carbon budget. Our work uses compound-specific isotope analysis to identify the pattern of input of dung-derived compounds from natural abundance 13C/-labelled cow dung into the surface horizons of a temperate grassland soil over one year. C4 dung (δ 13C \\-12.6 ‰ ) from maize fed cows was applied to a temperate grassland surface (δ 13C \\-29.95 ‰ ) at IGER-North Wyke (Devon, UK), and dung remains and soil cores beneath the treatments collected at ŧ = 7, 14, 28, 56, 112, 224 and 372 days. Bulk dung carbon present in the 0\\-1 cm and 1\\-5 cm surface horizons of a grassland soil over one year was estimated using Δ 13C between C4 dung and C3 dung, after Bol {\\et al.} (2000). The major biochemical components of dung were quantified using proximate forage fibre analyses, after Goering and Van Soest (1970) and identified using `wet' chemical and GC-MS methods. Plant cell wall polysaccharides and lignin were found to account for up to 67 {%} of dung dry matter. Hydrolysed polysaccharides were prepared as alditol acetates for analyses (after Docherty {\\et al.}, 2001), and a novel application of an off-line pyrolysis method applied to measure lignin-derived phenolic compounds (after Poole & van Bergen, 2002). This paper focuses on major events in the incorporation of dung carbon, estimated using natural abundance 13C&-slash;labelling technique. This revealed a major bulk input of dung carbon after a period of significant rainfall with a consequent decline in bulk soil δ 13C values until the end of the experiment (Dungait {\\et al.}, submitted). Findings will be presented revealing contribution of plant cell wall polysaccharides and lignin to these bulk δ 13C values, and their potential for sequestration considered. References: Bol, R., Amelung, W., Friedrich, C. Ostle, N. (2000). Tracing dung-derived carbon in temperate grassland using 13C natural abundance measurements. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 32, 1337-1343. Goering and Van Soest (1970). Forage fibre analysis (apparatus, reagents, procedures and some applications). In: USDA-ARS Agricultural Handbook, 379. U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. Docherty, G., Jones, V. and Evershed, R.P. (2001). Practical and theoretical considerations in the gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry δ 13C analysis of small polyfunctional compounds. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 15, 730-738. Poole, I. & van Bergen, P. F. (2002). Carbon isotope ratio analysis of organic moieties from fossil mummified wood: establishing optimum conditions for off-line pyrolysis extraction using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 16, 1976-1981. Dungait, J. A. J., Bol, R. and Evershed, R.P. (submitted). The Fate of Dung Carbon in Temperate Grassland Soil: 1. Preliminary Findings Based on Bulk Stable Carbon Isotope Determinations. Isotopes in Health and Environmental Studies

  8. Changes in autumn vegetation dormancy onset date and the climate controls across temperate ecosystems in China from 1982 to 2010.

    PubMed

    Yang, Yuting; Guan, Huade; Shen, Miaogen; Liang, Wei; Jiang, Lei

    2015-02-01

    Vegetation phenology is a sensitive indicator of the dynamic response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change. In this study, the spatiotemporal pattern of vegetation dormancy onset date (DOD) and its climate controls over temperate China were examined by analysing the satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index and concurrent climate data from 1982 to 2010. Results show that preseason (May through October) air temperature is the primary climatic control of the DOD spatial pattern across temperate China, whereas preseason cumulative precipitation is dominantly associated with the DOD spatial pattern in relatively cold regions. Temporally, the average DOD over China's temperate ecosystems has delayed by 0.13 days per year during the past three decades. However, the delay trends are not continuous throughout the 29-year period. The DOD experienced the largest delay during the 1980s, but the delay trend slowed down or even reversed during the 1990s and 2000s. Our results also show that interannual variations in DOD are most significantly related with preseason mean temperature in most ecosystems, except for the desert ecosystem for which the variations in DOD are mainly regulated by preseason cumulative precipitation. Moreover, temperature also determines the spatial pattern of temperature sensitivity of DOD, which became significantly lower as temperature increased. On the other hand, the temperature sensitivity of DOD increases with increasing precipitation, especially in relatively dry areas (e.g. temperate grassland). This finding stresses the importance of hydrological control on the response of autumn phenology to changes in temperature, which must be accounted in current temperature-driven phenological models. PMID:25430658

  9. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    PubMed

    Wen, Lu; Dong, Shikui; Li, Yuanyuan; Li, Xiaoyan; Shi, Jianjun; Wang, Yanlong; Liu, Demei; Ma, Yushou

    2013-01-01

    The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC), and soil total nitrogen (TN) were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe) were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. PMID:23469278

  10. Frequent fire promotes diversity and cover of biological soil crusts in a derived temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    O'Bryan, Katharine E; Prober, Suzanne Mary; Lunt, Ian D; Eldridge, David J

    2009-04-01

    The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) predicts that species diversity is maximized at moderate disturbance levels. This model is often applied to grassy ecosystems, where disturbance can be important for maintaining vascular plant composition and diversity. However, effects of disturbance type and frequency on cover and diversity of non-vascular plants comprising biological soil crusts are poorly known, despite their potentially important role in ecosystem function. We established replicated disturbance regimes of different type (fire vs. mowing) and frequency (2, 4, 8 yearly and unburnt) in a high-quality, representative Themeda australis-Poa sieberiana derived grassland in south-eastern Australia. Effects on soil crust bryophytes and lichens (hereafter cryptogams) were measured after 12 years. Consistent with expectations under IDH, cryptogam richness and abundance declined under no disturbance, likely due to competitive exclusion by vascular plants as well as high soil turnover by soil invertebrates beneath thick grass. Disturbance type was also significant, with burning enhancing richness and abundance more than mowing. Contrary to expectations, however, cryptogam richness increased most dramatically under our most frequent and recent (2 year) burning regime, even when changes in abundance were accounted for by rarefaction analysis. Thus, from the perspective of cryptogams, 2-year burning was not an adequately severe disturbance regime to reduce diversity, highlighting the difficulty associated with expression of disturbance gradients in the application of IDH. Indeed, significant correlations with grassland structure suggest that cryptogam abundance and diversity in this relatively mesic (600 mm annual rainfall) grassland is maximised by frequent fires that reduce vegetation and litter cover, providing light, open areas and stable soil surfaces for colonisation. This contrasts with detrimental effects of 2-year burning on native perennial grasses, indicating that this proliferation of cryptogams has potentially high functional significance for situations where vegetation cover is depleted, particularly for reducing soil erosion. PMID:19132400

  11. Ecosystem services to and from North American arid grasslands

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Arid grasslands throughout North America are characterized by low and variable precipitation, nutrient-poor soils, and high spatial and temporal variability in plant production. These grasslands have provided a variety of goods and services, with the provisioning of food and fiber dominating through...

  12. Ungulate and topographic control of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal spore community composition in a temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    Murray, Tanya R; Frank, Douglas A; Gehring, Catherine A

    2010-03-01

    Large herbivores and topo-edaphic gradients are well-documented, major determinants of grassland plant production and species composition. In contrast, there is limited information about how these factors together may influence the composition of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) communities associated with plants. AMF are a common component of grassland ecosystems where they can influence plant productivity, diversity, and soil stability. In this study, AMF community composition was analyzed in paired plots located inside and outside 40-44-year-old ungulate exclosures at six grassland sites in Yellowstone National Park (YNP), USA, that varied in soil moisture and the availability of soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). AMF spore abundance, species richness, and the relative abundance of AMF species were determined from soil samples collected (1) randomly (n = 5 samples) within each of the 12 plots and (2) from beneath the dominant grass (n = 5 samples per plot) at each site. Randomly collected soil samples explored the effects of ungulates and topographic position on AMF composition at the plant community level, subsuming potential effects of ungulates on plant species composition. Dominant plant samples examined how grazers, in particular, influenced AMF communities, while controlling for host-plant identity. Grazing decreased AMF spore abundance across the landscape (examined by random sampling) but increased the AMF species richness associated with dominant plants. Grazing influenced the AMF species composition at the plant community level and at the host-plant level by shifting the relative abundances of individual AMF species. Individual AMF species responded differently to grazing and N and P availability. Our results demonstrate how soil moisture and N and P availability across the landscape interact with grazing to influence AMF species composition. PMID:20426339

  13. Understanding of Grassland Ecosystems under Climate Change and Economic Development Pressures in the Mongolia Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qi, J.; Chen, J.; Shan, P.; Pan, X.; Wei, Y.; Wang, M.; Xin, X.

    2011-12-01

    The land use and land cover change, especially in the form of grassland degradation, in the Mongolian Plateau, exhibited a unique spatio-temporal pattern that is a characteristic of a mixed stress from economic development and climate change of the region. The social dimension of the region played a key role in shaping the landscape and land use change, including the cultural clashes with economic development, conflicts between indigenous people and business ventures, and exogenous international influences. Various research projects have been conducted in the region to focus on physical degradation of grasslands and/or on economic development but there is a lack of understanding how the social and economic dimensions interact with grassland ecosystems and changes. In this talk, a synthesis report was made based on the most recent workshop held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, of China, that specifically focused on climate change and grassland ecosystems. The report analyzed the degree of grassland degradation, its climate and social drivers, and coupling nature of economic development and conservation of traditional grassland values. The goal is to fully understand the socio-ecological-economic interactions that together shape the trajectory of the grassland ecosystems in the Mongolia Plateau.

  14. Mobility and age of black carbon in two temperate grassland soils revealed by differential scanning calorimetry and radiocarbon dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leifeld, Jens; Feng, Xiaojuan; Eglinton, Timothy; Wacker, Lukas

    2015-04-01

    Black carbon (BC) is a natural component of soil organic matter (SOM) and abundant in many ecosystems. Its stability, due to its relative resistance to microbial decomposition, means it plays an important role in soil C sequestration. A recent review suggests that BC may be mobile in soil; hence, its contribution to a stable SOM pool may change over time due to its lateral or vertical reallocation (Rumpel et al. 2014). However, direct evidence of the mobility of BC, particularly with reference to its vertical mobility, is scarce. We studied the amount of BC in two temperate grassland fields (eutric clayey Camibsol,) that were established in 2001 on former cropland. Volumetric soil samples (0-50 cm, 5 cm increments) were taken at 10 spots in each field in 2001, 2006 and 2011. One of the fields was ploughed in 2007 and the sward was re-sown. BC content was measured by differential scanning calorimetry for a total number of c. 500 samples. The mean BC/OC ratio was 0.10 (±0.05) and reached 0.25 in some samples. Radiocarbon measurements from 24 bulk soil samples revealed relatively small 14C contents in 2001 (92±2.7 pMC) which increased over time (2006: 99.0±1.1 pMC; 2011: 99.1±1.1 pMC). Thermal fractionation of BC by DSC revealed calibrated BC ages of 400 to 1000 years (pMC 87-94), suggesting that BC originates from medieval and post-medieval fire clearings. The change in soil signature may have been caused by a preferential transport of old BC down the soil profile, leading to a selective enrichment of younger soil C over time. In line with this interpretation the DSC measurements suggest that in both fields, BC concentrations significantly decreased for most layers between 2001 and 2006. However, between 2006 and 2011, no further vertical reallocation was observed in the continuous grassland, whereas BC contents of the field ploughed in 2007 significantly increased in the top layers. Together, these data suggest that ploughing in 2001 triggered subsequent downwards movement of BC, a process which ceased after a few years. Repeated ploughing lifted up some of the BC from deeper layers and this material will probably be transported downwards in the future. Rumpel, C. et al. (2014) Movement of biochar in the environment. In: Lehmann, J. (Ed.): Biochar for the Environment, accepted.

  15. China's grazed temperate grasslands are a net source of atmospheric methane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zhi-Ping; Song, Yang; Gulledge, Jay; Yu, Qiang; Liu, Hong-Sheng; Han, Xing-Guo

    A budget for the methane (CH 4) cycle in the Xilin River basin of Inner Mongolia is presented. The annual CH 4 budget in this region depends primarily on the sum of atmospheric CH 4 uptake by upland soils, emission from small wetlands, and emission from grazing ruminants (sheep, goats, and cattle). Flux rates for these processes were averaged over multiple years with differing summer rainfall. Although uplands constitute the vast majority of land area, they consume much less CH 4 per unit area than is emitted by wetlands and ruminants. Atmospheric CH 4 uptake by upland soils was -3.3 and -4.8 kg CH 4 ha -1 y -1 in grazed and ungrazed areas, respectively. Average CH 4 emission was 791.0 kg CH 4 ha -1 y -1 from wetlands and 8.6 kg CH 4 ha -1 y -1 from ruminants. The basin area-weighted average of all three processes was 6.8 kg CH 4 ha -1 y -1, indicating that ruminant production has converted this basin to a net source of atmospheric CH 4. The total CH 4 emission from the Xilin River basin was 7.29 Gg CH 4 y -1. The current grazing intensity is about eightfold higher than that which would result in a net zero CH 4 flux. Since grazing intensity has increased throughout western China, it is likely that ruminant production has converted China's grazed temperate grasslands to a net source of atmospheric CH 4 overall.

  16. Transfer parameter values in temperate forest ecosystems: a review.

    PubMed

    Calmon, Philippe; Thiry, Yves; Zibold, Gregor; Rantavaara, Aino; Fesenko, Sergei

    2009-09-01

    Compared to agricultural lands, forests are complex ecosystems as they can involve diverse plant species associations, several vegetative strata (overstorey, shrubs, herbaceous and other annual plant layer) and multi-layered soil profiles (forest floor, hemi-organic and mineral layers). A high degree of variability is thus generally observed in radionuclide transfers and redistribution patterns in contaminated forests. In the long term, the soil compartment represents the major reservoir of radionuclides which can give rise to long-term plant and hence food contamination. For practical reasons, the contamination of various specific forest products has commonly been quantified using the aggregated transfer factor (T(ag) in m(2)kg(-1)) which integrates various environmental parameters including soil and plant type, root distribution as well as nature and vertical distribution of the deposits. Long lasting availability of some radionuclides was shown to be the source of much higher transfer in forest ecosystems than in agricultural lands. This study aimed at reviewing the most relevant quantitative information on radionuclide transfers to forest biota including trees, understorey vegetation, mushrooms, berries and game animals. For both radiocaesium and radiostrontium in trees, the order of magnitude of mean T(ag) values was 10(-3)m(2)kg(-1) (dry weight). Tree foliage was usually 2-12 times more contaminated than trunk wood. Maximum contamination of tree components with radiocaesium was associated with (semi-)hydromorphic areas with thick humus layers. The transfer of radionuclides to mushrooms and berries is high, in comparison with foodstuffs grown in agricultural systems. Concerning caesium uptake by mushrooms, the transfer is characterized by a very large variability of T(ag), from 10(-3) to 10(1)m(2)kg(-1) (dry weight). For berries, typical values are around 0.01-0.1 m(2)kg(-1) (dry weight). Transfer of radioactive caesium to game animals and reindeer and the rate of activity reduction, quantified as an ecological half-life, reflect the soil and pasture conditions at individual locations. Forests in temperate and boreal regions differ with respect to soil type and vegetation, and a faster decline of muscle activity concentrations in deer occurs in the temperate zone. However, in wild boar the caesium activity concentration shows no decline because of its special feeding habits. In the late phase, i.e. at least a few months since the external radionuclide contamination on feed plants has been removed, a T(ag) value of 0.01 m(2)kg(-1) (fresh weight) is common for (137)Cs in the muscles of adult moose and terrestrial birds living in boreal forests, and 0.03 m(2)kg(-1) (fresh weight) for arctic hare. Radiocaesium concentrations in reindeer muscle in winter may exceed the summer content by a factor of more than two, the mean T(ag) values for winter ranging from 0.02 to 0.8 m(2)kg(-1) (fresh weight), and in summer from 0.04 to 0.4m(2)kg(-1). The highest values are found in the year of initial contamination, followed by a gradual reduction. In waterfowl a relatively fast decline in uptake of (137)Cs has been found, with T(ag) values changing from 0.01 to 0.002 m(2)kg(-1) (fresh weight) in the three years after the contaminating event, the rate being determined by the dynamics of (137)Cs in aquatic ecosystems. PMID:19100665

  17. Alternative states of a semiarid grassland ecosystem: implications for ecosystem services

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Mark E.; Belote, R. Travis; Bowker, Matthew A.; Garman, Steven L.

    2011-01-01

    Ecosystems can shift between alternative states characterized by persistent differences in structure, function, and capacity to provide ecosystem services valued by society. We examined empirical evidence for alternative states in a semiarid grassland ecosystem where topographic complexity and contrasting management regimes have led to spatial variations in levels of livestock grazing. Using an inventory data set, we found that plots (n = 72) cluster into three groups corresponding to generalized alternative states identified in an a priori conceptual model. One cluster (biocrust) is notable for high coverage of a biological soil crust functional group in addition to vascular plants. Another (grass-bare) lacks biological crust but retains perennial grasses at levels similar to the biocrust cluster. A third (annualized-bare) is dominated by invasive annual plants. Occurrence of grass-bare and annualized-bare conditions in areas where livestock have been excluded for over 30 years demonstrates the persistence of these states. Significant differences among all three clusters were found for percent bare ground, percent total live cover, and functional group richness. Using data for vegetation structure and soil erodibility, we also found large among-cluster differences in average levels of dust emissions predicted by a wind-erosion model. Predicted emissions were highest for the annualized-bare cluster and lowest for the biocrust cluster, which was characterized by zero or minimal emissions even under conditions of extreme wind. Results illustrate potential trade-offs among ecosystem services including livestock production, soil retention, carbon storage, and biodiversity conservation. Improved understanding of these trade-offs may assist ecosystem managers when evaluating alternative management strategies.

  18. Warming and Nitrogen Addition Increase Litter Decomposition in a Temperate Meadow Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Shiwei; Guo, Rui; Zhang, Tao; Guo, Jixun

    2015-01-01

    Background Litter decomposition greatly influences soil structure, nutrient content and carbon sequestration, but how litter decomposition is affected by climate change is still not well understood. Methodology/Principal Findings A field experiment with increased temperature and nitrogen (N) addition was established in April 2007 to examine the effects of experimental warming, N addition and their interaction on litter decomposition in a temperate meadow steppe in northeastern China. Warming, N addition and warming plus N addition reduced the residual mass of L. chinensis litter by 3.78%, 7.51% and 4.53%, respectively, in 2008 and 2009, and by 4.73%, 24.08% and 16.1%, respectively, in 2010. Warming, N addition and warming plus N addition had no effect on the decomposition of P. communis litter in 2008 or 2009, but reduced the residual litter mass by 5.58%, 15.53% and 5.17%, respectively, in 2010. Warming and N addition reduced the cellulose percentage of L. chinensis and P. communis, specifically in 2010. The lignin percentage of L. chinensis and P. communis was reduced by warming but increased by N addition. The C, N and P contents of L. chinensis and P. communis litter increased with time. Warming and N addition reduced the C content and C:N ratios of L. chinensisand P. communis litter, but increased the N and P contents. Significant interactive effects of warming and N addition on litter decomposition were observed (P<0.01). Conclusion/Significance The litter decomposition rate was highly correlated with soil temperature, soil water content and litter quality. Warming and N addition significantly impacted the litter decomposition rate in the Songnen meadow ecosystem, and the effects of warming and N addition on litter decomposition were also influenced by the quality of litter. These results highlight how climate change could alter grassland ecosystem carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus contents in soil by influencing litter decomposition. PMID:25774776

  19. Rapid response of a grassland ecosystem to an experimental manipulation of a keystone rodent and domestic livestock

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Megaherbivores and small burrowing mammals commonly co-exist and play important functional roles in grassland ecosystems worldwide. The interactive effects of these two functional groups of herbivores in shaping the structure and function of grassland ecosystems are poorly understood. In North Ameri...

  20. Monitoring an ecosystem at risk: what is the degree of grassland fragmentation in the Canadian Prairies?

    PubMed

    Roch, Laura; Jaeger, Jochen A G

    2014-04-01

    Increasing fragmentation of grassland habitats by human activities is a major threat to biodiversity and landscape quality. Monitoring their degree of fragmentation has been identified as an urgent need. This study quantifies for the first time the current degree of grassland fragmentation in the Canadian Prairies using four fragmentation geometries (FGs) of increasing specificity (i.e. more restrictive grassland classification) and five types of reporting units (7 ecoregions, 50 census divisions, 1,166 municipalities, 17 sub-basins, and 108 watersheds). We evaluated the suitability of 11 datasets based on 8 suitability criteria and applied the effective mesh size (m(eff)) method to quantify fragmentation. We recommend the combination of the Crop Inventory Mapping of the Prairies and the CanVec datasets as the most suitable for monitoring grassland fragmentation. The grassland area remaining amounts to 87,570.45 km(2) in FG4 (strict grassland definition) and 183,242.042 km(2) in FG1 (broad grassland definition), out of 461,503.97 km(2) (entire Prairie Ecozone area). The very low values of m(eff) of 14.23 km(2) in FG4 and 25.44 km(2) in FG1 indicate an extremely high level of grassland fragmentation. The m(eff) method is supported in this study as highly suitable and recommended for long-term monitoring of grasslands in the Canadian Prairies; it can help set measurable targets and/or limits for regions to guide management efforts and as a tool for performance review of protection efforts, for increasing awareness, and for guiding efforts to minimize grassland fragmentation. This approach can also be applied in other parts of the world and to other ecosystems. PMID:24389841

  1. Carbon storage in Chinese grassland ecosystems: Influence of different integrative methods.

    PubMed

    Ma, Anna; He, Nianpeng; Yu, Guirui; Wen, Ding; Peng, Shunlei

    2016-01-01

    The accurate estimate of grassland carbon (C) is affected by many factors at the large scale. Here, we used six methods (three spatial interpolation methods and three grassland classification methods) to estimate C storage of Chinese grasslands based on published data from 2004 to 2014, and assessed the uncertainty resulting from different integrative methods. The uncertainty (coefficient of variation, CV, %) of grassland C storage was approximately 4.8% for the six methods tested, which was mainly determined by soil C storage. C density and C storage to the soil layer depth of 100?cm were estimated to be 8.46??0.41?kg C m(-2) and 30.98??1.25 Pg C, respectively. Ecosystem C storage was composed of 0.23??0.01 (0.7%) above-ground biomass, 1.38??0.14 (4.5%) below-ground biomass, and 29.37??1.2 (94.8%) Pg C in the 0-100?cm soil layer. Carbon storage calculated by the grassland classification methods (18 grassland types) was closer to the mean value than those calculated by the spatial interpolation methods. Differences in integrative methods may partially explain the high uncertainty in C storage estimates in different studies. This first evaluation demonstrates the importance of multi-methodological approaches to accurately estimate C storage in large-scale terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:26883467

  2. Effects of cultivation on N2O emission and seasonal quantitative variations of related microbes in a temperate grassland soil.

    PubMed

    Huang, B; Chen, G X

    2001-07-01

    Laboratory and in situ experiments were done to investigate the influences of cultivation on temperate semi-arid grassland (for 17 years spring wheat planted once every two years without fertilisation) on soil N2O emission and quantitative variations of related soil microbes. In the laboratory (25 degrees C and soil moisture 18%), cultivation increased soil transformations of fertilizer nitrogen (100 micrograms N/g as NaNO3, urea, or as urea with dicyandiamide 1 microgram N/g). The N2O emissions from the cultivated and uncultivated soils with or without nitrogen additions were relatively low, and mainly originated from the nitrification. The soil N2O emission due to cultivation decreased somewhat upon no fertilization or NaNO3 addition, but significantly upon urea addition. The role of dicyandiamide as nitrification inhibitor was only considerable in the cultivated soil, and had small influence on decreasing N2O emission in the two soils. The influence of cultivation on soil N2O emission was also reflected by the number variations of microbes related with soil nitrogen transformation in the two soils. Compared to the uncultivated grassland, in situ ammonifiers and denitrifiers in the cultivated grassland quantitatively averagely increased, and aerobic no-symbiotic azotobacters were quantitatively similar, leading to the continued decrease of organic matter content and the decrease of N2O emission from the cultivated grassland soil. PMID:11590774

  3. Environmental effects of oil and gas lease sites in a grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Nasen, Lawrence C; Noble, Bram F; Johnstone, Jill F

    2011-01-01

    The northern Great Plains of Saskatchewan is one of the most significantly modified landscapes in Canada. While the majority of anthropogenic disturbances to Saskatchewan's grasslands are the result of agricultural practices, development of petroleum and natural gas (PNG) resources is of increasing concern for grassland conservation. Although PNG developments require formal assessment and regulatory approval, follow-up and monitoring of the effects of PNG development on grasslands is not common practice. Consequently, the effects of PNG activity on grasslands and the spatial and temporal extent of such impacts are largely unknown. This paper examines the spatial and temporal extent of PNG development infrastructure from 1955 to 2006 in a grassland ecosystem in southwest Saskatchewan. The effects of PNG development on grassland ecology were assessed from measurements of ground cover characteristics, soil properties, and plant community composition at 31 sites in the study area. PNG lease sites were found to have low cover of herbaceous plants, club moss (Lycopodiaceae), litter, and shallow organic (Ah) horizons. Lease sites were also characterized by low diversity of desirable grassland plants and low range health values compared to off-lease reference sites. These impacts were amplified at active and highly productive lease sites. Impacts of PNG development persisted for more than 50 years following well site construction, and extended outward 20 m-25 m beyond the direct physical footprint of PNG well infrastructure. These results have significant implications with regard to the current state of monitoring and follow-up of PNG development, and the cumulative effective of PNG activity on grassland ecosystems over space and time. PMID:20880628

  4. Ecosystem development in roadside grasslands: biotic control, plantsoil interactions and dispersal limitations

    PubMed Central

    Garca-Palacios, Pablo; Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Soliveres, Santiago; Valladares, Fernando; Papadopoulos, Jorge; Escudero, Adrin

    2015-01-01

    Roadside grasslands undergoing secondary succession are abundant, and represent ecologically meaningful examples of novel, human-created ecosystems. Interactions between plant and soil communities (hereafter plantsoil 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 (02, 79 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 plantsoil 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) maintain well-conserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late-successional stages, 2) increase BSC cover in areas under strong erosion risk, to avoid soil loss, and 3) enhance soil microbial functional diversity in resource-limited areas, to enhance soil C and N accumulation. PMID:22073661

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

    PubMed

    Garca-Palacios, Pablo; Bowker, Matthew A; Maestre, Fernando T; Soliveres, Santiago; Valladares, Fernando; Papadopoulos, Jorge; Escudero, Adrin

    2011-10-01

    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 well-conserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late-successional stages, (2) increasing BSC cover in areas under strong erosion risk, to avoid soil loss, and (3) enhancing soil microbial functional diversity in resource-limited areas, to enhance soil C and N accumulation. PMID:22073661

  6. 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-successional stages, (2) increasing BSC cover in areas under strong erosion risk, to avoid soil loss, and (3) enhancing soil microbial functional diversity in resource-limited areas, to enhance soil C and N accumulation. ?? 2011 by the Ecological Society of America.

  7. Contrasting responses of terrestrial ecosystem production to hot temperature extreme regimes between grassland and forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Y.; Voigt, M.; Liu, H.

    2015-01-01

    During the past several decades, observational data have shown a faster increase in hot temperature extremes than the change in mean temperature. Increasingly high extreme temperatures are expected to affect terrestrial ecosystem function. The ecological impact of hot extremes on vegetation production, however, remains uncertain across biomes in natural climatic conditions. In this study, we investigated the effects of hot temperature extremes on vegetation production by combining the MODIS enhanced vegetation index (EVI) data set and in situ climatic records during the period 2000 to 2009 from 12 long-term experimental sites across biomes and climate. Our results show that higher mean annual maximum temperatures (Tmax) greatly reduced grassland production, and yet enhanced forest production after removing the effect of precipitation. The relative decrease in vegetation production was 16% for arid grassland and 7% for mesic grassland, and the increase was 5% for forest. We also observed a significantly positive relationship between interannual aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and Tmax for the forest biome (R2 = 0.79, P < 0.001). This line of evidence suggests that hot temperature extremes lead to contrasting ecosystem-level responses of vegetation production between grassland and forest biomes. Given that many terrestrial ecosystem models use average daily temperature as input, predictions of ecosystem production should consider such contrasting responses to increasingly hot temperature extreme regimes associated with climate change.

  8. Ecosystem response to rainfall variability and warming in a mesic grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grassland ecosystems are strongly responsive to climatic variability, and many fundamental aspects of their structure and function are tied to spatial and temporal variation in precipitation. The pulsed nature of precipitation inputs- short periods of rainfall separated by longer periods during whic...

  9. The rise of C4 grassland ecosystems, a climate puzzle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henderson, A.; Fox, D.; Freeman, K. H.

    2011-12-01

    The expansion of grasslands was one of the most profound ecological changes in the Cenozoic. Understanding the history of forest to grassland transitions, and the development of C4 grasslands in particular, is critical for understanding the relationship between land surface climate feedbacks, seasonality, and temperature. Modern distributions and ecological experiments demonstrate a strong correlation between C4 biogeography and high growing season temperatures and precipitation, as well as low pCO2 concentrations. The rise of C4 grasses in North America, as documented by carbonate nodule and mammal teeth ?13C values, began during a warm period with relatively stable pCO2 in the late Miocene. Surprisingly, C4 grasses continued to expand and then rose to dominance in the Great Plains as climates progressively cooled, moisture availability increased, and ice sheets formed further north on the continent. To understand this seemingly paradoxical scenario, we need constraints on the rate and character of increasing abundances of C4 vegetation. To this end, we use molecular and isotopic tools from terrestrial plant leaf wax n-alkanes extracted from carbonate nodules in the Meade Basin, Kansas and sites in Texas for the past 12 Ma. These records offer site-specific reconstructions tied directly to vegetation source. We compare our results to published continental-scale reconstructions of n-alkanes from the Mississippi River drainage basin and to climate records. From the distribution of C27 to C33 n-alkane abundances and patterns in ?13C values, we infer that C4 grasses coexisted with patches of C3 vegetation, including both grasses and trees. C4 grasses increasingly dominated the landscape, reaching modern abundances as ice sheets were reaching their southern limit in North America. Our results confirm that C4 grasslands emerged under cool and wet conditions, something we would not predict based on modern analogues, raising questions about our understanding of the climatic drivers on C4 vegetation distribution in the past.

  10. Understanding the importance wet, unimproved Culm grasslands have for the provision of multiple ecosystem services

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brazier, Richard; Elliot, Mark; Warren, Susan; Puttock, Alan

    2014-05-01

    It is increasingly recognised that catchments must be carefully managed for the provision of multiple, sometimes conflicting ecosystem services. This requires an increased interdisciplinary environmental understanding to inform management policy and practices by government, landowners and stakeholders. The Culm National Character Area (NCA) covers 3,500 square kilometres in South West England with Culm grasslands consisting of wet unimproved, species rich pastures, typically on poorly drained soils. Since the 1960's, policy changes have encouraged the drainage of large areas of land for agricultural improvement and consequently Culm grassland sites have become highly fragmented. There are currently 575 Culm grassland sites in the Culm NCA with a mean area of 7 ha. Traditionally, Culm grasslands have been managed by light grazing and scrub management. Since 2008, Devon Wildlife Trust's Working Wetlands project has been working with farmers and landowners to manage and restore and recreate Culm grasslands. It is part of South West Water's Upstream Thinking initiative and is now augmented by the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area programme. However, from a hydrological perspective, Culm and similar unimproved grasslands remain poorly understood. In addition to their recognised conservation and biodiversity importance; unimproved grasslands such as Culm are thought to have a high water storage capacity, reducing runoff and therefore flooding during wet periods, whilst slowly releasing and filtering water to help maintain water quality, and base river flows during dry periods. Therefore, if properly understood and managed Culm soils have the potential to play an important role in the management of catchment water resources. Furthermore, Culm grassland soils are thought to have a high potential for the sequestration and storage of carbon, an increasingly valuable ecosystem service. This study aims to increase understanding of the influence Culm grasslands have upon water and soil resources, relative to other land uses and land covers (wet woodland, scrub and intensively managed grassland). Results will be presented demonstrating that relative to intensively managed grassland, Culm soils have a higher water holding capacity, exhibit a more attenuated response to rainfall events and have higher carbon concentrations. Additionally, results show water leaving a Culm dominated sub-catchment is of a higher quality (i.e. exhibiting lower suspended sediment, dissolved organic carbon and phosphate loads) than comparable intensively managed agricultural catchments.

  11. Productivity depends more on the rate than the frequency of N addition in a temperate grassland

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yunhai; Feng, Jinchao; Isbell, Forest; Lü, Xiaotao; Han, Xingguo

    2015-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) is a key limiting resource for aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in diverse terrestrial ecosystems. The relative roles of the rate and frequency (additions yr−1) of N application in stimulating ANPP at both the community- and species-levels are largely unknown. By independently manipulating the rate and frequency of N input, with nine rates (from 0 to 50 g N m−2 year−1) crossed with two frequencies (twice year−1 or monthly) in a temperate steppe of northern China across 2008–2013, we found that N addition increased community ANPP, and had positive, negative, or neutral effects for individual species. There were similar ANPP responses at the community- or species-level when a particular annual amount of N was added either twice year−1 or monthly. The community ANPP was less sensitive to soil ammonium at lower frequency of N addition. ANPP responses to N addition were positively correlated with annual precipitation. Our results suggest that, over a five-year period, there will be similar ANPP responses to a given annual N input that occurs either frequently in small amounts, as from N deposition, or that occur infrequently in larger amounts, as from application of N fertilizers. PMID:26218675

  12. The impacts of drainage, nutrient status and management practice on the full carbon balance of grasslands on organic soils in a maritime temperate zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Renou-Wilson, F.; Barry, C.; Mller, C.; Wilson, D.

    2014-08-01

    Temperate grasslands on organic soils are diverse due to edaphic properties but also to regional management practices and this heterogeneity is reflected in the wide range of greenhouse gas (GHG) flux values reported in the literature. In Ireland, most grasslands on organic soils were drained several decades ago and are managed as extensive pastures with little or no fertilisation. This study describes a 2-year study of the net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) of two such sites. We determined GHG fluxes and waterborne carbon (C) emissions in a nutrient-rich grassland and compared it with values measured from two nutrient-poor organic soils: a deep-drained and a shallow-drained site. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes were determined using the chamber technique, and fluvial C fluxes were estimated by combining drainage water concentrations and flows. The nutrient-rich site was an annual source of CO2 (233 g C m-2 yr-1), CH4 neutral, and a small source of N2O (0.16 g N2O-N m-2 yr-1). Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) at the shallow-drained nutrient-poor site was -89 and -99 g C m-2 yr-1 in Years 1 and 2 respectively, and NEE at the deep-drained nutrient-poor site was 85 and -26 g C m-2 yr-1 respectively. Low CH4 emissions (1.3 g C m-2 yr-1) were recorded at the shallow-drained nutrient-poor site. Fluvial exports from the nutrient-rich site totalled 69.8 g C m-2 yr-1 with 54% as dissolved organic C. Waterborne C losses from the nutrient-poor site reflected differences in annual runoff totalling 44 g C m-2 yr-1 in Year 1 and 30.8 g C m-2 yr-1 in Year 2. The NECB of the nutrient-rich grassland was 663 g C m-2 yr-1 with biomass exports being the major component accounting for 53%. The NECB of the nutrient-poor deep-drained site was less than half of the nutrient-rich site (2-year mean 267 g C m-2 yr-1). Although NEE at the nutrient-poor shallow-drained site was negative in both years, high biomass export meant it was a net C source (2-year mean NECB 103 g C m-2 yr-1). While the impacts of the nutrient and drainage status on NEE, biomass exports and fluvial C losses were confirmed, inter-regional differences in management practice and climate were also significant factors which impacted on the overall NECB of these ecosystems. Contrary to expectation, the NECB of nutrient-poor drained organic soils under grasslands is not necessarily a large C source and this has implications for Ireland's choice of national GHG inventory reporting methodologies. This study can also aid the development of strategies to deliver reduced emissions tailored to local grassland types.

  13. Tropical freshwater ecosystems have lower bacterial growth efficiency than temperate ones

    PubMed Central

    Amado, Andr M.; Meirelles-Pereira, Frederico; Vidal, Luciana O.; Sarmento, Hugo; Suhett, Albert L.; Farjalla, Vinicius F.; Cotner, James B.; Roland, Fabio

    2013-01-01

    Current models and observations indicate that bacterial respiration should increase and growth efficiency (BGE) should decrease with increasing temperatures. However, these models and observations are mostly derived from data collected in temperate regions, and the tropics are under-represented. The aim of this work was to compare bacterial metabolism, namely bacterial production (BP) and respiration (BR), bacterial growth efficiency (BGE) and bacterial carbon demand (BCD) between tropical and temperate ecosystems via a literature review and using unpublished data. We hypothesized that (1) tropical ecosystems have higher metabolism than temperate ones and, (2) that BGE is lower in tropical relative to temperate ecosystems. We collected a total of 498 coupled BP and BR observations (Ntotal = 498; Ntemperate = 301; Ntropical = 197), calculated BGE (BP/(BP+BR)) and BCD (BP+BR) for each case and examined patterns using a model II regression analysis and compared each parameter between the two regions using non-parametric MannWhitney U test. We observed a significant positive linear regression between BR and BP for the whole dataset, and also for tropical and temperate data separately. We found that BP, BR and BCD were higher in the tropics, but BGE was lower compared to temperate regions. Also, BR rates per BP unit were at least two fold higher in the tropics than in temperate ecosystems. We argue that higher temperature, nutrient limitation, and light exposure all contribute to lower BGE in the tropics, mediated through effects on thermodynamics, substrate stoichiometry, nutrient availability and interactions with photochemically produced compounds. More efforts are needed in this study area in the tropics, but our work indicates that bottom-up (nutrient availability and resource stoichiometry) and top-down (grazer pressure) processes, coupled with thermodynamic constraints, might contribute to the lower BGE in the tropics relative to temperate regions. PMID:23801986

  14. Does Plant Diversity Affect Carbon and Water-Use Efficiency in Grasslands? Evidence from a Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Temperton, V. M.; Buchmann, N.; Steinbei, S.; Gleixner, G.; Schulze, D.

    2004-12-01

    In view of rapid species loss on a global scale it is imperative that we shed more light on how this loss of diversity will affect the functioning and functions of ecosystems. Previous research on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning has shown that plant biodiversity often has a positive relationship to net primary productivity (NPP), and/or net ecosystem productivity (NEP), particularly in temperate grassland systems (Hector et al 2002). One of the big ensuing questions is whether plant diversity also affects nutrient cycling and biogeochemical cycles in ecosystems. A more detailed look at the dynamics of carbon and water-use changes caused by plant diversity has only recently occurred (Caldeira et al 2001) but there is still much work to be done in this area. A large-scale grassland experiment entitled "The Jena Experiment" was started in spring 2002 in Germany in order to investigate the effect of plant diversity on ecosystem functioning, focussing mainly on element cycling and trophic interactions. Out of a total species pool of 60 species mixtures of 1 to 16 species and one to four functional groups were randomly selected and seeded as newly established communities on 82 plots of 20 x 20 m. The four functional groups consist of grasses, small and tall herbs, and legume species. With the use of natural abundance stable isotope ratios (?13C and ? 15N) in aboveground plant material, the relationship between plant diversity (both functional and species-driven) and productivity, water-use efficiency and nitrogen cycling was investigated. Results so far, show increased above-ground productivity with increasing species diversity as well as with increasing functional diversity of plants in a system. At community level, both carbon and nitrogen concentrations as well as ?13C in plants remained similar across the diversity gradient. In contrast we found a decrease in ? 15N values with increasing plant diversity. This suggests that bigger total carbon pools in more diverse systems can be attributed only to higher biomass, whereas some form of fractionation of ? 15N seems to be occurring during N uptake or in the soil in the most species-rich systems. Soil carbon also did not tend to respond to plant diversity levels. At the whole system scale there was no evidence for changes in water-use efficiency over the diversity gradient. Implications for the functioning of future grassland systems with reduced diversity will be discussed. References Caldeira, M. C., R. J. Ryel, et al. (2001) Mechanisms of positive biodiversity-production relationships: insights provided by delta C-13 analysis in experimental Mediterranean grassland plots. Ecology Letters 4(5): 439-443. Hector, A., E. Bazeley-White, et al. (2002). Overyielding in grassland communities: testing the sampling effect hypothesis with replicated biodiversity experiments. Ecology Letters 5(4): 502-511.

  15. Evaluating Ecosystem Services Provided by Non-Native Species: An Experimental Test in California Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Stein, Claudia; Hallett, Lauren M.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Suding, Katharine N.

    2014-01-01

    The concept of ecosystem services the benefits that nature provides to human's society has gained increasing attention over the past decade. Increasing global abiotic and biotic change, including species invasions, is threatening the secure delivery of these ecosystem services. Efficient evaluation methods of ecosystem services are urgently needed to improve our ability to determine management strategies and restoration goals in face of these new emerging ecosystems. Considering a range of multiple ecosystem functions may be a useful way to determine such strategies. We tested this framework experimentally in California grasslands, where large shifts in species composition have occurred since the late 1700's. We compared a suite of ecosystem functions within one historic native and two non-native species assemblages under different grazing intensities to address how different species assemblages vary in provisioning, regulatory and supporting ecosystem services. Forage production was reduced in one non-native assemblage (medusahead). Cultural ecosystem services, such as native species diversity, were inherently lower in both non-native assemblages, whereas most other services were maintained across grazing intensities. All systems provided similar ecosystem services under the highest grazing intensity treatment, which simulated unsustainable grazing intensity. We suggest that applying a more comprehensive ecosystem framework that considers multiple ecosystem services to evaluate new emerging ecosystems is a valuable tool to determine management goals and how to intervene in a changing ecosystem. PMID:25222028

  16. Importance of Non-Diffusive Transport for Soil CO2 Efflux in a Temperate Mountain Grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roland, Marilyn; Vicca, Sara; Bahn, Michael; Ladreiter-Knauss, Thomas; Schmitt, Michael; Janssens, Ivan A.

    2015-04-01

    A key focus in climate change is on the dynamics and predictions of the soil CO2 efflux (SCE) from terrestrial ecosystems. Limited knowledge of CO2 transport through the soil restricts our understanding of the various biotic and abiotic processes underlying these emissions. Diffusion is often thought to be the main transport mechanism for trace gases in soils, an assumption that is reflected in the increasing popularity of the flux-gradient approach (FGA). Based on Fick's law, the FGA calculates soil CO2 efflux from CO2 concentration profiles, given good estimates of the diffusion coefficient. The latter can be calculated via different commonly used models, and solid-state sensors allow continuous high-frequency measurements of soil CO2 concentrations with minimal disturbance to the soil conditions in a cost-effective way. Fast growing evidence of pressure pumping and advection, makes it impossible to disregard non-diffusive gas transport when evaluating diel and day-to-day dynamics of soil CO2 emissions. We have analyzed combined measurements from solid-state sensors and soil chambers to gain insight in the CO2 transport mechanisms in a grassland site in the Austrian Alps. The FGA-derived efflux underestimated the chamber efflux by 10 to 87% at our site, depending on which model was used for calculation of the diffusion coefficient. We found that the actual transport rates correlated well with irradiation and wind speed, even more when the soil moisture content was below 33%. These findings suggest that bulk soil air transport was enhanced by pressure changes induced by wind shear at the surface and by local heating of the soil surface. Considering the importance of non-diffusive transport processes is a prerequisite when using solid-state CO2 concentration measurements to estimate soil CO2 efflux at any given site.

  17. Diversity Promotes Temporal Stability across Levels of Ecosystem Organization in Experimental Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Proulx, Raphaël; Wirth, Christian; Voigt, Winfried; Weigelt, Alexandra; Roscher, Christiane; Attinger, Sabine; Baade, Jussi; Barnard, Romain L.; Buchmann, Nina; Buscot, François; Eisenhauer, Nico; Fischer, Markus; Gleixner, Gerd; Halle, Stefan; Hildebrandt, Anke; Kowalski, Esther; Kuu, Annely; Lange, Markus; Milcu, Alex; Niklaus, Pascal A.; Oelmann, Yvonne; Rosenkranz, Stephan; Sabais, Alexander; Scherber, Christoph; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Scheu, Stefan; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Schumacher, Jens; Schwichtenberg, Guido; Soussana, Jean-François; Temperton, Vicky M.; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Schmid, Bernhard

    2010-01-01

    The diversity–stability hypothesis states that current losses of biodiversity can impair the ability of an ecosystem to dampen the effect of environmental perturbations on its functioning. Using data from a long-term and comprehensive biodiversity experiment, we quantified the temporal stability of 42 variables characterizing twelve ecological functions in managed grassland plots varying in plant species richness. We demonstrate that diversity increases stability i) across trophic levels (producer, consumer), ii) at both the system (community, ecosystem) and the component levels (population, functional group, phylogenetic clade), and iii) primarily for aboveground rather than belowground processes. Temporal synchronization across studied variables was mostly unaffected with increasing species richness. This study provides the strongest empirical support so far that diversity promotes stability across different ecological functions and levels of ecosystem organization in grasslands. PMID:20967213

  18. Leaf and ecosystem response to soil water availability in mountain grasslands.

    PubMed

    Brilli, Federico; Hrtnagl, Lukas; Hammerle, Albin; Haslwanter, Alois; Hansel, Armin; Loreto, Francesco; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2011-12-15

    Climate change is expected to affect the Alps by increasing the frequency and intensity of summer drought events with negative impacts on ecosystem water resources. The response of CO2 and H2O exchange of a mountain grassland to natural fluctuations of soil water content was evaluated during 2001-2009. In addition, the physiological performance of individual mountain forb and graminoid plant species under progressive soil water shortage was explored in a laboratory drought experiment. During the 9-year study period the natural occurrence of moderately to extremely dry periods did not lead to substantial reductions in net ecosystem CO2 exchange and evapotranspiration. Laboratory drought experiments confirmed that all the surveyed grassland plant species were insensitive to progressive soil drying until very low soil water contents (<0.01 m(3) m(-3)) were reached after several days of drought. In field conditions, such a low threshold was never reached. Re-watering after a short-term drought event (51 days) resulted in a fast and complete recovery of the leaf CO2 and H2O gas exchange of the investigated plant species. We conclude that the present-day frequency and intensity of dry periods does not substantially affect the functioning of the investigated grassland ecosystem. During dry periods the observed "water spending" strategy employed by the investigated mountain grassland species is expected to provide a cooling feedback on climate warming, but may have negative consequences for down-stream water users. PMID:24465071

  19. Leaf and ecosystem response to soil water availability in mountain grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Brilli, Federico; Hrtnagl, Lukas; Hammerle, Albin; Haslwanter, Alois; Hansel, Armin; Loreto, Francesco; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2014-01-01

    Climate change is expected to affect the Alps by increasing the frequency and intensity of summer drought events with negative impacts on ecosystem water resources. The response of CO2 and H2O exchange of a mountain grassland to natural fluctuations of soil water content was evaluated during 2001-2009. In addition, the physiological performance of individual mountain forb and graminoid plant species under progressive soil water shortage was explored in a laboratory drought experiment. During the 9-year study period the natural occurrence of moderately to extremely dry periods did not lead to substantial reductions in net ecosystem CO2 exchange and evapotranspiration. Laboratory drought experiments confirmed that all the surveyed grassland plant species were insensitive to progressive soil drying until very low soil water contents (<0.01 m3 m?3) were reached after several days of drought. In field conditions, such a low threshold was never reached. Re-watering after a short-term drought event (51 days) resulted in a fast and complete recovery of the leaf CO2 and H2O gas exchange of the investigated plant species. We conclude that the present-day frequency and intensity of dry periods does not substantially affect the functioning of the investigated grassland ecosystem. During dry periods the observed water spending strategy employed by the investigated mountain grassland species is expected to provide a cooling feedback on climate warming, but may have negative consequences for down-stream water users. PMID:24465071

  20. The influence of abiotic controls and management intensity on phosphorus cycling in established grassland and forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alt, F.; Oelmann, Y.; Wilcke, W.

    2011-12-01

    It is commonly assumed that the bioavailability and cycling of phosphorus (P) is mainly controlled by abiotic soil properties including soil pH and the concentrations and reactivities of clay minerals, CaCO3 and Al/Fe oxides In managed ecosystems, kind, timing and duration of P additions and type and amount of harvested biomass are the major input and output fluxes. Our objective was to disentangle the effects of abiotic controls, and type and intensity of management on the P cycle in soils of temperate grasslands and forests of different management intensity in three regions across Germany in the frame of the Biodiversity Exploratories project. The pH value was the most important variable explaining P concentrations and partitioning in soil and changes in pH are the main mechanism how land-use is affecting the P cycle. However, after the influence of pH was accounted for in a sequential statistical approach, land-use intensity, classified according to the extent of annual biomass removal, explained a significant (P < 0.05) part of the variance in the contributions of several P fractions to total P (TP) among all studied regions and land-use types. In grassland soils of highly diverse systems (up to 57 plant species) in one of the study regions, the Schwbische Alb, a mid-range mountain area on limestone where soils showed a limited variation in pH in the carbonate buffer range, pedogenic Fe oxide concentrations, fertilizer-P application rates, and TP concentrations in soil explained more than half of the variation in bioavailable inorganic (Pi) concentrations extracted with NaHCO3 in soil. Our results demonstrate that mainly soil pH and mineralogical composition, and intensity of management of the managed ecosystems are significant controls of the P cycle determining the size of bioavailable P pool in soil.

  1. The impacts of drainage, nutrient status and management practice on the full carbon balance of grasslands on organic soils in a maritime temperate zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Renou-Wilson, F.; Barry, C.; Mller, C.; Wilson, D.

    2014-04-01

    Temperate grasslands on organic soils are diverse due to edaphic properties but also to regional management practices and this heterogeneity is reflected in the wide range of greenhouse gas flux values reported in the literature. In Ireland, most grasslands on organic soils were drained several decades ago and are managed as extensive pastures with little or no fertilisation. This study describes a two-year study of the net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) of two such sites. We determined greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes and waterborne carbon emissions in a nutrient rich grassland and compared it with values measured from two nutrient poor organic soils: a deep drained and a shallow drained site. GHG fluxes (CO2, CH4 and N2O) were determined using the chamber technique, and fluvial C fluxes were estimated by combining drainage water concentrations and flows. The nutrient rich site was an annual source of CO2 (NEE 233 g C m-2yr-1), CH4 neutral, and a small source of nitrous oxide (1.6 kg N2O-N ha-1yr-1). NEE at the shallow drained site was -89 and -99 g C m-2yr-1 in Years 1 and 2 respectively, and NEE at the deep drained site was +85 and -26 g C m-2yr-1 respectively. Low CH4 emissions (1.3 g C m-2yr-1) were recorded at the shallow drained nutrient poor site. Fluvial exports from the nutrient rich site totalled 69.8 g C m-2yr-1 with 54% as dissolved organic C (DOC). Waterborne C losses from the nutrient poor site reflected differences in annual runoff totalling 44 g C m-2yr-1 in Year 1 and 30.8 g C m-2yr-1 in Year 2. The NECB of the nutrient rich grassland was 663 g C m-2yr-1 with biomass exports being the major component accounting for 53%. The NECB of the nutrient poor deep drained site was less than half of the nutrient rich site (2 year mean 267 g C m-2yr-1). Although NEE at the nutrient poor shallow drained site was negative in both years, high biomass export meant it was a net C source (2 year mean NECB 103 g C m-2yr-1). While the impacts of the nutrient and drainage status on NEE, biomass exports and fluvial C losses were confirmed, inter-regional differences in management practice and climate are also significant factors which impact on the overall NECB of these ecosystems. Contrary to expectation, the NECB of nutrient poor drained organic soils under grasslands is not necessarily a large C source and this has implications for Ireland's choice of national GHG inventory reporting methodologies. This study can also aid the development of strategies to deliver reduced emissions tailored to local grassland types.

  2. Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus storage in alpine grassland ecosystems of Tibet: effects of grazing exclusion.

    PubMed

    Lu, Xuyang; Yan, Yan; Sun, Jian; Zhang, Xiaoke; Chen, Youchao; Wang, Xiaodan; Cheng, Genwei

    2015-10-01

    In recent decades, alpine grasslands have been seriously degraded on the Tibetan Plateau and grazing exclusion by fencing has been widely adopted to restore degraded grasslands since 2004. To elucidate how alpine grasslands carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) storage responds to this management strategy, three types of alpine grassland in nine counties in Tibet were selected to investigate C, N, and P storage in the environment by comparing free grazing (FG) and grazing exclusion (GE) treatments, which had run for 6-8years. The results revealed that there were no significant differences in total ecosystem C, N, and P storage, as well as the C, N, and P stored in both total biomass and soil (0-30cm) fractions between FG and GE grasslands. However, precipitation played a key role in controlling C, N, and P storage and distribution. With grazing exclusion, C and N stored in aboveground biomass significantly increased by 5.7g m(-2) and 0.1g m(-2), respectively, whereas the C and P stored in the soil surface layer (0-15cm) significantly decreased by 862.9g m(-2) and 13.6g m(-2), respectively. Furthermore, the storage of the aboveground biomass C, N, and P was positively correlated with vegetation cover and negatively correlated with the biodiversity index, including Pielou evenness index, Shannon-Wiener diversity index, and Simpson dominance index. The storage of soil surface layer C, N, and P was positively correlated with soil silt content and negatively correlated with soil sand content. Our results demonstrated that grazing exclusion had no impact on total C, N, and P storage, as well as C, N, and P in both total biomass and soil (0-30cm) fractions in the alpine grassland ecosystem. However, grazing exclusion could result in increased aboveground biomass C and N pools and decreased soil surface layer (0-15cm) Cand P pools. PMID:26664694

  3. Land use affects the net ecosystem CO2 exchange and its components in mountain grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Schmitt, M.; Bahn, M.; Wohlfahrt, G.; Tappeiner, U.; Cernusca, A.

    2011-01-01

    Changes in land use and management have been strongly affecting mountain grassland, however, their effects on the net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) and its components have not yet been well documented. We analysed chamber-based estimates of NEE, gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (R) and light use efficiency (LUE) of six mountain grasslands differing in land use and management, and thus site fertility, for the growing seasons of 2002 to 2008. The main findings of the study are that: (1) land use and management affected seasonal NEE, GPP and R, which all decreased from managed to unmanaged grasslands; (2) these changes were explained by differences in leaf area index (LAI), biomass and leaf-area-independent changes that were likely related to photosynthetic physiology; (3) diurnal variations of NEE were primarily controlled by photosynthetically active photon flux density and soil and air temperature; seasonal variations were associated with changes in LAI; (4) parameters of light response curves were generally closely related to each other, and the ratio of R at a reference temperature/ maximum GPP was nearly constant across the sites; (5) similarly to our study, maximum GPP and R for other grasslands on the globe decreased with decreasing land use intensity, while their ratio remained remarkably constant. We conclude that decreasing intensity of management and, in particular, abandonment of mountain grassland lead to a decrease in NEE and its component processes. While GPP and R are generally closely coupled during most of the growing season, GPP is more immediately and strongly affected by land management (mowing, grazing) and season. This suggests that management and growing season length, as well as their possible future changes, may play an important role for the annual C balance of mountain grassland. PMID:23293657

  4. Carbon storage in Chinese grassland ecosystems: Influence of different integrative methods

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Anna; He, Nianpeng; Yu, Guirui; Wen, Ding; Peng, Shunlei

    2016-01-01

    The accurate estimate of grassland carbon (C) is affected by many factors at the large scale. Here, we used six methods (three spatial interpolation methods and three grassland classification methods) to estimate C storage of Chinese grasslands based on published data from 2004 to 2014, and assessed the uncertainty resulting from different integrative methods. The uncertainty (coefficient of variation, CV, %) of grassland C storage was approximately 4.8% for the six methods tested, which was mainly determined by soil C storage. C density and C storage to the soil layer depth of 100 cm were estimated to be 8.46 ± 0.41 kg C m−2 and 30.98 ± 1.25 Pg C, respectively. Ecosystem C storage was composed of 0.23 ± 0.01 (0.7%) above-ground biomass, 1.38 ± 0.14 (4.5%) below-ground biomass, and 29.37 ± 1.2 (94.8%) Pg C in the 0–100 cm soil layer. Carbon storage calculated by the grassland classification methods (18 grassland types) was closer to the mean value than those calculated by the spatial interpolation methods. Differences in integrative methods may partially explain the high uncertainty in C storage estimates in different studies. This first evaluation demonstrates the importance of multi-methodological approaches to accurately estimate C storage in large-scale terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:26883467

  5. Carbon storage in Chinese grassland ecosystems: Influence of different integrative methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Anna; He, Nianpeng; Yu, Guirui; Wen, Ding; Peng, Shunlei

    2016-02-01

    The accurate estimate of grassland carbon (C) is affected by many factors at the large scale. Here, we used six methods (three spatial interpolation methods and three grassland classification methods) to estimate C storage of Chinese grasslands based on published data from 2004 to 2014, and assessed the uncertainty resulting from different integrative methods. The uncertainty (coefficient of variation, CV, %) of grassland C storage was approximately 4.8% for the six methods tested, which was mainly determined by soil C storage. C density and C storage to the soil layer depth of 100 cm were estimated to be 8.46 ± 0.41 kg C m‑2 and 30.98 ± 1.25 Pg C, respectively. Ecosystem C storage was composed of 0.23 ± 0.01 (0.7%) above-ground biomass, 1.38 ± 0.14 (4.5%) below-ground biomass, and 29.37 ± 1.2 (94.8%) Pg C in the 0–100 cm soil layer. Carbon storage calculated by the grassland classification methods (18 grassland types) was closer to the mean value than those calculated by the spatial interpolation methods. Differences in integrative methods may partially explain the high uncertainty in C storage estimates in different studies. This first evaluation demonstrates the importance of multi-methodological approaches to accurately estimate C storage in large-scale terrestrial ecosystems.

  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. 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

  8. Soil Moisture Controls on Ecosystem Scale Water and Carbon Fluxes in Semiarid Grassland and Shrubland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurc, S. A.; Small, E. E.

    2005-12-01

    Soil moisture distribution emerges as a key link between hydrologic and ecologic processes in semiarid grassland and shrubland as it influences evapotranspiration, respiration, and assimilation. In support, we present three years of data (2002 - 2004) collected from a semiarid grassland and shrubland within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge of central New Mexico; these two sites are separated by only a few kilometers. Instrumentation in this study includes an eddy covariance tower and typical micrometeorological devices at both locations. Additionally, the grassland site features 6 soil moisture profiles and the shrubland site features 4 soil moisture profiles, with the maximum depth of any profile at 52.5 cm. At both sites, most rain falls during the summer monsoon season, but large storms do occur at other times of the year, e.g. spring of 2004. Soil moisture pulses at 2.5 cm follow almost all rain events, whereas only 4 pulses in the 3 year record are observed at 52.5 cm in the grassland and 2 in the shrubland; these deeper pulses follow large precipitation events or a series of smaller events. The daily times series of evapotranspiration (ET) is similar between the grassland and shrubland, supporting the results of Kurc and Small 2004. This ET time series reflects changes in the soil moisture at 2.5 cm. In contrast, though the daily time series of net ecosystem exchange (NEECO2) at both sites peak simultaneously, the magnitudes of peaks in net negative ecosystem exchange (NEECO2-) and net positive ecosystem exchange (NEECO2+) are larger at the grassland than at the shrubland. Furthermore, pulses associated with NEECO2- peaks last much longer than ET pulses, on the order of 1 to 2 months, without any particular adherence to seasonality. These NEECO2- pulses reflect changes in deeper soil moisture, i.e. 52.5 cm at the grassland and 37.5 cm at the shrubland. Finally, evidence of moisture driven soil respiration is found throughout the NEECO2 time series, with spikes of NEECO2+ following most rain events; however, longer pulses of NEECO2+ also occur during relatively dry periods. Modeled respiration and assimilation are speculative but indicate that the relationship between assimilation and soil moisture is best at depths at least 30cm below the surface.

  9. Phosphorus cycles of forest and upland grassland ecosystems and some effects of land management practices.

    PubMed

    Harrison, A F

    The distribution of phosphorus capital and net annual transfers of phosphorus between the major components of two unfertilized phosphorus-deficient UK ecosystems, an oak--ash woodland in the Lake District and an Agrostis-Festuca grassland in Snowdonia (both on acid brown-earth soils), have been estimted in terms of kg P ha--1. In both ecosystems less than 3% of the phosphorus, totalling 1890 kg P ha--1 and 3040 kg P ha--1 for the woodland and grassland, respectively, is contained in the living biomass and half that is below ground level. Nearly all the phosphorus is in the soil matrix. Although the biomass phosphorus is mostly in the vegetation, the soil fauna and vegetation is slower (25%) than in the grassland vegetatation (208%). More than 85% of the net annual vegetation uptake of phosphorus from the soil is returned to the soil, mainly in organic debris, which in the grassland ecosystem is more than twice as rich in phosphorus (0.125% P) as in the woodland ecosystem (0.053% P). These concentrations are related to the rates of turnover (input/P content) of phosphorus in the litter layer on the soil surface; it is faster in the grassland (460%) than in the woodland (144%). In both cycles plant uptake of phosphorus largely depends on the release of phosphorus through decomposition of the organic matter returned to soil. In both the woodland and the grassland, the amount of cycling phosphorus is potentially reduced by its immobilization in tree and sheep production and in undecomposed organic matter accumulating in soil. It is assumed that the reductions are counterbalanced by the replenishment of cycling phosphorus by (i) some mineralization of organically bound phosphorus in the mineral soil, (ii) the income in rainfall and aerosols not being effectively lost in soil drainage waters and (iii) rock weathering. The effects of the growth of conifers and sheep grazing on the balance between decomposition and accumulation of organic matter returned to soil are considered in relation to the rate of phosphorus cycling and the pedogenetic changes in soil phosphorus condition leading to reduced fertility. Although controlled sheep grazing speeds up phosphorus cycling and may reverse the pedogenetic trend in favour of soil improvement, conifers may slow down phosphorus cycling and promote the pedogenetic trend towards infertility. PMID:357119

  10. Ecosystem carbon exchange in response to locust outbreaks in a temperate steppe.

    PubMed

    Song, Jian; Wu, Dandan; Shao, Pengshuai; Hui, Dafeng; Wan, Shiqiang

    2015-06-01

    It is predicted that locust outbreaks will occur more frequently under future climate change scenarios, with consequent effects on ecological goods and services. A field manipulative experiment was conducted to examine the responses of gross ecosystem productivity (GEP), net ecosystem carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange (NEE), ecosystem respiration (ER), and soil respiration (SR) to locust outbreaks in a temperate steppe of northern China from 2010 to 2011. Two processes related to locust outbreaks, natural locust feeding and carcass deposition, were mimicked by clipping 80 % of aboveground biomass and adding locust carcasses, respectively. Ecosystem carbon (C) exchange (i.e., GEP, NEE, ER, and SR) was suppressed by locust feeding in 2010, but stimulated by locust carcass deposition in both years (except SR in 2011). Experimental locust outbreaks (i.e., clipping plus locust carcass addition) decreased GEP and NEE in 2010 whereas they increased GEP, NEE, and ER in 2011, leading to neutral changes in GEP, NEE, and SR across the 2 years. The responses of ecosystem C exchange could have been due to the changes in soil ammonium nitrogen, community cover, and aboveground net primary productivity. Our findings of the transient and neutral changes in ecosystem C cycling under locust outbreaks highlight the importance of resistance, resilience, and stability of the temperate steppe in maintaining reliable ecosystem services, and facilitate the projections of ecosystem functioning in response to natural disturbance and climate change. PMID:25663332

  11. Modeling Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange of Alpine Grasslands with a Satellite-Driven Model

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Yuping; Zhang, Xianzhou; Fan, Yuzhi; Shi, Peili; He, Yongtao; Yu, Guirui; Li, Yingnian

    2015-01-01

    Estimate of net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE) between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, the balance of gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) has significant importance for studying the regional and global carbon cycles. Using models driven by satellite data and climatic data is a promising approach to estimate NEE at regional scales. For this purpose, we proposed a semi-empirical model to estimate NEE in this study. In our model, the component GPP was estimated with a light response curve of a rectangular hyperbola. The component Reco was estimated with an exponential function of soil temperature. To test the feasibility of applying our model at regional scales, the temporal variations in the model parameters derived from NEE observations in an alpine grassland ecosystem on Tibetan Plateau were investigated. The results indicated that all the inverted parameters exhibit apparent seasonality, which is in accordance with air temperature and canopy phenology. In addition, all the parameters have significant correlations with the remote sensed vegetation indexes or environment temperature. With parameters estimated with these correlations, the model illustrated fair accuracy both in the validation years and at another alpine grassland ecosystem on Tibetan Plateau. Our results also indicated that the model prediction was less accurate in drought years, implying that soil moisture is an important factor affecting the model performance. Incorporating soil water content into the model would be a critical step for the improvement of the model. PMID:25849325

  12. Modeling net ecosystem carbon exchange of alpine grasslands with a satellite-driven model.

    PubMed

    Yan, Wei; Hu, Zhongmin; Zhao, Yuping; Zhang, Xianzhou; Fan, Yuzhi; Shi, Peili; He, Yongtao; Yu, Guirui; Li, Yingnian

    2015-01-01

    Estimate of net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE) between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, the balance of gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) has significant importance for studying the regional and global carbon cycles. Using models driven by satellite data and climatic data is a promising approach to estimate NEE at regional scales. For this purpose, we proposed a semi-empirical model to estimate NEE in this study. In our model, the component GPP was estimated with a light response curve of a rectangular hyperbola. The component Reco was estimated with an exponential function of soil temperature. To test the feasibility of applying our model at regional scales, the temporal variations in the model parameters derived from NEE observations in an alpine grassland ecosystem on Tibetan Plateau were investigated. The results indicated that all the inverted parameters exhibit apparent seasonality, which is in accordance with air temperature and canopy phenology. In addition, all the parameters have significant correlations with the remote sensed vegetation indexes or environment temperature. With parameters estimated with these correlations, the model illustrated fair accuracy both in the validation years and at another alpine grassland ecosystem on Tibetan Plateau. Our results also indicated that the model prediction was less accurate in drought years, implying that soil moisture is an important factor affecting the model performance. Incorporating soil water content into the model would be a critical step for the improvement of the model. PMID:25849325

  13. 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.

  14. Spatial and temporal scaling of beta diversity in grazed temperate grasslands

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grazed grasslands contribute greatly to the economy and environment of the northeastern United States, though their ecology has not been extensively studied. Plant community composition was sampled in five to seven fields in each of five grazing farms: two in New York, two in Pennsylvania, and one i...

  15. Watershed and ecosystem responses to invasive grass establishment and dominance across a desert grassland watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamerlynck, E.; Scott, R.; Polyakov, V.; Sugg, Z.; Moran, M. S.; Stone, J.; Nearing, M.

    2012-04-01

    Compared to aridland systems that have undergone rapid change in dominant vegetation growth form, the consequences to watershed and ecosystem processes following a shift in dominance between similar growth forms have not been well-studied. Following a five year drought period, strong summer monsoon rains in 2006 across the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed near Tombstone, AZ, were accompanied by widespread native perennial grass mortality, a transient increase in annual forbs, followed by establishment and sustained dominance by the invasive South African bunchgrass, Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana) across a semiarid grassland watershed (Kendall grassland, WS#112). This loss of ecological diversity occurred across a watershed already instrumented for quantifying long-term climate, watershed, hill-slope, and ecosystem-level gas exchange. Salient findings from these data sets were: 1) annual watershed sediment discharge rapidly returned to pre-invasion levels following a large spike in 2006 that accounted for 65% of the total sediment yield summed over 35 years, 2) plot-level experimental runoff studies showed hill-slope sediment yields consistently doubled, as did growing season soil evaporation contributions to ET, and 3) the grassland was a carbon sink during dry conditions under lovegrass dominance. These findings show that while some aspects of watershed and ecosystem function rapidly re-established (i.e. sediment yield and net primary productivity), processes acting at lower spatial and temporal scales have been negatively impacted by lovegrass dominance. We believe these lower-order processes underlie the strong ecological effects associated with Lehmann lovegrass invasion, and may also accelerate landform processes and change the basic ecohydrological characteristics of semi-arid grassland watersheds.

  16. Effects of repeated fires on ecosystem C and N stocks along a fire induced forest/grassland gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, Chih-Hsin; Chen, Yung-Sheng; Huang, Yu-Hsuan; Chiou, Chyi-Rong; Lin, Chau-Chih; Menyailo, Oleg V.

    2013-03-01

    Repeated fires might have different effect on ecosystem carbon storage than a single fire event, but information on repeated fires and their effects on forest ecosystems and carbon storage is scarce. However, changes in climate, vegetation composition, and human activities are expected to make forests more susceptible to fires that recur with relatively high frequency. In this study, the effects of repeated fires on ecosystem carbon and nitrogen stocks were examined along a fire-induced forest/grassland gradient wherein the fire events varied from an unburned forest to repeatedly burned grassland. Results from the study show repeated fires drastically decreased ecosystem carbon and nitrogen stocks along the forest/grassland gradient. The reduction began with the disappearance of living tree biomass, and followed by the loss of soil carbon and nitrogen. Within 4 years of the onset of repeated fires on the unburned forest, the original ecosystem carbon and nitrogen stocks were reduced by 42% and 21%, respectively. Subsequent fires caused cumulative reductions in ecosystem carbon and nitrogen stocks by 68% and 44% from the original ecosystem carbon and nitrogen stocks, respectively. The analyses of carbon budgets calculated by vegetation composition and stable isotopic ?13C values indicate that 84% of forest-derived carbon is lost at grassland, whereas the gain of grass-derived carbon only compensates 18% for this loss. Such significant losses in ecosystem carbon and nitrogen stocks suggest that the effects of repeated fires have substantial impacts on ecosystem and soil carbon and nitrogen cycling.

  17. Perennial grasslands enhance biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services in bioenergy landscapes.

    PubMed

    Werling, Ben P; Dickson, Timothy L; Isaacs, Rufus; Gaines, Hannah; Gratton, Claudio; Gross, Katherine L; Liere, Heidi; Malmstrom, Carolyn M; Meehan, Timothy D; Ruan, Leilei; Robertson, Bruce A; Robertson, G Philip; Schmidt, Thomas M; Schrotenboer, Abbie C; Teal, Tracy K; Wilson, Julianna K; Landis, Douglas A

    2014-01-28

    Agriculture is being challenged to provide food, and increasingly fuel, for an expanding global population. Producing bioenergy crops on marginal lands--farmland suboptimal for food crops--could help meet energy goals while minimizing competition with food production. However, the ecological costs and benefits of growing bioenergy feedstocks--primarily annual grain crops--on marginal lands have been questioned. Here we show that perennial bioenergy crops provide an alternative to annual grains that increases biodiversity of multiple taxa and sustain a variety of ecosystem functions, promoting the creation of multifunctional agricultural landscapes. We found that switchgrass and prairie plantings harbored significantly greater plant, methanotrophic bacteria, arthropod, and bird diversity than maize. Although biomass production was greater in maize, all other ecosystem services, including methane consumption, pest suppression, pollination, and conservation of grassland birds, were higher in perennial grasslands. Moreover, we found that the linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem services is dependent not only on the choice of bioenergy crop but also on its location relative to other habitats, with local landscape context as important as crop choice in determining provision of some services. Our study suggests that bioenergy policy that supports coordinated land use can diversify agricultural landscapes and sustain multiple critical ecosystem services. PMID:24474791

  18. Synchronous dynamics of zooplankton competitors prevail in temperate lake ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Vasseur, David A.; Fox, Jeremy W.; Gonzalez, Andrew; Adrian, Rita; Beisner, Beatrix E.; Helmus, Matthew R.; Johnson, Catherine; Kratina, Pavel; Kremer, Colin; de Mazancourt, Claire; Miller, Elizabeth; Nelson, William A.; Paterson, Michael; Rusak, James A.; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Steiner, Christopher F.

    2014-01-01

    Although competing species are expected to exhibit compensatory dynamics (negative temporal covariation), empirical work has demonstrated that competitive communities often exhibit synchronous dynamics (positive temporal covariation). This has led to the suggestion that environmental forcing dominates species dynamics; however, synchronous and compensatory dynamics may appear at different length scales and/or at different times, making it challenging to identify their relative importance. We compiled 58 long-term datasets of zooplankton abundance in north-temperate and sub-tropical lakes and used wavelet analysis to quantify general patterns in the times and scales at which synchronous/compensatory dynamics dominated zooplankton communities in different regions and across the entire dataset. Synchronous dynamics were far more prevalent at all scales and times and were ubiquitous at the annual scale. Although we found compensatory dynamics in approximately 14% of all combinations of time period/scale/lake, there were no consistent scales or time periods during which compensatory dynamics were apparent across different regions. Our results suggest that the processes driving compensatory dynamics may be local in their extent, while those generating synchronous dynamics operate at much larger scales. This highlights an important gap in our understanding of the interaction between environmental and biotic forces that structure communities. PMID:24966312

  19. Comparison of Seasonal Soil Microbial Process in Snow-Covered Temperate Ecosystems of Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xinyue; Wang, Wei; Chen, Weile; Zhang, Naili; Zeng, Hui

    2014-01-01

    More than half of the earth's terrestrial surface currently experiences seasonal snow cover and soil frost. Winter compositional and functional investigations in soil microbial community are frequently conducted in alpine tundra and boreal forest ecosystems. However, little information on winter microbial biogeochemistry is known from seasonally snow-covered temperate ecosystems. As decomposer microbes may differ in their ability/strategy to efficiently use soil organic carbon (SOC) within different phases of the year, understanding seasonal microbial process will increase our knowledge of biogeochemical cycling from the aspect of decomposition rates and corresponding nutrient dynamics. In this study, we measured soil microbial biomass, community composition and potential SOC mineralization rates in winter and summer, from six temperate ecosystems in northern China. Our results showed a clear pattern of increased microbial biomass C to nitrogen (N) ratio in most winter soils. Concurrently, a shift in soil microbial community composition occurred with higher fungal to bacterial biomass ratio and gram negative (G-) to gram positive (G+) bacterial biomass ratio in winter than in summer. Furthermore, potential SOC mineralization rate was higher in winter than in summer. Our study demonstrated a distinct transition of microbial community structure and function from winter to summer in temperate snow-covered ecosystems. Microbial N immobilization in winter may not be the major contributor for plant growth in the following spring. PMID:24667929

  20. Following The Money: Characterizing the Dynamics of Microbial Ecosystems and Labile Organic Matter in Grassland Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herbert, B. E.; McNeal, K. S.

    2006-12-01

    The dynamics of soil microbial ecosystems and labile fractions of soil organic matter in grasslands have important implications for the response of these critical ecosystems to perturbations. Organic, inorganic and genetic biomarkers in the solid (e.g. lipids, microbial DNA), liquid (e.g. porewater ions) or gaseous phases (e.g. carbon dioxide) have been used to characterize carbon cycling and soil microbial ecology. These proxies are generally limited in the amount of temporal information that they can provide (i.e., solid-phase proxies) or the amount of specific information they can provide about carbon sources or microbial community processes (e.g. inorganic gases). It is the aim of this research to validate the use of soil volatile organic carbon emissions (VOCs) as useful indicators of subsurface microbial community shifts and processes as a function of ecosystem perturbations. We present results of method validation using laboratory microcosm, where VOC metabolites as characterized by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS), were related to other proxies including carbon dioxide (CO2) via infra-red technology, and microbial community shifts as measured by Biolog and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) techniques. Experiments with soil collected from grasslands along the coastal margin region in southern Texas were preformed where environmental factors such as soil water content, soil type, and charcoal content are manipulated. Results indicate that over fifty identifiable VOC metabolites are produced from the soils, where many (~15) can be direct indicators of microbial ecology. Principle component analysis (PCA) evidences these trends through similar cluster patterns for the VOC results, the Biolog results, and FAME. Regression analysis further shows that VOCs are significant (p < 0.05) indicators of microbial stress. Our results are encouraging that characterizing VOCs production in grassland soils are easy to measure, relatively inexpensive method, and useful proxies of subsurface microbial ecosystems and the dynamics of labile carbon in these systems.

  1. Potential climate change impacts on temperate forest ecosystem processes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peters, Emily B.; Wythers, Kirk R.; Zhang, Shuxia; Bradford, John B.; Reich, Peter B.

    2013-01-01

    Large changes in atmospheric CO2, temperature and precipitation are predicted by 2100, yet the long-term consequences for carbon, water, and nitrogen cycling in forests are poorly understood. We applied the PnET-CN ecosystem model to compare the long-term effects of changing climate and atmospheric CO2 on productivity, evapotranspiration, runoff, and net nitrogen mineralization in current Great Lakes forest types. We used two statistically downscaled climate projections, PCM B1 (warmer and wetter) and GFDL A1FI (hotter and drier), to represent two potential future climate and atmospheric CO2 scenarios. To separate the effects of climate and CO2, we ran PnET-CN including and excluding the CO2 routine. Our results suggest that, with rising CO2 and without changes in forest type, average regional productivity could increase from 67% to 142%, changes in evapotranspiration could range from 3% to +6%, runoff could increase from 2% to 22%, and net N mineralization could increase 10% to 12%. Ecosystem responses varied geographically and by forest type. Increased productivity was almost entirely driven by CO2 fertilization effects, rather than by temperature or precipitation (model runs holding CO2 constant showed stable or declining productivity). The relative importance of edaphic and climatic spatial drivers of productivity varied over time, suggesting that productivity in Great Lakes forests may switch from being temperature to water limited by the end of the century.

  2. Ecosystem performance assessment for grasslands in the Greater Platte River Basin: implications for cellulosic biofuel development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gu, Y.; Boyte, S. P.; Wylie, B. K.; Tieszen, L. L.

    2010-12-01

    This study identifies lands suitable for cellulosic biofuel (e.g., switchgrass) development across the Northern Great Plains, with an initial emphasis on the Greater Platte River Basin (GPRB), using satellite observations, climate data, and ecosystem models. Our approach is based on previous successful ecosystem performance (EP) studies in the Yukon River Basin and the Upper Colorado River Basin. We hypothesize that areas with fairly consistent high grassland productivity (i.e., high site potential) in fair to good range condition (persistent ecosystem overperformance or normal performance with few ecological disturbances) are potentially suitable for cellulosic biofuel (switchgrass) development. Ecosystem site potential was calculated using a 9-year (2000-2008) average of annually integrated growing season Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (GSN), geophysical and biophysical data, climate data, and a rule-based piecewise regression tree model. The GSN derived from eMODIS (expedited Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) observations was used as a proxy for the actual ecosystem performance. The weather-based expected EP (EEP) was computed using site potential, yearly seasonal climate variables, and piecewise regression tree models. The ecosystem performance anomaly (EPA) for a specific year was estimated based on the difference between the actual EP and the EEP during that year. The final EPA maps were categorized as normal performance, underperformance, and overperformance at the 90% confidence levels. Pixels that either overperformed or normally performed for three of four years from 2005 to 2008 and that have moderate or high site potential within the GPRB are identified as probable areas for future cellulosic biofuel development. Results from this study will help land managers and decision makers make optimal land use decisions for cellulosic biofuel development and sustainability within the grassland regions of the GPRB.

  3. Response of Soil Respiration to a Subambient to Elevated CO2 Gradient in Grassland Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hui, D.; Fay, P. A.; Procter, A.; Johnson, H. B.; Polley, H. W.; Jackson, R. B.

    2006-12-01

    Despite the importance of soil respiration responses to atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) for the global carbon cycle and climate change, the relationship between soil respiration and [CO2] has not been well developed, mainly because previous studies included few CO2 levels. We designed a unique Lysimeter CO2 Gradient experimental facility (LYCOG) at the Grassland, Soil & Water Research Laboratory in Temple, Texas to study the effects of subambient to elevated [CO2] on grassland ecosystems. Eighty intact soil monoliths (1m X 1m X 1.5m) representing 3 soil series, Austin (Udorthentic Haplustolls, a mollisol), Bastrop (Udic Paleustalfs, a sandy loam alfisol) and Houston Black (Udic Haplusterts, a vertisol) were vegetated by transplanting 8 native perennial prairie species (5 grasses and 3 forbes) and linearly arranged to be exposed to a 200-560 ppm CO2 gradient. The CO2 treatments started in May, 2006 as part of a long-term experiment. Soil respiration (Re) was measured on April 4, June 26, and August 2, 2006 together with soil temperature and soil water content to 15 cm depth. Diurnal changes of soil respiration were measured on August 2, 2006 at four [CO2]. No significant relationship of soil respiration with [CO2] was found on June 26, but soil respiration increased linearly with [CO2] on August 2 (Re=3.23+0.0062[CO2], r2=0.54, p<0.01). Across all CO2 treatments, Bastrop soil had the highest soil respiration rate (6.21 0.48 ? mol CO2 m-2 s-1) and Houston soil had the lowest value (4.97 0.41 ? mol CO2 m-2 s-1). Soil respiration increased with soil moisture, but decreased at greater soil temperature. Similar diurnal changes were observed on the three soils, with the maximum soil respiration occurring during early morning. Soil respiration at different times during a day was consistently lower at 250 ppm CO2 treatment than at ambient and elevated [CO2]. Our preliminary data demonstrated a linear increase in CO2 emission in grassland ecosystems with [CO2] increase. Considering plant photosynthesis also increases linearly with [CO2] in the grassland, relative changes in the slopes of photosynthesis and respiration with [CO2] could determine whether grassland ecosystems are a carbon sink or source in a future high CO2 world.

  4. A review of nitrous oxide mitigation by farm nitrogen management in temperate grassland-based agriculture.

    PubMed

    Li, Dejun; Watson, Catherine J; Yan, Ming Jia; Lalor, Stan; Rafique, Rashid; Hyde, Bernard; Lanigan, Gary; Richards, Karl G; Holden, Nicholas M; Humphreys, James

    2013-10-15

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) emission from grassland-based agriculture is an important source of atmospheric N2O. It is hence crucial to explore various solutions including farm nitrogen (N) management to mitigate N2O emissions without sacrificing farm profitability and food supply. This paper reviews major N management practices to lower N2O emission from grassland-based agriculture. Restricted grazing by reducing grazing time is an effective way to decrease N2O emissions from excreta patches. Balancing the protein-to-energy ratios in the diets of ruminants can also decrease N2O emissions from excreta patches. Among the managements of synthetic fertilizer N application, only adjusting fertilizer N rate and slow-released fertilizers are proven to be effective in lowering N2O emissions. Use of bedding materials may increase N2O emissions from animal houses. Manure storage as slurry, manipulating slurry pH to values lower than 6 and storage as solid manure under anaerobic conditions help to reduce N2O emissions during manure storage stage. For manure land application, N2O emissions can be mitigated by reducing manure N inputs to levels that satisfy grass needs. Use of nitrification inhibitors can substantially lower N2O emissions associated with applications of fertilizers and manures and from urine patches. N2O emissions from legume based grasslands are generally lower than fertilizer-based systems. In conclusion, effective measures should be taken at each step during N flow or combined options should be used in order to mitigate N2O emission at the farm level. PMID:23880433

  5. Responses of soil respiration to elevated CO[sub 2] in two California grassland ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Luo, Y.; Jackson, R.B.; Field, C.B.; Mooney, H.A. )

    1994-06-01

    Estimates of soil respiration (SR) in current and elevated CO[sub 2] are critical for predicting future global carbon budgets. We measured SR in two California grassland ecosystems (sandstone and serpentine) growing at ambient and ambient+350 ppm CO[sub 2]. SR was higher in elevated CO[sub 2] for both ecosystems in the field, but differences were not significant. At peak plant growth, SR was approximately 6 [mu]mol m[sup [minus]2]s[sup [minus]1] in elevated CO[sub 2] and 5 [mu]mol m[sup [minus]2] s[sup [minus]1] in ambient CO[sub 2] for both ecosystems. We also examined soil respiration in monocultures of 7 grassland species grown in microecosystems (10-cm diameter by 1-m deep tubes). SR was approximately 2 [mu]mol m[sup [minus]2]s[sup [minus]1] for Plantago, Bromus, Hemizona, and Calycadenia and 7 [minus] 8 [mu]mol m[sup [minus]2]s[sup [minus]2] for Lolium, Avena, and Vulpia. Elevated CO[sub 2] significantly increased soil respiration by 20-30% in Bromus, Hemizonia and Lolium monocultures. SR was significantly correlated with total plant biomass as averaged across all species.

  6. Untangling the roles of fire, grazing and rainfall on small mammal communities in grassland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Yarnell, R W; Scott, D M; Chimimba, C T; Metcalfe, D J

    2007-11-01

    In grassland systems across the globe, ecologists have been attempting to understand the complex role of fire, grazing and rainfall in creating habitat heterogeneity and the consequences of anthropogenic control of these factors on ecosystem integrity and functioning. Using a South African grassland ecosystem as a model, we investigated the impact of fire and grazing pressure on small mammal communities during three differing periods of a rainfall cycle. Over 2 years, 15,203 trap nights revealed 1598 captures of 11 species (nine rodents, one macroscelid and one insectivore). Results highlighted the importance of the interplay between factors and showed that the role of fire, grazing and rainfall in determining small mammal abundance was species-dependant. While no two species were affected by the same environmental variables, grass cover or height was important to 56% of species. Considered independently, high rainfall had a positive influence on small mammal abundance and diversity, although the lag period in population response was species-specific. High grazing negatively affected overall abundance, but specifically in Mastomys coucha; fire alone had little immediate impact on small mammal diversity. Six months after the fire, vegetation cover had recovered to similar levels as unburned areas, although small mammal diversity and richness were higher in burned areas than unburned areas. Grazing levels influenced the rate of vegetation recovery. In conclusion, low-level grazing and burning can help to maintain small mammal biodiversity, if conducted under appropriate rainfall levels. A too high grazing pressure, combined with fire, and/or fire conducted under drought conditions can have a negative impact on small mammal biodiversity. To maintain small mammal diversity in grassland ecosystems, the combined effects of the previous year's rainfall and existing population level as well as the inhibition of vegetation recovery via grazing pressure need to be taken into consideration before fire management is applied. PMID:17846799

  7. Estimating daytime ecosystem respiration to improve estimates of gross primary production of a temperate forest.

    PubMed

    Sun, Jinwei; Wu, Jiabing; Guan, Dexin; Yao, Fuqi; Yuan, Fenghui; Wang, Anzhi; Jin, Changjie

    2014-01-01

    Leaf respiration is an important component of carbon exchange in terrestrial ecosystems, and estimates of leaf respiration directly affect the accuracy of ecosystem carbon budgets. Leaf respiration is inhibited by light; therefore, gross primary production (GPP) will be overestimated if the reduction in leaf respiration by light is ignored. However, few studies have quantified GPP overestimation with respect to the degree of light inhibition in forest ecosystems. To determine the effect of light inhibition of leaf respiration on GPP estimation, we assessed the variation in leaf respiration of seedlings of the dominant tree species in an old mixed temperate forest with different photosynthetically active radiation levels using the Laisk method. Canopy respiration was estimated by combining the effect of light inhibition on leaf respiration of these species with within-canopy radiation. Leaf respiration decreased exponentially with an increase in light intensity. Canopy respiration and GPP were overestimated by approximately 20.4% and 4.6%, respectively, when leaf respiration reduction in light was ignored compared with the values obtained when light inhibition of leaf respiration was considered. This study indicates that accurate estimates of daytime ecosystem respiration are needed for the accurate evaluation of carbon budgets in temperate forests. In addition, this study provides a valuable approach to accurately estimate GPP by considering leaf respiration reduction in light in other ecosystems. PMID:25419844

  8. Estimating Daytime Ecosystem Respiration to Improve Estimates of Gross Primary Production of a Temperate Forest

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Jinwei; Wu, Jiabing; Guan, Dexin; Yao, Fuqi; Yuan, Fenghui; Wang, Anzhi; Jin, Changjie

    2014-01-01

    Leaf respiration is an important component of carbon exchange in terrestrial ecosystems, and estimates of leaf respiration directly affect the accuracy of ecosystem carbon budgets. Leaf respiration is inhibited by light; therefore, gross primary production (GPP) will be overestimated if the reduction in leaf respiration by light is ignored. However, few studies have quantified GPP overestimation with respect to the degree of light inhibition in forest ecosystems. To determine the effect of light inhibition of leaf respiration on GPP estimation, we assessed the variation in leaf respiration of seedlings of the dominant tree species in an old mixed temperate forest with different photosynthetically active radiation levels using the Laisk method. Canopy respiration was estimated by combining the effect of light inhibition on leaf respiration of these species with within-canopy radiation. Leaf respiration decreased exponentially with an increase in light intensity. Canopy respiration and GPP were overestimated by approximately 20.4% and 4.6%, respectively, when leaf respiration reduction in light was ignored compared with the values obtained when light inhibition of leaf respiration was considered. This study indicates that accurate estimates of daytime ecosystem respiration are needed for the accurate evaluation of carbon budgets in temperate forests. In addition, this study provides a valuable approach to accurately estimate GPP by considering leaf respiration reduction in light in other ecosystems. PMID:25419844

  9. Increased winter soil temperature variability enhances nitrogen cycling and soil biotic activity in temperate heathland and grassland mesocosms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerings, J.; Jentsch, A.; Hammerl, V.; Lenz, K.; Henry, H. A. L.; Malyshev, A. V.; Kreyling, J.

    2014-12-01

    Winter air temperatures are projected to increase in the temperate zone, whereas snow cover is projected to decrease, leading to increased soil temperature variability, and potentially to changes in nutrient cycling. Here, we experimentally evaluated the effects of increased winter soil temperature variability on selected aspects of the N-cycle in mesocosms containing different plant community compositions. The experiment was replicated at two sites, a colder mountainous upland site with high snow accumulation and a warmer and drier lowland site. Increased soil temperature variability enhanced soil biotic activity for both sites during winter, as indicated by 35% higher nitrogen (N) availability in the soil solution, 40% higher belowground decomposition and a 25% increase in the potential activity of the enzyme cellobiohydrolase. The mobilization of N differed between sites, and the 15N signal in leaves was reduced by 31% in response to winter warming pulses, but only at the cold site, with significant reductions occurring for three of four tested plant species at this site. Furthermore, there was a trend of increased N leaching in response to the recurrent winter warming pulses. Overall, projected winter climate change in the temperate zone, with less snow and more variable soil temperatures, appears important for shifts in ecosystem functioning (i.e. nutrient cycling). While the effects of warming pulses on plant N mobilization did not differ among sites, reduced plant 15N incorporation at the colder temperate site suggests that frost damage may reduce plant N uptake in a warmer world, with important implications for nitrogen cycling and nitrogen losses from ecosystems.

  10. Plant community responses to precipitation and spatial pattern of nitrogen supply in an experimental grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Xi, Nianxun; Carrre, Pascal; Bloor, Juliette M G

    2015-06-01

    Recent work suggests that soil nutrient heterogeneity may modulate plant responses to drivers of global change, but interactions between N heterogeneity and changes in rainfall regime remain poorly understood. We used a model grassland system to investigate the interactive effects of N application pattern (homogeneous, heterogeneous) and precipitation-magnitude manipulation during the growing season (control, +50 % rainfall, -50 % rainfall) on aboveground biomass and plant community dominance patterns. Our study resulted in four major findings: patchy N addition increased within-plot variability in plant size structure at the species level, but did not alter total aboveground biomass; patchy N addition increased community dominance and caused a shift in the ranking of subordinate plant species; unlike community-level biomass, plant species differed in their biomass response to the rainfall treatments; and neither aboveground biomass nor community dominance showed significant interactions between N pattern and rainfall manipulation, suggesting that grassland responses to patchy N inputs are insensitive to water addition or rainfall reduction in our temperate study system. Overall, our results indicate that the spatial pattern of N inputs has greater effects on species biomass variability and community dominance than on aboveground production. These short-term changes in plant community structure may have significant implications for longer-term patterns of vegetation dynamics and plant-soil feedbacks. Moreover our results suggest that the magnitude of precipitation during the growing season plays a limited role in grassland responses to heterogeneous organic N inputs, emphasizing the need to consider other components of precipitation change in future heterogeneity studies. PMID:25783490

  11. Short-term sequestration of slurry-derived carbon into particle size fractions of a temperate grassland soil.

    PubMed

    Bol, Roland; Moering, Judith; Preedy, Neil; Glaser, Bruno

    2004-03-01

    Surface application of animal wastes in intensive grassland systems has caused growing environmental problems during the last decade and, therefore, increasing public and scientific concern. In the present study we examined if the natural abundance 13C stable isotope tracer techniques could be used to investigate a poorly defined aspect of waste application, i.e. incorporation of slurry-derived C and its distribution in soil organic matter (SOM) fractions with different turnover times of a pasture soil. C3 and C4 slurries (delta13C(V-PDB) = -30.7/1000 and -21.3/1000, respectively) from cows fed either on a maize (C4) or perennial ryegrass (C3) diet were applied to a C3 soil with a delta13C value of (-30.0+/-0.2)/1000. The cattle slurry was applied at 50 m3 ha(-1). Coarse sand, fine sand, silt, clay and fine clay were isolated from bulk soil samples (0-2 cm depth), freeze-dried and ground prior to total organic C (TOC) using elemental analysis and 13C natural abundance analysis by isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. The stable isotope tracer technique did allow to quantify the short-term sequestration of slurry-derived C in particle-size fractions of the grassland soil. Slurry-derived carbon was sequestered in various amounts in the five particle-size fractions, but most of it was sequestered in the coarse sand fraction during the two week experiment. The preferential input into the coarse sand fraction suggests that only the larger particulate slurry-derived materials were trapped into the soil during the experimental period. Less than 40% of the applied slurry-derived C was sequestered into the soil, suggesting a potential for large losses into the wider environment. The practice of surface spreading of slurry to temperate grassland soils is clearly not efficient, and improvements in slurry application methods, such as incorporation directly into the soil, should therefore be encouraged. PMID:15085987

  12. The Effects of Warming-Shifted Plant Phenology on Ecosystem Carbon Exchange Are Regulated by Precipitation in a Semi-Arid Grassland

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang

    2012-01-01

    Background The longer growing season under climate warming has served as a crucial mechanism for the enhancement of terrestrial carbon (C) sink over the past decades. A better understanding of this mechanism is critical for projection of changes in C cycling of terrestrial ecosystems. Methodology/Principal Findings A 4-year field experiment with day and night warming was conducted to examine the responses of plant phenology and their influences on plant coverage and ecosystem C cycling in a temperate steppe in northern China. Greater phenological responses were observed under night than day warming. Both day and night warming prolonged the growing season by advancing phenology of early-blooming species but without changing that of late-blooming species. However, no warming response of vegetation coverage was found for any of the eight species. The variances in species-level coverage and ecosystem C fluxes under different treatments were positively dependent upon the accumulated precipitation within phenological duration but not the length of phenological duration. Conclusions/Significance These plants' phenology is more sensitive to night than day warming, and the warming effects on ecosystem C exchange via shifting plant phenology could be mediated by precipitation patterns in semi-arid grasslands. PMID:22359660

  13. Growth response of temperate mountain grasslands to inter-annual variations in snow cover duration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choler, P.

    2015-06-01

    A remote sensing approach is used to examine the direct and indirect effects of snow cover duration and weather conditions on the growth response of mountain grasslands located above the tree line in the French Alps. Time-integrated Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVIint), used as a surrogate for aboveground primary productivity, and snow cover duration were derived from a 13-year long time series of the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). A regional-scale meteorological forcing that accounted for topographical effects was provided by the SAFRAN-CROCUS-MEPRA model chain. A hierarchical path analysis was developed to analyze the multivariate causal relationships between forcing variables and proxies of primary productivity. Inter-annual variations in primary productivity were primarily governed by year-to-year variations in the length of the snow-free period and to a much lesser extent by temperature and precipitation during the growing season. A prolonged snow cover reduces the number and magnitude of frost events during the initial growth period but this has a negligible impact on NDVIint as compared to the strong negative effect of a delayed snow melting. The maximum NDVI slightly responded to increased summer precipitation and temperature but the impact on productivity was weak. The period spanning from peak standing biomass to the first snowfall accounted for two-thirds of NDVIint and this explained the high sensitivity of NDVIint to autumn temperature and autumn rainfall that control the timing of the first snowfall. The ability of mountain plants to maintain green tissues during the whole snow-free period along with the relatively low responsiveness of peak standing biomass to summer meteorological conditions led to the conclusion that the length of the snow-free period is the primary driver of the inter-annual variations in primary productivity of mountain grasslands.

  14. Growth response of temperate mountain grasslands to inter-annual variations of snow cover duration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choler, P.

    2015-02-01

    A remote sensing approach is used to examine the direct and indirect effects of snow cover duration and weather conditions on the growth response of mountain grasslands located above the tree line in the French Alps. Time-integrated normalized difference vegetation index (NDVIint), used as a surrogate for aboveground primary productivity, and snow cover duration were derived from a 13 year long time series of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS). A regional-scale meteorological forcing that accounted for topographical effects was provided by the SAFRAN-Crocus-MEPRA model chain. A hierarchical path analysis was developed to analyze the multivariate causal relationships between forcing variables and proxies of primary productivity. Inter-annual variations in primary productivity were primarily governed by year-to-year variations in the length of the snow-free period and to a much lesser extent by temperature and precipitation during the growing season. A prolonged snow cover reduces the number and magnitude of frost events during the initial growth period but this has a negligeable impact on NDVIint as compared to the strong negative effect of a delayed snow melting. The maximum NDVI slightly responded to increased summer precipitation and temperature but the impact on productivity was weak. The period spanning from peak standing biomass to the first snowfall accounted for two thirds of NDVIint and this explained the high sensitivity of NDVIint to autumn temperature and autumn rainfall that control the timing of the first snowfall. The ability of mountain plants to maintain green tissues during the whole snow-free period along with the relatively low responsiveness of peak standing biomass to summer meteorological conditions led to the conclusion that the length of the snow-free period is the primary driver of the inter-annual variations in primary productivity of mountain grasslands.

  15. Vegetation ecology meets ecosystem science: Permanent grasslands as a functional biogeography case study.

    PubMed

    Violle, Cyrille; Choler, Philippe; Borgy, Benjamin; Garnier, Eric; Amiaud, Bernard; Debarros, Guilhem; Diquelou, Sylvain; Gachet, Sophie; Jolivet, Claudy; Kattge, Jens; Lavorel, Sandra; Lemauviel-Lavenant, Servane; Loranger, Jessy; Mikolajczak, Alexis; Munoz, François; Olivier, Jean; Viovy, Nicolas

    2015-11-15

    The effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning has been widely acknowledged, and the importance of the functional roles of species, as well as their diversity, in the control of ecosystem processes has been emphasised recently. However, bridging biodiversity and ecosystem science to address issues at a biogeographic scale is still in its infancy. Bridging this gap is the primary goal of the emerging field of functional biogeography. While the rise of Big Data has catalysed functional biogeography studies in recent years, comprehensive evidence remains scarce. Here, we present the rationale and the first results of a country-wide initiative focused on the C3 permanent grasslands. We aimed to collate, integrate and process large databases of vegetation relevés, plant traits and environmental layers to provide a country-wide assessment of ecosystem properties and services which can be used to improve regional models of climate and land use changes. We outline the theoretical background, data availability, and ecoinformatics challenges associated with the approach and its feasibility. We provide a case study of upscaling of leaf dry matter content averaged at ecosystem level and country-wide predictions of forage digestibility. Our framework sets milestones for further hypothesis testing in functional biogeography and earth system modelling. PMID:25908020

  16. Modeling and validating tritium transfer in a grassland ecosystem in response to {sup 3}H releases

    SciTech Connect

    Le Dizes, S.

    2015-03-15

    In this paper a radioecological model (TOCATTA) for tritium transfer in a grassland ecosystem developed on an hourly time-step basis is proposed and compared with the first data set obtained in the vicinity of the AREVA-NC reprocessing plant of La Hague (France). The TOCATTA model aims at simulating dynamics of tritium transfer in agricultural soil and plant ecosystems exposed to time-varying HTO concentrations in air water vapour and possibly in irrigation and rain water. In the present study, gaseous releases of tritium from the AREVA NC nuclear reprocessing plant in normal operation can be intense and intermittent over a period of less than 24 hours. A first comparison of the model predictions with the field data has shown that TOCATTA should be improved in terms of kinetics of tritium transfer.

  17. Testing the Link between Functional Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning in a Minnesota Grassland Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Butterfield, Bradley J.; Reich, Peter B.

    2012-01-01

    The functional diversity of a community can influence ecosystem functioning and reflects assembly processes. The large number of disparate metrics used to quantify functional diversity reflects the range of attributes underlying this concept, generally summarized as functional richness, functional evenness, and functional divergence. However, in practice, we know very little about which attributes drive which ecosystem functions, due to a lack of field-based tests. Here we test the association between eight leading functional diversity metrics (Rao’s Q, FD, FDis, FEve, FDiv, convex hull volume, and species and functional group richness) that emphasize different attributes of functional diversity, plus 11 extensions of these existing metrics that incorporate heterogeneous species abundances and trait variation. We assess the relationships among these metrics and compare their performances for predicting three key ecosystem functions (above- and belowground biomass and light capture) within a long-term grassland biodiversity experiment. Many metrics were highly correlated, although unique information was captured in FEve, FDiv, and dendrogram-based measures (FD) that were adjusted by abundance. FD adjusted by abundance outperformed all other metrics in predicting both above- and belowground biomass, although several others also performed well (e.g. Rao’s Q, FDis, FDiv). More generally, trait-based richness metrics and hybrid metrics incorporating multiple diversity attributes outperformed evenness metrics and single-attribute metrics, results that were not changed when combinations of metrics were explored. For light capture, species richness alone was the best predictor, suggesting that traits for canopy architecture would be necessary to improve predictions. Our study provides a comprehensive test linking different attributes of functional diversity with ecosystem function for a grassland system. PMID:23300787

  18. Ground-based grasslands data to support remote sensing and ecosystem modeling of terrestrial primary production

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olson, R. J.; Scurlock, J. M. O.; Turner, R. S.; Jennings, S. V.

    1995-01-01

    Estimating terrestrial net primary production (NPP) using remote-sensing tools and ecosystem models requires adequate ground-based measurements for calibration, parameterization, and validation. These data needs were strongly endorsed at a recent meeting of ecosystem modelers organized by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program's (IGBP's) Data and Information System (DIS) and its Global Analysis, Interpretation, and Modelling (GAIM) Task Force. To meet these needs, a multinational, multiagency project is being coordinated by the IGBP DIS to compile existing NPP data from field sites and to regionalize NPP point estimates to various-sized grid cells. Progress at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on compiling NPP data for grasslands as part of the IGBP DIS data initiative is described. Site data and associated documentation from diverse field studies are being acquired for selected grasslands and are being reviewed for completeness, consistency, and adequacy of documentation, including a description of sampling methods. Data are being compiled in a database with spatial, temporal, and thematic characteristics relevant to remote sensing and global modeling. NPP data are available from the ORNL Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for biogeochemical dynamics. The ORNL DAAC is part of the Earth Observing System Data and Information System, of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  19. Ground-based grasslands data to support remote sensing and ecosystem modeling of terrestrial primary production

    SciTech Connect

    Olson, R.J.; Turner, R.S.; Scurlock, J.M.O.; Jennings, S.V.

    1995-12-31

    Estimating terrestrial net primary production (NPP) using remote- sensing tools and ecosystem models requires adequate ground-based measurements for calibration, parameterization, and validation. These data needs were strongly endorsed at a recent meeting of ecosystem modelers organized by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme`s (IGBP`s) Data and Information System (DIS) and its Global Analysis, Interpretation, and Modelling (GAIM) Task Force. To meet these needs, a multinational, multiagency project is being coordinated by the IGBP DIS to compile existing NPP data from field sites and to regionalize NPP point estimates to various-sized grid cells. Progress at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on compiling NPP data for grasslands as part of the IGBP DIS data initiative is described. Site data and associated documentation from diverse field studies are being acquired for selected grasslands and are being reviewed for completeness, consistency, and adequacy of documentation, including a description of sampling methods. Data are being compiled in a database with spatial, temporal, and thematic characteristics relevant to remote sensing and global modeling. NPP data are available from the ORNL Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for biogeochemical dynamics. The ORNL DAAC is part of the Earth Observing System Data and Information System, of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  20. Effects of Simulated Climate Conditions on Phosphorus Cycling in an Annual Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mellett, T.; Paytan, A.; Defforey, D.; Roberts, K.

    2014-12-01

    The Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment is a long-term study of the effects of simulated climate change conditions on an annual grassland ecosystem. The different treatments consist of elevated atmospheric CO2 levels, enhanced nitrate deposition, as well as higher temperatures and precipitation rates. A representative portion of the above ground vegetation from each plot is harvested. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of different climate conditions on the phosphorus content and phosphorus cycling in terrestrial plants. Since phosphorus only has one stable isotope, the δ18O signature in phosphate is used as a proxy to investigate phosphorus cycling. Although this technique has been successful in determining phosphorous cycling in aquatic systems, only a few studies have used this approach for terrestrial ecosystems. We analyzed the δ18O of the most abundant grass from each of the plots and treatments. The δ18O values of each sample are compared to elemental budgets of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous for correlation as well as soil enzyme activities. and the combination of measures are assessed as indicators for phosphorus limitation in each respective treatment site and provide a better understanding of phosphorus cycling in annual grasslands and the potential effects of climate change on phosphorus cycling.

  1. Leaf-out phenology of temperate woody plants: from trees to ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Polgar, Caroline A; Primack, Richard B

    2011-09-01

    Leafing-out of woody plants begins the growing season in temperate forests and is one of the most important drivers of ecosystem processes. There is substantial variation in the timing of leaf-out, both within and among species, but the leaf development of almost all temperate tree and shrub species is highly sensitive to temperature. As a result, leaf-out times of temperate forests are valuable for observing the effects of climate change. Analysis of phenology data from around the world indicates that leaf-out is generally earlier in warmer years than in cooler years and that the onset of leaf-out has advanced in many locations. Changes in the timing of leaf-out will affect carbon sequestration, plant-animal interactions, and other essential ecosystem processes. The development of remote sensing methods has expanded the scope of leaf-out monitoring from the level of an individual plant or forest to an entire region. Meanwhile, historical data have informed modeling and experimental studies addressing questions about leaf-out timing. For most species, onset of leaf-out will continue to advance, although advancement may be slowed for some species because of unmet chilling requirements. More information is needed to reduce the uncertainty in predicting the timing of future spring onset. PMID:21762163

  2. Icefield-to-ocean linkages across the northern Pacific coastal temperate rainforest ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Bidlack, Allison L.; Fleming, Sean W.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Arendt, Anthony; Burgess, Evan W.; Sergeant, Christopher J.; Beaudreau, Anne E.; Timm, Kristin; Hayward, Gregory D.; Reynolds, Joel H.; Pyare, Sanjay

    2015-01-01

    Rates of glacier mass loss in the northern Pacific coastal temperate rainforest (PCTR) are among the highest on Earth, and changes in glacier volume and extent will affect the flow regime and chemistry of coastal rivers, as well as the nearshore marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska. Here we synthesize physical, chemical and biological linkages that characterize the northern PCTR ecosystem, with particular emphasis on the potential impacts of glacier change in the coastal mountain ranges on the surface–water hydrology, biogeochemistry, coastal oceanography and aquatic ecology. We also evaluate the relative importance and interplay between interannual variability and long-term trends in key physical drivers and ecological responses. To advance our knowledge of the northern PCTR, we advocate for cross-disciplinary research bridging the icefield-to-ocean ecosystem that can be paired with long-term scientific records and designed to inform decisionmakers.

  3. Responses of desert, semi-arid grassland and scrub-oak ecosystems to elevated CO2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luus, Kristina; Walker, Anthony; de Kauwe, Martin; Hungate, Bruce; Megonigal, J. Patrick; Lu, Meng; Fenstermaker, Lynn; Nowak, Robert; Morgan, Jack; Medlyn, Belinda; Norby, Richard; Zaehle, Snke

    2014-05-01

    We compared observations from free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments at dry (desert, semi-arid grassland and scrub-oak) sites, to predictions from a suite of ecosystem models with differing complexity, ranging from a parsimonious forest growth model (GDAY) to a comprehensive land surface model (OCN). Dry ecosystems have often been predicted to increase in net primary productivity (NPP) and net C uptake over time in response to elevated CO2 (eCO2) because of increased N fixation, and alleviation of drought-stress due to reduced stomatal conductance. However, experiments at the Nevada Desert FACE (NDFF), the semi-arid prairie grassland FACE (PHACE), and the scrub-oak Kennedy Space Center open-top chamber experiment (KSCO), have revealed that dry ecosystems display a more complex biogeochemical response to eCO2. Insights into the processes determining the responses of dry ecosystems to eCO2 were gained by evaluating model estimates against site data, and by dissecting model responses to eCO2. Site level findings at PHACE indicated that eCO2 enabled more rapid C turnover, resulting in a net ecosystem C loss. Conversely, at PHACE, models such as OCN simulated a decrease in N leaching and an increase in NPP because of eCO2, leading to increased C storage. Leaf cover and NPP at KSCO initially increased with eCO2 before declining due to reduced N fixation and increased N leaching. At NDFF, eCO2 only increased plant growth during one abnormally wet year; in subsequent years, soil crust cyanobacteria decreased in abundance, and gains in biomass were not sustained. In OCN simulations at NDFF, eCO2 increased water-use efficiency and NPP in years with average to above-average precipitation. Through examination of the reasons for discrepancies between observed and modeled ecosystem responses to eCO2, processes determining the biogeochemical responses of dry ecosystems to eCO2 were elucidated.

  4. 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 inorganic N (NO3 or NH4). Soil organic matter illustrated an intermediate situations with joint control by plant and microbial traits. 4. Across all sites, we found that increasing management intensity, and concomitant changes in soil fertility, was associated with more exploitative plant strategies (high Specific Leaf Area and Leaf Nitrogen Concentration) and taller vegetation. These vegetation functional properties provided the benefit of greater production, but at the cost of poor carbon and nutrient retention, notably because they were associated with microbial communities dominated by bacteria and with rapid rates of nitrification. Conversely, decreasing management intensity resulted in dominance by plants with conservative strategies (high Leaf Dry Matter Content and C/N ratio), usually low production, but benefits for carbon sequestration and soil nutrient retention by favouring microbial communities dominated by fungi co-occuring with bacteria with slow activities.

  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. Determining the relative importance of climatic drivers on spring phenology in grassland ecosystems of semi-arid areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Likai; Meng, Jijun

    2015-02-01

    Understanding climate controls on spring phenology in grassland ecosystems is critically important in predicting the impacts of future climate change on grassland productivity and carbon storage. The third-generation Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling System (GIMMS3g) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data were applied to derive the start of the growing season (SOS) from 1982-2010 in grassland ecosystems of Ordos, a typical semi-arid area in China. Then, the conditional Granger causality method was utilized to quantify the directed functional connectivity between key climatic drivers and the SOS. The results show that the asymmetric Gaussian (AG) function is better in reducing noise of NDVI time series than the double logistic (DL) function within our study area. The southeastern Ordos has earlier occurrence and lower variability of the SOS, whereas the northwestern Ordos has later occurrence and higher variability of the SOS. The research also reveals that spring precipitation has stronger causal connectivity with the SOS than other climatic factors over different grassland ecosystem types. There is no statistically significant trend across the study area, while the similar pattern is observed for spring precipitation. Our study highlights the link of spring phenology with different grassland types, and the use of coupling remote sensing and econometric tools. With the dramatic increase in global change research, Granger causality method augurs well for further development and application of time-series modeling of complex social-ecological systems at the intersection of remote sensing and landscape changes.

  7. Connecting Soil Organic Carbon and Root Biomass with Land-Use and Vegetation in Temperate Grassland

    PubMed Central

    McGranahan, Devan Allen; Daigh, Aaron L.; Veenstra, Jessica J.; Engle, David M.; Miller, James R.; Debinski, Diane M.

    2014-01-01

    Soils contain much of Earth's terrestrial organic carbon but are sensitive to land-use. Rangelands are important to carbon dynamics and are among ecosystems most widely impacted by land-use. While common practices like grazing, fire, and tillage affect soil properties directly related to soil carbon dynamics, their magnitude and direction of change vary among ecosystems and with intensity of disturbance. We describe variability in soil organic carbon (SOC) and root biomass—sampled from 0–170 cm and 0–100 cm, respectively—in terms of soil properties, land-use history, current management, and plant community composition using linear regression and multivariate ordination. Despite consistency in average values of SOC and root biomass between our data and data from rangelands worldwide, broad ranges in root biomass and SOC in our data suggest these variables are affected by other site-specific factors. Pastures with a recent history of severe grazing had reduced root biomass and greater bulk density. Ordination suggests greater exotic species richness is associated with lower root biomass but the relationship was not apparent when an invasive species of management concern was specifically tested. We discuss how unexplained variability in belowground properties can complicate measurement and prediction of ecosystem processes such as carbon sequestration. PMID:25401142

  8. Connecting soil organic carbon and root biomass with land-use and vegetation in temperate grassland.

    PubMed

    McGranahan, Devan Allen; Daigh, Aaron L; Veenstra, Jessica J; Engle, David M; Miller, James R; Debinski, Diane M

    2014-01-01

    Soils contain much of Earth's terrestrial organic carbon but are sensitive to land-use. Rangelands are important to carbon dynamics and are among ecosystems most widely impacted by land-use. While common practices like grazing, fire, and tillage affect soil properties directly related to soil carbon dynamics, their magnitude and direction of change vary among ecosystems and with intensity of disturbance. We describe variability in soil organic carbon (SOC) and root biomass--sampled from 0-170 cm and 0-100 cm, respectively--in terms of soil properties, land-use history, current management, and plant community composition using linear regression and multivariate ordination. Despite consistency in average values of SOC and root biomass between our data and data from rangelands worldwide, broad ranges in root biomass and SOC in our data suggest these variables are affected by other site-specific factors. Pastures with a recent history of severe grazing had reduced root biomass and greater bulk density. Ordination suggests greater exotic species richness is associated with lower root biomass but the relationship was not apparent when an invasive species of management concern was specifically tested. We discuss how unexplained variability in belowground properties can complicate measurement and prediction of ecosystem processes such as carbon sequestration. PMID:25401142

  9. Transfer of a cyanobacterial neurotoxin within a temperate aquatic ecosystem suggests pathways for human exposure

    PubMed Central

    Jonasson, Sara; Eriksson, Johan; Berntzon, Lotta; Spáčil, Zdenĕk; Ilag, Leopold L.; Ronnevi, Lars-Olof; Rasmussen, Ulla; Bergman, Birgitta

    2010-01-01

    β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxic nonprotein amino acid produced by most cyanobacteria, has been proposed to be the causative agent of devastating neurodegenerative diseases on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Because cyanobacteria are widespread globally, we hypothesized that BMAA might occur and bioaccumulate in other ecosystems. Here we demonstrate, based on a recently developed extraction and HPLC-MS/MS method and long-term monitoring of BMAA in cyanobacterial populations of a temperate aquatic ecosystem (Baltic Sea, 2007–2008), that BMAA is biosynthesized by cyanobacterial genera dominating the massive surface blooms of this water body. BMAA also was found at higher concentrations in organisms of higher trophic levels that directly or indirectly feed on cyanobacteria, such as zooplankton and various vertebrates (fish) and invertebrates (mussels, oysters). Pelagic and benthic fish species used for human consumption were included. The highest BMAA levels were detected in the muscle and brain of bottom-dwelling fishes. The discovery of regular biosynthesis of the neurotoxin BMAA in a large temperate aquatic ecosystem combined with its possible transfer and bioaccumulation within major food webs, some ending in human consumption, is alarming and requires attention. PMID:20439734

  10. Plant species richness drives the density and diversity of Collembola in temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sabais, Alexander C. W.; Scheu, Stefan; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2011-05-01

    Declining biodiversity is one of the most important aspects of anthropogenic global change phenomena, but the implications of plant species loss for soil decomposers are little understood. We used the experimental grassland community of the Jena Experiment to assess the response of density and diversity of Collembola to varying plant species richness, plant functional group richness and plant functional group identity. We sampled the experimental plots in spring and autumn four years after establishment of the experimental plant communities. Collembola density and diversity significantly increased with plant species and plant functional group richness highlighting the importance of the singular hypothesis for soil invertebrates. Generally, grasses and legumes beneficially affected Collembola density and diversity, whereas effects of small herbs usually were detrimental. These impacts were largely consistent in spring and autumn. By contrast, in the presence of small herbs the density of hemiedaphic Collembola and the diversity of Isotomidae increased in spring whereas they decreased in autumn. Beneficial impacts of plant diversity as well as those of grasses and legumes were likely due to increased root and microbial biomass, and elevated quantity and quality of plant residues serving as food resources for Collembola. By contrast, beneficial impacts of small herbs in spring probably reflect differences in microclimatic conditions, and detrimental effects in autumn likely were due to low quantity and quality of resources. The results point to an intimate relationship between plants and the diversity of belowground biota, even at small spatial scales, contrasting the findings of previous studies. The pronounced response of soil animals in the present study was presumably due to the fact that plant communities had established over several years. As decomposer invertebrates significantly impact plant performance, changes in soil biota density and diversity are likely to have major feedbacks on plant community productivity and composition.

  11. Effects of ploughing on land-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases in a managed temperate grassland in central Scotland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helfter, Carole; Drewer, Julia; Anderson, Margaret; Scholtes, Bob; Rees, Bob; Skiba, Ute

    2015-04-01

    Grasslands are important ecosystems covering > 20% and > 30% of EU and Scotland's land area respectively. Management practices such as grazing, fertilisation and ploughing can have significant short- and long-term effects on greenhouse gas exchange. Here we report on two separate ploughing events two years apart in adjacent grasslands under common management. The Easter Bush grassland, located 10 km south of Edinburgh (55° 52'N, 3° 2'W), comprises two fields separated by a fence and is used for grazing by sheep and cattle. The vegetation is predominantly Lolium perenne (> 90%) growing on poorly drained clay loam. The fields receive several applications of mineral fertiliser a year in spring and summer. Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been monitored continuously by eddy-covariance (EC) since 2002 which has demonstrated that the site is a consistent yet variable sink of atmospheric CO2. The EC system comprises a LI-COR 7000 closed-path analyser and a Gill Instruments Windmaster Pro ultrasonic anemometer mounted atop a 2.5 m mast located along the fence line separating the fields. In addition, fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4)and CO2were measured with static chambers installed along transects in each field. Gas samples collected from the chambers were analysed by gas chromatography and fluxes calculated for each 60-minute sampling period. The ploughing events in 2012 and 2014 exhibited multiple similarities in terms of NEE. The light response (i.e. relationship between CO2 flux, and photosynthetically active radiation, PAR) of the NF and SF during the month preceding each ploughing event was of comparable magnitude in both years. Following ploughing, CO2 uptake ceased in the ploughed field for approximately one month and full recovery of the photosynthetic potential was observed after ca. 2 months. During the month following the 2014 ploughing event, the ploughed NF released on average 333 ± 17 mg CO2-C m-2 h-1. In contrast, the SF net uptake during the same period was -79 ± 19 mg CO2-C m-2 h-1. Ploughing caused a net release of carbon of 183 g CO2-C m-2 during the month following ploughing, thus turning the grassland into a potent CO2 source. Chamber measurements of CH4 and N2O exhibited high spatial variability in 2012 and no statistical difference could be established between fields and treatments. CH4 fluxes were high in both fields after ploughing which was presumably linked to air temperature. N2O fluxes in the ploughed SF reached on average 100 μg N2O-N m-2 h-1 29 days after ploughing which corresponded to ca. 20 times the background level recorded at the site. Fluxes of N2O were however considerably larger in 2014, peaking at 2570 μg N2O-N m-2 h-1 29 days after ploughing. Contrarily to 2012, substantial and statistically significant CH4 emissions were recorded in 2014 in the ploughed field. Whilst spatial variability was high in both years it can nevertheless be concluded that ploughing had substantial adverse short term effects on emissions and that environmental conditions greatly impacted the magnitude of CH4 and N2O fluxes.

  12. Rapid response of a grassland ecosystem to an experimental manipulation of a keystone rodent and domestic livestock.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Ana D; Ponce, Eduardo; Lightfoot, David C; Fredrickson, Ed L; Brown, James H; Cruzado, Juan; Brantley, Sandra L; Sierra-Corona, Rodrigo; List, Rurik; Toledo, David; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2010-11-01

    Megaherbivores and small burrowing mammals commonly coexist and play important functional roles in grassland ecosystems worldwide. The interactive effects of these two functional groups of herbivores in shaping the structure and function of grassland ecosystems are poorly understood. In North America's central grasslands, domestic cattle (Bos taurus) have supplanted bison (Bison bison), and now coexist with prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.), a keystone burrowing rodent. Understanding the ecological relationships between cattle and prairie dogs and their independent and interactive effects is essential to understanding the ecology and important conservation issues affecting North American grassland ecosystems. To address these needs, we established a long-term manipulative experiment that separates the independent and interactive effects of prairie dogs and cattle using a 2 x 2 factorial design. Our study is located in the Janos-Casas Grandes region of northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, which supports one of the largest remaining complexes of black-tailed prairie dogs (C. ludovicianus). Two years of posttreatment data show nearly twofold increases in prairie dog abundance on plots grazed by cattle compared to plots without cattle. This positive effect of cattle on prairie dogs resulted in synergistic impacts when they occurred together. Vegetation height was significantly lower on the plots where both species co-occurred compared to where either or both species was absent. The treatments also significantly affected abundance and composition of other grassland animal species, including grasshoppers and banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis). Our results demonstrate that two different functional groups of herbivorous mammals, burrowing mammals and domestic cattle, have distinctive and synergistic impacts in shaping the structure and function of grassland ecosystems. PMID:21141180

  13. Feedbacks between aeolian processes and ecosystem change in a degraded desert grassland in the southwestern US

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Junran

    2015-04-01

    The desert grassland in the southwestern US has undergone dramatic vegetation changes with many areas of grassland becoming shrublands in the last 150 years. A principle manifestation of such a land degradation is the wide distribution of fertile islands in once-homogenous landscapes, which changed soil resource redistributions through the movement of resources from plant interspaces to the area beneath plant canopies. A great deal of work has examined the role of water in nutrient reduction and enforcement of islands of fertility in the semiarid landscapes. However, little is known on the role of wind in the removal or redistribution of soil resources, and further the feedbacks between wind and ecosystem change in this area. In spring 2004, a vegetation removal experiment was established in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, southern New Mexico, where vegetation cover on the experimental plots were manually reduced to various levels to study the entire suite of aeolian processes, including erosion, transport, and deposition in creating and enforcing patchy distribution of vegetation. This experiment has been continually maintained for more than ten years, with the sampling and observation of vegetation cover, soil nutrients, sediment flux, topography, and plant physiology. The experimental results highlighted that the aeolian processes in the Chihuahuan Desert are able to change soil properties and community composition in as short as 3 three years. Further, the removal of grasses by 75% may trigger a very substantial increase of wind erosion and the removal of grass by 50% could cause significant amount of C and N loss due to wind erosion. Last but not least, the change of the spatial distribution of soil C and the micro-topography both point to the fact that aeolian processes contribute substantially to the dynamics of fertile islands in this desert grassland.

  14. Productivity, Respiration, and Light-Response Parameters of World Grassland and Agro-Ecosystems Derived from Flux-Tower Measurements

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grasslands and agroecosystems occupy nearly a third of the terrestrial area, but their contribution to the global carbon cycle remains uncertain. We used a set of 316 site-years of net carbon dioxide (CO2)) exchange measurements to quantify gross primary productivity, ecosystem respiration, and lig...

  15. Simulated water fluxes during the growing season in semiarid grassland ecosystems under severe drought conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Na; Liu, Chengyu

    2014-05-01

    To help improve understanding of how changes in climate and land cover affect water fluxes, water budgets, and the structure and function of regional grassland ecosystems, the Grassland Landscape Productivity Model (GLPM) was used to simulate spatiotemporal variation in primary water fluxes. The study area was a semiarid region in Inner Mongolia, China, in 2002, when severe drought was experienced. For Stipa grandis steppe, Leymus chinensis steppe, shrubland, and croplands, the modeled total, daily and monthly averaged, and maximum evapotranspiration during the growing season and the modeled water deficits were similar to those measured in Inner Mongolia under similar precipitation conditions. The modeled temporal variations in daily evaporation rate, transpiration rate, and evapotranspiration rate for the typical steppes also agreed reasonably well with measured trends. The results demonstrate that water fluxes varied in response to spatiotemporal variations in environmental factors and associated changes in the phenological and physiological characteristics of plants. It was also found that transpiration and evapotranspiration (rather than precipitation) were the primary factors controlling differences in water deficit among land cover types. The results also demonstrate that specific phenomena occur under severe drought conditions; these phenomena are considerably different to those occurring under normal or well-watered conditions. The findings of the present study will be useful for evaluating day-scale water fluxes and their relationships with climate change, hydrology, land cover, and vegetation dynamics.

  16. Net ecosystem carbon and water fluxes of a calcareous grassland under elevated CO{sub 2}

    SciTech Connect

    Stocker, R.; Leadley, P.; Niklaus, P.

    1995-06-01

    In 1994 we initiated a long term study on the effects of elevated CO{sub 2} on ecosystem function and biodiversity in a species rich grassland near Basel, Switzerland. Natural vegetation was exposed to ambient and elevated (600{mu}l 1{sup -1}) CO{sub 2} using open-top chambers. We measured ecosystem carbon and water fluxes for several 24hr. periods during the growing season by partially closing the top of the chambers. During the first 3 months of CO{sub 2} enrichment, mean net ecosystem carbon uptake at high photon flux density increased by 37%. The relative photosynthetic gain was diminished as photon flux density decreased. Dark respiration, and midday soil CO{sub 2}-evolution did not differ between treatments. Midday evapotranspiration decreased by 17%, probably due to stomatal responses, since LAI did not change. Since the extra carbon has not yet appeared in either aboveground, belowground, or microbial biomass, we hypothesize that a major part of the extra carbon was sequestered into the soil compartment.

  17. Plant community composition promotes multiple ecosystem functions in grassland at low and high soil fertility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Deyn, Gerlinde; Ostle, Nick; Bardgett, Richard

    2010-05-01

    It is well known that plant species richness can enhance primary productivity through complementarity in resource use by component plant species. Fewer studies have explored the role of plant species diversity and composition for the delivery of other ecosystem services than primary production and its dependency on resource availability. In this study we investigated how carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stocks in vegetation, soil and soil microbes, the loss of C and N from soil through leaching and ecosystem exchange rates of CO2 are affected by the composition and richness of grassland plant communities and soil fertility. We used two soils of contrasting fertility in which we planted plant communities using a pool of six plant species from one of three functional groups (legumes, forbs and C3 grasses). The levels of plant species richness were one, two, three or six species and were composed of one, two or three functional groups. Soil fertility stimulated pools of C and N in shoots and roots, and the soil microbial biomass, but also increased significantly with increased plant functional group and plant species richness. Moreover, plant diversity suppressed N and water loss via soil leaching. We also found changes in the C and N content in soil, but these were not related to the richness of plant species or functional groups. The changes in soil were rather specifically due to the abundance of the legumes. The leaching of water and N was related negative to plant species richness but also specifically to the abundance of the forb species. Our findings show that the relation between plant community composition and storage of C and N in vegetation is not directly reflected in the changes in C and N storage in soil. These soil based storage functions, and the leaching of N from soil, appeared to be most strongly related to different key plant species. Together these results indicate that the maintenance of plant diversity is important to sustain the multiple functions grasslands provide.

  18. [Assessment on vegetation restoration capacity of several grassland ecosystems under destroyed disturbance in permafrost regions of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau].

    PubMed

    Li, Dong-Ming; Guo, Zheng-Gang; An, Li-Zhe

    2008-10-01

    Vegetation restoration capacity of disturbed grassland ecosystem is one of the important components in assessing the influence of human engineering activities on the grassland ecosystems in permafrost region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. After comparing the features of vegetation communities, plant species diversity, grassland primary productivity, and economic group between disturbed and undisturbed communities, the comprehensive vegetation restoration capacity of several grassland communities under destroyed disturbance was assessed by using comprehensive assessment index. The results showed that the restoration of cover and community composition was obvious after 26 years natural restoration, being better for alpine steppes than for alpine meadows. However, the cover of disturbed communities was less than that of undisturbed communities. The restoration of plant species diversity in Stipa purpurea steppe was better than that in other grassland types. The biomass of standing plants restored from 0 to 148.8-489.6 g x m(-2), and that of Kobresia tibetica meadow was the highest (489.6 g x m(-2)). The palatable plants of disturbed communities were lower than those of undisturbed communities except for K. tibetica meadow, in which, the palatable plants were not changeable between disturbed and undisturbed communities. The comprehensive vegetation restoration capacity of alpine steppes was better than that of alpine meadows. PMID:19123353

  19. Niche partitioning in arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in temperate grasslands: a lesson from adjacent serpentine and nonserpentine habitats.

    PubMed

    Kohout, Petr; Doubkov, Pavla; Bahram, Mohammad; Suda, Jan; Tedersoo, Leho; Vo?kov, Jana; Sudov, Radka

    2015-04-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) represent an important soil microbial group playing a fundamental role in many terrestrial ecosystems. We explored the effects of deterministic (soil characteristics, host plant life stage, neighbouring plant communities) and stochastic processes on AMF colonization, richness and community composition in roots of Knautia arvensis (Dipsacaceae) plants from three serpentine grasslands and adjacent nonserpentine sites. Methodically, the study was based on 454-sequencing of the ITS region of rDNA. In total, we detected 81 molecular taxonomical operational units (MOTUs) belonging to the Glomeromycota. Serpentine character of the site negatively influenced AMF root colonization, similarly as higher Fe concentration. AMF MOTUs richness linearly increased along a pH gradient from 3.5 to 5.8. Contrary, K and Cr soil concentration had a negative influence on AMF MOTUs richness. We also detected a strong relation between neighbouring plant community composition and AMF MOTUs richness. Although spatial distance between the sampled sites (c. 0.3-3 km) contributed to structuring AMF communities in K. arvensis roots, environmental parameters were key factors in this respect. In particular, the composition of AMF communities was shaped by the complex of serpentine conditions, pH and available soil Ni concentration. The composition of AMF communities was also dependent on host plant life stage (vegetative vs. generative). Our study supports the dominance of deterministic factors in structuring AMF communities in heterogeneous environment composed of an edaphic mosaic of serpentine and nonserpentine soils. PMID:25753913

  20. Prerequisites for application of hyperbolic relaxed eddy accumulation on managed grasslands and alternative net ecosystem exchange flux partitioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riederer, M.; Hbner, J.; Ruppert, J.; Brand, W. A.; Foken, T.

    2014-12-01

    Relaxed eddy accumulation is still applied in ecosystem sciences for measuring trace gas fluxes. On managed grasslands, the length of time between management events and the application of relaxed eddy accumulation has an essential influence on the determination of the proportionality factor b and thus on the resulting flux. In this study this effect is discussed for the first time. Also, scalar similarity between proxy scalars and scalars of interest is affected until the ecosystem has completely recovered. Against this background, CO2 fluxes were continuously measured and 13CO2 isofluxes were determined with a high measurement precision on two representative days in summer 2010. Moreover, a common method for the partitioning of the net ecosystem exchange into assimilation and respiration based on temperature and light response was compared with an isotopic approach directly based on the isotope discrimination of the biosphere. This approach worked well on the grassland site and could enhance flux partitioning results by better reproducing the environmental conditions.

  1. Nighttime dissolution in a temperate coastal ocean ecosystem increases under acidification.

    PubMed

    Kwiatkowski, Lester; Gaylord, Brian; Hill, Tessa; Hosfelt, Jessica; Kroeker, Kristy J; Nebuchina, Yana; Ninokawa, Aaron; Russell, Ann D; Rivest, Emily B; Sesboüé, Marine; Caldeira, Ken

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing ocean acidification, lowering seawater aragonite (CaCO3) saturation state (Ωarag), with potentially substantial impacts on marine ecosystems over the 21(st) Century. Calcifying organisms have exhibited reduced calcification under lower saturation state conditions in aquaria. However, the in situ sensitivity of calcifying ecosystems to future ocean acidification remains unknown. Here we assess the community level sensitivity of calcification to local CO2-induced acidification caused by natural respiration in an unperturbed, biodiverse, temperate intertidal ecosystem. We find that on hourly timescales nighttime community calcification is strongly influenced by Ωarag, with greater net calcium carbonate dissolution under more acidic conditions. Daytime calcification however, is not detectably affected by Ωarag. If the short-term sensitivity of community calcification to Ωarag is representative of the long-term sensitivity to ocean acidification, nighttime dissolution in these intertidal ecosystems could more than double by 2050, with significant ecological and economic consequences. PMID:26987406

  2. Nighttime dissolution in a temperate coastal ocean ecosystem increases under acidification

    PubMed Central

    Kwiatkowski, Lester; Gaylord, Brian; Hill, Tessa; Hosfelt, Jessica; Kroeker, Kristy J.; Nebuchina, Yana; Ninokawa, Aaron; Russell, Ann D.; Rivest, Emily B.; Sesboüé, Marine; Caldeira, Ken

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing ocean acidification, lowering seawater aragonite (CaCO3) saturation state (Ωarag), with potentially substantial impacts on marine ecosystems over the 21st Century. Calcifying organisms have exhibited reduced calcification under lower saturation state conditions in aquaria. However, the in situ sensitivity of calcifying ecosystems to future ocean acidification remains unknown. Here we assess the community level sensitivity of calcification to local CO2-induced acidification caused by natural respiration in an unperturbed, biodiverse, temperate intertidal ecosystem. We find that on hourly timescales nighttime community calcification is strongly influenced by Ωarag, with greater net calcium carbonate dissolution under more acidic conditions. Daytime calcification however, is not detectably affected by Ωarag. If the short-term sensitivity of community calcification to Ωarag is representative of the long-term sensitivity to ocean acidification, nighttime dissolution in these intertidal ecosystems could more than double by 2050, with significant ecological and economic consequences. PMID:26987406

  3. Ecosystem properties of semiarid savanna grassland in West Africa and its relationship with environmental variability.

    PubMed

    Tagesson, Torbern; Fensholt, Rasmus; Guiro, Idrissa; Rasmussen, Mads Olander; Huber, Silvia; Mbow, Cheikh; Garcia, Monica; Horion, Stéphanie; Sandholt, Inge; Holm-Rasmussen, Bo; Göttsche, Frank M; Ridler, Marc-Etienne; Olén, Niklas; Lundegard Olsen, Jørgen; Ehammer, Andrea; Madsen, Mathias; Olesen, Folke S; Ardö, Jonas

    2015-01-01

    The Dahra field site in Senegal, West Africa, was established in 2002 to monitor ecosystem properties of semiarid savanna grassland and their responses to climatic and environmental change. This article describes the environment and the ecosystem properties of the site using a unique set of in situ data. The studied variables include hydroclimatic variables, species composition, albedo, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), hyperspectral characteristics (350-1800 nm), surface reflectance anisotropy, brightness temperature, fraction of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (FAPAR), biomass, vegetation water content, and land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon (NEE) and energy. The Dahra field site experiences a typical Sahelian climate and is covered by coexisting trees (~3% canopy cover) and grass species, characterizing large parts of the Sahel. This makes the site suitable for investigating relationships between ecosystem properties and hydroclimatic variables for semiarid savanna ecosystems of the region. There were strong interannual, seasonal and diurnal dynamics in NEE, with high values of ~-7.5 g C m(-2)  day(-1) during the peak of the growing season. We found neither browning nor greening NDVI trends from 2002 to 2012. Interannual variation in species composition was strongly related to rainfall distribution. NDVI and FAPAR were strongly related to species composition, especially for years dominated by the species Zornia glochidiata. This influence was not observed in interannual variation in biomass and vegetation productivity, thus challenging dryland productivity models based on remote sensing. Surface reflectance anisotropy (350-1800 nm) at the peak of the growing season varied strongly depending on wavelength and viewing angle thereby having implications for the design of remotely sensed spectral vegetation indices covering different wavelength regions. The presented time series of in situ data have great potential for dryland dynamics studies, global climate change related research and evaluation and parameterization of remote sensing products and dynamic vegetation models. PMID:25204271

  4. Water- and Plant-Mediated Responses of Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes to Warming and Nitrogen Addition on the Songnen Grassland in Northeast China

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Li; Guo, Rui; Zhu, Tingcheng; Niu, Xuedun; Guo, Jixun; Sun, Wei

    2012-01-01

    Background Understanding how grasslands are affected by a long-term increase in temperature is crucial to predict the future impact of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Additionally, it is not clear how the effects of global warming on grassland productivity are going to be altered by increased N deposition and N addition. Methodology/Principal Findings In-situ canopy CO2 exchange rates were measured in a meadow steppe subjected to 4-year warming and nitrogen addition treatments. Warming treatment reduced net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and increased ecosystem respiration (ER); but had no significant impacts on gross ecosystem productivity (GEP). N addition increased NEE, ER and GEP. However, there were no significant interactions between N addition and warming. The variation of NEE during the four experimental years was correlated with soil water content, particularly during early spring, suggesting that water availability is a primary driver of carbon fluxes in the studied semi-arid grassland. Conclusion/Significance Ecosystem carbon fluxes in grassland ecosystems are sensitive to warming and N addition. In the studied water-limited grassland, both warming and N addition influence ecosystem carbon fluxes by affecting water availability, which is the primary driver in many arid and semiarid ecosystems. It remains unknown to what extent the long-term N addition would affect the turn-over of soil organic matter and the C sink size of this grassland. PMID:23028848

  5. Geographical and interannual variability in biomass partitioning in grassland ecosystems: a synthesis of field data.

    PubMed

    Hui, Dafeng; Jackson, Robert B

    2006-01-01

    Biomass partitioning is an important variable in terrestrial ecosystem carbon modeling. However, geographical and interannual variability in f(BNPP), defined as the fraction of belowground net primary productivity (BNPP) to total NPP, and its relationship with climatic variables, have not been explored. Here we addressed these issues by synthesizing 94 site-year field biomass data at 12 grassland sites around the world from a global NPP database and from the literature. Results showed that f(BNPP) varied from 0.40 to 0.86 across 12 sites. In general, savanna and humid savanna ecosystems had smaller f(BNPP) but larger interannual variability in f(BNPP), and cold desert steppes had larger f(BNPP) but smaller interannual variability. While mean f(BNPP) at a site decreased significantly with increasing mean annual temperature and precipitation across sites, no consistent temporal response of f(BNPP) with annual temperature and precipitation was found within sites. Based on these results, both geographical variability in f(BNPP) and the divergent responses of f(BNPP) with climatic variables at geographical and temporal scales should be considered in global C modeling. PMID:16390421

  6. Arbuscular mycorrhizal community composition associated with two plant species in a grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Vandenkoornhuyse, P; Husband, R; Daniell, T J; Watson, I J; Duck, J M; Fitter, A H; Young, J P W

    2002-08-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are biotrophic symbionts colonizing about two-thirds of land plant species and found in all ecosystems. They are of major importance in plant nutrient supply and their diversity is suggested to be an important determinant of plant community composition. The diversity of the AM fungal community composition in the roots of two plant species (Agrostis capillaris and Trifolium repens) that co-occurred in the same grassland ecosystem was characterized using molecular techniques. We analysed the small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA gene amplified from a total root DNA extract using AM fungal-specific primers. A total of 2001 cloned fragments from 47 root samples obtained on four dates were analysed by restriction fragment length polymorphism, and 121 of them were sequenced. The diversity found was high: a total of 24 different phylotypes (groups of phylogenetically related sequences) colonized the roots of the two host species. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that 19 of these phylotypes belonged to the Glomaceae, three to the Acaulosporaceae and two to the Gigasporaceae. Our study reveals clearly that the AM fungal community colonizing T. repens differed from that colonizing A. capillaris, providing evidence for AM fungal host preference. In addition, our results reveal dynamic changes in the AM fungal community through time. PMID:12144674

  7. Using Elemental Budgets to Determine Effects of Simulated Climate Change on Phosphorus Cycling in a Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoo, S.; Paytan, A.; Mellett, T.

    2013-12-01

    The purpose of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment is to find out the effects of climate change on a terrestrial grassland ecosystem. The different treatments include increased carbon dioxide, nitrogen deposition, temperature, and precipitation. A portion of the above ground biomass of each plot was harvested, and an abundant species chosen to analyze. The goal of this project was to investigate the effects of climate change on phosphorus cycling in the grassland vegetation. Total phosphorus content of each sample was determined by combustion and acid digestion along with optical emission spectrometry. Total nitrogen and carbon was determined via flash combustion in an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. This information was combined to evaluate the limitation of phosphorus in each treatment and better understand how climate change may affect phosphorus cycling in terrestrial grasslands.

  8. Will anticipated future climatic conditions affect belowground C utilization? - Insights into the role of microbial functional groups in a temperate heath/grassland.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reinsch, Sabine; Michelsen, Anders; Sárossy, Zsuzsa; Egsgaard, Helge; Kappel Schmidt, Inger; Jakobsen, Iver; Ambus, Per

    2013-04-01

    The global terrestrial soil organic matter stock is the biggest terrestrial carbon pool (1500 Pg C) of which about 4 % is turned over annually. Thus, terrestrial ecosystems have the potential to accelerate or diminish atmospheric climate change effects via belowground carbon processes. We investigated the effect of elevated CO2 (510 ppm), prolonged spring/summer droughts and increased temperature (1 ˚C) on belowground carbon allocation and on the recovery of carbon by the soil microbial community. An in-situ 13C-carbon pulse-labeling experiment was carried out in a temperate heath/grassland (Denmark) in May 2011. Recently assimilated 13C-carbon was traced into roots, soil and microbial biomass 1, 2 and 8 days after pulse-labeling. The importance of the microbial community in C utilization was investigated using 13C enrichment patterns in microbial functional groups on the basis of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) in roots. Gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria were distinguished from the decomposer groups of actinomycetes (belonging to the group of gram-positive bacteria) and saprophytic fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi specific PLFAs were not detected probably due to limited sample size in combination with restricted sensitivity of the used GC-c-IRMS setup. Climate treatments did not affect 13C allocation into roots, soil and microbial biomass carbon and also the total microbial biomass size stayed unchanged as frequently observed. However, climate treatments changed the composition of the microbial community: elevated CO2 significantly reduced the abundance of gram-negative bacteria (17:0cy) but did not affect the abundance of decomposers. Drought favored the bacterial community whereas increased temperatures showed reduced abundance of gram-negative bacteria (19:0cy) and changed the actinomycetes community (10Me16:0, 10Me18:0). However, not only the microbial community composition was affected by the applied climatic conditions, but also the activity of microbial functional groups in their utilization of recently assimilated carbon. Particularly the negative effect of the future treatment combination (CO2×T×D) on actinomycetes activity was surprising. By means of activity patterns of gram-negative bacteria, we observed the fastest carbon turnover rate under elevated CO2, and the slowest under extended drought conditions. A changed soil microbial community in combination with altered activities of different microbial functional groups leads to the conclusion that carbon allocation belowground was different under ambient and future climatic conditions and indicated reduced utilization of soil organic matter in the future due to a change of actinomycetes abundance and activity.

  9. The use of Ge/Si ratios to quantify Si transformations in grassland ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blecker, S. W.; Derry, L. A.; Chadwick, O. A.; Kelly, E. F.

    2005-12-01

    Germanium (Ge) has been shown to behave as a heavy isotope of silicon (Si), enabling the use of Ge/Si ratios as a weathering tracer in terrestrial environments. The two major mechanisms of Ge/Si fractionation in soils result from mineral weathering reactions and biogenic silica formation by plants. The role of plants in Ge fractionation has been deduced from relatively few field studies, and geochemical Ge fractionation data in temperate systems are lacking. The objectives of this research were to quantify biologic Ge fractionation, and to utilize differences in Ge/Si values among the major biogeochemical pools across a grassland bioclimosequence to examine stream water silica provenance. Quantification of biological Ge fractionation was carried out under controlled experimental conditions. Plant phytoliths grown in hydroponic solutions fractionated against Ge (comparing Ge/Sisolution with Ge/Siphytolith) by an average of 82%. Differences in Ge/Si values between roots, stems, and leaves indicate fractionation likely occurs at the root/solution interface. Phytoliths from plants grown in two different soil mediums fractionated against Ge, averaging 44% to 63%, with no clear trends among the species. From the field study, the greater fractionation factor (Kw, where Kw = (Ge/Siclay)/(Ge/Sibedrock)) of the tallgrass (Kw =2.8) vs. shortgrass sites (Kw =1.4) results from the increased weathering intensity across the bioclimosequence. Plant phytoliths exhibit relatively low Ge/Si values (0.15-0.44; x =0.29; n=15), compared to those of the corresponding surface soil water Ge/Si (0.22-0.94; x =0.66; n=6). Stream water Ge/Si values along the grassland climosequence (0.07-1.29, x = 0.34; n = 20) are typical of natural water Ge/Si values. Higher groundwater Ge values (0.42-3.4; x = 1.3; n=16) may represent an increased residence time or contact with minerals of higher Ge/Si ratios. The lack of Ge/Si separation among the major terrestrial pools confounds stream Si provenance. The data suggest that stream water Si is not derived entirely from ground water and that biogenic sources are plausible.

  10. Climate change impacts on stream carbon export from coastal temperate rainforest ecosystems in Alaska (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hood, E. W.

    2013-12-01

    Coastal temperate rainforests (CTR) in Alaska contain about 10% of the total carbon in the forests of the conterminous United States. CTR ecosystems span a large environmental gradient that ranges from icefields mantling the Coast Mountains to carbon-rich conifer forests along the coastal margin and within the islands of the Alexander Archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska. Riverine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) export from Alaskan CTR ecosystems, which can exceed 2 Tg C yr-1, is large relative to other northern ecosystems as a result of high rates of specific discharge (~2.5 m yr-1) and an abundance of organic soils found in peatlands and forested wetlands. Runoff from glaciers, which are rapidly thinning and retreating, has also been shown to an important contributor to land-to-ocean fluxes of DOC in this region. Downscaled regional climate models suggest that CTR ecosystems in Alaska will become warmer and wetter in coming decades, with uncertain effects on riverine organic matter (OM) export. Changes in watershed OM export are likely to be driven by changes in both hydrology and the availability of OM in terrestrial source pools. However, the impacts of these climate driven changes will vary with watershed landcover across the continuum from icefields to coastal temperate forests. Expected hydrological perturbations include changes in the timing and magnitude of streamflow associated with shifts in: 1) the extent and duration of seasonal snowcover and 2) the mass balance of glaciers and icefields in the Coast Mountains. The availability of OM for export along hydrologic flowpaths will likely be altered by increased soil temperatures and shifts in water table elevations during the summer/fall runoff season. This will be particularly true for organic carbon export from peatlands in which changes in temperature and oxygen availability can strongly impact rates of organic matter decomposition. This talk will explore how climate-driven changes in hydrology and terrestrial organic matter stocks are expected to interact and modify riverine organic carbon export from CTR watersheds to near-shore marine ecosystems along the Gulf of Alaska.

  11. Direct quantification of long-term rock nitrogen inputs to temperate forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Morford, Scott L; Houlton, Benjamin Z; Dahlgren, Randy A

    2016-01-01

    Sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks contain large reservoirs of fixed nitrogen (N), but questions remain over the importance of rock N weathering inputs in terrestrial ecosystems. Here we provide direct evidence for rock N weathering (i.e., loss of N from rock) in three temperate forest sites residing on a N-rich parent material (820-1050 mg N kg(-1); mica schist) in the Klamath Mountains (northern California and southern Oregon), USA. Our method combines a mass balance model of element addition/ depletion with a procedure for quantifying fixed N in rock minerals, enabling quantification of rock N inputs to bioavailable reservoirs in soil and regolith. Across all sites, -37% to 48% of the initial bedrock N content has undergone long-term weathering in the soil. Combined with regional denudation estimates (sum of physical + chemical erosion), these weathering fractions translate to 1.6-10.7 kg x ha(-1) x yr(-1) of rock N input to these forest ecosystems. These N input fluxes are substantial in light of estimates for atmospheric sources in these sites (4.5-7.0 kg x ha(-1) x yr(-1)). In addition, N depletion from rock minerals was greater than sodium, suggesting active biologically mediated weathering of growth-limiting nutrients compared to nonessential elements. These results point to regional tectonics, biologically mediated weathering effects, and rock N chemistry in shaping the magnitude of rock N inputs to the forest ecosystems examined. PMID:27008775

  12. Measured and Simulated Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Ryegrass- and Ryegrass/White Clover-Based Grasslands in a Moist Temperate Climate

    PubMed Central

    Li, Dejun; Lanigan, Gary; Humphreys, James

    2011-01-01

    There is uncertainty about the potential reduction of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emission when fertilizer nitrogen (FN) is partially or completely replaced by biological N fixation (BNF) in temperate grassland. The objectives of this study were to 1) investigate the changes in N2O emissions when BNF is used to replace FN in permanent grassland, and 2) evaluate the applicability of the process-based model DNDC to simulate N2O emissions from Irish grasslands. Three grazing treatments were: (i) ryegrass (Lolium perenne) grasslands receiving 226 kg FN ha−1 yr−1 (GG+FN), (ii) ryegrass/white clover (Trifolium repens) grasslands receiving 58 kg FN ha−1 yr−1 (GWC+FN) applied in spring, and (iii) ryegrass/white clover grasslands receiving no FN (GWC-FN). Two background treatments, un-grazed swards with ryegrass only (G–B) or ryegrass/white clover (WC–B), did not receive slurry or FN and the herbage was harvested by mowing. There was no significant difference in annual N2O emissions between G–B (2.38±0.12 kg N ha−1 yr−1 (mean±SE)) and WC-B (2.45±0.85 kg N ha−1 yr−1), indicating that N2O emission due to BNF itself and clover residual decomposition from permanent ryegrass/clover grassland was negligible. N2O emissions were 7.82±1.67, 6.35±1.14 and 6.54±1.70 kg N ha−1 yr−1, respectively, from GG+FN, GWC+FN and GWC-FN. N2O fluxes simulated by DNDC agreed well with the measured values with significant correlation between simulated and measured daily fluxes for the three grazing treatments, but the simulation did not agree very well for the background treatments. DNDC overestimated annual emission by 61% for GG+FN, and underestimated by 45% for GWC-FN, but simulated very well for GWC+FN. Both the measured and simulated results supported that there was a clear reduction of N2O emissions when FN was replaced by BNF. PMID:22028829

  13. Effects of ocean acidification on temperate coastal marine ecosystems and fisheries in the northeast Pacific.

    PubMed

    Haigh, Rowan; Ianson, Debby; Holt, Carrie A; Neate, Holly E; Edwards, Andrew M

    2015-01-01

    As the oceans absorb anthropogenic CO2 they become more acidic, a problem termed ocean acidification (OA). Since this increase in CO2 is occurring rapidly, OA may have profound implications for marine ecosystems. In the temperate northeast Pacific, fisheries play key economic and cultural roles and provide significant employment, especially in rural areas. In British Columbia (BC), sport (recreational) fishing generates more income than commercial fishing (including the expanding aquaculture industry). Salmon (fished recreationally and farmed) and Pacific Halibut are responsible for the majority of fishery-related income. This region naturally has relatively acidic (low pH) waters due to ocean circulation, and so may be particularly vulnerable to OA. We have analyzed available data to provide a current description of the marine ecosystem, focusing on vertical distributions of commercially harvested groups in BC in the context of local carbon and pH conditions. We then evaluated the potential impact of OA on this temperate marine system using currently available studies. Our results highlight significant knowledge gaps. Above trophic levels 2-3 (where most local fishery-income is generated), little is known about the direct impact of OA, and more importantly about the combined impact of multi-stressors, like temperature, that are also changing as our climate changes. There is evidence that OA may have indirect negative impacts on finfish through changes at lower trophic levels and in habitats. In particular, OA may lead to increased fish-killing algal blooms that can affect the lucrative salmon aquaculture industry. On the other hand, some species of locally farmed shellfish have been well-studied and exhibit significant negative direct impacts associated with OA, especially at the larval stage. We summarize the direct and indirect impacts of OA on all groups of marine organisms in this region and provide conclusions, ordered by immediacy and certainty. PMID:25671596

  14. Sessile and mobile components of a benthic ecosystem display mixed trends within a temperate marine reserve.

    PubMed

    Howarth, Leigh M; Pickup, Sarah E; Evans, Lowri E; Cross, Tim J; Hawkins, Julie P; Roberts, Callum M; Stewart, Bryce D

    2015-06-01

    Despite recent efforts to increase the global coverage of marine protected areas (MPAs), studies investigating the effectiveness of marine protected areas within temperate waters remain scarce. Furthermore, out of the few studies published on MPAs in temperate waters, the majority focus on specific ecological or fishery components rather than investigating the ecosystem as a whole. This study therefore investigated the dynamics of both benthic communities and fish populations within a recently established, fully protected marine reserve in Lamlash Bay, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom, over a four year period. A combination of photo and diver surveys revealed live maerl (Phymatolithon calcareum), macroalgae, sponges, hydroids, feather stars and eyelash worms (Myxicola infundibulum) to be significantly more abundant within the marine reserve than on surrounding fishing grounds. Likewise, the overall composition of epifaunal communities in and outside the reserve was significantly different. Both results are consistent with the hypothesis that protecting areas from fishing can encourage seafloor habitats to recover. In addition, the greater abundance of complex habitats within the reserve appeared to providing nursery habitat for juvenile cod (Gadus morhua) and scallops (Pecten maximus and Aequipecten opercularis). In contrast, there was little difference in the abundance of mobile benthic fauna, such as crabs and starfish, between the reserve and outside. Similarly, the use of baited underwater video cameras revealed no difference in the abundance and size of fish between the reserve and outside. Limited recovery of these ecosystem components may be due to the relatively small size (2.67 km(2)) and young age of the reserve (<5 years), both of which might have limited the extent of any benefits afforded to mobile fauna and fish communities. Overall, this study provides evidence that fully protected marine reserves can encourage seafloor habitats to recover, which in turn, can create a number of benefits that flow back to other species, including those of commercial importance. PMID:25863362

  15. Effects of Ocean Acidification on Temperate Coastal Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries in the Northeast Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Haigh, Rowan; Ianson, Debby; Holt, Carrie A.; Neate, Holly E.; Edwards, Andrew M.

    2015-01-01

    As the oceans absorb anthropogenic CO2 they become more acidic, a problem termed ocean acidification (OA). Since this increase in CO2 is occurring rapidly, OA may have profound implications for marine ecosystems. In the temperate northeast Pacific, fisheries play key economic and cultural roles and provide significant employment, especially in rural areas. In British Columbia (BC), sport (recreational) fishing generates more income than commercial fishing (including the expanding aquaculture industry). Salmon (fished recreationally and farmed) and Pacific Halibut are responsible for the majority of fishery-related income. This region naturally has relatively acidic (low pH) waters due to ocean circulation, and so may be particularly vulnerable to OA. We have analyzed available data to provide a current description of the marine ecosystem, focusing on vertical distributions of commercially harvested groups in BC in the context of local carbon and pH conditions. We then evaluated the potential impact of OA on this temperate marine system using currently available studies. Our results highlight significant knowledge gaps. Above trophic levels 2–3 (where most local fishery-income is generated), little is known about the direct impact of OA, and more importantly about the combined impact of multi-stressors, like temperature, that are also changing as our climate changes. There is evidence that OA may have indirect negative impacts on finfish through changes at lower trophic levels and in habitats. In particular, OA may lead to increased fish-killing algal blooms that can affect the lucrative salmon aquaculture industry. On the other hand, some species of locally farmed shellfish have been well-studied and exhibit significant negative direct impacts associated with OA, especially at the larval stage. We summarize the direct and indirect impacts of OA on all groups of marine organisms in this region and provide conclusions, ordered by immediacy and certainty. PMID:25671596

  16. Temporal dynamics of soil aggregates and microbial parameters in permanent and recently established grasslands in the temperate zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linsler, Deborah; Taube, Friedhelm; Geisseler, Daniel; Joergensen, Rainer Georg; Ludwig, Bernard

    2015-04-01

    While changes over time in soil aggregation or microbial parameters are well studied for arable soils, much less is known about such temporal variations in grassland soils. The objective of the present study was to determine the changes that occur within one year (between October 2010 and October 2011) for water-stable aggregate, microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) and ergosterol (as a proxy for fungal biomass) concentrations of a sandy soil under a permanent and recently established grasslands The analyzed treatments were (i) permanent grassland, (ii) grassland re-established after tillage of previous permanent grassland, and (iii) grassland established on arable land (both in September 2010). Temporal variations were found for the aggregate distribution and ergosterol concentration in the permanent grassland. For instance, the concentration of large macroaggregates (>2000 ?m) in the surface soil (0-10 cm) varied strongly, with the highest concentration (mean standard error) in October 2011 (666 12 g kg-1) and a 3.2-fold lower concentration in May 2011. An explanation could be less rainfall and decreasing soil moisture contents in May compared to October, which may have decreased the stability of this fraction. A multiple linear regression analysis showed that the large macroaggregate concentration was well described (R2=0.60) by the gravimetric moisture content, the Cmic concentration and the pH. After the tillage event in the grassland and the subsequent grassland renovation, the concentrations of large macroaggregate, Cmic and ergosterol decreased in the surface soil, while no difference was found in the soil profile (0-40 cm). In the first year after the conversion of arable land into grassland, the concentrations of Cmic and ergosterol increased by a factor of 1.4 and 3.3, respectively, in the surface soil layer, while the macroaggregate concentration was not affected. This study indicates that the aggregate dynamic in grassland is not only affected by management but also by environmental conditions. The fungal biomass seems to be more sensitive to changes in environmental conditions or grassland management than the microbial biomass because the variations for the ergosterol concentrations were stronger than those for the Cmic concentrations.

  17. Relationships between Plant Diversity and the Abundance and α-Diversity of Predatory Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in a Mature Asian Temperate Forest Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Zou, Yi; Sang, Weiguo; Bai, Fan; Axmacher, Jan Christoph

    2013-01-01

    A positive relationship between plant diversity and both abundance and diversity of predatory arthropods is postulated by the Enemies Hypothesis, a central ecological top-down control hypothesis. It has been supported by experimental studies and investigations of agricultural and grassland ecosystems, while evidence from more complex mature forest ecosystems is limited. Our study was conducted on Changbai Mountain in one of the last remaining large pristine temperate forest environments in China. We used predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as target taxon to establish the relationship between phytodiversity and their activity abundance and diversity. Results showed that elevation was the only variable included in both models predicting carabid activity abundance and α-diversity. Shrub diversity was negatively and herb diversity positively correlated with beetle abundance, while shrub diversity was positively correlated with beetle α-diversity. Within the different forest types, a negative relationship between plant diversity and carabid activity abundance was observed, which stands in direct contrast to the Enemies Hypothesis. Furthermore, plant species density did not predict carabid α-diversity. In addition, the density of herbs, which is commonly believed to influence carabid movement, had little impact on the beetle activity abundance recorded on Changbai Mountain. Our study indicates that in a relatively large and heterogeneous mature forest area, relationships between plant and carabid diversity are driven by variations in environmental factors linked with altitudinal change. In addition, traditional top-down control theories that are suitable in explaining diversity patterns in ecosystems of low diversity appear to play a much less pronounced role in highly complex forest ecosystems. PMID:24376582

  18. Analysis of Grassland Ecosystem Physiology at Multiple Scales Using Eddy Covariance, Stable Isotope and Remote Sensing Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flanagan, L. B.; Geske, N.; Emrick, C.; Johnson, B. G.

    2006-12-01

    Grassland ecosystems typically exhibit very large annual fluctuations in above-ground biomass production and net ecosystem productivity (NEP). Eddy covariance flux measurements, plant stable isotope analyses, and canopy spectral reflectance techniques have been applied to study environmental constraints on grassland ecosystem productivity and the acclimation responses of the ecosystem at a site near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. We have observed substantial interannual variation in grassland productivity during 1999-2005. In addition, there was a strong correlation between peak above-ground biomass production and NEP calculated from eddy covariance measurements. Interannual variation in NEP was strongly controlled by the total amount of precipitation received during the growing season (April-August). We also observed significant positive correlations between a multivariate ENSO index and total growing season precipitation, and between the ENSO index and annual NEP values. This suggested that a significant fraction of the annual variability in grassland productivity was associated with ENSO during 1999-2005. Grassland productivity varies asymmetrically in response to changes in precipitation with increases in productivity during wet years being much more pronounced than reductions during dry years. Strong increases in plant water-use efficiency, based on carbon and oxygen stable isotope analyses, contribute to the resilience of productivity during times of drought. Within a growing season increased stomatal limitation of photosynthesis, associated with improved water-use efficiency, resulted in apparent shifts in leaf xanthophyll cycle pigments and changes to the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) calculated from hyper-spectral reflectance measurements conducted at the canopy-scale. These shifts in PRI were apparent before seasonal drought caused significant reductions in leaf area index (LAI) and changes to canopy-scale "greenness" based on NDVI values. With further progression of the seasonal drought, LAI and canopy-scale NDVI also declined in strong correlation. In addition, we have observed strong correlation between NDVI calculated from canopy-scale reflectance measurements and NDVI determined by MODIS. Continued reflectance measurements will help to understand and document the response of the grassland to seasonal and annual environmental change.

  19. Separating Drought Effects from Roof Artifacts on Ecosystem Processes in a Grassland Drought Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Vogel, Anja; Fester, Thomas; Eisenhauer, Nico; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Schmid, Bernhard; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2013-01-01

    1 Given the predictions of increased drought probabilities under various climate change scenarios, there have been numerous experimental field studies simulating drought using transparent roofs in different ecosystems and regions. Such roofs may, however, have unknown side effects, called artifacts, on the measured variables potentially confounding the experimental results. A roofed control allows the quantification of potential artifacts, which is lacking in most experiments. 2 We conducted a drought experiment in experimental grasslands to study artifacts of transparent roofs and the resulting effects of artifacts on ecosystems relative to drought on three response variables (aboveground biomass, litter decomposition and plant metabolite profiles). We established three drought treatments, using (1) transparent roofs to exclude rainfall, (2) an unroofed control treatment receiving natural rainfall and (3) a roofed control, nested in the drought treatment but with rain water reapplied according to ambient conditions. 3 Roofs had a slight impact on air (+0.14C during night) and soil temperatures (?0.45C on warm days, +0.25C on cold nights), while photosynthetically active radiation was decreased significantly (?16%). Aboveground plant community biomass was reduced in the drought treatment (?41%), but there was no significant difference between the roofed and unroofed control, i.e., there were no measurable roof artifact effects. 4 Compared to the unroofed control, litter decomposition was decreased significantly both in the drought treatment (?26%) and in the roofed control treatment (?18%), suggesting artifact effects of the transparent roofs. Moreover, aboveground metabolite profiles in the model plant species Medicago x varia were different from the unroofed control in both the drought and roofed control treatments, and roof artifact effects were of comparable magnitude as drought effects. 5 Our results stress the need for roofed control treatments when using transparent roofs for studying drought effects, because roofs can cause significant side effects. PMID:23936480

  20. Separating drought effects from roof artifacts on ecosystem processes in a grassland drought experiment.

    PubMed

    Vogel, Anja; Fester, Thomas; Eisenhauer, Nico; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Schmid, Bernhard; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2013-01-01

    1: Given the predictions of increased drought probabilities under various climate change scenarios, there have been numerous experimental field studies simulating drought using transparent roofs in different ecosystems and regions. Such roofs may, however, have unknown side effects, called artifacts, on the measured variables potentially confounding the experimental results. A roofed control allows the quantification of potential artifacts, which is lacking in most experiments. 2: We conducted a drought experiment in experimental grasslands to study artifacts of transparent roofs and the resulting effects of artifacts on ecosystems relative to drought on three response variables (aboveground biomass, litter decomposition and plant metabolite profiles). We established three drought treatments, using (1) transparent roofs to exclude rainfall, (2) an unroofed control treatment receiving natural rainfall and (3) a roofed control, nested in the drought treatment but with rain water reapplied according to ambient conditions. 3: Roofs had a slight impact on air (+0.14C during night) and soil temperatures (-0.45C on warm days, +0.25C on cold nights), while photosynthetically active radiation was decreased significantly (-16%). Aboveground plant community biomass was reduced in the drought treatment (-41%), but there was no significant difference between the roofed and unroofed control, i.e., there were no measurable roof artifact effects. 4: Compared to the unroofed control, litter decomposition was decreased significantly both in the drought treatment (-26%) and in the roofed control treatment (-18%), suggesting artifact effects of the transparent roofs. Moreover, aboveground metabolite profiles in the model plant species Medicago x varia were different from the unroofed control in both the drought and roofed control treatments, and roof artifact effects were of comparable magnitude as drought effects. 5: Our results stress the need for roofed control treatments when using transparent roofs for studying drought effects, because roofs can cause significant side effects. PMID:23936480

  1. Turnover of grassland roots in mountain ecosystems revealed by their radiocarbon signature: role of temperature and management.

    PubMed

    Leifeld, Jens; Meyer, Stefanie; Budge, Karen; Sebastia, Maria Teresa; Zimmermann, Michael; Fuhrer, Juerg

    2015-01-01

    Root turnover is an important carbon flux component in grassland ecosystems because it replenishes substantial parts of carbon lost from soil via heterotrophic respiration and leaching. Among the various methods to estimate root turnover, the root's radiocarbon signature has rarely been applied to grassland soils previously, although the value of this approach is known from studies in forest soils. In this paper, we utilize the root's radiocarbon signatures, at 25 plots, in mountain grasslands of the montane to alpine zone of Europe. We place the results in context of a global data base on root turnover and discuss driving factors. Root turnover rates were similar to those of a subsample of the global data, comprising a similar temperature range, but measured with different approaches, indicating that the radiocarbon method gives reliable, plausible and comparable results. Root turnover rates (0.06-1.0 y(-1)) scaled significantly and exponentially with mean annual temperatures. Root turnover rates indicated no trend with soil depth. The temperature sensitivity was significantly higher in mountain grassland, compared to the global data set, suggesting additional factors influencing root turnover. Information on management intensity from the 25 plots reveals that root turnover may be accelerated under intensive and moderate management compared to low intensity or semi-natural conditions. Because management intensity, in the studied ecosystems, co-varied with temperature, estimates on root turnover, based on mean annual temperature alone, may be biased. A greater recognition of management as a driver for root dynamics is warranted when effects of climatic change on belowground carbon dynamics are studied in mountain grasslands. PMID:25734640

  2. Turnover of Grassland Roots in Mountain Ecosystems Revealed by Their Radiocarbon Signature: Role of Temperature and Management

    PubMed Central

    Leifeld, Jens; Meyer, Stefanie; Budge, Karen; Sebastia, Maria Teresa; Zimmermann, Michael; Fuhrer, Juerg

    2015-01-01

    Root turnover is an important carbon flux component in grassland ecosystems because it replenishes substantial parts of carbon lost from soil via heterotrophic respiration and leaching. Among the various methods to estimate root turnover, the roots radiocarbon signature has rarely been applied to grassland soils previously, although the value of this approach is known from studies in forest soils. In this paper, we utilize the roots radiocarbon signatures, at 25 plots, in mountain grasslands of the montane to alpine zone of Europe. We place the results in context of a global data base on root turnover and discuss driving factors. Root turnover rates were similar to those of a subsample of the global data, comprising a similar temperature range, but measured with different approaches, indicating that the radiocarbon method gives reliable, plausible and comparable results. Root turnover rates (0.061.0 y-1) scaled significantly and exponentially with mean annual temperatures. Root turnover rates indicated no trend with soil depth. The temperature sensitivity was significantly higher in mountain grassland, compared to the global data set, suggesting additional factors influencing root turnover. Information on management intensity from the 25 plots reveals that root turnover may be accelerated under intensive and moderate management compared to low intensity or semi-natural conditions. Because management intensity, in the studied ecosystems, co-varied with temperature, estimates on root turnover, based on mean annual temperature alone, may be biased. A greater recognition of management as a driver for root dynamics is warranted when effects of climatic change on belowground carbon dynamics are studied in mountain grasslands. PMID:25734640

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2014-01-01

    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 (r2 = 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 (ΔNPP/ΔN) 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

  4. Satellite-based analysis of evapotranspiration and water balance in the grassland ecosystems of Dryland East Asia.

    PubMed

    Xia, Jiangzhou; Liang, Shunlin; Chen, Jiquan; Yuan, Wenping; Liu, Shuguang; Li, Linghao; Cai, Wenwen; Zhang, Li; Fu, Yang; Zhao, Tianbao; Feng, Jinming; Ma, Zhuguo; Ma, Mingguo; Liu, Shaomin; Zhou, Guangsheng; Asanuma, Jun; Chen, Shiping; Du, Mingyuan; Davaa, Gombo; Kato, Tomomichi; Liu, Qiang; Liu, Suhong; Li, Shenggong; Shao, Changliang; Tang, Yanhong; Zhao, Xiang

    2014-01-01

    The regression tree method is used to upscale evapotranspiration (ET) measurements at eddy-covariance (EC) towers to the grassland ecosystems over the Dryland East Asia (DEA). The regression tree model was driven by satellite and meteorology datasets, and explained 82% and 76% of the variations of ET observations in the calibration and validation datasets, respectively. The annual ET estimates ranged from 222.6 to 269.1 mm yr(-1) over the DEA region with an average of 245.8 mm yr(-1) from 1982 through 2009. Ecosystem ET showed decreased trends over 61% of the DEA region during this period, especially in most regions of Mongolia and eastern Inner Mongolia due to decreased precipitation. The increased ET occurred primarily in the western and southern DEA region. Over the entire study area, water balance (the difference between precipitation and ecosystem ET) decreased substantially during the summer and growing season. Precipitation reduction was an important cause for the severe water deficits. The drying trend occurring in the grassland ecosystems of the DEA region can exert profound impacts on a variety of terrestrial ecosystem processes and functions. PMID:24845063

  5. Satellite-Based Analysis of Evapotranspiration and Water Balance in the Grassland Ecosystems of Dryland East Asia

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Jiangzhou; Liang, Shunlin; Chen, Jiquan; Yuan, Wenping; Liu, Shuguang; Li, Linghao; Cai, Wenwen; Zhang, Li; Fu, Yang; Zhao, Tianbao; Feng, Jinming; Ma, Zhuguo; Ma, Mingguo; Liu, Shaomin; Zhou, Guangsheng; Asanuma, Jun; Chen, Shiping; Du, Mingyuan; Davaa, Gombo; Kato, Tomomichi; Liu, Qiang; Liu, Suhong; Li, Shenggong; Shao, Changliang; Tang, Yanhong; Zhao, Xiang

    2014-01-01

    The regression tree method is used to upscale evapotranspiration (ET) measurements at eddy-covariance (EC) towers to the grassland ecosystems over the Dryland East Asia (DEA). The regression tree model was driven by satellite and meteorology datasets, and explained 82% and 76% of the variations of ET observations in the calibration and validation datasets, respectively. The annual ET estimates ranged from 222.6 to 269.1 mm yr−1 over the DEA region with an average of 245.8 mm yr−1 from 1982 through 2009. Ecosystem ET showed decreased trends over 61% of the DEA region during this period, especially in most regions of Mongolia and eastern Inner Mongolia due to decreased precipitation. The increased ET occurred primarily in the western and southern DEA region. Over the entire study area, water balance (the difference between precipitation and ecosystem ET) decreased substantially during the summer and growing season. Precipitation reduction was an important cause for the severe water deficits. The drying trend occurring in the grassland ecosystems of the DEA region can exert profound impacts on a variety of terrestrial ecosystem processes and functions. PMID:24845063

  6. Relative contribution of soil, management and traits to co-variations of multiple ecosystem properties in grasslands.

    PubMed

    Gos, Pierre; Loucougaray, Grégory; Colace, Marie-Pascale; Arnoldi, Cindy; Gaucherand, Stéphanie; Dumazel, Daphné; Girard, Lucie; Delorme, Sarah; Lavorel, Sandra

    2016-04-01

    Ecological intensification promotes the better use of ecosystem functioning for agricultural production and as a provider of additional regulation and cultural services. We investigated the mechanisms underpinning potential ecological intensification of livestock production in the Vercors mountains (France). We quantified the variations in seven ecosystem properties associated with key ecosystem services: above-ground biomass production at first harvest, fodder digestibility, plant species richness, soil organic matter content, soil carbon content, total microbial biomass and soil bacteria:fungi ratio across 39 grassland plots representing varying management types and intensity. Our analyses confirmed joint effects of management, traits and soil abiotic parameters on variations in ecosystem properties, with the combination of management and traits being most influential. The variations explained by traits were consistent with the leaf economics spectrum model and its implications for ecosystem functioning. The observed independence between ecosystem properties relevant to production (forage biomass, digestibility and nutrient turnover) on the one hand and soil stocks (organic matter, carbon and microbial stocks) on the other hand suggests that an intensification of fodder production might be compatible with the preservation of the soil capital. We highlight that appropriate choices regarding various practices, such as the first date of grazing or mowing being dependent on soil moisture, have important consequences on a number of ecosystem properties relevant for ecosystem services and may influence biodiversity patterns. Such avenues for ecological intensification should be considered as part of further landscape- and farm-scale analyses of the relationships between farm functioning and ecosystem services. PMID:26830292

  7. [Dynamics of sensible and latent heat fluxes over a temperate desert steppe ecosystem in Inner Mongolia].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Guo; Zhou, Guang-Sheng; Yang, Fu-Lin

    2010-03-01

    This paper studied the diurnal and seasonal characteristics of sensible and latent heat fluxes over a temperate desert steppe ecosystem in Inner Mongolia, based on the 2008 observation data from eddy covariance tower. The diurnal patterns of sensible and latent heat fluxes over the ecosystem were both single kurtosis, with the maximum value being 319.01 W x m(-2) (on May 30th, 2008) and 425.37 W x m(-2) (on Jun 2nd, 2008), respectively, and occurred at about 12:00-13:30 (local time), which was similar to the diurnal pattern of net radiation but lagged about one hour of the maximum net radiation. The maximum diurnal variations of monthly mean sensible and latent heat fluxes occurred in May and June, and their minimum diurnal variations occurred in January and November, respectively. There was a closer relationship between soil moisture content and precipitation. Surface soil moisture content was most sensitive to precipitation, while the moisture content in deeper soil layers had a lagged response to precipitation. The seasonal dynamics of sensible and latent heat fluxes was similar to that of net radiation, and affected by precipitation. Sensible heat flux was obviously affected by net radiation, but latent heat flux was more sensitive to precipitation and mainly controlled by soil moisture content. PMID:20560313

  8. Ecosystem impacts of compost and manure applications to California grazed grassland soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeLonge, M. S.; Silver, W. L.

    2012-12-01

    Organic matter amendments, such as compost and manure, are often applied to grasslands to improve soil conditions and enhance net primary productivity. It has been proposed that this land management strategy can sequester carbon (C) in soils and may therefore contribute to climate change mitigation. However, the net mitigation potential of organic amendments depends in part on the ecosystem response following land-application, which is likely to vary with the amendment chemical quality (C, N, C:N). To investigate the differences in ecosystem response to soil amendments of various qualities, we established research plots on three grazed annual grasslands in northern California. The study sites were sampled for soil chemical and physical properties (bulk density, temperature, and moisture), plant community composition, and peak season net primary productivity prior to and following treatment applications. In October 2011, before the rainy season, we applied a thin layer of organic amendments to the study plots. At each site, three replicate plots were treated with fresh manure (1.2 % N, 15.8 % C, C:N = 13.5), three plots were treated with a commercial plant-waste compost (2.4 % N, 26.6 % C, C:N = 11.1), and three plots were left untreated as controls. At one site, 3 additional plots received a thin layer of compost with a lower N concentration and a higher C:N ratio (1.9 % N, 27.4 % C, C:N = 14.5). All plots were sampled for greenhouse gas emissions (N2O, CH4, and CO2, n=3 per plot) using vented chambers shortly after the organic matter was applied, and then intensively following three rain events throughout the rainy season. Results showed that dry amendments were associated with negligible trace gas fluxes, but that these fluxes increased after rain events. Nitrous oxide emissions increased slightly after the first rain event and reached peak levels (approximately 20 ng N cm-1 h-1 for the manure and high N compost only) after three days, following second rain event. The emissions from the high N compost declined more quickly than the manure emissions during the dry-up period. The low N compost exhibited the lowest peak emissions (< 5 ng N cm-1 h-1). Nitrous oxide emissions for all amendments quickly declined and were negligible on both wet and dry days sampled during mid-rainy season. These results suggest that trace gas emissions may not strongly offset the mitigation potential for organic matter amendments. However, differences in the amendment type and quality can influence the offset magnitude. These findings will be presented within the context of other key ecosystem characteristics, such as plant community composition, net primary productivity, and soil conditions.

  9. Nitorgen Deposition Impacts on a Sensitive Grassland Ecosystem: Conservation, Management, and Restoration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, S. B.; Luth, D. C.

    2002-12-01

    Humans have greatly increased the flux of reactive nitrogen in the biosphere, altering many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. In the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, grasslands on nutrient-poor serpentinitic soils are being invaded by nutrient-demanding introduced annual grasses, driven by dry N-deposition on the order of 10 kg ha-1 yr-1. These grass invasions threaten the rich native biodiversity of the serpentinitic grasslands, including the federally-protected Bay checkerspot butterfly and several endemic plant species. A passive monitoring network for reactive nitrogen gases (NOx, NO2, NH3, HNO3, and O3) has been set up to investigate regional and local N-deposition gradients. The regional gradient extends from clean coastal areas to inland valleys downwind of the highly urbanized Santa Clara Valley, driven by prevailing NW winds. A local gradient extends upwind and downwind of an 8-lane freeway carrying 100,000 cars/day, located in a relatively clean near-coastal area. Plant surveys at the clean-air site bisected by the freeway show greater grass invasion closer to the freeway, but only on the downwind side (controlling for soil depth, the other main factor affecting grass density). Grassed-over areas build up thatch that suppresses native plants. Restoration experiments include mowing, goat grazing, and prescribed fire. Carefully-timed mowing appears to be an effective treatment for small areas. Removal of cuttings removes 5-8 kg-N/ha, the same order of magnitude as the estimated N-inputs from the freeway. Additional NOx and NH3 sources planned for the region include a 600 MW natural gas fired power plant, industrial parks that may eventually draw 20,000 to 50,000 additional cars per day, 25,000 housing units, and associated highway improvements. Mitigation proposals include purchase and long-term management of hundreds of hectares of habitat. Management of the larger areas necessitates continued moderate cattle grazing. Cattle selectively crop nitrogen-rich annual grasses, and remove N from the system, while redistributing N within the system as feces and urine. This case study highlights the complexities of habitat management in the face of N-deposition and invasive species.

  10. Evidence for non-diffusive transport as an important mechanism determining the soil CO2 efflux in a temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roland, Marilyn; Vicca, Sara; Bahn, Michael; Schmitt, Michael; Janssens, Ivan

    2013-04-01

    Research on soil respiration has largely focused on the emission of CO2 from soils and far less on the production and subsequent transport of CO2 from soil to atmosphere. The limited knowledge of CO2 transport through the soil, restricts our understanding of the various abiotic and biotic processes underlying emissions of CO2 from terrestrial ecosystems. Soil CO2 efflux is most often measured using soil chambers, but since the early 2000s, solid-state CO2 sensors that measure soil CO2 concentrations at different depths, are becoming more popular. From these continuous high-frequency measurements of the CO2 gradient, the flux can easily be calculated in a very cost-efficient way with minimal disturbance of the natural conditions. This so-called flux-gradient method is based on Fick's law, assuming diffusion to be the only transport mechanism. To test to what extend diffusion is indeed the governing transport process, we compared the CO2 efflux from chamber measurements with the CO2 efflux calculated from soil CO2 concentration profiles for a grassland site in the Austrian Alps. The four commonly used models for diffusivity that we tested, all underestimated the soil chamber effluxes and their amplitudes. What is more, we observed that transport rates correlated well with irradiation (PAR) and -below a certain soil moisture content- with wind speed. Indeed, correlation coefficients of the fits of observed transport rate versus PAR were consistently positive, and those of observed transport rate versus wind speed were positive on days that were not extremely wet (soil water content below 33%). Also, we found that the coupling of transport rate and PAR became stronger as wind speed increased. Our results suggest that non-diffusive bulk air transport mechanisms, such as advective mass transport and pressure pumping, could considerably contribute to soil CO2 transport at this site. We therefore emphasize the importance of investigating alternative transport processes before using solid-state CO2 concentration measurements to estimate soil CO2 emissions at any given site.

  11. Role of vegetation in modulating rainfall interception and soil water flux in ecosystems under transition from grassland to woodland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zou, Chris; Will, Rodney; Stebler, Elaine; Qiao, Lei

    2014-05-01

    Vegetation exerts strong control on the hydrological budget by shielding the soil from rainfall through interception and modulating water transmission in the soil by altering soil properties and rooting zone water extraction. Therefore, a change in vegetation alters the water cycle by a combination of a passive, rainfall redistribution mechanism controlled by the physical dimensions of vegetation and active, water extracting processes resulting from physiological attributes of different plants. As a result, the role of vegetation on the water cycle is likely to change where vegetation is under transition such as in the southern Great Plains of USA due to woody plant encroachment. However, it remains largely unknown how this physiognomic transformation from herbaceous cover to woody canopy alters rainfall influx, soil water transmission and efflux from the soil profile and consequently alters historic patterns of runoff and groundwater recharge. This knowledge is critical for both water resource and ecosystem management. We conducted a comprehensive, 5-year study involving direct quantification of throughfall and stemflow for grassland and encroached juniper woodland (Juniperus virginiana), water efflux through transpiration using an improved Granier thermal dissipation method (trees) and ET chamber (grassland), soil moisture storage and dynamics (capacitance probe) and streamflow (small catchment). We calibrated a prevailing hydrological model (SWAT) based on observed data to simulate potential change in runoff and recharge for the Cimarron River basin (study site located within this basin) under various phases of grassland to woodland transition. Our results show that juniper encroachment reduces throughfall reaching the soil surface compared with grassland under moderate grazing. The evergreen junipers transpired water year-round including fall and winter when the warm season grasses were senescent. As a result, soil water content and soil water storage on the encroached catchment were generally lower than on the grassland catchment, especially proceeding the seasons of peak rainfall in spring and fall. Frequency and magnitude of streamflow events was observed to be substantially reduced in the encroached catchment. Model simulation suggests that conversion of all existing grassland to juniper in the Cimarron River basin will increase overall water efflux through evapotranspiration sufficient to substantially reduce water yield for streamflow. Rapid transformation of mesic grasslands to a woodland state with juniper encroachment, if not confined, has the potential to reduce soil water, streamflow and flow duration of ephemeral streams. Slowing the expansion of woody encroachment into grasslands might be considered as a land-based strategy to sustain or even augment streamflow and groundwater recharge to meet the increase in water demand under increasing climate variability and population growth in the southern Great Plains of USA

  12. Ecosystem carbon exchange over a warm-temperate mixed plantation in the lithoid hilly area of the North China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tong, Xiaojuan; Meng, Ping; Zhang, Jinsong; Li, Jun; Zheng, Ning; Huang, Hui

    2012-03-01

    In recent decades, forest area in China increased rapidly by afforestation and reforestation, especially in its temperate parts. However, lack of information on carbon exchange in temperate plantations in China reduced the accuracy of estimation on regional carbon budget. In this study, CO2 flux was measured using the eddy covariance method over a broadleaf dominant mixed plantation in the lithoid hilly area of the North China. The results showed that annual maximum photosynthetic capacity (Amax) varied from 0.81 to 1.22 mg CO2 m-2 s-1 and annual initial light use efficiency (?) from 0.014 to 0.026. Net CO2 uptake was depressed when vapor pressure deficit (VPD) was more than 2.5 kPa. Annual temperature sensitivity coefficient (Q10) for ecosystem respiration, ranged from 1.84 to 2.35, was negatively correlated with base ecosystem respiration (R0) (P < 0.05). Annual R0 decreased but Q10 increased evidently when winter drought occurred. From 2006 to 2010, annual net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE), Gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Rec) were -355 34, 1196 21 and 841 43 g C m-2 yr-1, respectively. The warm-temperate mixed plantation in the lithoid hilly area of the North China was a strong carbon sink of the atmosphere, which was usually weaken when spring drought happened.

  13. Effects of grazing on ecosystem CO? exchange in a meadow grassland on the Tibetan Plateau during the growing season.

    PubMed

    Chen, Ji; Shi, Weiyu; Cao, Junji

    2015-02-01

    Effects of human activity on ecosystem carbon fluxes (e.g., net ecosystem exchange (NEE), ecosystem respiration (R(eco)), and gross ecosystem exchange (GEE)) are crucial for projecting future uptake of CO2 in terrestrial ecosystems. However, how ecosystem that carbon fluxes respond to grazing exclusion is still under debate. In this study, a field experiment was conducted to study the effects of grazing exclusion on R(eco), NEE, and GEE with three treatments (free-range grazing (FG) and grazing exclusion for 3 and 5 years (GE3 and GE5, respectively)) in a meadow grassland on the Tibetan Plateau. Our results show that grazing exclusion significantly increased NEE by 47.37 and 15.84%, and R eco by 33.14 and 4.29% under GE3 and GE5 plots, respectively, although carbon sinks occurred in all plots during the growing season, with values of 192.11, 283.12, and 222.54 g C m(-2) for FG, GE3, and GE5, respectively. Interestingly, grazing exclusion increased temperature sensitivity (Q10) of R eco with larger increases at the beginning and end of growing season (i.e., May and October, respectively). Soil temperature and soil moisture were key factors on controlling the diurnal and seasonal variations of R(eco), NEE, and GEE, with soil temperature having a stronger influence. Therefore, the combined effects of grazing and temperature suggest that grazing should be taken into consideration in assessing global warming effects on grassland ecosystem CO2 exchange. PMID:25355630

  14. Partitioning Evapotranspiration in Semiarid Grassland and Shrubland Ecosystems Using Diurnal Surface Temperature Variation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moran, M. Susan; Scott, Russell L.; Keefer, Timothy O.; Paige, Ginger B.; Emmerich, William E.; Cosh, Michael H.; O'Neill, Peggy E.

    2007-01-01

    The encroachment of woody plants in grasslands across the Western U.S. will affect soil water availability by altering the contributions of evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) to total evapotranspiration (ET). To study this phenomenon, a network of flux stations is in place to measure ET in grass- and shrub-dominated ecosystems throughout the Western U.S. A method is described and tested here to partition the daily measurements of ET into E and T based on diurnal surface temperature variations of the soil and standard energy balance theory. The difference between the mid-afternoon and pre-dawn soil surface temperature, termed Apparent Thermal Inertia (I(sub A)), was used to identify days when E was negligible, and thus, ET=T. For other days, a three-step procedure based on energy balance equations was used to estimate Qe contributions of daily E and T to total daily ET. The method was tested at Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed in southeast Arizona based on Bowen ratio estimates of ET and continuous measurements of surface temperature with an infrared thermometer (IRT) from 2004- 2005, and a second dataset of Bowen ratio, IRT and stem-flow gage measurements in 2003. Results showed that reasonable estimates of daily T were obtained for a multi-year period with ease of operation and minimal cost. With known season-long daily T, E and ET, it is possible to determine the soil water availability associated with grass- and shrub-dominated sites and better understand the hydrologic impact of regional woody plant encroachment.

  15. Non-Linear Nitrogen Cycling and Ecosystem Calcium Depletion Along a Temperate Forest Soil Nitrogen Gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinkhorn, E. R.; Perakis, S. S.; Compton, J. E.; Cromack, K.; Bullen, T. D.

    2007-12-01

    Understanding how N availability influences base cation stores is critical for assessing long-term ecosystem sustainability. Indices of nitrogen (N) availability and the distribution of nutrients in plant biomass, soil, and soil water were examined across ten Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) stands spanning a three-fold soil N gradient (0-10 cm: 0.21 - 0.69% N, 0-100 cm: 9.2 - 28.8 Mg N ha-1) in the Oregon Coast Range. This gradient is largely the consequence of historical inputs from N2-fixing red alder stands that can add 100-200 kg N ha-1 yr-1 to the ecosystem for decades. Annual net N mineralization and litterfall N return displayed non-linear relationships with soil N, increasing initially, and then decreasing as N-richness increased. In contrast, nitrate leaching from deep soils increased linearly across the soil N gradient and ranged from 0.074 to 30 kg N ha-1 yr-1. Soil exchangeable Ca, Mg, and K pools to 1 m depth were negatively related to nitrate losses across sites. Ca was the only base cation exhibiting concentration decreases in both plant and soil pools across the soil N gradient, and a greater proportion of total available ecosystem Ca was sequestered in aboveground plant biomass at high N, low Ca sites. Our work supports a hierarchical model of coupled N-Ca cycles across gradients of soil N enrichment, with microbial production of mobile nitrate anions leading to depletion of readily available Ca at the ecosystem scale, and plant sequestration promoting Ca conservation as Ca supply diminishes. The preferential storage of Ca in aboveground biomass at high N and low Ca sites, while critical for sustaining plant productivity, may also predispose forests to Ca depletion in areas managed for intensive biomass removal. Long-term N enrichment of temperate forest soils appears capable of sustaining an open N cycle and key symptoms of N-saturation for multiple decades after the cessation of elevated N inputs.

  16. Effects of climate warming and declining species richness in grassland model ecosystems: acclimation of CO2 fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vicca, S.; Serrano-Ortiz, P.; de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, C. M. H. M.; Nijs, I.; Ceulemans, R.; Kowalski, A. S.; Janssens, I. A.

    2006-09-01

    To study the effects of warming and declining species richness on the carbon balance of grassland communities, model ecosystems containing one, three or nine species were exposed to ambient and elevated (ambient +3C) air temperature. In this paper, we analyze measured ecosystem CO2 fluxes to test whether ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration had acclimated to warming after 28 months of continuous heating, and whether the degree of acclimation depended on species richness. At first sight, we found no signs of acclimation in photosynthesis or respiration. However, because plant cover was significantly higher in the heated treatment, normalization for plant cover revealed down-regulation of both photosynthesis and respiration. Although CO2 fluxes were larger in communities with higher species richness, species richness did not affect the degree of acclimation to warming. These results imply that models need to take into account thermal acclimation to simulate photosynthesis and respiration in a warmer world.

  17. Microbial Enzymatic Response to Reduced Precipitation and Added Nitrogen in a Southern California Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alster, C. J.; German, D.; Allison, S. D.

    2011-12-01

    Microbial enzymes play a fundamental role in ecosystem processes and nutrient mineralization. Although there have been many studies concluding that global climate change affects plant communities, the effects on microbial communities in leaf litter have been much less studied. We measured extracellular enzyme activities in litter decomposing in plots with either reduced precipitation or increased nitrogen in a grassland ecosystem in Loma Ridge National Landmark in Southern California. We used a reciprocal transplant design to examine the effects of plot treatment, litter origin, and microbial community origin on litter decomposition and extracellular enzyme activity. Our hypothesis was that increased nitrogen would increase activity because nitrogen often limits microbial growth, while decreased precipitation would decrease activity due to lower litter moisture levels. Samples were collected in March 2011 and analyzed for the activities of cellobiohydrolase (CBH), β-glucosidase (BG), α-glucosidase (AG), N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG), β-xylosidase (BX), acid phosphatase (AP), and leucine aminopeptidase (LAP). None of the factors in the nitrogen manipulation had a significant effect on any of the enzymes, although BG, CBH, and NAG increased marginally significantly in plots with nitrogen addition (p = 0.103, p = 0.082, and p = 0.114, respectively). For the precipitation manipulation, AG, BG, BX, CBH, and NAG significantly increased in plots with reduced precipitation (p = 0.015, p <0.001, p<0.001, and p<0.001, respectively) while LAP significantly decreased (p = 0.002). LAP catalyzes the hydrolysis of polypeptides, so reduced LAP activity could result in lower rates of enzyme turnover in the reduced precipitation treatment. We also observed that AP significantly increased (p = 0.014) in litter originating from reduced precipitation plots, while AG, BX, and LAP significantly decreased (p = 0.011, p = 0.031, and 0.005, respectively). There were no significant correlations found between fungal or bacterial mass and enzymatic activity with either of the treatment types. Our results suggest that increased enzymatic activity due to drought could mitigate negative effects of moisture limitation on decomposition. However, this mitigating effect may be offset by declines in enzyme activity due to changes in plant community composition and associated litter chemistry in response to drought.

  18. Observations of 14CO2 in ecosystem respiration from a temperate deciduous forest in Northern Wisconsin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phillips, Claire L.; McFarlane, Karis J.; LaFranchi, Brian; Desai, Ankur R.; Miller, John B.; Lehman, Scott J.

    2015-04-01

    The 14CO2 composition of plant and soil respiration can be used to determine the residence time of photosynthetically fixed carbon before it is released back to the atmosphere. To estimate the residence time of actively cycled carbon in a temperate forest, we employed two approaches for estimating the Δ14CO2 of ecosystem respiration (Δ14C-Reco) at the Willow Creek AmeriFlux site in Northern Wisconsin, USA. Our first approach was to construct nighttime Keeling plots from subcanopy profiles of Δ14CO2 and CO2, providing estimates of Δ14C-Reco of 121.7‰ in June and 42.0‰ in August 2012. These measurements are likely dominated by soil fluxes due to proximity to the ground level. Our second approach utilized samples taken over 20 months within the forest canopy and from 396 m above ground level at the nearby LEF NOAA tall tower site (Park Falls, WI). In this canopy-minus-background approach we employed a mixing model described by Miller and Tans (2003) for estimating isotopic sources by subtracting time-varying background conditions. For the period from May 2011 to December 2012 the estimated Δ14C-Reco using the Miller-Tans model was 76.8‰. Together, these Δ14C-Reco values represent mean Reco carbon ages of approximately 1-19 years. We also found that heterotrophic soil-respired Δ 14C at Willow Creek was 5-38‰ higher (i.e., 1-10 years older) than predicted by the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach global biosphere carbon model for the 1 × 1 pixel nearest to the site. This study provides much needed observational constraints of ecosystem carbon residence times, which are a major source of uncertainty in terrestrial carbon cycle models.

  19. Drivers of long-term variability in CO2 net ecosystem exchange in a temperate peatland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helfter, C.; Campbell, C.; Dinsmore, K. J.; Drewer, J.; Coyle, M.; Anderson, M.; Skiba, U.; Nemitz, E.; Billett, M. F.; Sutton, M. A.

    2015-03-01

    Land-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) in peatlands exhibits marked seasonal and inter-annual variability, which subsequently affects the carbon (C) sink strength of catchments across multiple temporal scales. Long-term studies are needed to fully capture the natural variability and therefore identify the key hydrometeorological drivers in the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2. Since 2002, NEE has been measured continuously by eddy-covariance at Auchencorth Moss, a temperate lowland peatland in central Scotland. Hence this is one of the longest peatland NEE studies to date. For 11 years, the site was a consistent, yet variable, atmospheric CO2 sink ranging from -5.2 to -135.9 g CO2-C m-2 yr-1 (mean of -64.1 ± 33.6 g CO2-C m-2 yr-1). Inter-annual variability in NEE was positively correlated to the length of the growing season. Mean winter air temperature explained 87% of the inter-annual variability in the sink strength of the following summer, indicating an effect of winter climate on local phenology. Ecosystem respiration (Reco) was enhanced by drought, which also depressed gross primary productivity (GPP). The CO2 uptake rate during the growing season was comparable to three other sites with long-term NEE records; however, the emission rate during the dormant season was significantly higher. To summarise, the NEE of the peatland studied is modulated by two dominant factors: - phenology of the plant community, which is driven by winter air temperature and impacts photosynthetic potential and net CO2 uptake during the growing season (colder winters are linked to lower summer NEE), - water table level, which enhanced soil respiration and decreased GPP during dry spells. Although summer dry spells were sporadic during the study period, the positive effects of the current climatic trend towards milder winters on the site's CO2 sink strength could be offset by changes in precipitation patterns especially during the growing season.

  20. Predicting the response of a temperate forest ecosystem to atmospheric CO{sub 2} increase. Final report, 1984--1995

    SciTech Connect

    Bazzaz, F.A.

    1995-12-31

    This document describes the most recent progress made in several areas of the project. Details of individual experiments in the following areas are provided: (1) the impact of soil volume on the physiological acclimation of temperate deciduous trees in elevated CO{sub 2}; (2) growth under elevated CO{sub 2}: the shape as well as the size of pots is important; (3) a survey of growth responses of temperate deciduous trees to elevated CO{sub 2}; (4) a survey of closely related birch species; (5) the response of temperate deciduous tress to CO{sub 2} in variable light and nutrients conditions; (6) elevated CO{sub 2} differentially alters the response of birch and maple seedlings to a moisture gradient; (7) population dynamics; (8) heat shock in elevated CO{sub 2}: is there a change in temperature sensitivity; (9) response of temperate deciduous trees to CO{sub 2} in variable light and nutrient conditions; (10) changes in tree community composition and their consequences to ecosystem productivity; and (11) species diversity and ecosystem response to carbon dioxide fertilization.

  1. The Diversity and Co-occurrence Patterns of N2-Fixing Communities in a CO2-Enriched Grassland Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Tu, Qichao; Zhou, Xishu; He, Zhili; Xue, Kai; Wu, Liyou; Reich, Peter; Hobbie, Sarah; Zhou, Jizhong

    2016-04-01

    Diazotrophs are the major organismal group responsible for atmospheric nitrogen (N2) fixation in natural ecosystems. The extensive diversity and structure of N2-fixing communities in grassland ecosystems and their responses to increasing atmospheric CO2 remain to be further explored. Through pyrosequencing of nifH gene amplicons and extraction of nifH genes from shotgun metagenomes, coupled with co-occurrence ecological network analysis approaches, we comprehensively analyzed the diazotrophic community in a grassland ecosystem exposed to elevated CO2 (eCO2) for 12 years. Long-term eCO2 increased the abundance of nifH genes but did not change the overall nifH diversity and diazotrophic community structure. Taxonomic and phylogenetic analysis of amplified nifH sequences suggested a high diversity of nifH genes in the soil ecosystem, the majority belonging to nifH clusters I and II. Co-occurrence ecological network analysis identified different co-occurrence patterns for different groups of diazotrophs, such as Azospirillum/Actinobacteria, Mesorhizobium/Conexibacter, and Bradyrhizobium/Acidobacteria. This indicated a potential attraction of non-N2-fixers by diazotrophs in the soil ecosystem. Interestingly, more complex co-occurrence patterns were found for free-living diazotrophs than commonly known symbiotic diazotrophs, which is consistent with the physical isolation nature of symbiotic diazotrophs from the environment by root nodules. The study provides novel insights into our understanding of the microbial ecology of soil diazotrophs in natural ecosystems. PMID:26280746

  2. Fast-cycling unit of root turnover in perennial herbaceous plants in a cold temperate ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Sun, Kai; Luke McCormack, M; Li, Le; Ma, Zeqing; Guo, Dali

    2016-01-01

    Roots of perennial plants have both persistent portion and fast-cycling units represented by different levels of branching. In woody species, the distal nonwoody branch orders as a unit are born and die together relatively rapidly (within 1-2 years). However, whether the fast-cycling units also exist in perennial herbs is unknown. We monitored root demography of seven perennial herbs over two years in a cold temperate ecosystem and we classified the largest roots on the root collar or rhizome as basal roots, and associated finer laterals as secondary, tertiary and quaternary roots. Parallel to woody plants in which distal root orders form a fast-cycling module, basal root and its finer laterals also represent a fast-cycling module in herbaceous plants. Within this module, basal roots had a lifespan of 0.5-2 years and represented 62-87% of total root biomass, thus dominating annual root turnover (60%-81% of the total). Moreover, root traits including root length, tissue density, and biomass were useful predictors of root lifespan. We conclude that both herbaceous and woody plants have fast-cycling modular units and future studies identifying the fast-cycling module across plant species should allow better understanding of how root construction and turnover are linked to whole-plant strategies. PMID:26791578

  3. A Transmission Model for the Ecology of an Avian Blood Parasite in a Temperate Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Murdock, Courtney C.; Foufopoulos, Johannes; Simon, Carl P.

    2013-01-01

    Most of our knowledge about avian haemosporidian parasites comes from the Hawaiian archipelago, where recently introduced Plasmodiumrelictum has contributed to the extinction of many endemic avian species. While the ecology of invasive malaria is reasonably understood, the ecology of endemic haemosporidian infection in mainland systems is poorly understood, even though it is the rule rather than the exception. We develop a mathematical model to explore and identify the ecological factors that most influence transmission of the common avian parasite, Leucocytozoonfringillinarum (Apicomplexa). The model was parameterized from White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichialeucophrys) and S. silvestre / craigi black fly populations breeding in an alpine ecosystem. We identify and examine the importance of altricial nestlings, the seasonal relapse of infected birds for parasite persistence across breeding seasons, and potential impacts of seasonal changes in black fly emergence on parasite prevalence in a high elevation temperate system. We also use the model to identify and estimate the parameters most influencing transmission dynamics. Our analysis found that relapse of adult birds and young of the year birds were crucial for parasite persistence across multiple seasons. However, distinguishing between nude nestlings and feathered young of the year was unnecessary. Finally, due to model sensitivity to many black fly parameters, parasite prevalence and sparrow recruitment may be most affected by seasonal changes in environmental temperature driving shifts in black fly emergence and gonotrophic cycles. PMID:24073288

  4. A transmission model for the ecology of an avian blood parasite in a temperate ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Murdock, Courtney C; Foufopoulos, Johannes; Simon, Carl P

    2013-01-01

    Most of our knowledge about avian haemosporidian parasites comes from the Hawaiian archipelago, where recently introduced Plasmodiumrelictum has contributed to the extinction of many endemic avian species. While the ecology of invasive malaria is reasonably understood, the ecology of endemic haemosporidian infection in mainland systems is poorly understood, even though it is the rule rather than the exception. We develop a mathematical model to explore and identify the ecological factors that most influence transmission of the common avian parasite, Leucocytozoonfringillinarum (Apicomplexa). The model was parameterized from White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichialeucophrys) and S. silvestre / craigi black fly populations breeding in an alpine ecosystem. We identify and examine the importance of altricial nestlings, the seasonal relapse of infected birds for parasite persistence across breeding seasons, and potential impacts of seasonal changes in black fly emergence on parasite prevalence in a high elevation temperate system. We also use the model to identify and estimate the parameters most influencing transmission dynamics. Our analysis found that relapse of adult birds and young of the year birds were crucial for parasite persistence across multiple seasons. However, distinguishing between nude nestlings and feathered young of the year was unnecessary. Finally, due to model sensitivity to many black fly parameters, parasite prevalence and sparrow recruitment may be most affected by seasonal changes in environmental temperature driving shifts in black fly emergence and gonotrophic cycles. PMID:24073288

  5. Interactions and feedbacks of a temperate lake ecosystem in NE Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simard, Sonia; Blume, Theresa; Heidbchel, Ingo; Heinrich, Ingo; Dreibrodt, Janek; Gntner, Andreas; Helle, Gerhard

    2015-04-01

    Soil water availability is a major driver of plant productivity and a limiting factor in several environments. As much as water has a foremost influence on plant growth, the vegetation itself has an important influence on the landscape hydrology leading to feedbacks between ecological processes and the hydrological cycle. A natural experimental design was set up in NE Germany in a temperate lake ecosystem where major shifts in groundwater and lake levels have been observed in the last decades. The location is characterized by a precipitation regime below 600 mm annually. Soil moisture profiles, matrix potential, piezometers, dendrometers and sapflow sensors, as well as standard climate stations providing high temporal resolution information were installed in sites with different soil water content. Several sites in the surroundings of lake Hinnensee, NE Germany, are currently closely monitored to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of water use of three main European tree species (Pinus sylvestris, Quercus petreae and Fagus sylvatica), its impact on forest productivity and the influence on the landscape hydrology. We discuss how the dynamics varies in time and under different environmental conditions, as well as possible processes that might govern these variations.

  6. Fast-cycling unit of root turnover in perennial herbaceous plants in a cold temperate ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Kai; Luke McCormack, M.; Li, Le; Ma, Zeqing; Guo, Dali

    2016-01-01

    Roots of perennial plants have both persistent portion and fast-cycling units represented by different levels of branching. In woody species, the distal nonwoody branch orders as a unit are born and die together relatively rapidly (within 1–2 years). However, whether the fast-cycling units also exist in perennial herbs is unknown. We monitored root demography of seven perennial herbs over two years in a cold temperate ecosystem and we classified the largest roots on the root collar or rhizome as basal roots, and associated finer laterals as secondary, tertiary and quaternary roots. Parallel to woody plants in which distal root orders form a fast-cycling module, basal root and its finer laterals also represent a fast-cycling module in herbaceous plants. Within this module, basal roots had a lifespan of 0.5–2 years and represented 62–87% of total root biomass, thus dominating annual root turnover (60%–81% of the total). Moreover, root traits including root length, tissue density, and biomass were useful predictors of root lifespan. We conclude that both herbaceous and woody plants have fast-cycling modular units and future studies identifying the fast-cycling module across plant species should allow better understanding of how root construction and turnover are linked to whole-plant strategies. PMID:26791578

  7. Fast-cycling unit of root turnover in perennial herbaceous plants in a cold temperate ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Kai; Luke McCormack, M.; Li, Le; Ma, Zeqing; Guo, Dali

    2016-01-01

    Roots of perennial plants have both persistent portion and fast-cycling units represented by different levels of branching. In woody species, the distal nonwoody branch orders as a unit are born and die together relatively rapidly (within 1–2 years). However, whether the fast-cycling units also exist in perennial herbs is unknown. We monitored root demography of seven perennial herbs over two years in a cold temperate ecosystem and we classified the largest roots on the root collar or rhizome as basal roots, and associated finer laterals as secondary, tertiary and quaternary roots. Parallel to woody plants in which distal root orders form a fast-cycling module, basal root and its finer laterals also represent a fast-cycling module in herbaceous plants. Within this module, basal roots had a lifespan of 0.5–2 years and represented 62–87% of total root biomass, thus dominating annual root turnover (60%–81% of the total). Moreover, root traits including root length, tissue density, and biomass were useful predictors of root lifespan. We conclude that both herbaceous and woody plants have fast-cycling modular units and future studies identifying the fast-cycling module across plant species should allow better understanding of how root construction and turnover are linked to whole-plant strategies.

  8. Rapid top-down regulation of plant C:N:P stoichiometry by grasshoppers in an Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Guangming; Han, Xingguo; Elser, James J

    2011-05-01

    Understanding how food web interactions alter the processing of limiting nutrient elements is an important goal of ecosystem ecology. An experiment manipulating densities of the grasshopper Oedaleus asiaticus was performed to assess top-down effects of grasshoppers on C:N:P stoichiometry of plants and soil in a grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia (China). With increased grasshopper feeding, plant biomass declined fourfold, litter abundance increased 30%, and the plant community became dominated by non-host plant taxa. Plant stoichiometric response depended on whether or not the plant was a grasshopper host food species: C:N and C:P ratios increased with increasing grasshopper density (GD) for host plants but decreased in non-host plants. These data suggest either a direct transfer of grasshopper-recycled nutrients from host to non-host plants or a release of non-host plants from nutrient competition with heavily grazed host plants. Litterfall C:N and C:P decreased across moderate levels of grasshopper density but no effects on C:N:P stoichiometry in the surface soil were observed, possibly due to the short experimental period. Our observations of divergent C:N:P stoichiometric response among plant species highlight the important role of grasshopper herbivory in regulating plant community structure and nutrient cycling in grassland ecosystems. PMID:21267596

  9. 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

  10. Exchange of carbonyl sulfide (COS), a potential tracer of gross primary productivity, between grassland ecosystem components and the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whelan, M.; Rhew, R. C.

    2013-12-01

    Recently, measurements of carbonyl sulfide (COS) exchange have been used as an independent constraint for estimates of gross primary productivity over terrestrial ecosystems and continents. CO2 is both taken up and released by plants, whereas COS is usually only consumed and at a predictable ratio to CO2. Most of the underlying theoretical assumptions of this method have been verified, however the problem of parsing leaf exchange from other terrestrial sources and sinks of COS is still under investigation. In ecosystems that experience distinct periods of growing and senescence, it is possible to assess COS fluxes in situ when no green plants are present and compare to measurements during the growing season. Taking advantage of this seasonal pattern, we have investigated COS exchange from March 2012 to March 2013 in a Mediterranean grassland outside of Santa Cruz, CA, U.S.A (37.0°N, 122°W). Through lab-based incubation experiments, we found that net COS uptake of grassland soil can be reduced by increased soil moisture. We evaluated this claim in the field with monthly field deployments of static flux chambers over the in-tact soil and plant system. In the dry summer, artificial rain amendments caused COS net uptake to decrease, sometimes leading to overall net production to the atmosphere, in agreement with lab experiments. During the wet growing season, water additions caused over 2x increase in COS uptake from the atmosphere. Contrary to what has been previously claimed, soil exchange of COS is not negligible in grassland ecosystems.

  11. Cell Turnover and Detritus Production in Marine Sponges from Tropical and Temperate Benthic Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Brittany E.; Liebrand, Kevin; Osinga, Ronald; van der Geest, Harm G.; Admiraal, Wim; Cleutjens, Jack P. M.; Schutte, Bert; Verheyen, Fons; Ribes, Marta; van Loon, Emiel; de Goeij, Jasper M.

    2014-01-01

    This study describes in vivo cell turnover (the balance between cell proliferation and cell loss) in eight marine sponge species from tropical coral reef, mangrove and temperate Mediterranean reef ecosystems. Cell proliferation was determined through the incorporation of 5-bromo-2?-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and measuring the percentage of BrdU-positive cells after 6 h of continuous labeling (10 h for Chondrosia reniformis). Apoptosis was identified using an antibody against active caspase-3. Cell loss through shedding was studied quantitatively by collecting and weighing sponge-expelled detritus and qualitatively by light microscopy of sponge tissue and detritus. All species investigated displayed substantial cell proliferation, predominantly in the choanoderm, but also in the mesohyl. The majority of coral reef species (five) showed between 16.115.9% and 19.02.0% choanocyte proliferation (meanSD) after 6 h and the Mediterranean species, C. reniformis, showed 16.63.2% after 10 h BrdU-labeling. Monanchora arbuscula showed lower choanocyte proliferation (8.13.7%), whereas the mangrove species Mycale microsigmatosa showed relatively higher levels of choanocyte proliferation (70.56.6%). Choanocyte proliferation in Haliclona vansoesti was variable (2.873.1%). Apoptosis was negligible and not the primary mechanism of cell loss involved in cell turnover. All species investigated produced significant amounts of detritus (2.518% detritus bodyweight?1d?1) and cell shedding was observed in seven out of eight species. The amount of shed cells observed in histological sections may be related to differences in residence time of detritus within canals. Detritus production could not be directly linked to cell shedding due to the degraded nature of expelled cellular debris. We have demonstrated that under steady-state conditions, cell turnover through cell proliferation and cell shedding are common processes to maintain tissue homeostasis in a variety of sponge species from different ecosystems. Cell turnover is hypothesized to be the main underlying mechanism producing sponge-derived detritus, a major trophic resource transferred through sponges in benthic ecosystems, such as coral reefs. PMID:25289641

  12. The tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems: climate-mediated changes in herbivory and community phase shifts

    PubMed Central

    Vergés, Adriana; Steinberg, Peter D.; Hay, Mark E.; Poore, Alistair G. B.; Campbell, Alexandra H.; Ballesteros, Enric; Heck, Kenneth L.; Booth, David J.; Coleman, Melinda A.; Feary, David A.; Figueira, Will; Langlois, Tim; Marzinelli, Ezequiel M.; Mizerek, Toni; Mumby, Peter J.; Nakamura, Yohei; Roughan, Moninya; van Sebille, Erik; Gupta, Alex Sen; Smale, Dan A.; Tomas, Fiona; Wernberg, Thomas; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2014-01-01

    Climate-driven changes in biotic interactions can profoundly alter ecological communities, particularly when they impact foundation species. In marine systems, changes in herbivory and the consequent loss of dominant habitat forming species can result in dramatic community phase shifts, such as from coral to macroalgal dominance when tropical fish herbivory decreases, and from algal forests to ‘barrens’ when temperate urchin grazing increases. Here, we propose a novel phase-shift away from macroalgal dominance caused by tropical herbivores extending their range into temperate regions. We argue that this phase shift is facilitated by poleward-flowing boundary currents that are creating ocean warming hotspots around the globe, enabling the range expansion of tropical species and increasing their grazing rates in temperate areas. Overgrazing of temperate macroalgae by tropical herbivorous fishes has already occurred in Japan and the Mediterranean. Emerging evidence suggests similar phenomena are occurring in other temperate regions, with increasing occurrence of tropical fishes on temperate reefs. PMID:25009065

  13. The tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems: climate-mediated changes in herbivory and community phase shifts.

    PubMed

    Vergés, Adriana; Steinberg, Peter D; Hay, Mark E; Poore, Alistair G B; Campbell, Alexandra H; Ballesteros, Enric; Heck, Kenneth L; Booth, David J; Coleman, Melinda A; Feary, David A; Figueira, Will; Langlois, Tim; Marzinelli, Ezequiel M; Mizerek, Toni; Mumby, Peter J; Nakamura, Yohei; Roughan, Moninya; van Sebille, Erik; Gupta, Alex Sen; Smale, Dan A; Tomas, Fiona; Wernberg, Thomas; Wilson, Shaun K

    2014-08-22

    Climate-driven changes in biotic interactions can profoundly alter ecological communities, particularly when they impact foundation species. In marine systems, changes in herbivory and the consequent loss of dominant habitat forming species can result in dramatic community phase shifts, such as from coral to macroalgal dominance when tropical fish herbivory decreases, and from algal forests to 'barrens' when temperate urchin grazing increases. Here, we propose a novel phase-shift away from macroalgal dominance caused by tropical herbivores extending their range into temperate regions. We argue that this phase shift is facilitated by poleward-flowing boundary currents that are creating ocean warming hotspots around the globe, enabling the range expansion of tropical species and increasing their grazing rates in temperate areas. Overgrazing of temperate macroalgae by tropical herbivorous fishes has already occurred in Japan and the Mediterranean. Emerging evidence suggests similar phenomena are occurring in other temperate regions, with increasing occurrence of tropical fishes on temperate reefs. PMID:25009065

  14. Reduced diurnal temperature range does not change warming impacts on ecosystem carbon balance of Mediterranean grassland mesocosms

    SciTech Connect

    Phillips, Claire L.; Gregg, Jillian W.; Wilson, John K.

    2011-11-01

    Daily minimum temperature (Tmin) has increased faster than daily maximum temperature (Tmax) in many parts of the world, leading to decreases in diurnal temperature range (DTR). Projections suggest these trends are likely to continue in many regions, particularly northern latitudes and in arid regions. Despite wide speculation that asymmetric warming has different impacts on plant and ecosystem production than equal-night-and-day warming, there has been little direct comparison of these scenarios. Reduced DTR has also been widely misinterpreted as a result of night-only warming, when in fact Tmin occurs near dawn, indicating higher morning as well as night temperatures. We report on the first experiment to examine ecosystem-scale impacts of faster increases in Tmin than Tmax, using precise temperature controls to create realistic diurnal temperature profiles with gradual day-night temperature transitions and elevated early morning as well as night temperatures. Studying a constructed grassland ecosystem containing species native to Oregon, USA, we found the ecosystem lost more carbon at elevated than ambient temperatures, but was unaffected by the 3ºC difference in DTR between symmetric warming (constantly ambient +3.5ºC) and asymmetric warming (dawn Tmin=ambient +5ºC, afternoon Tmax= ambient +2ºC). Reducing DTR had no apparent effect on photosynthesis, likely because temperatures were most different in the morning and late afternoon when light was low. Respiration was also similar in both warming treatments, because respiration temperature sensitivity was not sufficient to respond to the limited temperature differences between asymmetric and symmetric warming. We concluded that changes in daily mean temperatures, rather than changes in Tmin/Tmax, were sufficient for predicting ecosystem carbon fluxes in this reconstructed Mediterranean grassland system.

  15. Reduced diurnal temperature range does not change warming impacts on ecosystem carbon balance of Mediterranean grassland mesocosms

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Phillips, Claire L.; Gregg, Jillian W.; Wilson, John K.

    2011-11-01

    Daily minimum temperature (Tmin) has increased faster than daily maximum temperature (Tmax) in many parts of the world, leading to decreases in diurnal temperature range (DTR). Projections suggest these trends are likely to continue in many regions, particularly northern latitudes and in arid regions. Despite wide speculation that asymmetric warming has different impacts on plant and ecosystem production than equal-night-and-day warming, there has been little direct comparison of these scenarios. Reduced DTR has also been widely misinterpreted as a result of night-only warming, when in fact Tmin occurs near dawn, indicating higher morning as well as night temperatures. We reportmore » on the first experiment to examine ecosystem-scale impacts of faster increases in Tmin than Tmax, using precise temperature controls to create realistic diurnal temperature profiles with gradual day-night temperature transitions and elevated early morning as well as night temperatures. Studying a constructed grassland ecosystem containing species native to Oregon, USA, we found the ecosystem lost more carbon at elevated than ambient temperatures, but was unaffected by the 3ºC difference in DTR between symmetric warming (constantly ambient +3.5ºC) and asymmetric warming (dawn Tmin=ambient +5ºC, afternoon Tmax= ambient +2ºC). Reducing DTR had no apparent effect on photosynthesis, likely because temperatures were most different in the morning and late afternoon when light was low. Respiration was also similar in both warming treatments, because respiration temperature sensitivity was not sufficient to respond to the limited temperature differences between asymmetric and symmetric warming. We concluded that changes in daily mean temperatures, rather than changes in Tmin/Tmax, were sufficient for predicting ecosystem carbon fluxes in this reconstructed Mediterranean grassland system.« less

  16. Identifying grasslands suitable for cellulosic feedstock crops in the Greater Platte River Basin: dynamic modeling of ecosystem performance with 250 m eMODIS

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gu, Yingxin; Boyte, Stephen P.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Tieszen, Larry L.

    2012-01-01

    This study dynamically monitors ecosystem performance (EP) to identify grasslands potentially suitable for cellulosic feedstock crops (e.g., switchgrass) within the Greater Platte River Basin (GPRB). We computed grassland site potential and EP anomalies using 9-year (20002008) time series of 250 m expedited moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data, geophysical and biophysical data, weather and climate data, and EP models. We hypothesize that areas with fairly consistent high grassland productivity (i.e., high grassland site potential) in fair to good range condition (i.e., persistent ecosystem overperformance or normal performance, indicating a lack of severe ecological disturbance) are potentially suitable for cellulosic feedstock crop development. Unproductive (i.e., low grassland site potential) or degraded grasslands (i.e., persistent ecosystem underperformance with poor range condition) are not appropriate for cellulosic feedstock development. Grassland pixels with high or moderate ecosystem site potential and with more than 7 years ecosystem normal performance or overperformance during 20002008 are identified as possible regions for future cellulosic feedstock crop development (ca. 68 000 km2 within the GPRB, mostly in the eastern areas). Long-term climate conditions, elevation, soil organic carbon, and yearly seasonal precipitation and temperature are important performance variables to determine the suitable areas in this study. The final map delineating the suitable areas within the GPRB provides a new monitoring and modeling approach that can contribute to decision support tools to help land managers and decision makers make optimal land use decisions regarding cellulosic feedstock crop development and sustainability.

  17. Bromus tectorum invasion alters nitrogen dynamics in an undisturbed arid grassland ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sperry, L.J.; Belnap, J.; Evans, R.D.

    2006-01-01

    The nonnative annual grass Bromus tectorum has successfully replaced native vegetation in many arid and semiarid ecosystems. Initial introductions accompanied grazing and agriculture, making it difficult to separate the effects of invasion from physical disturbance. This study examined N dynamics in two recently invaded, undisturbed vegetation associations (C3 and C4). The response of these communities was compared to an invaded/disturbed grassland. The invaded/disturbed communities had higher surface NH4+ input in spring, whereas there were no differences for surface input of NO3-. Soil inorganic N was dominated by NH4+, but invaded sites had greater subsurface soil NO3-. Invaded sites had greater total soil N at the surface four years post-invasion in undisturbed communities, but total N was lower in the invaded/disturbed communities. Soil ??15N increased with depth in the noninvaded and recently invaded communities, whereas the invaded/disturbed communities exhibited the opposite pattern. Enriched foliar ??15N values suggest that Bromus assimilated subsurface NO3-, whereas the native grasses were restricted to surface N. A Rayleigh distillation model accurately described decomposition patterns in the noninvaded communities where soil N loss is accompanied by increasing soil ??15N; however, the invaded/disturbed communities exhibited the opposite pattern, suggesting redistribution of N within the soil profile. This study suggests that invasion has altered the mechanisms driving nitrogen dynamics. Bromus litter decomposition and soil NO3- concentrations were greater in the invaded communities during periods of ample precipitation, and NO3- leached from the surface litter, where it was assimilated by Bromus. The primary source of N input in these communities is a biological soil crust that is removed with disturbance, and the lack of N input by the biological soil crust did not balance N loss, resulting in reduced total N in the invaded/disturbed communities. Bromus produced a positive feedback loop by leaching NO3- from decomposing Bromus litter to subsurface soil layers, accessing that deep-soil N pool with deep roots and returning that N to the surface as biomass and subsequent litter. Lack of new inputs combined with continued loss will result in lower total soil N, evidenced by the lower total soil N in the invaded/disturbed communities. ?? 2006 by the Ecological Society of America.

  18. Community Structure and Ecosystem Functioning of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi Across an N Deposition Gradient in Temperate North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lucas, R. W.; Casper, B. B.

    2006-12-01

    Over the past century, human activities have resulted in a substantial increase in atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition throughout eastern North America, effectively doubling the amount of inorganic nitrogen entering terrestrial ecosystems. Increased atmospheric N deposition has the potential to alter terrestrial plant and microbial communities by increasing available NO3- and NH4+ in forest soil. Ectomycorrhizal fungi, a central member of the soil microbial community, live in association with most tree species of temperate and boreal ecosystems and are important contributors to many ecosystem functions. Previous work in boreal systems suggests that the availability of organic and inorganic nitrogen (N) resources are important contributing factors structuring belowground communities of ectomycorrhizal fungi. We do not yet understand the importance or the implications of changes in the ectomycorrhizal community as measured by effects on forest ecosystems or ecosystem functions such as N cycling or carbon storage. We examined ectomycorrhizal community structure morphologically over a natural atmospheric N deposition gradient across the northeastern United States. We also measured peroxidase, phenol oxidase, and general proteolytic activity, three ecosystem functions in which ectomycorrhizal fungi are involved. Using detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), we found significant differences in ectomycorrhizal communities across the gradient with the first three axes describing 48% of the observed variation. Most community differences are driven by the relative abundance of 17 morphotypes across the gradient. Peroxidase and phenol oxidase activity were both significantly lower (p = 0.0323 and 0.0342 respectively) in areas of high atmospheric N deposition. Our data support the hypothesis that with increased atmospheric N deposition ectomycorrhizal communities shift from those using more organic forms of N to those using more inorganic forms of N. Such changes in the ectomycorrhizal community could have important consequences on ecosystem functioning in temperate forest systems.

  19. High prevalence of diffusive uptake of CO2 by macroalgae in a temperate subtidal ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Cornwall, Christopher E; Revill, Andrew T; Hurd, Catriona L

    2015-05-01

    Productivity of most macroalgae is not currently considered limited by dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), as the majority of species have CO2-concentrating mechanisms (CCM) allowing the active uptake of DIC. The alternative, diffusive uptake of CO2 (non-CCM), is considered rare (0-9% of all macroalgal cover in a given ecosystem), and identifying species without CCMs is important in understanding factors controlling inorganic carbon use by eukaryotic algae. CCM activity has higher energetic requirements than diffusive CO2 uptake, therefore when light is low, CCM activity is reduced in favour of diffusive CO2 uptake. We hypothesized that the proportional cover of macroalgae without CCMs (red and green macroalgae) would be low (<10%) across four sites in Tasmania, southern Australia at two depths (4-5 and 12-14 m); the proportion of species lacking CCMs would increase with decreasing depth; the ?(13)C values of macroalgae with CCMs would be more depleted with depth. We found the proportion of non-CCM species ranged from 0 to 90% and included species from all three macroalgal phyla: 81% of red (59 species), 14% of brown (three species) and 29% of green macroalgae (two species). The proportion of non-CCM species increased with depth at three of four sites. 35% of species tested had significantly depleted ?(13)C values at deeper depths. Non-CCM macroalgae are more abundant in some temperate reefs than previously thought. If ocean acidification benefits non-CCM species, the ramifications for subtidal macroalgal assemblages could be larger than previously considered. PMID:25739900

  20. Silica biogeochemical cycle in temperate ecosystems of the Pampean Plain, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osterrieth, Margarita; Borrelli, Natalia; Alvarez, María Fernanda; Fernández Honaine, Mariana

    2015-11-01

    Silicophytoliths were produced in the plant communities of the Pampean Plain during the Quaternary. The biogeochemistry of silicon is scarcely known in continental environments of Argentina. The aim of this work is to present a synthesis of: the plant production and the presence of silicophytoliths in soils with grasses, and its relationship with silica content in soil solution, soil matrix and groundwaters in temperate ecosystems of the Pampean Plain, Argentina. We quantified the content of silicophytoliths in representative grasses and soils of the area. Mineralochemical determinations of the soils' matrix were made. The concentration of silica was determined in soil solution and groundwaters. The silicophytoliths assemblages in plants let to differenciate subfamilies within Poaceae. In soils, silicophytoliths represent 40-5% of the total components, conforming a stock of 59-72 × 103 kg/ha in A horizons. The concentration of SiO2 in soil solution increases with depth (453-1243 μmol/L) in relation with plant communities, their nutritional requirements and root development. The average concentration of silica in groundwaters is 840 umol/L. In the studied soils, inorganic minerals and volcanic shards show no features of weathering. About 10-40% of silicophytoliths were taxonomically unidentified because of their weathering degrees. The matrix of the aggregates is made up by microaggregates composed of carbon and silicon. The weathering of silicophytoliths is a process that contributes to the formation of amorphous silica-rich matrix of the aggregates. So, silicophytoliths could play an important role in the silica cycle being a sink and source of Si in soils and enriching soil solutions and groundwaters.

  1. Short-term bioavailability of carbon in soil organic matter fractions of different particle sizes and densities in grassland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Breulmann, Marc; Masyutenko, Nina Petrovna; Kogut, Boris Maratovich; Schroll, Reiner; Drfler, Ulrike; Buscot, Franois; Schulz, Elke

    2014-11-01

    The quality, stability and availability of organic carbon (OC) in soil organic matter (SOM) can vary widely between differently managed ecosystems. Several approaches have been developed for isolating SOM fractions to examine their ecological roles, but links between the bioavailability of the OC of size-density fractions and soil microbial communities have not been previously explored. Thus, in the presented laboratory study we investigated the potential bioavailability of OC and the structure of associated microbial communities in different particle-size and density fractions of SOM. For this we used samples from four grassland ecosystems with contrasting management intensity regimes and two soil types: a Haplic Cambisol and a typical Chernozem. A combined size-density fractionation protocol was applied to separate clay-associated SOM fractions (CF1, <1 ?m; CF2, 1-2 ?m) from light SOM fractions (LF1, <1.8 g cm(-3); LF2, 1.8-2.0 g cm(-3)). These fractions were used as carbon sources in a respiration experiment to determine their potential bioavailability. Measured CO2-release was used as an index of substrate accessibility and linked to the soil microbial community structure, as determined by phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis. Several key factors controlling decomposition processes, and thus the potential bioavailability of OC, were identified: management intensity and the plant community composition of the grasslands (both of which affect the chemical composition and turnover of OC) and specific properties of individual SOM fractions. The PLFA patterns highlighted differences in the composition of microbial communities associated with the examined grasslands, and SOM fractions, providing the first broad insights into their active microbial communities. From observed interactions between abiotic and biotic factors affecting the decomposition of SOM fractions we demonstrate that increasing management intensity could enhance the potential bioavailability of OC, not only in the active and intermediate SOM pools, but also in the passive pool. PMID:25112822

  2. Statistic-mathematical interpretation of some assessment parameters of the grassland ecosystem according to soil characteristics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Samfira, Ionel; Boldea, Marius; Popescu, Cosmin

    2012-09-01

    Significant parameters of permanent grasslands are represented by the pastoral value and Shannon and Simpson biodiversity indices. The dynamics of these parameters has been studied in several plant associations in Banat Plain, Romania. From the point of view of their typology, these permanent grasslands belong to the steppe area, series Festuca pseudovina, type Festuca pseudovina-Achilea millefolium, subtype Lolium perenne. The methods used for the purpose of this research included plant cover analysis (double meter method, calculation of Shannon and Simpson indices), and statistical methods of regression and correlation. The results show that, in the permanent grasslands in the plain region, when the pastoral value is average to low, the level of interspecific biodiversity is on the increase.

  3. On the relationship between ecosystem-scale hyperspectral reflectance and CO2 exchange in European mountain grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balzarolo, M.; Vescovo, L.; Hammerle, A.; Gianelle, D.; Papale, D.; Tomelleri, E.; Wohlfahrt, G.

    2015-05-01

    In this paper we explore the skill of hyperspectral reflectance measurements and vegetation indices (VIs) derived from these in estimating carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes of grasslands. Hyperspectral reflectance data, CO2 fluxes and biophysical parameters were measured at three grassland sites located in European mountain regions using standardized protocols. The relationships between CO2 fluxes, ecophysiological variables, traditional VIs and VIs derived using all two-band combinations of wavelengths available from the whole hyperspectral data space were analysed. We found that VIs derived from hyperspectral data generally explained a large fraction of the variability in the investigated dependent variables but differed in their ability to estimate midday and daily average CO2 fluxes and various derived ecophysiological parameters. Relationships between VIs and CO2 fluxes and ecophysiological parameters were site-specific, likely due to differences in soils, vegetation parameters and environmental conditions. Chlorophyll and water-content-related VIs explained the largest fraction of variability in most of the dependent variables. Band selection based on a combination of a genetic algorithm with random forests (GA-rF) confirmed that it is difficult to select a universal band region suitable across the investigated ecosystems. Our findings have major implications for upscaling terrestrial CO2 fluxes to larger regions and for remote- and proximal-sensing sampling and analysis strategies and call for more cross-site synthesis studies linking ground-based spectral reflectance with ecosystem-scale CO2 fluxes.

  4. Evidence of physiological decoupling from grassland ecosystem drivers by an encroaching woody shrub.

    PubMed

    Nippert, Jesse B; Ocheltree, Troy W; Orozco, Graciela L; Ratajczak, Zak; Ling, Bohua; Skibbe, Adam M

    2013-01-01

    Shrub encroachment of grasslands is a transformative ecological process by which native woody species increase in cover and frequency and replace the herbaceous community. Mechanisms of encroachment are typically assessed using temporal data or experimental manipulations, with few large spatial assessments of shrub physiology. In a mesic grassland in North America, we measured inter- and intra-annual variability in leaf ?(13)C in Cornus drummondii across a grassland landscape with varying fire frequency, presence of large grazers and topographic variability. This assessment of changes in individual shrub physiology is the largest spatial and temporal assessment recorded to date. Despite a doubling of annual rainfall (in 2008 versus 2011), leaf ?(13)C was statistically similar among and within years from 2008-11 (range of -28 to -27). A topography*grazing interaction was present, with higher leaf ?(13)C in locations that typically have more bare soil and higher sensible heat in the growing season (upland topographic positions and grazed grasslands). Leaf ?(13)C from slopes varied among grazing contrasts, with upland and slope leaf ?(13)C more similar in ungrazed locations, while slopes and lowlands were more similar in grazed locations. In 2011, canopy greenness (normalized difference vegetation index - NDVI) was assessed at the centroid of individual shrubs using high-resolution hyperspectral imagery. Canopy greenness was highest mid-summer, likely reflecting temporal periods when C assimilation rates were highest. Similar to patterns seen in leaf ?(13)C, NDVI was highest in locations that typically experience lowest sensible heat (lowlands and ungrazed). The ability of Cornus drummondii to decouple leaf physiological responses from climate variability and fire frequency is a likely contributor to the increase in cover and frequency of this shrub species in mesic grassland and may be generalizable to other grasslands undergoing woody encroachment. PMID:24339950

  5. Evidence of Physiological Decoupling from Grassland Ecosystem Drivers by an Encroaching Woody Shrub

    PubMed Central

    Nippert, Jesse B.; Ocheltree, Troy W.; Orozco, Graciela L.; Ratajczak, Zak; Ling, Bohua; Skibbe, Adam M.

    2013-01-01

    Shrub encroachment of grasslands is a transformative ecological process by which native woody species increase in cover and frequency and replace the herbaceous community. Mechanisms of encroachment are typically assessed using temporal data or experimental manipulations, with few large spatial assessments of shrub physiology. In a mesic grassland in North America, we measured inter- and intra-annual variability in leaf δ13C in Cornus drummondii across a grassland landscape with varying fire frequency, presence of large grazers and topographic variability. This assessment of changes in individual shrub physiology is the largest spatial and temporal assessment recorded to date. Despite a doubling of annual rainfall (in 2008 versus 2011), leaf δ13C was statistically similar among and within years from 2008-11 (range of −28 to −27‰). A topography*grazing interaction was present, with higher leaf δ13C in locations that typically have more bare soil and higher sensible heat in the growing season (upland topographic positions and grazed grasslands). Leaf δ13C from slopes varied among grazing contrasts, with upland and slope leaf δ13C more similar in ungrazed locations, while slopes and lowlands were more similar in grazed locations. In 2011, canopy greenness (normalized difference vegetation index – NDVI) was assessed at the centroid of individual shrubs using high-resolution hyperspectral imagery. Canopy greenness was highest mid-summer, likely reflecting temporal periods when C assimilation rates were highest. Similar to patterns seen in leaf δ13C, NDVI was highest in locations that typically experience lowest sensible heat (lowlands and ungrazed). The ability of Cornus drummondii to decouple leaf physiological responses from climate variability and fire frequency is a likely contributor to the increase in cover and frequency of this shrub species in mesic grassland and may be generalizable to other grasslands undergoing woody encroachment. PMID:24339950

  6. [Effects of desertification on C and N storages in grassland ecosystem on Horqin sandy land].

    PubMed

    Zhao, Ha-lin; Li, Yu-qiang; Zhou, Rui-lian

    2007-11-01

    Sandy grassland is widespread in northern China, where desertification is very common because of overgrazing and estrepement. However, little is known about the effects of desertification on grassland C and N storages in this region. A field survey was conducted on Horqin sandy grassland, and desertification gradients were established to evaluate the effects of desertification on C and N storages in soil, plant, and litter. The results showed that desertification had deep effects on the contents and storages of grassland C and N. The C and N contents and storages in the grassland decreased significantly with increasing desertification degree. Comparing with those in un-desertified grassland, the C and N contents in lightly, moderately, heavily, and severely desertified grasslands decreased by 56.06% and 48.72%, 78.43% and 74.36%, 88.95% and 84.62%, and 91.64% and 84.62% in 0-100 cm soil layer, and by 8.61% and 6.43%, 0.05% and 25.71%, 2.58% and 27.14%, and 8. 61% and 27. 86% in plant components, respectively. Relevantly, the C and N storages decreased by 50.95% and 43.38%, 75.19% and 71.04%, 86.76% and 81.48%, and 91.17% and 83.17% in plant underground components in 0-100 cm soil layer, and by 25.08% and 27.62%, 30.90% and 46.55%, 73.84% and 80.62%, and 90.89% and 87.31% in plant aboveground components, respectively. In 2000, the total area of desertified grassland in Horqin sandy land was 30152. 7 km2, and the C and N loss via desertification reached up to 107.53 and 9.97 Mt, respectively. Correlation analysis indicated that the decrease of soil C and N contents was mainly come from the decreased soil fine particles caused by wind erosion in the process of desertification, and the degradation of soil texture- and nutrient status led finally to the rapid decrease of C and N storages in plant biomass and litter. PMID:18260440

  7. ? 13C of ecosystem-respired CO2 along a gradient of C3 woody-plant encroachment into C4 grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, W.; Scott, R. L.; Resco, V.; Cable, J. M.; Huxman, T. E.; Williams, D. G.

    2006-12-01

    Woody plant encroachment into grassland has the potential to affect net primary production, in part by changing the sensitivities of photosynthesis and respiration to precipitation. Encroachment of mesquite (Prosopis) into floodplain sacaton (Sporobolus) grassland along the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona has altered the magnitude and seasonal pattern of net ecosystem carbon exchange and ecosystem respiration. We hypothesized that because mesquite accesses ground water in these floodplain environments, its advancement and dominance in former grassland reduces the sensitivities of photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration to inputs of growing season precipitation. The observed elevated rates of ecosystem respiration following rainfall inputs are likely to result from microbial decomposition of labile organic matter derived from the highly productive mesquite trees. We used the Keeling plot method to monitor carbon-13 composition of nocturnal ecosystem-respired CO2 (? 13CR) during the growing seasons of 2005 and 2006 at three sites spanning a gradient of mesquite invasion: C4 sacaton grassland, mixed mesquite/grass shrubland and C3 mesquite woodland. ? 13CR in the C4 grassland increased from -18.8 during the dry premonsoon period to -16.7 after the onset of summer rains, whereas ? 13CR in the mixed shrub/grass and woodland ecosystems declined from -20.9 to - 24 and from -20.8 to -24.7, respectively, following the onset of summer rains. The ? 13CR of respired CO2 was collected separately from soil, roots, leaves and surface litter to evaluate the contribution of each of these components to ecosystem respiration. Partitioning of ecosystem respiration using these isotope end-members and responses to short-term (days) changes in shallow (0-5cm) soil moisture content suggest that in former grassland now occupied by mesquite woodland, rainfall inputs primarily stimulate microbial decomposition and have little effect on autotrophic respiration. Autotrophic respiration in grassland was stimulated by rainfall inputs to a much greater degree than in woodland. As expected, ecosystem respiration responses to rainfall at the mixed shrubland site was complicated by the heterogeneous plant cover and microsite variation. Partitioning ecosystem respiration into component fluxes is necessary to model and forecast the sensitivity of net primary production to climate and land-use changes.

  8. Impacts of altered rainfall timing and warming in a mesic grassland ecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grasslands are highly responsive to inter- and intra-annual variability in precipitation and temperature, which interact to affect soil water dynamics and the plant and soil processes mediated by soil water availability. In the U.S. Central Plains mean temperatures are expected to increase and rain...

  9. The impact of extreme summer drought on the short-term carbon coupling of photosynthesis to soil CO2 efflux in a temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burri, S.; Sturm, P.; Prechsl, U. E.; Knohl, A.; Buchmann, N.

    2013-07-01

    Along with predicted climate change, increased risks for summer drought are projected for Central Europe. However, large knowledge gaps exist in terms of how drought events influence the short-term ecosystem carbon cycle. Here, we present results from 13CO2 pulse labeling experiments at an intensively managed lowland grassland in Switzerland. We investigated the effect of extreme summer drought on the short-term coupling of freshly assimilated photosynthates in shoots to roots as well as to soil CO2 efflux. Summer drought was simulated using rainout shelters during two field seasons (2010 and 2011). Soil CO2 efflux and its isotopic composition were measured with custom-built chambers coupled to a quantum cascade laser spectrometer (QCLAS-ISO, Aerodyne Research Inc., MA, USA). During the 90 min pulse labeling experiments, we added 99.9 atom % 13CO2 to the grass sward. In addition to the isotopic analysis of soil CO2 efflux, this label was traced over 31 days into bulk shoots, roots and soil. Drought reduced the incorporation of recently fixed carbon into shoots and increased carbon allocation below-ground relative to total tracer uptake. Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not find a change in allocation speed in response to drought, although drought clearly reduced soil CO2 efflux rates. 19 days after pulse labeling, only about 60% of total tracer uptake was lost via soil CO2 efflux under drought compared to about 75% under control conditions. Predisposition of grassland by spring drought lead to different responses to summer drought in 2011 compared to 2010, suggesting increased sensitivity of grassland to consecutive drought events as predicted under future climate change.

  10. Plant trait-based models identify direct and indirect effects of climate change on bundles of grassland ecosystem services

    PubMed Central

    Lamarque, Pnlope; Lavorel, Sandra; Mouchet, Maud; Qutier, Fabien

    2014-01-01

    Land use and climate change are primary causes of changes in the supply of ecosystem services (ESs). Although the consequences of climate change on ecosystem properties and associated services are well documented, the cascading impacts of climate change on ESs through changes in land use are largely overlooked. We present a trait-based framework based on an empirical model to elucidate how climate change affects tradeoffs among ESs. Using alternative scenarios for mountain grasslands, we predicted how direct effects of climate change on ecosystems and indirect effects through farmers adaptations are likely to affect ES bundles through changes in plant functional properties. ES supply was overall more sensitive to climate than to induced management change, and ES bundles remained stable across scenarios. These responses largely reflected the restricted extent of management change in this constrained system, which was incorporated when scaling up plot level climate and management effects on ecosystem properties to the entire landscape. The trait-based approach revealed how the combination of common driving traits and common responses to changed fertility determined interactions and tradeoffs among ESs. PMID:25225382

  11. 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

  12. Responses of plant community composition and biomass production to warming and nitrogen deposition in a temperate meadow ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Tao; Guo, Rui; 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

  13. Comparison of Carbon Sequestration Rates and Energy Balance of Turf in the Denver Urban Ecosystem and an Adjacent Native Grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thienelt, T. S.; Anderson, D. E.; Powell, K. M.

    2011-12-01

    Urban ecosystems are currently characterized by rapid growth, are expected to continually expand and, thus, represent an important driver of land use change. A significant component of urban ecosystems is lawns, potentially the single largest irrigated "crop" in the U.S. Beginning in March of 2011 (ahead of the growing season), eddy covariance measurements of net carbon exchange and evapotranspiration along with energy balance fluxes were conducted for a well-watered, fertilized lawn (rye-bluegrass-mix) in metropolitan Denver and for a nearby tallgrass prairie (big bluestem, switchgrass, cheatgrass, blue grama). Due to the semi-arid climate conditions of the Denver region, differences in management (i.e., irrigation and fertilization) are expected to have a discernible impact on ecosystem productivity and thus on carbon sequestration rates, evapotranspiration, and the sensible and latent heat partitioning of the energy balance. By mid-July, preliminary data indicated that cumulative evapotranspiration was approximately 270 mm and 170 mm for urban and native grasslands, respectively, although cumulative carbon sequestration at that time was similar for both (approximately 40 mg/m2). However, the pattern of carbon exchange differed between the grasslands. Both sites showed daily net uptake of carbon starting in late May, but the urban lawn displayed greater diurnal variability as well as greater uptake rates in general, especially following fertilization in mid-June. In contrast, the trend of carbon uptake at the prairie site was occasionally reversed following strong convective precipitation events, resulting in a temporary net release of carbon. The continuing acquisition of data and investigation of these relations will help us assess the potential impact of urban growth on regional carbon sequestration.

  14. Forest Management Type Influences Diversity and Community Composition of Soil Fungi across Temperate Forest Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Goldmann, Kezia; Schöning, Ingo; Buscot, François; Wubet, Tesfaye

    2015-01-01

    Fungal communities have been shown to be highly sensitive toward shifts in plant diversity and species composition in forest ecosystems. However, little is known about the impact of forest management on fungal diversity and community composition of geographically separated sites. This study examined the effects of four different forest management types on soil fungal communities. These forest management types include age class forests of young managed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), with beech stands age of approximately 30 years, age class beech stands with an age of approximately 70 years, unmanaged beech stands, and coniferous stands dominated by either pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) or spruce (Picea abies Karst.) which are located in three study sites across Germany. Soil were sampled from 48 study plots and we employed fungal ITS rDNA pyrotag sequencing to assess the soil fungal diversity and community structure. We found that forest management type significantly affects the Shannon diversity of soil fungi and a significant interaction effect of study site and forest management on the fungal operational taxonomic units richness. Consequently distinct fungal communities were detected in the three study sites and within the four forest management types, which were mainly related to the main tree species. Further analysis of the contribution of soil properties revealed that C/N ratio being the most important factor in all the three study sites whereas soil pH was significantly related to the fungal community in two study sites. Functional assignment of the fungal communities indicated that 38% of the observed communities were Ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM) and their distribution is significantly influenced by the forest management. Soil pH and C/N ratio were found to be the main drivers of the ECM fungal community composition. Additional fungal community similarity analysis revealed the presence of study site and management type specific ECM genera. This study extends our knowledge on the impact of forest management type on general and ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity and community structure in temperate forests. High plasticity across management types but also study site specific spatial distribution revealed new insights in the ECM fungal distribution patterns. PMID:26635766

  15. Forest Management Type Influences Diversity and Community Composition of Soil Fungi across Temperate Forest Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Goldmann, Kezia; Schning, Ingo; Buscot, Franois; Wubet, Tesfaye

    2015-01-01

    Fungal communities have been shown to be highly sensitive toward shifts in plant diversity and species composition in forest ecosystems. However, little is known about the impact of forest management on fungal diversity and community composition of geographically separated sites. This study examined the effects of four different forest management types on soil fungal communities. These forest management types include age class forests of young managed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), with beech stands age of approximately 30 years, age class beech stands with an age of approximately 70 years, unmanaged beech stands, and coniferous stands dominated by either pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) or spruce (Picea abies Karst.) which are located in three study sites across Germany. Soil were sampled from 48 study plots and we employed fungal ITS rDNA pyrotag sequencing to assess the soil fungal diversity and community structure. We found that forest management type significantly affects the Shannon diversity of soil fungi and a significant interaction effect of study site and forest management on the fungal operational taxonomic units richness. Consequently distinct fungal communities were detected in the three study sites and within the four forest management types, which were mainly related to the main tree species. Further analysis of the contribution of soil properties revealed that C/N ratio being the most important factor in all the three study sites whereas soil pH was significantly related to the fungal community in two study sites. Functional assignment of the fungal communities indicated that 38% of the observed communities were Ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM) and their distribution is significantly influenced by the forest management. Soil pH and C/N ratio were found to be the main drivers of the ECM fungal community composition. Additional fungal community similarity analysis revealed the presence of study site and management type specific ECM genera. This study extends our knowledge on the impact of forest management type on general and ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity and community structure in temperate forests. High plasticity across management types but also study site specific spatial distribution revealed new insights in the ECM fungal distribution patterns. PMID:26635766

  16. Local parasite lineage sharing in temperate grassland birds provides clues about potential origins of Galapagos avian Plasmodium.

    PubMed

    Levin, Iris I; Colborn, Rachel E; Kim, Daniel; Perlut, Noah G; Renfrew, Rosalind B; Parker, Patricia G

    2016-02-01

    Oceanic archipelagos are vulnerable to natural introduction of parasites via migratory birds. Our aim was to characterize the geographic origins of two Plasmodium parasite lineages detected in the Galapagos Islands and in North American breeding bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) that regularly stop in Galapagos during migration to their South American overwintering sites. We used samples from a grassland breeding bird assemblage in Nebraska, United States, and parasite DNA sequences from the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, to compare to global data in a DNA sequence registry. Homologous DNA sequences from parasites detected in bobolinks and more sedentary birds (e.g., brown-headed cowbirds Molothrus ater, and other co-occurring bird species resident on the North American breeding grounds) were compared to those recovered in previous studies from global sites. One parasite lineage that matched between Galapagos birds and the migratory bobolink, Plasmodium lineage B, was the most common lineage detected in the global MalAvi database, matching 49 sequences from unique host/site combinations, 41 of which were of South American origin. We did not detect lineage B in brown-headed cowbirds. The other Galapagos-bobolink match, Plasmodium lineage C, was identical to two other sequences from birds sampled in California. We detected a close variant of lineage C in brown-headed cowbirds. Taken together, this pattern suggests that bobolinks became infected with lineage B on the South American end of their migratory range, and with lineage C on the North American breeding grounds. Overall, we detected more parasite lineages in bobolinks than in cowbirds. Galapagos Plasmodium had similar host breadth compared to the non-Galapagos haemosporidian lineages detected in bobolinks, brown-headed cowbirds, and other grassland species. This study highlights the utility of global haemosporidian data in the context of migratory bird-parasite connectivity. It is possible that migratory bobolinks bring parasites to the Galapagos and that these parasites originate from different biogeographic regions representing both their breeding and overwintering sites. PMID:26865960

  17. Trace metal mobility and microbial community structure in tropical soils: examples from adjacent forest and grassland ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, A. D.; Roberts, J. A.; MacPherson, G. L.; Mauck, B. S.; Stallard, R. F.

    2004-12-01

    Many factors determine the quality and sustainability of a soil environment and changes in land use can impact significantly soil geochemistry and the associated soil microbial communities. Native tropical forests and human-constructed grasslands on Barro Colorado Island provide an excellent setting for comparing changes in soil ecosystems in undisturbed and altered landscapes. The goals of this study were to examine biological, chemical, and mineralogical changes in soil properties as a function of land use changes during the wet and dry seasons. Soil pits were excavated at two study sites, a tropical forest and an adjacent plot that has been converted to grassland, during March 2002 and August 2003. The 1 meter deep pits were sampled at 5 cm intervals and characterized for soil organic matter content, soil moisture, community structure and total lipid biomass of the soil microbial community, mineralogy, and trace metal distribution using a sequential extraction method. Results demonstrate that forested soils exhibit higher organic matter content than grassland soils regardless of soil moisture content. Total lipid biomass of the active soil microbial population decreases with depth in both soils, but is elevated in the forested soil, likely correlating with the organic matter content in this system. Diversity of the soil microbial community, determined by PLFA analysis, decreases sharply at the base of the root zone and general trends in community structure are similar in both soils. XRD analysis of the soils reveal that the weathering profile in the forest has extended to a greater depth, but these differences in the mineralogy profile do not exert significant control on trace element mobility. Vanadium, copper, zinc, and aluminum show strong affinities for the organically bound fraction in both soils.

  18. Effects of climate warming and declining species richness in grassland model ecosystems: acclimation of CO2 fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vicca, S.; Serrano-Ortiz, P.; de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, C. M. H. M.; Nijs, I.; Ceulemans, R.; Kowalski, A. S.; Janssens, I. A.

    2007-01-01

    To study the effects of warming and declining species richness on the carbon balance of grassland communities, model ecosystems containing one, three or nine species were exposed to ambient and elevated (ambient +3C) air temperature. In this paper, we analyze measured ecosystem CO2 fluxes to test whether ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration had acclimated to warming after 28 months of continuous heating, and whether the degree of acclimation depended on species richness. In order to test whether acclimation occurred, short term temperature response curves were established for all communities in both treatments. At similar temperatures, lower flux rates in the heated communities as compared to the unheated communities would indicate thermal acclimation. Because plant cover was significantly higher in the heated treatment, we normalized the data for plant cover. Subsequently, down-regulation of both photosynthesis and respiration was observed. Although CO2 fluxes were larger in communities with higher species richness, species richness did not affect the degree of acclimation to warming. These results imply that models need to take thermal acclimation into account to simulate photosynthesis and respiration in a warmer world.

  19. The effects of global climate change on the species composition and ecosystem function in the central grasslands

    SciTech Connect

    Falkner, M.B.; Ojima, D.S.; Parton, W.J.

    1995-06-01

    Alterations to the Earth`s environment are projected to be of an amplitude not experienced in the recent biological history. How ecosystems will respond to these changes is a matter of great uncertainty. Using the ecosystem model CENTURY, we evaluated the responses of five grass species, common to the Central Grasslands Region to changing climates. The altered climates used in this simulation, based on CCC GCM outputs, were 2.5 - 4{degrees}C increase in mean annual temperature and a 1% increase in mean annual precipitation with significant variation in seasonal distribution. The species included Agrostis scabra (C{sub 3} grass), Agropyron repens (C{sub 3} grass), Poa pratensis (C{sub 3} grass), Schizachyrium scoparium (C{sub 4} grass), and Andropogon gerardii (C{sub 4} grass). Soil carbon decreased for all five species under the modified climate scenario. Annual production varied among species. Agropyron repens showed a slight increase, A. scabra showed a slight decrease, while the two C{sub 4} species, S. scoparium and A. gerardii, and the C{sub 3} invasive grass Poa pratensis showed larger increases in annual production. The increased annual production of P. pratensis under the modified climate scenario may indicate the potential for this species to further expand its range. What impact a range expansion of P. pratensis will have on ecosystem function and overall species composition is unclear.

  20. On the relationship between ecosystem-scale hyperspectral reflectance and CO2 exchange in European mountain grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balzarolo, M.; Vescovo, L.; Hammerle, A.; Gianelle, D.; Papale, D.; Wohlfahrt, G.

    2014-07-01

    In this paper we explore the use of hyperspectral reflectance measurements and vegetation indices (VIs) derived therefrom in estimating carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes (net ecosystem exchange - NEE; gross primary production - GPP), and some key ecophysiological variables related to NEE and GPP (light use efficiency - ?; initial quantum yield - ?; and GPP at saturating light - GPPmax) for grasslands. Hyperspectral reflectance data (400-1000 nm), CO2 fluxes and biophysical parameters were measured at three grassland sites located in European mountain regions. The relationships between CO2 fluxes, ecophysiological variables and VIs derived using all two-band combinations of wavelengths available from the whole hyperspectral data space were analysed. We found that hyperspectral VIs generally explained a large fraction of the variability in the investigated dependent variables and that they generally exhibited more skill in estimating midday and daily average GPP and NEE, as well as GPPmax, than ? and ?. Relationships between VIs and CO2 fluxes and ecophysiological parameters were site-specific, likely due to differences in soils, vegetation parameters and environmental conditions. Chlorophyll and water content related VIs (e.g. CI, NPCI, WI), reflecting seasonal changes in biophysical parameters controlling the photosynthesis process, explained the largest fraction of variability in most of the dependent variables. A limitation of the hyperspectral sensors is that their cost is still high and the use laborious. At the eddy covariance with a limited budget and without technical support, we suggest to use at least dual or four channels low cost sensors in the the following spectral regions: 400-420 nm; 500-530 nm; 750-770 nm; 780-800 nm and 880-900 nm. In addition, our findings have major implications for up-scaling terrestrial CO2 fluxes to larger regions and for remote and proximal sensing sampling and analysis strategies and call for more cross-site synthesis studies linking ground-based spectral reflectance with ecosystem-scale CO2 fluxes.

  1. Linking the Response of Annual Grasslands to Warming and Altered Rainfall Across Scales of Gene Expression, Species, and Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torn, M. S.; Bernard, S. M.; Castanha, C.; Fischer, M. L.; Hopkins, F. M.; Placella, S. A.; St. Clair, S. B.; Salve, R.; Sudderth, E.; Herman, D.; Ackerly, D.; Firestone, M. K.

    2007-12-01

    Climate change can influence terrestrial ecosystems at multiple biological levels: gene expression, species, and ecosystem. We are studying California grassland mesocosms with seven annual species (five grasses, two forbs) that were started in 2005. In the 2006-2007 growing season, they were exposed to three rainfall treatments (297, 552, and 867 mm y-1) and soil and air temperature (ambient and elevated +4oC) in replicated greenhouses. This presentation will combine plant and ecosystem level results with transcript level analyses associated with key enzymes, such as rubisco and glutamine synthetase (GS). Because rainfall is the dominant climate variable for most processes in this Mediterranean ecosystem, the effect of warming was strongly mediated by rainfall. In fact, we saw significant interactions between temperature and rainfall treatments at all three biological levels. For example, at the ecosystem level, warming led to a decrease in aboveground and total NPP under low rainfall, and an increase under high rainfall. For the dominant species, Avena barbata, warming had no effect under high rainfall, but suppressed Avena NPP in low rainfall. At the same time, warmer, wetter conditions accelerated Avena flowering by almost 15 days. This shift in phenology was presaged by observations at the transcript level. Specifically, in the high temperature, high rainfall treatment, the levels of mRNAs for RbcS and GS2 (encoding the small subunit of rubisco and the chloroplastic isoform of GS, respectively) declined while GS1 (encoding the cytosolic isoform of GS) was upregulated several weeks before heading. The transcript level response (along with soil and plant nitrogen data) indicated the leaf had switched from a carbon and nitrogen sink to a source - consistent with more mature plant function and earlier flowering. Soil CO2 respiration also showed strong rain-by-temperature interactions that were due mainly to changes in root response (respiration and/or exudates) rather than in microbial respiration. Overall, the pervasive rain-by-temperature interactions mean that it may be very difficult to predict the effect of warming alone, without accounting for changes in precipitation (in our Mediterranean system). While predictions of warming of 3-6C in the next 100 years are fairly certain, changes in precipitation are much more uncertain, with some forecasts drier and others wetter for a given location. We suggest that uncertainty about future precipitation and the interacting influences of temperature and moisture on ecosystems are currently key limitations in predicting ecosystem response to climate change, particularly in Mediterranean ecosystems such as the one studied here.

  2. Can we use the past as a lens to the future? Using historic events to predict regional grassland and shrubland responses to multi-year drought or wet periods under climate change

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Background/Question/Methods Ecologists are being challenged to predict ecosystem responses under changing climatic conditions. Water availability is the primary driver of ecosystem processes in temperate grasslands and shrublands, but uncertainty in the magnitude and direction of change in precipita...

  3. Nitrogen and carbon cycling in a grassland community ecosystem as affected by elevated atmospheric CO2

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Increasing global atmospheric CO2 concentration has led to concerns regarding its potential effects on terrestrial ecosystem and the long-term storage of C and N in soil. This study examined responses to elevated CO2 in a grass ecosystem invaded with a leguminous shrub Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd (...

  4. GRAZING IMPACTS ON ECOSYSTEM CARBON STORAGE ALONG A PRECIPITATION GRADIANT IN GREAT PLAINS GRASSLANDS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Livestock grazing is the most prevalent land use in rangelands, and has the potential to alter carbon (C) storage through grazing-induced changes in ecosystem structure and function. We assessed the impact of long-term moderate livestock grazing on ecosystem C-storage along an east-west precipitatio...

  5. Opposing resonses to ecological gradients structure amphibian and reptile communities across a temperate grassland-savanna-forest landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grundel, Ralph; Beamer, David; Glowacki, Gary A.; Frohnapple, Krystal; Pavlovic, Noel B.

    2014-01-01

    Temperate savannas are threatened across the globe. If we prioritize savanna restoration, we should ask how savanna animal communities differ from communities in related open habitats and forests. We documented distribution of amphibian and reptile species across an open-savanna–forest gradient in the Midwest U.S. to determine how fire history and habitat structure affected herpetofaunal community composition. The transition from open habitats to forests was a transition from higher reptile abundance to higher amphibian abundance and the intermediate savanna landscape supported the most species overall. These differences warn against assuming that amphibian and reptile communities will have similar ecological responses to habitat structure. Richness and abundance also often responded in opposite directions to some habitat characteristics, such as cover of bare ground or litter. Herpetofaunal community species composition changed along a fire gradient from infrequent and recent fires to frequent but less recent fires. Nearby (200-m) wetland cover was relatively unimportant in predicting overall herpetofaunal community composition while fire history and fire-related canopy and ground cover were more important predictors of composition, diversity, and abundance. Increased developed cover was negatively related to richness and abundance. This indicates the importance of fire history and fire related landscape characteristics, and the negative effects of development, in shaping the upland herpetofaunal community along the native grassland–forest continuum.

  6. Controls for ecosystem methane exchange are time-scale specifc and shift during the growing season of a temperate fen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sachs, T.; Koebsch, F.; Jurasinski, G.; Koch, M.; Hofmann, J.; Glatzel, S.

    2014-12-01

    Wetlands are the largest natural sources for atmospheric methane (CH4). In wetlands with permanent shallow inundation, the seasonal variation of CH4 exchange is mainly controlled by temperature and phenology. In addition, ecosystem CH4 exchange varies considerably on smaller temporal scales such as days or weeks. Several single processes that control CH4 emissions on the local soil-plant-atmosphere continuum are well investigated, but their interaction on ecosystem level is not well understood yet. We applied wavelet analysis to a quasi-continuous Eddy Covariance CH4 flux time series to describe the temporal variation of ecosystem CH4 exchange within the growing season of a permanently inundated temperate fen. Moreover, we addressed time scale-specific controls and investigated whether their impact changes during the course of the growing season. On large time scales of two weeks to three months, temperature explained most of the variation in ecosystem CH4 exchange. In general, the temperature in the shallow water column had the largest impact as explanatory variable, however, air temperature and soil temperature became increasingly important as explanatory variables when water level dropped slightly up to June. The diurnal variation of ecosystem CH4 exchange shifted during the course of the growing season: During a short time period at the end of April, plant activity (expressed by canopy photosynthesis) caused a diurnal variation of ecosystem CH4 exchange with peak time around noon. In the following weeks, the daily cycle of convective mixing within the water column (expressed by the water temperature gradient) gradually gained importance and caused high night-time CH4 emissions, thereby levelling off the diurnal CH4 emission pattern. Moreover, shear-induced turbulence caused short-term fluctuations of ecosystem CH4 exchange on time scales up to two hours. Our study highlights the need for multi-scale approaches that consider the non-stationarity of the underlying processes to adequately describe the complexity of ecosystem CH4 exchange. Moreover, we show that CH4 release processes such as convective mixing of the water column which have been mainly considered for aquatic ecosystems might also be of importance in shallowly flooded terrestrial ecosystems.

  7. Elevated carbon dioxide alters impacts of precipitation pulses on ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration in a semi-arid grassland.

    PubMed

    Bachman, Sarah; Heisler-White, Jana L; Pendall, Elise; Williams, David G; Morgan, Jack A; Newcomb, Joanne

    2010-03-01

    Predicting net C balance under future global change scenarios requires a comprehensive understanding of how ecosystem photosynthesis (gross primary production; GPP) and respiration (Re) respond to elevated atmospheric [CO(2)] and altered water availability. We measured net ecosystem exchange of CO(2) (NEE), GPP and Re under ambient and elevated [CO(2)] in a northern mixed-grass prairie (Wyoming, USA) during dry intervals and in response to simulated precipitation pulse events. Elevated [CO(2)] resulted in higher rates of both GPP and Re across the 2006 growing season, and the balance of these two fluxes (NEE) accounted for cumulative growing season C uptake (-14.4 +/- 8.3 g C m(-2)). Despite lower GPP and Re, experimental plots under ambient [CO(2)] had greater cumulative uptake (-36.2 +/- 8.2 g C m(-2)) than plots under elevated [CO(2)]. Non-irrigated control plots received 50% of average precipitation during the drought of 2006, and had near-zero NEE (1.9 +/- 6.4 g C m(-2)) for the growing season. Elevated [CO(2)] extended the magnitude and duration of pulse-related increases in GPP, resulting in a significant [CO(2)] treatment by pulse day interaction, demonstrating the potential for elevated [CO(2)] to increase the capacity of this ecosystem to respond to late-season precipitation. However, stimulation of Re throughout the growing season under elevated [CO(2)] reduced net C uptake compared to plots under ambient [CO(2)]. These results indicate that although elevated [CO(2)] stimulates gross rates of ecosystem C fluxes, it does not necessarily enhance net C uptake, and that C cycle responses in semi-arid grasslands are likely to be more sensitive to changes in precipitation than atmospheric [CO(2)]. PMID:19943173

  8. Litter decomposition and soil respiration in response to increased rainfall variability, winter warming and altered cutting frequency in a temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kreyling, Juergen; Walter, Julia; Grant, Kerstin; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Jentsch, Anke

    2013-04-01

    Climate change is likely to alter decomposition rates through direct effects on soil biotic activity and indirect effects on litter quality with possible impacts on the global carbon budget and nutrient cycling. Currently, there is an urgent need to study combined effects of various climatic drivers and of agricultural practise on decomposition. In an in-situ litter bag experiment, we studied effects of rainfall variability (including drought plus heavy rain pulses and regular irrigation) interacting with winter warming and increased winter precipitation and with changes in cutting frequency, on decomposition in a temperate grassland. Litter bags contained mixed and species-specific litter out of all different climate and land-use manipulations and were placed within the plots of litter origin. Moreover, we aimed to disentangle causes for altered decomposition by following two further approaches: To study effects of changed leaf chemicals due to the manipulations we placed litter out of the experiment that has been pre-exposed to the manipulations before on an untreated standard plot outside the experiment. To assess effects of changed soil faunal activity, we investigated decomposition of standard material under differing rainfall variability. We further compare the observed decomposition results with soil respiration data. Decomposition was reduced when litter bags were exposed to drought for six weeks within an 11 months period. Neither additional winter rain nor winter warming had an effect on decomposition, probably because winter warming reduced snow cover and increased variability of surface temperatures. Climate manipulations did not change litter quality. Further, decomposition on the untreated standard plot was not affected by the climate manipulations that the litter previously was exposed to. Thus, reduced decomposition under extreme rainfall variability and drought may be mainly caused by a decrease in soil biotic activity, as indicated by reduced decomposition of standard material during drought. More frequent cutting strongly stimulated decomposition, however, this stimulating effect was absent under extreme rainfall variability including drought. The stimulation of decomposition under more frequent cutting was attributed to changes in litter quality, namely a decrease in C/N ratio. Accordingly, litter from more frequently cut communities decomposed faster on the untreated control plot outside the experiment. Projected increases in drought frequency and increased rainfall variability under climate change may inhibit decomposition and alter nutrient and carbon cycling along with soil quality. Especially decomposition in frequently cut grassland appears vulnerable towards drought.

  9. Modeled effect of warming on ecosystem carbon and water dynamics within grassland/old-field ecosystems along a moisture gradient

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As a consequence of steadily increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, average world-wide surface temperature is expected to increase 1.5-6.4°C by the end of the 21st Century. Results from manipulative field experiments and ecosystem modeling indicate that plants and soil...

  10. Inter-annual variability of carbon fluxes in temperate forest ecosystems: effects of biotic and abiotic factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, M.; Keenan, T. F.; Hufkens, K.; Munger, J. W.; Bohrer, G.; Brzostek, E. R.; Richardson, A. D.

    2014-12-01

    Carbon dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems are influenced by both abiotic and biotic factors. Abiotic factors, such as variation in meteorological conditions, directly drive biophysical and biogeochemical processes; biotic factors, referring to the inherent properties of the ecosystem components, reflect the internal regulating effects including temporal dynamics and memory. The magnitude of the effect of abiotic and biotic factors on forest ecosystem carbon exchange has been suggested to vary at different time scales. In this study, we design and conduct a model-data fusion experiment to investigate the role and relative importance of the biotic and abiotic factors for inter-annual variability of the net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) of temperate deciduous forest ecosystems in the Northeastern US. A process-based model (FöBAAR) is parameterized at four eddy-covariance sites using all available flux and biometric measurements. We conducted a "transplant" modeling experiment, that is, cross- site and parameter simulations with different combinations of site meteorology and parameters. Using wavelet analysis and variance partitioning techniques, analysis of model predictions identifies both spatial variant and spatially invariant parameters. Variability of NEE was primarily modulated by gross primary productivity (GPP), with relative contributions varying from hourly to yearly time scales. The inter-annual variability of GPP and NEE is more regulated by meteorological forcing, but spatial variability in certain model parameters (biotic response) has more substantial effects on the inter-annual variability of ecosystem respiration (Reco) through the effects on carbon pools. Both the biotic and abiotic factors play significant roles in modulating the spatial and temporal variability in terrestrial carbon cycling in the region. Together, our study quantifies the relative importance of both, and calls for better understanding of them to better predict regional CO2 exchanges.

  11. The impact of extreme summer drought on the short-term carbon coupling of photosynthesis to soil CO2 efflux in a temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burri, S.; Sturm, P.; Prechsl, U. E.; Knohl, A.; Buchmann, N.

    2014-02-01

    Along with predicted climate change, increased risks for summer drought are projected for Central Europe. However, large knowledge gaps exist in terms of how drought events influence the short-term ecosystem carbon cycle. Here, we present results from 13CO2 pulse labeling experiments at an intensively managed lowland grassland in Switzerland. We investigated the effect of extreme summer drought on the short-term coupling of freshly assimilated photosynthates in shoots to roots as well as to soil CO2 efflux. Summer drought was simulated using rainout shelters during two field seasons (2010 and 2011). Soil CO2 efflux and its isotopic composition were measured with custom-built chambers coupled to a quantum cascade laser spectrometer (QCLAS-ISO, Aerodyne Research Inc., MA, USA). During the 90 min pulse labeling experiments, we added 99.9 atom % 13CO2 to the grass sward. In addition to the isotopic analysis of soil CO2 efflux, this label was traced over 31 days into bulk shoots, roots and soil. Drought reduced the incorporation of recently fixed carbon into the shoots, but increased the relative allocation of fresh assimilates below ground compared to the control grasslands. Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not find a change of allocation speed in response to drought. Although drought clearly reduced soil CO2 efflux rates, about 75% of total tracer uptake in control plots was lost via soil CO2 efflux during 19 days after pulse labeling, compared to only about 60% under drought conditions. Thus, the short-term coupling of above- and below-ground processes was reduced in response to summer drought. The occurrence of a natural spring drought in 2011 lead to comparable albeit weaker drought responses increasing the confidence in the generalizability of our findings.

  12. Changes in grassland ecosystem function due to extreme rainfall events: implications for responses to climate change

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Climate change driven by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations is causing measurable changes in precipitation patterns. Most climate change scenarios forecast continuing increases in extreme precipitation patterns for North American terrestrial ecosystems, manifest as larger precipitation event...

  13. The interactive effects of fire and diversity on short-term responses of ecosystem processes in experimental mediterranean grasslands.

    PubMed

    Dimitrakopoulos, Panayiotis G; Siamantziouras, Akis-Stavros D; Galanidis, Alexandros; Mprezetou, Irene; Troumbis, Andreas Y

    2006-06-01

    We conducted a field experiment using constructed communities to test whether species richness contributed to the maintenance of ecosystem processes under fire disturbance. We studied the effects of diversity components (i.e., species richness and species composition) upon productivity, structural traits of vegetation, decomposition rates, and soil nutrients between burnt and unburnt experimental Mediterranean grassland communities. Our results demonstrated that fire and species richness had interactive effects on aboveground biomass production and canopy structure components. Fire increased biomass production of the highest-richness communities. The effects of fire on aboveground biomass production at different levels of species richness were derived from changes in both vertical and horizontal canopy structure of the communities. The most species-rich communities appeared to be more resistant to fire in relation to species-poor ones, due to both compositional and richness effects. Interactive effects of fire and species richness were not important for belowground processes. Decomposition rates increased with species richness, related in part to increased levels of canopy structure traits. Fire increased soil nutrients and long-term decomposition rate. Our results provide evidence that composition within richness levels had often larger effects on the stability of aboveground ecosystem processes in the face of fire disturbance than species richness per se. PMID:16514480

  14. Climate Extreme Effects on the Chemical Composition of Temperate Grassland Species under Ambient and Elevated CO2: A Comparison of Fructan and Non-Fructan Accumulators

    PubMed Central

    Zinta, Gaurav; Van den Ende, Wim; Janssens, Ivan A.; Asard, Han

    2014-01-01

    Elevated CO2 concentrations and extreme climate events, are two increasing components of the ongoing global climatic change factors, may alter plant chemical composition and thereby their economic and ecological characteristics, e.g. nutritional quality and decomposition rates. To investigate the impact of climate extremes on tissue quality, four temperate grassland species: the fructan accumulating grasses Lolium perenne, Poa pratensis, and the nitrogen (N) fixing legumes Medicago lupulina and Lotus corniculatus were subjected to water deficit at elevated temperature (+3°C), under ambient CO2 (392 ppm) and elevated CO2 (620 ppm). As a general observation, the effects of the climate extreme were larger and more ubiquitous in combination with elevated CO2. The imposed climate extreme increased non-structural carbohydrate and phenolics in all species, whereas it increased lignin in legumes and decreased tannins in grasses. However, there was no significant effect of climate extreme on structural carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and mineral contents and stoichiometric ratios. In combination with elevated CO2, climate extreme elicited larger increases in fructan and sucrose content in the grasses without affecting the total carbohydrate content, while it significantly increased total carbohydrates in legumes. The accumulation of carbohydrates in legumes was accompanied by higher activity of sucrose phosphate synthase, sucrose synthase and ADP-Glc pyrophosphorylase. In the legumes, elevated CO2 in combination with climate extreme reduced protein, phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg) contents and the total element:N ratio and it increased phenol, lignin, tannin, carbon (C), nitrogen (N) contents and C:N, C:P and N:P ratios. On the other hand, the tissue composition of the fructan accumulating grasses was not affected at this level, in line with recent views that fructans contribute to cellular homeostasis under stress. It is speculated that quality losses will be less prominent in grasses (fructan accumulators) than legumes under climate extreme and its combination with elevated CO2 conditions. PMID:24670435

  15. Effects of Elevated CO2 and N Addition on Growth and N2 Fixation of a Legume Subshrub (Caragana microphylla Lam.) in Temperate Grassland in China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lin; Wu, Dongxiu; Shi, Huiqiu; Zhang, Canjuan; Zhan, Xiaoyun; Zhou, Shuangxi

    2011-01-01

    It is well demonstrated that the responses of plants to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration are species-specific and dependent on environmental conditions. We investigated the responses of a subshrub legume species, Caragana microphylla Lam., to elevated CO2 and nitrogen (N) addition using open-top chambers in a semiarid temperate grassland in northern China for three years. Measured variables include leaf photosynthetic rate, shoot biomass, root biomass, symbiotic nitrogenase activity, and leaf N content. Symbiotic nitrogenase activity was determined by the C2H2 reduction method. Elevated CO2 enhanced photosynthesis and shoot biomass by 83% and 25%, respectively, and the enhancement of shoot biomass was significant only at a high N concentration. In addition, the photosynthetic capacity of C. microphylla did not show down-regulation under elevated CO2. Elevated CO2 had no significant effect on root biomass, symbiotic nitrogenase activity and leaf N content. Under elevated CO2, N addition stimulated photosynthesis and shoot biomass. By contrast, N addition strongly inhibited symbiotic nitrogenase activity and slightly increased leaf N content of C. microphylla under both CO2 levels, and had no significant effect on root biomass. The effect of elevated CO2 and N addition on C. microphylla did not show interannual variation, except for the effect of N addition on leaf N content. These results indicate that shoot growth of C. microphylla is more sensitive to elevated CO2 than is root growth. The stimulation of shoot growth of C. microphylla under elevated CO2 or N addition is not associated with changes in N2-fixation. Additionally, elevated CO2 and N addition interacted to affect shoot growth of C. microphylla with a stimulatory effect occurring only under combination of these two factors. PMID:22046376

  16. Relationship between annual canopy photosynthesis and ecosystem respiration in humid-temperate pastures

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Increasing nitrogen fertilization of a mature cool-season pasture increased annual photosynthetic C uptake (GPP) and forage yield but also increased ecosystem respiration (Re), such that net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and soil C sequestration were not affected by the increased fertility. A nine-year s...

  17. Conversion of temperate forests into heaths: Role of ecosystem disturbance and ericaceous plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallik, A. U.

    1995-09-01

    Fire and logging in nutrient-poor temperate forests with certain ericaceous understory plants may convert the forests into heaths. The process of disturbance-induced heath formation is documented by using examples of Calluna in western Europe, Kalmia in Newfoundland, and Gaultheria (salal) in coastal British Columbia. In a cool, temperate climate, rapid vegetative growth of Calluna, Kalmia, and salal following disturbance results in increasing organic accumulation (paludification), nutrient sequestration, soil acidification, and allelochemicals. These are thought to be the main reasons to conifer regeneration failure in disturbed habitats. If continuation in forest is a land-use objective, then temperate forests with an ericaceous understory should not be logged unless effective silvicultural methods are devised to control the ericaceous plants and restore forest regeneration. Preharvest vegetation control may be considered as an option. Failure to control the understory plants may lead to a long-term vegetation shift, from forest to heathland, particularly in nutrient-poor sites. Successful methods of controlling Kalmia and Gaultheria, however, have yet to be developed. While the Kalmia- and Gaultheria- dominated heathlands are undesirable in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, a wide range of Calluna heathlands of western Europe are being conserved as natural and seminatural vegetation.

  18. What it takes to invade grassland ecosystems: traits, introduction history and filtering processes.

    PubMed

    Carboni, Marta; Münkemüller, Tamara; Lavergne, Sébastien; Choler, Philippe; Borgy, Benjamin; Violle, Cyrille; Essl, Franz; Roquet, Cristina; Munoz, François; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-03-01

    Whether the success of alien species can be explained by their functional or phylogenetic characteristics remains unresolved because of data limitations, scale issues and weak quantifications of success. Using permanent grasslands across France (50 000 vegetation plots, 2000 species, 130 aliens) and building on the Rabinowitz's classification to quantify spread, we showed that phylogenetic and functional similarities to natives were the most important correlates of invasion success compared to intrinsic functional characteristics and introduction history. Results contrasted between spatial scales and components of invasion success. Widespread and common aliens were similar to co-occurring natives at coarse scales (indicating environmental filtering), but dissimilar at finer scales (indicating local competition). In contrast, regionally widespread but locally rare aliens showed patterns of competitive exclusion already at coarse scale. Quantifying trait differences between aliens and natives and distinguishing the components of invasion success improved our ability to understand and potentially predict alien spread at multiple scales. PMID:26689431

  19. Metagenomic insights into the evolution, function, and complexity of the planktonic microbial community of Lake Lanier, a temperate freshwater ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Oh, Seungdae; Caro-Quintero, Alejandro; Tsementzi, Despina; DeLeon-Rodriguez, Natasha; Luo, Chengwei; Poretsky, Rachel; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T

    2011-09-01

    Lake Lanier is an important freshwater lake for the southeast United States, as it represents the main source of drinking water for the Atlanta metropolitan area and is popular for recreational activities. Temperate freshwater lakes such as Lake Lanier are underrepresented among the growing number of environmental metagenomic data sets, and little is known about how functional gene content in freshwater communities relates to that of other ecosystems. To better characterize the gene content and variability of this freshwater planktonic microbial community, we sequenced several samples obtained around a strong summer storm event and during the fall water mixing using a random whole-genome shotgun (WGS) approach. Comparative metagenomics revealed that the gene content was relatively stable over time and more related to that of another freshwater lake and the surface ocean than to soil. However, the phylogenetic diversity of Lake Lanier communities was distinct from that of soil and marine communities. We identified several important genomic adaptations that account for these findings, such as the use of potassium (as opposed to sodium) osmoregulators by freshwater organisms and differences in the community average genome size. We show that the lake community is predominantly composed of sequence-discrete populations and describe a simple method to assess community complexity based on population richness and evenness and to determine the sequencing effort required to cover diversity in a sample. This study provides the first comprehensive analysis of the genetic diversity and metabolic potential of a temperate planktonic freshwater community and advances approaches for comparative metagenomics. PMID:21764968

  20. Metagenomic Insights into the Evolution, Function, and Complexity of the Planktonic Microbial Community of Lake Lanier, a Temperate Freshwater Ecosystem ?

    PubMed Central

    Oh, Seungdae; Caro-Quintero, Alejandro; Tsementzi, Despina; DeLeon-Rodriguez, Natasha; Luo, Chengwei; Poretsky, Rachel; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T.

    2011-01-01

    Lake Lanier is an important freshwater lake for the southeast United States, as it represents the main source of drinking water for the Atlanta metropolitan area and is popular for recreational activities. Temperate freshwater lakes such as Lake Lanier are underrepresented among the growing number of environmental metagenomic data sets, and little is known about how functional gene content in freshwater communities relates to that of other ecosystems. To better characterize the gene content and variability of this freshwater planktonic microbial community, we sequenced several samples obtained around a strong summer storm event and during the fall water mixing using a random whole-genome shotgun (WGS) approach. Comparative metagenomics revealed that the gene content was relatively stable over time and more related to that of another freshwater lake and the surface ocean than to soil. However, the phylogenetic diversity of Lake Lanier communities was distinct from that of soil and marine communities. We identified several important genomic adaptations that account for these findings, such as the use of potassium (as opposed to sodium) osmoregulators by freshwater organisms and differences in the community average genome size. We show that the lake community is predominantly composed of sequence-discrete populations and describe a simple method to assess community complexity based on population richness and evenness and to determine the sequencing effort required to cover diversity in a sample. This study provides the first comprehensive analysis of the genetic diversity and metabolic potential of a temperate planktonic freshwater community and advances approaches for comparative metagenomics. PMID:21764968

  1. Trace gas and particulate emissions from biomass burning in temperate ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cofer, Wesley R., III; Levine, Joel S.; Winstead, Edward L.; Stocks, Brian J.

    1991-01-01

    Emissions measured from fires in graminoid wetlands, Mediterranean chaparrals, and boreal forests, suggest that such ecosystemic parameters as fuel size influence combustion emissions in ways that are broadly predictable. The degree of predictability is most noticeable when wetland fire-related results are compared with boreal forest emissions; the inorganic fraction of the particulate emissions is close in composition irrespective of the ecosystem. It is found that both aerosol and trace gas emissions are influenced by the phase of combustion.

  2. A lysimeter facility for testing CO2 enrichment and soil effects on grassland ecosystem function

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations mandate techniques for examining impacts on terrestrial ecosystems. Most experiments examine only two or a few levels of CO2 concentration and a single soil type, but if CO2 can be varied as a gradient from subambient to superambient concentra...

  3. Influence of local air pollution on the deposition of peroxyacetyl nitrate to a nutrient-poor natural grassland ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moravek, A.; Stella, P.; Foken, T.; Trebs, I.

    2015-01-01

    Dry deposition of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) is known to have a phytotoxic impact on plants under photochemical smog conditions, but it may also lead to higher productivity and threaten species richness of vulnerable ecosystems in remote regions. However, underlying mechanisms or controlling factors for PAN deposition are not well understood and studies on dry deposition of PAN are limited. In this study, we investigate the impact of PAN deposition on a nutrient-poor natural grassland ecosystem situated at the edge of an urban and industrialized region in Germany. PAN mixing ratios were measured within a 3.5 months summer to early autumn period. In addition, PAN fluxes were determined with the modified Bowen ratio technique for a selected period. The evaluation of both stomatal and non-stomatal deposition pathways was used to model PAN deposition over the entire summer-autumn period. We found that air masses at the site were influenced by two contrasting pollution regimes, which led to median diurnal PAN mixing ratios ranging between 50 and 300 ppt during unpolluted and between 200 and 600 ppt during polluted episodes. The measured PAN fluxes showed a clear diurnal cycle with maximal deposition fluxes of ~-0.1 nmol m-2 s-1 (corresponding to a deposition velocity of 0.3 cm s-1) during daytime and a significant non-stomatal contribution was found. The ratio of PAN to ozone deposition velocities was found to be ~0.1, which is much larger than assumed by current deposition models. The modelled PAN flux over the entire period revealed that PAN deposition over an entire day was 333 μg m-2 d-1 under unpolluted and 518 μg m-2 d-1 under polluted episodes. Additionally, thermochemical decomposition PAN deposition accounted for 32% under unpolluted episodes and 22% under polluted episodes of the total atmospheric PAN loss. However, the impact of PAN deposition as a nitrogen source to the nutrient-poor grassland was estimated to be only minor, under both unpolluted and polluted episodes.

  4. Influence of local air pollution on the deposition of peroxyacteyl nitrate to a nutrient-poor natural grassland ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moravek, A.; Stella, P.; Foken, T.; Trebs, I.

    2014-08-01

    Dry deposition of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) is known to have a phytotoxic impact on plants under photochemical smog conditions, but it may also lead to higher productivity and threaten species richness of vulnerable ecosystems in remote regions. However, underlying mechanisms or controlling factors for PAN deposition are not well understood and studies on dry deposition of PAN are limited. In this study, we investigate the impact of PAN deposition on a nutrient-poor natural grassland ecosystem situated at the edge of an urban and industrialized region in Germany. PAN mixing ratios were measured within a 3.5 months summer to early autumn period. In addition, PAN fluxes were determined with the modified Bowen ratio technique for a selected period. The evaluation of both stomatal and non-stomatal deposition pathways was used to model PAN deposition over the entire summer-autumn period. We found that air masses at the site were influenced by two contrasting pollution regimes, which lead to median diurnal PAN mixing ratios ranging between 50 and 300 ppt during unpolluted and between 200 and 600 ppt during polluted episodes. The measured PAN fluxes showed a clear diurnal cycle with maximal deposition fluxes of ~ -0.1 nmol m-2 s-1 (corresponding to a deposition velocity of 0.3 cm s-1) during daytime and a significant non-stomatal contribution was found. The ratio of PAN to ozone deposition velocities was found to be ~0.1, which is much larger than assumed by current deposition models. The modelled PAN flux over the entire period revealed that PAN deposition over an entire day was 333 μg m-2 d-1 under unpolluted and 518 μg m-2 d-1 under polluted episodes. Besides, thermochemical decomposition PAN deposition accounted for 32% under unpolluted episodes and 22% under polluted episodes of the total atmospheric PAN loss. However, the impact of PAN deposition as a nitrogen source to the nutrient-poor grassland was estimated to be only minor, under both unpolluted and polluted episodes.

  5. Predicting the response of a temperate forest ecosystem to atmospheric CO[sub 2] increase

    SciTech Connect

    Bazzaz, F.A.

    1993-01-01

    This report summarizes the second year of research progress. Included are progress reports for the following studies: the responses of temperate forest tree to 3 years of exposure to elevated carbon dioxide, and high and low nutrient and light levels; pot-size limitations in carbon dioxide studies, interactive effects of carbon dioxide and soil moisture availability on tree seedling's tissue water relations, growth, and niche characteristics; individual versus population responses to elevated carbon dioxide levels in two species of annual weeds; and the development of gypsy moth larvae raised on gray and yellow birth foliage grown in ambient and elevated carbon dioxide environments.

  6. Effects of short term and long term soil warming on ecosystem phenology of a sub-arctic grassland: an NDVI-based approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leblans, Niki; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D.; Janssens, Ivan A.

    2014-05-01

    Phenology has been defined as the study of the timing of recurring biological events and the causes of their timing with regard to abiotic and biotic factors. Ecosystem phenology, including the onset of the growing season and its senescence in autumn, plays an important role in the carbon, water and energy exchange between biosphere and atmosphere at higher latitudes. Factors that influence ecosystem phenology can therefore induce important climate-controlling feedback mechanisms. Global surface temperatures have been predicted to increase in the coming decades. Hence, a better understanding of the effect of temperature on ecosystem phenology is essential. Natural geothermal soil temperature gradients in Iceland offer a unique opportunity to study the soil temperature (Ts) dependence of ecosystem phenology and distinguish short-term (transient) warming effects (in recently established Ts gradients) from long-term (permanent) effects (in centuries-old Ts gradients). This research was performed in the framework of an international research project (ForHot; www.forhot.is). ForHot includes two natural grassland areas with gradients in Ts, dominated by Festuca sp., Agrostis sp.. The first warmed area was created in 2008, when an earthquake in S-Iceland caused geothermal systems to be shifted to previously cold soils. The second area is located about 3 km away from this newly warmed grassland. For this area, there are proofs that the natural soil warming has been continuous for at least 300 year. In the present study we focus on Ts elevation gradients of +0 to +10C. The experiment consists of five transects with five temperature levels (+0,+1,+3,+5 and +10C) in the two aforementioned grassland ecosystems (n=25 in each grassland). From April until November 2013, weekly measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were taken. In the short-term warmed grassland, the greening of the vegetation was 36 days advanced at +10C Ts and the date of 50% greening was advanced by 23 days at +5C and by 32 days at +10C Ts. However, no difference in the date of maximum greening or in the onset of senescence occurred. In contrast, in the long-term warmed grassland, the start of the growing season was not affected by Ts and the 50% greening point occurred only 10 days earlier at +5C and 15 days earlier at +10C Ts. However, the timing of maximum greening was advanced by 19 days at +5C and even by 32 days at +10C Ts. Again, the onset of senescence did not change with Ts. Significant Ts effects on ecosystem phenology of subarctic grasslands only occurred at warming of 5C or higher. This study also demonstrates that short-term Ts effects on ecosystem phenology are not necessarily good predictors for long-term changes in sub-arctic grasslands. In the short-term (5 years warming), soil warming induced an early onset of the growing season, which was later compensated by faster greening on colder soils, so that maximum greenness was reached simultaneously irrespective of Ts. In contrast, the long-term Ts warming did not induce earlier onset of the growing season, but it led to faster greening on warm soils, which again led to an advance in timing of maximum greenness. This difference between short- and long-term responses in phenology might be caused by either phenotypic plasticity (acclimation) or by a genetic selection (evolution) of the grass populations where the warming has been ongoing for centuries. Such processes are at present not included in modelling predictions of climate change responses of natural ecosystems, but may offer important negative feedback mechanisms to warming which will reduce its effects.

  7. Effects of climate change on the delivery of soil-mediated ecosystem services within the primary sector in temperate ecosystems: a review and New Zealand case study.

    PubMed

    Orwin, Kate H; Stevenson, Bryan A; Smaill, Simeon J; Kirschbaum, Miko U F; Dickie, Ian A; Clothier, Brent E; Garrett, Loretta G; van der Weerden, Tony J; Beare, Michael H; Curtin, Denis; de Klein, Cecile A M; Dodd, Michael B; Gentile, Roberta; Hedley, Carolyn; Mullan, Brett; Shepherd, Mark; Wakelin, Steven A; Bell, Nigel; Bowatte, Saman; Davis, Murray R; Dominati, Estelle; O'Callaghan, Maureen; Parfitt, Roger L; Thomas, Steve M

    2015-08-01

    Future human well-being under climate change depends on the ongoing delivery of food, fibre and wood from the land-based primary sector. The ability to deliver these provisioning services depends on soil-based ecosystem services (e.g. carbon, nutrient and water cycling and storage), yet we lack an in-depth understanding of the likely response of soil-based ecosystem services to climate change. We review the current knowledge on this topic for temperate ecosystems, focusing on mechanisms that are likely to underpin differences in climate change responses between four primary sector systems: cropping, intensive grazing, extensive grazing and plantation forestry. We then illustrate how our findings can be applied to assess service delivery under climate change in a specific region, using New Zealand as an example system. Differences in the climate change responses of carbon and nutrient-related services between systems will largely be driven by whether they are reliant on externally added or internally cycled nutrients, the extent to which plant communities could influence responses, and variation in vulnerability to erosion. The ability of soils to regulate water under climate change will mostly be driven by changes in rainfall, but can be influenced by different primary sector systems' vulnerability to soil water repellency and differences in evapotranspiration rates. These changes in regulating services resulted in different potentials for increased biomass production across systems, with intensively managed systems being the most likely to benefit from climate change. Quantitative prediction of net effects of climate change on soil ecosystem services remains a challenge, in part due to knowledge gaps, but also due to the complex interactions between different aspects of climate change. Despite this challenge, it is critical to gain the information required to make such predictions as robust as possible given the fundamental role of soils in supporting human well-being. PMID:25891785

  8. Mercury bioaccumulation along food webs in temperate aquatic ecosystems colonized by aquatic macrophytes in south western France.

    PubMed

    Gents, Sophie; Maury-Brachet, Rgine; Guyoneaud, Rmy; Monperrus, Mathilde; Andr, Jean-Marc; Davail, Stphane; Legeay, Alexia

    2013-05-01

    Mercury (Hg) is considered as an important pollutant for aquatic systems as its organic form, methylmercury (MeHg), is easily bioaccumulated and bioamplified along food webs. In various ecosystems, aquatic periphyton associated with macrophyte was identified as an important place for Hg storage and methylation by microorganisms. Our study concerns temperate aquatic ecosystems (South Western France) colonized by invasive macrophytes and characterized by high mercury methylation potentials. This work establishes original data concerning Hg bioaccumulation in organisms (plants, crustaceans, molluscs and fish) from five contrasting ecosystems. For low trophic level species, total Hg (THg) concentrations were low (from 272ngTHgg(-1)dw in asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea to 418114ngTHgg(-1)dw in crayfish Procambarus clarkii). THg concentrations in some carnivorous fish (high trophic level) were close to or exceeded the International Marketing Level (IML) with values ranging from 1049220ngTHgg(-1)dw in pike perch muscle (Sander lucioperca) to 39101307ngTHgg(-1)dw in eel muscle (Anguilla Anguilla). Trophic levels for the individuals were also evaluated through stable isotope analysis, and linked to Hg concentrations of organisms. A significant Hg biomagnification (r(2)= 0.9) was observed in the Aureilhan lake, despite the absence of top predator fish. For this site, Ludwigia sp. periphyton, as an entry point of Hg into food webs, is a serious hypothesis which remains to be confirmed. This study provides a first investigation of Hg transfer in the ecosystems of south western France and allows the assessment of the risk associated with the presence of Hg in aquatic food webs. PMID:23466146

  9. Effects of near-future ocean acidification, fishing, and marine protection on a temperate coastal ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Cornwall, Christopher E; Eddy, Tyler D

    2015-02-01

    Understanding ecosystem responses to global and local anthropogenic impacts is paramount to predicting future ecosystem states. We used an ecosystem modeling approach to investigate the independent and cumulative effects of fishing, marine protection, and ocean acidification on a coastal ecosystem. To quantify the effects of ocean acidification at the ecosystem level, we used information from the peer-reviewed literature on the effects of ocean acidification. Using an Ecopath with Ecosim ecosystem model for the Wellington south coast, including the Taputeranga Marine Reserve (MR), New Zealand, we predicted ecosystem responses under 4 scenarios: ocean acidification + fishing; ocean acidification + MR (no fishing); no ocean acidification + fishing; no ocean acidification + MR for the year 2050. Fishing had a larger effect on trophic group biomasses and trophic structure than ocean acidification, whereas the effects of ocean acidification were only large in the absence of fishing. Mortality by fishing had large, negative effects on trophic group biomasses. These effects were similar regardless of the presence of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification was predicted to indirectly benefit certain species in the MR scenario. This was because lobster (Jasus edwardsii) only recovered to 58% of the MR biomass in the ocean acidification + MR scenario, a situation that benefited the trophic groups lobsters prey on. Most trophic groups responded antagonistically to the interactive effects of ocean acidification and marine protection (46%; reduced response); however, many groups responded synergistically (33%; amplified response). Conservation and fisheries management strategies need to account for the reduced recovery potential of some exploited species under ocean acidification, nonadditive interactions of multiple factors, and indirect responses of species to ocean acidification caused by declines in calcareous predators. PMID:25354555

  10. Biodiversity effects on yield and unsown species invasion in a temperate forage ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Frankow-Lindberg, B. E.; Brophy, C.; Collins, R. P.; Connolly, J.

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims Current agricultural practices are based on growing monocultures or binary mixtures over large areas, with a resultant impoverishing effect on biodiversity at several trophic levels. The effects of increasing the biodiversity of a sward mixture on dry matter yield and unsown species invasion were studied. Methods A field experiment involving four grassland species [two grasses – perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) – and two legumes – red clover (Trifolium pratense) and white clover (Trifolium repens)], grown in monocultures and mixtures in accordance with a simplex design, was carried out. The legumes were included either as single varieties or as one of two broad genetic-base composites. The experiment was harvested three times a year over three years; dry matter yield and yield of unsown species were determined at each harvest. Yields of individual species and interactions between all species present were estimated through a statistical modelling approach. Key Results Species diversity produced a strong positive yield effect that resulted in transgressive over-yielding in the second and third years. Using broad genetic-base composites of the legumes had a small impact on yield and species interactions. Invasion by unsown species was strongly reduced by species diversity, but species identity was also important. Cocksfoot and white clover (with the exception of one broad genetic-base composite) reduced invasion, while red clover was the most invaded species. Conclusions The results show that it is possible to increase, and stabilize, the yield of a grassland crop and reduce invasion by unsown species by increasing its species diversity. PMID:19168861

  11. Impact of Fire Disturbance on Regional Net Ecosystem Exchange for a Sub-Humid Woodland and Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yao, J.; White, J. D.

    2010-12-01

    Wildland fire is a major disturbance in many ecosystems and increases flux of CO2 and CO to the atmosphere. These emission episodes cause short term atmospheric carbon concentration variation as vegetation and soil processes are perturbed. The Tall Tower Network, developed to monitor regional long-term carbon flux and related-gas in the continental boundary layer by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), detects these emissions. For this study, we used the CO2 mixing ratio data from the WKT Tall Tower site in Moody, Texas to study the impact of fire disturbance on immediate and long term regional Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) from 2001 to 2009. To detect individual potential fire events, we used products from the MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program to identify point locations of fires and Landsat data to estimate area burned based on spectral indices within the footprint of the Tall Tower. Next, we quantified carbon emission derived from fires by identifying daily NEE variations that exceeded threshold values based on seasonal averages from the Tall Tower data for each major fire event. Carbon emission from fires were also estimated based on total area burned, pre-fire biomass, and fire severity derived from the remote sensing data. We found that that the size and severity of individual fire were highly correlated with the amount of short-term regional NEE variation. Regional NEE showed a short term flux of carbon to the atmosphere following fire disturbance, but reverted to a carbon sink due to the removal of excess fuel load and increased primary productivity. The total fire-derived carbon emission calculated from ground and remote sensing data was slightly more than that estimated from the detected elevated carbon signals by the Tall Tower. This is explained by charcoal formation which remained on site. Wildland fires were expected to increase regional carbon storage by transforming biomass into more decay-resistant charcoal. This study potentially indicates a new method of estimating charcoal formation by fires using combined atmospheric monitoring and remote sensing data.

  12. Photosynthetic Carbon Isotope Discrimination Increases with Elevated CO2 in a Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zelikova, T. J.; Pendall, E.; Williams, D. G.; LeCain, D. R.

    2014-12-01

    Paleoecological reconstructions and land-surface ecosystem models assume that as atmospheric CO2 changes, photosynthetic carbon isotope discrimination and the ratio of leaf internal to ambient CO2 concentration (ci/ca) remains unchanged, but this assumption has rarely been tested. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to rise to at least 600ppm by the end of the 21st century, with global temperatures and precipitation regimes concurrently changing and interacting to influence plant photosynthetic gas exchange. In the PHACE (Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment) experiment, we examined the influence of elevated CO2, warming, and summer irrigation on carbon isotope discrimination among C3 and C4 graminoid and dicot species to understand species and ecosystem responses to over 7 years of experimental climate change. Carbon isotope discrimination increased for all species when exposed to elevated CO2, but this effect did not emerge until the third year of the experiment. In addition, though species inherently differed in their carbon isotope discrimination, their ranking remained stable under elevated CO2. Quantifying the relative importance of factors that influence plant carbon isotope discrimination can guide our understanding of how individual plant species, plant communities, and ecosystems may react to global change. Evidence that plant carbon isotope discrimination shifts with changes in atmospheric CO2 and temperature has important implications for interpretation of the paleo record from archival organic materials and for modeling carbon cycling processes in future environments.

  13. Comparison of Ecosystem Water-use Efficiency Among Douglas fir Forest, Aspen Forest and Grassland Using Eddy Covariance and Carbon Isotope Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flanagan, L. B.; Ponton, S.; Alstad, K. P.; Johnson, B. G.; Morgenstern, K.; Kljun, N.; Black, T. A.; Barr, A. G.

    2005-12-01

    Comparisons were made among Douglas fir forest, aspen (broad leaf deciduous) forest and wheatgrass (C3) grassland for ecosystem-level water-use efficiency. Water-use efficiency (WUE) was defined as the ratio of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate and evapo-transpiration (ET) rate. The ET data measured by eddy covariance were screened so that they overwhelmingly represented transpiration. The three sites used in this comparison spanned a range of vegetation (plant functional) types and environmental conditions within western Canada. When compared in the relative order Douglas fir (located on Vancouver Island, B.C), aspen (northern Saskatchewan), grassland (southern Alberta), the sites demonstrated a progressive decline in precipitation and a general increase in maximum air temperature and atmospheric saturation deficit (D) during the mid-summer. The average WUE at the grassland site was 2.6 mmol mol-1, which was much lower than the average values observed for the two other sites (aspen: 5.4, Douglas fir: 8.1). The differences in WUE among sites were primarily due to variation in ET. The highest maximum ET rates were approximately 5, 3.2 and 2.7 mm day-1 for the grassland, aspen and Douglas fir sites, respectively. There was a strong negative correlation between WUE and D for all sites. We also made seasonal measurements of the carbon isotope ratio of ecosystem respired CO2 (?R) in order to test for the expected correlation between shifts in environmental conditions and changes to the ecosystem-integrated ratio of leaf intercellular to ambient CO2 concentration (ci/ca). There was a consistent increase in ?R values in the grassland, aspen forest and Douglas fir forest associated with a seasonal reduction in soil moisture. Comparisons were made between WUE measured using eddy covariance with that calculated based on atmospheric saturation deficit and ?R measurements. There was excellent agreement between WUE values calculated using the two techniques. Our ?R measurements indicated that ci/ca values were quite similar among the Douglas fir, aspen and grassland sites, despite large variation in environmental conditions among sites. This implied that the shorter-lived grass species had relatively high ci/ca values for the D of their habitat. By contrast, the longer-lived Douglas fir trees were more conservative in water-use with lower ci/ca values relative to their habitat D. This illustrates the interaction between biological and environmental characteristics influencing ecosystem-level water-use efficiency.

  14. Community level offset of rain use- and transpiration efficiency for a heavily grazed ecosystem in inner Mongolia grassland.

    PubMed

    Gao, Ying Z; Giese, Marcus; Gao, Qiang; Brueck, Holger; Sheng, Lian X; Yang, Hai J

    2013-01-01

    Water use efficiency (WUE) is a key indicator to assess ecosystem adaptation to water stress. Rain use efficiency (RUE) is usually used as a proxy for WUE due to lack of transpiration data. Furthermore, RUE based on aboveground primary productivity (RUEANPP) is used to evaluate whole plant water use because root production data is often missing as well. However, it is controversial as to whether RUE is a reliable parameter to elucidate transpiration efficiency (TE), and whether RUEANPP is a suitable proxy for RUE of the whole plant basis. The experiment was conducted at three differently managed sites in the Inner Mongolia steppe: a site fenced since 1979 (UG79), a winter grazing site (WG) and a heavily grazed site (HG). Site HG had consistent lowest RUEANPP and RUE based on total net primary productivity (RUENPP). RUEANPP is a relatively good proxy at sites UG79 and WG, but less reliable for site HG. Similarly, RUEANPP is good predictor of transpiration efficiency based on aboveground net primary productivity (TEANPP) at sites UG79 and WG but not for site HG. However, if total net primary productivity is considered, RUENPP is good predictor of transpiration efficiency based on total net primary productivity (TENPP) for all sites. Although our measurements indicate decreased plant transpiration and consequentially decreasing RUE under heavy grazing, productivity was relatively compensated for with a higher TE. This offset between RUE and TE was even enhanced under water limited conditions and more evident when belowground net primary productivity (BNNP) was included. These findings suggest that BNPP should be considered when studies fucus on WUE of more intensively used grasslands. The consideration of the whole plant perspective and "real" WUE would partially revise our picture of system performance and therefore might affect the discussion on the C-sequestration and resilience potential of ecosystems. PMID:24058632

  15. Stress responses investigated; application of zinc and heat to Terrestrial Model Ecosystems from heavy metal polluted grassland.

    PubMed

    Kools, Stefan A E; Berg, Matty P; Boivin, Marie-Elne Y; Kuenen, Frans J A; van der Wurff, Andr W G; van Gestel, Cornelis A M; van Straalen, Nico M

    2008-12-01

    This study tested the hypothesis that soils with a deprived biodiversity due to metal pollution are less stable than non-polluted soils, containing a more diverse community. For this, soils were sampled from specific grasslands in the Netherlands that contain elevated heavy metal concentrations (Cu, Pb and Zn). Soils that showed the largest differences in metal concentrations were incubated in the laboratory using Terrestrial Model Ecosystems (TMEs). This approach enabled simultaneous measurement of structural (bacteria, nematodes, enchytraeids, earthworms) and functional parameters (nitrogen leaching, feeding activity, CO2 production, plant growth). The highest polluted soils showed a lower bacterial growth, and decreased enchytraeid and nematode biomass and diversity, hence a deprived community. More nitrate leached from high polluted soils, while all other functional endpoints did not differ. Additional stress application of zinc and heat was used to test the stability. Zinc treatment caused effects only in the higher polluted soils, observed at several moments in time for enchytraeids, CO2 fluxes and plant growth. Heat stress caused a large reduction in enchytraeid and earthworm biomass. Ammonium leaching was decreased by heat treatments in the most polluted soils, while CO2 was increased by heat in less polluted soils. Most effects were seen in the most polluted systems and it was concluded that they seem less stable. PMID:18701139

  16. Timing of climate variability and grassland productivity

    PubMed Central

    Craine, Joseph M.; Nippert, Jesse B.; Elmore, Andrew J.; Skibbe, Adam M.; Hutchinson, Stacy L.; Brunsell, Nathaniel A.

    2012-01-01

    Future climates are forecast to include greater precipitation variability and more frequent heat waves, but the degree to which the timing of climate variability impacts ecosystems is uncertain. In a temperate, humid grassland, we examined the seasonal impacts of climate variability on 27 y of grass productivity. Drought and high-intensity precipitation reduced grass productivity only during a 110-d period, whereas high temperatures reduced productivity only during 25 d in July. The effects of drought and heat waves declined over the season and had no detectable impact on grass productivity in August. If these patterns are general across ecosystems, predictions of ecosystem response to climate change will have to account not only for the magnitude of climate variability but also for its timing. PMID:22331914

  17. Modelling carbon fluxes of forest and grassland ecosystems in Western Europe using the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model: evaluation against eddy covariance data.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henrot, Alexandra-Jane; Franois, Louis; Dury, Marie; Hambuckers, Alain; Jacquemin, Ingrid; Minet, Julien; Tychon, Bernard; Heinesch, Bernard; Horemans, Joanna; Deckmyn, Gaby

    2015-04-01

    Eddy covariance measurements are an essential resource to understand how ecosystem carbon fluxes react in response to climate change, and to help to evaluate and validate the performance of land surface and vegetation models at regional and global scale. In the framework of the MASC project ( Modelling and Assessing Surface Change impacts on Belgian and Western European climate ), vegetation dynamics and carbon fluxes of forest and grassland ecosystems simulated by the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model (Dury et al., iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, 4:82-99, 2011) are evaluated and validated by comparison of the model predictions with eddy covariance data. Here carbon fluxes (e.g. net ecosystem exchange (NEE), gross primary productivity (GPP), and ecosystem respiration (RECO)) and evapotranspiration (ET) simulated with the CARAIB model are compared with the fluxes measured at several eddy covariance flux tower sites in Belgium and Western Europe, chosen from the FLUXNET global network (http://fluxnet.ornl.gov/). CARAIB is forced either with surface atmospheric variables derived from the global CRU climatology, or with in situ meteorological data. Several tree (e.g. Pinus sylvestris, Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies) and grass species (e.g. Poaceae, Asteraceae) are simulated, depending on the species encountered on the studied sites. The aim of our work is to assess the model ability to reproduce the daily, seasonal and interannual variablility of carbon fluxes and the carbon dynamics of forest and grassland ecosystems in Belgium and Western Europe.

  18. Scale effects on the controls on mountain grassland leaf stomatal and ecosystem surface conductance to water vapour

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haslwanter, Alois; Hammerle, Albin; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2010-05-01

    Stomata are the major pathway by which plants exert control on the exchange of trace gases and water vapour with the aerial environment and thus provide a key link between the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and the state and composition of the atmosphere. Understanding the nature of this control, i.e. how stomatal conductance differs between plant species and ecosystems and how it varies in response to external and internal forcings, is key to predicting feedbacks plants may be providing to changing climatic conditions. Despite a long history of research on stomatal functioning, a fully mechanistic understanding of how stomata function in response to biotic and abiotic controls is still elusive which has led to the development of a large number of (semi-)empirical models of varying complexity. Two of the most widely used models go back to Jarvis (1976) and Ball, Woodrow and Berry (1987), termed J-model and BWB-model, respectively, in the following. The J-model simulates stomatal conductance as some maximal value attenuated by a series of multiplicative functions which are bound between zero and unity, while the BWB-model predicts stomatal conductance as a linear function of photosynthesis, relative humidity and carbon dioxide concentration in the leaf boundary layer. Both models were developed for the prediction of leaf-scale stomatal conductance to water vapour, but have been applied for simulating ecosystem-scale surface conductance as well. The objective of the present paper is to compare leaf- and ecosystem-scale conductances to water vapour and to assess the respective controls using the two above-mentioned models as analysis frameworks. To this end leaf-level stomatal conductance has been measured by means of leaf-gas exchange methods and ecosystem-scale surface conductance by inverting eddy covariance evapotranspiration estimates at a mountain grassland site in Austria. Our major findings are that the proportionality parameter in the BWB-model is scale-consistent, i.e. does not differ significantly between the leaf- and ecosystem scale, while the residual conductance (at zero light) scales with the amount of above-ground transpiring plant area. Among the environmental forcings, air humidity (either relative humidity or vapour pressure deficit) and carbon dioxide concentration in the boundary layer explained most of the variability of stomatal conductance at the leaf level, while the photosynthetic photon flux density was by far the dominant control at the ecosystem-level. References: Ball J.T., Woodrow I.E., Berry J.A., 1987. A model predicting stomatal conductance and its contribution to the control of photosynthesis under different environmental conditions. In: J. Biggens (Editor), Progress in Photosynthesis Research, Vol. IV. Proceedings of the VII International Congress on Photosynthesis. Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht, pp. 221-224. Jarvis P.G., 1976. The interpretation of the variations in leaf water potential and stomatal conductance found in canopies in the field. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London 273(B), 593-610.

  19. The role of grasslands in food security and climate change

    PubMed Central

    O'Mara, F. P.

    2012-01-01

    Background Grasslands are a major part of the global ecosystem, covering 37 % of the earth's terrestrial area. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to overgrazing and the resulting problems of soil erosion and weed encroachment, many of the world's natural grasslands are in poor condition and showing signs of degradation. This review examines their contribution to global food supply and to combating climate change. Scope Grasslands make a significant contribution to food security through providing part of the feed requirements of ruminants used for meat and milk production. Globally, this is more important in food energy terms than pig meat and poultry meat. Grasslands are considered to have the potential to play a key role in greenhouse gas mitigation, particularly in terms of global carbon storage and further carbon sequestration. It is estimated that grazing land management and pasture improvement (e.g. through managing grazing intensity, improved productivity, etc) have a global technical mitigation potential of almost 1·5 Gt CO2 equivalent in 2030, with additional mitigation possible from restoration of degraded lands. Milk and meat production from grassland systems in temperate regions has similar emissions of carbon dioxide per kilogram of product as mixed farming systems in temperate regions, and, if carbon sinks in grasslands are taken into account, grassland-based production systems can be as efficient as high-input systems from a greenhouse gas perspective. Conclusions Grasslands are important for global food supply, contributing to ruminant milk and meat production. Extra food will need to come from the world's existing agricultural land base (including grasslands) as the total area of agricultural land has remained static since 1991. Ruminants are efficient converters of grass into humanly edible energy and protein and grassland-based food production can produce food with a comparable carbon footprint as mixed systems. Grasslands are a very important store of carbon, and they are continuing to sequester carbon with considerable potential to increase this further. Grassland adaptation to climate change will be variable, with possible increases or decreases in productivity and increases or decreases in soil carbon stores. PMID:23002270

  20. Forest and grassland ecosystem studies using the advanced solid-state array spectroradiometer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irons, James R.; Ranson, K. Jon; Williams, Darrel L.; Irish, Richard R.

    1989-01-01

    The advanced solid-state array spectroradiometer (ASAS) is an airborne, off-nadir pointing imaging spectroradiometer used to acquire bidirectional radiance data for terrestrial targets. As its platform aircraft flies over a target the sensor can image the target through a sequence of at least seven fore-to-aft view directions ranging up to 45 deg on either side of nadir. ASAS acquires data for 29 spectral bands in the visible and near-infrared portions of the spectrum with a resolution of 15 nm. ASAS data were recently acquired for a prairie ecosystem and a northern forest ecosystem. The data demonstrate the combined effects of reflectance anisotropy and increased atmospheric path length on off-nadir observations. One result of these effects is a variation in vegetation indices as a function of view direction. Normalized-difference-vegetation-indices for prairie grass, coniferous, and deciduous canopies varied up to 14 percent, 23 percent, and 6 percent, respectively, relative to nadir as a function of view zenith angle along the solar principal plane.

  1. An Integrated Mercury Monitoring Program for Temperate Estuarine and Marine Ecosystems on the North American Atlantic Coast

    PubMed Central

    Evers, David C.; Mason, Robert P.; Kamman, Neil C.; Chen, Celia Y.; Bogomolni, Andrea L.; Taylor, David L.; Hammerschmidt, Chad R.; Jones, Stephen H.; Burgess, Neil M.; Munney, Kenneth; Parsons, Katharine C.

    2008-01-01

    During the past century, anthropogenic activities have altered the distribution of mercury (Hg) on the earth’s surface. The impacts of such alterations to the natural cycle of Hg can be minimized through coordinated management, policy decisions, and legislative regulations. An ability to quantitatively measure environmental Hg loadings and spatiotemporal trends of their fate in the environment is critical for science-based decision making. Here, we outline a Hg monitoring program for temperate estuarine and marine ecosystems on the Atlantic Coast of North America. This framework follows a similar, previously developed plan for freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems in the United States. Methylmercury (MeHg) is the toxicologically relevant form of Hg, and its ability to bioaccumulate in organisms and biomagnify in food webs depends on numerous biological and physicochemical factors that affect its production, transport, and fate. Therefore, multiple indicators are needed to fully characterize potential changes of Hg loadings in the environment and MeHg bioaccumulation through the different marine food webs. In addition to a description of how to monitor environmental Hg loads for air, sediment, and water, we outline a species-specific matrix of biotic indicators that include shellfish and other invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals. Such a Hg monitoring template is applicable to coastal areas across the Northern Hemisphere and is transferable to arctic and tropical marine ecosystems. We believe that a comprehensive approach provides an ability to best detect spatiotemporal Hg trends for both human and ecological health, and concurrently identify food webs and species at greatest risk to MeHg toxicity. PMID:19294469

  2. Soil environmental conditions and microbial build-up mediate the effect of plant diversity on soil nitrifying and denitrifying enzyme activities in temperate grasslands.

    PubMed

    Le Roux, Xavier; Schmid, Bernhard; Poly, Franck; Barnard, Romain L; Niklaus, Pascal A; Guillaumaud, Nadine; Habekost, Maike; Oelmann, Yvonne; Philippot, Laurent; Salles, Joana Falcao; Schloter, Michael; Steinbeiss, Sibylle; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2013-01-01

    Random reductions in plant diversity can affect ecosystem functioning, but it is still unclear which components of plant diversity (species number - namely richness, presence of particular plant functional groups, or particular combinations of these) and associated biotic and abiotic drivers explain the observed relationships, particularly for soil processes. We assembled grassland communities including 1 to 16 plant species with a factorial separation of the effects of richness and functional group composition to analyze how plant diversity components influence soil nitrifying and denitrifying enzyme activities (NEA and DEA, respectively), the abundance of nitrifiers (bacterial and archaeal amoA gene number) and denitrifiers (nirK, nirS and nosZ gene number), and key soil environmental conditions. Plant diversity effects were largely due to differences in functional group composition between communities of identical richness (number of sown species), though richness also had an effect per se. NEA was positively related to the percentage of legumes in terms of sown species number, the additional effect of richness at any given legume percentage being negative. DEA was higher in plots with legumes, decreased with increasing percentage of grasses, and increased with richness. No correlation was observed between DEA and denitrifier abundance. NEA increased with the abundance of ammonia oxidizing bacteria. The effect of richness on NEA was entirely due to the build-up of nitrifying organisms, while legume effect was partly linked to modified ammonium availability and nitrifier abundance. Richness effect on DEA was entirely due to changes in soil moisture, while the effects of legumes and grasses were partly due to modified nitrate availability, which influenced the specific activity of denitrifiers. These results suggest that plant diversity-induced changes in microbial specific activity are important for facultative activities such as denitrification, whereas changes in microbial abundance play a major role for non-facultative activities such as nitrification. PMID:23613785

  3. Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Grassland Ecosystems of the Central Lithuania: Multi-Criteria Evaluation on a Basis of the ARAS Method

    PubMed Central

    Balezentiene, Ligita; Kusta, Albinas

    2012-01-01

    N2O, CH4, and CO2 are potential greenhouse gas (GHG) contributing to climate change; therefore, solutions have to be sought to reduce their emission from agriculture. This work evaluates GHG emission from grasslands submitted to different mineral fertilizers during vegetation period (June–September) in two experimental sites, namely, seminatural grassland (8 treatments of mineral fertilizers) and cultural pasture (intensively managed) in the Training Farm of the Lithuanian University of Agriculture. Chamber method was applied for evaluation of GHG emissions on the field scale. As a result, soil chemical composition, compactness, temperature, and gravimetric moisture as well as biomass yield of fresh and dry biomass and botanical composition, were assessed during the research. Furthermore, a simulation of multi-criteria assessment of sustainable fertilizers management was carried out on a basis of ARAS method. The multicriteria analysis of different fertilizing regimes was based on a system of environmental and productivity indices. Consequently, agroecosystems of cultural pasture (N180P120K150) and seminatural grassland fertilizing rates N180P120K150 and N60P40K50 were evaluated as the most sustainable alternatives leading to reduction of emissions between biosphere-atmosphere and human-induced biogenic pollution in grassland ecosystems, thus contributing to improvement of countryside environment. PMID:22645463

  4. Ecosystem Phenology from Eddy-covariance Measurements: Spring Photosynthesis in a Cool Temperate Bog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lafleur, P.; Moore, T. R.; Poon, D.; Seaquist, J.

    2005-12-01

    The onset and increase of spring photosynthetic flux of carbon dioxide is an important attribute of the carbon budget of northern ecosystems and we used eddy-covariance measurements from March to May over 5 years at the Mer Bleue ombrotrophic bog to establish the important controls. The onset of ecosystem photosynthesis (day-of-year from 86 to 101) was associated with the disappearance on the snow cover and there is evidence that photosynthesis can continue after a thin new snowfall. The growth of photosynthesis during the spring period was partially associated with light (daily photosynthetically active radiation) but primarily with temperature, with the strongest correlation being observed with peat temperature at a depth of 5 and 10 cm, except in one year in which there was a long snow cover. The vegetation comprises mosses, which are able to photosynthesize very early, evergreen shrubs, which appear dependent on soil warming, and deciduous shrubs, which leaf-out only in late spring. We observed changes in shrub leaf colour from brown to green and concomitant increases in foliar nitrogen and chlorophyll concentrations during the spring in this "evergreen" system. We analyzed MODIS images for periods of overlap of tower and satellite data and found a generally strong correlation, though the infrequent satellite measurements were unable to pick out the onset and timing of rapid growth of photosynthesis in this ecosystem.

  5. The Janos grassland ecosystem: 20 years of synthesis and experimental research revealing new insights for conservation and management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Janos grasslands are part of the Sky Islands, a unique region of more than 40 isolated mountain ridges surrounded by dry grasslands that straddles the México/Arizona/New Mexico border. It is one of America’s great hotspots for wildlife diversity. It is a transition zone between the Chihuahuan Dese...

  6. Use of historical logging patterns to identify disproportionately logged ecosystems within temperate rainforests of southeastern Alaska.

    PubMed

    Albert, David M; Schoen, John W

    2013-08-01

    The forests of southeastern Alaska remain largely intact and contain a substantial proportion of Earth's remaining old-growth temperate rainforest. Nonetheless, industrial-scale logging has occurred since the 1950s within a relatively narrow range of forest types that has never been quantified at a regional scale. We analyzed historical patterns of logging from 1954 through 2004 and compared the relative rates of change among forest types, landform associations, and biogeographic provinces. We found a consistent pattern of disproportionate logging at multiple scales, including large-tree stands and landscapes with contiguous productive old-growth forests. The highest rates of change were among landform associations and biogeographic provinces that originally contained the largest concentrations of productive old growth (i.e., timber volume >46.6 m/ha). Although only 11.9% of productive old-growth forests have been logged region wide, large-tree stands have been reduced by at least 28.1%, karst forests by 37%, and landscapes with the highest volume of contiguous old growth by 66.5%. Within some island biogeographic provinces, loss of rare forest types may place local viability of species dependent on old growth at risk of extirpation. Examination of historical patterns of change among ecological forest types can facilitate planning for conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of forest resources. PMID:23866037

  7. Periphyton as a bioindicator of mercury pollution in a temperate torrential river ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Ziek, Suzana; Mila?i?, Radmila; Kova?, Nives; Ja?imovi?, Radojko; Toman, Mihael J; Horvat, Milena

    2011-10-01

    Mercury presents a potential risk to the environment and humans, especially in its methylated form. It is among the highest priority environmental pollutants. River Idrijca (Slovenia) is highly contaminated with mercury due to past mercury mining. The aim of this work was to investigate whether the periphyton community in rivers such as Idrijca is a suitable indicator of Hg pollution and of changes in mercury methylation and could serve as an early warning system of increased input of MeHg in the food chain. Periphyton is the only site of primary production in temperate torrential rivers such as Idrijca and is therefore an important link in the food chain. It is also a potential site of Hg accumulation and its introduction to higher trophic levels. Our aim was to assess the response of the periphyton to seasonal and spatial variations in mercury levels and to evaluate its potential as an early warning system of changes in mercury reactivity and mobilization The results indicate that periphyton in a torrential river is too complex and unpredictable to be used as a sole indicator of mercury concentrations and changes in the river. Nevertheless, it can complement environmental measurements due to its importance in the riverine food web. PMID:21840563

  8. Representing the effects of alpine grassland vegetation cover on the simulation of soil thermal dynamics by ecosystem models applied to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yi, S.; Li, N.; Xiang, B.; Wang, X.; Ye, B.; McGuire, A.D.

    2013-01-01

    Soil surface temperature is a critical boundary condition for the simulation of soil temperature by environmental models. It is influenced by atmospheric and soil conditions and by vegetation cover. In sophisticated land surface models, it is simulated iteratively by solving surface energy budget equations. In ecosystem, permafrost, and hydrology models, the consideration of soil surface temperature is generally simple. In this study, we developed a methodology for representing the effects of vegetation cover and atmospheric factors on the estimation of soil surface temperature for alpine grassland ecosystems on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Our approach integrated measurements from meteorological stations with simulations from a sophisticated land surface model to develop an equation set for estimating soil surface temperature. After implementing this equation set into an ecosystem model and evaluating the performance of the ecosystem model in simulating soil temperature at different depths in the soil profile, we applied the model to simulate interactions among vegetation cover, freeze-thaw cycles, and soil erosion to demonstrate potential applications made possible through the implementation of the methodology developed in this study. Results showed that (1) to properly estimate daily soil surface temperature, algorithms should use air temperature, downward solar radiation, and vegetation cover as independent variables; (2) the equation set developed in this study performed better than soil surface temperature algorithms used in other models; and (3) the ecosystem model performed well in simulating soil temperature throughout the soil profile using the equation set developed in this study. Our application of the model indicates that the representation in ecosystem models of the effects of vegetation cover on the simulation of soil thermal dynamics has the potential to substantially improve our understanding of the vulnerability of alpine grassland ecosystems to changes in climate and grazing regimes.

  9. Representing the effects of alpine grassland vegetation cover on the simulation of soil thermal dynamics by ecosystem models applied to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yi, S.; Li, N.; Xiang, B.; Wang, X.; Ye, B.; McGuire, A. D.

    2013-07-01

    surface temperature is a critical boundary condition for the simulation of soil temperature by environmental models. It is influenced by atmospheric and soil conditions and by vegetation cover. In sophisticated land surface models, it is simulated iteratively by solving surface energy budget equations. In ecosystem, permafrost, and hydrology models, the consideration of soil surface temperature is generally simple. In this study, we developed a methodology for representing the effects of vegetation cover and atmospheric factors on the estimation of soil surface temperature for alpine grassland ecosystems on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Our approach integrated measurements from meteorological stations with simulations from a sophisticated land surface model to develop an equation set for estimating soil surface temperature. After implementing this equation set into an ecosystem model and evaluating the performance of the ecosystem model in simulating soil temperature at different depths in the soil profile, we applied the model to simulate interactions among vegetation cover, freeze-thaw cycles, and soil erosion to demonstrate potential applications made possible through the implementation of the methodology developed in this study. Results showed that (1) to properly estimate daily soil surface temperature, algorithms should use air temperature, downward solar radiation, and vegetation cover as independent variables; (2) the equation set developed in this study performed better than soil surface temperature algorithms used in other models; and (3) the ecosystem model performed well in simulating soil temperature throughout the soil profile using the equation set developed in this study. Our application of the model indicates that the representation in ecosystem models of the effects of vegetation cover on the simulation of soil thermal dynamics has the potential to substantially improve our understanding of the vulnerability of alpine grassland ecosystems to changes in climate and grazing regimes.

  10. Impact of climate change on GHG emissions of (pre-) alpine grassland ecosystems under intensive and extensive management - a climate sequence lysimeter study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kiese, Ralf; Lu, Haiyan; Fu, Jin; Diaz-Pines, Eugenio; Gasche, Rainer; Dannenmann, Michael; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus

    2015-04-01

    Due to cool and moist climatic conditions alpine grassland soils of moderate elevation are rich in soil organic carbon and associated nitrogen. In the framework of an in-situ climate change experiment we test the hypothesis that soil organic carbon and nitrogen are either volatilized (GHG emissions) or leached with seepage water due to increase in temperature. Field investigations are carried out in the (Pre-) Alpine TERENO Observatory covering several research sites (including ICOS sites) in South-Bavaria, Germany. IMK-IFU has installed 36 weighable lysimeters with undisturbed intact grassland soil cores (diameter 1m, depth 1.4m) and is operating them at three sites differing in altitude and thus climatic conditions (850m, 750m, 600m) since 2011. Lysimeters were partly translocated from higher elevation to sites at lower elevation and other soil cores still staying at the sites as controls. In addition to the space for time in-situ climate change approach the total of 36 lysimeters are split into treatments of intensive and extensive grassland management. GHG exchange was measured by manual (850m site) but also with two novel automatic robot chamber systems (750m, 600m) connected to QCLs for simultaneous detection of CO2, N2O, and CH4 concentration changes in chamber headspace. GHG flux monitoring was supplemented by NEE measurements with transparent chambers since 2014. Climate change, generally stimulated plant growth (according to biomass sampling after cutting events) and soil C and N turnover leading to increased soil CO2 emissions and an increased uptake of atmospheric CH4. N2O emission were generally low and slightly increased in spring, summer and autumn but significantly decreased during the winter period under global change conditions, the latter due to lower intensity and frequency of frost-thaw events. The main gaseous nitrogen component emitted from the grassland ecosystems was N2 which also showed a much stronger increase with climate change than N2O. Furthermore, climate change lead to a significant increase in nitrate leaching, whereas leaching of ammonium and DON as well as DOC were hardly affected. Climate induced changes in the GHG balance of (pre-) alpine grassland ecosystems are mainly triggered by alteration of ecosystem CO2 exchange since magnitude of CH4 (mainly uptake) and N2O exchange, even regarding their much higher global warming potential are of lower importance. Overall, impacts of climate change on ecosystem C and N losses seem to be more severe under extensive management.

  11. Whole-Ecosystem Labile Carbon Production in a North Temperate Deciduous Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gough, C. M.; Flower, C. E.; Vogel, C. S.; Dragoni, D.; Curtis, P. S.

    2008-12-01

    Management for forest carbon (C) sequestration requires knowledge of the fate of photosynthetic C. Labile C is an essential intermediary between C assimilation and growth in deciduous forests, accumulating when photosynthetic C supply exceeds demand and later depleting when reallocated to growth during periods of depressed photosynthesis. We developed a new approach that combined meteorological and biometric C cycling data for a mixed deciduous forest in Michigan, USA, to provide novel estimates of whole-ecosystem labile C production (PLC) and reallocation to growth inferred from the temporal imbalance between carbon supply from canopy net C assimilation (Ac) and C demand for net primary production (NPP). We substantiated these estimates with measurements of Populus grandidentata and Quercus rubra wood non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentration and mass over two years. Our analysis showed that half of annual Ac was allocated to PLC rather than to immediate growth. Labile C produced during the latter half of summer later supported dormant-season growth and respiration, with 35% of NPP in a given year requiring labile C stored during previous years. Seasonal changes in wood NSC concentration and mass generally corroborated patterns of labile C production and reallocation to growth. We observed a negative relationship between current-year PLC and NPP, indicating that disparities between same-year meteorological and biometric net ecosystem production (NEP) estimates can arise when C assimilated via photosynthesis, a flux incorporated into meteorological NEP estimates, is diverted away from NPP, a flux included in biometric NEP estimates, and instead allocated to PLC. A large, annually recharging pool of labile C also may buffer growth from climate conditions that immediately affect Ac. We conclude that a broader understanding of labile C production and reallocation across ecosystems may be important to interpreting lagged canopy C cycling and growth processes.

  12. Remote sensing of canopy chemistry and nitrogen cycling in temperate forest ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wessman, Carol A.; Aber, John D.; Peterson, David L.; Melillo, Jerry M.

    1988-01-01

    The use of images acquired by the Airborne Imaging Spectrometer, an experimental high-spectral resolution imaging sensor developed by NASA, to estimate the lignin concentration of whole forest canopies in Wisconsin is reported. The observed strong relationship between canopy lignin concentration and nitrogen availability in seven undisturbed forest ecosystems on Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin, suggests that canopy lignin may serve as an index for site nitrogen status. This predictive relationship presents the opportunity to estimate nitrogen-cycling rates across forested landscapes through remote sensing.

  13. Surface energy exchanges above two grassland ecosystems on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, S.; Li, S.-G.; Yu, G.-R.; Sun, X.-M.; Zhang, L.-M.; Hu, Z.-M.; Li, Y.-N.; Zhang, X.-Z.

    2009-09-01

    This paper explores the seasonal and inter-annual variations in surface energy exchanges at an alpine shrub-meadow ecosystem (AM) and an alpine meadow-steppe (AS) on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau using the 4-5-year continuous flux measurements by the eddy covariance technique. Although ground solar radiation (Kd) was lower at AM than at AS, net radiation (Rn) was higher at AM than at AS due to the lower surface reflectivity for short-wave radiation (albedo) and the lower ratio of upward long-wave radiation to downward long-wave radiation (Lu/Ld) at AM. The ratio of Rn/Kd was lower (about 0.4) at AS than at AM (about 0.6). In the annual scale, annual precipitation was the most important factor controlling energy partitioning at AS, while temperature, especially during the spring, controlled the inter-annual variations in energy partitioning at AM characterized by low temperature. Vegetation growth played an important role in controlling energy partitioning at seasonal scale at both sites. However, soil water content was also one of major factors affecting Bowen ratio (?) due to the lower soil water-holding capacity at AS as compared with AM. Under non-drought conditions, the influence of vapor pressure deficit (VPD) on energy partitioning at half-hourly scale was stronger at AM than at AS due to higher vegetation cover thereof.

  14. Predicting invasion in grassland ecosystems: is exotic dominance the real embarrassment of richness?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Seabloom, Eric; Borer, Elizabeth; Buckley, Yvonne; Cleland, Elsa E.; Davies, Kendi; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hautier, Yann; Lind, Eric M.; MacDougall, Andrew; Orrock, John L.; Prober, Suzanne M.; Adler, Peter; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori A.; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Caldeira, Maria; Chu, Cheng-Jin; Crawley, Michael J.; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; D'Antonio, Carla M.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Dickman, Chris R.; Du, Guozhen; Fay, Philip A.; Frater, Paul; Gruner, Daniel S.; Hagenah, Nicole; Hector, Andrew; Helm, Aveliina; Hillebrand, Helmut; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Humphries, Hope C.; Iribarne, Oscar; Jin, Virginia L.; Kay, Adam; Kirkman, Kevin P.; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M.H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Ladwig, Laura M.; Lambrinos; John, G.; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Li, Qi; Li, Wei; McCulley, Rebecca; Melbourne, Brett; Mitchell; Charles, E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Morgan, John; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Pärtel, Meelis; Pascual, Jesús; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Salguero-Gómez, Roberto; Sankaran, Mahesh; Schuetz, Martin; Simonsen, Anna; Smith, Melinda; Stevens, Carly; Sullivan, Lauren; Wardle, Glenda M.; Wolkovich, Elizabeth M.; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin; Yang, Louie

    2013-01-01

    Invasions have increased the size of regional species pools, but are typically assumed to reduce native diversity. However, global-scale tests of this assumption have been elusive because of the focus on exotic species richness, rather than relative abundance. This is problematic because low invader richness can indicate invasion resistance by the native community or, alternatively, dominance by a single exotic species. Here, we used a globally replicated study to quantify relationships between exotic richness and abundance in grass-dominated ecosystems in 13 countries on six continents, ranging from salt marshes to alpine tundra. We tested effects of human land use, native community diversity, herbivore pressure, and nutrient limitation on exotic plant dominance. Despite its widespread use, exotic richness was a poor proxy for exotic dominance at low exotic richness, because sites that contained few exotic species ranged from relatively pristine (low exotic richness and cover) to almost completely exotic-dominated ones (low exotic richness but high exotic cover). Both exotic cover and richness were predicted by native plant diversity (native grass richness) and land use (distance to cultivation). Although climate was important for predicting both exotic cover and richness, climatic factors predicting cover (precipitation variability) differed from those predicting richness (maximum temperature and mean temperature in the wettest quarter). Herbivory and nutrient limitation did not predict exotic richness or cover. Exotic dominance was greatest in areas with low native grass richness at the site- or regional-scale. Although this could reflect native grass displacement, a lack of biotic resistance is a more likely explanation, given that grasses comprise the most aggressive invaders. These findings underscore the need to move beyond richness as a surrogate for the extent of invasion, because this metric confounds monodominance with invasion resistance. Monitoring species' relative abundance will more rapidly advance our understanding of invasions

  15. Predicting invasion in grassland ecosystems: is exotic dominance the real embarrassment of richness?

    SciTech Connect

    Seabloom, Eric W.

    2013-08-14

    Invasions have increased the size of regional species pools, but are typically assumed to reduce native diversity. However, global-scale tests of this assumption have been elusive because of the focus on exotic species richness, rather than relative abundance. This is problematic because low invader richness can indicate invasion resistance by the native community or, alternatively, dominance by a single exotic species. Here, we used a globally replicated study to quantify relationships between exotic richness and abundance in grass-dominated ecosystems in 13 countries on six continents, ranging from salt marshes to alpine tundra. We tested effects of human land use, native community diversity, herbivore pressure, and nutrient limitation on exotic plant dominance. Despite its widespread use, exotic richness was a poor proxy for exotic dominance at low exotic richness, because sites that contained few exotic species ranged from relatively pristine (low exotic richness and cover) to almost completely exotic-dominated ones (low exotic richness but high exotic cover). Both exotic cover and richness were predicted by native plant diversity (native grass richness) and land use (distance to cultivation). Although climate was important for predicting both exotic cover and richness, climatic factors predicting cover (precipitation variability) differed from those predicting richness (maximum temperature and mean temperature in the wettest quarter). Herbivory and nutrient limitation did not predict exotic richness or cover. Exotic dominance was greatest in areas with low native grass richness at the site- or regional-scale. Although this could reflect native grass displacement, a lack of biotic resistance is a more likely explanation, given that grasses comprise the most aggressive invaders. These findings underscore the need to move beyond richness as a surrogate for the extent of invasion, because this metric confounds monodominance with invasion resistance. Monitoring species’ relative abundance will more rapidly advance our understanding of invasions.

  16. Cascading effects of fishing can alter carbon flow through a temperate coastal ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Salomon, Anne K; Shears, Nick T; Langlois, Timothy J; Babcock, Russell C

    2008-12-01

    Mounting evidence suggests that fishing can trigger trophic cascades and alter food web dynamics, yet its effects on ecosystem function remain largely unknown. We used the large-scale experimental framework of four marine reserves, spanning an oceanographic gradient in northeastern New Zealand, to test the extent to which the exploitation of reef predators can alter kelp carbon flux and secondary production. We provide evidence that the reduction of predatory snapper (Pagrus auratus) and lobster (Jasus edwardsii) can lead to an increase in sea urchins (Evechinus chloroticus) and indirect declines in kelp biomass in some locations but not others. Stable carbon isotope ratios (delta13C) of oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and mussels (Perna canaliculus) transplanted in reserve and fished sites within four locations revealed that fishing indirectly reduced the proportion of kelp-derived organic carbon assimilated by filter feeders in two locations where densities of actively grazing sea urchins were 23.7 and 8.3 times higher and kelp biomass was an order of magnitude lower than in non-fished reserve sites. In contrast, in the two locations where fishing had no effect on urchin density or kelp biomass, we detected no effect of fishing on the carbon signature of filter feeders. We show that the effects of fishing on nearshore trophic structure and carbon flux are context-dependent and hinge on large-scale, regional oceanographic factors. Where cascading effects of fishing on kelp biomass were documented, enhanced assimilation of kelp carbon did not result in the magnification of secondary production. Instead, a strong regional gradient in filter feeder growth emerged, best predicted by chlorophyll a. Estimates of kelp contribution to the diet of transplanted consumers averaged 56.9% +/- 6.2% (mean +/- SE) for mussels and 33.8% +/- 7.3% for oysters, suggesting that organic carbon fixed by kelp is an important food source fueling northeastern New Zealand's nearshore food webs. The importance of predators in mediating benthic primary production and organic carbon flux suggests that overfishing can have profound consequences on ecosystem functioning particularly where pelagic primary production is limiting. Our results underscore the broader ecosystem repercussions of overfishing and its context-dependent effects. PMID:19263885

  17. A Comparison of Symmetric and Asymmetric Warming Regimes on the Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics of Grassland Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wig, J.; Lajtha, K.; Gregg, J. W.

    2010-12-01

    Global mean temperatures have increased 0.10 to 0.16C per decade over the last 50 years, and continued increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to cause temperatures to increase by more than 3C by the middle of the 21st century. While many warming experiments have been performed, most have determined impacts of equal increases in day and night temperatures on production, diversity, or ecosystem carbon dynamics. However, there have been faster increases in daily minimum temperature (Tmin) than daily maximum temperature (Tmax), a phenomenon commonly referred to as asymmetric warming. Photosynthesis and respiration are differentially affected by altered day and night temperatures, and thus the ecological effects of alterations in Tmin could differ from alterations in Tmax. Therefore, it is imperative that we expand our understanding of potential impacts of global warming to include the effects of asymmetrically elevated temperature profiles. To examine the affects of asymmetric vs. symmetric warming, we used Terracosm chambers with planted grassland communities native to Oregons Willamette Valley. The warmed chambers are subjected to an average increase of +3.5C/day, with asymmetrically warmed chambers having an increase of dawn Tmin of +5C, and an increase of midday Tmax of +2C; and with symmetrically warmed chambers having a constant increase of +3.5C. The goals of this project are to assess (1) whether patterns of increased NPP, changes in species composition and altered C, H2O and nutrient cycles shown for symmetric warming are similar in the asymmetric profiles, or whether entirely different patterns emerge unique to the asymmetrically elevated temperature treatments, and (2) whether the impacts of asymmetric and symmetric warming differ for soil C stabilization and destabilization processes. Our data indicate that whole ecosystem carbon balance was negative, with higher respiration than photosynthesis, for both symmetric and asymmetric treatments after four years. Here we present the most recent data collected from the Terracosms, focusing on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics.

  18. Modelling grassland phenology and growth using near-surface remote sensing derived time series

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hufkens, K.; Chen, M.; Richardson, A. D.

    2014-12-01

    Both size and the duration of rain events have a significant influence on the phenology and growth of grasslands. This pulse-response nature of grasslands makes quantifying intra and inter-annual variability in grassland growth challenging and large uncertainties remain on which precipitation characteristics have the greatest influence on grassland phenology, growth and ecosystem productivity. Here we present modeled results of soil water content and grassland growth on a daily timestep from 16 grassland sites (40 site years) across arid, temperate and tropical biomes. We build upon a simple threshold-delay concept with provisions for influences of soil temperature and photoperiod on plant growth. Modelled soil water content and grassland growth are based upon limited set of widely available climatic drivers such as daily precipitation, minimum and maximum temperature, to facilitate scaling, and validated against near-surface remote sensing (PhenoCam) data of vegetation greenness. This simple model framework allows us to explore future effects of changes in the size and duration of precipitation events as well as temperature on grassland phenology and growth across different biome types.

  19. Applicability of the flood-pulse concept in a temperate floodplain river ecosystem: Thermal and temporal components

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schramm, H.L., Jr.; Eggleton, M.A.

    2006-01-01

    Annual growth increments were calculated for blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) from the lower Mississippi River (LMR) to assess hypothesized relationships between fish growth and floodplain inundation as predicted by the Flood-Pulse Concept. Variation in catfish growth increment was high for all age classes of both species, and growth increments were not consistently related to various measures of floodplain inundation. However, relationships became stronger, and usually direct, when water temperature was integrated with area and duration of floodplain inundation. Relationships were significant for four of six age classes for blue catfish, a species known to utilize floodplain habitats. Though similar in direction, relationships were weaker for flathead catfish, which is considered a more riverine species. Our results indicate the Flood-Pulse Concept applies more strongly to temperate floodplain-river ecosystems when thermal aspects of flood pulses are considered. We recommend that future management of the LMR should consider ways to 'recouple' the annual flood and thermal cycles. An adaptive management approach will allow further determination of important processes affecting fisheries production in the LMR. Copyright ?? John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  20. Differential controls on soil carbon density and mineralization among contrasting forest types in a temperate forest ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    You, Ye-Ming; Wang, Juan; Sun, Xiao-Lu; Tang, Zuo-Xin; Zhou, Zhi-Yong; Sun, Osbert Jianxin

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the controls on soil carbon dynamics is crucial for modeling responses of ecosystem carbon balance to global change, yet few studies provide explicit knowledge on the direct and indirect effects of forest stands on soil carbon via microbial processes. We investigated tree species, soil, and site factors in relation to soil carbon density and mineralization in a temperate forest of central China. We found that soil microbial biomass and community structure, extracellular enzyme activities, and most of the site factors studied varied significantly across contrasting forest types, and that the associations between activities of soil extracellular enzymes and microbial community structure appeared to be weak and inconsistent across forest types, implicating complex mechanisms in the microbial regulation of soil carbon metabolism in relation to tree species. Overall, variations in soil carbon density and mineralization are predominantly accounted for by shared effects of tree species, soil, microclimate, and microbial traits rather than the individual effects of the four categories of factors. Our findings point to differential controls on soil carbon density and mineralization among contrasting forest types and highlight the challenge to incorporate microbial processes for constraining soil carbon dynamics in global carbon cycle models. PMID:26925871

  1. Differential controls on soil carbon density and mineralization among contrasting forest types in a temperate forest ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    You, Ye-Ming; Wang, Juan; Sun, Xiao-Lu; Tang, Zuo-Xin; Zhou, Zhi-Yong; Sun, Osbert Jianxin

    2016-03-01

    Understanding the controls on soil carbon dynamics is crucial for modeling responses of ecosystem carbon balance to global change, yet few studies provide explicit knowledge on the direct and indirect effects of forest stands on soil carbon via microbial processes. We investigated tree species, soil, and site factors in relation to soil carbon density and mineralization in a temperate forest of central China. We found that soil microbial biomass and community structure, extracellular enzyme activities, and most of the site factors studied varied significantly across contrasting forest types, and that the associations between activities of soil extracellular enzymes and microbial community structure appeared to be weak and inconsistent across forest types, implicating complex mechanisms in the microbial regulation of soil carbon metabolism in relation to tree species. Overall, variations in soil carbon density and mineralization are predominantly accounted for by shared effects of tree species, soil, microclimate, and microbial traits rather than the individual effects of the four categories of factors. Our findings point to differential controls on soil carbon density and mineralization among contrasting forest types and highlight the challenge to incorporate microbial processes for constraining soil carbon dynamics in global carbon cycle models.

  2. Differential controls on soil carbon density and mineralization among contrasting forest types in a temperate forest ecosystem.

    PubMed

    You, Ye-Ming; Wang, Juan; Sun, Xiao-Lu; Tang, Zuo-Xin; Zhou, Zhi-Yong; Sun, Osbert Jianxin

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the controls on soil carbon dynamics is crucial for modeling responses of ecosystem carbon balance to global change, yet few studies provide explicit knowledge on the direct and indirect effects of forest stands on soil carbon via microbial processes. We investigated tree species, soil, and site factors in relation to soil carbon density and mineralization in a temperate forest of central China. We found that soil microbial biomass and community structure, extracellular enzyme activities, and most of the site factors studied varied significantly across contrasting forest types, and that the associations between activities of soil extracellular enzymes and microbial community structure appeared to be weak and inconsistent across forest types, implicating complex mechanisms in the microbial regulation of soil carbon metabolism in relation to tree species. Overall, variations in soil carbon density and mineralization are predominantly accounted for by shared effects of tree species, soil, microclimate, and microbial traits rather than the individual effects of the four categories of factors. Our findings point to differential controls on soil carbon density and mineralization among contrasting forest types and highlight the challenge to incorporate microbial processes for constraining soil carbon dynamics in global carbon cycle models. PMID:26925871

  3. 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 largest range of productivity, often encompassing a coastal-oceanic gradient. PMID:19097485

  4. GPP/RE Partitioning of Long-term Network Flux Data as a Tool for Estimating Ecosystem-scale Ecophysiological Parameters of Grasslands and Croplands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilmanov, T. G.; Wylie, B. K.; Gu, Y.; Howard, D. M.; Zhang, L.

    2013-12-01

    The physiologically based model of canopy CO2 exchange by Thornly and Johnson (2000) modified to incorporate vapor pressure deficit (VPD) limitation of photosynthesis is a robust tool for partitioning tower network net CO2 exchange data into gross photosynthesis (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (RE) (Gilmanov et al. 2013a, b). In addition to 30-min and daily photosynthesis and respiration values, the procedure generates daily estimates and uncertainties of essential ecosystem-scale parameters such as apparent quantum yield ALPHA, photosynthetic capacity AMAX, convexity of light response THETA, gross ecological light-use efficiency LUE, daytime ecosystem respiration rate RDAY, and nighttime ecosystem respiration rate RNIGHT. These ecosystem-scale parameters are highly demanded by the modeling community and open opportunities for comparison with the rich data of leaf-level estimates of corresponding parameters available from physiological studies of previous decades. Based on the data for 70+ site-years of flux tower measurements at the non-forest sites of the Ameriflux network and the non-affiliated sites, we present results of the comparative analysis and multi-site synthesis of the magnitudes, uncertainties, patterns of seasonal and yearly dynamics, and spatiotemporal distribution of these parameters for grasslands and croplands of the conterminous United States (CONUS). Combining this site-level parameter data set with the rich spatiotemporal data sets of a remotely sensed vegetation index, weather and climate conditions, and site biophysical and geophysical features (phenology, photosynthetically active radiation, and soil water holding capacity) using methods of multivariate analysis (e.g., Cubist regression tree) offers new opportunities for predictive modeling and scaling-up of ecosystem-scale parameters of carbon cycling in grassland and agricultural ecosystems of CONUS (Zhang et al. 2011; Gu et al. 2012). REFERENCES Gilmanov TG, Baker JM, Bernacchi CJ, Billesbach DP, Burba GG, et al. (2013a). Productivity and CO2 exchange of the leguminous crops: Estimates from flux tower measurements. Agronomy J (submitted). Gilmanov TG, Wylie BK, Tieszen LL, Meyers TP, Baron VS, et al. (2013b). CO2 uptake and ecophysiological parameters of the grain crops of midcontinent North America: Estimates from flux tower measurements. Agric Ecosyst Environm 164: 162-175 Gu Y, Howard DM, Wylie BK, and Zhang L (2012). Mapping carbon flux uncertainty and selecting optimal locations for future flux towers in the Great Plains: Landscape Ecology, 27: 319-326. Thornley JHM., Johnson IR (2000). Plant and crop modelling. A mathematical approach to plant and crop physiology. The Blackburn Press, Caldwell, New Jersey. Zhang L, Wylie BK, Ji L, Gilmanov TG, Tieszen LL, Howard DM (2011). Upscaling carbon fluxes over the Great Plains grasslands: Sinks and sources. J Geophys Res G: Biogeosciences 116: G00J3

  5. Carbon balance of renovated grasslands: input- or output-driven?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choncubhair, rlaith N; Osborne, Bruce; Lanigan, Gary

    2015-04-01

    Temperate grasslands constitute over 30% of the Earth's naturally-occurring biomes and make an important contribution towards the partial mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by terrestrial ecosystems. In permanent temperate grasslands, biomass production and sward quality can deteriorate over time and periodic renovation activities, involving soil tillage and reseeding, are commonly carried out to halt this decline. Long-term cultivation of agricultural land has been associated with soil aggregate degradation and reduced soil carbon storage. However, the impact of these single tillage disturbances on C cycling in grasslands is less clear. This study evaluated gaseous and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) losses following a single tillage event by subjecting grassland lysimeters with contrasting soil drainage characteristics to simulated conventional inversion or minimum tillage. Field-scale CO2 emissions after conventional tillage were also quantified and empirically modelled over short- and medium-term timeframes to delineate the ecosystem response to environmental variables. Soil moisture was the limiting determinant of ecosystem carbon release following conventional tillage. Freshly-tilled soils were associated with reduced water retention and increased sensitivity to soil moisture, which was particularly pronounced following rewetting events. Significantly elevated but ephemeral CO2 effluxes were detected in the hours following inversion ploughing, however tillage disturbance did not generate significantly enhanced C emission rates in the medium term. Equally, DOC losses were not significantly amplified by conventional tillage compared with conservative minimum tillage and were predominantly controlled by soil drainage across tillage regimes. Our results suggest that a net ecosystem source of 120 to 210 g C m-2 over an approximately two-month period was most likely a consequence of reduced productivity and C input rather than enhanced soil CO2 evolution. C emissions from cultivated lands will therefore be minimised by restricting tillage operations and fallow periods to spring or autumn when respiratory losses are reduced and by limiting the length of the fallow period to enhance the compensatory effect of photosynthetic C uptake.

  6. Influence of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on nitrous oxide flux in a temperate forest ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phillips, Rebecca L.; Whalen, Stephen C.; Schlesinger, William H.

    2001-09-01

    Long-term exposure of native vegetation to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is expected to increase the water content and the input of labile carbon (C) to soil, which could stimulate nitrification and denitrification and enhance nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. We measured N2O fluxes for 2 years in a Pinus taeda forest that was continuously enriched 200 ?L L-1 CO2 above the ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration (560 ?L L-1) beginning 16 months prior to our study. Soil treated with elevated CO2 showed higher N2O emissions at low winter temperatures than the ambient CO2 control. Conversely, soil treated with elevated CO2 showed lower N2O emissions at high summer temperatures than the control soil. Annual N2O fluxes, however, were similar between treatments (6600 ?g m-2). Factors that influence denitrification and N2O production were investigated in the laboratory using intact soil core incubations. Nitrate additions (0.17 mg KNO3-N g-1 ) to intact soil cores during laboratory incubations stimulated total N2O production as well as denitrification in both treatments, whereas glucose additions lowered N2O production in both treatments. These experiments demonstrated that N2O production is strongly limited by available nitrogen (N) and that the addition of labile C is likely to reduce the amount of N2O produced by nitrification. Our results collectively suggest that CO2 enrichment of this N-limited ecosystem may reduce N2O flux during the growing season, when soil C inputs and plant-microbial competition for NH4+ are high. Alternatively, elevated CO2 may enhance N2O flux in the winter, when conditions are moist and cold and plants are less active. The potential indirect effects of CO2 enrichment (greater soil moisture and labile C inputs) could reduce N2O flux from nitrification in summer and enhance N2O flux from denitrification in winter, resulting in no net change in total ecosystem N2O flux at the soil-atmosphere interface.

  7. The North Wyke Farm Platform, a UK national capability for research into sustainability of temperate agricultural grassland management: progress and developments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, Paul; Dungait, Jennifer; Griffith, Bruce; Shepherd, Anita; Sint, Hadewij; Blackwell, Martin; Cardenas, Laura; Collins, Adrian; Goulding, Keith; Lee, Michael; Orr, Robert

    2015-04-01

    The North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP) at Rothamsted Research in the South-West of England, is a large, farm-scale experiment for collaborative research, training and knowledge exchange in agro-environmental sciences; with the aim of addressing agricultural productivity and ecosystem responses to different management practices. The 63 ha NWFP site, captures the spatial and/or temporal data necessary to develop a better understanding of the dynamic processes and underlying mechanisms that can be used to model how agricultural grassland systems respond to different management inputs. Here, via beef and sheep production, the underlying principle is to manage each of three farmlets (each consisting of five man-made, hydrologically-isolated sub-catchments) in three contrasting ways: (i) improvement through use of mineral fertilizers; (ii) improvement through use of legumes; and (iii) improvement through innovation. The connectivity between the timing and intensity of the different management operations, together with the transport of nutrients and potential pollutants from the NWFP is evaluated using various data collection and data modelling exercises. The primary data collection strategy involves the use of a ground-based, wireless sensor network, where in each of the fifteen sub-catchments, water characteristics such as flow, turbidity and chemistry are measured at a flume laboratory that captures the sub-catchment's water drainage (via a system of directed French drains). This sensor network also captures: precipitation, soil moisture and soil temperature data for each sub-catchment; greenhouse gas data across key subsets of the fifteen sub-catchments; and meteorological data (other than precipitation) at a single site only (representative of the NWFP site, as a whole). Such high temporal resolution data sets (but with limited spatial resolution) are coupled with a secondary data collection strategy, for high spatial resolution data sets (but with limited temporal resolution). These latter data sets include (multi-spectral and hyper-spectral) remote sensing data, together with more traditional field studies that provide information on soils nutrients and biodiversity. Both the primary and secondary data collection strategies are complemented by a dedicated geodatabase for the geographical layout of the NWFP site that includes soil class and LiDAR data. All described data collections are relatable to farm field event and farm animal data sets, so that key research objectives can be met. We describe all such NWFP data sets and introduce some of the data modelling opportunities that are possible. All data sets will at some point be freely available to download from a dedicated web-site.

  8. Site variation in methane oxidation as affected by atmospheric deposition and type of temperate forest ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brumme, Rainer; Borken, Werner

    1999-06-01

    Factors controlling methane oxidation were analyzed along a soil acidity gradient (pH(H2O) 3.9 to 5.2) under beech and spruce forests in Germany. Mean annual methane oxidation ranged from 0.1 to 2.5 kg CH4 ha-1 yr-1 and was correlated with base saturation (r2 = 0.88), soil pH (r2 = 0.77), total nitrogen (r2 = 0.71), amount of the organic surface horizon (r2 = 0.49) and bulk density of the mineral soil (r2 = 0.43). At lower pHs the formation of an organic surface horizon was promoted. This horizon did not have any methane oxidation capacity and acted like a gas diffusion barrier, which decreased the methane oxidation capacity of the soil. In contrast, on sites at the higher end of the pH range, higher burrowing activity of earthworms increased macroporosity and thereby gas diffusivity and methane oxidation. Gas diffusivity was also affected by litter shape: broad beech leaves reduced methane oxidation more than spruce needles. An increase in methane oxidation of most soil samples following sieving indicates that diffusion is the main limiting factor for methane oxidation. However, this "sieving effect" was less in soils with a pH below 5 than in soils with a pH above 5, which we attribute to a direct effect of soil acidity. We discuss our results using a hierarchical concept for the "short-term" and "long-term" controls on methane oxidation in forest ecosystems.

  9. Grassland/atmosphere response to changing climate: Coupling regional and local scales. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Coughenour, M.B.; Kittel, T.G.F.; Pielke, R.A.; Eastman, J.

    1993-10-01

    The objectives of the study were: to evaluate the response of grassland ecosystems to atmospheric change at regional and site scales, and to develop multiscaled modeling systems to relate ecological and atmospheric models with different spatial and temporal resolutions. A menu-driven shell was developed to facilitate use of models at different temporal scales and to facilitate exchange information between models at different temporal scales. A detailed ecosystem model predicted that C{sub 3} temperate grasslands wig respond more strongly to elevated CO{sub 2} than temperate C{sub 4} grasslands in the short-term while a large positive N-PP response was predicted for a C{sub 4} Kenyan grassland. Long-term climate change scenarios produced either decreases or increases in Colorado plant productivity (NPP) depending on rainfall, but uniform increases in N-PP were predicted in Kenya. Elevated CO{sub 2} is likely to have little effect on ecosystem carbon storage in Colorado while it will increase carbon storage in Kenya. A synoptic climate classification processor (SCP) was developed to evaluate results of GCM climate sensitivity experiments. Roughly 80% agreement was achieved with manual classifications. Comparison of lx and 2xCO{sub 2} GCM Simulations revealed relatively small differences.

  10. Carbon-Nitrogen Cycle Model of Terrestrial Ecosystem for Plot Scale: Application to Cool Temperate Deciduous Broad-leaved Forest and Cool Temperate Evergreen Coniferous Forest in Central Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ito, A.; Inatomi, M.

    2007-12-01

    By developing a biogeochemical model that fully includes carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle in a single framework, we can consider nitrogen nutrition as a limiting elements in the model and evaluate atmosphere-ecosystem exchange of trace greenhouse gases in addition to carbon dioxide (i.e. methane and nitrous oxide). In this study, a process-based model simulating carbon-nitrogen cycle was developed and applied to a cool-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest in Takayama (36N, 137E, 1420m ASL) and a cool-temperate evergreen coniferous forest in Fujiyoshida (35N, 138E, 1030m ASL), central Japan. Models of nitrogen cycle were introduced into a revised terrestrial ecosystem model Sim-CYCLE, which is a simple box-type carbon cycle model simulating net ecosystem CO2 exchange on the basis of ecophysiological relationships. Using the model, photosynthetic and respiratory CO2 fluxes were simulated during the periods from 1948 to 2004 at daily step using time-series climate data. On average during the last 10 years, the model estimated that the temperate forest absorbed net CO2 and CH4 at rates of 804.53 g CO2 m-2 yr-1 and 0.34 g CH4 m-2 yr-1, and net released N2O at a rate of 0.02 g N2O m-2 yr-1, respectively. Based on the 100-year GWP of greenhouse gases in IPCC (2001), the forest was estimated to have a negative (i.e. ameliorating) effect of GWP by 807.74 g CO2 (equivalent) m-2 yr-1. Because the results seem reasonable, we are working on scaling-up of the model to regional scale, in our forthcoming studies.

  11. Communities of Endophytic Sebacinales Associated with Roots of Herbaceous Plants in Agricultural and Grassland Ecosystems Are Dominated by Serendipita herbamans sp. nov

    PubMed Central

    Riess, Kai; Oberwinkler, Franz; Bauer, Robert; Garnica, Sigisfredo

    2014-01-01

    Endophytic fungi are known to be commonly associated with herbaceous plants, however, there are few studies focusing on their occurrence and distribution in plant roots from ecosystems with different land uses. To explore the phylogenetic diversity and community structure of Sebacinales endophytes from agricultural and grassland habitats under different land uses, we analysed the roots of herbaceous plants using strain isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and co-cultivation experiments. A new sebacinoid strain named Serendipita herbamans belonging to Sebacinales group B was isolated from the roots of Bistorta vivipara, which is characterized by colourless monilioid cells (chlamydospores) that become yellow with age. This species was very common and widely distributed in association with a broad spectrum of herbaceous plant families in diverse habitats, independent of land use type. Ultrastructurally, the presence of S. herbamans was detected in the cortical cells of Plantago media, Potentilla anserina and Triticum aestivum. In addition, 13 few frequent molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs) or species were found across agricultural and grassland habitats, which did not exhibit a distinctive phylogenetic structure. Laboratory-based assays indicate that S. herbamans has the ability to colonize fine roots and stimulate plant growth. Although endophytic Sebacinales are widely distributed across agricultural and grassland habitats, TEM and nested PCR analyses reinforce the observation that these microorganisms are present in low quantity in plant roots, with no evidence of host specificity. PMID:24743185

  12. Monitoring of carbon dioxide fluxes in a subalpine grassland ecosystem of the Italian Alps using a multispectral sensor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakowska, K.; Vescovo, L.; Marcolla, B.; Juszczak, R.; Olejnik, J.; Gianelle, D.

    2014-09-01

    The study investigates the potential of a commercially available proximal sensing system - based on a 16-band multispectral sensor - for monitoring mean midday gross ecosystem production (GEPm) in a subalpine grassland of the Italian Alps equipped with an eddy covariance flux tower. Reflectance observations were collected for 5 consecutive years, characterized by different climatic conditions, together with turbulent carbon dioxide fluxes and their meteorological drivers. Different models based on linear regression (vegetation indices approach) and on multiple regression (reflectance approach) were tested to estimateGEPm from optical data. The overall performance of this relatively low-cost system was positive. Chlorophyll-related indices including the red-edge part of the spectrum in their formulation (red-edge normalized difference vegetation index, NDVIred-edge; chlorophyll index, CIred-edge) were the best predictors of GEPm, explaining most of its variability during the observation period. The use of the reflectance approach did not lead to considerably improved results in estimating GEPm: the adjusted R2 (adjR2) of the model based on linear regression - including all the 5 years - was 0.74, while the adjR2 for the multiple regression model was 0.79. Incorporating mean midday photosynthetically active radiation (PARm) into the model resulted in a general decrease in the accuracy of estimates, highlighting the complexity of the GEPm response to incident radiation. In fact, significantly higher photosynthesis rates were observed under diffuse as regards direct radiation conditions. The models which were observed to perform best were then used to test the potential of optical data for GEPm gap filling. Artificial gaps of three different lengths (1, 3 and 5 observation days) were introduced in the GEPm time series. The values of adjR2 for the three gap-filling scenarios showed that the accuracy of the gap filling slightly decreased with gap length. However, on average, the GEPm gaps were filled with an accuracy of 73% with the model fed with NDVIred-edge, and of 76% with the model using reflectance at 681, 720 and 781 nm and PARm data.

  13. Multi-Seasonal Nitrogen Recoveries from Crop Residue in Soil and Crop in a Temperate Agro-Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Guoqing; Liu, Xiao; He, Hongbo; Zhang, Wei; Xie, Hongtu; Wu, Yeye; Cui, Jiehua; Sun, Ci; Zhang, Xudong

    2015-01-01

    In conservation tillage systems, at least 30% of the soil surface was covered by crop residues which generally contain significant amounts of nitrogen (N). However, little is known about the multi-seasonal recoveries of the N derived from these crop residues in soil-crop systems, notably in northeastern China. In a temperate agro-ecosystem, 15N-labeled maize residue was applied to field surfaces in the 1st year (2009). From the 2nd to 4th year (2010-2012), one treatment halted the application of maize residue, whereas the soil in the second treatment was re-applied with unlabeled maize residue. Crop and soil samples were collected after each harvest, and their 15N enrichments were determined on an isotope ratio mass spectrometer to trace the allocation of N derived from the initially applied maize residue in the soil-crop systems. On average, 8.4% of the maize residue N was recovered in the soil-crop in the 1st year, and the vast majority (61.9%-91.9%) was recovered during subsequent years. Throughout the experiment, the cumulative recovery of the residue N in the crop increased gradually (18.2%-20.9%), but most of the residue N was retained in the soil, notably in the 0-10 cm soil layer. Compared to the single application, the sequential residue application significantly increased the recovery of the residue N in the soil profile (73.8% vs. 40.9%) and remarkably decreased the total and the initially applied residue derived mineral N along the soil profile. Our results suggested that the residue N was actively involved in N cycling, and its release and recovery in crop and soil profile were controlled by the decomposition process. Sequential residue application significantly enhanced the retention and stabilization of the initially applied residue N in the soil and retarded its translocation along the soil profile. PMID:26192436

  14. Scale-Dependent Effects of Grazing on Plant C: N: P Stoichiometry and Linkages to Ecosystem Functioning in the Inner Mongolia Grassland

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Shuxia; Ren, Haiyan; Li, Wenhuai; Lan, Zhichun

    2012-01-01

    Background Livestock grazing is the most prevalent land use of grasslands worldwide. The effects of grazing on plant C, N, P contents and stoichiometry across hierarchical levels, however, have rarely been studied; particularly whether the effects are mediated by resource availability and the underpinning mechanisms remain largely unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings Using a multi-organization-level approach, we examined the effects of grazing on the C, N, and P contents and stoichiometry in plant tissues (leaves and roots) and linkages to ecosystem functioning across three vegetation types (meadow, meadow steppe, and typical steppe) in the Inner Mongolia grassland, China. Our results showed that the effects of grazing on the C, N, and P contents and stoichiometry in leaves and roots differed substantially among vegetation types and across different hierarchical levels (species, functional group, and vegetation type levels). The magnitude of positive effects of grazing on leaf N and P contents increased progressively along the hierarchy of organizational levels in the meadow, whereas its negative effect on leaf N content decreased considerably along hierarchical levels in both the typical and meadow steppes. Grazing increased N and P allocation to aboveground in the meadow, while greater N and P allocation to belowground was found in the typical and meadow steppes. The differences in soil properties, plant trait-based resource use strategies, tolerance or defense strategies to grazing, and shifts in functional group composition are likely to be the key mechanisms for the observed patterns among vegetation types. Conclusions/Significance Our findings suggest that the enhanced vegetation-type-level N contents by grazing and species compensatory feedbacks may be insufficient to prevent widespread declines in primary productivity in the Inner Mongolia grassland. Hence, it is essential to reduce the currently high stocking rates and restore the vast degraded steppes for sustainable development of arid and semiarid grasslands. PMID:23272158

  15. Decomposition of Organic Carbon in Fine Soil Particles Is Likely More Sensitive to Warming than in Coarse Particles: An Incubation Study with Temperate Grassland and Forest Soils in Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Fan; Huang, Yao; Sun, Wenjuan; Jiang, Guangfu; Chen, Yue

    2014-01-01

    It is widely recognized that global warming promotes soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition, and soils thus emit more CO2 into the atmosphere because of the warming; however, the response of SOC decomposition to this warming in different soil textures is unclear. This lack of knowledge limits our projection of SOC turnover and CO2 emission from soils after future warming. To investigate the CO2 emission from soils with different textures, we conducted a 107-day incubation experiment. The soils were sampled from temperate forest and grassland in northern China. The incubation was conducted over three short-term cycles of changing temperature from 5C to 30C, with an interval of 5C. Our results indicated that CO2 emissions from sand (>50 m), silt (250 m), and clay (<2 m) particles increased exponentially with increasing temperature. The sand fractions emitted more CO2 (CO2-C per unit fraction-C) than the silt and clay fractions in both forest and grassland soils. The temperature sensitivity of the CO2 emission from soil particles, which is expressed as Q10, decreased in the order clay>silt>sand. Our study also found that nitrogen availability in the soil facilitated the temperature dependence of SOC decomposition. A further analysis of the incubation data indicated a power-law decrease of Q10 with increasing temperature. Our results suggested that the decomposition of organic carbon in fine-textured soils that are rich in clay or silt could be more sensitive to warming than those in coarse sandy soils and that SOC might be more vulnerable in boreal and temperate regions than in subtropical and tropical regions under future warming. PMID:24736659

  16. Differences in plant cover and species composition of semiarid grassland communities of Central Mexico and its effects on net ecosystem exchange

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delgado-Balbuena, J.; Arredondo, J. T.; Loescher, H. W.; Huber-Sannwald, E.; Chavez-Aguilar, G.; Luna-Luna, M.; Barretero-Hernandez, R.

    2012-12-01

    Changes in land use across the semiarid grasslands of Northern Mexico have driven a decline of plant cover and alteration of plant species composition. A number of different plant communities have resulted from these changes, however, their implications on the carbon cycle and regional carbon balance are still poorly understood. Here, we examined the effects of plant cover loss and changes in species composition on net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and their biotic and abiotic controls. Five typical plant community types were examined in the semiarid grassland by encasing the entire above-ground ecosystem using the geodesic dome method. Sites included an oat crop (crop), a moderately grazed grassland (moderate grazing), a 28 yr-old grazing exclosure (exclosure), an overgrazed site with low perennial grass cover (overgrazed), and an overgrazed site presenting shrub encroachment (shrub encroachment). For natural vegetation, rates of daytime NEE for sites with a high plant cover (exclosure and moderate grazing) were similar (P>0.05) as compared to sites with low plant cover (overgrazed and shrub encroachment). However, night time NEE (carbon loss) was more than double (P<0.05) for sites with high plant cover compared to sites with low cover, resulting into slight C sinks for the low plant cover sites and neutral or sources for the high plant cover sites on an annual basis. Differences in plant cover and its associated biomass defined the sensitivity to environmental controls. Thus, daytime NEE in low plant cover sites reached light compensation points at lower PPFD values than those from high plant cover sites. Differences in species composition did not influence NEE rates even though there were transient or permanent changes in C3 vs. C4 functional groups.

  17. The impacts of land-use change from grassland to bioenergy Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow on the crop and ecosystem greenhouse gas balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, Z. M.; Taylor, G.; Alberti, G.; Dondini, M.; Smith, P.

    2014-12-01

    The aim of this research is to better understand the greenhouse gas balance of land-use transition to bioenergy cropping systems in a UK context. Given limited land availability, addressing the food-energy-water nexus remains a challenge, and it is imperative that bioenergy crops are sited appropriately and that competition with food crops is minimised. Initial analyses included an extensive literature review and meta-analysis with a focus on the effects of land-use change to bioenergy on soil carbon and GHGs. This data mining exercise allowed us to understand the current state of the literature and identify key areas of research which needed to be addressed. Significant knowledge gaps were identified, with particular uncertainty around transitions from grasslands and transitions to short rotation forestry. A paired site experiment was established on a commercial SRC willow plantation and grassland to measure soil and ecosystem respiration. Initial results indicate that willow was a net sink for CO2 in comparison to grassland which was a net source of CO2. This provides evidence that the GHG balance of transition to SRC bioenergy willow will potentially result in increased soil carbon, in the long-term. The empirical findings from this study have been combined with modelled estimates for the site to both test and validate the ECOSSE model. Initial comparisons show that the model is able to accurately predict the respiration occurring at the field site, suggesting that it is a valuable approach for up-scaling from point sites such as this to wider geographical areas, and for considering future climate scenarios. The spatial modelling outputs will be used to build a modelling tool for non-specialist users which will determine the GHG and soil carbon effects of changing land to bioenergy for UK. This work is based on the Ecosystem Land Use Modelling & Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial (ELUM) project, which was commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

  18. Response of carbon dioxide emissions to sheep grazing and N application in an alpine grassland - Part 2: Effect of N application

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gong, Y. M.; Mohammat, A.; Liu, X. J.; Li, K. H.; Christie, P.; Fang, F.; Song, W.; Chang, Y. H.; Han, W. X.; Lü, X. T.; Liu, Y. Y.; Hu, Y. K.

    2014-04-01

    Widespread nitrogen (N) enrichment resulting from anthropogenic activities has led to great changes in carbon exchange between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. Grassland is one of the most sensitive ecosystems to N deposition. However, the effect of N deposition on ecosystem respiration (Re) in grasslands has been conducted mainly in temperate grasslands, which are limited largely by water availability, with few studies focused on alpine grasslands that are primarily constrained by low temperatures. Failure to assess the magnitude of the response in Re outside the growing season (NGS) in previous studies also limits our understanding of carbon exchange under N deposition conditions. To address these knowledge gaps we used a combination of static closed chambers and gas chromatography in an alpine grassland from 2010 to 2011 to test the effects of N application on ecosystem respiration (Re) both inside and outside the growing season. There was no significant change in CO2 emissions under N application. Re outside the growing season was at least equivalent to 9.4% of the CO2 fluxes during the growing season (GS). Annual Re was calculated to be 279.0-403.9 g CO2 m-2 yr-1 in Bayinbuluk alpine grasslands. In addition, our results indicate that soil temperature was the dominant abiotic factor regulating variation in Re in the cold and arid environment. Our results suggest that short-term N additions exert no significant effect on CO2 emissions in alpine grassland.

  19. Testing mechanisms of N-enrichment-induced species loss in a semiarid Inner Mongolia grassland: critical thresholds and implications for long-term ecosystem responses.

    PubMed

    Lan, Zhichun; Bai, Yongfei

    2012-11-19

    The increase in nutrient availability as a consequence of elevated nitrogen (N) deposition is an important component of global environmental change. This is likely to substantially affect the functioning and provisioning of ecosystem services by drylands, where water and N are often limited. We tested mechanisms of chronic N-enrichment-induced plant species loss in a 10-year field experiment with six levels of N addition rate. Our findings on a semi-arid grassland in Inner Mongolia demonstrated that: (i) species richness (SR) declined by 16 per cent even at low levels of additional N (1.75 g N m(-2) yr(-1)), and 50-70% species were excluded from plots which received high N input (10.5-28 g N m(-2) yr(-1)); (ii) the responses of SR and above-ground biomass (AGB) to N were greater in wet years than dry years; (iii) N addition increased the inter-annual variations in AGB, reduced the drought resistance of production and hence diminished ecosystem stability; (iv) the critical threshold for chronic N-enrichment-induced reduction in SR differed between common and rare species, and increased over the time of the experiment owing to the loss of the more sensitive species. These results clearly indicate that both abundance and functional trait-based mechanisms operate simultaneously on N-induced species loss. The low initial abundance and low above-ground competitive ability may be attributable to the loss of rare species. However, shift from below-ground competition to above-ground competition and recruitment limitation are likely to be the key mechanisms for the loss of abundant species, with soil acidification being less important. Our results have important implications for understanding the impacts of N deposition and global climatic change (e.g. change in precipitation regimes) on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Inner Mongolian grassland and beyond. PMID:23045710

  20. Super High Resolution Airborne Remote Sensing for Evaluating the Decomposition Function of Ecosystem of Temperate Forest in Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, R.; Fadaei, H.; Ishii, R.; Nagai, S.; Okabe, K.; Yamashita, S.; Taki, H.; Honda, Y.; Kajiwara, K.

    2013-12-01

    Forest ecosystem is sustained by nutrients cycle among trees, floor vegetation, litter, and soil etc. One of important driving mechanisms for such nutrients cycle is the decomposition of the fallen trees by fungi, and this process would play an important function in the biogeochemical cycle of the environment. This study challenged to identify the position and size of fallen trees in a temperate forest in Japan based on super high resolution (less than 1cm) visual images taken from a camera aboard a helicopter. Field campaign was carried out on November 29, 2011 at the experimental forest (6 ha, 300m x 200m, 36 56' 10.5'N, 140 35' 16.5'E) in Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki, Japan. According to the census survey of the forest, deciduous broad leave trees are dominant. There was almost no leaf in the forest crown on the day of the field campaign, and that brought a high visibility of the floor from the sky. The topography of the forest site is characterized by a small valley with a river flowing north to south at its bottom. An unmanned helicopter (Yamaha RMAX G1) flew over the forest in north-south lines with a speed of 3m/s at height of 30-70m from the ground surface. The interval between adjacent two lines was 20m. A consumer grade camera (Canon EOS Kiss X5 with 55mm lens; 5184 x 3456 pixels) was fixed with the vertically looking down direction on the helicopter. The camera took forest images with 5 seconds interval. The helicopter was also equipped by a laser range finder (LRF) (SkEyesBOX MP-1). Based on the point cloud created by the LRF measurement, 1 x 1m digital elevation model (DEM) of the ground surface was established by finding the lowest point value of the point cloud in each 1 x 1m grid of the forest. The forest was covered by 211 images taken by the camera. Each image was orthorectified by using the DEM and the data of the position and orientations of the helicopter, and then they were mosaicked into one image. Fallen trees with the diameter more than 10cm were targeted for the analysis, and we confirmed that some of fallen tree was easily to identify visually, but some of them was hard to identify because the branch and trunk of trees hided fallen trees. We are going develop the automatic detection algorithm by decision tree and object-based classifications, and then validate the algorithm with in situ information.

  1. Effects of land use and fine-scale environmental heterogeneity on net ecosystem production over a temperate coniferous forest landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turner, David P.; Guzy, Michael; Lefsky, Michael A.; van Tuyl, Steve; Sun, Osbert; Daly, Chris; Law, Beverly E.

    2003-04-01

    In temperate coniferous forests, spatial variation in net ecosystem production (NEP) is often associated with variation in stand age and heterogeneity in environmental factors such as soil depth. However, coarse spatial resolution analyses used to evaluate the terrestrial contribution to global NEP do not generally incorporate these effects. In this study, a fine-scale (25 m grid) analysis of NEP over a 164-km2 area of productive coniferous forests in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States was made to evaluate the effects of including fine scale information in landscape-scale NEP assessments. The Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) sensor resolved five cover classes in the study area and further differentiated between young, mature and old-growth conifer stands. ETM+ was also used to map current leaf area index (LAI) based on an empirical relationship of observed LAI to spectral vegetation indices. A daily time step climatology, based on 18 years of meteorological observations, was distributed (1 km resolution) over the mountainous terrain of the study area using the DAYMET model. Estimates of carbon pools and flux associated with soil, litter, coarse woody debris and live trees were then generated by running a carbon cycle model (Biome-BGC) to a state that reflected the current successional status and LAI of each grid cell, as indicated by the remote sensing observations. Estimated annual NEP for 1997 over the complete study area averaged 230 g C m-2, with most of the area acting as a carbon sink. The area-wide NEP is strongly positive because of reduced harvesting in the last decade and the recovery of areas harvested between 1940 and 1990. The average value was greater than would be indicated if the entire area was assumed to be a mature conifer stand, as in a coarse-scale analysis. The mean NEP varied interannually by over a factor of two. This variation was 38% less than the interannual variation for a single point. The integration of process models with ground surface information provided by remote sensing provides a framework for investigating mechanisms regulating NEP and evaluating coarse resolution globally applied NEP scaling efforts.

  2. Consequences of cool-season drought induced plant mortality to Chihuahuan Desert grassland ecosystem and soil respiration dynamics

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Global climate change is predicted to increase the severity and frequency of cool-season drought across the arid Southwest US. We quantified net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange (NEE), ecosystem respiration (Reco), and gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP) in response to interannual seasonal precip...

  3. Elevated CO2 and warming influence ecosystem carbon dynamics and evapotranspiration in a semi-arid grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecosystem carbon dynamics are sensitive to rising CO2 concentrations and warming, but the combined effects of these global change drivers on ecosystem carbon uptake and loss remain a critical uncertainty. Northern mixed grass prairie is expected to be among the most responsive ecosystems to the effe...

  4. Plant diversity predicts beta but not alpha diversity of soil microbes across grasslands worldwide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Prober, Suzanne M.; Leff, Jonathan W.; Bates, Scott T.; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W. Stanley; Lind, Eric M.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Adler, Peter B.; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Cleland, Elsa E.; DeCrappeo, Nicole; DeLorenze, Elizabeth; Hagenah, Nicole; Hautier, Yann; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Kirkman, Kevin P.; Knops, Johannes M. H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Stevens, Carly J.; Williams, Ryan J.; Fierer, Noah

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground–belowground interactions exert critical controls on the composition and function of terrestrial ecosystems, yet the fundamental relationships between plant diversity and soil microbial diversity remain elusive. Theory predicts predominantly positive associations but tests within single sites have shown variable relationships, and associations between plant and microbial diversity across broad spatial scales remain largely unexplored. We compared the diversity of plant, bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in one hundred and forty-five 1 m2 plots across 25 temperate grassland sites from four continents. Across sites, the plant alpha diversity patterns were poorly related to those observed for any soil microbial group. However, plant beta diversity (compositional dissimilarity between sites) was significantly correlated with the beta diversity of bacterial and fungal communities, even after controlling for environmental factors. Thus, across a global range of temperate grasslands, plant diversity can predict patterns in the composition of soil microbial communities, but not patterns in alpha diversity.

  5. Effects of winter temperature and summer drought on net ecosystem exchange of CO2 in a temperate peatland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helfter, Carole; Campbell, Claire; Dinsmore, Kerry; Drewer, Julia; Coyle, Mhairi; Anderson, Margaret; Skiba, Ute; Nemitz, Eiko; Billett, Michael; Sutton, Mark

    2014-05-01

    Northern peatlands are one of the most important global sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2); their ability to sequester C is a natural feedback mechanism controlled by climatic variables such as precipitation, temperature, length of growing season and period of snow cover. In the UK it has been predicted that peatlands could become a net source of carbon in response to climate change with climate models predicting a rise in global temperature of ca. 3oC between 1961-1990 and 2100. Land-atmosphere exchange of CO2in peatlands exhibits marked seasonal and inter-annual variations, which have significant short- and long-term effects on carbon sink strength. Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 has been measured continuously by eddy-covariance (EC) at Auchencorth Moss (55 47'32 N, 3 14'35 W, 267 m a.s.l.), a temperate peatland in central Scotland, since 2002. Auchencorth Moss is a low-lying, ombrotrophic peatland situated ca. 20 km south-west of Edinburgh. Peat depth ranges from 5 m and the site has a mean annual precipitation of 1155 mm. The vegetation present within the flux measurement footprint comprises mixed grass species, heather and substantial areas of moss species (Sphagnum spp. and Polytrichum spp.). The EC system consists of a LiCOR 7000 closed-path infrared gas analyser for the simultaneous measurement of CO2 and water vapour and of a Gill Windmaster Pro ultrasonic anemometer. Over the 10 year period, the site was a consistent yet variable sink of CO2 ranging from -34.1 to -135.9 g CO2-C m-2 yr-1 (mean of -69.1 33.6 g CO2-C m-2 yr-1). Inter-annual variability in NEE was positively correlated to the length of the growing seasons and mean winter air temperature explained 93% of the variability in summertime sink strength, indicating a phenological memory-effect. Plant development and productivity were stunted by colder winters causing a net reduction in the annual carbon sink strength of this peatland where autotrophic processes are thought to be dominant. The site is wet throughout most of the year (water table depth < 5 cm below the peat surface), but there are indications that drought enhanced heterotrophic respiration and depressed gross primary productivity (GPP); a sustained drought during the summer of 2010 (maximum water table depth 36 cm below surface) was accompanied by a two-fold increase in total respiration and a 30% decrease in GPP. The cold preceding winter could also have contributed to lowering GPP, and disentangling the confounding adverse effects of drought and winter climate on GPP is thus not straightforward. Whilst 2010 had the smallest NEE in the 2002-2012 period, the largest values were found for years with warm winters and relatively wet growing seasons. A simple parameterisation of the effects of PAR on GPP of and air temperature on ecosystem respiration, suggest that a rise in air temperature of 1 C between 2012 and 2065 could lead to a 73% increase in the carbon sink strength of the peatland, provided hydrological conditions remain unchanged. This demonstrates that climate change is not likely to change this peatland into a carbon source by 2100.

  6. Seasonal and Inter-Annual Patterns in Ecosystem-Scale Photosynthesis and Respiration in a Temperate Forest Revealed by Isotopic Partitioning of NEE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wehr, R. A.; Munger, J. W.; McManus, J. B.; Nelson, D. D.; Zahniser, M. S.; Wofsy, S. C.; Saleska, S. R.

    2014-12-01

    Measurements of the isotopic composition of the net ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of CO2 (NEE) can be used to partition that exchange into its photosynthetic and respiratory components on an hourly basis, without the need for a priori assumptions about the responses of those components to environmental drivers. This method relies on photosynthesis and respiration having distinct isotopic signatures, which they generally do because the photosynthetic signature varies hourly (e.g. with light availability), whereas the respiratory signature is governed mostly by soil substrate composition and so varies only daily or weekly. Since 2011, we have been measuring the isotopic composition of NEE in a temperate deciduous forest by eddy covariance, using a quantum cascade laser spectrometer. Previously presented isotopic partitioning of the 2011 growing season indicated that ecosystem photosynthesis became more efficient through the summer (with respect to light and water use) and that during the hot, dry period in July, daytime ecosystem respiration was more strongly limited by soil moisture than was nighttime respiration, leading standard non-isotopic partitioning to substantially overestimate daytime ecosystem respiration and hence photosynthesis. Here we extend our analysis to span the three-year period from 2011 through 2013, taking advantage of large inter-annual differences in the seasonal pattern of soil moisture at the forest to test the prediction that standard partitioning exaggerates daytime ecosystem respiration and photosynthesis under drought conditions, and to further explore the mechanisms behind the apparent increase in photosynthetic efficiency through the summer.

  7. Leaf Area Index Drives Soil Water Availability and Extreme Drought-Related Mortality under Elevated CO2 in a Temperate Grassland Model System

    PubMed Central

    Manea, Anthony; Leishman, Michelle R.

    2014-01-01

    The magnitude and frequency of climatic extremes, such as drought, are predicted to increase under future climate change conditions. However, little is known about how other factors such as CO2 concentration will modify plant community responses to these extreme climatic events, even though such modifications are highly likely. We asked whether the response of grasslands to repeat extreme drought events is modified by elevated CO2, and if so, what are the underlying mechanisms? We grew grassland mesocosms consisting of 10 co-occurring grass species common to the Cumberland Plain Woodland of western Sydney under ambient and elevated CO2 and subjected them to repeated extreme drought treatments. The 10 species included a mix of C3, C4, native and exotic species. We hypothesized that a reduction in the stomatal conductance of the grasses under elevated CO2 would be offset by increases in the leaf area index thus the retention of soil water and the consequent vulnerability of the grasses to extreme drought would not differ between the CO2 treatments. Our results did not support this hypothesis: soil water content was significantly lower in the mesocosms grown under elevated CO2 and extreme drought-related mortality of the grasses was greater. The C4 and native grasses had significantly higher leaf area index under elevated CO2 levels. This offset the reduction in the stomatal conductance of the exotic grasses as well as increased rainfall interception, resulting in reduced soil water content in the elevated CO2 mesocosms. Our results suggest that projected increases in net primary productivity globally of grasslands in a high CO2 world may be limited by reduced soil water availability in the future. PMID:24632832

  8. Leaf area index drives soil water availability and extreme drought-related mortality under elevated CO2 in a temperate grassland model system.

    PubMed

    Manea, Anthony; Leishman, Michelle R

    2014-01-01

    The magnitude and frequency of climatic extremes, such as drought, are predicted to increase under future climate change conditions. However, little is known about how other factors such as CO2 concentration will modify plant community responses to these extreme climatic events, even though such modifications are highly likely. We asked whether the response of grasslands to repeat extreme drought events is modified by elevated CO2, and if so, what are the underlying mechanisms? We grew grassland mesocosms consisting of 10 co-occurring grass species common to the Cumberland Plain Woodland of western Sydney under ambient and elevated CO2 and subjected them to repeated extreme drought treatments. The 10 species included a mix of C3, C4, native and exotic species. We hypothesized that a reduction in the stomatal conductance of the grasses under elevated CO2 would be offset by increases in the leaf area index thus the retention of soil water and the consequent vulnerability of the grasses to extreme drought would not differ between the CO2 treatments. Our results did not support this hypothesis: soil water content was significantly lower in the mesocosms grown under elevated CO2 and extreme drought-related mortality of the grasses was greater. The C4 and native grasses had significantly higher leaf area index under elevated CO2 levels. This offset the reduction in the stomatal conductance of the exotic grasses as well as increased rainfall interception, resulting in reduced soil water content in the elevated CO2 mesocosms. Our results suggest that projected increases in net primary productivity globally of grasslands in a high CO2 world may be limited by reduced soil water availability in the future. PMID:24632832

  9. Adaptive Rule-Based Piece-Wise Regression Models for Estimating Regional Net Ecosystem Exchange in Grassland and Shrubland Ecoregions Using Regional and Flux Tower Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fosnight, E. A.; Wylie, B. K.; Zhang, L.

    2005-12-01

    The scientific understanding of the global carbon cycle requires quantitative documentation, monitoring, and projection of carbon stocks and fluxes at various scales across the landscape. The challenge is to develop predictive models using carbon flux towers at site-specific locations, and to extrapolate these models to landscapes and regions. We use remote sensing and national climate and soil databases within data-driven models to estimate carbon fluxes. To accommodate the study of coupled human-environmental relationships and their influences on carbon dynamics, a coherent suite of models is being developed for agricultural, wooded and wetland ecosystems within predominantly grassland and shrubland ecoregions. In previous work, we have mapped carbon fluxes in terms of Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE), Gross Primary Production (GPP), and Respiration (Re) in the Northern Great Plains, the Sagebrush Steppes and the Kazakh Steppes at 1-km resolution and 10-day time steps. We now extend this work beyond fairly uniform ecological conditions to accommodate more complex spatial mixtures of ecological types within ecoregions. The models need to adapt to both the complexity of the environmental variables and the land cover patterns. Our rule-based models adapt to local climatic, soil and phenology through the definition of piece-wise regression models. A suite of such models is needed to capture the phenologic and climatic variability across the wide range of shrubland and grassland ecoregions that exist. The result is a multi-year time series of 1-km maps of carbon flux that are suitable for trend and anomaly analysis. We seek sensitive models that permit the effective study of localized carbon dynamics while avoiding over-fitting the available carbon flux tower measurement data. Two critical components of the project are (1) sensitivity and cross-validation studies to evaluate the internal consistencies of the models and (2) intercomparison studies to help isolate methodological artifacts from variability resulting from climate and management of the land.

  10. The origin of grasslands in the temperate forest zone of east-central Europe: long-term legacy of climate and human impact

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuneš, Petr; Svobodová-Svitavská, Helena; Kolář, Jan; Hajnalová, Mária; Abraham, Vojtěch; Macek, Martin; Tkáč, Peter; Szabó, Péter

    2015-05-01

    The post-glacial fate of central European grasslands has stimulated palaeoecological debates for a century. Some argued for the continuous survival of open land, while others claimed that closed forest had developed during the Middle Holocene. The reasons behind stability or changes in the proportion of open land are also unclear. We aim to reconstruct regional vegetation openness and test the effects of climate and human impact on vegetation change throughout the Holocene. We present a newly dated pollen record from north-western fringes of the Pannonian Plain, east-central Europe, and reconstruct Holocene regional vegetation development by the REVEALS model for 27 pollen-equivalent taxa. Estimated vegetation is correlated in the same area with a human activity model based on all available archaeological information and a macrophysical climate model. The palaeovegetation record indicates the continuous presence of open land throughout the Holocene. Grasslands and open woodlands were probably maintained by local arid climatic conditions during the early Holocene delaying the spread of deciduous (oak) forests. Significantly detectable human-made landscape transformation started only after 2000 BC. Our analyses suggest that Neolithic people spread into a landscape that was already open. Humans probably contributed to the spread of oak, and influenced the dynamics of hazel and hornbeam.

  11. The importance of phenology for the evaluation of impact of climate change on growth of boreal, temperate and Mediterranean forests ecosystems: an overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kramer, K.; Leinonen, I.; Loustau, D.

    An overview is presented of the phenological models relevant for boreal coniferous, temperate-zone deciduous and Mediterranean coniferous forest ecosystems. The phenology of the boreal forests is mainly driven by temperature, affecting the timing of the start of the growing season and thereby its duration, and the level of frost hardiness and thereby the reduction of foliage area and photosynthetic capacity by severe frost events. The phenology of temperate-zone forests is also mainly driven by temperature. Since temperate-zone forests are mostly mixed-species deciduous forests, differences in phenological response may affect competition between tree species. The phenology of Mediterranean coniferous forests is mainly driven by water availability, affecting the development of leaf area, rather than the timing of phenological events. These phenological models were subsequently coupled to the process-based forest model FORGRO to evaluate the effect of different climate change scenarios on growth. The results indicate that the phenology of each of the forest types significantly affects the growth response to a given climate change scenario. The absolute responses presented in this study should, however, be used with caution as there are still uncertainties in the phenological models, the growth models, the parameter values obtained and the climate change scenarios used. Future research should attempt to reduce these uncertainties. It is recommended that phenological models that describe the mechanisms by which seasonality in climatic drivers affects the phenological aspects of trees should be developed and carefully tested. Only by using such models may we make an assessment of the impact of climate change on the functioning and productivity of different forest ecosystems.

  12. Concentrations and δ²H values of cuticular n-alkanes vary significantly among plant organs, species and habitats in grasses from an alpine and a temperate European grassland.

    PubMed

    Gamarra, Bruno; Kahmen, Ansgar

    2015-08-01

    n-Alkanes are long-chained hydrocarbons contained in the cuticle of terrestrial plants. Their hydrogen isotope ratios (δ(2)H) have been used as a proxy for environmental and plant ecophysiological processes. Calibration studies designed to resolve the mechanisms that determine the δ(2)H values of n-alkanes have exclusively focused on n-alkanes derived from leaves. It is, however, unclear in which quantities n-alkanes are also produced by other plant organs such as roots or inflorescences, or whether different plant organs produce distinct n-alkane δ(2)H values. To resolve these open questions, we sampled leaves, sheaths, stems, inflorescences and roots from a total of 15 species of European C3 grasses in an alpine and a temperate grassland in Switzerland. Our data show slightly increased n-alkane concentrations and n-alkane δ(2)H values in the alpine compared to the temperate grassland. More importantly, inflorescences had typically much higher n-alkane concentrations than other organs while roots had very low n-alkane concentrations. Most interestingly, the δ(2)H values of the carbon autonomous plant organs leaves, sheaths and stems were in general depleted compared to the overall mean δ(2)H value of a species, while non-carbon autonomous organs such as roots and inflorescences show δ(2)H values that are higher compared to the overall mean δ(2)H value of a species. We attribute organ-specific δ(2)H values to differences in the H-NADPH biosynthetic origin in different plant organs as a function of their carbon relationships. Finally, we employed simple mass balance calculations to show that leaves are in fact the main source of n-alkanes in the sediment. As such, studies assessing the environmental and physiological drivers of n-alkanes that focus on leaves produce relationships that can be employed to interpret the δ(2)H values of n-alkanes derived from sediments. This is despite the significant differences that we found among the δ(2)H values in the different plant organs. Our study brings new insights into the natural variability of n-alkane δ(2)H values and has implications for the interpretation of n-alkane δ(2)H values in ecological and paleohydrological research. PMID:25761443

  13. Differences in plant cover and species composition of semiarid grassland communities of central Mexico and its effects on net ecosystem exchange

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delgado-Balbuena, J.; Arredondo, J. T.; Loescher, H. W.; Huber-Sannwald, E.; Chavez-Aguilar, G.; Luna-Luna, M.; Barretero-Hernandez, R.

    2013-07-01

    Changes in land use across the semiarid grasslands of northern Mexico have driven a decline of plant cover and alteration of plant species composition. A number of different plant communities have resulted from these changes. Their implications, however, on the carbon (C) cycle and regional carbon balance are still poorly understood. Here, we examined the effects of plant cover loss and changes in species composition on net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and their biotic and abiotic controls. NEE was measured in five representative plant community types within a semiarid grassland by temporarily enclosing the entire aboveground ecosystem using a chamber method (i.e., geodesic dome). Sites included an oat crop (crop), a moderately grazed grassland (moderate grazing), a 28 yr-old grazing exclosure (exclosure), an overgrazed site with low perennial grass cover (overgrazed), and an overgrazed site presenting shrub encroachment (shrub encroachment). For natural vegetation, rates of standardized daytime NEE for sites with a high plant cover (exclosure and moderate grazing) were similar (P > 0.05) as compared to sites with low plant cover (overgrazed and shrub encroachment). However, yearly total nighttime NEE (carbon loss) was more than double (P < 0.05) for sites with high plant cover compared to sites with low cover, resulting to slight C sinks for the low plant cover sites, and neutral or sources for the high plant cover sites as accounted by daytime and nighttime NEE annual balance. Differences in plant cover and its associated biomass defined the sensitivity to environmental controls. Thus, daytime NEE in low plant cover sites reached light compensation points at lower photosynthetic photon flux density than those from high plant cover sites. Differences in species composition did not influence NEE rates even though there were transient or permanent changes in C3 vs. C4 functional groups. Our results allowed the detection of the large variability and contribution of different plant communities to regional C balance in patchy landscapes. Identification of the role of landscape patches in the regional C balance as either sinks or sources may provide tools allowing land use management strategies that could favor C uptake in patchy landscapes.

  14. The CROSTVOC project - an integrated approach to study the effect of stress on BVOC exchange between agricultural crops and grassland ecosystems and the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amelynck, Crist; Heinesch, Bernard; Aubinet, Marc; Bachy, Aurlie; Delaplace, Pierre; Digrado, Anthony; du Jardin, Patrick; Fauconnier, Marie-Laure; Mozaffar, Ahsan; Schoon, Niels

    2015-04-01

    Global changes in atmospheric composition and climate are expected to affect BVOC exchange between terrestrial vegetation and the atmosphere through changes in the drivers of constitutive BVOC emissions and by increases in frequency and intensity of biotic or abiotic stress episodes. Indeed, several studies indicate changes in the emission patterns of constitutive BVOCs and emission of stress-induced BVOCs following heat, drought and oxidative stress, amongst others. Relating changes in BVOC emissions to the occurrence of one or multiple stressors in natural environmental conditions is not straightforward and only few field studies have dealt with it, especially for agricultural crop and grassland ecosystems. The CROSTVOC project aims to contribute in filling this knowledge gap in three ways. Firstly, it aims at performing long-term BVOC emission field measurements from maize (Zea mays L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), two important crop species on the global scale, and from grassland. This should lead to a better characterization of (mainly oxygenated) BVOC emissions from these understudied ecosystems, allowing a better representation of those emissions in air quality and atmospheric chemistry and transport models. BVOC fluxes are obtained by the Disjunct Eddy Covariance by mass scanning (DEC-MS) technique, using a hs-PTR-MS instrument for BVOC analysis. Secondly, the eddy covariance BVOC flux measurements (especially at the grassland site) will be accompanied by ozone flux, chlorophyll fluorescence, photosynthesis and soil moisture measurements, amongst others, to allow linking alterations in BVOC emissions to stress episodes. Simultaneously, automated dynamic enclosures will be deployed in order to detect specific abiotic and biotic stress markers by PTR-MS and identify them unambiguously by GC-MS. Thirdly, the field measurements will be accompanied by laboratory BVOC flux measurements in an environmental chamber in order to better disentangle the responses of the BVOC emissions to driving factors that co-occur in field conditions and to determine the influence of single abiotic stressors on BVOC emissions. Next to a general presentation, some preliminary results of the project will be shown.

  15. Elevated carbon dioxide alters impacts of precipitation pulses on ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration in a semi-arid grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Predicting net carbon (C) balance under future global change scenarios requires a comprehensive understanding of photosynthetic (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Re) responses to atmospheric CO2 concentration and water availability. We measured net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE), GPP and Re prior to...

  16. Community structure, trophic position and reproductive mode of soil and bark-living oribatid mites in an alpine grassland ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Schatz, Heinrich; Maraun, Mark

    2010-01-01

    The community structure, stable isotope ratios (15N/14N, 13C/12C) and reproductive mode of oribatid mites (Acari, Oribatida) were investigated in four habitats (upper tree bark, lower tree bark, dry grassland soil, forest soil) at two sites in the Central Alps (Tyrol, Austria). We hypothesized that community structure and trophic position of oribatid mites of dry grassland soils and bark of trees are similar since these habitats have similar abiotic characteristics (open, dry) compared with forest soil. Further, we hypothesized that derived taxa of oribatid mites reproducing sexually dominate on the bark of trees since species in this habitat consume living resources such as lichens. In contrast to our hypothesis, the community structure of oribatid mites differed among grassland, forest and bark indicating the existence of niche differentiation in the respective oribatid mite species. In agreement with our hypothesis, sexually reproducing taxa of oribatid mites dominated on the bark of trees whereas parthenogenetic species were more frequent in soil. Several species of bark-living oribatid mites had stable isotope signatures that were similar to lichens indicating that they feed on lichens. However, nine species that frequently occurred on tree bark did not feed on lichens according to their stable isotope signatures. No oribatid mite species could be ascribed to moss feeding. We conclude that sexual reproduction served as preadaptation for oribatid mites allowing them to exploit new habitats and new resources on the bark of trees. Abiotic factors likely are of limited importance for bark-living oribatid mites since harsh abiotic conditions are assumed to favor parthenogenesis. PMID:20490626

  17. Different Land Use Intensities in Grassland Ecosystems Drive Ecology of Microbial Communities Involved in Nitrogen Turnover in Soil

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Schning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM), intensely used mown pastures (IP) and extensively used pastures (EP), respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK). The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation) might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity. PMID:24039974

  18. The effects of climatic and CO[sub 2] changes on grassland storage of soil carbon

    SciTech Connect

    Ojima, D.S.; Parton, W.J. ); Schimel, D.S. ); Scurlock, J.M.O. )

    1993-06-01

    We present results from analysis of the sensitivity of global grassland ecosystems to modified climate. We assess over 30 grassland sites from around the world under two different GCM double CO[sub 2] climates. The results indicate that soil C losses occur in Ar grassland regions (losses range from 1.6 to 8.8% of current soil C levels for the surface 20 cm). The Eurasian grasslands lost the greatest amount of soil C ([approximately]700 g C/m[sub 2]) and the other temperate grasslands lost approximately half this amount. The tropical grasslands and savannas lost the least amount of soil C per unit area (ranging from no change to 130 g C/m[sub 2] losses). Plant production varies according to modifications in rainfall amounts under the altered climate and to altered nitrogen mineralization rates. The two GCM's differed in predictions of rainfall with a doubling of CO[sub 2], and this difference is reflected in plant production. Soil decomposition rates responded most predictably to changes in temperature. CO[sub 2] fertilization effects on soil C loss and plant production tended to reduce the net impact of climate alterations.

  19. Assessment of effects of climate change and grazing activity on grassland yield in the Three Rivers Headwaters Region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China.

    PubMed

    Fan, Jiang-Wen; Shao, Quan-Qin; Liu, Ji-Yuan; Wang, Jun-Bang; Harris, Warwick; Chen, Zhuo-Qi; Zhong, Hua-Ping; Xu, Xin-Liang; Liu, Rong-Gao

    2010-11-01

    Inter-annual dynamics of grassland yield of the Three Rivers Headwaters Region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China in 1988-2005 was analyzed using the GLO-PEM model, and the herbage supply function was evaluated. The results indicate that while grassland yield in the region showed marked inter-annual fluctuation there was a trend of increased yield over the 18years of the study. This increase was especially marked for Alpine Desert and Alpine Steppe and in the west of the region. The inter-annual coefficient of variation of productivity increased from the east to the west of the region and from Marsh, Alpine Meadow, Alpine Steppe, Temperate Steppe to Alpine Desert grasslands. Climate change, particularly increased temperatures in the region during the study period, is suggested to be the main cause of increased grassland yield. However, reduced grazing pressure and changes to the seasonal pattern of grazing could also have influenced the grassland yield trend. These findings indicate the importance of understanding the function of the grassland ecosystems in the region and the effect of climate change on them especially in regard to their use to supply forage for animal production. Reduction of grazing pressure, especially during winter, is indicated to be critical for the restoration and sustainable use of grassland ecosystems in the region. PMID:20041346

  20. Grazing effects on belowground C and N stocks along a network of cattle exclosures in temperate and subtropical grasslands of South America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    PiEiro, Gervasio; Paruelo, Jos M.; JobbGy, Esteban G.; Jackson, Robert B.; Oesterheld, Martin

    2009-06-01

    We evaluated the effects of grazing on C and N belowground pools by comparing 15 grazing-exclosure pairs across the Ro de la Plata grasslands of Uruguay and Argentina. We measured C and N pools of belowground biomass, particulate organic matter (POM), and the mineral associated organic matter (MAOM) in the top meter of the soil. Grazing exclusion in the Ro de la Plata grasslands promoted (1) decreased belowground biomass stocks across all sites, (2) increased soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil organic nitrogen (SON) stocks in upland soils, and (3) decreased stocks in shallow and lowland soils. In all cases, SOC and SON variations were largely derived by changes in MAOM stocks that maintained their C:N ratios unchanged. In contrast, stocks of the labile POM fractions changed little, but C:N ratios of these fractions decreased after grazing removal. We hypothesize that changes in soil organic matter (SOM) contents between grazed and ungrazed stands result from the balance between changes in belowground N allocation patterns (root N retention hypothesis) and the ability of the soil to retain the extra N available after the exclusion of herbivores and the cessation of volatilization and leaching from urine and dung patches (N loss hypothesis). On the basis of our results we suggest that the relative importance of these two cooccurring mechanisms will shape grazing effects on SOM stocks, depending on soil properties, including texture, pH and soil depth, and vegetation type, particularly allocation patterns and C:N ratios of different plant species.

  1. Climate warming increases biodiversity of small rodents by favoring rare or less abundant species in a grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Guangshun; Liu, Jun; Xu, Lei; Yu, Guirui; He, Honglin; Zhang, Zhibin

    2013-06-01

    Our Earth is facing the challenge of accelerating climate change, which imposes a great threat to biodiversity. Many published studies suggest that climate warming may cause a dramatic decline in biodiversity, especially in colder and drier regions. In this study, we investigated the effects of temperature, precipitation and a normalized difference vegetation index on biodiversity indices of rodent communities in the current or previous year for both detrended and nondetrended data in semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia during 1982-2006. Our results demonstrate that temperature showed predominantly positive effects on the biodiversity of small rodents; precipitation showed both positive and negative effects; a normalized difference vegetation index showed positive effects; and cross-correlation function values between rodent abundance and temperature were negatively correlated with rodent abundance. Our results suggest that recent climate warming increased the biodiversity of small rodents by providing more benefits to population growth of rare or less abundant species than that of more abundant species in Inner Mongolia grassland, which does not support the popular view that global warming would decrease biodiversity in colder and drier regions. We hypothesized that higher temperatures might benefit rare or less abundant species (with smaller populations and more folivorous diets) by reducing the probability of local extinction and/or by increasing herbaceous food resources. PMID:23731812

  2. Development of simplified ecosystem models for applications in Earth system studies: The Century experience

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parton, William J.; Ojima, Dennis S.; Schimel, David S.; Kittel, Timothy G. F.

    1992-01-01

    During the past decade, a growing need to conduct regional assessments of long-term trends of ecosystem behavior and the technology to meet this need have converged. The Century model is the product of research efforts initially intended to develop a general model of plant-soil ecosystem dynamics for the North American central grasslands. This model is now being used to simulate plant production, nutrient cycling, and soil organic matter dynamics for grassland, crop, forest, and shrub ecosystems in various regions of the world, including temperate and tropical ecosystems. This paper will focus on the philosophical approach used to develop the structure of Century. The steps included were model simplification, parameterization, and testing. In addition, the importance of acquiring regional data bases for model testing and the present regional application of Century in the Great Plains, which focus on regional ecosystem dynamics and the effect of altering environmental conditions, are discussed.

  3. Warmer temperatures stimulate respiration and reduce net ecosystem productivity in a northern Great Plains grassland: Analysis of CO2 exchange in automatic chambers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flanagan, L. B.

    2013-12-01

    The interacting effects of altered temperature and precipitation are expected to have significant consequences for ecosystem net carbon storage. Here I report the results of an experiment that evaluated the effects of elevated temperature and altered precipitation on ecosystem CO2 exchange in a northern Great Plains grassland, near Lethbridge, Alberta Canada. Open-top chambers were used to establish an experiment in 2012 with three treatments (control, warmed, warmed plus 50% of normal precipitation input). A smaller experiment with only the two temperature treatments (control and warmed) was conducted in 2013. Continuous half-hourly net CO2 exchange measurements were made using nine automatic chambers during May-October in both years. My objectives were to determine the sensitivity of the ecosystem carbon budget to temperature and moisture manipulations, and to test for direct and indirect effects of the environmental changes on ecosystem CO2 exchange. The experimental manipulations resulted primarily in a significant increase in air temperature in the warmed treatment plots. A cumulative net loss of carbon or negative net ecosystem productivity (NEP) occurred during May through September in the warmed treatment (NEP = -659 g C m-2), while in the control treatment there was a cumulative net gain of carbon (NEP = +50 g C m-2). An eddy covariance system that operated at the site, over a footprint region that was not influenced by the experimental treatments, also showed a net gain of carbon by the ecosystem. The reduced NEP was due to higher plant and soil respiration rates in the warmed treatment that appeared to be caused by a combination of: (i) higher carbon substrate availability indirectly stimulating soil respiration in the warmed relative to the control treatment, and (ii) a strong increase in leaf respiration likely caused by a shift in electron partitioning to the alternative pathway respiration in the warmed treatment, particularly when exposed to high light intensity. Increased partitioning to the alternative pathway respiration can act to alter redox status in mitochondria and reduce reactive oxygen species that may accumulate during periods of environmental stress.

  4. Some Insights on Grassland Health Assessment Based on Remote Sensing

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Dandan; Guo, Xulin

    2015-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems, which naturally occurs on all continents excluding Antarctica and provides both ecological and economic functions. The deterioration of natural grassland has been attracting many grassland researchers to monitor the grassland condition and dynamics for decades. Remote sensing techniques, which are advanced in dealing with the scale constraints of ecological research and provide temporal information, become a powerful approach of grassland ecosystem monitoring. So far, grassland health monitoring studies have mostly focused on different areas, for example, productivity evaluation, classification, vegetation dynamics, livestock carrying capacity, grazing intensity, natural disaster detecting, fire, climate change, coverage assessment and soil erosion. However, the grassland ecosystem is a complex system which is formed by soil, vegetation, wildlife and atmosphere. Thus, it is time to consider the grassland ecosystem as an entity synthetically and establish an integrated grassland health monitoring system to combine different aspects of the complex grassland ecosystem. In this review, current grassland health monitoring methods, including rangeland health assessment, ecosystem health assessment and grassland monitoring by remote sensing from different aspects, are discussed along with the future directions of grassland health assessment. PMID:25643060

  5. Some insights on grassland health assessment based on remote sensing.

    PubMed

    Xu, Dandan; Guo, Xulin

    2015-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems, which naturally occurs on all continents excluding Antarctica and provides both ecological and economic functions. The deterioration of natural grassland has been attracting many grassland researchers to monitor the grassland condition and dynamics for decades. Remote sensing techniques, which are advanced in dealing with the scale constraints of ecological research and provide temporal information, become a powerful approach of grassland ecosystem monitoring. So far, grassland health monitoring studies have mostly focused on different areas, for example, productivity evaluation, classification, vegetation dynamics, livestock carrying capacity, grazing intensity, natural disaster detecting, fire, climate change, coverage assessment and soil erosion. However, the grassland ecosystem is a complex system which is formed by soil, vegetation, wildlife and atmosphere. Thus, it is time to consider the grassland ecosystem as an entity synthetically and establish an integrated grassland health monitoring system to combine different aspects of the complex grassland ecosystem. In this review, current grassland health monitoring methods, including rangeland health assessment, ecosystem health assessment and grassland monitoring by remote sensing from different aspects, are discussed along with the future directions of grassland health assessment. PMID:25643060

  6. The impacts of land-use change from grassland to bioenergy Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) Willow on the crop and ecosystem greenhouse gas balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, Zoe M.; Alberti, Giorgio; Dondini, Marta; Smith, Pete; Taylor, Gail

    2014-05-01

    The aim of this research is to better understand the greenhouse gas balance of land-use transition to bioenergy cropping systems in a UK context. Given limited land availability, addressing the food-energy-water nexus remains a challenge, and it is imperative that bioenergy crops are sited appropriately and that competition with food crops is minimized. Here we present the results of a years' worth of soil and GHG data for a conversion from ex-set aside grassland to short rotation coppice (SRC) willow for bioenergy on a commercial scale. Initial results indicate that willow was a net sink for CO2 in comparison to grassland which was a net source of CO2. This provides evidence that the GHG balance of transitions to SRC bioenergy crops will potentially result in increased soil carbon. The empirical findings from this study have been combined with modelled estimates for the site to both test and validate the ECOSSE model. Initial comparisons show that the model is able to accurately predict the respiration occurring at the field site, suggesting that it is a valuable approach for up-scaling from point sites such as this to wider geographical areas and for considering future climate scenarios. The modelling output will also provide a user-friendly tool for land owners which will determine the GHG and soil carbon effects of changing land to bioenergy for UK. This work is based on the Ecosystem Land Use Modelling & Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial (ELUM) project, which was commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). This work was also jointly funded by the Carbo Biocrop Project.

  7. The likely impact of elevated [CO2], nitrogen deposition, increased temperature, and management on carbon sequestration in temperate and boreal forest ecosystems. A literature review

    SciTech Connect

    Norby, Richard J

    2007-01-01

    Temperate and Boreal forest ecosystems contain a large part of the carbon stored on land, both in the form of biomass and soil organic matter. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, increasing temperatures, elevated nitrogen deposition, and intensified management will change this carbon store. We review current literature and conclude that northern forests will acquire extra carbon as a result of an increasing length of the growing season (the main temperature response), higher leaf area index (the main nitrogen deposition response) and higher photosynthetic rate (the main [CO2] response). Simultaneously, forests will lose soil carbon as a result of higher temperatures, but nitrogen deposition may slow down soil carbon turnover. The prediction of the net effect is complicated because of a multitude of interactions between variables at different scales. Management has, however, a considerable potential for controlling the carbon store.

  8. Predicting the response of a temperate forest ecosystem to atmospheric CO{sub 2} increase. Annual report, 1992--1993

    SciTech Connect

    Bazzaz, F.A.

    1993-03-01

    This report summarizes the second year of research progress. Included are progress reports for the following studies: the responses of temperate forest tree to 3 years of exposure to elevated carbon dioxide, and high and low nutrient and light levels; pot-size limitations in carbon dioxide studies, interactive effects of carbon dioxide and soil moisture availability on tree seedling`s tissue water relations, growth, and niche characteristics; individual versus population responses to elevated carbon dioxide levels in two species of annual weeds; and the development of gypsy moth larvae raised on gray and yellow birth foliage grown in ambient and elevated carbon dioxide environments.

  9. Shrub encroachment in North American grasslands: Shifts in growth form dominance rapidly alters control of ecosystem carbon inputs

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Shrub encroachment into grass-dominated biomes is occurring globally due to a variety of anthropogenic activities, but the consequences for carbon (C) inputs, storage and cycling remain unclear. We studied eight North American graminoid-dominated ecosystems invaded by shrubs, from arctic tundra to ...

  10. Soil-specific C and N responses to changing atmospheric CO2 concentrations in a mesic grassland ecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Long-term increases in ecosystem productivity under elevated atmospheric CO2 can be expected only when the increased assimilation of carbon (C) is not limited by soil nutrients, namely nitrogen (N). We examined how changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations affect C and N dynamics in a mesic grasslan...

  11. Response of grassland soil respiration to drought: Results from an ecosystem manipulation experiment including 19 sites differing in productivity and diversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burri, Susanne; Niklaus, Pascal; Buchmann, Nina; Kahmen, Ansgar

    2015-04-01

    Soil respiration returns around 80-100 Pg carbon (C) per year from ecosystems globally to the atmosphere and thus is the main component of the natural respiratory carbon dioxide (CO2) release to the atmosphere. Despite its crucial role in global C cycling, its potential response to climate change, in particular extreme events such as drought, is subject to large uncertainty. One reason for this knowledge gap is the uncertain role of above-ground drivers, such as productivity and diversity, in the response of soil respiration to drought. We had the unique chance to investigate this aspect within an ecosystem manipulation experiment at 19 grassland sites differing in productivity and diversity levels in central Germany (Thringer Schiefergebirge/Frankenwald). Drought was simulated by rainout shelters in early summer 2002 and 2003. Soil respiration was measured every 2-3 weeks during the growing seasons and annual courses of soil respiration were estimated separately for control and drought conditions. Soil respiration was significantly reduced in response to drought in both years, the reduction outlasted the actual drought treatment for several weeks and was not overcompensated on the annual basis. The mean reduction in mean daily C release by soil respiration was 9.9 11.8% in 2002 and 12.8 12.1% in 2003 (mean SD). The overall mean daily C release was correlated with annual above-ground productivity in both years and the drought-induced change was fully explainable by the change in annual above-ground productivity in 2003 (but not in 2002). The relative extent of the drought response of soil respiration, however, was dependent on the level of below-ground standing biomass and soil C at the respective site, with higher reductions at sites with soils characterized by low levels of standing below-ground biomass and soil C. Our results clearly call for the integration of above-and below-ground productivity as well as soil C concentrations, when it comes to quantifying the effect of future drought events on grassland soil respiration.

  12. Cascading effects of artificial light at night: resource-mediated control of herbivores in a grassland ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Bennie, Jonathan; Davies, Thomas W.; Cruse, David; Inger, Richard; Gaston, Kevin J.

    2015-01-01

    Artificial light at night has a wide range of biological effects on both plants and animals. Here, we review mechanisms by which artificial light at night may restructure ecological communities by modifying the interactions between species. Such mechanisms may be top-down (predator, parasite or grazer controlled), bottom-up (resource-controlled) or involve non-trophic processes, such as pollination, seed dispersal or competition. We present results from an experiment investigating both top-down and bottom-up effects of artificial light at night on the population density of pea aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum in a diverse artificial grassland community in the presence and absence of predators and under low-level light of different spectral composition. We found no evidence for top-down control of A. pisum in this system, but did find evidence for bottom-up effects mediated through the impact of light on flower head density in a leguminous food plant. These results suggest that physiological effects of light on a plant species within a diverse plant community can have detectable demographic effects on a specialist herbivore. PMID:25780243

  13. Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Flora in Forest, Grassland and Common Land Ecosystems of Western Chitwan, Nepal

    PubMed Central

    DANGOL, Dharma Raj; MAHARJAN, Keshav Lall

    2013-01-01

    This paper describes changes of species composition and population of flora in space and time in western Chitwan, Nepal. This paper also discusses on the changes in flora due to flood and human activities. To illustrate these changes, we used survey data collected from January to April of 1996, 2000, and 2007 from the Barandabhar forest, National Park forest and the forests along the Narayani River banks, grasslands of National Park and common lands of western Chitwan as a part of longitudinal study on reciprocal relation of population and the environment. From these data, density values were calculated to analyze spatial and temporal changes in flora species composition and population. We also noted the changes of top species in time and space in due course of time. If the species and its rank not changed, their densities (population) values of flora species changed. We found that changes in species composition, population, appearance or disappearance of flora from a particular space (research plot) were noted as a result of natural forces or human activities. PMID:25061414

  14. Cascading effects of artificial light at night: resource-mediated control of herbivores in a grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Bennie, Jonathan; Davies, Thomas W; Cruse, David; Inger, Richard; Gaston, Kevin J

    2015-05-01

    Artificial light at night has a wide range of biological effects on both plants and animals. Here, we review mechanisms by which artificial light at night may restructure ecological communities by modifying the interactions between species. Such mechanisms may be top-down (predator, parasite or grazer controlled), bottom-up (resource-controlled) or involve non-trophic processes, such as pollination, seed dispersal or competition. We present results from an experiment investigating both top-down and bottom-up effects of artificial light at night on the population density of pea aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum in a diverse artificial grassland community in the presence and absence of predators and under low-level light of different spectral composition. We found no evidence for top-down control of A. pisum in this system, but did find evidence for bottom-up effects mediated through the impact of light on flower head density in a leguminous food plant. These results suggest that physiological effects of light on a plant species within a diverse plant community can have detectable demographic effects on a specialist herbivore. PMID:25780243

  15. Evapotranspiration and water balance of high-elevation grassland on the Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coners, Heinz; Babel, Wolfgang; Willinghöfer, Sandra; Biermann, Tobias; Köhler, Lars; Seeber, Elke; Foken, Thomas; Ma, Yaoming; Yang, Yongping; Miehe, Georg; Leuschner, Christoph

    2016-02-01

    High-elevation grasslands of the Cyperaceae Kobresia pygmaea cover nearly half a million km2 on the Tibetan Plateau. As a consequence of climate change, precipitation patterns in this monsoon-influenced region may change with possible consequences for grassland productivity. Yet, not much is known about the water cycle in this second largest alpine ecosystem of the world. We measured the evapotranspiration of a high-elevation Kobresia pasture system at 4400 m a.s.l. in the south-eastern part of the plateau in two summers using three different approaches, weighable micro-lysimeters, eddy covariance measurements, and water balance modeling with the soil-plant-atmosphere transfer model SEWAB. In good agreement among the three approaches, we found ET rates of 4-6 mm d-1 in moist summer periods (June-August) and ∼2 mm d-1 in dry periods, despite the high elevation and a leaf area index of only ∼1. Measured ET rates were comparable to rates reported from alpine grasslands at 1500-2500 m a.s.l. in temperate mountains, and also matched ET rates of managed lowland grasslands in the temperate zone. At the study site with 430 mm annual precipitation, low summer rainfall reduced ET significantly and infiltration into the subsoil occurred only in moist periods. Our results show that the evapotranspiration of high-elevation grasslands at 4400 m can be as high as in lowland grasslands despite large elevational changes in abiotic and biotic drivers of ET, and periodic water shortage is likely to influence large parts of the Tibetan Kobresia pastures.

  16. Methane fluxes in wetland and forest soils, beaver ponds, and low-order streams of a temperate forest ecosystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yavitt, J. B.; Lang, G. E.; Sexstone, A. J.

    1990-01-01

    This study was conducted to determine whether temperate wetlands and forests play important roles in the global balances of atmospheric methane. Flux measurements for methane in several different wetland, forest, and open-water (e.g., beaver pond and low-order stream) sites were determined using collection chambers placed over the soil- or water-air interface. All of the sites were located in the Appalachian Mountain region of West Virginia and western Maryland. Between June 1987 and April 1989 the wetland sites acted as small sources of atmospheric methane, with emission rates for methane usually lower than 200 mg CH4/sq m per day; consumption of atmospheric methane in the wetland soils was observed frequently.

  17. Increasing diurnal and seasonal amplitudes in carbon and water fluxes after conversion from arable to grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vetter, S. H.; Auerswald, K.; Bernhofer, C.

    2012-04-01

    Land-use change is a topical scientific and political issue due to its potential to affect atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Conversion of arable land to permanent grassland has been proposed as a strategy to sequester atmospheric CO2 into soil organic matter. In this context, eddy covariance measurements were recorded over grazed grassland at a site in the temperate region of southern Germany (annual precipitation 775 mm, annual temperature 9°C) from 2002 to 2008. The site had been arable farm land for decades but from 2000 it became grassland grazed by cattle (Bos taurus). Over the study period the total ecosystem respiration (TER), gross primary production (GPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) increased during the growing season and, therefore, in annual totals (by about 80%, 85%, and 33%, respectively, during seven-year period). A similar trend could not be found for net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon in the daily to annual sums, but was evident in the separated day and night fluxes of NEE. There was no trend in the meteorological conditions (temperature, precipitation) causing the trends. The main effect of the land use change was not a change in C sequestration but an increase in temperature sensitivity; in grassland the C distribution within the soil is closer to the surface than in arable systems, which causes the daily and yearly variations in C balance to increase.

  18. Incorporating grassland management in ORCHIDEE: model description and evaluation at 11 eddy-covariance sites in Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, J. F.; Viovy, N.; Vuichard, N.; Ciais, P.; Wang, T.; Cozic, A.; Lardy, R.; Graux, A.-I.; Klumpp, K.; Martin, R.; Soussana, J.-F.

    2013-12-01

    This study describes how management of grasslands is included in the Organizing Carbon and Hydrology in Dynamic Ecosystems (ORCHIDEE) process-based ecosystem model designed for large-scale applications, and how management affects modeled grassland-atmosphere CO2 fluxes. The new model, ORCHIDEE-GM (grassland management) is enabled with a management module inspired from a grassland model (PaSim, version 5.0), with two grassland management practices being considered, cutting and grazing. The evaluation of the results from ORCHIDEE compared with those of ORCHIDEE-GM at 11 European sites, equipped with eddy covariance and biometric measurements, shows that ORCHIDEE-GM can realistically capture the cut-induced seasonal variation in biometric variables (LAI: leaf area index; AGB: aboveground biomass) and in CO2 fluxes (GPP: gross primary productivity; TER: total ecosystem respiration; and NEE: net ecosystem exchange). However, improvements at grazing sites are only marginal in ORCHIDEE-GM due to the difficulty in accounting for continuous grazing disturbance and its induced complex animal-vegetation interactions. Both NEE and GPP on monthly to annual timescales can be better simulated in ORCHIDEE-GM than in ORCHIDEE without management. For annual CO2 fluxes, the NEE bias and RMSE (root mean square error) in ORCHIDEE-GM are reduced by 53% and 20%, respectively, compared to ORCHIDEE. ORCHIDEE-GM is capable of modeling the net carbon balance (NBP) of managed temperate grasslands (37 ± 30 gC m-2 yr-1 (P < 0.01) over the 11 sites) because the management module contains provisions to simulate the carbon fluxes of forage yield, herbage consumption, animal respiration and methane emissions.

  19. Dom Export from Coastal Temperate Bog Forest Watersheds to Marine Ecosystems: Improving Understanding of Watershed Processes and Terrestrial-Marine Linkages on the Central Coast of British Columbia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliver, A. A.; Giesbrecht, I.; Tank, S. E.; Hunt, B. P.; Lertzman, K. P.

    2014-12-01

    The coastal temperate bog forests of British Columbia, Canada, export high amounts of dissolved organic matter (DOM) relative to the global average. Little is known about the factors influencing the quantity and quality of DOM exported from these forests or the role of this terrestrially-derived DOM in near-shore marine ecosystems. The objectives of this study are to better understand patterns and controls of DOM being exported from bog forest watersheds and its potential role in near-shore marine ecosystems. In 2013, the Kwakshua Watershed Ecosystems Study at Hakai Beach Institute (Calvert Island, BC) began year-round routine collection and analysis of DOM, nutrients, and environmental variables (e.g. conductivity, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen) of freshwater grab samples from the outlets of seven watersheds draining directly to the ocean, as well as near-shore marine samples adjacent to freshwater outflows. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) varied across watersheds (mean= 11.45 mg L-1, sd± 4.22) and fluctuated synchronously with seasons and storm events. In general, higher DOC was associated with lower specific UV absorbance (SUVA254; mean= 4.59 L mg-1 m-1, sd± 0.55). The relationship between DOC and SUVA254 differed between watersheds, suggesting exports in DOM are regulated by individual watershed attributes (e.g. landscape classification, flow paths) as well as precipitation. We are using LiDAR and other remote sensing data to examine watershed controls on DOC export. At near-shore marine sites, coupled CTD (Conductivity Temperature Depth) and optical measures (e.g. spectral slopes, slope ratios (SR), EEMs), showed a clear freshwater DOM signature within the system following rainfall events. Ongoing work will explore the relationship between bog forest watershed attributes and DOM flux and composition, with implications for further studies on biogeochemical cycling, carbon budgets, marine food webs, and climate change.

  20. Ecosystem-scale volatile organic compound fluxes duringan extreme drought in a broadleaf temperate forestof the Missouri Ozarks (central USA).

    PubMed

    Seco, Roger; Karl, Thomas; Guenther, Alex; Hosman, Kevin P; Pallardy, Stephen G; Gu, Lianhong; Geron, Chris; Harley, Peter; Kim, Saewung

    2015-10-01

    Considerable amounts and varieties of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) are exchanged between vegetation and the surrounding air. These BVOCs play key ecological and atmospheric roles that must be adequately represented for accurately modeling the coupled biosphere-atmosphere-climate earth system. One key uncertainty in existing models is the response of BVOC fluxes to an important global change process: drought. We describe the diurnal and seasonal variation in isoprene, monoterpene, and methanol fluxes from a temperate forest ecosystem before, during, and after an extreme 2012 drought event in the Ozark region of the central USA. BVOC fluxes were dominated by isoprene, which attained high emission rates of up to 35.4mgm(-2) h(-1) at midday. Methanol fluxes were characterized by net deposition in the morning, changing to a net emission flux through the rest of the daylight hours. Net flux of CO2 reached its seasonal maximum approximately a month earlier than isoprenoid fluxes, which highlights the differential response of photosynthesis and isoprenoid emissions to progressing drought conditions. Nevertheless, both processes were strongly suppressed under extreme drought, although isoprene fluxes remained relatively high compared to reported fluxes from other ecosystems. Methanol exchange was less affected by drought throughout the season, confirming the complex processes driving biogenic methanol fluxes. The fraction of daytime (7-17h) assimilated carbon released back to the atmosphere combining the three BVOCs measured was 2% of gross primary productivity (GPP) and 4.9% of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) on average for our whole measurement campaign, while exceeding 5% of GPP and 10% of NEE just before the strongest drought phase. The meganv2.1 model correctly predicted diurnal variations in fluxes driven mainly by light and temperature, although further research is needed to address model BVOC fluxes during drought events. PMID:25980459

  1. Ecosystem-scale volatile organic compound fluxes during an extreme drought in a broadleaf temperate forest of the Missouri Ozarks (central USA)

    SciTech Connect

    Seco, Roger; Karl, Thomas; Guenther, Alex B.; Hosman, Kevin P.; Pallardy, Stephen G.; Gu, Lianhong; Geron, Chris; Harley, Peter; Kim, Saewung

    2015-07-07

    Considerable amounts and varieties of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) are exchanged between vegeta-tion and the surrounding air. These BVOCs play key ecological and atmospheric roles that must be adequately repre-sented for accurately modeling the coupled biosphere–atmosphere–climate earth system. One key uncertainty in existing models is the response of BVOC fluxes to an important global change process: drought. We describe the diur-nal and seasonal variation in isoprene, monoterpene, and methanol fluxes from a temperate forest ecosystem before, during, and after an extreme 2012 drought event in the Ozark region of the central USA. BVOC fluxes were domi-nated by isoprene, which attained high emission rates of up to 35.4 mg m-2h-1 at midday. Methanol fluxes were characterized by net deposition in the morning, changing to a net emission flux through the rest of the daylight hours. Net flux of CO2 reached its seasonal maximum approximately a month earlier than isoprenoid fluxes, which high-lights the differential response of photosynthesis and isoprenoid emissions to progressing drought conditions. Never-theless, both processes were strongly suppressed under extreme drought, although isoprene fluxes remained relatively high compared to reported fluxes from other ecosystems. Methanol exchange was less affected by drought throughout the season, conflrming the complex processes driving biogenic methanol fluxes. The fraction of daytime (7–17 h) assimilated carbon released back to the atmosphere combining the three BVOCs measured was 2% of gross primary productivity (GPP) and 4.9% of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) on average for our whole measurement cam-paign, while exceeding 5% of GPP and 10% of NEE just before the strongest drought phase. The MEGANv2.1 model correctly predicted diurnal variations in fluxes driven mainly by light and temperature, although further research is needed to address model BVOC fluxes during drought events.

  2. Greenhouse gas exchange in grasslands: impacts of climate, intensity of management and other factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, K. A.

    2003-04-01

    Grasslands occupy some 40% of the terrestrial land surface. They are generally categorised as natural (occurring mainly in those regions where the rainfall is too low to support forest ecosystems), semi-natural (where management, mainly by grazing, has changed the vegetation composition), and artificial (where forests have been cleared to create new pasture land). The soils of the natural and semi-natural grasslands constitute a large reservoir of carbon, and make a substantial contribution to the soil sink for atmospheric CH_4. The conversion of much of the natural temperate grassland to arable agriculture, e.g. in North America and Europe, resulted in a considerable decrease in soil organic carbon, and its release to the atmosphere as CO_2 has made a substantial contribution to the total atmospheric concentration of this gas. The associated increase in cycling of soil N (released from the organic matter) will have contributed to N_2O emissions, and land disturbance and fertilisation has resulted in a depletion of the soil CH_4 sink. Conversion of tropical forests to pastures has also been a major source of CO_2, and these pastures show elevated emissions of N_2O for some years after conversion. Seasonally flooded tropical grasslands are a significant source of CH_4 emissions. Consideration of grassland ecosystems in their entirety, in relation to GHG exchange, necessitates the inclusion of CH_4 production by fauna - domesticated livestock and wild herbivores, as well as some species of termites - in the overall assessment. Stocking rates on pasture land have increased, and the total CH_4 emissions likewise. The relationship between animal production and CH_4 emissions is dependent on the nutritional quality of the vegetation, as well as on animal numbers. In both temperate and tropical regions, increased N inputs as synthetic fertilisers and manures (and increased N deposition) are producing possibly a more-than-linear response in terms of emissions of N_2O. In several Western European countries, very high rates of N application to both grazed grassland and to grass crops grown for winter feed have made these lands the principal source of N_2O. It has been estimated that 40% of global emissions of NO, a precursor of tropospheric ozone, come from grasslands and savannas. Global warming is expected to bring about substantial changes in the overall greenhouse gas exchange of grasslands, with a net loss of soil C as CO_2, and possibly enhanced N_2O emissions. Increased rainfall is predicted for some regions, and this can also be expected to give rise to increases in N_2O.

  3. Spatial and temporal dynamics of biotic and abiotic features of temperate coastal ecosystems as revealed by a combination of ecological indicators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Granger, K.; Lefebvre, S.; Blin, J.-L.

    2012-08-01

    Coastal ecosystems exhibit complex spatio-temporal patterns due to their position at the interface between land and sea. This is particularly the case of temperate ecosystems where exploitation of coastal resources (fisheries and aquaculture) and intensive agricultural use of watersheds further complicate our understanding of their dynamics. The aim of the present study was to unravel the spatio-temporal dynamics of contrasted megatidal coastal ecosystems located at the same regional scale (i.e. under the same regional climate), but under different kinds of human pressure. Two kinds of ecological indicators were assessed over a period of four years at 11 locations along the coast of the Cotentin peninsula (Normandy, France). A first set of hydrobiological variables (dissolved nutrients, Chl a, temperature, salinity, etc.) was measured fortnightly in the water column. These data were analysed by principal components analysis (PCA). A second set of variables were the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of the adductor muscles of cultured Crassostrea gigas introduced every year to typify the bentho-pelagic coupling at each location. Food sources were also investigated using a mixing model with data on the isotopic composition of the food sources obtained previously. To identify which environmental variables played a significant role in determining the oyster diet, the contributions of oyster food sources were combined with environmental variables in a canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). Isotopic values of adductor muscles varied significantly between -20.12 and -16.79 for ?13C and between 8.28 and 11.87 for ?15N. The PCA distinguished two groups of coastal ecosystems that differed in their coastal hydrology, nutrient inputs, and the size of their respective watershed, irrespective of the year. In each zone, different spatial patterns in the measured variables were observed depending on the year showing that local impacts differed temporally. As revealed by CCA, food sources used by the oysters were mainly explained by salinity suggesting regional differences between ecosystems. On the west coast of the peninsula, climatic factors act in synergy with anthropogenic factors (i.e. nutrient enrichment) whereas on the east coast, climatic factors appear to be dampened by anthropogenic factors.

  4. Carbon and nitrogen dynamics in native Leymus chinensis grasslands along a 1000 km longitudinal transect in northeast China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, L.; Guo, C.; Yuan, S.; Wang, R.

    2014-08-01

    The unprecedented variations in global precipitation regime could profoundly impact terrestrial ecosystem structure and function, with consequent feedback to climatic change. However, little is known about complexity in precipitation effects on grassland ecosystem carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) processes at regional scales. We investigated the patterns of shoot and root biomass, litter mass, soil C and N content, microbial community composition and C and N mineralization at 18 sites along a 1000 km precipitation gradient in native Leymus chinensis grasslands of northeastern China. The results show that, with increasing mean annual precipitation (MAP), the biomass of total plant, shoot and litter gradually increased while root biomass remained nearly constant along the gradient. Surprisingly, both soil C and N mineralization rates showed quadratic relationships with MAP, likely due to the relative changes in temperature, soil arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi biomass and N availability. Although soil total C and N content presented sustained increases with water availability, heavy fractions of C and N content reached stable and saturated phases in mesic sites. Overall, ecosystem C and N sequestration enhanced with water availability in terms of C and N storage in shoot, root, litter, and soil along the precipitation gradient. It was concluded from the current study that regional precipitation regime and the indirect effects of precipitation on changes in soil properties and microbial communities would strongly influence on ecosystem C and N dynamics. The temperate grasslands of northeastern China could be utilized as significant ecosystem C and N sinks in the context of mitigating climate change.

  5. Effects of Increased Nitrogen Deposition and Precipitation on Seed and Seedling Production of Potentilla tanacetifolia in a Temperate Steppe Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yang; Yang, Haijun; Xia, Jianyang; Zhang, Wenhao; Wan, Shiqiang; Li, Linghao

    2011-01-01

    Background The responses of plant seeds and seedlings to changing atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition and precipitation regimes determine plant population dynamics and community composition under global change. Methodology/Principal Findings In a temperate steppe in northern China, seeds of P. tanacetifolia were collected from a field-based experiment with N addition and increased precipitation to measure changes in their traits (production, mass, germination). Seedlings germinated from those seeds were grown in a greenhouse to examine the effects of improved N and water availability in maternal and offspring environments on seedling growth. Maternal N-addition stimulated seed production, but it suppressed seed mass, germination rate and seedling biomass of P. tanacetifolia. Maternal N-addition also enhanced responses of seedlings to N and water addition in the offspring environment. Maternal increased-precipitation stimulated seed production, but it had no effect on seed mass and germination rate. Maternal increased-precipitation enhanced seedling growth when grown under similar conditions, whereas seedling responses to offspring N- and water-addition were suppressed by maternal increased-precipitation. Both offspring N-addition and increased-precipitation stimulated growth of seedlings germinated from seeds collected from the maternal control environment without either N or water addition. Our observations indicate that both maternal and offspring environments can influence seedling growth of P. tanacetifolia with consequent impacts on the future population dynamics of this species in the study area. Conclusion/Significance The findings highlight the importance of the maternal effects on seed and seedling production as well as responses of offspring to changing environmental drivers in mechanistic understanding and projecting of plant population dynamics under global change. PMID:22194863

  6. Tree-ring δ 13C tracks flux tower ecosystem productivity estimates in a NE temperate forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belmecheri, Soumaya; Stockton Maxwell, R.; Taylor, Alan H.; Davis, Kenneth J.; Freeman, Katherine H.; Munger, William J.

    2014-07-01

    We investigated relationships between tree-ring δ13C and growth, and flux tower estimates of gross primary productivity (GPP) at Harvard Forest from 1992 to 2010. Seasonal variations of derived photosynthetic isotope discrimination (Δ13C) and leaf intercellular CO2 concentration (c i ) showed significant increasing trends for the dominant deciduous and coniferous species. Δ13C was positively correlated to growing-season GPP and is primarily controlled by precipitation and soil moisture indicating that site conditions maintained high stomatal conductance under increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. Increasing Δ13C over the 1992-2010 period is attributed to increasing annual and summer water availability identified at Harvard Forest and across the region. Higher Δ13C is coincident with an enhancement in growth and ecosystem-level net carbon uptake. This work suggests that tree-ring δ13C could serve as a measure of forest GPP and be used to improve the calibration and predictive skill of ecosystem and carbon cycle models.

  7. Comprehensive ecosystem model-experiment synthesis using multiple datasets at two temperate forest free-air CO2 enrichment experiments: model performance and compensating biases

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, Anthony P; Hanson, Paul J; DeKauwe, Martin G; Medlyn, Belinda; Zaehle, S; Asao, Shinichi; Dietze, Michael; Hickler, Thomas; Huntinford, Chris; Iversen, Colleen M; Jain, Atul; Lomas, Mark; Luo, Yiqi; McCarthy, Heather R; Parton, William; Prentice, I. Collin; Thornton, Peter E; Wang, Shusen; Wang, Yingping; Warlind, David; Weng, Ensheng; Warren, Jeffrey; Woodward, F. Ian; Oren, Ram; Norby, Richard J

    2014-01-01

    Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments provide a remarkable wealth of data to test the sensitivities of terrestrial ecosystem models (TEMs). In this study, a broad set of 11 TEMs were compared to 22 years of data from two contrasting FACE experiments in temperate forests of the south eastern US the evergreen Duke Forest and the deciduous Oak Ridge forest. We evaluated the models' ability to reproduce observed net primary productivity (NPP), transpiration and Leaf Area index (LAI) in ambient CO2 treatments. Encouragingly, many models simulated annual NPP and transpiration within observed uncertainty. Daily transpiration model errors were often related to errors in leaf area phenology and peak LAI. Our analysis demonstrates that the simulation of LAI often drives the simulation of transpiration and hence there is a need to adopt the most appropriate of hypothesis driven methods to simulate and predict LAI. Of the three competing hypotheses determining peak LAI (1) optimisation to maximise carbon export, (2) increasing SLA with canopy depth and (3) the pipe model the pipe model produced LAI closest to the observations. Modelled phenology was either prescribed or based on broader empirical calibrations to climate. In some cases, simulation accuracy was achieved through compensating biases in component variables. For example, NPP accuracy was sometimes achieved with counter-balancing biases in nitrogen use efficiency and nitrogen uptake. Combined analysis of parallel measurements aides the identification of offsetting biases; without which over-confidence in model abilities to predict ecosystem function may emerge, potentially leading to erroneous predictions of change under future climates.

  8. Evaluation of grassland dynamics in the northern-tibet plateau of china using remote sensing and climate data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zhang, Jiahua; Yao, Fengmei; Zheng, Lingyun; Yang, Limin

    2007-01-01

    The grassland ecosystem in the Northern-Tibet Plateau (NTP) of China is very sensitive to weather and climate conditions of the region. In this study, we investigate the spatial and temporal variations of the grassland ecosystem in the NTP using the NOAA/AVHRR ten-day maximum NDVI composite data of 1981-2001. The relationships among Vegetation Peak-Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (VP-NDVI) and climate variables were quantified for six counties within the NTP. The notable and uneven alterations of the grassland in response to variation of climate and human impact in the NTP were revealed. Over the last two decades of the 20th century, the maximum greenness of the grassland has exhibited high increase, slight increase, no-change, slight decrease and high decrease, each occupies 0.27%, 8.71%, 77.27%, 13.06% and 0.69% of the total area of the NTP, respectively. A remarkable increase (decrease) in VP-NDVI occurred in the central-eastern (eastern) NTP whereas little change was observed in the western and northwestern NTP. A strong negative relationship between VP-NDVI and ET 0 was found in sub-frigid, semi-arid and frigid- arid regions of the NTP (i.e., Nakchu, Shantsa, Palgon and Amdo counties), suggesting that the ETo is one limiting factor affecting grassland degradation. In the temperate-humid, sub-frigid and sub-humid regions of the NTP (Chali and Sokshan counties), a significant inverse correlation between VP-NDVI and population indicates that human activities have adversely affected the grassland condition as was previously reported in the literature. Results from this research suggest that the alteration and degradation of the grassland in the lower altitude of the NTP over the last two decades of the 20th century are likely caused by variations of climate and anthropogenic activities. ?? 2007 by MDPI.

  9. Recovery of coastal ecosystems after large tsunamis in various climatic zones - review of cases from tropical, temperate and polar zones (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szczucinski, W.

    2013-12-01

    Large tsunamis cause significant changes in coastal ecosystems. They include modifications in shoreline position, sediment erosion and deposition, new initial soil formation, salination of soils and waters, removal of vegetation, as well as direct impact on humans and infrastructure. The processes and rate of coastal zone recovery from large tsunamis has been little studied but during the last decade a noteworthy progress has been made. This study focus on comparison of recovery processes in various climatic zones, namely in monsoonal-tropical, temperate and polar zone. It is based on own observation and monitoring in areas affected by 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Thailand, 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami in Japan and 2000 Paatuut landslide-generated tsunami in Vaigat Strait (west Greenland), as well as on review of published studies from those areas. The particular focus is on physical and biological recoveries of beaches, recovery of coastal vegetation, new soil formation in eroded areas and those covered by tsunami deposits, marine salt removal from soils, surface- and groundwater, as well as landscape adjustment after the tsunamis. The beach zone - typically the most tsunami-eroded zone, has been recovered already within weeks to months and has been observed to be in the pre-tsunami equilibrium stage within one year in all the climate zones, except for sediment-starved environments. The existing data on beach ecosystems point also to relatively fast recovery of meio- and macrofauna (within weeks to several months). The recovery of coastal vegetation depends on the rate of salt removal from soils or on the rate of soil formation in case of its erosion or burial by tsunami deposits. The salt removal have been observed to depend mainly on precipitation and effective water drainage. In tropical climate with seasonal rainfall of more 3000 mm the salt removal was fast, however, in temperate climate with lower precipitation and flat topography the salinities still exceeded the recommended concentrations for freshwater plants after one year. The new soil formation and vegetation recovery depends mainly on the rate of biological production. In tropical climate the vegetation largely recovered already after the first rainy season and supported the new soil formation. In temperate climate this process was much slower, in particular in flat lying areas and on coastal dunes with poor sandy soils. In polar climate only limited vegetation recovery (mainly of Salix species) has been observed after 12 years and vegetation withered due to salt stress still marked the tsunami inundation limit and the new soil formation was very slow and focused on low lying, wet areas buried with thin tsunami deposits cover. The post-tsunami recovery processes may be grouped into climate-related (vegetation recovery, removal of salts from soils) and non climate-related (e.g. beach recovery) or modified by climatic and local factors (for instance, the rate of tsunami deposits reworking and thus new soil formation). The rate of recovery varies from days / weeks as in case of beach recovery to several decades as in case of new soil formation on tsunami deposits. The study was partly funded by Polish National Science Centre grant No. 2011/01/B/ST10/01553. The review results from studies in collaboration with number of researchers from Australia, Japan, Poland, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States to whom I express sincere thanks.

  10. The likely impact of elevated [CO2], nitrogen deposition, increased temperature and management on carbon sequestration in temperate and boreal forest ecosystems: a literature review.

    PubMed

    Hyvnen, Riitta; Agren, Gran I; Linder, Sune; Persson, Tryggve; Cotrufo, M Francesca; Ekblad, Alf; Freeman, Michael; Grelle, Achim; Janssens, Ivan A; Jarvis, Paul G; Kellomki, Seppo; Lindroth, Anders; Loustau, Denis; Lundmark, Tomas; Norby, Richard J; Oren, Ram; Pilegaard, Kim; Ryan, Michael G; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D; Strmgren, Monika; van Oijen, Marcel; Wallin, Gran

    2007-01-01

    Temperate and boreal forest ecosystems contain a large part of the carbon stored on land, in the form of both biomass and soil organic matter. Increasing atmospheric [CO2], increasing temperature, elevated nitrogen deposition and intensified management will change this C store. Well documented single-factor responses of net primary production are: higher photosynthetic rate (the main [CO2] response); increasing length of growing season (the main temperature response); and higher leaf-area index (the main N deposition and partly [CO2] response). Soil organic matter will increase with increasing litter input, although priming may decrease the soil C stock initially, but litter quality effects should be minimal (response to [CO2], N deposition, and temperature); will decrease because of increasing temperature; and will increase because of retardation of decomposition with N deposition, although the rate of decomposition of high-quality litter can be increased and that of low-quality litter decreased. Single-factor responses can be misleading because of interactions between factors, in particular those between N and other factors, and indirect effects such as increased N availability from temperature-induced decomposition. In the long term the strength of feedbacks, for example the increasing demand for N from increased growth, will dominate over short-term responses to single factors. However, management has considerable potential for controlling the C store. PMID:17244042

  11. Increasing aridity, temperature and soil pH induce soil C-N-P imbalance in grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Jiao, Feng; Shi, Xin-Rong; Han, Feng-Peng; Yuan, Zhi-You

    2016-01-01

    Due to the different degrees of controls exerted by biological and geochemical processes, climate changes are suggested to uncouple biogeochemical C, N and P cycles, influencing biomass accumulation, decomposition and storage in terrestrial ecosystems. However, the possible extent of such disruption in grassland ecosystems remains unclear, especially in China’s steppes which have undergone rapid climate changes with increasing drought and warming predicted moving forward in these dryland ecosystems. Here, we assess how soil C-N-P stoichiometry is affected by climatic change along a 3500-km temperate climate transect in Inner Mongolia, China. Our results reveal that the soil from more arid and warmer sites are associated with lower soil organic C, total N and P. The ratios of both soil C:P and N:P decrease, but soil C:N increases with increasing aridity and temperature, indicating the predicted decreases in precipitation and warming for most of the temperate grassland region could lead to a soil C-N-P decoupling that may reduce plant growth and production in arid ecosystems. Soil pH, mainly reflecting long-term climate change in our sites, also contributes to the changing soil C-N-P stoichiometry, indicating the collective influences of climate and soil type on the shape of soil C-N-P balance. PMID:26792069

  12. Increasing aridity, temperature and soil pH induce soil C-N-P imbalance in grasslands.

    PubMed

    Jiao, Feng; Shi, Xin-Rong; Han, Feng-Peng; Yuan, Zhi-You

    2016-01-01

    Due to the different degrees of controls exerted by biological and geochemical processes, climate changes are suggested to uncouple biogeochemical C, N and P cycles, influencing biomass accumulation, decomposition and storage in terrestrial ecosystems. However, the possible extent of such disruption in grassland ecosystems remains unclear, especially in China's steppes which have undergone rapid climate changes with increasing drought and warming predicted moving forward in these dryland ecosystems. Here, we assess how soil C-N-P stoichiometry is affected by climatic change along a 3500-km temperate climate transect in Inner Mongolia, China. Our results reveal that the soil from more arid and warmer sites are associated with lower soil organic C, total N and P. The ratios of both soil C:P and N:P decrease, but soil C:N increases with increasing aridity and temperature, indicating the predicted decreases in precipitation and warming for most of the temperate grassland region could lead to a soil C-N-P decoupling that may reduce plant growth and production in arid ecosystems. Soil pH, mainly reflecting long-term climate change in our sites, also contributes to the changing soil C-N-P stoichiometry, indicating the collective influences of climate and soil type on the shape of soil C-N-P balance. PMID:26792069

  13. Observed and modeled ecosystem isoprene fluxes from an oak-dominated temperate forest and the influence of drought stress

    SciTech Connect

    Potosnak, M.; LeStourgeon, Lauren; Pallardy, Stephen G.; Hosman, Kevin P.; Gu, Lianghong; Karl, Thomas; Geron, Chris; Guenther, Alex B.

    2014-02-19

    Ecosystem fluxes of isoprene emission were measured during the majority of the 2011 growing season at the University of Missouri's Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Area in centralMissouri, USA (38.7° N, 92.2° W). This broadleaf deciduous forest is typical of forests common in theOzarks region of the central United States. The goal of the isoprene flux measurements was to test ourunderstanding of the controls on isoprene emission from the hourly to the seasonal timescale using a state-of-the-art emission model, MEGAN (Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature). Isoprene emission rates were very high from the forest with a maximum of 50.9 mg m-2 hr-1 (208 nmol m-2 s-1), which to our knowledge exceeds all other reports of canopy-scale isoprene emission. The fluxes showed a clear dependence on the previous temperature and light regimes which was successfully captured by the existing algorithms in MEGAN. During a period of drought, MEGAN was unable to reproduce the time-dependent response of isoprene emission to water stress. Overall, the performance of MEGAN was robust and could explain 87% of the observed variance in the measured fluxes, but the response of isoprene emission to drought stress is a major source of uncertainty.

  14. Biological soil crusts are the main contributor to winter soil respiration in a temperate desert ecosystem of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, M. Z.

    2012-04-01

    Aims Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. However, most studies carried out to date on carbon (fluxes) in these ecosystems, such as soil respiration (RS), have neglected them. Also, winter RS is reported to be a significant component of annual carbon budget in other ecosystems, however, we have less knowledge about winter RS of BSCs in winter and its contribution to carbon cycle in desert regions. Therefore, the specific objectives of this study were to: (i) quantify the effects of different BSCs types (moss crust, algae crust, physical crust) on the winter RS; (ii) explore relationships of RS against soil temperature and water content for different BSCs, and (iii) assess the relative contribution of BSCs to the annual amount of C released by RS at desert ecosystem level. Methods Site Description The study sites are located at the southeast fringe of the Tengger Desert in the Shapotou region of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region [37°32'N and 105°02'E, at 1340 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.)], western China. The mean daily temperature in January is -6.9°C , while it is 24.3°C in July. The mean annual precipitation is 186 mm, approximately 80% of which falls between May and September. The annual potential evaporation is 2800 mm. The landscape of the Shapotou region is characterized by large and dense reticulate barchans chains of sand dunes that migrate south-eastward at a velocity of 3-6 m per year. The soil is loose, infertile and mobile and can thus be classified as orthic sierozem and Aeolian sandy soil. Additionally, the soil has a consistent gravimetric water content that ranges from 3 to 4%. The groundwater in the study area is too deep (>60 m) to support large areas of the native vegetation cover; therefore, precipitation is usually the only source of freshwater. The predominant native plants are Hedysarum scoparium Fisch. and Agriophyllum squarrosum Moq., Psammochloa cillosa Bor, which scattered distribute with cover about 1% of the entire study area. Prior to revegetation, straw-checkerboards approximately 1×1 m2 in area were constructed using wheat or rice straw to stabilize the dune surface and allow time for the planted xerophytic shrubs to adapt to the new environment. In 1956, the following 2-year-old xerophytic shrub seedlings were planted within the checkerboard at a density of 16 individuals per 100 m2 and grown without irrigation: Artemisia ordosica Krasch, H. scoparium Fisch, Calligonum mongolicum Turc'z, Caragana microphylla Lam., Caragana korshinskii Kom, Salix gordejevii and Atraphaxis bracteata A.Los. The stabilized area was then expanded to parallel areas in 1964 and 1982 using the same method and species. As a result, the initial stages of change that have occurred at these sites were similar. After more than fifties years succession, the predominant plants are semi-shrubs, shrubs, forbs, and grasses at present and BSCs formed. The common BSCs in the region may be dominated by cyanobacteria, algae, lichens and mosses, or any combination of these organisms. Cyanobacteria species include Microcolous vaginatus Gom., Hydrocoleus violacens Gom., Lyngbya crytoraginatus Schk., Phormidium amblgum Gom., P. autumnale (Ag.) Gom., P. foveolarum (Mont.) Gom. and Phormidium luridum (Kutz) Gom. etc; algal species mainly include Anabaena azotica Ley, Euglena sp., Hantzschia amphioxys var capitata Grum, Oscillatoria obscura Gom., O. pseudogeminate G. Schm. And Scytonema javanicum (Kutz) Bornet Flash etc; lichen species include Collema tenax (Sw.) Ach., Endocarpon pusillum Hedw.; and moss species are dominated by Bryum argenteum Hedw., Didymodon constrictus (Mitt.) Saito., Tortula bidentata Bai Xue Liang and T. desertorum Broth.. Experimental Design and Rs measurements On October 2010, We selected the moss-dominated BSCs at four revegetation sites and natural vegetation sites, in which 3 replicated plots were selected randomly. In each plot, olyvinyl chloride (PVC) collar (lenth 10 cm, internal diameter 10cm ) were inserted 7 cm into the soil. During the establishment of PVC collars, each plot falling within distances less than 2.0 m of an existing replicate was discarded and reallocated to ensure a minimum distance between replicates of 2.0 m. Soil respiration was measured with a LI-6400 and a soil CO2 flux chamber (LI-6400-09). The target value was set close to the ambient CO2 concentration (~380μmolmol_1), and the ΔCO2 value was set as the factory default value (10μmolmol-1) (LiCor 1997). Thin-walled PVC collars were inserted at least one night (12h) before measurement so as to avert CO2 flushing, as recommended by LiCor (1997). Measurements were performed monthly between November 2010 (1months after the collars were inserted to avoid any bias promoted by soil alteration during the placement of collars) and March 2010. Diurnal Rs were measured every two hours from 8:00 to 6:00 of the next day. In parallel to the measurements of soil respiration, Measurements of soil respiration, soil moisture, and soil temperature were taken according to a stratified random design. Important findings (1) The RS was positively correlated to soil temperature in all BSCs, and was significantly influenced by the interactions of soil temperature and water content in moss, lichen and mixed BSCs. (2) The sensitivity of RS to soil temperature at 10cm depth (Q10) ranged from 1.25 in moss-dominated BSCs to 1.63 lichen-dominated BSCs. The Q10 tended to increase with soil temperature until reaching a threshold, and then decline. (3) Soil respiration rates remained low at night time and exhibited as single-peak curve at day time from April to October, and compare to the shifting sand area, a remarkable monthly variation occured in the BSCs dominated area. (4) The winter RS for the moss, lichen, and mixed BSCs averaged 102, 56 and 85 gCm-2 winter time_1, respectively. The winter RS was positively correlated to soil organic carbon (SOC) concentration at O horizon. Our results indicate that winter Rs of BSCs-dominated areas are the main contributor to the total carbon released by soil respiration and, therefore, which we should considered when estimating carbon budgets in desert ecosystems. Key words: Winter Soil Respiration; Biological Soil Crust (BSCs); Q10

  15. Grazing effects on carbon fluxes in a northern China grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grazing is a widespread use of grasslands in northern China, but if stocking rate exceeds grassland carrying capacity, degradation and desertification can occur. As a result, grazing management is critical and can play a significant role in driving C sink and source activity in grassland ecosystems...

  16. Community assembly of biological soil crusts of different successional stages in a temperate sand ecosystem, as assessed by direct determination and enrichment techniques.

    PubMed

    Langhans, Tanja Margrit; Storm, Christian; Schwabe, Angelika

    2009-08-01

    In temperate regions, biological soil crusts (BSCs: complex communities of cyanobacteria, eukaryotic algae, bryophytes, and lichens) are not well investigated regarding community structure and diversity. Furthermore, studies on succession are rare. For that reason, the community assembly of crusts representing two successional stages (initial, 5 years old; and stable, >20 years old) were analyzed in an inland sand ecosystem in Germany in a plot-based approach (2 x 18 plots, each 20 x 20 cm). Two different methods were used to record the cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae in these communities comprehensively: determination directly out of the soil and enrichment culture techniques. Additionally, lichens, bryophytes, and phanerogams were determined. We examine four hypotheses: (1) A combination of direct determination and enrichment culture technique is necessary to detect cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae comprehensively. In total, 45 species of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae were detected in the study area with both techniques, including 26 eukaryotic algae and 19 cyanobacteria species. With both determination techniques, 22 identical taxa were detected (11 eukaryotic algae and 11 cyanobacteria). Thirteen taxa were only found by direct determination, and ten taxa were only found in enrichment cultures. Hence, the hypothesis is supported. Additionally, five lichen species (three genera), five bryophyte species (five genera), and 24 vascular plant species occurred. (2) There is a clear difference between the floristic structure of initial and stable crusts. The different successional stages are clearly separated by detrended correspondence analysis, showing a distinct structure of the community assembly in each stage. In the initial crusts, Klebsormidium flaccidum, Klebsormidium cf. klebsii, and Stichococcus bacillaris were important indicator species, whereas the stable crusts are especially characterized by Tortella inclinata. (3) The biodiversity of BSC taxa and vascular plant species increases from initial to stable BSCs. There are significantly higher genera and species numbers of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae in initial BSCs. Stable BSCs are characterized by significantly higher species numbers of bryophytes and vascular plant species. The results show that, in the investigated temperate region, the often-assumed increase of biodiversity in the course of succession is clearly taxa-dependent. Both successional stages of BSCs are diversity "hot spots" with about 29 species of all taxa per 20 x 20 cm plot. (4) Nitrogen and chlorophyll a concentrations increase in the course of succession. The chlorophyll a content of the crusts (cyanobacteria, eukaryotic algae, bryophyte protonemata) is highly variable across the studied samples, with no significant differences between initial and stable BSCs; nor were ecologically significant differences in soil nutrient contents observed. According to our results, we cannot confirm this hypothesis; the age difference between our two stages is probably not big enough to show such an increase. PMID:19479305

  17. Grassland agriculture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Agriculture in grassland environments is facing multiple stresses from: shifting demographics, declining and fragmented agricultural landscapes, declining environmental quality, variable and changing climate, volatile and increasing energy costs, marginal economic returns, and globalization. Degrad...

  18. Phytoplankton Diversity and Community Composition along the Estuarine Gradient of a Temperate Macrotidal Ecosystem: Combined Morphological and Molecular Approaches

    PubMed Central

    Bazin, Pauline; Jouenne, Fabien; Friedl, Thomas; Deton-Cabanillas, Anne-Flore; Le Roy, Bertrand; Vron, Benot

    2014-01-01

    Microscopical and molecular analyses were used to investigate the diversity and spatial community structure of spring phytoplankton all along the estuarine gradient in a macrotidal ecosystem, the Baie des Veys (eastern English Channel). Taxa distribution at high tide in the water column appeared to be mainly driven by the tidal force which superimposed on the natural salinity gradient, resulting in a two-layer flow within the channel. Lowest taxa richness and abundance were found in the bay where Teleaulax-like cryptophytes dominated. A shift in species composition occurred towards the mouth of the river, with the diatom Asterionellopsis glacialis dramatically accumulating in the bottom waters of the upstream brackish reach. Small thalassiosiroid diatoms dominated the upper layer river community, where taxa richness was higher. Through the construction of partial 18S rDNA clone libraries, the microeukaryotic diversity was further explored for three samples selected along the surface salinity gradient (freshwater - brackish - marine). Clone libraries revealed a high diversity among heterotrophic and/or small-sized protists which were undetected by microscopy. Among them, a rich variety of Chrysophyceae and other lineages (e.g. novel marine stramenopiles) are reported here for the first time in this transition area. However, conventional microscopy remains more efficient in revealing the high diversity of phototrophic taxa, low in abundances but morphologically distinct, that is overlooked by the molecular approach. The differences between microscopical and molecular analyses and their limitations are discussed here, pointing out the complementarities of both approaches, for a thorough phytoplankton community description. PMID:24718653

  19. Net Ecosystem Exchange of Carbon Dioxide in a Temperate Poor Fen: A Comparison of Automated and Manual Chamber Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burrows, E. H.; Bubier, J. L.; Mosedale, A.; Cobb, G. W.; Crill, P. M.

    2004-05-01

    We used five techniques to compare Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a poor fen using automated and manual static chambers, and found the methods comparable. Once per week we sampled manually from ten collars with a closed chamber system using a LiCor 6200 portable photosynthesis system, and simulated four photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) levels using shrouds. Ten automated chambers sampled CO2 flux every three hours with a LiCor 6252 infrared gas analyzer. Results of the five comparisons showed (1) NEE measurements made from May - August, 2001 by the manual and automated chambers had similar ranges: -10.8 to 12.7 ? mol CO2 m-2 s-1 and -17.2 to 13.1 ? mol CO2 m-2 s-1 respectively. (2) When sorted into four PAR regimes and adjusted for temperature (respiration was measured under different temperature regimes), mean NEE did not differ significantly between the chambers (p<0.05). (3) Chambers were not significantly different in regression of ln(-respiration) on temperature. (4) But differences were found in the PAR vs. NEE relationship with manual chambers providing higher maximum gross photosynthesis estimates (GPmax), and slower uptake of CO2 at low PAR (? ) even after temperature adjustment. (5) Due to the high variability in chamber characteristics, we developed an equation to include foliar biomass and water table as well as temperature and PAR, to provide a more direct comparison between automated and manual NEE. Comparing fitted parameters did not identify new differences between the chambers. These complementary chamber techniques offer a unique opportunity to assess the variability and uncertainty in CO2 flux measurements.

  20. Phytoplankton diversity and community composition along the estuarine gradient of a temperate macrotidal ecosystem: combined morphological and molecular approaches.

    PubMed

    Bazin, Pauline; Jouenne, Fabien; Friedl, Thomas; Deton-Cabanillas, Anne-Flore; Le Roy, Bertrand; Véron, Benoît

    2014-01-01

    Microscopical and molecular analyses were used to investigate the diversity and spatial community structure of spring phytoplankton all along the estuarine gradient in a macrotidal ecosystem, the Baie des Veys (eastern English Channel). Taxa distribution at high tide in the water column appeared to be mainly driven by the tidal force which superimposed on the natural salinity gradient, resulting in a two-layer flow within the channel. Lowest taxa richness and abundance were found in the bay where Teleaulax-like cryptophytes dominated. A shift in species composition occurred towards the mouth of the river, with the diatom Asterionellopsis glacialis dramatically accumulating in the bottom waters of the upstream brackish reach. Small thalassiosiroid diatoms dominated the upper layer river community, where taxa richness was higher. Through the construction of partial 18S rDNA clone libraries, the microeukaryotic diversity was further explored for three samples selected along the surface salinity gradient (freshwater - brackish - marine). Clone libraries revealed a high diversity among heterotrophic and/or small-sized protists which were undetected by microscopy. Among them, a rich variety of Chrysophyceae and other lineages (e.g. novel marine stramenopiles) are reported here for the first time in this transition area. However, conventional microscopy remains more efficient in revealing the high diversity of phototrophic taxa, low in abundances but morphologically distinct, that is overlooked by the molecular approach. The differences between microscopical and molecular analyses and their limitations are discussed he