Science.gov

Sample records for affect ecosystem structure

  1. Small but powerful: top predator local extinction affects ecosystem structure and function in an intermittent stream.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Lozano, Pablo; Verkaik, Iraima; Rieradevall, Maria; Prat, Narcís

    2015-01-01

    Top predator loss is a major global problem, with a current trend in biodiversity loss towards high trophic levels that modifies most ecosystems worldwide. Most research in this area is focused on large-bodied predators, despite the high extinction risk of small-bodied freshwater fish that often act as apex consumers. Consequently, it remains unknown if intermittent streams are affected by the consequences of top-predators' extirpations. The aim of our research was to determine how this global problem affects intermittent streams and, in particular, if the loss of a small-bodied top predator (1) leads to a 'mesopredator release', affects primary consumers and changes whole community structures, and (2) triggers a cascade effect modifying the ecosystem function. To address these questions, we studied the top-down effects of a small endangered fish species, Barbus meridionalis (the Mediterranean barbel), conducting an enclosure/exclosure mesocosm experiment in an intermittent stream where B. meridionalis became locally extinct following a wildfire. We found that top predator absence led to 'mesopredator release', and also to 'prey release' despite intraguild predation, which contrasts with traditional food web theory. In addition, B. meridionalis extirpation changed whole macroinvertebrate community composition and increased total macroinvertebrate density. Regarding ecosystem function, periphyton primary production decreased in apex consumer absence. In this study, the apex consumer was functionally irreplaceable; its local extinction led to the loss of an important functional role that resulted in major changes to the ecosystem's structure and function. This study evidences that intermittent streams can be affected by the consequences of apex consumers' extinctions, and that the loss of small-bodied top predators can lead to large ecosystem changes. We recommend the reintroduction of small-bodied apex consumers to systems where they have been extirpated, to restore

  2. Small but powerful: top predator local extinction affects ecosystem structure and function in an intermittent stream.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Lozano, Pablo; Verkaik, Iraima; Rieradevall, Maria; Prat, Narcís

    2015-01-01

    Top predator loss is a major global problem, with a current trend in biodiversity loss towards high trophic levels that modifies most ecosystems worldwide. Most research in this area is focused on large-bodied predators, despite the high extinction risk of small-bodied freshwater fish that often act as apex consumers. Consequently, it remains unknown if intermittent streams are affected by the consequences of top-predators' extirpations. The aim of our research was to determine how this global problem affects intermittent streams and, in particular, if the loss of a small-bodied top predator (1) leads to a 'mesopredator release', affects primary consumers and changes whole community structures, and (2) triggers a cascade effect modifying the ecosystem function. To address these questions, we studied the top-down effects of a small endangered fish species, Barbus meridionalis (the Mediterranean barbel), conducting an enclosure/exclosure mesocosm experiment in an intermittent stream where B. meridionalis became locally extinct following a wildfire. We found that top predator absence led to 'mesopredator release', and also to 'prey release' despite intraguild predation, which contrasts with traditional food web theory. In addition, B. meridionalis extirpation changed whole macroinvertebrate community composition and increased total macroinvertebrate density. Regarding ecosystem function, periphyton primary production decreased in apex consumer absence. In this study, the apex consumer was functionally irreplaceable; its local extinction led to the loss of an important functional role that resulted in major changes to the ecosystem's structure and function. This study evidences that intermittent streams can be affected by the consequences of apex consumers' extinctions, and that the loss of small-bodied top predators can lead to large ecosystem changes. We recommend the reintroduction of small-bodied apex consumers to systems where they have been extirpated, to restore

  3. Small but Powerful: Top Predator Local Extinction Affects Ecosystem Structure and Function in an Intermittent Stream

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Lozano, Pablo; Verkaik, Iraima; Rieradevall, Maria; Prat, Narcís

    2015-01-01

    Top predator loss is a major global problem, with a current trend in biodiversity loss towards high trophic levels that modifies most ecosystems worldwide. Most research in this area is focused on large-bodied predators, despite the high extinction risk of small-bodied freshwater fish that often act as apex consumers. Consequently, it remains unknown if intermittent streams are affected by the consequences of top-predators’ extirpations. The aim of our research was to determine how this global problem affects intermittent streams and, in particular, if the loss of a small-bodied top predator (1) leads to a ‘mesopredator release’, affects primary consumers and changes whole community structures, and (2) triggers a cascade effect modifying the ecosystem function. To address these questions, we studied the top-down effects of a small endangered fish species, Barbus meridionalis (the Mediterranean barbel), conducting an enclosure/exclosure mesocosm experiment in an intermittent stream where B. meridionalis became locally extinct following a wildfire. We found that top predator absence led to ‘mesopredator release’, and also to ‘prey release’ despite intraguild predation, which contrasts with traditional food web theory. In addition, B. meridionalis extirpation changed whole macroinvertebrate community composition and increased total macroinvertebrate density. Regarding ecosystem function, periphyton primary production decreased in apex consumer absence. In this study, the apex consumer was functionally irreplaceable; its local extinction led to the loss of an important functional role that resulted in major changes to the ecosystem’s structure and function. This study evidences that intermittent streams can be affected by the consequences of apex consumers’ extinctions, and that the loss of small-bodied top predators can lead to large ecosystem changes. We recommend the reintroduction of small-bodied apex consumers to systems where they have been

  4. Ecosystem structure, function, and composition in rangelands are negatively affected by livestock grazing.

    PubMed

    Eldridge, David J; Poore, Alistair G B; Ruiz-Colmenero, Marta; Letnic, Mike; Soliveres, Santiago

    2016-06-01

    Reports of positive or neutral effects of grazing on plant species richness have prompted calls for livestock grazing to be used as a tool for managing land for conservation. Grazing effects, however, are likely to vary among different response variables, types, and intensity of grazing, and across abiotic conditions. We aimed to examine how grazing affects ecosystem structure, function, and composition. We compiled a database of 7615 records reporting an effect of grazing by sheep and cattle on 278 biotic and abiotic response variables for published studies across Australia. Using these data, we derived three ecosystem measures based on structure, function, and composition, which were compared against six contrasts of grazing pressure, ranging from low to heavy, two different herbivores (sheep, cattle), and across three different climatic zones. Grazing reduced structure (by 35%), function (24%), and composition (10%). Structure and function (but not composition) declined more when grazed by sheep and cattle together than sheep alone. Grazing reduced plant biomass (40%), animal richness (15%), and plant and animal abundance, and plant and litter cover (25%), but had no effect on plant richness nor soil function. The negative effects of grazing on plant biomass, plant cover, and soil function were more pronounced in drier environments. Grazing effects on plant and animal richness and composition were constant, or even declined, with increasing aridity. Our study represents a comprehensive continental assessment of the implications of grazing for managing Australian rangelands. Grazing effects were largely negative, even at very low levels of grazing. Overall, our results suggest that livestock grazing in Australia is unlikely to produce positive outcomes for ecosystem structure, function, and composition or even as a blanket conservation tool unless reduction in specific response variables is an explicit management objective.

  5. Ecosystem structure, function, and composition in rangelands are negatively affected by livestock grazing.

    PubMed

    Eldridge, David J; Poore, Alistair G B; Ruiz-Colmenero, Marta; Letnic, Mike; Soliveres, Santiago

    2016-06-01

    Reports of positive or neutral effects of grazing on plant species richness have prompted calls for livestock grazing to be used as a tool for managing land for conservation. Grazing effects, however, are likely to vary among different response variables, types, and intensity of grazing, and across abiotic conditions. We aimed to examine how grazing affects ecosystem structure, function, and composition. We compiled a database of 7615 records reporting an effect of grazing by sheep and cattle on 278 biotic and abiotic response variables for published studies across Australia. Using these data, we derived three ecosystem measures based on structure, function, and composition, which were compared against six contrasts of grazing pressure, ranging from low to heavy, two different herbivores (sheep, cattle), and across three different climatic zones. Grazing reduced structure (by 35%), function (24%), and composition (10%). Structure and function (but not composition) declined more when grazed by sheep and cattle together than sheep alone. Grazing reduced plant biomass (40%), animal richness (15%), and plant and animal abundance, and plant and litter cover (25%), but had no effect on plant richness nor soil function. The negative effects of grazing on plant biomass, plant cover, and soil function were more pronounced in drier environments. Grazing effects on plant and animal richness and composition were constant, or even declined, with increasing aridity. Our study represents a comprehensive continental assessment of the implications of grazing for managing Australian rangelands. Grazing effects were largely negative, even at very low levels of grazing. Overall, our results suggest that livestock grazing in Australia is unlikely to produce positive outcomes for ecosystem structure, function, and composition or even as a blanket conservation tool unless reduction in specific response variables is an explicit management objective. PMID:27509764

  6. Loss of Rare Fish Species from Tropical Floodplain Food Webs Affects Community Structure and Ecosystem Multifunctionality in a Mesocosm Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Pendleton, Richard M.; Hoeinghaus, David J.; Gomes, Luiz C.; Agostinho, Angelo A.

    2014-01-01

    Experiments with realistic scenarios of species loss from multitrophic ecosystems may improve insight into how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning. Using 1000 L mesocoms, we examined effects of nonrandom species loss on community structure and ecosystem functioning of experimental food webs based on multitrophic tropical floodplain lagoon ecosystems. Realistic biodiversity scenarios were developed based on long-term field surveys, and experimental assemblages replicated sequential loss of rare species which occurred across all trophic levels of these complex food webs. Response variables represented multiple components of ecosystem functioning, including nutrient cycling, primary and secondary production, organic matter accumulation and whole ecosystem metabolism. Species richness significantly affected ecosystem function, even after statistically controlling for potentially confounding factors such as total biomass and direct trophic interactions. Overall, loss of rare species was generally associated with lower nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton and zooplankton densities, and whole ecosystem metabolism when compared with more diverse assemblages. This pattern was also observed for overall ecosystem multifunctionality, a combined metric representing the ability of an ecosystem to simultaneously maintain multiple functions. One key exception was attributed to time-dependent effects of intraguild predation, which initially increased values for most ecosystem response variables, but resulted in decreases over time likely due to reduced nutrient remineralization by surviving predators. At the same time, loss of species did not result in strong trophic cascades, possibly a result of compensation and complexity of these multitrophic ecosystems along with a dominance of bottom-up effects. Our results indicate that although rare species may comprise minor components of communities, their loss can have profound ecosystem consequences across multiple trophic

  7. Loss of rare fish species from tropical floodplain food webs affects community structure and ecosystem multifunctionality in a mesocosm experiment.

    PubMed

    Pendleton, Richard M; Hoeinghaus, David J; Gomes, Luiz C; Agostinho, Angelo A

    2014-01-01

    Experiments with realistic scenarios of species loss from multitrophic ecosystems may improve insight into how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning. Using 1000 L mesocoms, we examined effects of nonrandom species loss on community structure and ecosystem functioning of experimental food webs based on multitrophic tropical floodplain lagoon ecosystems. Realistic biodiversity scenarios were developed based on long-term field surveys, and experimental assemblages replicated sequential loss of rare species which occurred across all trophic levels of these complex food webs. Response variables represented multiple components of ecosystem functioning, including nutrient cycling, primary and secondary production, organic matter accumulation and whole ecosystem metabolism. Species richness significantly affected ecosystem function, even after statistically controlling for potentially confounding factors such as total biomass and direct trophic interactions. Overall, loss of rare species was generally associated with lower nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton and zooplankton densities, and whole ecosystem metabolism when compared with more diverse assemblages. This pattern was also observed for overall ecosystem multifunctionality, a combined metric representing the ability of an ecosystem to simultaneously maintain multiple functions. One key exception was attributed to time-dependent effects of intraguild predation, which initially increased values for most ecosystem response variables, but resulted in decreases over time likely due to reduced nutrient remineralization by surviving predators. At the same time, loss of species did not result in strong trophic cascades, possibly a result of compensation and complexity of these multitrophic ecosystems along with a dominance of bottom-up effects. Our results indicate that although rare species may comprise minor components of communities, their loss can have profound ecosystem consequences across multiple trophic

  8. Determining place and process: functional traits of ectomycorrhizal fungi that affect both community structure and ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Koide, Roger T; Fernandez, Christopher; Malcolm, Glenna

    2014-01-01

    There is a growing interest amongst community ecologists in functional traits. Response traits determine membership in communities. Effect traits influence ecosystem function. One goal of community ecology is to predict the effect of environmental change on ecosystem function. Environmental change can directly and indirectly affect ecosystem function. Indirect effects are mediated through shifts in community structure. It is difficult to predict how environmental change will affect ecosystem function via the indirect route when the change in effect trait distribution is not predictable from the change in response trait distribution. When response traits function as effect traits, however, it becomes possible to predict the indirect effect of environmental change on ecosystem function. Here we illustrate four examples in which key attributes of ectomycorrhizal fungi function as both response and effect traits. While plant ecologists have discussed response and effect traits in the context of community structuring and ecosystem function, this approach has not been applied to ectomycorrhizal fungi. This is unfortunate because of the large effects of ectomycorrhizal fungi on ecosystem function. We hope to stimulate further research in this area in the hope of better predicting the ecosystem- and landscape-level effects of the fungi as influenced by changing environmental conditions.

  9. Roles of benthic algae in the structure, function, and assessment of stream ecosystems affected by acid mine drainage.

    PubMed

    Smucker, Nathan J; Drerup, Samuel A; Vis, Morgan L

    2014-06-01

    Tens of thousands of stream kilometers worldwide are degraded by a legacy of acid loads, high metal concentrations, and altered habitat caused by acid mine drainage (AMD) from abandoned underground and surface mines. As the primary production base in streams, the condition of algal-dominated periphyton communities is particularly important to nutrient cycling, energy flow, and higher trophic levels. Here, we synthesize current knowledge regarding how AMD-associated stressors affect (i) algal communities and their use as ecological indicators, (ii) their functional roles in stream ecosystems, and (iii) how these findings inform management decisions and evaluation of restoration effectiveness. A growing body of research has found ecosystem simplification caused by AMD stressors. Species diversity declines, productivity decreases, and less efficient nutrient uptake and retention occur as AMD severity increases. New monitoring approaches, indices of biological condition, and attributes of algal community structure and function effectively assess AMD severity and effectiveness of management practices. Measures of ecosystem processes, such as nutrient uptake rates, extracellular enzyme activities, and metabolism, are increasingly being used as assessment tools, but remain in their infancy relative to traditional community structure-based approaches. The continued development, testing, and implementation of functional measures and their use alongside community structure metrics will further advance assessments, inform management decisions, and foster progress toward restoration goals. Algal assessments will have important roles in making progress toward improving and sustaining the water quality, ecological condition, and ecosystem services of streams in regions affected by the legacy of unregulated coal mining. PMID:26988317

  10. Foundation species loss affects vegetation structure more than ecosystem function in a northeastern USA forest.

    PubMed

    Orwig, David A; Barker Plotkin, Audrey A; Davidson, Eric A; Lux, Heidi; Savage, Kathleen E; Ellison, Aaron M

    2013-01-01

    patterns observed consistently in region-wide studies of adelgid-infested hemlock stands. Mechanisms of T. canadensis loss determine rates, magnitudes, and trajectories of ecological changes in hemlock forests. Logging causes abrupt, large changes in vegetation structure whereas girdling (and by inference, A. tsugae) causes sustained, smaller changes. Ecosystem processes depend more on vegetation cover per se than on species composition. We conclude that the loss of this late-successional foundation species will have long-lasting impacts on forest structure but subtle impacts on ecosystem function. PMID:23638378

  11. Ash in fire affected ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, Paulo; Jordan, Antonio; Cerda, Artemi; Martin, Deborah

    2015-04-01

    Ash in fire affected ecosystems Ash lefts an important footprint in the ecosystems and has a key role in the immediate period after the fire (Bodi et al., 2014; Pereira et al., 2015). It is an important source of nutrients for plant recover (Pereira et al., 2014a), protects soil from erosion and controls soil hydrological process as runoff, infiltration and water repellency (Cerda and Doerr, 2008; Bodi et al., 2012, Pereira et al., 2014b). Despite the recognition of ash impact and contribution to ecosystems recuperation, it is assumed that we still have little knowledge about the implications of ash in fire affected areas. Regarding this situation we wanted to improve our knowledge in this field and understand the state of the research about fire ash around world. The special issue about "The role of ash in fire affected ecosystems" currently in publication in CATENA born from the necessity of joint efforts, identify research gaps, and discuss future cooperation in this interdisciplinary field. This is the first special issue about fire ash in the international literature. In total it will be published 10 papers focused in different aspects of the impacts of ash in fire affected ecosystems from several parts of the world: • Fire reconstruction using charcoal particles (Burjachs and Espositio, in press) • Ash slurries impact on rheological properties of Runoff (Burns and Gabet, in press) • Methods to analyse ash conductivity and sorbtivity in the laboratory and in the field (Balfour et al., in press) • Termogravimetric and hydrological properties of ash (Dlapa et al. in press) • Effects of ash cover in water infiltration (Leon et al., in press) • Impact of ash in volcanic soils (Dorta Almenar et al., in press; Escuday et al., in press) • Ash PAH and Chemical extracts (Silva et al., in press) • Microbiology (Barreiro et al., in press; Lombao et al., in press) We believe that this special issue will contribute importantly to the better understanding of

  12. Ash in fire affected ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, Paulo; Jordan, Antonio; Cerda, Artemi; Martin, Deborah

    2015-04-01

    Ash in fire affected ecosystems Ash lefts an important footprint in the ecosystems and has a key role in the immediate period after the fire (Bodi et al., 2014; Pereira et al., 2015). It is an important source of nutrients for plant recover (Pereira et al., 2014a), protects soil from erosion and controls soil hydrological process as runoff, infiltration and water repellency (Cerda and Doerr, 2008; Bodi et al., 2012, Pereira et al., 2014b). Despite the recognition of ash impact and contribution to ecosystems recuperation, it is assumed that we still have little knowledge about the implications of ash in fire affected areas. Regarding this situation we wanted to improve our knowledge in this field and understand the state of the research about fire ash around world. The special issue about "The role of ash in fire affected ecosystems" currently in publication in CATENA born from the necessity of joint efforts, identify research gaps, and discuss future cooperation in this interdisciplinary field. This is the first special issue about fire ash in the international literature. In total it will be published 10 papers focused in different aspects of the impacts of ash in fire affected ecosystems from several parts of the world: • Fire reconstruction using charcoal particles (Burjachs and Espositio, in press) • Ash slurries impact on rheological properties of Runoff (Burns and Gabet, in press) • Methods to analyse ash conductivity and sorbtivity in the laboratory and in the field (Balfour et al., in press) • Termogravimetric and hydrological properties of ash (Dlapa et al. in press) • Effects of ash cover in water infiltration (Leon et al., in press) • Impact of ash in volcanic soils (Dorta Almenar et al., in press; Escuday et al., in press) • Ash PAH and Chemical extracts (Silva et al., in press) • Microbiology (Barreiro et al., in press; Lombao et al., in press) We believe that this special issue will contribute importantly to the better understanding of

  13. The light: nutrient ratio in lakes: the balance of energy and materials affects ecosystem structure and process.

    PubMed

    Sterner, R W; Elser, J J; Fee, E J; Guildford, S J; Chrzanowski, T H

    1997-12-01

    The amounts of solar energy and materials are two of the chief factors determining ecosystem structure and process. Here, we examine the relative balance of light and phosphorus in a set of freshwater pelagic ecosystems. We calculated a ratio of light: phosphorus by putting mixed-layer mean light in the numerator and total P concentration in the denominator. This light: phosphorus ratio was a good predictor of the C:P ratio of particulate matter (seston), with a positive correlation demonstrated between these two ratios. We argue that the balance between light and nutrients controls "nutrient use efficiency" at the base of the food web in lakes. Thus, when light energy is high relative to nutrient availability, the base of the food web is carbon rich and phosphorus poor. In the opposite case, where light is relatively less available compared to nutrients, the base of the food web is relatively P rich. The significance of this relationship lies in the fact that the composition of sestonic material is known to influence a large number of ecosystem processes such as secondary production, nutrient cycling, and (we hypothesize) the relative strength of microbial versus grazing processes. Using the central result of increased C:P ratio with an increased light: phosphorus ratio, we make specific predictions of how ecosystem structure and process should vary with light and nutrient balance. Among these predictions, we suggest that lake ecosystems with low light: phosphorus ratios should have several trophic levels simultaneously carbon or energy limited, while ecosystems with high light: phosphorus ratios should have several trophic levels simultaneously limited by phosphorus. Our results provide an alternative perspective to the question of what determines nutrient use efficiency in ecosystems.

  14. Factors Affecting Trophic Control of Community Structure and Ecosystem Functioning in Experimental Mesocosms of Seagrass (Zostera marina L.)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lefcheck, J.; Duffy, J.

    2008-12-01

    Nutrient loading of coastal and estuarine waters threatens seagrass communities by promoting the growth of micro- and macroalgae, which then reduce the availability of light and nutrients. However, populations of invertebrate mesograzers are able to mitigate the negative impact of eutrophication through top-down control. We performed a factorial mesocosm experiment to examine the interactive relationships between light, nutrients, and mesograzer presence in structuring experimental ecosystems of eelgrass (Zostera marina). We found that mesograzer presence strongly reduced epiphytic algal biomass in every case, which remains consistent with previous mesocosm studies. We also observed a synergistic light-by-nutrient interaction that enhanced both epiphyte biomass and mesograzer abundance. The timing of this relationship is suggestive of weaker bottom-up control. Unlike previous studies, we found that light alone rarely affected either epiphyte biomass or mesograzer abundance. We believe that this result may be due to a combination of macroalgal shading and persistent grazing. Further processing of primary and secondary producer biomasses and elemental ratios, as well as the completion of feeding assays to gauge mesograzer feeding rates on different types of algae, will serve to reinforce these conclusions and to better define the relationship between these factors.

  15. Do differences in food web structure between organic and conventional farms affect the ecosystem service of pest control?

    PubMed

    Macfadyen, Sarina; Gibson, Rachel; Polaszek, Andrew; Morris, Rebecca J; Craze, Paul G; Planqué, Robert; Symondson, William O C; Memmott, Jane

    2009-03-01

    While many studies have demonstrated that organic farms support greater levels of biodiversity, it is not known whether this translates into better provision of ecosystem services. Here we use a food-web approach to analyse the community structure and function at the whole-farm scale. Quantitative food webs from 10 replicate pairs of organic and conventional farms showed that organic farms have significantly more species at three trophic levels (plant, herbivore and parasitoid) and significantly different network structure. Herbivores on organic farms were attacked by more parasitoid species on organic farms than on conventional farms. However, differences in network structure did not translate into differences in robustness to simulated species loss and we found no difference in percentage parasitism (natural pest control) across a variety of host species. Furthermore, a manipulative field experiment demonstrated that the higher species richness of parasitoids on the organic farms did not increase mortality of a novel herbivore used to bioassay ecosystem service. The explanation for these differences is likely to include inherent differences in management strategies and landscape structure between the two farming systems.

  16. Do high levels of diffuse and chronic metal pollution in sediments of Rhine and Meuse floodplains affect structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems?

    PubMed

    Rozema, Jelte; Notten, Martje J M; Aerts, Rien; van Gestel, Cornelis A M; Hobbelen, Peter H F; Hamers, Timo H M

    2008-12-01

    This paper (re)considers the question if chronic and diffuse heavy metal pollution (cadmium, copper, lead and zinc) affects the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems of Biesbosch National Park, the floodplain area of rivers Meuse and Rhine. To reach this aim, we integrated the results of three projects on: 1. the origin, transfer and effects of heavy metals in a soil-plant-snail food chain; 2. the impact of bioavailability on effects of heavy metals on the structure and functioning of detritivorous communities; 3. the risk assessment of heavy metals for an herbivorous and a carnivorous small mammal food chain. Metal pollution levels of the Biesbosch floodplain soils are high. The bioavailability of metals in the soils is low, causing low metal levels in plant leaves. Despite this, metal concentrations in soil dwelling detritivores and in land snails at polluted locations are elevated in comparison to animals from 'non-polluted' reference sites. However, no adverse effects on ecosystem structure (species richness, density, biomass) and functioning (litter decomposition, leaf consumption, reproduction) have been found. Sediment metal pollution may pose a risk to the carnivorous small mammal food chain, in which earthworms with elevated metal concentrations are eaten by the common shrew. Additional measurements near an active metal smelter, however, show reduced leaf consumption rates and reduced reproduction by terrestrial snails, reflecting elevated metal bioavailability at this site. Since future management may also comprise reintroduction of tidal action in the Biesbosch area, changes in metal bioavailability, and as a consequence future ecosystem effects, cannot be excluded.

  17. Do high levels of diffuse and chronic metal pollution in sediments of Rhine and Meuse floodplains affect structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems?

    PubMed

    Rozema, Jelte; Notten, Martje J M; Aerts, Rien; van Gestel, Cornelis A M; Hobbelen, Peter H F; Hamers, Timo H M

    2008-12-01

    This paper (re)considers the question if chronic and diffuse heavy metal pollution (cadmium, copper, lead and zinc) affects the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems of Biesbosch National Park, the floodplain area of rivers Meuse and Rhine. To reach this aim, we integrated the results of three projects on: 1. the origin, transfer and effects of heavy metals in a soil-plant-snail food chain; 2. the impact of bioavailability on effects of heavy metals on the structure and functioning of detritivorous communities; 3. the risk assessment of heavy metals for an herbivorous and a carnivorous small mammal food chain. Metal pollution levels of the Biesbosch floodplain soils are high. The bioavailability of metals in the soils is low, causing low metal levels in plant leaves. Despite this, metal concentrations in soil dwelling detritivores and in land snails at polluted locations are elevated in comparison to animals from 'non-polluted' reference sites. However, no adverse effects on ecosystem structure (species richness, density, biomass) and functioning (litter decomposition, leaf consumption, reproduction) have been found. Sediment metal pollution may pose a risk to the carnivorous small mammal food chain, in which earthworms with elevated metal concentrations are eaten by the common shrew. Additional measurements near an active metal smelter, however, show reduced leaf consumption rates and reduced reproduction by terrestrial snails, reflecting elevated metal bioavailability at this site. Since future management may also comprise reintroduction of tidal action in the Biesbosch area, changes in metal bioavailability, and as a consequence future ecosystem effects, cannot be excluded. PMID:18707753

  18. Plant Host Species and Geographic Distance Affect the Structure of Aboveground Fungal Symbiont Communities, and Environmental Filtering Affects Belowground Communities in a Coastal Dune Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    David, Aaron S; Seabloom, Eric W; May, Georgiana

    2016-05-01

    Microbial symbionts inhabit tissues of all plants and animals. Their community composition depends largely on two ecological processes: (1) filtering by abiotic conditions and host species determining the environments that symbionts are able to colonize and (2) dispersal-limitation determining the pool of symbionts available to colonize a given host and community spatial structure. In plants, the above- and belowground tissues represent such distinct habitats for symbionts that we expect different effects of filtering and spatial structuring on their symbiont communities. In this study, we characterized above- and belowground communities of fungal endophytes--fungi living asymptomatically within plants--to understand the contributions of filtering and spatial structure to endophyte community composition. We used a culture-based approach to characterize endophytes growing in leaves and roots of three species of coastal beachgrasses in dunes of the USA Pacific Northwest. For leaves, endophyte isolation frequency and OTU richness depended primarily on plant host species. In comparison, for roots, both isolation frequency and OTU richness increased from the nutrient-poor front of the dune to the higher-nutrient backdune. Endophyte community composition in leaves exhibited a distance-decay relationship across the region. In a laboratory assay, faster growth rates and lower spore production were more often associated with leaf- than root-inhabiting endophytes. Overall, our results reveal a greater importance of biotic filtering by host species and dispersal-limitation over regional geographic distances for aboveground leaf endophyte communities and stronger effects of abiotic environmental filtering and locally patchy distributions for belowground root endophyte communities. PMID:26626912

  19. Neotropical Amphibian Declines Affect Stream Ecosystem Properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Connelly, S.; Pringle, C. M.; Bixby, R. J.; Whiles, M. R.; Lips, K. R.; Brenes, R.; Colon-Gaud, J. C.; Kilham, S.; Hunte-Brown, M.

    2005-05-01

    Global declines of amphibians are well documented, yet effects of these dramatic losses on ecosystem structure and function are poorly understood. As part of a larger collaborative project, we compared two upland Panamanian streams. Both streams are biologically and geologically similar; however, one stream (Fortuna) has recently experienced almost complete extirpation of stream-dwelling frogs, while the other (Cope) still has intact populations. We experimentally excluded tadpoles from localized areas in each stream. We then compared chlorophyll a, algal community composition, ash-free dry mass (AFDM), inorganic matter, and insect assemblages in control and exclusion areas. Additionally, we sampled the natural substrate of both streams monthly for chlorophyll a, algal community composition, AFDM, and inorganic matter. At Cope, chlorophyll a, AFDM, and inorganic matter were greater in areas where tadpoles were excluded than in their presence. Numbers of dominant algal species (e.g., Nupela praecipua and Eunotia siolii) were greater in the exclusion versus control treatments. Monthly sampling of natural substrate indicated higher chlorophyll a and AFDM at Cope compared to Fortuna. Our data suggest that stream-dwelling anuran larvae have significant impacts on algal communities. These results also have implications for predicting the relevance of short-term experimental manipulations to long-term, whole-stream processes.

  20. Nutrient recycling affects autotroph and ecosystem stoichiometry.

    PubMed

    Ballantyne, Ford; Menge, Duncan N L; Ostling, Annette; Hosseini, Parviez

    2008-04-01

    Stoichiometric nutrient ratios are the consequence of myriad interacting processes, both biotic and abiotic. Theoretical explanations for autotroph stoichiometry have focused on species' nutrient requirements but have not addressed the role of nutrient availability in determining autotroph stoichiometry. Remineralization of organic N and P supplies a significant fraction of inorganic N and P to autotrophs, making nutrient recycling a potentially important process influencing autotroph stoichiometry. To quantitatively investigate the relationship between available N and P, autotroph N:P, and nutrient recycling, we analyze a stoichiometrically explicit model of autotroph growth, incorporating Michaelis-Menten-Monod nutrient uptake kinetics, Droop growth, and Liebig's law of the minimum. If autotroph growth is limited by a single nutrient, increased recycling of the limiting nutrient pushes autotrophs toward colimitation and alters both autotroph and environmental stoichiometry. We derive a steady state relationship between input stoichiometry, autotroph N:P, and the stoichiometry of organic losses that allows us to estimate the relative recycling of N to P within an ecosystem. We then estimate relative N and P recycling for a marine, an aquatic, and two terrestrial ecosystems. Preferential P recycling, in conjunction with greater relative P retention at the organismal and ecosystem levels, presents a strong case for the importance of P to biomass production across ecosystems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-17

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

  2. Climate change in size-structured ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Brose, Ulrich; Dunne, Jennifer A; Montoya, Jose M; Petchey, Owen L; Schneider, Florian D; Jacob, Ute

    2012-11-01

    One important aspect of climate change is the increase in average temperature, which will not only have direct physiological effects on all species but also indirectly modifies abundances, interaction strengths, food-web topologies, community stability and functioning. In this theme issue, we highlight a novel pathway through which warming indirectly affects ecological communities: by changing their size structure (i.e. the body-size distributions). Warming can shift these distributions towards dominance of small- over large-bodied species. The conceptual, theoretical and empirical research described in this issue, in sum, suggests that effects of temperature may be dominated by changes in size structure, with relatively weak direct effects. For example, temperature effects via size structure have implications for top-down and bottom-up control in ecosystems and may ultimately yield novel communities. Moreover, scaling up effects of temperature and body size from physiology to the levels of populations, communities and ecosystems may provide a crucially important mechanistic approach for forecasting future consequences of global warming. PMID:23007078

  3. Soil community structure and ecosystem C cycling in arid ecosystems experiencing multiple environmental changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pavao-Zuckerman, M. A.; Cable, J. M.; Huxman, T. E.; Scott, R. L.; Williams, D. G.

    2005-12-01

    Despite the importance of soil carbon cycling to the response of water-limited ecosystems to global change, our understanding of this ecosystem component is still in its infancy. Adding to the complexity in knowledge building, ecosystems are exposed to simultaneous multiple shifts within global change scenarios. For example, semiarid grasslands in southern Arizona are currently undergoing encroachment by woody plants at the same time that climate change models predict increases in frequency and magnitude of precipitation inputs over the next 50 years. We are investigating how heterogeneity of plant cover mediates the response of soil community structure and ecosystem C cycling to seasonal monsoon rain inputs. Field plots were established in a mesquite shrubland in the San Pedro River Basin, AZ that are dominated by either: Sporobulus wrightii, medium sized Prosopis velutina, or large Prosopis velutina, additional plots were located in intercanopy areas. Both increased quantity and quality of litter inputs to the soil component, and physical influences of the shrubs on ecosystem water and energy budgets affects plots influenced by the development of Prosopis. Plant species influenced the response of soil microbial biomass to precipitation pulses. Plant cover also influenced the dynamics of soil nematodes. Magnitude of precipitation inputs and plant cover interact to affect the abundance of trophic group abundances and food web structure. These results will be discussed vis-à-vis the importance of soil organisms for driving ecosystem dynamics, and the appropriateness of dominant paradigms in arid land ecology (notably the pulse-reserve paradigm) for understanding soil components of arid ecosystems. Shifts in soil flora and fauna have important implications for ecosystem C-cycling via alterations of trophic dynamics, and the contribution of heterotrophic respiration to C efflux from ecosystems.

  4. Community structure affects behavior.

    PubMed

    Jaenson, C

    1991-06-01

    AID's prevention efforts can benefit from taking into account 5 main aspects (KEPRA) of community structure identified by anthropologists: 1) kinship patterns, 2) economics, 3) politics, 4) religion, and 5) associations. For example, in Uganda among the Basoga and paternal aunt or senga is responsible for female sex education. Such culturally determined patterns need to be targeted in order to enhance education and effectiveness. Economics can reflect differing systems of family support through sexual means. The example given involves a poor family with a teenager in Thailand who exchanges a water buffalo or basic necessity for this daughter's prostitution. Politics must be considered because every society identifies people who have the power to persuade, influence, exchange resources, coerce, or in some way get people to do what is wanted. Utilizing these resources whether its ministers of health, factory owners, or peers is exemplified in the Monterey, Mexico factor floor supervisor and canteen worker introducing to workers the hows and whys of a new AID's education program. His peer status will command more respect than the director with direct authority. Religious beliefs have explanations for causes of sickness or disease, or provide instruction in sex practices. The example given is of a health workers in Uganda discussing AIDS with rural women by saying that we all know that disease and deaths are caused by spells. "But not AIDS - slim. AIDS is different." Associations can help provide educational, economic, and emotional assistance to the AID's effort or families affected.

  5. Extinction order and altered community structure rapidly disrupt ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Trond H; Williams, Neal M; Kremen, Claire

    2005-05-01

    By causing extinctions and altering community structure, anthropogenic disturbances can disrupt processes that maintain ecosystem integrity. However, the relationship between community structure and ecosystem functioning in natural systems is poorly understood. Here we show that habitat loss appeared to disrupt ecosystem functioning by affecting extinction order, species richness and abundance. We studied pollination by bees in a mosaic of agricultural and natural habitats in California and dung burial by dung beetles on recently created islands in Venezuela. We found that large-bodied bee and beetle species tended to be both most extinction-prone and most functionally efficient, contributing to rapid functional loss. Simulations confirmed that extinction order led to greater disruption of function than predicted by random species loss. Total abundance declined with richness and also appeared to contribute to loss of function. We demonstrate conceptually and empirically how the non-random response of communities to disturbance can have unexpectedly large functional consequences.

  6. Warming alters community size structure and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Dossena, Matteo; Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel; Grey, Jonathan; Montoya, José M; Perkins, Daniel M; Trimmer, Mark; Woodward, Guy

    2012-08-01

    Global warming can affect all levels of biological complexity, though we currently understand least about its potential impact on communities and ecosystems. At the ecosystem level, warming has the capacity to alter the structure of communities and the rates of key ecosystem processes they mediate. Here we assessed the effects of a 4°C rise in temperature on the size structure and taxonomic composition of benthic communities in aquatic mesocosms, and the rates of detrital decomposition they mediated. Warming had no effect on biodiversity, but altered community size structure in two ways. In spring, warmer systems exhibited steeper size spectra driven by declines in total community biomass and the proportion of large organisms. By contrast, in autumn, warmer systems had shallower size spectra driven by elevated total community biomass and a greater proportion of large organisms. Community-level shifts were mirrored by changes in decomposition rates. Temperature-corrected microbial and macrofaunal decomposition rates reflected the shifts in community structure and were strongly correlated with biomass across mesocosms. Our study demonstrates that the 4°C rise in temperature expected by the end of the century has the potential to alter the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems profoundly, as well as the intimate linkages between these levels of ecological organization.

  7. Warming alters community size structure and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Dossena, Matteo; Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel; Grey, Jonathan; Montoya, José M; Perkins, Daniel M; Trimmer, Mark; Woodward, Guy

    2012-08-01

    Global warming can affect all levels of biological complexity, though we currently understand least about its potential impact on communities and ecosystems. At the ecosystem level, warming has the capacity to alter the structure of communities and the rates of key ecosystem processes they mediate. Here we assessed the effects of a 4°C rise in temperature on the size structure and taxonomic composition of benthic communities in aquatic mesocosms, and the rates of detrital decomposition they mediated. Warming had no effect on biodiversity, but altered community size structure in two ways. In spring, warmer systems exhibited steeper size spectra driven by declines in total community biomass and the proportion of large organisms. By contrast, in autumn, warmer systems had shallower size spectra driven by elevated total community biomass and a greater proportion of large organisms. Community-level shifts were mirrored by changes in decomposition rates. Temperature-corrected microbial and macrofaunal decomposition rates reflected the shifts in community structure and were strongly correlated with biomass across mesocosms. Our study demonstrates that the 4°C rise in temperature expected by the end of the century has the potential to alter the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems profoundly, as well as the intimate linkages between these levels of ecological organization. PMID:22496185

  8. How does vineyard management intensity affect ecosystem services and disservices - insights from a meta-analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winter, Silvia; Zaller, Johann G.; Kratschmer, Sophie; Pachinger, Bärbel; Strauss, Peter; Bauer, Thomas; Paredes, Daniel; Gómez, José A.; Guzmán, Gema; Landa, Blanca; Nicolai, Annegret; Burel, Francoise; Cluzeau, Daniel; Popescu, Daniela; Bunea, Claudiu-Ioan; Potthoff, Martin; Guernion, Muriel; Batáry, Péter

    2016-04-01

    Viticultural agro-ecosystems provide a range of different ecosystem services which are affected by management decisions of winegrowers. At the global scale, vineyards are often high intensity agricultural systems with bare soil or inter-row vegetation consisting of only a few plant species. These systems primarily aim at optimizing wine production by reducing competition for water and nutrients between grapevines and weeds and by preventing the outbreak of pests and diseases. At the same time, this kind of management is often associated with ecosystem disservices such as high rates of soil erosion, degradation of soil structure and fertility, contamination of groundwater and decline of biodiversity. Recently, several initiatives across the world tried to overcome detrimental effects of that management style by creating biodiversity friendly vineyards. The consequences of establishing divers cover crop mixes or tolerating spontaneous vegetation in vineyards for ecosystem services (including yield) overstretching local case studies has not been investigated yet. This meta-analysis will provide an overview of all published studies comparing the effects of different vineyard management practices on a range of different ecosystem services like biodiversity, pest control, pollination, soil conservation and carbon sequestration. The aggregated effect size will point out which management measures can provide the best overall net sum of ecosystem services. This meta-analysis is part of the transdisciplinary BiodivERsA project VineDivers and will ultimately lead into management and policy recommendations for various stakeholder groups engaged in viticulture.

  9. Community history affects the predictability of microbial ecosystem development

    PubMed Central

    Pagaling, Eulyn; Strathdee, Fiona; Spears, Bryan M; Cates, Michael E; Allen, Rosalind J; Free, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Microbial communities mediate crucial biogeochemical, biomedical and biotechnological processes, yet our understanding of their assembly, and our ability to control its outcome, remain poor. Existing evidence presents conflicting views on whether microbial ecosystem assembly is predictable, or inherently unpredictable. We address this issue using a well-controlled laboratory model system, in which source microbial communities colonize a pristine environment to form complex, nutrient-cycling ecosystems. When the source communities colonize a novel environment, final community composition and function (as measured by redox potential) are unpredictable, although a signature of the community's previous history is maintained. However, when the source communities are pre-conditioned to their new habitat, community development is more reproducible. This situation contrasts with some studies of communities of macro-organisms, where strong selection under novel environmental conditions leads to reproducible community structure, whereas communities under weaker selection show more variability. Our results suggest that the microbial rare biosphere may have an important role in the predictability of microbial community development, and that pre-conditioning may help to reduce unpredictability in the design of microbial communities for biotechnological applications. PMID:23985743

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-13

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Emergent global patterns of ecosystem structure and function from a mechanistic general ecosystem model.

    PubMed

    Harfoot, Michael B J; Newbold, Tim; Tittensor, Derek P; Emmott, Stephen; Hutton, Jon; Lyutsarev, Vassily; Smith, Matthew J; Scharlemann, Jörn P W; Purves, Drew W

    2014-04-01

    Anthropogenic activities are causing widespread degradation of ecosystems worldwide, threatening the ecosystem services upon which all human life depends. Improved understanding of this degradation is urgently needed to improve avoidance and mitigation measures. One tool to assist these efforts is predictive models of ecosystem structure and function that are mechanistic: based on fundamental ecological principles. Here we present the first mechanistic General Ecosystem Model (GEM) of ecosystem structure and function that is both global and applies in all terrestrial and marine environments. Functional forms and parameter values were derived from the theoretical and empirical literature where possible. Simulations of the fate of all organisms with body masses between 10 µg and 150,000 kg (a range of 14 orders of magnitude) across the globe led to emergent properties at individual (e.g., growth rate), community (e.g., biomass turnover rates), ecosystem (e.g., trophic pyramids), and macroecological scales (e.g., global patterns of trophic structure) that are in general agreement with current data and theory. These properties emerged from our encoding of the biology of, and interactions among, individual organisms without any direct constraints on the properties themselves. Our results indicate that ecologists have gathered sufficient information to begin to build realistic, global, and mechanistic models of ecosystems, capable of predicting a diverse range of ecosystem properties and their response to human pressures.

  14. Individual Difference Variables, Affective Differentiation, and the Structures of Affect

    PubMed Central

    Terracciano, Antonio; McCrae, Robert R.; Hagemann, Dirk; Costa, Paul T.

    2008-01-01

    Methodological arguments are usually invoked to explain variations in the structure of affect. Using self-rated affect from Italian samples (N = 600), we show that individual difference variables related to affective differentiation can moderate the observed structure. Indices of circumplexity (Browne, 1992) and congruence coefficients to the hypothesized target were used to quantify the observed structures. Results did not support the circumplex model as a universal structure. A circular structure with axes of activation and valence was approximated only among more affectively differentiated groups: students and respondents with high scores on Openness to Feelings and measures of negative emotionality. A different structure, with unipolar Positive Affect and Negative Affect factors, was observed among adults and respondents with low Openness to Feelings and negative emotionality. The observed structure of affect will depend in part on the nature of the sample studied. PMID:12932207

  15. Abyssal food limitation, ecosystem structure and climate change.

    PubMed

    Smith, Craig R; De Leo, Fabio C; Bernardino, Angelo F; Sweetman, Andrew K; Arbizu, Pedro Martinez

    2008-09-01

    The abyssal seafloor covers more than 50% of the Earth and is postulated to be both a reservoir of biodiversity and a source of important ecosystem services. We show that ecosystem structure and function in the abyss are strongly modulated by the quantity and quality of detrital food material sinking from the surface ocean. Climate change and human activities (e.g. successful ocean fertilization) will alter patterns of sinking food flux to the deep ocean, substantially impacting the structure, function and biodiversity of abyssal ecosystems. Abyssal ecosystem response thus must be considered in assessments of the environmental impacts of global warming and ocean fertilization.

  16. Nitrogen Additions Affect Root Dynamics in a Boreal Forest Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turner, K. M.; Treseder, K. K.

    2004-12-01

    As with many ecosystems, North American boreal forests are increasingly subjected to anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. To examine potential effects on plant growth, we created nitrogen fertilization plots in three sites along an Alaskan fire chronosequence composed of forests aged 5, 17, and 80 years. Each site had been exposed to two years of nitrogen fertilization, with four control plots and four nitrogen plots per site. General observations indicate that aboveground net primary productivity appears to be nitrogen limited in each site. We hypothesized that nitrogen fertilization would positively influence root dynamics as well, with nitrogen additions resulting in an increase in standing root biomass and length. To test our hypothesis, we used a minirhizotron camera to collect sequential images of roots in the top 10 cm of soil in both nitrogen fertilized and control plots in each site. Images were collected monthly during the growing season, with a total of five sampling times between May 2003 and May 2004. We then analyzed the images with WinRhizotron root measurement software. Nitrogen fertilization had varying effects on root biomass among the three sites, with a significant site by N interaction (P = 0.039). A decrease in root biomass was observed in the 5 and 80 year old sites, dropping from 207 g/m2 to 79 g/m2 and from 230 g/m2 to 129 g/m2 for the youngest and oldest sites, respectively. In contrast, root biomass increased from 52 g/m2 to 107 g/m2 in the 17 year old site. (Values are for the top 10 cm of soil only, and likely underestimate total root stocks.) Patterns in standing root lengths diverged from those of root biomass, with a 2.5-fold overall increase under nitrogen fertilization across all sites (P = 0.004). There were no significant differences among sites in nitrogen response. Standing root biomass and length differed from one another in their responses to nitrogen fertilization because nitrogen additions decreased specific root weight (as g

  17. Habitat structure, trophic structure and ecosystem function: interactive effects in a bromeliad-insect community.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Diane S

    2006-09-01

    Although previous studies have shown that ecosystem functions are affected by either trophic structure or habitat structure, there has been little consideration of their combined effects. Such interactions may be particularly important in systems where habitat and trophic structure covary. I use the aquatic insects in bromeliads to examine the combined effects of trophic structure and habitat structure on a key ecosystem function: detrital processing. In Costa Rican bromeliads, trophic structure naturally covaries with both habitat complexity and habitat size, precluding any observational analysis of interactions between factors. I therefore designed mesocosms that allowed each factor to be manipulated separately. Increases in mesocosm complexity reduced predator (damselfly larva) efficiency, resulting in high detritivore abundances, indirectly increasing detrital processing rates. However, increased complexity also directly reduced the per capita foraging efficiency of the detritivores. Over short time periods, these trends effectively cancelled each other out in terms of detrital processing. Over longer time periods, more complex patterns emerged. Increases in mesocosm size also reduced both predator efficiency and detritivore efficiency, leading to no net effect on detrital processing. In many systems, ecosystem functions may be impacted by strong interactions between trophic structure and habitat structure, cautioning against examining either effect in isolation.

  18. Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts may affect headwater stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Rosi-Marshall, E J; Tank, J L; Royer, T V; Whiles, M R; Evans-White, M; Chambers, C; Griffiths, N A; Pokelsek, J; Stephen, M L

    2007-10-01

    Corn (Zea mays L.) that has been genetically engineered to produce the Cry1Ab protein (Bt corn) is resistant to lepidopteran pests. Bt corn is widely planted in the midwestern United States, often adjacent to headwater streams. We show that corn byproducts, such as pollen and detritus, enter headwater streams and are subject to storage, consumption, and transport to downstream water bodies. Laboratory feeding trials showed that consumption of Bt corn byproducts reduced growth and increased mortality of nontarget stream insects. Stream insects are important prey for aquatic and riparian predators, and widespread planting of Bt crops has unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences. PMID:17923672

  19. Synergy of VSWIR and LiDAR for Ecosystem Structure, Biomass, and Canopy Diversity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cook, Bruce D.; Asner, Gregory P.

    2010-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the use of Visible ShortWave InfraRed (VSWIR) Imaging Spectrometer and LiDAR to study ecosystem structure, biomass and canopy diversity. It is shown that the biophysical data from LiDAR and biochemical information from hyperspectral remote sensing provides complementary data for: (1) describing spatial patterns of vegetation and biodiversity, (2) characterizing relationships between ecosystem form and function, and (3) detecting natural and human induced change that affects the biogeochemical cycles.

  20. Does microbial biomass affect pelagic ecosystem efficiency? An experimental study.

    PubMed

    Wehr, J D; Le, J; Campbell, L

    1994-01-01

    Bacteria and other microorganisms in the pelagic zone participate in the recycling of organic matter and nutrients within the water column. The microbial loop is thought to enhance ecosystem efficiency through rapid recycling and reduced sinking rates, thus reducing the loss of nutrients contained in organisms remaining within the photic zone. We conducted experiments with lake communities in 5400-liter mesocosms, and measured the flux of materials and nutrients out of the water column. A factorial design manipulated 8 nutrient treatments: 4 phosphorus levels × 2 nitrogen levels. Total sedimentation rates were greatest in high-N mesocosms; within N-surplus communities, [Symbol: see text]1 µM P resulted in 50% increase in total particulate losses. P additions without added N had small effects on nutrient losses from the photic zone; +2 µM P tanks received 334 mg P per tank, yet after 14 days lost only 69 mg more particulate-P than did control communities. Nutrient treatments resulted in marked differences in phytoplankton biomass (twofold N effect, fivefold P effect in +N mesocosms only), bacterioplankton densities (twofold N-effect, twofold P effects in -N and +N mesocosms), and the relative importance of autotrophic picoplankton (maximum in high NY mesocosms). Multiple regression analysis found that of 8 plankton and water chemistry variables, the ratio of autotrophic picoplankton to total phytoplankton (measured as chlorophyll α) explained the largest portion of the total variation in sedimentation loss rates (65% of P-flux, 57% of N-flux, 26% of total flux). In each case, systems with greater relative importance of autotrophic picoplankton had significantly reduced loss rates. In contrast, greater numbers of planktonic bacteria were associated with increased sedimentation rates and lower system efficiency. We suggest that different microbial components may have contrasting effects on the presumed enhanced efficiency provided by the microbial loop.

  1. Functional structure of biological communities predicts ecosystem multifunctionality.

    PubMed

    Mouillot, David; Villéger, Sébastien; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Mason, Norman W H

    2011-01-01

    The accelerating rate of change in biodiversity patterns, mediated by ever increasing human pressures and global warming, demands a better understanding of the relationship between the structure of biological communities and ecosystem functioning (BEF). Recent investigations suggest that the functional structure of communities, i.e. the composition and diversity of functional traits, is the main driver of ecological processes. However, the predictive power of BEF research is still low, the integration of all components of functional community structure as predictors is still lacking, and the multifunctionality of ecosystems (i.e. rates of multiple processes) must be considered. Here, using a multiple-processes framework from grassland biodiversity experiments, we show that functional identity of species and functional divergence among species, rather than species diversity per se, together promote the level of ecosystem multifunctionality with a predictive power of 80%. Our results suggest that primary productivity and decomposition rates, two key ecosystem processes upon which the global carbon cycle depends, are primarily sustained by specialist species, i.e. those that hold specialized combinations of traits and perform particular functions. Contrary to studies focusing on single ecosystem functions and considering species richness as the sole measure of biodiversity, we found a linear and non-saturating effect of the functional structure of communities on ecosystem multifunctionality. Thus, sustaining multiple ecological processes would require focusing on trait dominance and on the degree of community specialization, even in species-rich assemblages.

  2. Climate change, parasitism and the structure of intertidal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Poulin, R; Mouritsen, K N

    2006-06-01

    Evidence is accumulating rapidly showing that temperature and other climatic variables are driving many ecological processes. At the same time, recent research has highlighted the role of parasitism in the dynamics of animal populations and the structure of animal communities. Here, the likely interactions between climate change and parasitism are discussed in the context of intertidal ecosystems. Firstly, using the soft-sediment intertidal communities of Otago Harbour, New Zealand, as a case study, parasites are shown to be ubiquitous components of intertidal communities, found in practically all major animal species in the system. With the help of specific examples from Otago Harbour, it is demonstrated that parasites can regulate host population density, influence the diversity of the entire benthic community, and affect the structure of the intertidal food web. Secondly, we document the extreme sensitivity of cercarial production in parasitic trematodes to increases in temperature, and discuss how global warming could lead to enhanced trematode infections. Thirdly, the results of a simulation model are used to argue that parasite-mediated local extinctions of intertidal animals are a likely outcome of global warming. Specifically, the model predicts that following a temperature increase of less than 4 degrees C, populations of the amphipod Corophium volutator, a hugely abundant tube-building amphipod on the mudflats of the Danish Wadden Sea, are likely to crash repeatedly due to mortality induced by microphallid trematodes. The available evidence indicates that climate-mediated changes in local parasite abundance will have significant repercussions for intertidal ecosystems. On the bright side, the marked effects of even slight increases in temperature on cercarial production in trematodes could form the basis for monitoring programmes, with these sensitive parasites providing early warning signals of the environmental impacts of global warming.

  3. Linking stoichiometric homoeostasis with ecosystem structure, functioning and stability.

    PubMed

    Yu, Qiang; Chen, Quansheng; Elser, James J; He, Nianpeng; Wu, Honghui; Zhang, Guangming; Wu, Jianguo; Bai, Yongfei; Han, Xingguo

    2010-11-01

    Ecosystem structure, functioning and stability have been a focus of ecological and environmental sciences during the past two decades. The mechanisms underlying their relationship, however, are not well understood. Based on comprehensive studies in Inner Mongolia grassland, here we show that species-level stoichiometric homoeostasis was consistently positively correlated with dominance and stability on both 2-year and 27-year temporal scales and across a 1200-km spatial transect. At the community level, stoichiometric homoeostasis was also positively correlated with ecosystem function and stability in most cases. Thus, homoeostatic species tend to have high and stable biomass; and ecosystems dominated by more homoeostatic species have higher productivity and greater stability. By modulating organism responses to key environmental drivers, stoichiometric homoeostasis appears to be a major mechanism responsible for the structure, functioning and stability of grassland ecosystems.

  4. The roles of vegetation structure and composition in terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weng, E.; Lichstein, J. W.; Malyshev, S.; Shevliakova, E.; Pacala, S. W.

    2011-12-01

    Vegetation structure, species compositions, and interactions among individuals change with the development of ecosystems. The sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change is therefore differed. However, current dynamic global vegetation models treat vegetation as a couple of compartmentalized pools and neglect the details of vegetation dynamics with only explicitly representations of physiological and biogeochemical processes. These may lead to bias in the predictions of ecosystem dynamics in response to climate change. We incorporated a vegetation structure model, perfect plasticity approximation model (PPA), into a land model, LM3V, the land component of GFDL ESM, and explored the sensitivity and uncertainty induced by the structure of forest ecosystems in Northeastern USA, where the PPA model explicitly describes the competition of light and resources from soil (water or nitrogen) among plant species and the resulted vegetation structure with different environmental conditions and LM3V is a biogeochemical model describing carbon and water fluxes and storage in ecosystems and their feedback to atmosphere. We employed the rules of PPA to represent the vegetation dynamics (species composition, competition for light and water, and vegetation structure) in LM3V. The simulations showed that vegetation structure and the interactions between species could substantially affect the sensitivity of ecosystem carbon cycle to multi-factorial changes of climate. With changes in vegetation compositions and structure, ecosystem responses were less sensitive than those when only plant physiological and biogeochemical responses were considered. Our study shows that the processes at plant community level play a key role in mid- to long term ecosystem responses to climate change.

  5. Linking community size structure and ecosystem functioning using metabolic theory

    PubMed Central

    Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel; Allen, Andrew P.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding how biogeochemical cycles relate to the structure of ecological communities is a central research question in ecology. Here we approach this problem by focusing on body size, which is an easily measured species trait that has a pervasive influence on multiple aspects of community structure and ecosystem functioning. We test the predictions of a model derived from metabolic theory using data on ecosystem metabolism and community size structure. These data were collected as part of an aquatic mesocosm experiment that was designed to simulate future environmental warming. Our analyses demonstrate significant linkages between community size structure and ecosystem functioning, and the effects of warming on these links. Specifically, we show that carbon fluxes were significantly influenced by seasonal variation in temperature, and yielded activation energies remarkably similar to those predicted based on the temperature dependencies of individual-level photosynthesis and respiration. We also show that community size structure significantly influenced fluxes of ecosystem respiration and gross primary production, particularly at the annual time-scale. Assessing size structure and the factors that control it, both empirically and theoretically, therefore promises to aid in understanding links between individual organisms and biogeochemical cycles, and in predicting the responses of key ecosystem functions to future environmental change. PMID:23007088

  6. The effects of food web structure on ecosystem function exceeds those of precipitation.

    PubMed

    Trzcinski, M Kurtis; Srivastava, Diane S; Corbara, Bruno; Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation. PMID:27120013

  7. The effects of food web structure on ecosystem function exceeds those of precipitation.

    PubMed

    Trzcinski, M Kurtis; Srivastava, Diane S; Corbara, Bruno; Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation.

  8. Structural and functional loss in restored wetland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Moreno-Mateos, David; Power, Mary E; Comín, Francisco A; Yockteng, Roxana

    2012-01-01

    Wetlands are among the most productive and economically valuable ecosystems in the world. However, because of human activities, over half of the wetland ecosystems existing in North America, Europe, Australia, and China in the early 20th century have been lost. Ecological restoration to recover critical ecosystem services has been widely attempted, but the degree of actual recovery of ecosystem functioning and structure from these efforts remains uncertain. Our results from a meta-analysis of 621 wetland sites from throughout the world show that even a century after restoration efforts, biological structure (driven mostly by plant assemblages), and biogeochemical functioning (driven primarily by the storage of carbon in wetland soils), remained on average 26% and 23% lower, respectively, than in reference sites. Either recovery has been very slow, or postdisturbance systems have moved towards alternative states that differ from reference conditions. We also found significant effects of environmental settings on the rate and degree of recovery. Large wetland areas (>100 ha) and wetlands restored in warm (temperate and tropical) climates recovered more rapidly than smaller wetlands and wetlands restored in cold climates. Also, wetlands experiencing more (riverine and tidal) hydrologic exchange recovered more rapidly than depressional wetlands. Restoration performance is limited: current restoration practice fails to recover original levels of wetland ecosystem functions, even after many decades. If restoration as currently practiced is used to justify further degradation, global loss of wetland ecosystem function and structure will spread.

  9. Structural and Functional Loss in Restored Wetland Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Moreno-Mateos, David; Power, Mary E.; Comín, Francisco A.; Yockteng, Roxana

    2012-01-01

    Wetlands are among the most productive and economically valuable ecosystems in the world. However, because of human activities, over half of the wetland ecosystems existing in North America, Europe, Australia, and China in the early 20th century have been lost. Ecological restoration to recover critical ecosystem services has been widely attempted, but the degree of actual recovery of ecosystem functioning and structure from these efforts remains uncertain. Our results from a meta-analysis of 621 wetland sites from throughout the world show that even a century after restoration efforts, biological structure (driven mostly by plant assemblages), and biogeochemical functioning (driven primarily by the storage of carbon in wetland soils), remained on average 26% and 23% lower, respectively, than in reference sites. Either recovery has been very slow, or postdisturbance systems have moved towards alternative states that differ from reference conditions. We also found significant effects of environmental settings on the rate and degree of recovery. Large wetland areas (>100 ha) and wetlands restored in warm (temperate and tropical) climates recovered more rapidly than smaller wetlands and wetlands restored in cold climates. Also, wetlands experiencing more (riverine and tidal) hydrologic exchange recovered more rapidly than depressional wetlands. Restoration performance is limited: current restoration practice fails to recover original levels of wetland ecosystem functions, even after many decades. If restoration as currently practiced is used to justify further degradation, global loss of wetland ecosystem function and structure will spread. PMID:22291572

  10. Structural and functional loss in restored wetland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Moreno-Mateos, David; Power, Mary E; Comín, Francisco A; Yockteng, Roxana

    2012-01-01

    Wetlands are among the most productive and economically valuable ecosystems in the world. However, because of human activities, over half of the wetland ecosystems existing in North America, Europe, Australia, and China in the early 20th century have been lost. Ecological restoration to recover critical ecosystem services has been widely attempted, but the degree of actual recovery of ecosystem functioning and structure from these efforts remains uncertain. Our results from a meta-analysis of 621 wetland sites from throughout the world show that even a century after restoration efforts, biological structure (driven mostly by plant assemblages), and biogeochemical functioning (driven primarily by the storage of carbon in wetland soils), remained on average 26% and 23% lower, respectively, than in reference sites. Either recovery has been very slow, or postdisturbance systems have moved towards alternative states that differ from reference conditions. We also found significant effects of environmental settings on the rate and degree of recovery. Large wetland areas (>100 ha) and wetlands restored in warm (temperate and tropical) climates recovered more rapidly than smaller wetlands and wetlands restored in cold climates. Also, wetlands experiencing more (riverine and tidal) hydrologic exchange recovered more rapidly than depressional wetlands. Restoration performance is limited: current restoration practice fails to recover original levels of wetland ecosystem functions, even after many decades. If restoration as currently practiced is used to justify further degradation, global loss of wetland ecosystem function and structure will spread. PMID:22291572

  11. The importance of structural complexity in coral reef ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, N. A. J.; Nash, K. L.

    2013-06-01

    The importance of structural complexity in coral reefs has come to the fore with the global degradation of reef condition; however, the limited scale and replication of many studies have restricted our understanding of the role of complexity in the ecosystem. We qualitatively and quantitatively (where sufficient standardised data were available) assess the literature regarding the role of structural complexity in coral reef ecosystems. A rapidly increasing number of publications have studied the role of complexity in reef ecosystems over the past four decades, with a concomitant increase in the diversity of methods used to quantify structure. Quantitative analyses of existing data indicate a strong negative relationship between structural complexity and algal cover, which may reflect the important role complexity plays in enhancing herbivory by reef fishes. The cover of total live coral and branching coral was positively correlated with structural complexity. These habitat attributes may be creating much of the structure, resulting in a collinear relationship; however, there is also evidence of enhanced coral recovery from disturbances where structural complexity is high. Urchin densities were negatively correlated with structural complexity; a relationship that may be driven by urchins eroding reef structure or by their gregarious behaviour when in open space. There was a strong positive relationship between structural complexity and fish density and biomass, likely mediated through density-dependent competition and refuge from predation. More variable responses were found when assessing individual fish families, with all families examined displaying a positive relationship to structural complexity, but only half of these relationships were significant. Although only corroborated with qualitative data, structural complexity also seems to have a positive effect on two ecosystem services: tourism and shoreline protection. Clearly, structural complexity is an

  12. Carbon exchange between ecosystems and atmosphere in the Czech Republic is affected by climate factors.

    PubMed

    Marek, Michal V; Janouš, Dalibor; Taufarová, Klára; Havránková, Kateřina; Pavelka, Marian; Kaplan, Věroslav; Marková, Irena

    2011-05-01

    By comparing five ecosystem types in the Czech Republic over several years, we recorded the highest carbon sequestration potential in an evergreen Norway spruce forest (100%) and an agroecosystem (65%), followed by European beech forest (25%) and a wetland ecosystem (20%). Because of a massive ecosystem respiration, the final carbon gain of the grassland was negative. Climate was shown to be an important factor of carbon uptake by ecosystems: by varying the growing season length (a 22-d longer season in 2005 than in 2007 increased carbon sink by 13%) or by the effect of short- term synoptic situations (e.g. summer hot and dry days reduced net carbon storage by 58% relative to hot and wet days). Carbon uptake is strongly affected by the ontogeny and a production strategy which is demonstrated by the comparison of seasonal course of carbon uptake between coniferous (Norway spruce) and deciduous (European beech) stands.

  13. Nutrient Enrichment and Food Web Composition Affect Ecosystem Metabolism in an Experimental Seagrass Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Spivak, Amanda C.; Canuel, Elizabeth A.; Duffy, J. Emmett; Richardson, J. Paul

    2009-01-01

    Background Food web composition and resource levels can influence ecosystem properties such as productivity and elemental cycles. In particular, herbivores occupy a central place in food webs as the species richness and composition of this trophic level may simultaneously influence the transmission of resource and predator effects to higher and lower trophic levels, respectively. Yet, these interactions are poorly understood. Methodology/Principal Findings Using an experimental seagrass mesocosm system, we factorially manipulated water column nutrient concentrations, food chain length, and diversity of crustacean grazers to address two questions: (1) Does food web composition modulate the effects of nutrient enrichment on plant and grazer biomasses and stoichiometry? (2) Do ecosystem fluxes of dissolved oxygen and nutrients more closely reflect above-ground biomass and community structure or sediment processes? Nutrient enrichment and grazer presence generally had strong effects on biomass accumulation, stoichiometry, and ecosystem fluxes, whereas predator effects were weaker or absent. Nutrient enrichment had little effect on producer biomass or net ecosystem production but strongly increased seagrass nutrient content, ecosystem flux rates, and grazer secondary production, suggesting that enhanced production was efficiently transferred from producers to herbivores. Gross ecosystem production (oxygen evolution) correlated positively with above-ground plant biomass, whereas inorganic nutrient fluxes were unrelated to plant or grazer biomasses, suggesting dominance by sediment microbial processes. Finally, grazer richness significantly stabilized ecosystem processes, as predators decreased ecosystem production and respiration only in the zero- and one- species grazer treatments. Conclusions/Significance Overall, our results indicate that consumer presence and species composition strongly influence ecosystem responses to nutrient enrichment, and that increasing

  14. Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?

    PubMed

    Graham, Emily B; Knelman, Joseph E; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J M; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C; Glanville, Helen C; Jones, Davey L; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J; Bürgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M P; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Bañeras, Lluís; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri-Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C; Lopes, Ana R; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindström, Eva S; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth's biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: 'When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?' We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology. PMID:26941732

  15. Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?

    PubMed

    Graham, Emily B; Knelman, Joseph E; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J M; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C; Glanville, Helen C; Jones, Davey L; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J; Bürgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M P; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Bañeras, Lluís; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri-Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C; Lopes, Ana R; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindström, Eva S; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth's biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: 'When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?' We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology.

  16. Habitat structure mediates biodiversity effects on ecosystem properties.

    PubMed

    Godbold, J A; Bulling, M T; Solan, M

    2011-08-22

    Much of what we know about the role of biodiversity in mediating ecosystem processes and function stems from manipulative experiments, which have largely been performed in isolated, homogeneous environments that do not incorporate habitat structure or allow natural community dynamics to develop. Here, we use a range of habitat configurations in a model marine benthic system to investigate the effects of species composition, resource heterogeneity and patch connectivity on ecosystem properties at both the patch (bioturbation intensity) and multi-patch (nutrient concentration) scale. We show that allowing fauna to move and preferentially select patches alters local species composition and density distributions, which has negative effects on ecosystem processes (bioturbation intensity) at the patch scale, but overall positive effects on ecosystem functioning (nutrient concentration) at the multi-patch scale. Our findings provide important evidence that community dynamics alter in response to localized resource heterogeneity and that these small-scale variations in habitat structure influence species contributions to ecosystem properties at larger scales. We conclude that habitat complexity forms an important buffer against disturbance and that contemporary estimates of the level of biodiversity required for maintaining future multi-functional systems may need to be revised.

  17. Marine Chemical Ecology: Chemical Signals and Cues Structure Marine Populations, Communities, and Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hay, Mark E.

    2009-01-01

    Chemical cues constitute much of the language of life in the sea. Our understanding of biotic interactions and their effects on marine ecosystems will advance more rapidly if this language is studied and understood. Here, I review how chemical cues regulate critical aspects of the behavior of marine organisms from bacteria to phytoplankton to benthic invertebrates and water column fishes. These chemically mediated interactions strongly affect population structure, community organization, and ecosystem function. Chemical cues determine foraging strategies, feeding choices, commensal associations, selection of mates and habitats, competitive interactions, and transfer of energy and nutrients within and among ecosystems. In numerous cases, the indirect effects of chemical signals on behavior have as much or more effect on community structure and function as the direct effects of consumers and pathogens. Chemical cues are critical for understanding marine systems, but their omnipresence and impact are inadequately recognized.

  18. Marine Chemical Ecology: Chemical Signals and Cues Structure Marine Populations, Communities, and Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Hay, Mark E.

    2012-01-01

    Chemical cues constitute much of the language of life in the sea. Our understanding of biotic interactions and their effects on marine ecosystems will advance more rapidly if this language is studied and understood. Here, I review how chemical cues regulate critical aspects of the behavior of marine organisms from bacteria to phytoplankton to benthic invertebrates and water column fishes. These chemically mediated interactions strongly affect population structure, community organization, and ecosystem function. Chemical cues determine foraging strategies, feeding choices, commensal associations, selection of mates and habitats, competitive interactions, and transfer of energy and nutrients within and among ecosystems. In numerous cases, the indirect effects of chemical signals on behavior have as much or more effect on community structure and function as the direct effects of consumers and pathogens. Chemical cues are critical for understanding marine systems, but their omnipresence and impact are inadequately recognized. PMID:21141035

  19. Marine chemical ecology: chemical signals and cues structure marine populations, communities, and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Hay, Mark E

    2009-01-01

    Chemical cues constitute much of the language of life in the sea. Our understanding of biotic interactions and their effects on marine ecosystems will advance more rapidly if this language is studied and understood. Here, I review how chemical cues regulate critical aspects of the behavior of marine organisms from bacteria to phytoplankton to benthic invertebrates and water column fishes. These chemically mediated interactions strongly affect population structure, community organization, and ecosystem function. Chemical cues determine foraging strategies, feeding choices, commensal associations, selection of mates and habitats, competitive interactions, and transfer of energy and nutrients within and among ecosystems. In numerous cases, the indirect effects of chemical signals on behavior have as much or more effect on community structure and function as the direct effects of consumers and pathogens. Chemical cues are critical for understanding marine systems, but their omnipresence and impact are inadequately recognized.

  20. Determinants of community structure of zooplankton in heavily polluted river ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Xiong, Wei; Li, Jie; Chen, Yiyong; Shan, Baoqing; Wang, Weimin; Zhan, Aibin

    2016-01-01

    River ecosystems are among the most affected habitats globally by human activities, such as the release of chemical pollutants. However, it remains largely unknown how and to what extent many communities such as zooplankton are affected by these environmental stressors in river ecosystems. Here, we aim to determine major factors responsible for shaping community structure of zooplankton in heavily polluted river ecosystems. Specially, we use rotifers in the Haihe River Basin (HRB) in North China as a case study to test the hypothesis that species sorting (i.e. species are “filtered” by environmental factors and occur at environmental suitable sites) plays a key role in determining community structure at the basin level. Based on an analysis of 94 sites across the plain region of HRB, we found evidence that both local and regional factors could affect rotifer community structure. Interestingly, further analyses indicated that local factors played a more important role in determining community structure. Thus, our results support the species sorting hypothesis in highly polluted rivers, suggesting that local environmental constraints, such as environmental pollution caused by human activities, can be stronger than dispersal limitation caused by regional factors to shape local community structure of zooplankton at the basin level. PMID:26912391

  1. Effect of environmental variables and stand structure on ecosystem respiration components in a Mediterranean beech forest.

    PubMed

    Guidolotti, Gabriele; Rey, Ana; D'Andrea, Ettore; Matteucci, Giorgio; De Angelis, Paolo

    2013-09-01

    The temporal variability of ecosystem respiration (RECO) has been reported to have important effects on the temporal variability of net ecosystem exchange, the net amount of carbon exchanged between an ecosystem and the atmosphere. However, our understanding of ecosystem respiration is rather limited compared with photosynthesis or gross primary productivity, particularly in Mediterranean montane ecosystems. In order to investigate how environmental variables and forest structure (tree classes) affect different respiration components and RECO in a Mediterranean beech forest, we measured soil, stem and leaf CO2 efflux rates with dynamic chambers and RECO by the eddy-covariance technique over 1 year (2007-2008). Ecosystem respiration showed marked seasonal variation, with the highest rates in spring and autumn and the lowest in summer. We found that the soil respiration (SR) was mainly controlled by soil water content below a threshold value of 0.2 m(3) m(-3), above which the soil temperature explained temporal variation in SR. Stem CO2 effluxes were influenced by air temperature and difference between tree classes with higher rates measured in dominant trees than in co-dominant ones. Leaf respiration (LR) varied significantly between the two canopy layers considered. Non-structural carbohydrates were a very good predictor of LR variability. We used these measurements to scale up respiration components to ecosystem respiration for the whole canopy and obtained cumulative amounts of carbon losses over the year. Based on the up-scaled chamber measurements, the relative contributions of soil, stem and leaves to the total annual CO2 efflux were: 56, 8 and 36%, respectively. These results confirm that SR is the main contributor of ecosystem respiration and provided an insight on the driving factors of respiration in Mediterranean montane beech forests. PMID:24044943

  2. Ecosystem carbon storage capacity as affected by disturbance regimes: A general theoretical model

    SciTech Connect

    Weng, Ensheng; Luo, Yiqi; Wang, Weile; Wang, Han; Hayes, Daniel J; McGuire, A. David; Hastings, Alan; Schimel, David

    2012-01-01

    Disturbances have been recognized as a key factor shaping terrestrial ecosystem states and dynamics. A general model that quantitatively describes the relationship between carbon storage and disturbance regime is critical for better understanding large scale terrestrial ecosystem carbon dynamics. We developed a model (REGIME) to quantify ecosystem carbon storage capacities (E[x]) under varying disturbance regimes with an analytical solution E[x] = U {center_dot} {tau}{sub E} {center_dot} {lambda}{lambda} + s {tau} 1, where U is ecosystem carbon influx, {tau}{sub E} is ecosystem carbon residence time, and {tau}{sub 1} is the residence time of the carbon pool affected by disturbances (biomass pool in this study). The disturbance regime is characterized by the mean disturbance interval ({lambda}) and the mean disturbance severity (s). It is a Michaelis-Menten-type equation illustrating the saturation of carbon content with mean disturbance interval. This model analytically integrates the deterministic ecosystem carbon processes with stochastic disturbance events to reveal a general pattern of terrestrial carbon dynamics at large scales. The model allows us to get a sense of the sensitivity of ecosystems to future environmental changes just by a few calculations. According to the REGIME model, for example, approximately 1.8 Pg C will be lost in the high-latitude regions of North America (>45{sup o} N) if fire disturbance intensity increases around 5.7 time the current intensity to the end of the twenty-first century, which will require around 12% increases in net primary productivity (NPP) to maintain stable carbon stocks. If the residence time decreased 10% at the same time additional 12.5% increases in NPP are required to keep current C stocks. The REGIME model also lays the foundation for analytically modeling the interactions between deterministic biogeochemical processes and stochastic disturbance events.

  3. Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J. M.; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C.; Glanville, Helen C.; Jones, Davey L.; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J.; Bürgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J.; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M. P.; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Bañeras, Lluís; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri-Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C.; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C.; Lopes, Ana R.; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S.; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindström, Eva S.; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R.

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology. PMID:26941732

  4. Microbes as engines of ecosystem function: When does community structure enhance predictions of ecosystem processes?

    DOE PAGES

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J. M.; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; et al

    2016-02-24

    In this study, microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of processmore » rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology.« less

  5. An Operational Structure for Clarity in Ecosystem Service Values

    EPA Science Inventory

    Analyses used to value ecosystem services often confuse final ecosystem services with ecological functions that provide only indirect benefit. Extant categorizations of ecosystem services, such as that developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, do not ameliorate these cha...

  6. Studies on Interpretive Structural Model for Forest Ecosystem Management Decision-Making

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Suqing; Gao, Xiumei; Zen, Qunying; Zhou, Yuanman; Huang, Yuequn; Han, Weidong; Li, Linfeng; Li, Jiping; Pu, Yingshan

    Characterized by their openness, complexity and large scale, forest ecosystems interweave themselves with social system, economic system and other natural ecosystems, thus complicating both their researches and management decision-making. According to the theories of sustainable development, hierarchy-competence levels, cybernetics and feedback, 25 factors have been chosen from human society, economy and nature that affect forest ecosystem management so that they are systematically analyzed via developing an interpretive structural model (ISM) to reveal their relationships and positions in the forest ecosystem management. The ISM consists of 7 layers with the 3 objectives for ecosystem management being the top layer (the seventh layer). The ratio between agricultural production value and industrial production value as the bases of management decision-making in forest ecosystems becomes the first layer at the bottom because it has great impacts on the values of society and the development trends of forestry, while the factors of climatic environments, intensive management extent, management measures, input-output ratio as well as landscape and productivity are arranged from the second to sixth layers respectively.

  7. Comparison of the structure and function of Southern Ocean regional ecosystems: The Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murphy, E. J.; Hofmann, E. E.; Watkins, J. L.; Johnston, N. M.; Piñones, A.; Ballerini, T.; Hill, S. L.; Trathan, P. N.; Tarling, G. A.; Cavanagh, R. A.; Young, E. F.; Thorpe, S. E.; Fretwell, P.

    2013-01-01

    The ocean ecosystems around the west Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia are two of the best described regional ecosystems of the Southern Ocean. They therefore provide a useful basis for developing comparative analyses of ocean ecosystems around the Antarctic. There are clear and expected differences in seasonality and species composition between the two ecosystems, but these mask an underlying similarity in ecosystem structure and function. This similarity results from the two ecosystems being part of a continuum, from more ice covered regions in the south to open water regions in the north. Within this continuum the major factors affecting ecosystem structure and function are the sea ice, the biogeochemical conditions and the connectivity generated by the flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Antarctic krill are central to the food web in both ecosystems, but the other species of plankton and predators present are different. These different species provide alternative pathways of energy transfer from primary production to the highest trophic levels. The relative dominance of these species can provide indicators of change in ecosystem structure and function. Both ecosystems are changing as a result of physically and biologically driven processes, and the ecological responses being observed are complex and variable across different species and within the two regions. Species in parts of the northern Antarctic Peninsula are being replaced by species that currently dominate farther north in more oceanic areas such as at South Georgia. The similarity of structure and strong connectivity, mean that projections of future change will require generic models of these ecosystems that can encompass changes in structure and function within a connected continuum from ice covered to open water in winter.

  8. Does consideration of water routing affect simulated water and carbon dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, G.; Schneiderman, E. M.; Band, L. E.; Hwang, T.; Pierson, D. C.; Pradhanang, S. M.; Zion, M. S.

    2013-10-01

    The cycling of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems is closely coupled with the cycling of water. An important mechanism connecting ecological and hydrological processes in terrestrial ecosystems is lateral flow of water along landscapes. Few studies, however, have examined explicitly how consideration of water routing affects simulated water and carbon dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems. The objective of this study is to explore how consideration of water routing in a process-based hydroecological model affects simulated water and carbon dynamics. To achieve that end, we rasterized the regional hydroecological simulation systems (RHESSys) and employed the rasterized RHESSys (R-RHESSys) in a forested watershed. We performed and compared two contrasting simulations, one with and another without water routing. We found that R-RHESSys is able to correctly simulate major hydrological and ecological variables regardless of whether water routing is considered. When water routing was neglected, however, soil water table depth and saturation deficit were simulated to be smaller and spatially more homogeneous. As a result, evaporation, forest productivity and soil heterotrophic respiration also were simulated to be spatially more homogeneous compared to simulation with water routing. When averaged for the entire watershed, however, differences in simulated water and carbon fluxes are not significant between the two simulations. Overall, the study demonstrated that consideration of water routing enabled R-RHESSys to better capture our preconception of the spatial patterns of water table depth and saturation deficit across the watershed. Because the spatial pattern of soil moisture is fundamental to water efflux from land to the atmosphere, forest productivity and soil microbial activity, ecosystem and carbon cycle models, therefore, need to explicitly represent water routing in order to accurately quantify the magnitudes and patterns of water and carbon fluxes in terrestrial

  9. Parrots as key multilinkers in ecosystem structure and functioning.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Hiraldo, Fernando; Rojas, Abraham; Dénes, Francisco V; Tella, José L

    2015-09-01

    Mutually enhancing organisms can become reciprocal determinants of their distribution, abundance, and demography and thus influence ecosystem structure and dynamics. In addition to the prevailing view of parrots (Psittaciformes) as plant antagonists, we assessed whether they can act as plant mutualists in the dry tropical forest of the Bolivian inter-Andean valleys, an ecosystem particularly poor in vertebrate frugivores other than parrots (nine species). We hypothesised that if interactions between parrots and their food plants evolved as primarily or facultatively mutualistic, selection should have acted to maximize the strength of their interactions by increasing the amount and variety of resources and services involved in particular pairwise and community-wide interaction contexts. Food plants showed different growth habits across a wide phylogenetic spectrum, implying that parrots behave as super-generalists exploiting resources differing in phenology, type, biomass, and rewards from a high diversity of plants (113 species from 38 families). Through their feeding activities, parrots provided multiple services acting as genetic linkers, seed facilitators for secondary dispersers, and plant protectors, and therefore can be considered key mutualists with a pervasive impact on plant assemblages. The number of complementary and redundant mutualistic functions provided by parrots to each plant species was positively related to the number of different kinds of food extracted from them. These mutually enhancing interactions were reflected in species-level properties (e.g., biomass or dominance) of both partners, as a likely consequence of the temporal convergence of eco-(co)evolutionary dynamics shaping the ongoing structure and organization of the ecosystem. A full assessment of the, thus far largely overlooked, parrot-plant mutualisms and other ecological linkages could change the current perception of the role of parrots in the structure, organization, and

  10. Parrots as key multilinkers in ecosystem structure and functioning.

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Hiraldo, Fernando; Rojas, Abraham; Dénes, Francisco V; Tella, José L

    2015-09-01

    Mutually enhancing organisms can become reciprocal determinants of their distribution, abundance, and demography and thus influence ecosystem structure and dynamics. In addition to the prevailing view of parrots (Psittaciformes) as plant antagonists, we assessed whether they can act as plant mutualists in the dry tropical forest of the Bolivian inter-Andean valleys, an ecosystem particularly poor in vertebrate frugivores other than parrots (nine species). We hypothesised that if interactions between parrots and their food plants evolved as primarily or facultatively mutualistic, selection should have acted to maximize the strength of their interactions by increasing the amount and variety of resources and services involved in particular pairwise and community-wide interaction contexts. Food plants showed different growth habits across a wide phylogenetic spectrum, implying that parrots behave as super-generalists exploiting resources differing in phenology, type, biomass, and rewards from a high diversity of plants (113 species from 38 families). Through their feeding activities, parrots provided multiple services acting as genetic linkers, seed facilitators for secondary dispersers, and plant protectors, and therefore can be considered key mutualists with a pervasive impact on plant assemblages. The number of complementary and redundant mutualistic functions provided by parrots to each plant species was positively related to the number of different kinds of food extracted from them. These mutually enhancing interactions were reflected in species-level properties (e.g., biomass or dominance) of both partners, as a likely consequence of the temporal convergence of eco-(co)evolutionary dynamics shaping the ongoing structure and organization of the ecosystem. A full assessment of the, thus far largely overlooked, parrot-plant mutualisms and other ecological linkages could change the current perception of the role of parrots in the structure, organization, and

  11. Nonequilibrium dynamics in lattice ecosystems: Chaotic stability and dissipative structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solé, Ricard V.; Bascompte, Jordi; Valls, Joaquim

    1992-07-01

    A generalized coupled map lattice (CML) model of ecosystem dynamics is presented. We consider the spatiotemporal behavior of a prey-predator map, a model of host-parasitoid interactions, and two-species competition. The latter model can show phase separation of domains (Turing-like structures) even when chaos is present. We also use this CML model to explore the time evolution and structural properties of ecological networks built with a set of N competing species. The May-Wigner criterion is applied as a measure of stability, and some regularities in the stable networks observed are discussed.

  12. Habitat structural effect on squamata fauna of the restinga ecosystem in northeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Dias, Eduardo J R; Rocha, Carlos F D

    2014-03-01

    In this work, we surveyed data on richness and composition of squamatan reptiles and habitat structural effect in nine areas of restinga ecosystem in the State of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. The "restinga" ecosystems are coastal sand dune habitats on the coast of Brazil. Our main hypothesis is that the Squamata fauna composition along these restinga areas would be modulated by habitat structural. After 90 days of field sampling we recorded approximately 5% of reptile species known in Brazil. The composition of Squamata assemblages varied mainly based on the presence or absence of lizards of the genera Ameivula and Tropidurus. Our data showed that habitat structure consistently affected the composition of local Squamata fauna, especially lizards.

  13. Ecosystem experiments

    SciTech Connect

    Mooney, H.A.; Medina, E.; Schindler, D.W.; Schulze, E.D.; Walker, B.H.

    1991-01-01

    Large scale, human-induced modifications to terrestrial and hydrological systems have been a major factor in contributing to global change. The objective of this book is to explore the potential of ecosystem experimentation as a tool to understanding and predicting more precisely the consequences of our changing biosphere. The papers in this book are the result of two SCOPE workshops to evaluated understanding of the response of ecosystems to large scale perturbations and to design ecosystem experiments to study the impace of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on ecosystem processes. The general topics addressed include the following: how changes in driving variables affect different biotic interactions within ecosystems; the human role in modifying forest structure and the resulting ecosystem processes; the role of ecosystem experiments in the study of controlling factors such as hydrological controls, temperature, and biotic controlles; analysis of ecosystem dynamics as a complex and chaotic system; role of ecosystem experiments in the study of the impact of acid deposition; role of ecosystem experimentation in the study of global change impace on the biosphere and the biospheric feedbacks to global environmental change.

  14. Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice (DESDynI)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donnellan, Andrea; Rosen, Paul; Ranson, Jon; Zebker, Howard

    2008-01-01

    The National Research Council Earth Science Decadal Survey, Earth Science Applications from Space, recommends that DESDynI (Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice), an integrated L-band InSAR and multibeam Lidar mission, launch in the 2010- 2013 timeframe. The mission will measure surface deformation for solid Earth and cryosphere objectives and vegetation structure for understanding the carbon cycle. InSAR has been used to study surface deformation of the solid Earth and cryosphere and more recently vegetation structure for estimates of biomass and ecosystem function. Lidar directly measures topography and vegetation structure and is used to estimate biomass and detect changes in surface elevation. The goal of DESDynI is to take advantage of the spatial continuity of InSAR and the precision and directness of Lidar. There are several issues related to the design of the DESDynI mission, including combining the two instruments into a single platform, optimizing the coverage and orbit for the two techniques, and carrying out the science modeling to define and maximize the scientific output of the mission.

  15. Quantifying Ecosystem Structural Components with Highly Portable Lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaaf, C.; Paynter, I.; Peri, F.; Saenz, E. J.; Genest, D.; Strahler, A. H.; Li, Z.

    2015-12-01

    Terrestrial laser scanners (TLS), which utilize light detection and ranging (lidar) have demonstrated the ability to produce accurate reconstructions of ecosystems, including spatially complex systems such as forests. Reconstructions at the object or plot scale can be used to interpret or simulate satellite observations, particularly for lidar instruments such as those involved in the forthcoming GEDI and ICESat 2 missions. The Compact Biomass Lidar (CBL) is a TLS optimized for portability and scanning speed, developed and operated by University of Massachusetts Boston. This 905nm wavelength scanner achieves an angular resolution of 0.25 degrees at a rate of 33 seconds per scan. The rapid scanning of the CBL and similar highly portable TLS improve acquisition of 3D surfaces such as canopy height models and digital elevation models derived from point clouds. This is due to the ability to capture additional scanning points within the window of temporal stability for the ecosystem, mitigating the rapid loss of information density associated with distance and occlusion. Utilizing terrestrial lidar in tandem with airborne lidar profiles vertically distributed structural components of ecosystems, such as the canopy of forests. We will present 3D surfaces documenting the growth of vegetation species including the invasive Phragmites australis over the 2015 growing season at Plum Island Long Term Ecological Research sites, derived from CBL. Additionally we will show vertical structure profiles from voxelization analyses in tropical forest (La Selva, Costa Rica) and temperate forest (Harvard Forest, MA, USA). We will discuss and present results from emerging point cloud reconstruction methods, including the Quantitative Structure Model (QSM) for tree modeling, and their implications particularly for GEDI-related calibration and validation studies.

  16. STRUCTURAL AND AFFECTIVE ASPECTS OF CLASSROOM CLIMATE.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    WALBERG, HERBERT J.

    USING THE CLASSROOM AS THE UNIT OF ANALYSIS A 25 PERCENT RANDOM SAMPLE OF STUDENTS IN 72 CLASSES FROM ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY TOOK THE CLASSROOM CLIMATE QUESTIONNAIRE IN ORDER TO INVESTIGATE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STRUCTURAL (ORGANIZATIONAL) AND AFFECTIVE (PERSONAL INTERACTION BETWEEN GROUP MEMBERS) DIMENSIONS OF GROUP CLIMATE. REGRESSION AND…

  17. Disturbance legacies increase the resilience of forest ecosystem structure, composition, and functioning

    PubMed Central

    Seidl, Rupert; Rammer, Werner; Spies, Thomas A.

    2015-01-01

    Disturbances are key drivers of forest ecosystem dynamics, and forests are well adapted to their natural disturbance regimes. However, as a result of climate change, disturbance frequency is expected to increase in the future in many regions. It is not yet clear how such changes might affect forest ecosystems, and which mechanisms contribute to (current and future) disturbance resilience. We studied a 6364-ha landscape in the western Cascades of Oregon, USA, to investigate how patches of remnant old-growth trees (as one important class of biological legacies) affect the resilience of forest ecosystems to disturbance. Using the spatially explicit, individual-based, forest landscape model iLand, we analyzed the effect of three different levels of remnant patches (0%, 12%, and 24% of the landscape) on 500-year recovery trajectories after a large, high-severity wildfire. In addition, we evaluated how three different levels of fire frequency modulate the effects of initial legacies. We found that remnant live trees enhanced the recovery of total ecosystem carbon (TEC) stocks after disturbance, increased structural complexity of forest canopies, and facilitated the recolonization of late-seral species (LSS). Legacy effects were most persistent for indicators of species composition (still significant 500 years after disturbance), while TEC (i.e., a measure of ecosystem functioning) was least affected, with no significant differences among legacy scenarios after 236 years. Compounding disturbances were found to dampen legacy effects on all indicators, and higher initial legacy levels resulted in elevated fire severity in the second half of the study period. Overall, disturbance frequency had a stronger effect on ecosystem properties than the initial level of remnant old-growth trees. A doubling of the historically observed fire frequency to a mean fire return interval of 131 years reduced TEC by 10.5% and lowered the presence of LSS on the landscape by 18.1% on average

  18. Not all ski slopes are created equal: disturbance intensity affects ecosystem properties.

    PubMed

    Burt, Jennifer W; Rice, Kevin J

    2009-12-01

    In mountain regions around the world, downhill ski areas represent a significant source of anthropogenic disturbance while also providing recreation and revenue. Ski-run creation always results in some level of disturbance, but disturbance intensity varies greatly with construction method. Ski runs may be established either by clearing (cutting and removing tall vegetation) or by clearing and then machine-grading (leveling the soil surface with heavy equipment). To quantify how these different intensities of initial disturbance affect ecosystem properties, we extensively surveyed vegetation, soils, and environmental characteristics on cleared ski runs, graded ski runs, and adjacent reference forests across seven large downhill ski resorts in the northern Sierra Nevada, USA. We found that the greater disturbance intensity associated with grading resulted in greater impacts on all ecosystem properties considered, including plant community composition and diversity, soil characteristics relating to processes of nutrient cycling and retention, and measures of erosion potential. We also found that cleared ski runs retained many ecological similarities to reference forests and might even offer some added benefits by possessing greater plant species and functional diversity than either forests or graded runs. Because grading is more damaging to multiple indicators of ecosystem function, clearing rather than grading should be used to create ski slopes wherever practical.

  19. Irrigation agriculture affects organic matter decomposition in semi-arid terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Arroita, Maite; Causapé, Jesús; Comín, Francisco A; Díez, Joserra; Jimenez, Juan José; Lacarta, Juan; Lorente, Carmen; Merchán, Daniel; Muñiz, Selene; Navarro, Enrique; Val, Jonatan; Elosegi, Arturo

    2013-12-15

    Many dryland areas are being converted into intensively managed irrigation crops, what can disrupt the hydrological regime, degrade soil and water quality, enhance siltation, erosion and bank instability, and affect biological communities. Still, the impacts of irrigation schemes on the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are poorly understood. Here we assess the effects of irrigation agriculture on breakdown of coarse organic matter in soil and water. We measured breakdown rates of alder and holm oak leaves, and of poplar sticks in terrestrial and aquatic sites following a gradient of increasing irrigation agriculture in a semi-arid Mediterranean basin transformed into irrigation agriculture in 50% of its surface. Spatial patterns of stick breakdown paralleled those of leaf breakdown. In soil, stick breakdown rates were extremely low in non-irrigated sites (0.0001-0.0003 day(-1)), and increased with the intensity of agriculture (0.0018-0.0044 day(-1)). In water, stick breakdown rates ranged from 0.0005 to 0.001 day(-1), and increased with the area of the basin subject to irrigation agriculture. Results showed that irrigation agriculture affects functioning of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, accelerating decomposition of organic matter, especially in soil. These changes can have important consequences for global carbon budgets.

  20. Irrigation agriculture affects organic matter decomposition in semi-arid terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Arroita, Maite; Causapé, Jesús; Comín, Francisco A; Díez, Joserra; Jimenez, Juan José; Lacarta, Juan; Lorente, Carmen; Merchán, Daniel; Muñiz, Selene; Navarro, Enrique; Val, Jonatan; Elosegi, Arturo

    2013-12-15

    Many dryland areas are being converted into intensively managed irrigation crops, what can disrupt the hydrological regime, degrade soil and water quality, enhance siltation, erosion and bank instability, and affect biological communities. Still, the impacts of irrigation schemes on the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are poorly understood. Here we assess the effects of irrigation agriculture on breakdown of coarse organic matter in soil and water. We measured breakdown rates of alder and holm oak leaves, and of poplar sticks in terrestrial and aquatic sites following a gradient of increasing irrigation agriculture in a semi-arid Mediterranean basin transformed into irrigation agriculture in 50% of its surface. Spatial patterns of stick breakdown paralleled those of leaf breakdown. In soil, stick breakdown rates were extremely low in non-irrigated sites (0.0001-0.0003 day(-1)), and increased with the intensity of agriculture (0.0018-0.0044 day(-1)). In water, stick breakdown rates ranged from 0.0005 to 0.001 day(-1), and increased with the area of the basin subject to irrigation agriculture. Results showed that irrigation agriculture affects functioning of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, accelerating decomposition of organic matter, especially in soil. These changes can have important consequences for global carbon budgets. PMID:23891536

  1. Realistic changes in seaweed biodiversity affect multiple ecosystem functions on a rocky shore.

    PubMed

    Bracken, Matthew E S; Williams, Susan L

    2013-09-01

    Given current threats to biodiversity, understanding the effects of diversity changes on the functions and services associated with intact ecosystems is of paramount importance. However, limited realism in most biodiversity studies makes it difficult to link the large and growing body of evidence for important functional consequences of biodiversity change to real-world losses of biodiversity. Here, we explored two methods of incorporating realism into biodiversity research: (1) the use of two-, five-, and eight-species assemblages that mimicked those that we observed in surveys of seaweed biodiversity patterns on a northern California (USA) rocky shore and the explicit comparison of those assemblages to random assemblages compiled from the same local species pool; and (2) the measurement of two fundamental ecosystem functions, nitrate uptake and photosynthesis, both of which contribute to growth of primary producers. Specifically, we measured nitrate uptake rates of seaweed assemblages as a function of initial nitrate concentrations and photosynthetic rates as a function of irradiance levels for both realistic and random assemblages of seaweeds. We only observed changes in ecosystem functioning along a richness gradient for realistic assemblages, and both maximum nitrate uptake rates (V(max)) and photosynthetic light use efficiency values (alpha(p) = P(max)/I(K)) were higher in realistic assemblages than in random assemblages. Furthermore, the parameter affected by changes in richness depended on the function being measured. Both V(max) and alpha(p) declined with increasing richness in nonrandom assemblages due to a combination of species identity effects (for V(max) and overyielding effects (for both V(max) and alpha(p)). In contrast, neither nitrate uptake efficiency values (alpha(N) = V(max)/K(s)), nor maximum photosynthetic rates (Pmax) changed along the gradient in seaweed species richness. Furthermore, overyielding was only evident in realistic assemblages

  2. Effects of repeated salt pulses on ecosystem structure and functions in a stream mesocosm.

    PubMed

    Cañedo-Argüelles, Miguel; Bundschuh, Mirco; Gutiérrez-Cánovas, Cayetano; Kefford, Ben J; Prat, Narcís; Trobajo, Rosa; Schäfer, Ralf B

    2014-04-01

    Rivers and streams affected by mining activities often receive short-term sharp salinity increases due to water-soluble stockpiled materials being washed into receiving water bodies. We conducted a mesocosm study to explore the response of structural (diatom and stream invertebrate communities) and functional descriptors (chlorophyll a concentration, fungal biomass and leaf decomposition) to repeated short salinity pulses (3h of duration, with nominal electrical conductivities of 5, 10 and 15 mS cm(-1)), mimicking the exposure pattern occurring at salt-mine affected rivers. The experiment was conducted in 12 artificial flow-through stream systems over 16 days. The effect of the salt pulses on the ecosystem structure and functioning did not fully match most of our initial hypotheses, with the community response being weaker than predicted. The diatom community was, however, dominated by salt-tolerant species throughout the experiment, showing no consistent response to the treatment. The invertebrate response was associated with statistically significant changes in community structure (i.e. abundance of the different taxa) but no statistically significant changes in taxa richness. The salt pulses affected some functional descriptors of the ecosystem: fungal biomass exhibited a unimodal response to treatment magnitude, algal growth (i.e. chl a biomass) was hampered with increasing conductivity and leaf decomposition was significantly reduced in the high treatment. PMID:24503334

  3. Effects of repeated salt pulses on ecosystem structure and functions in a stream mesocosm.

    PubMed

    Cañedo-Argüelles, Miguel; Bundschuh, Mirco; Gutiérrez-Cánovas, Cayetano; Kefford, Ben J; Prat, Narcís; Trobajo, Rosa; Schäfer, Ralf B

    2014-04-01

    Rivers and streams affected by mining activities often receive short-term sharp salinity increases due to water-soluble stockpiled materials being washed into receiving water bodies. We conducted a mesocosm study to explore the response of structural (diatom and stream invertebrate communities) and functional descriptors (chlorophyll a concentration, fungal biomass and leaf decomposition) to repeated short salinity pulses (3h of duration, with nominal electrical conductivities of 5, 10 and 15 mS cm(-1)), mimicking the exposure pattern occurring at salt-mine affected rivers. The experiment was conducted in 12 artificial flow-through stream systems over 16 days. The effect of the salt pulses on the ecosystem structure and functioning did not fully match most of our initial hypotheses, with the community response being weaker than predicted. The diatom community was, however, dominated by salt-tolerant species throughout the experiment, showing no consistent response to the treatment. The invertebrate response was associated with statistically significant changes in community structure (i.e. abundance of the different taxa) but no statistically significant changes in taxa richness. The salt pulses affected some functional descriptors of the ecosystem: fungal biomass exhibited a unimodal response to treatment magnitude, algal growth (i.e. chl a biomass) was hampered with increasing conductivity and leaf decomposition was significantly reduced in the high treatment.

  4. Oxygen: A Fundamental Property Regulating Pelagic Ecosystem Structure in the Coastal Southeastern Tropical Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Bertrand, Arnaud; Chaigneau, Alexis; Peraltilla, Salvador; Ledesma, Jesus; Graco, Michelle; Monetti, Florian; Chavez, Francisco P.

    2011-01-01

    Background In the southeastern tropical Pacific anchovy (Engraulis ringens) and sardine (Sardinops sagax) abundance have recently fluctuated on multidecadal scales and food and temperature have been proposed as the key parameters explaining these changes. However, ecological and paleoecological studies, and the fact that anchovies and sardines are favored differently in other regions, raise questions about the role of temperature. Here we investigate the role of oxygen in structuring fish populations in the Peruvian upwelling ecosystem that has evolved over anoxic conditions and is one of the world's most productive ecosystems in terms of forage fish. This study is particularly relevant given that the distribution of oxygen in the ocean is changing with uncertain consequences. Methodology/Principal Findings A comprehensive data set is used to show how oxygen concentration and oxycline depth affect the abundance and distribution of pelagic fish. We show that the effects of oxygen on anchovy and sardine are opposite. Anchovy flourishes under relatively low oxygen conditions while sardine avoid periods/areas with low oxygen concentration and restricted habitat. Oxygen consumption, trophic structure and habitat compression play a fundamental role in fish dynamics in this important ecosystem. Conclusions/Significance For the ocean off Peru we suggest that a key process, the need to breathe, has been neglected previously. Inclusion of this missing piece allows the development of a comprehensive conceptual model of pelagic fish populations and change in an ocean ecosystem impacted by low oxygen. Should current trends in oxygen in the ocean continue similar effects may be evident in other coastal upwelling ecosystems. PMID:22216315

  5. How membrane surface affects protein structure.

    PubMed

    Bychkova, V E; Basova, L V; Balobanov, V A

    2014-12-01

    The immediate environment of the negatively charged membrane surface is characterized by decreased dielectric constant and pH value. These conditions can be modeled by water-alcohol mixtures at moderately low pH. Several globular proteins were investigated under these conditions, and their conformational behavior in the presence of phospholipid membranes was determined, as well as under conditions modeling the immediate environment of the membrane surface. These proteins underwent conformational transitions from the native to a molten globule-like state. Increased flexibility of the protein structure facilitated protein functioning. Our experimental data allow understanding forces that affect the structure of a protein functioning near the membrane surface (in other words, in the membrane field). Similar conformational states are widely reported in the literature. This indicates that the negatively charged membrane surface can serve as a moderately denaturing agent in the cell. We conclude that the effect of the membrane field on the protein structure must be taken into account.

  6. Revealing how species loss affects ecosystem function: the trait-based Price Equation partition.

    PubMed

    Fox, Jeremy W; Harpole, W Stanley

    2008-01-01

    Species loss can alter ecosystem function. Recent work proposes a general theoretical framework, the "Price Equation partition," for understanding how species loss affects ecosystem functions that comprise the summed contributions of individual species (e.g., primary production). The Price Equation partition shows how the difference in function between a pre-species-loss site and a post-loss site can be partitioned into effects of random loss of species richness (species-richness effect; SRE), nonrandom loss of high- or low-functioning species (species-composition effect; SCE), and post-loss changes in the functional contributions of the remaining species (context-dependence effect; CDE). However, the Price Equation partition is silent on the underlying determinants of species' functional contributions. Here we extend the Price Equation partition by using multiple regression to describe how species' functional contributions depend on species' traits. This allows us to reexpress the SCE and CDE in terms of nonrandom loss of species with particular traits (trait-based SCE), and post-loss changes in species' traits and in the relationship between species' traits and species' functional contributions (trait-based CDE). We apply this new trait-based Price Equation partition to studies of species loss from grassland plant communities and protist microcosm food webs. In both studies, post-loss changes in the relationship between species' traits and their functional contributions alter ecosystem function more than nonrandom loss of species with particular traits. The protist microcosm data also illustrate how the trait-based Price Equation partition can be applied when species' functional contributions depend in part on the traits of other species. To do this, we define "synecological" traits that quantify how unique species are (e.g., in diet) compared to other species. Context dependence in the protist microcosm experiment arises in part because species loss alters the

  7. Glyphosate herbicide affects belowground interactions between earthworms and symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in a model ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Zaller, Johann G.; Heigl, Florian; Ruess, Liliane; Grabmaier, Andrea

    2014-01-01

    Herbicides containing glyphosate are widely used in agriculture and private gardens, however, surprisingly little is known on potential side effects on non-target soil organisms. In a greenhouse experiment with white clover we investigated, to what extent a globally-used glyphosate herbicide affects interactions between essential soil organisms such as earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). We found that herbicides significantly decreased root mycorrhization, soil AMF spore biomass, vesicles and propagules. Herbicide application and earthworms increased soil hyphal biomass and tended to reduce soil water infiltration after a simulated heavy rainfall. Herbicide application in interaction with AMF led to slightly heavier but less active earthworms. Leaching of glyphosate after a simulated rainfall was substantial and altered by earthworms and AMF. These sizeable changes provide impetus for more general attention to side-effects of glyphosate-based herbicides on key soil organisms and their associated ecosystem services. PMID:25005713

  8. Glyphosate herbicide affects belowground interactions between earthworms and symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in a model ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaller, Johann G.; Heigl, Florian; Ruess, Liliane; Grabmaier, Andrea

    2014-07-01

    Herbicides containing glyphosate are widely used in agriculture and private gardens, however, surprisingly little is known on potential side effects on non-target soil organisms. In a greenhouse experiment with white clover we investigated, to what extent a globally-used glyphosate herbicide affects interactions between essential soil organisms such as earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). We found that herbicides significantly decreased root mycorrhization, soil AMF spore biomass, vesicles and propagules. Herbicide application and earthworms increased soil hyphal biomass and tended to reduce soil water infiltration after a simulated heavy rainfall. Herbicide application in interaction with AMF led to slightly heavier but less active earthworms. Leaching of glyphosate after a simulated rainfall was substantial and altered by earthworms and AMF. These sizeable changes provide impetus for more general attention to side-effects of glyphosate-based herbicides on key soil organisms and their associated ecosystem services.

  9. Glyphosate herbicide affects belowground interactions between earthworms and symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in a model ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Zaller, Johann G; Heigl, Florian; Ruess, Liliane; Grabmaier, Andrea

    2014-07-09

    Herbicides containing glyphosate are widely used in agriculture and private gardens, however, surprisingly little is known on potential side effects on non-target soil organisms. In a greenhouse experiment with white clover we investigated, to what extent a globally-used glyphosate herbicide affects interactions between essential soil organisms such as earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). We found that herbicides significantly decreased root mycorrhization, soil AMF spore biomass, vesicles and propagules. Herbicide application and earthworms increased soil hyphal biomass and tended to reduce soil water infiltration after a simulated heavy rainfall. Herbicide application in interaction with AMF led to slightly heavier but less active earthworms. Leaching of glyphosate after a simulated rainfall was substantial and altered by earthworms and AMF. These sizeable changes provide impetus for more general attention to side-effects of glyphosate-based herbicides on key soil organisms and their associated ecosystem services.

  10. Urbanization affects stream ecosystem function by altering hydrology, chemistry, and biotic richness.

    PubMed

    Chadwick, Michael A; Dobberfuhl, Dean R; Benke, Arthur C; Huryn, Alexander D; Suberkropp, Keller; Thiele, John E

    2006-10-01

    Catchment urbanization can alter physical, chemical, and biological attributes of stream ecosystems. In particular, changes in land use may affect the dynamics of organic matter decomposition, a measure of ecosystem function. We examined leaf-litter decomposition in 18 tributaries of the St. Johns River, Florida, USA. Land use in all 18 catchments ranged from 0% to 93% urban which translated to 0% to 66% total impervious area (TIA). Using a litter-bag technique, we measured mass loss, fungal biomass, and macroinvertebrate biomass for two leaf species (red maple [Acer rubrum] and sweetgum [Liquidambar styraciflua]). Rates of litter mass loss, which ranged from 0.01 to 0.05 per day for red maple and 0.006 to 0.018 per day for sweetgum, increased with impervious catchment area to levels of approximately 30-40% TIA and then decreased as impervious catchment area exceeded 40% TIA. Fungal biomass was also highest in streams draining catchments with intermediate levels of TIA. Macroinvertebrate biomass ranged from 17 to 354 mg/bag for red maple and from 15 to 399 mg/bag for sweetgum. Snail biomass and snail and total invertebrate richness were strongly related to breakdown rates among streams regardless of leaf species. Land-use and physical, chemical, and biological variables were highly intercorrelated. Principal-components analysis was therefore used to reduce the variables into several orthogonal axes. Using stepwise regression, we found that flow regime, snail biomass, snail and total invertebrate richness, and metal and nutrient content (which varied in a nonlinear manner with impervious surface area) were likely factors affecting litter breakdown rates in these streams.

  11. Occurrence of perchloroethylene in surface water and fish in a river ecosystem affected by groundwater contamination.

    PubMed

    Wittlingerová, Zdena; Macháčková, Jiřina; Petruželková, Anna; Zimová, Magdalena

    2016-03-01

    Long-term monitoring of the content of perchloroethylene (PCE) in a river ecosystem affected by groundwater contamination was performed at a site in the Czech Republic. The quality of surface water was monitored quarterly between 1994 and 2013, and fish were collected from the affected ecosystem to analyse the content of PCE in their tissue in 1998, 2011 and 2012. Concentrations of PCE (9-140 μg/kg) in the tissue of fish collected from the contaminated part of the river were elevated compared to the part of the river unaffected by the contamination (ND to 5 μg/kg PCE). The quality of surface water has improved as a result of groundwater remediation during the evaluated period. Before the remedial action, PCE concentrations ranged from 30 to 95 μg/L (1994-1997). Following commencement of remedial activities in September 1997, a decrease in the content of PCE in the surface water to 7.3 μg/L (1998) and further to 1 μg/L (2011) and 1.1 μg/L (2012) led to a progressive decrease in the average concentration of PCE in the fish muscle tissue from 79 μg/kg (1998) to 24 (2011) and 30 μg/kg (2012), respectively. It was determined that the bioconcentration of PCE does not have a linear dependence because the decrease in contamination in the fish muscle tissue is not directly proportional to the decrease in contamination in the river water. The observed average bioconcentration factors were 24 and 28 for the lower concentrations of PCE and 11 for the higher concentrations of PCE in the river. In terms of age, length and weight of the collected fish, weight had the greatest significance for bioconcentration, followed by the length, with age being evaluated as a less significant factor.

  12. Arctic ecosystem structure and functioning shaped by climate and herbivore body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legagneux, P.; Gauthier, G.; Lecomte, N.; Schmidt, N. M.; Reid, D.; Cadieux, M.-C.; Berteaux, D.; Bêty, J.; Krebs, C. J.; Ims, R. A.; Yoccoz, N. G.; Morrison, R. I. G.; Leroux, S. J.; Loreau, M.; Gravel, D.

    2014-05-01

    Significant progress has been made in our understanding of species-level responses to climate change, but upscaling to entire ecosystems remains a challenge. This task is particularly urgent in the Arctic, where global warming is most pronounced. Here we report the results of an international collaboration on the direct and indirect effects of climate on the functioning of Arctic terrestrial ecosystems. Our data from seven terrestrial food webs spread along a wide range of latitudes (~1,500 km) and climates (Δ mean July temperature = 8.5 °C) across the circumpolar world show the effects of climate on tundra primary production, food-web structure and species interaction strength. The intensity of predation on lower trophic levels increased significantly with temperature, at approximately 4.5% per °C. Temperature also affected trophic interactions through an indirect effect on food-web structure (that is, diversity and number of interactions). Herbivore body size was a major determinant of predator-prey interactions, as interaction strength was positively related to the predator-prey size ratio, with large herbivores mostly escaping predation. There is potential for climate warming to cause a switch from bottom-up to top-down regulation of herbivores. These results are critical to resolving the debate on the regulation of tundra and other terrestrial ecosystems exposed to global change.

  13. Can plant phloem properties affect the link between ecosystem assimilation and respiration?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mencuccini, M.; Hölttä, T.; Sevanto, S.; Nikinmaa, E.

    2012-04-01

    Phloem transport of carbohydrates in plants under field conditions is currently not well understood. This is largely the result of the lack of techniques suitable for measuring phloem physiological properties continuously under field conditions. This lack of knowledge is currently hampering our efforts to link ecosystem-level processes of carbon fixation, allocation and use, especially belowground. On theoretical grounds, the properties of the transport pathway from canopy to roots must be important in affecting the link between carbon assimilation and respiration, but it is unclear whether their effect is partially or entirely masked by processes occurring in other parts of the ecosystem. One can also predict the characteristic time scales over which these effects should occur and, as consequence, predict whether the transfer of turgor and osmotic signals from the site of carbon assimilation to the sites of carbon use are likely to control respiration. We will present two sources of evidence suggesting that the properties of the phloem transport system may affect processes that are dependent on the supply of carbon substrate, such as root or soil respiration. Firstly, we will summarize the results of a literature survey on soil and ecosystem respiration where the speed of transfer of photosynthetic sugars from the plant canopy to the soil surface was determined. Estimates of the transfer speed could be grouped according to whether the study employed isotopic or canopy soil flux-based techniques. These two groups provided very different estimates of transfer times likely because transport of sucrose molecules, and pressure-concentration waves, in phloem differed. Secondly, we will argue that simultaneous measurements of bark and xylem diameters provide a novel tool to determine the continuous variations of phloem turgor in vivo in the field. We will present a model that interprets these changes in xylem and live bark diameters and present data testing the model

  14. Grazing-induced losses of biodiversity affect the transpiration of an arid ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Verón, Santiago R; Paruelo, José M; Oesterheld, Martín

    2011-02-01

    Degradation processes often lead to species loss. Such losses would impact on ecosystem functioning depending on the extinction order and the functional and structural aspects of species. For the Patagonian arid steppe, we used a simulation model to study the effects of species loss on the rate and variability (i.e. stability) of transpiration as a key attribute of ecosystem functioning. We addressed (1) the differences between the overgrazing extinction order and other potential orders, and (2) the role of biomass abundance, biomass distribution, and functional diversity on the effect of species loss due to overgrazing. We considered a community composed of ten species which were assigned an order of extinction due to overgrazing based on their preference by livestock. We performed four model simulations to test for overgrazing effects through different combinations of species loss, and reductions of biomass and functional diversity. In general, transpiration rate and variability were positively associated to species richness and remained fairly constant until half the species were lost by overgrazing. The extinction order by overgrazing was the most conservative of all possible orders. The amount of biomass was more important than functional diversity in accounting for the impacts of species richness on transpiration. Our results suggest that, to prevent Patagonian steppes from shifting to stable, low-production systems (by overgrazing), maintaining community biomass is more important than preserving species richness or species functional diversity. PMID:20865282

  15. Modelling benthic biophysical drivers of ecosystem structure and biogeochemical response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stephens, Nicholas; Bruggeman, Jorn; Lessin, Gennadi; Allen, Icarus

    2016-04-01

    The fate of carbon deposited at the sea floor is ultimately decided by biophysical drivers that control the efficiency of remineralisation and timescale of carbon burial in sediments. Specifically, these drivers include bioturbation through ingestion and movement, burrow-flushing and sediment reworking, which enhance vertical particulate transport and solute diffusion. Unfortunately, these processes are rarely satisfactorily resolved in models. To address this, a benthic model that explicitly describes the vertical position of biology (e.g., habitats) and biogeochemical processes is presented that includes biological functionality and biogeochemical response capturing changes in ecosystem structure, benthic-pelagic fluxes and biodiversity on inter-annual timescales. This is demonstrated by the model's ability to reproduce temporal variability in benthic infauna, vertical pore water nutrients and pelagic-benthic solute fluxes compared to in-situ data. A key advance is the replacement of bulk parameterisation of bioturbation by explicit description of the bio-physical processes responsible. This permits direct comparison with observations and determination of key parameters in experiments. Crucially, the model resolves the two-way interaction between sediment biogeochemistry and ecology, allowing exploration of the benthic response to changing environmental conditions, the importance of infaunal functional traits in shaping benthic ecological structure and the feedback the resulting bio-physical processes exert on pore water nutrient profiles. The model is actively being used to understand shelf sea carbon cycling, the response of the benthos to climatic change, food provision and other societal benefits.

  16. Parasitism, community structure and biodiversity in intertidal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mouritsen, K N; Poulin, R

    2002-01-01

    There is mounting evidence that parasites can influence the composition and structure of natural animal communities. In spite of this, it is difficult to assess just how important parasitism is for community structure because very few studies have been designed specifically to address the role of parasites at the community level, no doubt because it is difficult to manipulate the abundance of parasites in field experiments. Here, we bring together a large amount of published information on parasitism in intertidal communities to highlight the potential influence of parasites on the structure and biodiversity of these communities. We first review the impact of metazoan parasites on the survival, reproduction, growth and behaviour of intertidal invertebrates, from both rocky shores and soft-sediment flats. Published evidence suggests that the impact of parasites on individuals is often severe, though their effects at the population level are dependent on prevalence and intensity of infection. We then put this information together in a discussion of the impact of parasitism at the community level. We emphasize two ways in which parasites can modify the structure of intertidal communities. First, the direct impact of parasites on the abundance of key host species can decrease the importance of these hosts in competition or predator-prey interactions with other species. Second, the indirect effects of parasites on the behaviour of their hosts, e.g. burrowing ability or spatial distribution within the intertidal zone, can cause changes to various features of the habitat for other intertidal species, leading to their greater settlement success or to their local disappearance. Our synthesis allows specific predictions to be made regarding the potential impact of parasites in certain intertidal systems, and suggests that parasites must be included in future community studies and food web models of intertidal ecosystems. PMID:12396219

  17. Variations in the abundance of fisheries resources and ecosystem structure in the Japan/East Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Chang Ik; Lee, Jae Bong; Seo, Young Il; Yoon, Sang Cheol; Kim, Suam

    2004-05-01

    Evidence supports the hypothesis that two climatic regime shifts in the North Pacific and the Japan/East Sea, have affected the dynamics of the marine ecosystem and fisheries resources from 1960 to 2000. Changes in both mixed layer depth (MLD) and primary production were detected in the Japan/East Sea after 1976. The 1976 regime shift appears to have caused the biomass replacement with changes in catch production of major exploited fisheries resources, including Pacific saury, Pacific sardine and filefish. Both fisheries yield and fish distribution are reflected in these decadal fluctuations. In the 1960s and 1990s, common squid dominated the catches whereas in the 1970s and 1980s, it was replaced by walleye pollock. In the post-1988 regime shift, the distribution of horse mackerel shifted westward and southward and its distributional overlap with common mackerel decreased. The habitat of Pacific sardine also shifted away from mackerel habitats during this period. To evaluate changes in the organization and structure of the ecosystem in the Japan/East Sea, a mass-balanced model, Ecopath, was employed. Based on two mass-balanced models, representing before (1970-75) and after (1978-84) the 1976 regime shift, the weighted mean trophic level of catch increased from 3.09 before to 3.28 after. Total biomass of species groups in the Japan/East Sea ecosystem increased by 15% and total catch production increased by 48% due to the 1976 regime shift. The largest changes occurred at mid-trophic levels, occupied by fishes and cephalopods. The dominant predatory species shifted from cephalopods to walleye pollock due to the 1976 regime shift. It is concluded that the climatic regime shifts caused changes in the structure of the ecosystem and the roles of major species, as well as, large variations in biomass and production of fisheries resources.

  18. Impacts of drought and crayfish invasion on stream ecosystem structure and function

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Magoulick, Daniel D.

    2014-01-01

    Drought and seasonal drying can be important disturbance events in many small streams, leading to intermittent or isolated habitats. Many small streams contain crayfish populations that are often keystone or dominant species in these systems. I conducted an experiment in stream mesocosms to examine the effects of drought and potential ecological redundancy of a native and invasive crayfish species. I examined the effects of drought (drought or control) and crayfish presence (none, native crayfish Orconectes eupunctus or invasive crayfish Orconectes neglectus) on stream mesocosm structure and function (leaf breakdown, community metabolism, periphyton, sediment and chironomid densities) in a fully factorial design. Each mesocosm contained a deep and shallow section, and drought treatments had surface water present (5-cm depth) in deep sections where tiles and leaf packs were placed. Drought and crayfish presence did not interact for any response variable. Drought significantly reduced leaf breakdown, and crayfish presence significantly increased leaf breakdown. However, the native and invasive crayfish species did not differ significantly in their effects on leaf breakdown. Drought significantly reduced primary production and community respiration overall, whereas crayfish presence did not significantly affect primary production and community respiration. Neither drought nor crayfish presence significantly affected periphyton overall. However, drought significantly reduced autotrophic index (AI), and crayfish presence increased AI. Inorganic sediment and chironomid density were not affected by drought, but both were significantly reduced by crayfish presence. O. eupunctus reduced AI and sediment more than O. neglectus did. Neither drought nor crayfish species significantly affected crayfish growth or survival. Drought can have strong effects on ecosystem function, but weaker effects on benthic structure. Crayfish can have strong effects on ecosystem

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  20. Microconchids from microbialite ecosystem immediately after end-Permian mass extinction: ecologic selectivity and implications for microbialite ecosystem structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, H.; Chen, Z.; Wang, Y. B.; Ou, W.; Liao, W.; Mei, X.

    2013-12-01

    The Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) carbonate successions are often characterized by the presence of microbialite buildups worldwide. The widespread microbialites are believed as indication of microbial proliferation immediately after the P-Tr mass extinction. The death of animals representing the primary consumer trophic structure of marine ecosystem in the P-Tr crisis allows the bloom of microbes as an important primary producer in marine trophic food web structure. Thus, the PTB microbialite builders have been regarded as disaster taxa of the P-Tr ecologic crisis. Microbialite ecosystems were suitable for most organisms to inhabit. However, increasing evidence show that microbialite dwellers are also considerably abundant and diverse, including mainly foraminifers Earlandia sp. and Rectocornuspira sp., lingulid brachiopods, ostrocods, gastropods, and microconchids. In particular, ostracods are extremely abundant in this special ecosystem. Microconchid-like calcareous tubes are also considerably abundant. Here, we have sampled systematically a PTB microbialite deposit from the Dajiang section, southern Guizhou Province, southwest China and have extracted abundant isolated specimens of calcareous worm tubes. Quantitative analysis enables to investigate stratigraphic and facies preferences of microconchids in the PTB microbialites. Our preliminary result indicates that three microconchid species Microconchus sp., Helicoconchus elongates and Microconchus aberrans inhabited in microbialite ecosystem. Most microconchilds occurred in the upper part of the microbialite buildup and the grainstone-packstone microfacies. Very few microconchilds were found in the rocks bearing well-developed microbialite structures. Their stratigraphic and environmental preferences indicate proliferation of those metazoan organisms is coupled with ebb of the microbialite development. They also proliferated in some local niches in which microbial activities were not very active even if those

  1. How stock of origin affects performance of individuals across a meta-ecosystem: an example from sockeye salmon.

    PubMed

    Griffiths, Jennifer R; Schindler, Daniel E; Seeb, Lisa W

    2013-01-01

    Connectivity among diverse habitats can buffer populations from adverse environmental conditions, influence the functioning of meta-ecosystems, and ultimately affect the reliability of ecosystem services. This stabilizing effect on populations is proposed to derive from complementarity in growth and survival conditions experienced by individuals in the different habitats that comprise meta-ecosystems. Here we use the fine scale differentiation of salmon populations between diverse lake habitats to assess how rearing habitat and stock of origin affect the body condition of juvenile sockeye salmon. We use genetic markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms) to assign individuals of unknown origin to stock group and in turn characterize ecologically relevant attributes across habitats and stocks. Our analyses show that the body condition of juvenile salmon is related to the productivity of alternative habitats across the watershed, irrespective of their stock of origin. Emigrants and residents with genetic origins in the high productivity lake were also differentiated by their body condition, poor and high respectively. These emigrants represented a substantial proportion of juvenile sockeye salmon rearing in the lower productivity lake habitat. Despite emigrants originating from the more productive lake, they did not differ in body condition from the individuals spawned in the lower productivity, recipient habitat. Genetic tools allowed us to assess the performance of different stocks groups across the diverse habitats comprising their meta-ecosystem. The ability to characterize the ecological consequences of meta-ecosystem connectivity can help develop strategies to protect and restore ecosystems and the services they provide to humans. PMID:23505539

  2. How Stock of Origin Affects Performance of Individuals across a Meta-Ecosystem: An Example from Sockeye Salmon

    PubMed Central

    Griffiths, Jennifer R.; Schindler, Daniel E.; Seeb, Lisa W.

    2013-01-01

    Connectivity among diverse habitats can buffer populations from adverse environmental conditions, influence the functioning of meta-ecosystems, and ultimately affect the reliability of ecosystem services. This stabilizing effect on populations is proposed to derive from complementarity in growth and survival conditions experienced by individuals in the different habitats that comprise meta-ecosystems. Here we use the fine scale differentiation of salmon populations between diverse lake habitats to assess how rearing habitat and stock of origin affect the body condition of juvenile sockeye salmon. We use genetic markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms) to assign individuals of unknown origin to stock group and in turn characterize ecologically relevant attributes across habitats and stocks. Our analyses show that the body condition of juvenile salmon is related to the productivity of alternative habitats across the watershed, irrespective of their stock of origin. Emigrants and residents with genetic origins in the high productivity lake were also differentiated by their body condition, poor and high respectively. These emigrants represented a substantial proportion of juvenile sockeye salmon rearing in the lower productivity lake habitat. Despite emigrants originating from the more productive lake, they did not differ in body condition from the individuals spawned in the lower productivity, recipient habitat. Genetic tools allowed us to assess the performance of different stocks groups across the diverse habitats comprising their meta-ecosystem. The ability to characterize the ecological consequences of meta-ecosystem connectivity can help develop strategies to protect and restore ecosystems and the services they provide to humans. PMID:23505539

  3. A Federated Reference Structure for Open Informational Ecosystems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Heinen, Richard; Kerres, Michael; Scharnberg, Gianna; Blees, Ingo; Rittberger, Marc

    2016-01-01

    The paper describes the concept of a federated ecosystem for Open Educational Resources (OER) in the German education system. Here, a variety of OER repositories (ROER) (Muuß-Merholz & Schaumburg, 2014) and reference platforms have been established in the recent past. In order to develop this ecosystem, not only are metadata standards…

  4. Developing Hierarchical Structures Integrating Cognition and Affect.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hurst, Barbara Martin

    Several categories of the affective domain are important to the schooling process. Schools are delegated the responsibility of helping students to clarify their esthetic, instrumental, and moral values. Three areas of affect are related to student achievement: subject-related affect, school-related affect, and academic self concept. In addition,…

  5. Nutrient addition differentially affects ecological processes of Avicennia germinans in nitrogen versus phosphorus limited mangrove ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Feller, Ilka C.; Lovelock, C.E.; McKee, K.L.

    2007-01-01

    Nutrient over-enrichment is a major threat to marine environments, but system-specific attributes of coastal ecosystems may result in differences in their sensitivity and susceptibility to eutrophication. We used fertilization experiments in nitrogen (N)- and phosphorus (P)-limited mangrove forests to test the hypothesis that alleviating different kinds of nutrient limitation may have different effects on ecosystem structure and function in natural systems. We compared a broad range of ecological processes to determine if these systems have different thresholds where shifts might occur in nutrient limitation. Growth responses indicated N limitation in Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) forests in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), Florida, and P limitation at Twin Cays, Belize. When nutrient deficiency was relieved, A. germinans grew out of its stunted form by increasing wood relative to leaf biomass and shoot length relative to lateral growth. At the P-limited site, P enrichment (+P) increased specific leaf area, N resorption, and P uptake, but had no effect on P resorption. At the N-limited site, +N increased both N and P resorption, but did not alter biomass allocation. Herbivory was greater at the P-limited site and was unaffected by +P, whereas +N led to increased herbivory at the N-limited site. The responses to nutrient enrichment depended on the ecological process and limiting nutrient and suggested that N- versus P-limited mangroves do have different thresholds. +P had a greater effect on more ecological processes at Twin Cays than did +N at the IRL, which indicated that the P-limited site was more sensitive to nutrient loading. Because of this sensitivity, eutrophication is more likely to cause a shift in nutrient limitation at P-limited Twin Cays than N-limited IRL. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  6. Climate-induced changes in lake ecosystem structure inferred from coupled neo- and paleoecological approaches

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Saros, Jasmine E.; Stone, Jeffery R.; Pederson, Gregory T.; Slemmons, Krista; Spanbauer, Trisha; Schliep, Anna; Cahl, Douglas; Williamson, Craig E.; Engstrom, Daniel R.

    2015-01-01

    Over the 20th century, surface water temperatures have increased in many lake ecosystems around the world, but long-term trends in the vertical thermal structure of lakes remain unclear, despite the strong control that thermal stratification exerts on the biological response of lakes to climate change. Here we used both neo- and paleoecological approaches to develop a fossil-based inference model for lake mixing depths and thereby refine understanding of lake thermal structure change. We focused on three common planktonic diatom taxa, the distributions of which previous research suggests might be affected by mixing depth. Comparative lake surveys and growth rate experiments revealed that these species respond to lake thermal structure when nitrogen is sufficient, with species optima ranging from shallower to deeper mixing depths. The diatom-based mixing depth model was applied to sedimentary diatom profiles extending back to 1750 AD in two lakes with moderate nitrate concentrations but differing climate settings. Thermal reconstructions were consistent with expected changes, with shallower mixing depths inferred for an alpine lake where treeline has advanced, and deeper mixing depths inferred for a boreal lake where wind strength has increased. The inference model developed here provides a new tool to expand and refine understanding of climate-induced changes in lake ecosystems.

  7. Municipal sludge metal contamination of old-field ecosystems: Do liming and tilling affect remediation

    SciTech Connect

    Benninger-Truax, M.; Taylor, D.H. . Dept. of Zoology)

    1993-10-01

    Mechanisms of ecosystem recovery following 11 years of sewage sludge disposal were addressed by examining the effects of tilling and/or liming on soil chemistry and the heavy metal (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) concentrations in soil, earthworms, vegetation, spiders, and crickets. In 1989 and 1990, subplots in each of three former 0.1-ha, long-term treatments (sludge, fertilizer, and control) were either unmanipulated or manipulated via tilling and/or liming. Liming significantly increased the pH of soil from the long-term sludge and fertilizer plots, and the combination of tilling and liming affected the heavy metal concentrations in earthworms, as lower concentrations of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn were found in earthworms collected from subplots that had been both tilled and limed. However, most observed significant differences in heavy metal concentrations reflected the long-term treatments, as heavy metal concentrations tended to be greater in the soil and biota collected from sludge-treated plots. Thus, heavy metals remained in the soil in forms available to the biota, regardless of the cessation of sludge application or subplot manipulations (liming and/or tilling) for two years following cessation of sludge application.

  8. Microbial interactions affecting the natural transformation of Bacillus subtilis in a model aquatic ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Matsui, Kazuaki; Ishii, Nobuyoshi; Kawabata, Zen'ichiro

    2003-08-01

    The involvement of microbial interactions in natural transformation of bacteria was evaluated using an aquatic model system. For this purpose, the naturally transformable Bacillus subtilis was used as the model bacterium which was co-cultivated with the protist Tetrahymena thermophila (a consumer) and/or the photosynthetic alga Euglena gracilis (a producer). Co-cultivation with as few as 10(2) individuals ml(-1) of T. thermophila lowered the number of transformants to less than the detectable level (<1x10(0) ml(-1)), while co-cultivation with E. gracilis did not. Metabolites from co-cultures of T. thermophila and B. subtilis also decreased the number of transformants to less than the detectable level, while metabolites from co-culture of T. thermophila and B. subtilis with E. gracilis did not. Thus, the introduction of transformation inhibitory factor(s) by the grazing of T. thermophila and the attenuation of this inhibitory factor(s) by E. gracilis is indicated. These observations suggest that biological components do affect the natural transformation of B. subtilis. The study described is the first to suggest that ecological interactions are responsible not only for the carbon and energy cycles, but also for the processes governing horizontal transfer of genes, in microbial ecosystems.

  9. Trophic flows, ecosystem structure and fishing impacts in the South Catalan Sea, Northwestern Mediterranean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coll, Marta; Palomera, Isabel; Tudela, Sergi; Sardà, Francesc

    2006-01-01

    An exploited ecosystem from the continental shelf and upper slope of the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea was described by means of an Ecopath mass-balance model with the aim of characterising its functioning and structure and describing the ecosystem impacts of fishing. This application included some complexities added to the general modelling methodology due to the high biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea and the multispecific nature of the fishery, and to the difficulties of working with fishing data which are usually irregularly or imprecisely collected. The model comprised 40 functional groups including primary producers, the main species of benthic, demersal and pelagic invertebrates, fishes and non-fish vertebrates and three detritus groups. In addition, trawling, purse seine, longline and troll bait fishing fleets were included. Results showed that the functional groups were organized into four trophic levels with the highest levels corresponding to anglerfish, dolphins, large pelagic fishes and adult hake. The system was dominated by the pelagic fraction, where sardine and anchovy prevailed in terms of fish biomasses and catches. Detritus and detritivorous groups also played key roles in the ecosystem and important coupled pelagic-demersal interactions were described. Considering Odum's theory of ecosystem development, the ecosystem was placed on an intermediate-low developmental stage due, at least partially, to the impact of fishing activity. This highlighted the high intensity of fishing in the ecosystem, in accordance with the general assessment of western Mediterranean marine resources, and fishing fleets were ranked as top predators of the system. The low trophic level of the catch was in line with the long history of exploitation in the area. However, the steady decline of pelagic landings between 1994 and 2003, coupled with a decrease of the pelagic biomass within the system, underlined the low resistance of the system in front of perturbations

  10. Quantifying causal mechanisms to determine how protected areas affect poverty through changes in ecosystem services and infrastructure.

    PubMed

    Ferraro, Paul J; Hanauer, Merlin M

    2014-03-18

    To develop effective environmental policies, we must understand the mechanisms through which the policies affect social and environmental outcomes. Unfortunately, empirical evidence about these mechanisms is limited, and little guidance for quantifying them exists. We develop an approach to quantifying the mechanisms through which protected areas affect poverty. We focus on three mechanisms: changes in tourism and recreational services; changes in infrastructure in the form of road networks, health clinics, and schools; and changes in regulating and provisioning ecosystem services and foregone production activities that arise from land-use restrictions. The contributions of ecotourism and other ecosystem services to poverty alleviation in the context of a real environmental program have not yet been empirically estimated. Nearly two-thirds of the poverty reduction associated with the establishment of Costa Rican protected areas is causally attributable to opportunities afforded by tourism. Although protected areas reduced deforestation and increased regrowth, these land cover changes neither reduced nor exacerbated poverty, on average. Protected areas did not, on average, affect our measures of infrastructure and thus did not contribute to poverty reduction through this mechanism. We attribute the remaining poverty reduction to unobserved dimensions of our mechanisms or to other mechanisms. Our study empirically estimates previously unidentified contributions of ecotourism and other ecosystem services to poverty alleviation in the context of a real environmental program. We demonstrate that, with existing data and appropriate empirical methods, conservation scientists and policymakers can begin to elucidate the mechanisms through which ecosystem conservation programs affect human welfare.

  11. Quantifying causal mechanisms to determine how protected areas affect poverty through changes in ecosystem services and infrastructure.

    PubMed

    Ferraro, Paul J; Hanauer, Merlin M

    2014-03-18

    To develop effective environmental policies, we must understand the mechanisms through which the policies affect social and environmental outcomes. Unfortunately, empirical evidence about these mechanisms is limited, and little guidance for quantifying them exists. We develop an approach to quantifying the mechanisms through which protected areas affect poverty. We focus on three mechanisms: changes in tourism and recreational services; changes in infrastructure in the form of road networks, health clinics, and schools; and changes in regulating and provisioning ecosystem services and foregone production activities that arise from land-use restrictions. The contributions of ecotourism and other ecosystem services to poverty alleviation in the context of a real environmental program have not yet been empirically estimated. Nearly two-thirds of the poverty reduction associated with the establishment of Costa Rican protected areas is causally attributable to opportunities afforded by tourism. Although protected areas reduced deforestation and increased regrowth, these land cover changes neither reduced nor exacerbated poverty, on average. Protected areas did not, on average, affect our measures of infrastructure and thus did not contribute to poverty reduction through this mechanism. We attribute the remaining poverty reduction to unobserved dimensions of our mechanisms or to other mechanisms. Our study empirically estimates previously unidentified contributions of ecotourism and other ecosystem services to poverty alleviation in the context of a real environmental program. We demonstrate that, with existing data and appropriate empirical methods, conservation scientists and policymakers can begin to elucidate the mechanisms through which ecosystem conservation programs affect human welfare. PMID:24567397

  12. 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 (...

  13. Food web pathway determines how selenium affects aquatic ecosystems: a San Francisco Bay case study.

    PubMed

    Stewart, A Robin; Luoma, Samuel N; Schlekat, Christian E; Doblin, Martina A; Hieb, Kathryn A

    2004-09-01

    Chemical contaminants disrupt ecosystems, but specific effects may be under-appreciated when poorly known processes such as uptake mechanisms, uptake via diet, food preferences, and food web dynamics are influential. Here we show that a combination of food web structure and the physiology of trace element accumulation explain why some species in San Francisco Bay are threatened by a relatively low level of selenium contamination and some are not. Bivalves and crustacean zooplankton form the base of two dominant food webs in estuaries. The dominant bivalve Potamocorbula amurensis has a 10-fold slower rate constant of loss for selenium than do common crustaceans such as copepods and the mysid Neomysis mercedis (rate constant of loss, ke = 0.025, 0.155, and 0.25 d(-1), respectively). The result is much higher selenium concentrations in the bivalve than in the crustaceans. Stable isotope analyses show that this difference is propagated up the respective food webs in San Francisco Bay. Several predators of bivalves have tissue concentrations of selenium that exceed thresholds thought to be associated with teratogenesis or reproductive failure (liver Se >15 microg g(-1) dry weight). Deformities typical of selenium-induced teratogenesis were observed in one of these species. Concentrations of selenium in tissues of predators of zooplankton are less than the thresholds. Basic physiological and ecological processes can drive wide differences in exposure and effects among species, but such processes are rarely considered in traditional evaluations of contaminant impacts. PMID:15461158

  14. Food web pathway determines how selenium affects aquatic ecosystems: A San francisco Bay case study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, A.R.; Luoma, S.N.; Schlekat, C.E.; Doblin, M.A.; Hieb, K.A.

    2004-01-01

    Chemical contaminants disrupt ecosystems, but specific effects may be under-appreciated when poorly known processes such as uptake mechanisms, uptake via diet, food preferences, and food web dynamics are influential. Here we show that a combination of food web structure and the physiology of trace element accumulation explain why some species in San Francisco Bay are threatened by a relatively low level of selenium contamination and some are not. Bivalves and crustacean Zooplankton form the base of two dominant food webs in estuaries. The dominant bivalve Potamocorbula amurensis has a 10-fold slower rate constant of loss for selenium than do common crustaceans such as copepods and the mysid Neomysis mercedis (rate constant of loss, ke = 0.025, 0.155, and 0.25 d-1, respectively). The result is much higher selenium concentrations in the bivalve than in the crustaceans. Stable isotope analyses show that this difference is propagated up the respective food webs in San Francisco Bay. Several predators of bivalves have tissue concentrations of selenium that exceed thresholds thought to be associated with teratogenesis or reproductive failure (liver Se > 15 ??g g-1 dry weight). Deformities typical of selenium-induced teratogenesis were observed in one of these species. Concentrations of selenium in tissues of predators of Zooplankton are less than the thresholds. Basic physiological and ecological processes can drive wide differences in exposure and effects among species, but such processes are rarely considered in traditional evaluations of contaminant impacts.

  15. Oceanographic and behavioural processes affecting invertebrate larval dispersal and supply in the western Iberia upwelling ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Queiroga, Henrique; Cruz, Teresa; dos Santos, Antonina; Dubert, Jesus; González-Gordillo, Juan Ignácio; Paula, José; Peliz, Álvaro; Santos, A. Miguel P.

    2007-08-01

    The present review addresses recent findings made in the western Iberia ecosystem on the behavioural and physical interactions that regulate dispersal, supply to coastal habitats and settlement of invertebrate larvae. These studies used the barnacle Chthamalus spp. and the crab Carcinus maenas as model organisms. The observations made on the Iberian shelf showed extensive diel vertical migrations along the water column by representatives of both groups that have never been reported before. The interaction of the diel vertical migration with the two-layer flow structure of upwelling/downwelling circulation suggests a mechanism that may help to retain larvae in shelf waters during upwelling conditions. Measurements of daily supply of C. maenas megalopae to estuaries separated by 500 km disclosed a semilunar pattern, with highest supply around highest amplitude tides, indicating that supply of megalopae to estuaries is accomplished by selective tidal stream transport. Relaxation of equatorward winds also played a role in supply, by enhancing translocation of megalopae to the nearshore. Concerning Chthamalus larvae, the observations on daily settlement made at rocky shores also separated by 500 km showed unclear patterns between locations and years. The relationship of settlement with water temperature, tidal range and upwelling indices indicated that supply of barnacle cyprids may be controlled by multiple mechanisms, viz. upwelling/downwelling circulation, internal tidal bores and sea breezes.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  17. Macrofauna assemblage composition and soil moisture interact to affect soil ecosystem functions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collison, E. J.; Riutta, T.; Slade, E. M.

    2013-02-01

    Changing climatic conditions and habitat fragmentation are predicted to alter the soil moisture conditions of temperate forests. It is not well understood how the soil macrofauna community will respond to changes in soil moisture, and how changes to species diversity and community composition may affect ecosystem functions, such as litter decomposition and soil fluxes. Moreover, few studies have considered the interactions between the abiotic and biotic factors that regulate soil processes. Here we attempt to disentangle the interactive effects of two of the main factors that regulate soil processes at small scales - moisture and macrofauna assemblage composition. The response of assemblages of three common temperate soil invertebrates (Glomeris marginata Villers, Porcellio scaber Latreille and Philoscia muscorum Scopoli) to two contrasting soil moisture levels was examined in a series of laboratory mesocosm experiments. The contribution of the invertebrates to the leaf litter mass loss of two common temperate tree species of contrasting litter quality (easily decomposing Fraxinus excelsior L. and recalcitrant Quercus robur L.) and to soil CO2 fluxes were measured. Both moisture conditions and litter type influenced the functioning of the invertebrate assemblages, which was greater in high moisture conditions compared with low moisture conditions and on good quality vs. recalcitrant litter. In high moisture conditions, all macrofauna assemblages functioned at equal rates, whereas in low moisture conditions there were pronounced differences in litter mass loss among the assemblages. This indicates that species identity and assemblage composition are more important when moisture is limited. We suggest that complementarity between macrofauna species may mitigate the reduced functioning of some species, highlighting the importance of maintaining macrofauna species richness.

  18. Biodiversity, community structure and function of biofilms in stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Besemer, Katharina

    2015-12-01

    Multi-species, surface-attached biofilms often dominate microbial life in streams and rivers, where they contribute substantially to biogeochemical processes. The microbial diversity of natural biofilms is huge, and may have important implications for the functioning of aquatic environments and the ecosystem services they provide. Yet the causes and consequences of biofilm biodiversity remain insufficiently understood. This review aims to give an overview of current knowledge on the distribution of stream biofilm biodiversity, the mechanisms generating biodiversity patterns and the relationship between biofilm biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

  19. How does wind-throw disturbance affect the carbon budget of an upland spruce forest ecosystem?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindauer, Matthias; Schmid, Hans Peter; Grote, Rüdiger; Mauder, Matthias; Wolpert, Benjamin; Steinbrecher, Rainer

    2014-05-01

    Forests, especially in mid-latitudes are generally designated as large carbon sinks. However, stand-replacing disturbance events like fires, insect-infestations, or severe wind-storms can shift an ecosystem from carbon sink to carbon source within short time and keep it as this for a long time. In Addition, extreme weather situations which promote the occurrence of ecosystem disturbances are likely to increase in the future due to climate change. The development and competition of different vegetation types (spruce vs. grass) as well as soil organic matter (SOM), and their contribution to the net ecosystem exchange (NEE), in such disturbed forest ecosystems are largely unknown. In a large wind-throw area (ca. 600 m diameter, due to cyclone Kyrill in January 2007) within a mature upland spruce forest, where dead-wood has not been removed, in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Lackenberg, 1308 m a.s.l., Bavaria, Germany), fluxes of CO2, water vapor and energy have been measured with the Eddy Covariance (EC) method since 2009. Model simulations (MoBiLE) were used to estimate the GPP components from trees and grassland as well as to differentiate between soil and plant respiration, and to get an idea about the long term behavior of the ecosystems carbon exchange. For 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 estimates of annual Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) showed that the wind-throw was a marked carbon source. However, the few remaining trees and newly emerging vegetation (grass, sparse young spruce, etc.) lead to an already strong Gross Ecosystem Production (GEP). Model simulations conformed well with the measurements. To our knowledge, we present the worldwide first long-term measurements of NEE within a non-cleared wind-throw-disturbed forest ecosystem.

  20. The Web-Driven Learning Ecosystem: Its Structure and Benefits

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Raska, David; Shaw, Doris; Keller, Eileen Weisenbach

    2012-01-01

    We have devised a Web-based learning ecosystem (LECOS) that aligns marketing curriculum, course design, technology, instructors, students, as well as external stakeholders--a system that integrates traditional teaching methods with technological advancements in an attempt to enhance marketing students' motivation, engagement, and performance. A…

  1. Geologic structures that affect Appalachian coal mines

    SciTech Connect

    Chase, F.E. )

    1993-01-01

    Hazardous geologic structures found in Appalachian coal mines have been responsible for numerous injuries and fatalities. In addition, these structures have been responsible for downtime and in some instances have even resulted in mine closures. For these reasons, the US Bureau of Mines has investigate the physical characteristics, occurrences, and support strategies to help anticipate and better control these structures. Structures that are addressed in this paper include slips, slickensides, clay veins, kettlebottoms, and sandstone channels.

  2. Provision of ecosystem services by human-made structures in a highly impacted estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Layman, Craig A.; Jud, Zachary R.; Archer, Stephanie K.; Riera, David

    2014-04-01

    Water filtration is one of the most important ecosystem services provided by sessile organisms in coastal ecosystems. As a consequence of increased coastal development, human-made shoreline structures (e.g., docks and bulkheads) are now common, providing extensive surface area for colonization by filter feeders. We estimate that in a highly urbanized sub-tropical estuary, water filtration capacity supported by filter feeding assemblages on dock pilings accounts for 11.7 million liters of water h-1, or ˜30% of the filtration provided by all natural oyster reef throughout the estuary. Assemblage composition, and thus filtration capacity, varied as a function of piling type, suggesting that the choice of building material has critical implications for ecosystem function. A more thorough depiction of the function of coastal ecosystems necessitates quantification of the extensive ecosystem services associated with human-made structures.

  3. [Effects of agricultural practices on community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural ecosystem: a review].

    PubMed

    Sheng, Ping-Ping; Li, Min; Liu, Run-Jin

    2011-06-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are rich in diversity in agricultural ecosystem, playing a vital role based on their unique community structure. Host plants and environmental factors have important effects on AM fungal community structure, so do the agricultural practices which deserve to pay attention to. This paper summarized the research advances in the effects of agricultural practices such as irrigation, fertilization, crop rotation, intercropping, tillage, and pesticide application on AM fungal community structure, analyzed the related possible mechanisms, discussed the possible ways in improving AM fungal community structure in agricultural ecosystem, and put forward a set of countermeasures, i.e., improving fertilization system and related integrated techniques, increasing plant diversity in agricultural ecosystem, and inoculating AM fungi, to enhance the AM fungal diversity in agricultural ecosystem. The existing problems in current agricultural practices and further research directions were also proposed.

  4. Artificial neural networks and ecological communities (Book Review: Modelling community structure in freshwater ecosystems)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2005-01-01

    Review info: Modeling community structure in freshwater ecosystems. Edited by Sovan Lek, Michele Scardi, Piet F.M. Verdonschot, Jean-Pierre Descy, and Young-Seuk Park, 2005. ISBN: 3-540-23940-5, 518 pp.

  5. How habitat-modifying organisms structure the food web of two coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    van der Zee, Els M; Angelini, Christine; Govers, Laura L; Christianen, Marjolijn J A; Altieri, Andrew H; van der Reijden, Karin J; Silliman, Brian R; van de Koppel, Johan; van der Geest, Matthijs; van Gils, Jan A; van der Veer, Henk W; Piersma, Theunis; de Ruiter, Peter C; Olff, Han; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-03-16

    The diversity and structure of ecosystems has been found to depend both on trophic interactions in food webs and on other species interactions such as habitat modification and mutualism that form non-trophic interaction networks. However, quantification of the dependencies between these two main interaction networks has remained elusive. In this study, we assessed how habitat-modifying organisms affect basic food web properties by conducting in-depth empirical investigations of two ecosystems: North American temperate fringing marshes and West African tropical seagrass meadows. Results reveal that habitat-modifying species, through non-trophic facilitation rather than their trophic role, enhance species richness across multiple trophic levels, increase the number of interactions per species (link density), but decrease the realized fraction of all possible links within the food web (connectance). Compared to the trophic role of the most highly connected species, we found this non-trophic effects to be more important for species richness and of more or similar importance for link density and connectance. Our findings demonstrate that food webs can be fundamentally shaped by interactions outside the trophic network, yet intrinsic to the species participating in it. Better integration of non-trophic interactions in food web analyses may therefore strongly contribute to their explanatory and predictive capacity. PMID:26962135

  6. How habitat-modifying organisms structure the food web of two coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    van der Zee, Els M; Angelini, Christine; Govers, Laura L; Christianen, Marjolijn J A; Altieri, Andrew H; van der Reijden, Karin J; Silliman, Brian R; van de Koppel, Johan; van der Geest, Matthijs; van Gils, Jan A; van der Veer, Henk W; Piersma, Theunis; de Ruiter, Peter C; Olff, Han; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-03-16

    The diversity and structure of ecosystems has been found to depend both on trophic interactions in food webs and on other species interactions such as habitat modification and mutualism that form non-trophic interaction networks. However, quantification of the dependencies between these two main interaction networks has remained elusive. In this study, we assessed how habitat-modifying organisms affect basic food web properties by conducting in-depth empirical investigations of two ecosystems: North American temperate fringing marshes and West African tropical seagrass meadows. Results reveal that habitat-modifying species, through non-trophic facilitation rather than their trophic role, enhance species richness across multiple trophic levels, increase the number of interactions per species (link density), but decrease the realized fraction of all possible links within the food web (connectance). Compared to the trophic role of the most highly connected species, we found this non-trophic effects to be more important for species richness and of more or similar importance for link density and connectance. Our findings demonstrate that food webs can be fundamentally shaped by interactions outside the trophic network, yet intrinsic to the species participating in it. Better integration of non-trophic interactions in food web analyses may therefore strongly contribute to their explanatory and predictive capacity.

  7. Ecosystem-wide morphological structure of leaf-litter ant communities along a tropical latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Silva, Rogério R; Brandão, Carlos Roberto F

    2014-01-01

    General principles that shape community structure can be described based on a functional trait approach grounded on predictive models; increased attention has been paid to factors accounting for the functional diversity of species assemblages and its association with species richness along environmental gradients. We analyze here the interaction between leaf-litter ant species richness, the local communities' morphological structure and fundamental niche within the context of a northeast-southeast latitudinal gradient in one of the world's most species-rich ecosystems, the Atlantic Forest, representing 2,700 km of tropical rainforest along almost 20° of latitude in eastern Brazil. Our results are consistent with an ecosystem-wide pattern in communities' structure, with relatively high species turnover but functionally analogous leaf-litter ant communities' organization. Our results suggest directional shifts in the morphological space along the environmental gradient from overdispersed to aggregated (from North to South), suggesting that primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity (altitude, temperature and precipitation in the case) determine the distribution of traits and regulate the assembly rules, shaping local leaf-litter ant communities. Contrary to the expected and most common pattern along latitudinal gradients, the Atlantic Forest leaf litter ant communities show an inverse pattern in richness, that is, richer communities in higher than in lower latitudes. The morphological specialization of communities showed more morphologically distinct communities at low latitudes and species redundancy at high latitudes. We claim that an inverse latitudinal gradient in primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity across the Atlantic forest may affect morphological diversity and species richness, enhancing species coexistence mechanisms, and producing thus the observed patterns. We suggest that a functional framework based on flexible enough traits

  8. Ecosystem-wide morphological structure of leaf-litter ant communities along a tropical latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Silva, Rogério R; Brandão, Carlos Roberto F

    2014-01-01

    General principles that shape community structure can be described based on a functional trait approach grounded on predictive models; increased attention has been paid to factors accounting for the functional diversity of species assemblages and its association with species richness along environmental gradients. We analyze here the interaction between leaf-litter ant species richness, the local communities' morphological structure and fundamental niche within the context of a northeast-southeast latitudinal gradient in one of the world's most species-rich ecosystems, the Atlantic Forest, representing 2,700 km of tropical rainforest along almost 20° of latitude in eastern Brazil. Our results are consistent with an ecosystem-wide pattern in communities' structure, with relatively high species turnover but functionally analogous leaf-litter ant communities' organization. Our results suggest directional shifts in the morphological space along the environmental gradient from overdispersed to aggregated (from North to South), suggesting that primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity (altitude, temperature and precipitation in the case) determine the distribution of traits and regulate the assembly rules, shaping local leaf-litter ant communities. Contrary to the expected and most common pattern along latitudinal gradients, the Atlantic Forest leaf litter ant communities show an inverse pattern in richness, that is, richer communities in higher than in lower latitudes. The morphological specialization of communities showed more morphologically distinct communities at low latitudes and species redundancy at high latitudes. We claim that an inverse latitudinal gradient in primary productivity and environmental heterogeneity across the Atlantic forest may affect morphological diversity and species richness, enhancing species coexistence mechanisms, and producing thus the observed patterns. We suggest that a functional framework based on flexible enough traits

  9. Climatic seasonality may affect ecological network structure: food webs and mutualistic networks.

    PubMed

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kanamaru, Saori; Feng, Wenfeng

    2014-07-01

    Ecological networks exhibit non-random structural patterns, such as modularity and nestedness, which determine ecosystem stability with species diversity and connectance. Such structure-stability relationships are well known. However, another important perspective is less well understood: the relationship between the environment and structure. Inspired by theoretical studies that suggest that network structure can change due to environmental variability, we collected data on a number of empirical food webs and mutualistic networks and evaluated the effect of climatic seasonality on ecological network structure. As expected, we found that climatic seasonality affects ecological network structure. In particular, an increase in modularity due to climatic seasonality was observed in food webs; however, it is debatable whether this occurs in mutualistic networks. Interestingly, the type of climatic seasonality that affects network structure differs with ecosystem type. Rainfall and temperature seasonality influence freshwater food webs and mutualistic networks, respectively; food webs are smaller, and more modular, with increasing rainfall seasonality. Mutualistic networks exhibit a higher diversity (particularly of animals) with increasing temperature seasonality. These results confirm the theoretical prediction that the stability increases with greater perturbation. Although these results are still debatable because of several limitations in the data analysis, they may enhance our understanding of environment-structure relationships.

  10. How a clogged canal affects ecological and human health in a tropical urban wetland ecosystem

    EPA Science Inventory

    The coastal city of San Juan, Puerto Rico is a tropical urban ecosystem woven among a series of interconnected bays, lagoons, drains, canals, and mangroves. As the city has expanded, infilling and urban development by the region’s poorest residents has choked an important c...

  11. Food web structure and vulnerability of a deep-sea ecosystem in the NW Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tecchio, Samuele; Coll, Marta; Christensen, Villy; Company, Joan B.; Ramírez-Llodra, Eva; Sardà, Francisco

    2013-05-01

    There is increasing fishing pressure on the continental margins of the oceans, and this raises concerns about the vulnerability of the ecosystems thriving there. The current knowledge of the biology of deep-water fish species identifies potential reduced resilience to anthropogenic disturbance. However, there are extreme difficulties in sampling the deep sea, resulting in poorly resolved and indirectly obtained food-web relationships. Here, we modelled the flows and biomasses of a Mediterranean deep-sea ecosystem, the Catalan Sea continental slope at depths of 1000-1400 m. This is the first model of a deep-water ecosystem in the Mediterranean Sea. The objectives were to (a) quantitatively describe the food web structure of the ecosystem, (b) examine the role of key species in the ecosystem, and (c) explore the vulnerability of this deep-sea ecosystem to potential future fishing exploitation. We used the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) modelling approach and software to model the ecosystem. The trophic model included 18 consumers, a marine snow group, and a sediment detritus group. Trophic network analysis identified low levels of consumer biomass cycling and low system omnivory index when compared with expected values of marine ecosystems, and higher cycling and omnivory when compared with available EwE models of shallower areas of the Mediterranean Sea. The majority of flows in the ecosystem were concentrated at the trophic level of first-order consumers (TL 2). Benthic invertebrates and demersal sharks were identified to have key ecological roles in the ecosystem. We used the dynamic temporal model Ecosim to simulate expansion of the red-shrimp benthic trawl fishery that currently operates at shallower depths, down to 800 m depth. The simulations showed reductions in fish biomass and that the state of the deep continental slope ecosystem in the western Mediterranean seems to be the result of a long-term succession process, which has reached ecological stability, and is

  12. The stochastic structure of critical transitions in water-stressed ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cueto-Felgueroso, L.; Dentz, M.; Juanes, R.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in the stochastic structure of natural forcing mechanisms, such as precipitation or temperature, are likely to transform the form and function of ecological systems. Climate models and global datasets show that an increase in global temperature may result in an amplification of the hydrological cycle, not necessarily accompanied by significant changes in mean annual precipitation. In arid and semiarid environments, feedbacks between climate, soil moisture and vegetation are linked to the existence of alternative stable ecosystem states. It has been hypothesized that bistability is associated with tipping points, whereby slow changes in rainfall forcing, and random or anthropogenic disturbances, may trigger catastrophic shifts towards degraded states of the ecosystem. Identifying tipping points and characterizing ecosystem resilience are essential in the assessment of ecological services in a changing environment. We develop a stochastic framework to understand the joint probability density function (pdf) of soil moisture and vegetation biomass under stochastic rainfall. We emphasize the impact of amplified hydrological cycles on ecosystems where alternative states are possible. The joint pdf characterizes the states in which the ecosystem is most likely to be found. We show that the structure of precipitation, not just the mean annual precipitation, controls the most likely state of the ecosystem. We synthesize our analysis by proposing a definition of ecosystem resilience that is based on the modality and time dynamics of the soil moisture-biomass joint pdf.

  13. Lead contamination of an old shooting range affecting the local ecosystem--A case study with a holistic approach.

    PubMed

    Rantalainen, Minna-Liisa; Torkkeli, Minna; Strömmer, Rauni; Setälä, Heikki

    2006-10-01

    The aim of this case study was to uncover the consequences of lead pellet-derived heavy lead contamination at a cast-off shooting range in southern Finland, covering aspects from soil chemistry and biology up to ecosystem level. The observed changes in the soil properties of the most contaminated areas suggest that the contamination may be disturbing processes of decomposition and nutrient mineralisation. Also two functionally important groups of soil organisms, microbes (as analysed using the PLFA analysis) and enchytraeid worms, were negatively affected by the contamination. Furthermore, there was an indication of reduced pine litter production at the contaminated areas. On the other hand, lead contamination appears not to have affected pine growth or soil-dwelling nematodes and microarthropods, and the general outlook of the whole ecosystem is that of a healthy forest. Thus, the boreal forest ecosystem studied as a whole appears to bear strong resistance to contamination, despite negative effects of lead on many of its components. This resistance may result from e.g. low bioavailability of lead, avoidance of the most contaminated soil horizons and microsites by the organisms, and functional redundancy and development of lead-tolerant populations amongst the organisms. The relative importance of these factors and the mechanisms behind them will be investigated in forthcoming studies.

  14. Ontogenetic functional diversity: size structure of a keystone predator drives functioning of a complex ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Rudolf, Volker H W; Rasmussen, Nick L

    2013-05-01

    A central challenge in community ecology is to understand the connection between biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems. While traditional approaches have largely focused on species-level diversity, increasing evidence indicates that there exists substantial ecological diversity among individuals within species. By far, the largest source of this intraspecific diversity stems from variation among individuals in ontogenetic stage and size. Although such ontogenetic shifts are ubiquitous in natural communities, whether and how they scale up to influence the structure and functioning of complex ecosystems is largely unknown. Here we take an experimental approach to examine the consequences of ontogenetic niche shifts for the structure of communities and ecosystem processes. In particular we experimentally manipulated the stage structure in a keystone predator, larvae of the dragonfly Anax junius, in complex experimental pond communities to test whether changes in the population stage or size structure of a keystone species scale up to alter community structure and ecosystem processes, and how functional differences scale with relative differences in size among stages. We found that the functional role of A. junius was stage-specific. Altering what stages were present in a pond led to concurrent changes in community structure, primary producer biomass (periphyton and phytoplankton), and ultimately altered ecosystem processes (respiration and net primary productivity), indicating a strong, but stage-specific, trophic cascade. Interestingly, the stage-specific effects did not simply scale with size or biomass of the predator, but instead indicated clear ontogenetic niche shifts in ecological interactions. Thus, functional differences among stages within a keystone species scaled up to alter the functioning of entire ecosystems. Therefore, our results indicate that the classical approach of assuming an average functional role of a species can be misleading because

  15. Fine sediment as environmental stressor affecting freshwater mussel behavior and ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lummer, Eva-Maria; Auerswald, Karl; Geist, Juergen

    2016-11-15

    Fine sediment pollution is considered a major stressor for aquatic ecosystems and their biodiversity. In particular, fine sediments have been suggested to play a crucial role in the declines of freshwater mussels which are considered keystone fauna of streams and rivers. Whereas the effects of deposited fine sediments on recruitment failure are well known, effects of suspended fine sediments on adult mussel behavior are less studied. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of fine sediment exposure on freshwater mussel behavior and on mussel-dependent ecosystem services. Unio pictorum mussels were used to test three behavioral endpoints: Hall activity, transition frequency and relative water clearance rate. Mussels were exposed to fine sediments of different particle size classes (<45μm, 45-63μm, 63-125μm) and different concentration (0-10gL(-1)) of the smallest particle size class. Hall sensor technology and turbidity measurements were used to detect mussel behavior in presence of suspended sediments. Results revealed that mussels improve clearance of suspended particles out of the water column by 35%, independent of particle size class and concentration. Transition frequency was determined an unsuitable behavioral endpoint for non-soluble substances. Contrary to previous studies, we could demonstrate that fine sediments do not interfere with filtration by mussels and that mussels have a great influence on water purification, providing a valuable ecosystem service. PMID:27422724

  16. Trophic interactions, ecosystem structure and function in the southern Yellow Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Qun; Jin, Xianshi; Zhang, Bo

    2013-01-01

    The southern Yellow Sea is an important fishing ground, providing abundant fishery resources. However, overfishing and climate change have caused a decline in the resource and damaged the ecosystem. We developed an ecosystem model to analyze the trophic interactions and ecosystem structure and function to guide sustainable development of the ecosystem. A trophic mass-balance model of the southern Yellow Sea during 2000-2001 was constructed using Ecopath with Ecosim software. We defined 22 important functional groups and studied their diet composition. The trophic levels of fish, shrimp, crabs, and cephalopods were between 2.78 and 4.39, and the mean trophic level of the fisheries was 3.24. The trophic flows within the food web occurred primarily in the lower trophic levels. The mean trophic transfer efficiency was 8.1%, of which 7.1% was from primary producers and 9.3% was from detritus within the ecosystem. The transfer efficiency between trophic levels II to III to IV to V to >V was 5.0%, 5.7%, 18.5%, and 19.7%-20.4%, respectively. Of the total flow, phytoplankton contributed 61% and detritus contributed 39%. Fishing is defined as a top predator within the ecosystem, and has a negative impact on most commercial species. Moreover, the ecosystem had a high gross efficiency of the fishery and a high value of primary production required to sustain the fishery. Together, our data suggest there is high fishing pressure in the southern Yellow Sea. Based on analysis of Odum's ecological parameters, this ecosystem was at an immature stage. Our results provide some insights into the structure and development of this ecosystem.

  17. Implications for Ecosystem Services of Watershed Processes that affect the Transport and Transformations of Mercury in an Adirondack Stream Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burns, D. A.; Riva-Murray, K.; Bradley, P. M.

    2012-12-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a potent neurotoxin that can affect the health of humans and wildlife through the ingestion of methyl Hg. Mercury contamination of ecosystems originates from human activities such as mining, coal burning and other industrial emissions, and the use of Hg-containing products. Natural sources such as volcanic and geothermal emissions and the weathering of Hg-bearing minerals also contribute to Hg contamination, but are believed to be minor sources in most ecosystems. Various ecosystem disturbances including fires, forest harvesting, and the submergence of land by impoundment may also contribute to Hg ecosystem contamination by mobilizing stores that have previously originated from the sources described above. Mercury from a mix of regional and global emissions sources is transported in the atmosphere to remote landscapes that are distant from local emissions sources. The Adirondacks of New York State is a forested, mountainous region characterized by abundant lakes and streams, and is distant from local emissions sources. Recreational fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, and hunting are valued ecosystem services in this region. Here, we report on the relevance to ecosystem services of findings based on five years of Hg data collection of stream water, groundwater, invertebrates, and fish in the upper Hudson River basin in the central part of the Adirondack region. The New York State Dept. of Health has issued fish consumption advisories for the entire Adirondacks based on elevated levels previously measured in lakes and rivers of this region. Our work seeks improved understanding and models of the landscape sources and watershed processes that control the transformation of Hg to its methyl form (MeHg), the transport of MeHg to streams, and bioaccumulation of MeHg in aquatic food webs. Mean annual atmospheric Hg deposition was 6.3 μg/m2/yr during 2007-09, compared to mean annual filtered total Hg stream yields of 1.66 μg/m2/yr and filtered MeHg stream

  18. Canopy structure of sagebrush ecosystems leading to differences in carbon and water fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reed, D. E.; Ewers, B. E.; Peckham, S. D.; Pendall, E. G.; Kelly, R. D.

    2013-12-01

    The sagebrush steppe ecosystem covers nearly 15% of Western North America, and its productivity is sensitive to warming and increasingly variable precipitation. Previous work has shown that interannual variability of precipitation is the largest factor in carbon and water cycling in these semi-arid ecosystems and that the relationship of traditional drivers of fluxes (VPD, net radiation, soil temperature) to carbon and water fluxes as well as ecosystem water use efficiency does not change along an elevation gradient. We seek to expand on that work by using multiple site-years from eddy covariance data near the upper (2469m) and lower (2069m) elevation range of sagebrush to answer the question 'How does canopy structure and canopy leaf area index combine to control the ecosystem carbon and water fluxes from rocky mountain sagebrush ecosystems'. We are answering this question by quantifying ecosystem scale carbon and water using eddy covariance measurements and a standard suite of atmospheric, soil and vegetation monitoring instruments. This data will be used with the Terrestrial Regional Ecosystem Exchange Simulator (TREES) Bayesian framework model that utilizes a coupled plant hydraulic and carbon uptake. For this work we use the TREES model to simulate canopy structure and leaf area based on seven years of eddy covariance data from the two different locations. This canopy information will be compared with canopy structure ground measurements within the eddy covariance footprint, and then we will compare the relationship between canopy structure and ecosystem fluxes. During well watered growing season time periods, the high elevation site has average water flux of 1.06 mmol m-2 s-1 and carbon flux of 1.54 μmol m-2 s-1 of uptake. Average water and carbon fluxes at the lower elevation site were 0.84 mmol m-2 s-1 and 1.09 μmol m-2 s-1 of uptake respectively. This is a reduction of 20% for water flux and 30% and carbon flux down the elevation gradient. With the

  19. Structural Factors Affecting Health Examination Behavioral Intention.

    PubMed

    Huang, Hui-Ting; Kuo, Yu-Ming; Wang, Shiang-Ru; Wang, Chia-Fen; Tsai, Chung-Hung

    2016-04-01

    Disease screening instruments used for secondary prevention can facilitate early determination and treatment of pathogenic factors, effectively reducing disease incidence, mortality rates, and health complications. Therefore, people should be encouraged to receive health examinations for discovering potential pathogenic factors before symptoms occur. Here, we used the health belief model as a foundation and integrated social psychological factors and investigated the factors influencing health examination behavioral intention among the public in Taiwan. In total, 388 effective questionnaires were analyzed through structural model analysis. Consequently, this study yielded four crucial findings: (1) The established extended health belief model could effectively predict health examination behavioral intention; (2) Self-efficacy was the factor that most strongly influenced health examination behavioral intention, followed by health knowledge; (3) Self-efficacy substantially influenced perceived benefits and perceived barriers; (4) Health knowledge and social support indirectly influenced health examination behavioral intention. The preceding results can effectively increase the acceptance and use of health examination services among the public, thereby facilitating early diagnosis and treatment and ultimately reducing disease and mortality rates. PMID:27043606

  20. Structural Factors Affecting Health Examination Behavioral Intention

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Hui-Ting; Kuo, Yu-Ming; Wang, Shiang-Ru; Wang, Chia-Fen; Tsai, Chung-Hung

    2016-01-01

    Disease screening instruments used for secondary prevention can facilitate early determination and treatment of pathogenic factors, effectively reducing disease incidence, mortality rates, and health complications. Therefore, people should be encouraged to receive health examinations for discovering potential pathogenic factors before symptoms occur. Here, we used the health belief model as a foundation and integrated social psychological factors and investigated the factors influencing health examination behavioral intention among the public in Taiwan. In total, 388 effective questionnaires were analyzed through structural model analysis. Consequently, this study yielded four crucial findings: (1) The established extended health belief model could effectively predict health examination behavioral intention; (2) Self-efficacy was the factor that most strongly influenced health examination behavioral intention, followed by health knowledge; (3) Self-efficacy substantially influenced perceived benefits and perceived barriers; (4) Health knowledge and social support indirectly influenced health examination behavioral intention. The preceding results can effectively increase the acceptance and use of health examination services among the public, thereby facilitating early diagnosis and treatment and ultimately reducing disease and mortality rates. PMID:27043606

  1. Structural and biophysical attributes of spatially complex ecosystems: Large-scale measurement and implications for biogeochemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asner, Gregory Paul

    The central goal of this work was to develop new top-down and bottom-up strategies to scale plant biophysical attributes from leaf to regional levels so that remote sensing can best bridge the gap between ecosystem structure and function. I explore how plant canopies interact with photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), which affects photosynthetic capacity, and thus maximum carbon assimilation and net primary production. Along a 900 km Texas savanna transect, I found that tissue-level PAR absorption among species, genera, functional groups, growthforms, and between climatologically diverse regions was statistically similar. Canopy-level analyses indicated that leaf optical variability explained only a small proportion of the variance in canopy PAR absorption, while non-photosynthetic vegetation (e.g. woody stems and litter) and leaf area contributed significantly to canopy variance. However, analyses also revealed that the extent and leaf area of canopies were the dominant controls on landscape PAR absorption, while variation in tissue properties played a very secondary role. Based on the quantified scale-dependence of PAR absorption across landscapes, I developed a suite of methods to access plant canopy structural and biophysical attributes from remote sensing data. Canopy radiative transfer (RT) models, which mechanistically simulate the spectral and angular variation in vegetation reflectance, can be inverted to estimate plant characteristics from multi-view angle, remotely sensed data. I found relationships between tissue spectral properties using a diverse array of woody plant and grass species, which allow greater efficiency in canopy radiation modeling. I then focus on the spatial heterogeneity of land cover, land use, vegetation structure, and carbon uptake in a Texas savanna rangeland region. I devised a multi-satellite/inverse modeling approach to quantify variation in woody plant and herbaceous canopy attributes. I found that by estimating a suite

  2. Linking morphology to ecosystem structure using satellite for monitoring Wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Filipponi, F.; Valentini, E.; Taramelli, A.; Giulio, S.; Persichillo, M.; D'Alpaos, A.

    2013-12-01

    Modern views on the behavior of complex systems, like the low lying coastal areas, allow the interpretation of phenomenological coastal landscape as a steady state that corresponds to a dynamic equilibrium, and to a self-organized exogenic order of the edge of the chaos. Space-borne data, coupled with field spectral measurements and observations, are quantitative tools for the research on feedbacks between the biological influences and physical forming processes steering landscape changes, allowing the identification of critical thresholds beyond which the ecosystem reach a new steady state. This research deals with a multi-temporal change analysis of halophytic vegetation and morphology of two analogous accumulation sites along the northern Adriatic adjoining coast: the 'Bacan island' (Venice Lagoon) and the Spit of Goro Lagoon (Po Delta). These two sites represent delicate ecosystems and are susceptible to different drivers being located close to the lagoon's inlet. The two tests sites support a great biodiversity and supply important resources, so the conservation of their habitats is necessary to maintain the ecosystem services provision. Evidence from previous studies highlights the role of climate, mostly winds and hydrology acting on sediment transport, but only few accounts for the role of vegetation in landform shaping and sediment stabilizing. In this study spatial trends of both vegetation cover/typology and sediment/soil distribution are implemented to obtain detailed classification from EO. By means of sub-pixel processing techniques (Spectral Mixing Analysis), classifications are analyzed in terms of spatial (Power law) and temporal (Empirical Orthogonal Functions) patterns, in order to find the fingerprint of spatial patterns of vegetation, sediments and very shallow waters and their variation over time. The application of a double step analysis from coarse to finer spatial resolution lead first to a biophysical cover map in term of vegetation

  3. Modeling environmental effects on the size-structured energy flow through marine ecosystems. Part 2: Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maury, Olivier; Shin, Yunne-Jai; Faugeras, Blaise; Ben Ari, Tamara; Marsac, Francis

    2007-09-01

    Numerical simulations using a physiologically-based model of marine ecosystem size spectrum are conducted to study the influence of primary production and temperature on energy flux through marine ecosystems. In stable environmental conditions, the model converges toward a stationary linear log-log size-spectrum. In very productive ecosystems, the model predicts that small size classes are depleted by predation, leading to a curved size-spectrum. It is shown that the absolute level of primary production does not affect the slope of the stationary size-spectrum but has a nonlinear effect on its intercept and hence on the total biomass of consumer organisms (the carrying capacity). Three domains are distinguished: at low primary production, total biomass is independent from production changes because loss processes dominate dissipative processes (biological work); at high production, ecosystem biomass is proportional to primary production because dissipation dominates losses; an intermediate transition domain characterizes mid-production ecosystems. Our results enlighten the paradox of the very high ecosystem biomass/primary production ratios which are observed in poor oceanic regions. Thus, maximal dissipation (least action and low ecosystem biomass/primary production ratios) is reached at high primary production levels when the ecosystem is efficient in transferring energy from small sizes to large sizes. Conversely, least dissipation (most action and high ecosystem biomass/primary production ratios) characterizes the simulated ecosystem at low primary production levels when it is not efficient in dissipating energy. Increasing temperature causes enhanced predation mortality and decreases the intercept of the stationary size spectrum, i.e., the total ecosystem biomass. Total biomass varies as the inverse of the Arrhenius coefficient in the loss domain. This approximation is no longer true in the dissipation domain where nonlinear dissipation processes dominate over

  4. Large-Scale Variation in Combined Impacts of Canopy Loss and Disturbance on Community Structure and Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Crowe, Tasman P.; Cusson, Mathieu; Bulleri, Fabio; Davoult, Dominique; Arenas, Francisco; Aspden, Rebecca; Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro; Bevilacqua, Stanislao; Davidson, Irvine; Defew, Emma; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Golléty, Claire; Griffin, John N.; Herkül, Kristjan; Kotta, Jonne; Migné, Aline; Molis, Markus; Nicol, Sophie K.; Noël, Laure M-L J.; Pinto, Isabel Sousa; Valdivia, Nelson; Vaselli, Stefano; Jenkins, Stuart R.

    2013-01-01

    Ecosystems are under pressure from multiple human disturbances whose impact may vary depending on environmental context. We experimentally evaluated variation in the separate and combined effects of the loss of a key functional group (canopy algae) and physical disturbance on rocky shore ecosystems at nine locations across Europe. Multivariate community structure was initially affected (during the first three to six months) at six locations but after 18 months, effects were apparent at only three. Loss of canopy caused increases in cover of non-canopy algae in the three locations in southern Europe and decreases in some northern locations. Measures of ecosystem functioning (community respiration, gross primary productivity, net primary productivity) were affected by loss of canopy at five of the six locations for which data were available. Short-term effects on community respiration were widespread, but effects were rare after 18 months. Functional changes corresponded with changes in community structure and/or species richness at most locations and times sampled, but no single aspect of biodiversity was an effective predictor of longer-term functional changes. Most ecosystems studied were able to compensate in functional terms for impacts caused by indiscriminate physical disturbance. The only consistent effect of disturbance was to increase cover of non-canopy species. Loss of canopy algae temporarily reduced community resistance to disturbance at only two locations and at two locations actually increased resistance. Resistance to disturbance-induced changes in gross primary productivity was reduced by loss of canopy algae at four locations. Location-specific variation in the effects of the same stressors argues for flexible frameworks for the management of marine environments. These results also highlight the need to analyse how species loss and other stressors combine and interact in different environmental contexts. PMID:23799082

  5. Impacts of shrub encroachment on ecosystem structure and functioning: towards a global synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Eldridge, David J.; Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Roger, Erin; Reynolds, James F.; Whitford, Walter G.

    2013-01-01

    Encroachment of woody plants into grasslands has generated considerable interest among ecologists. Syntheses of encroachment effects on ecosystem processes have been limited in extent and confined largely to pastoral land uses or particular geographical regions. We used univariate analyses, meta-analysis and structural equation modeling to test the propositions that 1) shrub encroachment does not necessarily lead to declines in ecosystem functions, and 2) shrub traits influence the functional outcome of encroachment. Analyses of 43 ecosystem attributes from 244 case studies worldwide showed that some attributes consistently increased with encroachment (e.g. soil C, N), and others declined (e.g. grass cover, pH), but most exhibited variable responses. Traits of shrubs were associated with significant, though weak, structural and functional outcomes of encroachment. Our review revealed that encroachment had mixed effects on ecosystem structure and functioning at global scales, and that shrub traits influence the functional outcome of encroachment. Thus, a simple designation of encroachment as a process leading to functionally, structurally or contextually degraded ecosystems is not supported by a critical analysis of existing literature. Our results highlight that the commonly established link between shrub encroachment and degradation is not universal. PMID:21592276

  6. Is the Climate of Bering Sea Warming and Affecting the Ecosystem?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Overland, James E.; Stabeno, Phyllis J.

    2004-08-01

    Observations from the Bering Sea are good indicators of decadal shifts in climate, as the Bering is a transition region between the cold, dry Arctic air mass to the north, and the moist, relatively warm maritime air mass to the south. The Bering Sea is also a transition region between Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems; this boundary can be loosely identified with the extent of winter sea-ice cover. Like a similar transition zone in the eastern North Atlantic, the Bering Sea is experiencing a northward biogeographical shift in response to changing temperature and atmospheric forcing. If this shift continues over the next decade, it will have major impacts on commercial and subsistence harvests as Arctic species are displaced by sub-Arctic species. The stakes are enormous, as this rich and diverse ecosystem currently provides 47% of the U.S. fishery production by weight, and is home to 80% of the U.S. sea bird population, 95% of northern fur seals, and major populations of Steller sea lions, walrus, and whales.

  7. Bio-inspired Autonomic Structures: a middleware for Telecommunications Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manzalini, Antonio; Minerva, Roberto; Moiso, Corrado

    Today, people are making use of several devices for communications, for accessing multi-media content services, for data/information retrieving, for processing, computing, etc.: examples are laptops, PDAs, mobile phones, digital cameras, mp3 players, smart cards and smart appliances. One of the most attracting service scenarios for future Telecommunications and Internet is the one where people will be able to browse any object in the environment they live: communications, sensing and processing of data and services will be highly pervasive. In this vision, people, machines, artifacts and the surrounding space will create a kind of computational environment and, at the same time, the interfaces to the network resources. A challenging technological issue will be interconnection and management of heterogeneous systems and a huge amount of small devices tied together in networks of networks. Moreover, future network and service infrastructures should be able to provide Users and Application Developers (at different levels, e.g., residential Users but also SMEs, LEs, ASPs/Web2.0 Service roviders, ISPs, Content Providers, etc.) with the most appropriate "environment" according to their context and specific needs. Operators must be ready to manage such level of complication enabling their latforms with technological advanced allowing network and services self-supervision and self-adaptation capabilities. Autonomic software solutions, enhanced with innovative bio-inspired mechanisms and algorithms, are promising areas of long term research to face such challenges. This chapter proposes a bio-inspired autonomic middleware capable of leveraging the assets of the underlying network infrastructure whilst, at the same time, supporting the development of future Telecommunications and Internet Ecosystems.

  8. Herbivore species richness and feeding complementarity affect community structure and function on a coral reef

    PubMed Central

    Burkepile, Deron E.; Hay, Mark E.

    2008-01-01

    Consumer effects on prey are well known for cascading through food webs and producing dramatic top-down effects on community structure and ecosystem function. Bottom-up effects of prey (primary producer) biodiversity are also well known. However, the role of consumer diversity in affecting community structure or ecosystem function is not well understood. Here, we show that herbivore species richness can be critical for maintaining the structure and function of coral reefs. In two experiments over 2 years, we constructed large cages enclosing single herbivore species, equal densities of mixed species of herbivores, or excluding herbivores and assessed effects on both seaweeds and corals. When compared with single-herbivore treatments, mixed-herbivore treatments lowered macroalgal abundance by 54–76%, enhanced cover of crustose coralline algae (preferred recruitment sites for corals) by 52–64%, increased coral cover by 22%, and prevented coral mortality. Complementary feeding by herbivorous fishes drove the herbivore richness effects, because macroalgae were unable to effectively deter fishes with different feeding strategies. Maintaining herbivore species richness appears critical for preserving coral reefs, because complementary feeding by diverse herbivores produces positive, but indirect, effects on corals, the foundation species for the ecosystem. PMID:18845686

  9. The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan M.; Garrabou, Joaquim; Guclusoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A.; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m-2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas.

  10. The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan; Garrabou, Joaquim; Güçlüsoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m(-2)). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas. PMID:22393445

  11. The Structure of Mediterranean Rocky Reef Ecosystems across Environmental and Human Gradients, and Conservation Implications

    PubMed Central

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan; Garrabou, Joaquim; Güçlüsoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A.; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m−2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas. PMID:22393445

  12. Climatic Versus Biotic Constraints on Carbon and Water Fluxes in Seasonally Drought-affected Ponderosa Pine Ecosystems. Chapter 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schwarz, P. A.; Law, B. E.; Williams, M.; Irvine, J.; Kurpius, M.; Moore, D.

    2005-01-01

    We investigated the relative importance of climatic versus biotic controls on gross primary production (GPP) and water vapor fluxes in seasonally drought-affected ponderosa pine forests. The study was conducted in young (YS), mature (MS), and old stands (OS) over 4 years at the AmeriFlux Metolius sites. Model simulations showed that interannual variation of GPP did not follow the same trends as precipitation, and effects of climatic variation were smallest at the OS (50%), and intermediate at the YS (<20%). In the young, developing stand, interannual variation in leaf area has larger effects on fluxes than climate, although leaf area is a function of climate in that climate can interact with age-related shifts in carbon allocation and affect whole-tree hydraulic conductance. Older forests, with well-established root systems, appear to be better buffered from effects of seasonal drought and interannual climatic variation. Interannual variation of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was also lowest at the OS, where NEE is controlled more by interannual variation of ecosystem respiration, 70% of which is from soil, than by the variation of GPP, whereas variation in GPP is the primary reason for interannual changes in NEE at the YS and MS. Across spatially heterogeneous landscapes with high frequency of younger stands resulting from natural and anthropogenic disturbances, interannual climatic variation and change in leaf area are likely to result in large interannual variation in GPP and NEE.

  13. Integrating Organic Matter Structure with Ecosystem Function using Advanced Analytical Chemistry Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boot, C. M.

    2012-12-01

    Microorganisms are the primary transformers of organic matter in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The structure of organic matter controls its bioavailability and researchers have long sought to link the chemical characteristics of the organic matter pool to its lability. To date this effort has been primarily attempted using low resolution descriptive characteristics (e.g. organic matter content, carbon to nitrogen ratio, aromaticity, etc .). However, recent progress in linking these two important ecosystem components has been advanced using advanced high resolution tools (e.g. nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and mass spectroscopy (MS)-based techniques). A series of experiments will be presented that highlight the application of high resolution techniques in a variety of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with the focus on how these data explicitly provide the foundation for integrating organic matter structure into our concept of ecosystem function. The talk will highlight results from a series of experiments including: an MS-based metabolomics and fluorescence excitation emission matrix approach evaluating seasonal and vegetation based changes in dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition from arctic soils; Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) MS and MS metabolomics analysis of DOM from three lakes in an alpine watershed; and the transformation of 13C labeled glucose track with NMR during a rewetting experiment from Colorado grassland soils. These data will be synthesized to illustrate how the application of advanced analytical techniques provides novel insight into our understanding of organic matter processing in a wide range of ecosystems.

  14. Bioaccumulation of mercury in benthic communities of a river ecosystem affected by mercury mining.

    PubMed

    Zizek, Suzana; Horvat, Milena; Gibicar, Darija; Fajon, Vesna; Toman, Mihael J

    2007-05-15

    The presence of mercury in the river Idrijca (Slovenia) is mainly due to 500 years of mercury mining in this region. In order to understand the cycling of mercury in the Idrijca ecosystem it is crucial to investigate the role of biota. This study is part of an ongoing investigation of mercury biogeochemistry in the river Idrijca, focusing on the accumulation and speciation of mercury in the lower levels of the food chain, namely filamentous algae, periphyton and macroinvertebrates. Mercury analysis and speciation in the biota and in water were performed during the spring, summer and autumn seasons at four locations on the river, representing different degrees of mercury contamination. Total (THg) and methyl mercury (MeHg) were measured. The results showed that the highest THg concentrations in biota correlate well with THg levels in sediments and water. The level of MeHg is spatially and seasonally variable, showing higher values at the most contaminated sites during the summer and autumn periods. The percentage of Hg as MeHg increases with the trophic level from water (0.1-0.8%), algae (0.5-1.3%), periphyton (1.6-8.8%) to macroinvertebrates (0.1-100%), which indicates active transformation, accumulation and magnification of mercury in the benthic organism of this heavily contaminated torrential river.

  15. How Does Grasping the Underlying Causal Structures of Ecosystems Impact Students' Understanding?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grotzer, Tina A.; Basca, Belinda Bell

    2003-01-01

    Students have difficulty understanding ecosystem concepts. This article argues that the difficulty stems partly from not grasping the underlying causality that structures the concepts. We report on an intervention study designed to teach eight- and nine-year-olds to reason about domino, cyclic, and mutual causality by infusing causally focused…

  16. EFFECTS OF VALLISNERIA AMERICANA (L.) ON COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION IN LAKE MESOCOSMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Submerged aquatic vegetation is known as a key structural component and regulator in ecosystems. In this mesocosm study, we examine community- and system-level responses to the presence of Valisneria americana (L), a deep-rooted macrophyte, Phytoplankton, bacteria and filamentous...

  17. Management intensity at field and landscape levels affects the structure of generalist predator communities.

    PubMed

    Rusch, Adrien; Birkhofer, Klaus; Bommarco, Riccardo; Smith, Henrik G; Ekbom, Barbara

    2014-07-01

    Agricultural intensification is recognised as a major driver of biodiversity loss in human-modified landscapes. Several agro-environmental measures at different spatial scales have been suggested to mitigate the negative impact of intensification on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The effect of these measures on the functional structure of service-providing communities remains, however, largely unexplored. Using two distinct landscape designs, we examined how the management options of organic farming at the field scale and crop diversification at the landscape level affect the taxonomic and functional structure of generalist predator communities and how these effects vary along a landscape complexity gradient. Organic farming as well as landscapes with longer and more diversified crop rotations enhanced the activity-density of spiders and rove beetles, but not the species richness or evenness. Our results indicate that the two management options affected the functional composition of communities, as they primarily enhanced the activity-density of functionally similar species. The two management options increased the functional similarity between spider species in regards to hunting mode and habitat preference. Organic farming enhanced the functional similarity of rove beetles. Management options at field and landscape levels were generally more important predictors of community structure when compared to landscape complexity. Our study highlights the importance of considering the functional composition of generalist predators in order to understand how agro-environmental measures at various scales shape community assemblages and ecosystem functioning in agricultural landscapes. PMID:24810324

  18. Managed island ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McEachern, Kathryn; Atwater, Tanya; Collins, Paul W.; Faulkner, Kate R.; Richards, Daniel V.

    2016-01-01

    This long-anticipated reference and sourcebook for California’s remarkable ecological abundance provides an integrated assessment of each major ecosystem type—its distribution, structure, function, and management. A comprehensive synthesis of our knowledge about this biologically diverse state, Ecosystems of California covers the state from oceans to mountaintops using multiple lenses: past and present, flora and fauna, aquatic and terrestrial, natural and managed. Each chapter evaluates natural processes for a specific ecosystem, describes drivers of change, and discusses how that ecosystem may be altered in the future. This book also explores the drivers of California’s ecological patterns and the history of the state’s various ecosystems, outlining how the challenges of climate change and invasive species and opportunities for regulation and stewardship could potentially affect the state’s ecosystems. The text explicitly incorporates both human impacts and conservation and restoration efforts and shows how ecosystems support human well-being. Edited by two esteemed ecosystem ecologists and with overviews by leading experts on each ecosystem, this definitive work will be indispensable for natural resource management and conservation professionals as well as for undergraduate or graduate students of California’s environment and curious naturalists.

  19. Characterizing Zinc Speciation in Soils from a Smelter-Affected Boreal Forest Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Jordan G; Farrell, Richard E; Chen, Ning; Feng, Renfei; Reid, Joel; Peak, Derek

    2016-03-01

    HudBay Minerals, Inc., has mined and/or processed Zn and Cu ore in Flin Flon, MB, Canada, since the 1930s. The boreal forest ecosystem and soil surrounding these facilities have been severely impacted by mixed metal contamination and HSO deposition. Zinc is one of the most prevalent smelter-derived contaminants and has been identified as a key factor that may be limiting revegetation. Metal toxicity is related to both total concentrations and speciation; therefore, X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence mapping were used to characterize Zn speciation in soils throughout the most heavily contaminated areas of the landscape. Zinc speciation was linked to two distinct soil types. Group I soils consist of exposed soils in weathered positions of bedrock outcrops with Zn present primarily as franklinite, a (ZnFeO) spinel mineral. Group II soils are stabilized by an invasive metal-tolerant grass species, with Zn found as a mixture of octahedral (Fe oxides) and tetrahedral Mn oxides) adsorption complexes with a franklinite component. Soil erosion influences Zn speciation through the redistribution of Zn and soil particulates from Group I landscape positions to Group II soils. Despite Group II soils having the highest concentrations of CaCl-extractable Zn, they support metal-tolerant plant growth. The metal-tolerant plants are probably preferentially colonizing these areas due to better soil and nutrient conditions as a result of soil deposition from upslope Group I areas. Zinc concentration and speciation appears to not influence the colonization by metal-tolerant grasses, but the overall soil properties and erosion effects prevent the revegetation by native boreal forest species. PMID:27065416

  20. Climate change and Southern Ocean ecosystems I: how changes in physical habitats directly affect marine biota.

    PubMed

    Constable, Andrew J; Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica; Corney, Stuart P; Arrigo, Kevin R; Barbraud, Christophe; Barnes, David K A; Bindoff, Nathaniel L; Boyd, Philip W; Brandt, Angelika; Costa, Daniel P; Davidson, Andrew T; Ducklow, Hugh W; Emmerson, Louise; Fukuchi, Mitsuo; Gutt, Julian; Hindell, Mark A; Hofmann, Eileen E; Hosie, Graham W; Iida, Takahiro; Jacob, Sarah; Johnston, Nadine M; Kawaguchi, So; Kokubun, Nobuo; Koubbi, Philippe; Lea, Mary-Anne; Makhado, Azwianewi; Massom, Rob A; Meiners, Klaus; Meredith, Michael P; Murphy, Eugene J; Nicol, Stephen; Reid, Keith; Richerson, Kate; Riddle, Martin J; Rintoul, Stephen R; Smith, Walker O; Southwell, Colin; Stark, Jonathon S; Sumner, Michael; Swadling, Kerrie M; Takahashi, Kunio T; Trathan, Phil N; Welsford, Dirk C; Weimerskirch, Henri; Westwood, Karen J; Wienecke, Barbara C; Wolf-Gladrow, Dieter; Wright, Simon W; Xavier, Jose C; Ziegler, Philippe

    2014-10-01

    Antarctic and Southern Ocean (ASO) marine ecosystems have been changing for at least the last 30 years, including in response to increasing ocean temperatures and changes in the extent and seasonality of sea ice; the magnitude and direction of these changes differ between regions around Antarctica that could see populations of the same species changing differently in different regions. This article reviews current and expected changes in ASO physical habitats in response to climate change. It then reviews how these changes may impact the autecology of marine biota of this polar region: microbes, zooplankton, salps, Antarctic krill, fish, cephalopods, marine mammals, seabirds, and benthos. The general prognosis for ASO marine habitats is for an overall warming and freshening, strengthening of westerly winds, with a potential pole-ward movement of those winds and the frontal systems, and an increase in ocean eddy activity. Many habitat parameters will have regionally specific changes, particularly relating to sea ice characteristics and seasonal dynamics. Lower trophic levels are expected to move south as the ocean conditions in which they are currently found move pole-ward. For Antarctic krill and finfish, the latitudinal breadth of their range will depend on their tolerance of warming oceans and changes to productivity. Ocean acidification is a concern not only for calcifying organisms but also for crustaceans such as Antarctic krill; it is also likely to be the most important change in benthic habitats over the coming century. For marine mammals and birds, the expected changes primarily relate to their flexibility in moving to alternative locations for food and the energetic cost of longer or more complex foraging trips for those that are bound to breeding colonies. Few species are sufficiently well studied to make comprehensive species-specific vulnerability assessments possible. Priorities for future work are discussed.

  1. Soil bacterial community structure responses to precipitation reduction and forest management in forest ecosystems across Germany.

    PubMed

    Felsmann, Katja; Baudis, Mathias; Gimbel, Katharina; Kayler, Zachary E; Ellerbrock, Ruth; Bruelheide, Helge; Bruehlheide, Helge; Bruckhoff, Johannes; Welk, Erik; Puhlmann, Heike; Weiler, Markus; Gessler, Arthur; Ulrich, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Soil microbial communities play an important role in forest ecosystem functioning, but how climate change will affect the community composition and consequently bacterial functions is poorly understood. We assessed the effects of reduced precipitation with the aim of simulating realistic future drought conditions for one growing season on the bacterial community and its relation to soil properties and forest management. We manipulated precipitation in beech and conifer forest plots managed at different levels of intensity in three different regions across Germany. The precipitation reduction decreased soil water content across the growing season by between 2 to 8% depending on plot and region. T-RFLP analysis and pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene were used to study the total soil bacterial community and its active members after six months of precipitation reduction. The effect of reduced precipitation on the total bacterial community structure was negligible while significant effects could be observed for the active bacteria. However, the effect was secondary to the stronger influence of specific soil characteristics across the three regions and management selection of overstorey tree species and their respective understorey vegetation. The impact of reduced precipitation differed between the studied plots; however, we could not determine the particular parameters being able to modify the response of the active bacterial community among plots. We conclude that the moderate drought induced by the precipitation manipulation treatment started to affect the active but not the total bacterial community, which points to an adequate resistance of the soil microbial system over one growing season. PMID:25875835

  2. Soil Bacterial Community Structure Responses to Precipitation Reduction and Forest Management in Forest Ecosystems across Germany

    PubMed Central

    Felsmann, Katja; Baudis, Mathias; Gimbel, Katharina; Kayler, Zachary E.; Ellerbrock, Ruth; Bruehlheide, Helge; Bruckhoff, Johannes; Welk, Erik; Puhlmann, Heike; Weiler, Markus; Gessler, Arthur; Ulrich, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Soil microbial communities play an important role in forest ecosystem functioning, but how climate change will affect the community composition and consequently bacterial functions is poorly understood. We assessed the effects of reduced precipitation with the aim of simulating realistic future drought conditions for one growing season on the bacterial community and its relation to soil properties and forest management. We manipulated precipitation in beech and conifer forest plots managed at different levels of intensity in three different regions across Germany. The precipitation reduction decreased soil water content across the growing season by between 2 to 8% depending on plot and region. T-RFLP analysis and pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene were used to study the total soil bacterial community and its active members after six months of precipitation reduction. The effect of reduced precipitation on the total bacterial community structure was negligible while significant effects could be observed for the active bacteria. However, the effect was secondary to the stronger influence of specific soil characteristics across the three regions and management selection of overstorey tree species and their respective understorey vegetation. The impact of reduced precipitation differed between the studied plots; however, we could not determine the particular parameters being able to modify the response of the active bacterial community among plots. We conclude that the moderate drought induced by the precipitation manipulation treatment started to affect the active but not the total bacterial community, which points to an adequate resistance of the soil microbial system over one growing season. PMID:25875835

  3. Changes in the ecosystem structure of the Black Sea under predicted climatological and anthropogenic variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akoglu, Ekin; Salihoglu, Baris; Fach Salihoglu, Bettina; Libralato, Simone; Cannaby, Heather; Oguz, Temel; Solidoro, Cosimo

    2014-05-01

    A dynamic Ecopath with Ecosim higher-trophic-level (HTL) model representation of the Black Sea ecosystem was coupled to the physical (BIMS-CIR) and biogeochemical (BIMS-ECO) models of the Black Sea in order to investigate historical anthropogenic and climatological interactions and feedbacks in the ecosystem. Further, the coupled models were used to assess the likely consequences of these interactions on the ecosystem's structure and functioning under predicted future climate (IPCC A1B) and fishing variability. Therefore, two model scenarios were used; i) a hindcast scenario (1980-1999) to evaluate and understand the impacts of the short-term climate and physical variability and the introduction of invasive species on the Black Sea ecosystem, and ii) a forecast scenario (2080-2099) to investigate the potential implications of climate change and anthropogenic exploitation on living resources of the Black Sea ecosystem by the end of the 21st century. According to the outcomes of the hindcast simulation, fisheries were found to be the main driver in determining the structure and functioning of the Black Sea ecosystem under changing environmental conditions. The coupled physical-biogeochemical forecast simulations predicted a slight but statistically significant basin-wide increase in the Black Sea's primary productivity by the end of the century due to increased stratification induced by basin-wide temperature increase and reduced Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL) formation which increased the residence time of riverine nutrients within the euphotic zone. Despite this increased primary productivity, the HTL model forecast simulation predicted a significant decrease in the commercial fish stocks primarily due to fisheries exploitation if current catch rates are maintained into the future. Results further suggested that some economically important small pelagic fish species are likely to disappear from the ecosystem making the recovery of the already-collapsed piscivorous

  4. Abrupt changes in deep-sea ecosystem structure and biodiversity during the last deglaciation and Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yasuhara, M.; Cronin, T. M.; Hunt, G.

    2008-12-01

    Recent research on deep-sea sediment cores suggests that the structure and diversity of deep-sea ecosystems exhibit greater instability over millennial and centennial timescales than previously realized. Centennial scale ecosystem shifts during the last deglaciation (Termination 1, 18-11.5 ka) and the Holocene (11.5 ka to recent) have been discovered using several well-dated deep-sea microfossil records. In the northwestern Atlantic ODP site 1055, weakening of North Atlantic Deep Water production around 10 ka appears to have caused the collapse of the deep-sea benthic ecosystem and reduced diversity at ca. 1800 meters water depth. During this and other Holocene events, diversity as measured by the Shannon Index was reduced by as much as 50%. Several lower resolution records also suggest rapid ecosystem change during Termination 1 in the central and northern North Atlantic region. For example, sites 82-24-4PC (mid-Atlantic Ridge) and M23414 (Rockall Plateau) reveal abrupt diversity shifts probably associated with bottom-water temperature and surface productivity changes. This presentation will assemble data on these and other fossil ostracod records from North Atlantic deep-sea sites to discuss possible causes of abrupt ecosystem changes and the application of Ostracoda to paleoceanography.

  5. Prospects of photon counting lidar for savanna ecosystem structural studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gwenzi, D.; Lefsky, M. A.

    2014-11-01

    Discrete return and waveform lidar have demonstrated a capability to measure vegetation height and the associated structural attributes such as aboveground biomass and carbon storage. Since discrete return lidar (DRL) is mainly suitable for small scale studies and the only existing spaceborne lidar sensor (ICESat-GLAS) has been decommissioned, the current question is what the future holds in terms of large scale lidar remote sensing studies. The earliest planned future spaceborne lidar mission is ICESat-2, which will use a photon counting technique. To pre-validate the capability of this mission for studying three dimensional vegetation structure in savannas, we assessed the potential of the measurement approach to estimate canopy height in a typical savanna landscape. We used data from the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL), an airborne photon counting lidar sensor developed by NASA Goddard. MABEL fires laser pulses in the green (532 nm) and near infrared (1064 nm) bands at a nominal repetition rate of 10 kHz and records the travel time of individual photons that are reflected back to the sensor. The photons' time of arrival and the instrument's GPS positions and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) orientation are used to calculate the distance the light travelled and hence the elevation of the surface below. A few transects flown over the Tejon ranch conservancy in Kern County, California, USA were used for this work. For each transect we extracted the data from one near infrared channel that had the highest number of photons. We segmented each transect into 50 m, 25 m and 10 m long blocks and aggregated the photons in each block into a histogram based on their elevation values. We then used an expansion window algorithm to identify cut off points where the cumulative density of photons from the highest elevation resembles the canopy top and likewise where such cumulative density from the lowest elevation resembles mean ground elevation. These cut off

  6. 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

  7. African dust carries microbes across the ocean: are they affecting human and ecosystem health?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, Christina A.; Griffin, Dale W.

    2003-01-01

    Atmospheric transport of dust from northwest Africa to the western Atlantic Ocean region may be responsible for a number of environmental hazards, including the demise of Caribbean corals; red tides; amphibian diseases; increased occurrence of asthma in humans; and oxygen depletion (eutrophication) in estuaries. Studies of satellite images suggest that hundreds of millions of tons of dust are trans-ported annually at relatively low altitudes across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and southeastern United States. The dust emanates from the expanding Sahara/Sahel desert region in Africa and carries a wide variety of bacteria and fungi. The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center, is conducting a study to identify microbes--bacteria, fungi, viruses--transported across the Atlantic in African soil dust. Each year, millions of tons of desert dust blow off the west African coast and ride the trade winds across the ocean, affecting the entire Caribbean basin, as well as the southeastern United States. Of the dust reaching the U.S., Florida receives about 50 percent, while the rest may range as far north as Maine or as far west as Colorado. The dust storms can be tracked by satellite and take about one week to cross the Atlantic.

  8. Structure and Affect: The Influence of Social Structure on Affective Meaning in American Kinship

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Malone, Martin J.

    2004-01-01

    Structural variables differentiating kinship identities, such as sex, generation, and type of relationship (lineal, collateral, conjugal), are reflected in sentiments about family identities. In particular, componential variations in kinship terms predict Evaluation, Potency, and Activity ratings of the terms fairly accurately. Between 44 and 92…

  9. Bacterial structures and ecosystem functions in glaciated floodplains: contemporary states and potential future shifts.

    PubMed

    Freimann, Remo; Bürgmann, Helmut; Findlay, Stuart E G; Robinson, Christopher T

    2013-12-01

    Glaciated alpine floodplains are responding quickly to climate change through shrinking ice masses. Given the expected future changes in their physicochemical environment, we anticipated variable shifts in structure and ecosystem functioning of hyporheic microbial communities in proglacial alpine streams, depending on present community characteristics and landscape structures. We examined microbial structure and functioning during different hydrologic periods in glacial (kryal) streams and, as contrasting systems, groundwater-fed (krenal) streams. Three catchments were chosen to cover an array of landscape features, including interconnected lakes, differences in local geology and degree of deglaciation. Community structure was assessed by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis and microbial function by potential enzyme activities. We found each catchment to contain a distinct bacterial community structure and different degrees of separation in structure and functioning that were linked to the physicochemical properties of the waters within each catchment. Bacterial communities showed high functional plasticity, although achieved by different strategies in each system. Typical kryal communities showed a strong linkage of structure and function that indicated a major prevalence of specialists, whereas krenal sediments were dominated by generalists. With the rapid retreat of glaciers and therefore altered ecohydrological characteristics, lotic microbial structure and functioning are likely to change substantially in proglacial floodplains in the future. The trajectory of these changes will vary depending on contemporary bacterial community characteristics and landscape structures that ultimately determine the sustainability of ecosystem functioning.

  10. 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

  11. Benthic Trophic Interactions in an Antarctic Shallow Water Ecosystem Affected by Recent Glacier Retreat.

    PubMed

    Pasotti, Francesca; Saravia, Leonardo Ariel; De Troch, Marleen; Tarantelli, Maria Soledad; Sahade, Ricardo; Vanreusel, Ann

    2015-01-01

    The western Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing strong environmental changes as a consequence of ongoing regional warming. Glaciers in the area are retreating rapidly and increased sediment-laden meltwater runoff threatens the benthic biodiversity at shallow depths. We identified three sites with a distinct glacier-retreat related history and different levels of glacial influence in the inner part of Potter Cove (King George Island, South Shetland Islands), a fjord-like embayment impacted since the 1950s by a tidewater glacier retreat. We compared the soft sediment meio- and macrofauna isotopic niche widths (δ13C and δ15N stable isotope analysis) at the three sites to investigate possible glacier retreat-related influences on benthic trophic interactions. The isotopic niches were locally shaped by the different degrees of glacier retreat-related disturbance within the Cove. Wider isotopic niche widths were found at the site that has become ice-free most recently, and narrower niches at the older ice-free sites. At an intermediate state of glacier retreat-related disturbance (e.g. via ice-growler scouring) species with different strategies could settle. The site at the earliest stage of post-retreat development was characterized by an assemblage with lower trophic redundancy. Generally, the isotopic niche widths increased with increasing size spectra of organisms within the community, excepting the youngest assemblage, where the pioneer colonizer meiofauna size class displayed the highest isotopic niche width. Meiofauna at all sites generally occupied positions in the isotopic space that suggested a detrital-pool food source and/or the presence of predatory taxa. In general ice scour and glacial impact appeared to play a two-fold role within the Cove: i) either stimulating trophic diversity by allowing continuous re-colonization of meiofaunal species or, ii) over time driving the benthic assemblages into a more compact trophic structure with increased

  12. Benthic Trophic Interactions in an Antarctic Shallow Water Ecosystem Affected by Recent Glacier Retreat

    PubMed Central

    Pasotti, Francesca; Saravia, Leonardo Ariel; De Troch, Marleen; Tarantelli, Maria Soledad; Sahade, Ricardo; Vanreusel, Ann

    2015-01-01

    The western Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing strong environmental changes as a consequence of ongoing regional warming. Glaciers in the area are retreating rapidly and increased sediment-laden meltwater runoff threatens the benthic biodiversity at shallow depths. We identified three sites with a distinct glacier-retreat related history and different levels of glacial influence in the inner part of Potter Cove (King George Island, South Shetland Islands), a fjord-like embayment impacted since the 1950s by a tidewater glacier retreat. We compared the soft sediment meio- and macrofauna isotopic niche widths (δ13C and δ15N stable isotope analysis) at the three sites to investigate possible glacier retreat-related influences on benthic trophic interactions. The isotopic niches were locally shaped by the different degrees of glacier retreat-related disturbance within the Cove. Wider isotopic niche widths were found at the site that has become ice-free most recently, and narrower niches at the older ice-free sites. At an intermediate state of glacier retreat-related disturbance (e.g. via ice-growler scouring) species with different strategies could settle. The site at the earliest stage of post-retreat development was characterized by an assemblage with lower trophic redundancy. Generally, the isotopic niche widths increased with increasing size spectra of organisms within the community, excepting the youngest assemblage, where the pioneer colonizer meiofauna size class displayed the highest isotopic niche width. Meiofauna at all sites generally occupied positions in the isotopic space that suggested a detrital-pool food source and/or the presence of predatory taxa. In general ice scour and glacial impact appeared to play a two-fold role within the Cove: i) either stimulating trophic diversity by allowing continuous re-colonization of meiofaunal species or, ii) over time driving the benthic assemblages into a more compact trophic structure with increased

  13. Structural equation modelling reveals plant-community drivers of carbon storage in boreal forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Jonsson, Micael; Wardle, David A

    2010-02-23

    Boreal forest ecosystems are important drivers of the global carbon (C) cycle by acting as both sinks and sources of atmospheric CO(2). While several factors have been proposed as determining the ability of boreal forest to function as C sinks, little is known about their relative importance. In this study, we applied structural equation modelling to a previously published dataset involving 30 boreal-forested islands that vary greatly in their historic fire regime, in order to explore the simultaneous influence of several factors believed to be important in influencing above-ground, below-ground and total ecosystem C accumulation. We found that wildfire was a major driver of ecosystem C sequestration, and exerted direct effects on below-ground C storage (presumably through humus combustion) and indirect effects on both above-ground and below-ground C storage through altering plant-community composition. By contrast, plant diversity influenced only below-ground C storage (and even then only weakly), while net primary productivity and decomposition had no detectable effect. Our results suggest that while boreal forests have great potential for storing significant amounts of C, traits of dominant plant species that promote below-ground C accumulation and the absence of wildfire are the most important drivers of C sequestration in these ecosystems. PMID:19755530

  14. Long-distance interactions regulate the structure and resilience of coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    van de Koppel, Johan; van der Heide, Tjisse; Altieri, Andrew H; Eriksson, Britas Klemens; Bouma, Tjeerd J; Olff, Han; Silliman, Brian R

    2015-01-01

    Mounting evidence indicates that spatial interactions are important in structuring coastal ecosystems. Until recently, however, most of this work has been focused on seemingly exceptional systems that are characterized by regular, self-organized patterns. In this review, we document that interactions that operate at long distances, beyond the direct neighborhood of individual organisms, are more common and have much more far-reaching implications for coastal ecosystems than was previously realized. We review studies from a variety of ecosystem types-including cobble beaches, mussel beds, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests-that reveal a startling interplay of positive and negative interactions between habitats across distances of up to a kilometer. In addition to classical feeding relations, alterations of physical conditions constitute an important part of these long-distance interactions. This entanglement of habitats has crucial implications for how humans manage coastal ecosystems, and evaluations of anthropogenic impact should explicitly address long-distance and system-wide effects before we deem these human activities to be causing little harm.

  15. Lake Michigan offshore ecosystem structure and food web changes from 1987 to 2008

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Mark W.; Bunnell, David B.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Warner, David M.

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems undergo dynamic changes owing to species invasions, fisheries management decisions, landscape modifications, and nutrient inputs. At Lake Michigan, new invaders (e.g., dreissenid mussels (Dreissena spp.), spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus), round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)) have proliferated and altered energy transfer pathways, while nutrient concentrations and stocking rates to support fisheries have changed. We developed an ecosystem model to describe food web structure in 1987 and ran simulations through 2008 to evaluate changes in biomass of functional groups, predator consumption, and effects of recently invading species. Keystone functional groups from 1987 were identified as Mysis, burbot (Lota lota), phytoplankton, alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), nonpredatory cladocerans, and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Simulations predicted biomass reductions across all trophic levels and predicted biomasses fit observed trends for most functional groups. The effects of invasive species (e.g., dreissenid grazing) increased across simulation years, but were difficult to disentangle from other changes (e.g., declining offshore nutrient concentrations). In total, our model effectively represented recent changes to the Lake Michigan ecosystem and provides an ecosystem-based tool for exploring future resource management scenarios.

  16. Ecosystem Structure Changes in the Turkish Seas as a Response to Overfishing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gazihan Akoglu, Ayse; Salihoglu, Baris; Akoglu, Ekin; Kideys, Ahmet E.

    2013-04-01

    Human population in Turkey has grown more than five-fold since its establishment in 1923 and more than 73 million people are currently living in the country. Turkey is surrounded by partially connected seas (the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea) each of which has significantly different productivity levels and ecosystem characteristics. Increasing human population with its growing socio-economic needs has generated an intensive fishing pressure on the fish stocks in its exclusive economic zone. Fishing grounds in the surrounding seas were exploited with different fishing intensities depending upon their productivity level and catch rates. Hence, the responses of these different ecosystems to overfishing have been realized differently. In this study, changes of the ecosystem structures in the Turkish Seas were comparatively investigated by ecosystem indices such as Marine Trophic Index (MTI), Fishing in Balance (FiB) and Primary Production Required (PPR) to assess the degree of sustainability of the fish stocks for future generations.

  17. A Screening-Level Approach for Comparing Risks Affecting Aquatic Ecosystem Services over Socio-Environmental Gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harmon, T. C.; Conde, D.; Villamizar, S. R.; Reid, B.; Escobar, J.; Rusak, J.; Hoyos, N.; Scordo, F.; Perillo, G. M.; Piccolo, M. C.; Zilio, M.; Velez, M.

    2015-12-01

    Assessing risks to aquatic ecosystems services (ES) is challenging and time-consuming, and effective strategies for prioritizing more detailed assessment efforts are needed. We propose a screening-level risk analysis (SRA) approach that scales ES risk using socioeconomic and environmental indices to capture anthropic and climatic pressures, as well as the capacity for institutional responses to those pressures. The method considers ES within a watershed context, and uses expert input to prioritize key services and the associated pressures that threaten them. The SRA approach focuses on estimating ES risk affect factors, which are the sum of the intensity factors for all hazards or pressures affecting the ES. We estimate the pressure intensity factors in a novel manner, basing them on the nation's (i) human development (proxied by Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, IHDI), (ii) environmental regulatory and monitoring state (Environmental Performance Index, EPI) and (iii) the current level of water stress in the watershed (baseline water stress, BWS). Anthropic intensity factors for future conditions are derived from the baseline values based on the nation's 10-year trend in IHDI and EPI; ES risks in nations with stronger records of change are rewarded more/penalized less in estimates for good/poor future management scenarios. Future climatic intensity factors are tied to water stress estimates based on two general circulation model (GCM) outcomes. We demonstrate the method for an international array of six sites representing a wide range of socio-environmental settings. The outcomes illustrate novel consequences of the scaling scheme. Risk affect factors may be greater in a highly developed region under intense climatic pressure, or in less well-developed regions due to human factors (e.g., poor environmental records). As a screening-level tool, the SRA approach offers considerable promise for ES risk comparisons among watersheds and regions so that

  18. Lasers on the Landscape: Quantifying 3-D ecosystem structure to map continuous surfaces of carbon, avian species richness, and tree species distributions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vierling, L. A.; Finch, S.; Vierling, K. T.; Strand, E. K.; Hudak, A. T.; Vogeler, J.; Martinuzzi, S.; Eitel, J.; Falkowski, M. J.

    2012-12-01

    Quantifying ecosystem services and species diversity at multiple spatial scales is central to the sustainable management of global natural resources. Many attempts to quantify ecosystem services and species diversity have focused on single services or taxonomic groups, used proxy relationships rather than primary data, and/or failed to adequately assess broad spatial extents with a grain size fine enough to link with individual human decisions and local knowledge. It is thus important to establish objective, repeatable monitoring tools from the parcel to the landscape scale to meet management and policy needs, and to assist with targeting areas for conservation where high collective ecosystem service values (i.e. "hotspots") occur. To meet this need, we combined detailed field observations with LiDAR-derived ecosystem structural variables and statistical modeling techniques to map continuous surfaces of aboveground carbon, bird species richness, and tree diversity across a ~20,000 ha north Idaho case study landscape. Plot-level values of carbon (range: 0-584 Mg/ha), bird species richness (range: 0-23 species/0.04 ha), and tree species variety (range: 0-6 species/0.04 ha) were extrapolated across the landscape using imputation enabled by LiDAR-based relationships. Each quantity was then transformed to normalized values ranging from 0 to 1 to enable the three quantities to be combined for hotspot identification. We found that the scale of analysis strongly affected the magnitude of hotspots containing high carbon and biodiversity values: the maximum hotspot value decreased by 32% when grain size was increased from 100m to 1500m. In addition, we found that preferentially weighting one ecosystem property relative to the others (a situation common to many management scenarios) changed the location and magnitude of hotspots across the landscape. Our results indicate that LiDAR-derived ecosystem structure provides information that is useful for mapping numerous ecosystem

  19. Macroalgal blooms alter community structure and primary productivity in marine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lyons, Devin A; Arvanitidis, Christos; Blight, Andrew J; Chatzinikolaou, Eva; Guy-Haim, Tamar; Kotta, Jonne; Orav-Kotta, Helen; Queirós, Ana M; Rilov, Gil; Somerfield, Paul J; Crowe, Tasman P

    2014-09-01

    Eutrophication, coupled with loss of herbivory due to habitat degradation and overharvesting, has increased the frequency and severity of macroalgal blooms worldwide. Macroalgal blooms interfere with human activities in coastal areas, and sometimes necessitate costly algal removal programmes. They also have many detrimental effects on marine and estuarine ecosystems, including induction of hypoxia, release of toxic hydrogen sulphide into the sediments and atmosphere, and the loss of ecologically and economically important species. However, macroalgal blooms can also increase habitat complexity, provide organisms with food and shelter, and reduce other problems associated with eutrophication. These contrasting effects make their overall ecological impacts unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the overall effects of macroalgal blooms on several key measures of ecosystem structure and functioning in marine ecosystems. We also evaluated some of the ecological and methodological factors that might explain the highly variable effects observed in different studies. Averaged across all studies, macroalgal blooms had negative effects on the abundance and species richness of marine organisms, but blooms by different algal taxa had different consequences, ranging from strong negative to strong positive effects. Blooms' effects on species richness also depended on the habitat where they occurred, with the strongest negative effects seen in sandy or muddy subtidal habitats and in the rocky intertidal. Invertebrate communities also appeared to be particularly sensitive to blooms, suffering reductions in their abundance, species richness, and diversity. The total net primary productivity, gross primary productivity, and respiration of benthic ecosystems were higher during macroalgal blooms, but blooms had negative effects on the productivity and respiration of other organisms. These results suggest that, in addition to their direct social and

  20. Faunal impact on vegetation structure and ecosystem function in mangrove forests: A review

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cannicci, Stefano; Burrows, Damien; Fratini, Sara; Smith, Thomas J.; Offenberg, Joachim; Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid

    2008-01-01

    The last 20 years witnessed a real paradigm shift concerning the impact of biotic factors on ecosystem functions as well as on vegetation structure of mangrove forests. Before this small scientific revolution took place, structural aspects of mangrove forests were viewed to be the result of abiotic processes acting from the bottom-up, while, at ecosystem level, the outwelling hypothesis stated that mangroves primary production was removed via tidal action and carried to adjacent nearshore ecosystems where it fuelled detrital based food-webs. The sesarmid crabs were the first macrofaunal taxon to be considered a main actor in mangrove structuring processes, thanks to a number of studies carried out in the Indo-Pacific forests in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Following these classical papers, a number of studies on Sesarmidae feeding and burrowing ecology were carried out, which leave no doubts about the great importance of these herbivorous crabs in structuring and functioning Old world ecosystems. Although Sesarmidae are still considered very important in shaping mangrove structure and functioning, recent literature emphasizes the significance of other invertebrates. The Ocypodidae have now been shown to have the same role as Sesarmidae in terms of retention of forest products and organic matter processing in New world mangroves. In both New and Old world mangroves, crabs process large amounts of algal primary production, contribute consistently to retention of mangrove production and as ecosystem engineers, change particle size distribution and enhance soil aeration. Our understanding of the strong impact of gastropods, by means of high intake rates of mangrove products and differential consumption of propagules, has changed only recently. The role of insects must also be stressed. It is now clear that older techniques used to assess herbivory rates by insects strongly underestimate their impact, both in case of leaf eating and wood boring species and that

  1. An extreme climatic event alters marine ecosystem structure in a global biodiversity hotspot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wernberg, Thomas; Smale, Dan A.; Tuya, Fernando; Thomsen, Mads S.; Langlois, Timothy J.; de Bettignies, Thibaut; Bennett, Scott; Rousseaux, Cecile S.

    2013-01-01

    Extreme climatic events, such as heat waves, are predicted to increase in frequency and magnitude as a consequence of global warming but their ecological effects are poorly understood, particularly in marine ecosystems. In early 2011, the marine ecosystems along the west coast of Australia--a global hotspot of biodiversity and endemism--experienced the highest-magnitude warming event on record. Sea temperatures soared to unprecedented levels and warming anomalies of 2-4°C persisted for more than ten weeks along >2,000km of coastline. We show that biodiversity patterns of temperate seaweeds, sessile invertebrates and demersal fish were significantly different after the warming event, which led to a reduction in the abundance of habitat-forming seaweeds and a subsequent shift in community structure towards a depauperate state and a tropicalization of fish communities. We conclude that extreme climatic events are key drivers of biodiversity patterns and that the frequency and intensity of such episodes have major implications for predictive models of species distribution and ecosystem structure, which are largely based on gradual warming trends.

  2. Fishery-Induced Changes in the Subtropical Pacific Pelagic Ecosystem Size Structure: Observations and Theory

    PubMed Central

    Polovina, Jeffrey J.; Woodworth-Jefcoats, Phoebe A.

    2013-01-01

    We analyzed a 16-year (1996–2011) time series of catch and effort data for 23 species with mean weights ranging from 0.8 kg to 224 kg, recorded by observers in the Hawaii-based deep-set longline fishery. Over this time period, domestic fishing effort, as numbers of hooks set in the core Hawaii-based fishing ground, has increased fourfold. The standardized aggregated annual catch rate for 9 small (<15 kg) species increased about 25% while for 14 large species (>15 kg) it decreased about 50% over the 16-year period. A size-based ecosystem model for the subtropical Pacific captures this pattern well as a response to increased fishing effort. Further, the model projects a decline in the abundance of fishes larger than 15 kg results in an increase in abundance of animals from 0.1 to 15 kg but with minimal subsequent cascade to sizes smaller than 0.1 kg. These results suggest that size-based predation plays a key role in structuring the subtropical ecosystem. These changes in ecosystem size structure show up in the fishery in various ways. The non-commercial species lancetfish (mean weight 7 kg) has now surpassed the target species, bigeye tuna, as the species with the highest annual catch rate. Based on the increase in snake mackerel (mean weight 0.8 kg) and lancetfish catches, the discards in the fishery are estimated to have increased from 30 to 40% of the total catch. PMID:23620824

  3. Feedbacks between structures and processes during initial ecosystem development in an artificial catchment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaaf, Wolfgang; Elemer, Michael; Gerwin, Werner; Fischer, Anton; Zaplata, Markus; Neneov, Rossen

    2013-04-01

    We studied the role of strutures and processes and their feedbacks during initial ecosystem development in the artificial catchment Chicken Creek. During the first seven years, considerable changes within the catchment were observed. Both internal and external factors could be identified as driving forces for the formation of structures and patterns in the artificial catchment. Initial structures formed by the construction process and initial substrate characteristics were decisive for the distribution and flow of water. External factors like episodic events triggered erosion and dissection during this initial phase, promoted by the low vegetation cover and the unconsolidated sandy substrate. The transformation of the initial geo-system into areas with evolving terrestrial or aquatic characteristics and from a very episodic to a more permanent stream network and discharge, together with the observed vegetation dynamics increased site diversity and heterogeneity with respect to water and nutrient availability and transformation processes compared to the more homogenous conditions at point zero. The processes and feedback mechanisms in the initial development of a new landscape may deviate in rates, intensity and dominance from those known from mature ecosystems. It is therefore crucial to understand these early phases of ecosystem development and to disentangle the increasingly complex interactions between the evolving terrestrial and aquatic, biotic and abiotic compartments of the system. Artificially created catchments could be a suitable tool to study these initial developments at the landscape scale under known, designed and defined boundary conditions.

  4. Anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity: a network structure and ecosystem functioning perspective

    PubMed Central

    Morris, Rebecca J.

    2010-01-01

    Huge areas of diverse tropical forest are lost or degraded every year with dramatic consequences for biodiversity. Deforestation and fragmentation, over-exploitation, invasive species and climate change are the main drivers of tropical forest biodiversity loss. Most studies investigating these threats have focused on changes in species richness or species diversity. However, if we are to understand the absolute and long-term effects of anthropogenic impacts on tropical forests, we should also consider the interactions between species, how those species are organized in networks, and the function that those species perform. I discuss our current knowledge of network structure and ecosystem functioning, highlighting empirical examples of their response to anthropogenic impacts. I consider the future prospects for tropical forest biodiversity, focusing on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in secondary forest. Finally, I propose directions for future research to help us better understand the effects of anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity. PMID:20980318

  5. The Ecohydrological Consequences of Woody Plant Encroachment: How Accessibility to Deep Soil Water Resources Affects Ecosystem Carbon and Water Exchange

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, R. L.; Huxman, T. E.; Barron-Gafford, G.; Jenerette, D.; Young, J. M.

    2013-12-01

    Woody plant encroachment into grassland systems, a process that has increased rapidly over the last century, has potentially broad ecohydrological consequences by affecting the way ecosystems use water and cycle carbon. This study examines the influence of precipitation- and groundwater-derived water availability by comparing eddy covariance measurements of water vapor and carbon dioxide fluxes over a riparian grassland, shrubland, and woodland, and an upland grassland site in southeastern Arizona USA. Compared to the upland grassland, the riparian sites exhibited greater net carbon uptake (NEP) and higher evapotranspiration (ET) across a longer portion of the year. Among the riparian sites, however, the grassland was less able to take advantage of the stable groundwater supply. Increasing woody plant density facilitated greater water and carbon exchange that became increasingly decoupled from incident precipitation (P). How groundwater accessibility affected NEP was more complex than ET. Respiration (Reco) costs were higher for the riparian grassland so, while it had a similar ET and gross carbon uptake (GEP) to the shrubland, its NEP was substantially less. Also, riparian grassland fluxes were much more variable due to flooding that occurred at the site, which could stimulate or inhibit NEP. Woodland NEP was largest but surprisingly similar to the less mature and dense shrubland even while having much greater GEP. Woodland NEP responded negatively to P, due to the stimulation of Reco likely due to greater amounts of aboveground and soil carbon. With many areas of the world experiencing woody plants encroachment, encroachment into areas where there are additional deep soil water sources, such as in riparian settings or in areas of deep soil moisture recharge, will likely increase carbon sequestration but at the expense of higher water use.

  6. Ice cream structural elements that affect melting rate and hardness.

    PubMed

    Muse, M R; Hartel, R W

    2004-01-01

    Statistical models were developed to reveal which structural elements of ice cream affect melting rate and hardness. Ice creams were frozen in a batch freezer with three types of sweetener, three levels of the emulsifier polysorbate 80, and two different draw temperatures to produce ice creams with a range of microstructures. Ice cream mixes were analyzed for viscosity, and finished ice creams were analyzed for air cell and ice crystal size, overrun, and fat destabilization. The ice phase volume of each ice cream were calculated based on the freezing point of the mix. Melting rate and hardness of each hardened ice cream was measured and correlated with the structural attributes by using analysis of variance and multiple linear regression. Fat destabilization, ice crystal size, and the consistency coefficient of the mix were found to affect the melting rate of ice cream, whereas hardness was influenced by ice phase volume, ice crystal size, overrun, fat destabilization, and the rheological properties of the mix.

  7. Decade time scale plot to landscape scale change in tundra ecosystem structure and function near Barrow, AK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, D. H.; Johnson, D. R.; Lara, M. J.; Villarreal, S.; Hollister, R. D.; Webber, P. J.; Tweedie, C. E.

    2012-12-01

    Several models suggest shifts in tundra ecosystem structure and function are likely to affect the future state of the Arctic system and how these shifts may impact the global system. Validation of such predictions remains a challenge, however, due to the lack of sustained environmental observations throughout much of the Arctic. In the absence of sustained monitoring, relocating, rescuing, and retrospectively resampling historic research sites and datasets has proven to be an effective means to establish likely change scenarios and develop hypotheses of future change trajectories. This study, synthesizes several recently published works that have used this retrospective approach to explore plot to landscape change in tundra ecosystem structure and function near Barrow, Alaska over the past half Century. This study is a contribution to the International Polar Year 'Back to the Future' project IPY-BTF, IPY # 512). At the landscape level, analysis of land cover change of time series high spatial resolution aerial and satellite imagery spanning 1948-2008 show an overall increase in the extent of dry and moist land cover and open water, and a decrease in the extent of wet and aquatic, land cover types. The 'drying' trend noted for the coastal landscape of Barrow is similar to that noted for four other Alaskan tundra landscapes but in the same study, the Barrow landscape also showed the most dramatic change in wet and aquatic land cover types. Plot level studies of sites, established in 1972 during the International Biological Program, that have been resampled three times show that species richness and diversity has increased and that wet plant communities have changed more than dry plant communities. An analysis of ecosystem function coupled to this plot level study suggests the greatest functional change has occurred in aquatic and wet plant communities where methane efflux and net ecosystem production (NEP) has increased and albedo and the normalized difference

  8. Ecosystem modeling of coastal acidification and hypoxia and structural uncertainties in the representation of sediment-water exchanges

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerical ecosystem models of coastal acidification (CA) and hypoxia have been developed to synthesize current scientific understanding and provide predictions for nutrient management and policy. However, there is not a scientific consensus about the structure of these models an...

  9. Interactions between surface structures, runoff and erosion in an artificial watershed during the initial ecosystem development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gerwin, W.; Raab, T.; Dimitrov, M.

    2009-04-01

    In its initial phase an ecosystem can be characterized as a Geo-(Hydro-)System since biotic compartments are still missing to a large extent. In this very first stage of the ecosystem development the hydrological processes forming the first surface structures are mainly controlled by runoff patterns and by the physical properties of the surface and the substrate. Based on that, it can be hypothesized that the initially formed structures are responsible for the future development of the ecosystem and define later structures. However, initial structures are very dynamic, and few alterations of surface properties may initiate the development of completely new patches and patterns which again control surface processes like erosion and sedimentation. Loose sand and other fine particles are transported directly by wind and water from the upper initial soil surface and a first physical soil crust is formed very quickly. This new surface exhibits clearly different properties compared with the original initial surface. For example, infiltration can be minimized and surface runoff is promoted by this crusting. In contrast, sandy or silty substrate that has been relocated by erosion processes into small hollows of the surface changes the soil physical properties of these parts of the landscape as well but into another direction. In these parts of the system the sedimentation may create small patches with higher infiltration rates and eventually better water storage capacities. This may result into the formation of initial vegetation patches and patterns which in turn influence the further quality and quantity as well as the location of soil surface processes. Against this background this paper presents a recently launched research project using an artificially created water catchment of 6 ha in size. This site called ‘Chicken Creek' (‘Hühnerwasser') was established in 2005 in Lusatia (Germany) and is the central research site of a German-Swiss Collaborative Research

  10. The magnitude of lost ecosystem structure and function in urban streams and the effectiveness of watershed-based management (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smucker, N. J.; Detenbeck, N. E.; Kuhn, A.

    2013-12-01

    Watershed development is a leading cause of stream impairment and increasingly threatens the availability, quality, and sustainability of freshwater resources. In a recent global meta-analysis, we found that measures of desirable ecological structure (e.g., algal, macroinvertebrate, and fish communities) and functions (e.g., metabolism, nutrient uptake, and denitrification) in streams with developed watersheds were only 23% and 34%, respectively, of those in minimally disturbed reference streams. As humans continue to alter watersheds in response to growing and migrating populations, characterizing ecological responses to watershed development and management practices is urgently needed to inform future development practices, decisions, and policy. In a study of streams in New England, we found that measures of macroinvertebrate and algal communities had threshold responses between 1-10% and 1-5% impervious cover, respectively. Macroinvertebrate communities had decreases in sensitive taxa and predators occurring from 1-3.5% and transitions in trophic and habitat guilds from 4-9% impervious cover. Sensitive algal taxa declined at 1%, followed by increases in tolerant taxa at 3%. Substantially altered algal communities persisted above 5% impervious cover and were dominated by motile taxa (sediment resistant) and those with high nutrient demands. Boosted regression tree analysis showed that sites with >65% and ideally >80% forest and wetland cover in near-stream buffers were associated with a 13-34% decrease in the effects of watershed impervious cover on algal communities. While this reduction is substantial, additional out-of-stream management efforts are needed to protect and restore stream ecosystems (e.g., created wetlands and stormwater ponds), but understanding their effectiveness is greatly limited by sparse ecological monitoring. Our meta-analysis found that restoration improved ecological structure and functions in streams by 48% and 14%, respectively, when

  11. Silicified structures affect leaf optical properties in grasses and sedge.

    PubMed

    Klančnik, Katja; Vogel-Mikuš, Katarina; Gaberščik, Alenka

    2014-01-01

    Silicon (Si) is an important structural element that can accumulate at high concentrations in grasses and sedges, and therefore Si structures might affect the optical properties of the leaves. To better understand the role of Si in light/leaf interactions in species rich in Si, we examined the total Si and silica phytoliths, the biochemical and morphological leaf properties, and the reflectance and transmittance spectra in grasses (Phragmites australis, Phalaris arundinacea, Molinia caerulea, Deschampsia cespitosa) and sedge (Carex elata). We show that these grasses contain >1% phytoliths per dry mass, while the sedge contains only 0.4%. The data reveal the variable leaf structures of these species and significant differences in the amount of Si and phytoliths between developing and mature leaves within each species and between grasses and sedge, with little difference seen among the grass species. Redundancy analysis shows the significant roles of the different near-surface silicified leaf structures (e.g., prickle hairs, cuticle, epidermis), phytoliths and Si contents, which explain the majority of the reflectance and transmittance spectra variability. The amount of explained variance differs between mature and developing leaves. The transmittance spectra are also significantly affected by chlorophyll a content and calcium levels in the leaf tissue.

  12. Stable isotopes in ecosystem science: structure, function and dynamics of a subtropical Savanna.

    PubMed

    Boutton, T W; Archer, S R; Midwood, A J

    1999-01-01

    Stable isotopes are often utilized as intrinsic tracers to study the effects of human land uses on the structural and functional characteristics of ecosystems. Here, we illustrate how stable isotopes of H, C, and O have been utilized to document changes in ecosystem structure and function using a case study from a subtropical savanna ecosystem. Specifically, we demonstrate that: (1) delta 13C values of soil organic carbon record a vegetation change in this ecosystem from C4 grassland to C3 woodland during the past 40-120 years, and (2) delta 2H and delta 18O of plant and soil water reveal changes in ecosystem hydrology that accompanied this grassland-to-woodland transition. In the Rio Grande Plains of North America, delta 13C values of plants and soils indicate that areas now dominated by C3 subtropical thorn woodland were once C4 grasslands. delta 13C values of current organic matter inputs from wooded landscape elements in this region are characteristic of C3 plants (-28 to -25/1000), while those of the associated soil organic carbon are higher and range from -20 to -15/1000. Approximately 50-90% of soil carbon beneath the present C3 woodlands is derived from C4 grasses. A strong memory of the C4 grasslands that once dominated this region is retained by delta 13C values of organic carbon associated with fine and coarse clay fractions. When delta 13C values are evaluated in conjunction with 14C measurements of that same soil carbon, it appears that grassland-to-woodland conversion occurred largely within the past 40-120 years, coincident with the intensification of livestock grazing and reductions in fire frequency. These conclusions substantiate those based on demographic characteristics of the dominant tree species, historical aerial photography, and accounts of early settlers and explores. Concurrent changes in soil delta 13C values and organic carbon content over the past 90 years also indicate that wooded landscape elements are behaving as sinks for

  13. Stable isotopes in ecosystem science: structure, function and dynamics of a subtropical Savanna.

    PubMed

    Boutton, T W; Archer, S R; Midwood, A J

    1999-01-01

    Stable isotopes are often utilized as intrinsic tracers to study the effects of human land uses on the structural and functional characteristics of ecosystems. Here, we illustrate how stable isotopes of H, C, and O have been utilized to document changes in ecosystem structure and function using a case study from a subtropical savanna ecosystem. Specifically, we demonstrate that: (1) delta 13C values of soil organic carbon record a vegetation change in this ecosystem from C4 grassland to C3 woodland during the past 40-120 years, and (2) delta 2H and delta 18O of plant and soil water reveal changes in ecosystem hydrology that accompanied this grassland-to-woodland transition. In the Rio Grande Plains of North America, delta 13C values of plants and soils indicate that areas now dominated by C3 subtropical thorn woodland were once C4 grasslands. delta 13C values of current organic matter inputs from wooded landscape elements in this region are characteristic of C3 plants (-28 to -25/1000), while those of the associated soil organic carbon are higher and range from -20 to -15/1000. Approximately 50-90% of soil carbon beneath the present C3 woodlands is derived from C4 grasses. A strong memory of the C4 grasslands that once dominated this region is retained by delta 13C values of organic carbon associated with fine and coarse clay fractions. When delta 13C values are evaluated in conjunction with 14C measurements of that same soil carbon, it appears that grassland-to-woodland conversion occurred largely within the past 40-120 years, coincident with the intensification of livestock grazing and reductions in fire frequency. These conclusions substantiate those based on demographic characteristics of the dominant tree species, historical aerial photography, and accounts of early settlers and explores. Concurrent changes in soil delta 13C values and organic carbon content over the past 90 years also indicate that wooded landscape elements are behaving as sinks for

  14. Effects of municipal wastewater on aquatic ecosystem structure and function in the receiving stream.

    PubMed

    Englert, Dominic; Zubrod, Jochen P; Schulz, Ralf; Bundschuh, Mirco

    2013-06-01

    During recent years, increasing incidences of summer droughts - likely driven by climate change - reduced the dilution potential of low-order streams for secondary treated wastewater also in temperate Europe. Despite the potential risks to ecosystem integrity, there is a paucity of knowledge regarding the effects of different wastewater dilution potentials on ecosystem functions. The present study investigated the implications of secondary treated wastewater released into a third-order stream (Queich, southwest Germany) during a season with low dilution potential (summer; ~90% wastewater) as compared to a season with high dilution potential (winter; ~35% wastewater) in terms of leaf litter decomposition and macroinvertebrate communities. Adverse effects in macroinvertebrate mediated leaf mass loss (~65%), gammarids' feeding rate (~80%), leaf associated fungal biomass (>40%) and shifts in macroinvertebrate community structure were apparent up to 100 and 300 m (partially 500 m) downstream of the wastewater treatment plant effluent during winter and summer, respectively. In addition, a Gammarus fossarum laboratory feeding trial demonstrated the potential of powdered activated carbon to reduce the ecotoxicity of released wastewater. These results urge the development and evaluation of adequate management strategies, e.g. the application of advanced wastewater treatment technologies, to protect the integrity of freshwater ecosystems, which is required by the European Water Framework Directive - also considering decreasing dilution potential of streams as projected by climate change scenarios. PMID:23562693

  15. Functional group biodiversity in Eastern Boundary Upwelling Ecosystems questions the wasp-waist trophic structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fréon, Pierre; Arístegui, Javier; Bertrand, Arnaud; Crawford, Robert J. M.; Field, John C.; Gibbons, Mark J.; Tam, Jorge; Hutchings, Larry; Masski, Hicham; Mullon, Christian; Ramdani, Mohamed; Seret, Bernard; Simier, Monique

    2009-12-01

    The species diversity of the four major Eastern Boundary Upwelling Ecosystems (EBUEs) is studied and compared with the aim of better understanding their functioning. Functional groups (FGs) of organisms were defined according to their taxonomy, body size and trophic level (TL), and span from plankton to top predators. Four large sub-divisions are defined in each system: two latitudinal sub-divisions (north and south) and two zonal sub-divisions (inshore and offshore), resulting in four sub-ecosystems per EBUE. A semi-quantitative approach is used in which only the dominant species (contributing 90% of overall biomass) are considered. EBUEs are compared in regard to their species composition, dominant species richness and evenness within FGs. The data are interpreted, focusing on latitudinal, zonal and depth gradients of diversity. Trophic flows (inflow and outflow) through the small pelagic fish FG are derived from different Ecopath models. This analysis of the four ecosystems and their sub-divisions does not provide support for the expected wasp-waist food web structure and functioning, with a single or several species of small pelagic fish primarily channelling the energy flow from lower to higher TL. Instead, similar low levels of richness were observed in many FGs of intermediate TL, allowing several energy transfer pathways. The gamma diversity is high due to the geographical distance between EBUEs and the presence or absence of rivers, but not to differences in their latitudinal position. The beta diversity is also high, due to the same factors plus the variation in shelf width and the contrast between inshore and offshore sub-divisions. The differences in richness and evenness among EBUEs are minor and do not explain the higher secondary and tertiary productivity of the Humboldt ecosystem.

  16. Assessing landscape structure and pattern fragmentation in semiarid ecosystems using patch-size distributions.

    PubMed

    Moreno-de Las Heras, Mariano; Saco, Patricia M; Willgoose, Garry R; Tongway, David J

    2011-10-01

    originally showed scale-free patterns. Overall, our results emphasize the complexity of structure assessment in dryland ecosystems, while recognizing the usefulness of the patch-size distribution of vegetation for monitoring semiarid ecosystems, especially through the cumulative probability distributions, which showed high sensitivity to fragmentation of the vegetation patterns. We suggest that preserving large vegetation patches is a critical task for the maintenance of the ecosystem structure and functionality.

  17. Bridging structure and function in semi-arid ecosystems by integrating remote sensing and ground based measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krofcheck, Dan J.

    The Southwestern US is projected to continue to experience a significant warming trend, with increased variability in the timing and magnitude of rainfall events. The effects of theses changes in climate are already manifesting in the form of expansive, prolonged 'megadroughts', which have resulted in the widespread mortality of woody vegetation across the region.Therefore the need to monitor and model forest mortality and carbon dynamics at the landscape and regional scale is an essential component of regional and global climate mitigation strategies, and critical if we are to understand how the imminent state transitions taking place in forests globally will affect climate forcing and feedbacks. Remote sensing offers the only solution to multitemporal regional observation, yet many challenges exist with employing modern remote sensing solutions in highly stressed vegetation characteristic of semi-arid biomes, making one of the most expansive biomes on the globe also one of the most difficult to accurately monitor and model. The goal of this research was to investigate how changes in the structure of semi-arid woodlands following forest mortality impacts ecosystem function, and address this question in the context of remote sensing data sets, thereby contributing to the remote sensing community's ability to interact with these challenging ecosystems. We first focused on pinus edulis and juniperous monosperma (pinon-juniper) woodlands, as they comprise a model semi-arid biome. We tested the ability of high resolution remote sensing data to mechanistically describe the patterns in overstory mortality and understory green-up, and were able to observe the heterogeneous response of the understory as a function of cover type. We also investigated the relationship between changes in soil water content and the greenness of the canopy, noting that in these stress ecosystems there is often a decoupling of the canopy as measured remotely (e.g., via vegetation indices, VI

  18. Structure-activity relationships: quantitative techniques for predicting the behavior of chemicals in the ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Nirmalakhandan, N.; Speece, R.E.

    1988-06-01

    Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships (QSARs) are used increasingly to screen and predict the toxicity and the fate of chemicals released into the environment. The impetus to use QSAR methods in this area has been the large number of synthetic chemicals introduced into the ecosystem via intensive agriculture and industrialization. Because of the costly and time-consuming nature of environmental fate testing, QSARs have been effectively used to screen large classes of chemical compounds and flag those that appear to warrant more thorough testing.

  19. Chitinolytic and pectinolytic community in the vertical structure of chernozem's zone ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lukacheva, E.; Manucharova, N.

    2012-04-01

    Chitin is a long-chain polymer of a N-acetylglucosamine and is found in many places throughout the natural world. Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. Roots of the plants and root crops contain pectin. Chitin and pectin are widely distributed throughout the natural world. For this reason it is important to investigate the structural and functional properties of complex organisms, offering degradation of these biopolymers in the terrestrial and soil ecosystems. It is known that ecosystems have their own structure. It is possible to allocate some vertical tiers: phylloplane, litter (soil covering), soil. We investigated chitinolytic and pektinolytic microbial communities dedicated to different layers of the ecosystem of the chernozem zone. Quantity of eukaryote and procaryote organisms increased in the test samples with chitin and pectin. Increasing of eukaryote in samples with pectin was more then in samples with chitin. Also should be noted the significant increasing of actinomycet`s quantity in the samples with chitin in comparison with samples with pectin. The variety and abundance of bacteria in the litter samples increased an order of magnitude as compared to other options investigated. Further prokaryote community was investigated by method FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization). FISH is a cytogenetic technique developed that is used to detect and localize the presence or absence of specific DNA sequences on chromosomes. Quantity of Actinomycets and Firmicutes was the largest among identified cells with metabolic activity in soil samples. Should be noted significant increasing of the quantity of Acidobateria and Bacteroidetes in pectinolytic community and Alphaproteobacteria in chitinolytic community. In considering of the phylogenetic structure investigated communities in samples of the litter should be noted increase in the segment of Proteobacteria. Increasing of this group of

  20. Partitioning the effects of an ecosystem engineer: kangaroo rats control community structure via multiple pathways.

    PubMed

    Prugh, Laura R; Brashares, Justin S

    2012-05-01

    1. Ecosystem engineers impact communities by altering habitat conditions, but they can also have strong effects through consumptive, competitive and other non-engineering pathways. 2. Engineering effects can lead to fundamentally different community dynamics than non-engineering effects, but the relative strengths of these interactions are seldom quantified. 3. We combined structural equation modelling and exclosure experiments to partition the effects of a keystone engineer, the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens), on plants, invertebrates and vertebrates in a semi-arid California grassland. 4. We separated the effects of burrow creation from kangaroo rat density and found that kangaroo rats increased the diversity and abundance of other species via both engineering and non-engineering pathways. 5. Engineering was the primary factor structuring plant and small mammal communities, whereas non-engineering effects structured invertebrate communities and increased lizard abundance. 6. These results highlight the importance of the non-engineering effects of ecosystem engineers and shed new light on the multiple pathways by which strong-interactors shape communities.

  1. Affective journeys: the emotional structuring of medical tourism in India.

    PubMed

    Solomon, Harris

    2011-04-01

    This paper examines the grid of sentiment that structures medical travel to India. In contrast to studies that render emotion as ancillary, the paper argues that affect is fundamental to medical travel's ability to ease the linked somatic, emotional, financial, and political injuries of being ill 'back home'. The ethnographic approach follows the scenes of medical travel within the Indian corporate hospital room, based on observations and interviews among foreign patients, caregivers, and hospital staff in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore. Foreign patients conveyed diverse sentiments about their journey to India ranging from betrayal to gratitude, and their expressions of risk, healthcare costs, and cultural difference help sustain India's popularity as a medical travel destination. However, although the affective dimensions of medical travel promise a remedy for foreign patients, they also reveal the fault lines of market medicine in India.

  2. How spatio-temporal habitat connectivity affects amphibian genetic structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Watts, Alexander G.; Schlichting, P; Billerman, S; Jesmer, B; Micheletti, S; Fortin, M.-J.; Funk, W.C.; Hapeman, P; Muths, Erin L.; Murphy, M.A.

    2015-01-01

    Heterogeneous landscapes and fluctuating environmental conditions can affect species dispersal, population genetics, and genetic structure, yet understanding how biotic and abiotic factors affect population dynamics in a fluctuating environment is critical for species management. We evaluated how spatio-temporal habitat connectivity influences dispersal and genetic structure in a population of boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata) using a landscape genetics approach. We developed gravity models to assess the contribution of various factors to the observed genetic distance as a measure of functional connectivity. We selected (a) wetland (within-site) and (b) landscape matrix (between-site) characteristics; and (c) wetland connectivity metrics using a unique methodology. Specifically, we developed three networks that quantify wetland connectivity based on: (i) P. maculata dispersal ability, (ii) temporal variation in wetland quality, and (iii) contribution of wetland stepping-stones to frog dispersal. We examined 18 wetlands in Colorado, and quantified 12 microsatellite loci from 322 individual frogs. We found that genetic connectivity was related to topographic complexity, within- and between-wetland differences in moisture, and wetland functional connectivity as contributed by stepping-stone wetlands. Our results highlight the role that dynamic environmental factors have on dispersal-limited species and illustrate how complex asynchronous interactions contribute to the structure of spatially-explicit metapopulations.

  3. Iron affects the structure of cell membrane molecular models.

    PubMed

    Suwalsky, M; Martínez, F; Cárdenas, H; Grzyb, J; Strzałka, K

    2005-03-01

    The effects of Fe(3+) and Fe(2+) on molecular models of biomembranes were investigated. These consisted of bilayers of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and of dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DMPE), classes of phospholipids located in the outer and inner moieties of cell membranes, respectively. X-ray studies showed that very low concentrations of Fe(3+) affected DMPC organization and 10(-3)M induced a total loss of its multilamellar periodic stacking. Experiments carried out with Fe(2+) on DMPC showed weaker effects than those induced by Fe(3+) ions. Similar experiments were performed on DMPE bilayers. Fe(3+) from 10(-7)M up to 10(-4)M had practically no effect on DMPE structure. However, 10(-3)M Fe(3+) induced a deep perturbation of the multilamellar structure of DMPE. However, 10(-3)M Fe(2+) had no effect on DMPE organization practically. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements also revealed different effects of Fe(3+) and Fe(2+) on the phase transition and other thermal properties of the examined lipids. In conclusion, the results obtained indicate that iron ions interact with phospholipid bilayers perturbing their structures. These findings are consistent with the observation that iron ions change cell membrane fluidity and, therefore, affect its functions. PMID:15752465

  4. How spatio-temporal habitat connectivity affects amphibian genetic structure

    PubMed Central

    Watts, Alexander G.; Schlichting, Peter E.; Billerman, Shawn M.; Jesmer, Brett R.; Micheletti, Steven; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Funk, W. Chris; Hapeman, Paul; Muths, Erin; Murphy, Melanie A.

    2015-01-01

    Heterogeneous landscapes and fluctuating environmental conditions can affect species dispersal, population genetics, and genetic structure, yet understanding how biotic and abiotic factors affect population dynamics in a fluctuating environment is critical for species management. We evaluated how spatio-temporal habitat connectivity influences dispersal and genetic structure in a population of boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata) using a landscape genetics approach. We developed gravity models to assess the contribution of various factors to the observed genetic distance as a measure of functional connectivity. We selected (a) wetland (within-site) and (b) landscape matrix (between-site) characteristics; and (c) wetland connectivity metrics using a unique methodology. Specifically, we developed three networks that quantify wetland connectivity based on: (i) P. maculata dispersal ability, (ii) temporal variation in wetland quality, and (iii) contribution of wetland stepping-stones to frog dispersal. We examined 18 wetlands in Colorado, and quantified 12 microsatellite loci from 322 individual frogs. We found that genetic connectivity was related to topographic complexity, within- and between-wetland differences in moisture, and wetland functional connectivity as contributed by stepping-stone wetlands. Our results highlight the role that dynamic environmental factors have on dispersal-limited species and illustrate how complex asynchronous interactions contribute to the structure of spatially-explicit metapopulations. PMID:26442094

  5. Where the woodland ends: How edges affect landscape structure and physiological responses of Quercus agrifolia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Chant, Timothy Paul

    Forests and woodlands are integral parts of ecosystems across the globe, but they are threatened by a variety of factors, including urbanization and introduced forest pathogens. These two forces are fundamentally altering ecosystems, both by removing forest cover and reshaping landscapes. Comprehending how these two processes have changed forest ecosystems is an important step toward understanding how the affected systems will function in the future. I investigated the range of edge effects that result from disturbance brought about by forest pathogens and urbanization in two coastal oak woodlands in Marin County, California. Oak woodlands are a dynamic part of California's landscape, reacting to changes in their biotic and abiotic environments across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Sudden Oak Death, caused by the introduced forest pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, has led to widespread mortality of many tree species in California's oak woodlands. I investigated how the remaining trees respond to such rapid changes in canopy structure (Chapter 2), and my results revealed a forest canopy quick to respond to the new openings. Urbanization, another disturbance regime, operates on a longer time scale. Immediately following urban development, forest edges are strikingly linear, but both forest processes and homeowner actions likely work in concert to disrupt the straight edge (Chapter 3). Forest edges grew more sinuous within 14 years of the initial disturbance, and continued to do so for the remainder of the study, another 21 years. Individual Quercus agrifolia trees also respond to urban edges decades after disturbance (Chapter 4), and their reaction is reflected in declining stable carbon isotope values (delta13C). This change suggests trees may have increased their stomatal conductance in response to greater water availability, reduced their photosynthetic rate as a result of stress, or some combination of both. Edges have far reaching and long lasting effects

  6. Food-web structure and ecosystem services: insights from the Serengeti.

    PubMed

    Dobson, Andy

    2009-06-27

    The central organizing theme of this paper is to discuss the dynamics of the Serengeti grassland ecosystem from the perspective of recent developments in food-web theory. The seasonal rainfall patterns that characterize the East African climate create an annually oscillating, large-scale, spatial mosaic of feeding opportunities for the larger ungulates in the Serengeti; this in turn creates a significant annual variation in the food available for their predators. At a smaller spatial scale, periodic fires during the dry season create patches of highly nutritious grazing that are eaten in preference to the surrounding older patches of less palatable vegetation. The species interactions between herbivores and plants, and carnivores and herbivores, are hierarchically nested in the Serengeti food web, with the largest bodied consumers on each trophic level having the broadest diets that include species from a large variety of different habitats in the ecosystem. The different major habitats of the Serengeti are also used in a nested fashion; the highly nutritious forage of the short grass plains is available only to the larger migratory species for a few months each year. The longer grass areas, the woodlands and kopjes (large partially wooded rocky islands in the surrounding mosaic of grassland) contain species that are resident throughout the year; these species often have smaller body size and more specialized diets than the migratory species. Only the larger herbivores and carnivores obtain their nutrition from all the different major habitat types in the ecosystem. The net effect of this is to create a nested hierarchy of subchains of energy flow within the larger Serengeti food web; these flows are seasonally forced by rainfall and operate at different rates in different major branches of the web. The nested structure that couples sequential trophic levels together interacts with annual seasonal variation in the fast and slow chains of nutrient flow in a way that

  7. Food-web structure and ecosystem services: insights from the Serengeti

    PubMed Central

    Dobson, Andy

    2009-01-01

    The central organizing theme of this paper is to discuss the dynamics of the Serengeti grassland ecosystem from the perspective of recent developments in food-web theory. The seasonal rainfall patterns that characterize the East African climate create an annually oscillating, large-scale, spatial mosaic of feeding opportunities for the larger ungulates in the Serengeti; this in turn creates a significant annual variation in the food available for their predators. At a smaller spatial scale, periodic fires during the dry season create patches of highly nutritious grazing that are eaten in preference to the surrounding older patches of less palatable vegetation. The species interactions between herbivores and plants, and carnivores and herbivores, are hierarchically nested in the Serengeti food web, with the largest bodied consumers on each trophic level having the broadest diets that include species from a large variety of different habitats in the ecosystem. The different major habitats of the Serengeti are also used in a nested fashion; the highly nutritious forage of the short grass plains is available only to the larger migratory species for a few months each year. The longer grass areas, the woodlands and kopjes (large partially wooded rocky islands in the surrounding mosaic of grassland) contain species that are resident throughout the year; these species often have smaller body size and more specialized diets than the migratory species. Only the larger herbivores and carnivores obtain their nutrition from all the different major habitat types in the ecosystem. The net effect of this is to create a nested hierarchy of subchains of energy flow within the larger Serengeti food web; these flows are seasonally forced by rainfall and operate at different rates in different major branches of the web. The nested structure that couples sequential trophic levels together interacts with annual seasonal variation in the fast and slow chains of nutrient flow in a way that

  8. Body size-based trophic structure of a deep marine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Romero-Romero, Sonia; Molina-Ramírez, Axayacatl; Hofer, Juan; Luis Acuña, José

    2016-01-01

    Nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ15N) and body size were used to describe the size-based trophic structure of a deep-sea ecosystem, the Avilés submarine Canyon (Cantabrian Sea, Southern Bay of Biscay). We analyzed δ15N of specimens collected on a seasonal basis (March 2012, October 2012, and May 2013), from a variety of zones (benthic, pelagic), taxa (from zooplankton through invertebrates and fishes to giant squids and cetaceans), or depths (from surface to 4700 m) that spanned nine orders of magnitude in body mass. Our data reveal a strong linear dependence of trophic level on body size when data were considered either individually, aggregated into taxonomical categories, or binned into size classes. The three approaches render similar results that were not significantly different and yielded predator:prey body mass ratios (PPMR) of 1156:1, 3792:1 and 2718:1, respectively. Thus, our data represent unequivocal evidence of interspecific, size-based trophic structure of a whole ecosystem based on taxonomic/functional categories. We studied the variability in δ15N not explained by body mass (W) using linear mixed modeling and found that the δ15N vs. log10 W relationship holds for both pelagic and benthic systems, with benthic organisms isotopically enriched relative to pelagic organisms of the same size. However there is a marked seasonal variation potentially related to the recycling state of the system. PMID:27008786

  9. Forest to reclaimed mine land use change leads to altered ecosystem structure and function

    SciTech Connect

    Simmons, J.A.; Currie, W.S.; Eshleman, K.N.; Kuers, K.; Monteleone, S.; Negley, T.L.; Pohlad, B.R.; Thomas, C.L.

    2008-01-15

    The United States' use of coal results in many environmental alterations. In the Appalachian coal belt region, one widespread alteration is conversion of forest to reclaimed mineland. The goal of this study was to quantify the changes to ecosystem structure and function associated with a conversion from forest to reclaimed mine grassland by comparing a small watershed containing a 15-year-old reclaimed mine with a forested, reference watershed in western Maryland. Major differences were apparent between the two watersheds in terms of biogeochemistry. Total C, N, and P pools were all substantially lower at the mined site, mainly due to the removal of woody biomass but also, in the case of P, to reductions in soil pools. Mineral soil C, N, and P pools were 96%, 79%, and 69% of native soils, respectively. Although annual runoff from the watersheds was similar, the mined watershed exhibited taller, narrower storm peaks as a result of a higher soil bulk density and decreased infiltration rates. Stream export of N was much lower in the mined watershed due to lower net nitrification rates and nitrate concentrations in soil. However, stream export of sediment and P and summer stream temperature were much higher. Stream leaf decomposition was reduced and macroinvertebrate community structure was altered as a result of these changes to the stream environment. This land use change leads to substantial, long-term changes in ecosystem capital and function.

  10. Impacts of fish farm pollution on ecosystem structure and function of tropical headwater streams.

    PubMed

    Rosa, Rodrigo dos Santos; Aguiar, Anna Carolina Fornero; Boëchat, Iola Gonçalves; Gücker, Björn

    2013-03-01

    We investigated the impacts of effluent discharge from small flow-through fish farms on stream water characteristics, the benthic invertebrate community, whole-system nitrate uptake, and ecosystem metabolism of three tropical headwater streams in southeastern Brazil. Effluents were moderately, i.e. up to 20-fold enriched in particulate organic matter (POM) and inorganic nutrients in comparison to stream water at reference sites. Due to high dilution with stream water, effluent discharge resulted in up to 2.0-fold increases in stream water POM and up to 1.8-fold increases in inorganic nutrients only. Moderate impacts on the benthic invertebrate community were detected at one stream only. There was no consistent pattern of effluent impact on whole-stream nitrate uptake. Ecosystem metabolism, however, was clearly affected by effluent discharge. Stream reaches impacted by effluents exhibited significantly increased community respiration and primary productivity, stressing the importance of ecologically sound best management practices for small fish farms in the tropics.

  11. Impacts of fish farm pollution on ecosystem structure and function of tropical headwater streams.

    PubMed

    Rosa, Rodrigo dos Santos; Aguiar, Anna Carolina Fornero; Boëchat, Iola Gonçalves; Gücker, Björn

    2013-03-01

    We investigated the impacts of effluent discharge from small flow-through fish farms on stream water characteristics, the benthic invertebrate community, whole-system nitrate uptake, and ecosystem metabolism of three tropical headwater streams in southeastern Brazil. Effluents were moderately, i.e. up to 20-fold enriched in particulate organic matter (POM) and inorganic nutrients in comparison to stream water at reference sites. Due to high dilution with stream water, effluent discharge resulted in up to 2.0-fold increases in stream water POM and up to 1.8-fold increases in inorganic nutrients only. Moderate impacts on the benthic invertebrate community were detected at one stream only. There was no consistent pattern of effluent impact on whole-stream nitrate uptake. Ecosystem metabolism, however, was clearly affected by effluent discharge. Stream reaches impacted by effluents exhibited significantly increased community respiration and primary productivity, stressing the importance of ecologically sound best management practices for small fish farms in the tropics. PMID:23274449

  12. Population size-structure-dependent fitness and ecosystem consequences in Trinidadian guppies.

    PubMed

    Bassar, Ronald D; Heatherly, Thomas; Marshall, Michael C; Thomas, Steven A; Flecker, Alexander S; Reznick, David N

    2015-07-01

    Decades of theory and recent empirical results have shown that evolutionary, population, community and ecosystem properties are the result of feedbacks between ecological and evolutionary processes. The vast majority of theory and empirical research on these eco-evolutionary feedbacks has focused on interactions among population size and mean traits of populations. However, numbers and mean traits represent only a fraction of the possible feedback dimensions. Populations of many organisms consist of different size classes that differ in their impact on the environment and each other. Moreover, rarely do we know the map of ecological pathways through which changes in numbers or size structure cause evolutionary change. The goal of this study was to test the role of size structure in eco-evolutionary feedbacks of Trinidadian guppies and to begin to build an eco-evolutionary map along this unexplored dimension. We used a factorial experiment in mesocosms wherein we crossed high- and low-predation guppy phenotypes with population size structure. We tested the ability of changes in size structure to generate selection on the demographic rates of guppies using an integral projection model (IPM). To understand how fitness differences among high- and low-predation phenotypes may be generated, we measured the response of the biomass of lower trophic levels and nutrient cycling to the different phenotype and size structure treatments. We found a significant interaction between guppy phenotype and the size structure treatments for absolute fitness. Size structure had a very large effect on invertebrate biomass in the mesocosms, but there was little or no effect of the phenotype. The effect of size structure on algal biomass depended on guppy phenotype, with no difference in algal biomass in populations with more, smaller guppies, but a large decrease in algal biomass in mesocosms with phenotypes adapted to low-predation risk. These results indicate an important role for size

  13. Population size-structure-dependent fitness and ecosystem consequences in Trinidadian guppies.

    PubMed

    Bassar, Ronald D; Heatherly, Thomas; Marshall, Michael C; Thomas, Steven A; Flecker, Alexander S; Reznick, David N

    2015-07-01

    Decades of theory and recent empirical results have shown that evolutionary, population, community and ecosystem properties are the result of feedbacks between ecological and evolutionary processes. The vast majority of theory and empirical research on these eco-evolutionary feedbacks has focused on interactions among population size and mean traits of populations. However, numbers and mean traits represent only a fraction of the possible feedback dimensions. Populations of many organisms consist of different size classes that differ in their impact on the environment and each other. Moreover, rarely do we know the map of ecological pathways through which changes in numbers or size structure cause evolutionary change. The goal of this study was to test the role of size structure in eco-evolutionary feedbacks of Trinidadian guppies and to begin to build an eco-evolutionary map along this unexplored dimension. We used a factorial experiment in mesocosms wherein we crossed high- and low-predation guppy phenotypes with population size structure. We tested the ability of changes in size structure to generate selection on the demographic rates of guppies using an integral projection model (IPM). To understand how fitness differences among high- and low-predation phenotypes may be generated, we measured the response of the biomass of lower trophic levels and nutrient cycling to the different phenotype and size structure treatments. We found a significant interaction between guppy phenotype and the size structure treatments for absolute fitness. Size structure had a very large effect on invertebrate biomass in the mesocosms, but there was little or no effect of the phenotype. The effect of size structure on algal biomass depended on guppy phenotype, with no difference in algal biomass in populations with more, smaller guppies, but a large decrease in algal biomass in mesocosms with phenotypes adapted to low-predation risk. These results indicate an important role for size

  14. Functional traits explain phytoplankton community structure and seasonal dynamics in a marine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Kyle F; Litchman, Elena; Klausmeier, Christopher A

    2013-01-01

    A fundamental yet elusive goal of ecology is to predict the structure of communities from the environmental conditions they experience. Trait-based approaches to terrestrial plant communities have shown that functional traits can help reveal the mechanisms underlying community assembly, but such approaches have not been tested on the microbes that dominate ecosystem processes in the ocean. Here, we test whether functional traits can explain community responses to seasonal environmental fluctuation, using a time series of the phytoplankton of the English Channel. We show that interspecific variation in response to major limiting resources, light and nitrate, can be well-predicted by lab-measured traits characterising light utilisation, nitrate utilisation and maximum growth rate. As these relationships were predicted a priori, using independently measured traits, our results show that functional traits provide a strong mechanistic foundation for understanding the structure and dynamics of ecological communities.

  15. An overview of APECOSM, a spatialized mass balanced “Apex Predators ECOSystem Model” to study physiologically structured tuna population dynamics in their ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maury, Olivier

    2010-01-01

    This paper gives an overview of the ecosystem model APECOSM (Apex Predators ECOSystem Model) which is developed in the framework of the GLOBEC-CLIOTOP Programme. APECOSM represents the flow of energy through the ecosystem with a size-resolved structure in both space and time. The uptake and use of energy for growth, maintenance and reproduction by the organisms are modelled according to the DEB (dynamic energy budget) theory ( Kooijmann, 2000) and the size-structured nature of predation is explicit. The pelagic community is divided into epipelagic and mesopelagic groups, the latter being subdivided into vertically migrant and non-migrant species. The model is mass-conservative. Energy is provided as the basis of the model through primary production and transferred through 3D spatially explicit size-spectra. Focus species (tunas at present, but any predator species can be considered) are “extracted” from the global size-spectra without losing mass balance and represented with more physiological and behavioural details. The forcing effects of temperature, currents, light, oxygen, primary production and fishing are explicitly taken into account.

  16. Understanding the structure of Exmoor's peatland ecosystems using laser-scanning technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luscombe, D. J.; Anderson, K.; Wetherelt, A.; Grand-Clement, E.; Le-Feuvre, N.; Smith, D.; Brazier, R. E.

    2012-04-01

    Upland blanket peatlands in the UK are of high conservation value and in an intact state, provide important landscape services, such as carbon sequestration and flood attenuation. The drainage of many such wetlands for agricultural reclamation has resulted in changes to upland blanket mire topography, ecology, hydrological processes and carbon fluxes. There is a need for spatially explicit monitoring approaches at peatland sites in the UK as although there has been a national effort to restore drained peat uplands, baseline and post restoration monitoring of changes to ecosystem structure and function is largely absent. Climate change policy and the emerging carbon markets also necessitate the need for enhanced system understanding to inform carbon targets and understand the impacts of restoration. Exmoor is the focus of this research because many areas of upland peat have, in the past, been extensively drained through government "moorland reclamation" programs. A large restoration project funded by South West Water is currently underway in association with Exmoor National Park, The Environment Agency and Natural England. Exmoor also provides an analogue for other westerly peatlands in the British Isles in terms of its climate, ecology and drainage characteristics. Our approach employed airborne LiDAR data gathered by the Environment Agency Geomatics Group coupled with Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) surveys. LiDAR data were processed to produce digital surface models (DSM) of the peatland surface at a 0.5m resolution. These data were further interrogated to separate vegetation structures and geomorphic features such as man-made drainage channels which have damaged the peatland. Over small extents the LiDAR derived DSM surface was then compared to a TLS derived DSM to examine the ability of these models to describe fine scale vegetation and geomorphic structure, which could then be extrapolated to larger spatial extents. Exploration of the data has shown that

  17. Does Question Structure Affect Exam Performance in the Geosciences?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Day, E. A.; D'Arcy, M. K.; Craig, L.; Streule, M. J.; Passmore, E.; Irving, J. C. E.

    2015-12-01

    The jump to university level exams can be challenging for some students, often resulting in poor marks, which may be detrimental to their confidence and ultimately affect their overall degree class. Previous studies have found that question structure can have a strong impact on the performance of students in college level exams (see Gibson et al., 2015, for a discussion of its impact on physics undergraduates). Here, we investigate the effect of question structure on the exam results of geology and geophysics undergraduate students. Specifically, we analyse the performance of students in questions that have a 'scaffolded' framework and compare them to their performance in open-ended questions and coursework. We also investigate if observed differences in exam performance are correlated with the educational background and gender of students, amongst other factors. It is important for all students to be able to access their degree courses, no matter what their backgrounds may be. Broadening participation in the geosciences relies on removing systematic barriers to achievement. Therefore we recommend that exams are either structured with scaffolding in questions at lower levels, or students are explicitly prepared for this transition. We also recommend that longitudinal studies of exam performance are conducted within individual departments, and this work outlines one approach to analysing performance data.

  18. South Florida Ecosystem Program: quantifying freshwater discharge for coastal hydraulic control structures in eastern Dade County, Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kapadia, Amit; Swain, Eric D.

    1996-01-01

    The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program is an intergovernmental effort, involving a number of agencies, to reestablish and maintain the ecosystem of south Florida. One element of the restoration effort is the development of a firm scientific basis for resource decision making. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), one of the agencies, provides scientific information as part of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program. The USGS began their ow program, called the South Florida Ecosystem Program, in fiscal year 1995 for the purpose of gathering hydrologic, cartographic, and geologic data that relate to the mainland of south Florida, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys and Reef ecosystems. As part of the South Florida Ecosystem Program, the USGS, in cooperation with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), has conducted a study to determine discharge ratings for 16 coastal hydraulic control structures in eastern Dade County, Fla. (fig. 1 ). Discharge data are needed to quantify water that can be made available for water supply and ecosystem restoration and to calibrate regional hydrologic models.

  19. Climate regulates alpine lake ice cover phenology and aquatic ecosystem structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Preston, Daniel L.; Caine, Nel; McKnight, Diane M.; Williams, Mark W.; Hell, Katherina; Miller, Matthew P.; Hart, Sarah J.; Johnson, Pieter T. J.

    2016-05-01

    High-elevation aquatic ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate change, yet relatively few records are available to characterize shifts in ecosystem structure or their underlying mechanisms. Using a long-term data set on seven alpine lakes (3126 to 3620 m) in Colorado, USA, we show that ice-off dates have shifted 7 days earlier over the past 33 years and that spring weather conditions—especially snowfall—drive yearly variation in ice-off timing. In the most well studied lake, earlier ice-off associated with increases in water residence times, thermal stratification, ion concentrations, dissolved nitrogen, pH, and chlorophyll a. Mechanistically, low spring snowfall and warm temperatures reduce summer stream flow (increasing lake residence times) but enhance melting of glacial and permafrost ice (increasing lake solute inputs). The observed links among hydrological, chemical, and biological responses to climate factors highlight the potential for major shifts in the functioning of alpine lakes due to forecasted climate change.

  20. Emerging methods for the study of coastal ecosystem landscape structure and change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brock, John C.; Danielson, Jeffrey J.; Purkis, Sam

    2013-01-01

    Coastal landscapes are heterogeneous, dynamic, and evolve over a range of time scales due to intertwined climatic, geologic, hydrologic, biologic, and meteorological processes, and are also heavily impacted by human development, commercial activities, and resource extraction. A diversity of complex coastal systems around the globe, spanning glaciated shorelines to tropical atolls, wetlands, and barrier islands are responding to multiple human and natural drivers. Interdisciplinary research based on remote-sensing observations linked to process studies and models is required to understand coastal ecosystem landscape structure and change. Moreover, new techniques for coastal mapping and monitoring are increasingly serving the needs of policy-makers and resource managers across local, regional, and national scales. Emerging remote-sensing methods associated with a diversity of instruments and platforms are a key enabling element of integrated coastal ecosystem studies. These investigations require both targeted and synoptic mapping, and involve the monitoring of formative processes such as hydrodynamics, sediment transport, erosion, accretion, flooding, habitat modification, land-cover change, and biogeochemical fluxes.

  1. Climate regulates alpine lake ice cover phenology and aquatic ecosystem structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Preston, Daniel L.; Caine, Nel; McKnight, Diane M.; Williams, Mark W.; Hell, Katherina; Miller, Matthew P.; Hart, Sarah J.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.

    2016-01-01

    High-elevation aquatic ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate change, yet relatively few records are available to characterize shifts in ecosystem structure or their underlying mechanisms. Using a long-term dataset on seven alpine lakes (3126 to 3620 m) in Colorado, USA, we show that ice-off dates have shifted seven days earlier over the past 33 years and that spring weather conditions – especially snowfall – drive yearly variation in ice-off timing. In the most well-studied lake, earlier ice-off associated with increases in water residence times, thermal stratification, ion concentrations, dissolved nitrogen, pH, and chlorophyll-a. Mechanistically, low spring snowfall and warm temperatures reduce summer stream flow (increasing lake residence times) but enhance melting of glacial and permafrost ice (increasing lake solute inputs). The observed links among hydrological, chemical, and biological responses to climate factors highlight the potential for major shifts in the functioning of alpine lakes due to forecasted climate change.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callegaro, Chiara; Ursino, Nadia

    2016-04-01

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

  3. Using Lidar and Radar measurements to constrain predictions of forest ecosystem structure and function.

    PubMed

    Antonarakis, Alexander S; Saatchi, Sassan S; Chazdon, Robin L; Moorcroft, Paul R

    2011-06-01

    Insights into vegetation and aboveground biomass dynamics within terrestrial ecosystems have come almost exclusively from ground-based forest inventories that are limited in their spatial extent. Lidar and synthetic-aperture Radar are promising remote-sensing-based techniques for obtaining comprehensive measurements of forest structure at regional to global scales. In this study we investigate how Lidar-derived forest heights and Radar-derived aboveground biomass can be used to constrain the dynamics of the ED2 terrestrial biosphere model. Four-year simulations initialized with Lidar and Radar structure variables were compared against simulations initialized from forest-inventory data and output from a long-term potential-vegtation simulation. Both height and biomass initializations from Lidar and Radar measurements significantly improved the representation of forest structure within the model, eliminating the bias of too many large trees that arose in the potential-vegtation-initialized simulation. The Lidar and Radar initializations decreased the proportion of larger trees estimated by the potential vegetation by approximately 20-30%, matching the forest inventory. This resulted in improved predictions of ecosystem-scale carbon fluxes and structural dynamics compared to predictions from the potential-vegtation simulation. The Radar initialization produced biomass values that were 75% closer to the forest inventory, with Lidar initializations producing canopy height values closest to the forest inventory. Net primary production values for the Radar and Lidar initializations were around 6-8% closer to the forest inventory. Correcting the Lidar and Radar initializations for forest composition resulted in improved biomass and basal-area dynamics as well as leaf-area index. Correcting the Lidar and Radar initializations for forest composition and fine-scale structure by combining the remote-sensing measurements with ground-based inventory data further improved

  4. Hyperlipidemia affects multiscale structure and strength of murine femur.

    PubMed

    Ascenzi, Maria-Grazia; Lutz, Andre; Du, Xia; Klimecky, Laureen; Kawas, Neal; Hourany, Talia; Jahng, Joelle; Chin, Jesse; Tintut, Yin; Nackenhors, Udo; Keyak, Joyce

    2014-07-18

    To improve bone strength prediction beyond limitations of assessment founded solely on the bone mineral component, we investigated the effect of hyperlipidemia, present in more than 40% of osteoporotic patients, on multiscale structure of murine bone. Our overarching purpose is to estimate bone strength accurately, to facilitate mitigating fracture morbidity and mortality in patients. Because (i) orientation of collagen type I affects, independently of degree of mineralization, cortical bone׳s micro-structural strength; and, (ii) hyperlipidemia affects collagen orientation and μCT volumetric tissue mineral density (vTMD) in murine cortical bone, we have constructed the first multiscale finite element (mFE), mouse-specific femoral model to study the effect of collagen orientation and vTMD on strength in Ldlr(-/-), a mouse model of hyperlipidemia, and its control wild type, on either high fat diet or normal diet. Each µCT scan-based mFE model included either element-specific elastic orthotropic properties calculated from collagen orientation and vTMD (collagen-density model) by experimentally validated formulation, or usual element-specific elastic isotropic material properties dependent on vTMD-only (density-only model). We found that collagen orientation, assessed by circularly polarized light and confocal microscopies, and vTMD, differed among groups and that microindentation results strongly correlate with elastic modulus of collagen-density models (r(2)=0.85, p=10(-5)). Collagen-density models yielded (1) larger strains, and therefore lower strength, in simulations of 3-point bending and physiological loading; and (2) higher correlation between mFE-predicted strength and 3-point bending experimental strength, than density-only models. This novel method supports ongoing translational research to achieve the as yet elusive goal of accurate bone strength prediction.

  5. A trait-based framework for predicting when and where microbial adaptation to climate change will affect ecosystem functioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wallenstein, Matthew D.; Hall, Edward K.

    2012-01-01

    As the earth system changes in response to human activities, a critical objective is to predict how biogeochemical process rates (e.g. nitrification, decomposition) and ecosystem function (e.g. net ecosystem productivity) will change under future conditions. A particular challenge is that the microbial communities that drive many of these processes are capable of adapting to environmental change in ways that alter ecosystem functioning. Despite evidence that microbes can adapt to temperature, precipitation regimes, and redox fluctuations, microbial communities are typically not optimally adapted to their local environment. For example, temperature optima for growth and enzyme activity are often greater than in situ temperatures in their environment. Here we discuss fundamental constraints on microbial adaptation and suggest specific environments where microbial adaptation to climate change (or lack thereof) is most likely to alter ecosystem functioning. Our framework is based on two principal assumptions. First, there are fundamental ecological trade-offs in microbial community traits that occur across environmental gradients (in time and space). These trade-offs result in shifting of microbial function (e.g. ability to take up resources at low temperature) in response to adaptation of another trait (e.g. limiting maintenance respiration at high temperature). Second, the mechanism and level of microbial community adaptation to changing environmental parameters is a function of the potential rate of change in community composition relative to the rate of environmental change. Together, this framework provides a basis for developing testable predictions about how the rate and degree of microbial adaptation to climate change will alter biogeochemical processes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems across the planet.

  6. [Structure and bioassessment of benthic communities of a lagoonal ecosystem of the Atlantic Moroccan coast].

    PubMed

    Bazairi, Hocein; Bayed, Abdellatif; Hily, Christian

    2005-01-01

    The Merja Zerga lagoon is a semi-enclosed marine ecosystem in which various types of human activities have been developed. This paper characterizes the biosedimentary units of the lagoon and defines a reference status of the quality and health of the macrozoobenthic communities that can be used as bioindicators of the quality of the global marine environment. Specific and functional diversity were high: 147 taxa were identified; they were distributed within seven main trophic groups. Trophic structure is dominated by the suspension-feeding bivalve Cerastoderma edule and the deposit-feeding bivalve Scrobicularia plana, while micrograzers and macroherbivores remain low. Biotic index values indicated that the site is moderately perturbed and that the benthic communities are unbalanced. Nevertheless, the communities showed a seasonal stability of abundances and a high specific richness all through the year.

  7. Can benthic community structure be used to predict the process of bioturbation in real ecosystems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Queirós, Ana M.; Stephens, Nicholas; Cook, Richard; Ravaglioli, Chiara; Nunes, Joana; Dashfield, Sarah; Harris, Carolyn; Tilstone, Gavin H.; Fishwick, James; Braeckman, Ulrike; Somerfield, Paul J.; Widdicombe, Stephen

    2015-09-01

    Disentangling the roles of environmental change and natural environmental variability on biologically mediated ecosystem processes is paramount to predict future marine ecosystem functioning. Bioturbation, the biogenic mixing of sediments, has a regulating role in marine biogeochemical processes. However, our understanding of bioturbation as a community level process and of its environmental drivers is still limited by loose use of terminology, and a lack of consensus about what bioturbation is. To help resolve these challenges, this empirical study investigated the links between four different attributes of bioturbation (bioturbation depth, activity and distance, and biodiffusive transport); the ability of an index of bioturbation (BPc) to predict each of them; and their relation to seasonality, in a shallow coastal system - the Western Channel Observatory, UK. Bioturbation distance depended on changes in benthic community structure, while the other three attributes were more directly influenced by seasonality in food availability. In parallel, BPc successfully predicted bioturbation distance but not the other attributes of bioturbation. This study therefore highlights that community bioturbation results from this combination of processes responding to environmental variability at different time-scales. However, community level measurements of bioturbation across environmental variability are still scarce, and BPc is calculated using commonly available data on benthic community structure and the functional classification of invertebrates. Therefore, BPc could be used to support the growth of landscape scale bioturbation research, but future uses of the index need to consider which bioturbation attributes the index actually predicts. As BPc predicts bioturbation distance, estimated here using a random-walk model applicable to community settings, studies using either of the metrics should be directly comparable and contribute to a more integrated future for

  8. Alternate spatial sampling approaches for ecosystem structure inventory using spaceborne lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lefsky, M. A.; Ramond, T.; Weimer, C. S.

    2009-12-01

    Current and proposed spaceborne lidar sensors sample the land surface using observations along transects in which consecutive observations in the along-track dimension are either contiguous (e.g. VCL, DESDynI, Livex) or spaced (ICESat, ICESat-2). In contrast, vegetation inventories distribute field observations either in regular grids or within patches that are delineated to represent uniform conditions. In the context of supporting large scale inventories of ecosystem structure, a transect sampling pattern is inefficient because multiple observations are made of a spatially autocorrelated phenomenon while large areas of the landscape are left unsampled. This results in higher uncertainty in estimates of average ecosystem structure across landscapes than would be obtained using sampling in regular grids. As the pulses generated by a spaceborne laser are a valuable resource to be conserved, any strategy that decreases the number of observations required to develop large scale inventories with a given level of confidence should be pursued. Data fusion between lidar data and a spatially complete data source (e.g. polarmetric or interferrometric SAR) will also benefit from a spatially distributed sample of lidar as the average distance between any point and a lidar observation is greatly reduced. This study demonstrates that more flexible spatial arrangements of observations can result in estimates of average landscape height that have as little as one-third of the uncertainty of estimates made with an equal number of observations along transects. The method of sampling described here can be implemented by a technology, Electronically Steerable Flash Lidar, that can distribute observations in the patterns described here and simultaneously support transect sampling.

  9. Distribution, structure and function of Nordic eelgrass (Zostera marina) ecosystems: implications for coastal management and conservation

    PubMed Central

    Boström, Christoffer; Baden, Susanne; Bockelmann, Anna-Christina; Dromph, Karsten; Fredriksen, Stein; Gustafsson, Camilla; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Möller, Tiia; Nielsen, Søren Laurentius; Olesen, Birgit; Olsen, Jeanine; Pihl, Leif; Rinde, Eli

    2014-01-01

    This paper focuses on the marine foundation eelgrass species, Zostera marina, along a gradient from the northern Baltic Sea to the north-east Atlantic. This vast region supports a minimum of 1480 km2 eelgrass (maximum >2100 km2), which corresponds to more than four times the previously quantified area of eelgrass in Western Europe.Eelgrass meadows in the low salinity Baltic Sea support the highest diversity (4–6 spp.) of angiosperms overall, but eelgrass productivity is low (<2 g dw m-2 d-1) and meadows are isolated and genetically impoverished. Higher salinity areas support monospecific meadows, with higher productivity (3–10 g dw m-2 d-1) and greater genetic connectivity. The salinity gradient further imposes functional differences in biodiversity and food webs, in particular a decline in number, but increase in biomass of mesograzers in the Baltic.Significant declines in eelgrass depth limits and areal cover are documented, particularly in regions experiencing high human pressure. The failure of eelgrass to re-establish itself in affected areas, despite nutrient reductions and improved water quality, signals complex recovery trajectories and calls for much greater conservation effort to protect existing meadows.The knowledge base for Nordic eelgrass meadows is broad and sufficient to establish monitoring objectives across nine national borders. Nevertheless, ensuring awareness of their vulnerability remains challenging. Given the areal extent of Nordic eelgrass systems and the ecosystem services they provide, it is crucial to further develop incentives for protecting them. © 2014 The Authors. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:26167100

  10. How does conversion of natural tropical rainforest ecosystems affect soil bacterial and fungal communities in the Nile river watershed of Uganda?

    PubMed

    Alele, Peter O; Sheil, Douglas; Surget-Groba, Yann; Lingling, Shi; Cannon, Charles H

    2014-01-01

    Uganda's forests are globally important for their conservation values but are under pressure from increasing human population and consumption. In this study, we examine how conversion of natural forest affects soil bacterial and fungal communities. Comparisons in paired natural forest and human-converted sites among four locations indicated that natural forest soils consistently had higher pH, organic carbon, nitrogen, and calcium, although variation among sites was large. Despite these differences, no effect on the diversity of dominant taxa for either bacterial or fungal communities was detected, using polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Composition of fungal communities did generally appear different in converted sites, but surprisingly, we did not observe a consistent pattern among sites. The spatial distribution of some taxa and community composition was associated with soil pH, organic carbon, phosphorus and sodium, suggesting that changes in soil communities were nuanced and require more robust metagenomic methods to understand the various components of the community. Given the close geographic proximity of the paired sampling sites, the similarity between natural and converted sites might be due to continued dispersal between treatments. Fungal communities showed greater environmental differentiation than bacterial communities, particularly according to soil pH. We detected biotic homogenization in converted ecosystems and substantial contribution of β-diversity to total diversity, indicating considerable geographic structure in soil biota in these forest communities. Overall, our results suggest that soil microbial communities are relatively resilient to forest conversion and despite a substantial and consistent change in the soil environment, the effects of conversion differed widely among sites. The substantial difference in soil chemistry, with generally lower nutrient quantity in converted sites, does bring

  11. How Does Conversion of Natural Tropical Rainforest Ecosystems Affect Soil Bacterial and Fungal Communities in the Nile River Watershed of Uganda?

    PubMed Central

    Alele, Peter O.; Sheil, Douglas; Surget-Groba, Yann; Lingling, Shi; Cannon, Charles H.

    2014-01-01

    Uganda's forests are globally important for their conservation values but are under pressure from increasing human population and consumption. In this study, we examine how conversion of natural forest affects soil bacterial and fungal communities. Comparisons in paired natural forest and human-converted sites among four locations indicated that natural forest soils consistently had higher pH, organic carbon, nitrogen, and calcium, although variation among sites was large. Despite these differences, no effect on the diversity of dominant taxa for either bacterial or fungal communities was detected, using polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Composition of fungal communities did generally appear different in converted sites, but surprisingly, we did not observe a consistent pattern among sites. The spatial distribution of some taxa and community composition was associated with soil pH, organic carbon, phosphorus and sodium, suggesting that changes in soil communities were nuanced and require more robust metagenomic methods to understand the various components of the community. Given the close geographic proximity of the paired sampling sites, the similarity between natural and converted sites might be due to continued dispersal between treatments. Fungal communities showed greater environmental differentiation than bacterial communities, particularly according to soil pH. We detected biotic homogenization in converted ecosystems and substantial contribution of β-diversity to total diversity, indicating considerable geographic structure in soil biota in these forest communities. Overall, our results suggest that soil microbial communities are relatively resilient to forest conversion and despite a substantial and consistent change in the soil environment, the effects of conversion differed widely among sites. The substantial difference in soil chemistry, with generally lower nutrient quantity in converted sites, does bring

  12. How does conversion of natural tropical rainforest ecosystems affect soil bacterial and fungal communities in the Nile river watershed of Uganda?

    PubMed

    Alele, Peter O; Sheil, Douglas; Surget-Groba, Yann; Lingling, Shi; Cannon, Charles H

    2014-01-01

    Uganda's forests are globally important for their conservation values but are under pressure from increasing human population and consumption. In this study, we examine how conversion of natural forest affects soil bacterial and fungal communities. Comparisons in paired natural forest and human-converted sites among four locations indicated that natural forest soils consistently had higher pH, organic carbon, nitrogen, and calcium, although variation among sites was large. Despite these differences, no effect on the diversity of dominant taxa for either bacterial or fungal communities was detected, using polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Composition of fungal communities did generally appear different in converted sites, but surprisingly, we did not observe a consistent pattern among sites. The spatial distribution of some taxa and community composition was associated with soil pH, organic carbon, phosphorus and sodium, suggesting that changes in soil communities were nuanced and require more robust metagenomic methods to understand the various components of the community. Given the close geographic proximity of the paired sampling sites, the similarity between natural and converted sites might be due to continued dispersal between treatments. Fungal communities showed greater environmental differentiation than bacterial communities, particularly according to soil pH. We detected biotic homogenization in converted ecosystems and substantial contribution of β-diversity to total diversity, indicating considerable geographic structure in soil biota in these forest communities. Overall, our results suggest that soil microbial communities are relatively resilient to forest conversion and despite a substantial and consistent change in the soil environment, the effects of conversion differed widely among sites. The substantial difference in soil chemistry, with generally lower nutrient quantity in converted sites, does bring

  13. Effects of common seagrass restoration methods on ecosystem structure in subtropical seagrass meadows.

    PubMed

    Bourque, Amanda S; Fourqurean, James W

    2014-06-01

    Seagrass meadows near population centers are subject to frequent disturbance from vessel groundings. Common seagrass restoration methods include filling excavations and applying fertilizer to encourage seagrass recruitment. We sampled macrophytes, soil structure, and macroinvertebrate infauna at unrestored and recently restored vessel grounding disturbances to evaluate the effects of these restoration methods on seagrass ecosystem structure. After a year of observations comparing filled sites to both undisturbed reference and unrestored disturbed sites, filled sites had low organic matter content, nutrient pools, and primary producer abundance. Adding a nutrient source increased porewater nutrient pools at disturbed sites and in undisturbed meadows, but not at filled sites. Environmental predictors of infaunal community structure across treatments included soil texture and nutrient pools. At the one year time scale, the restoration methods studied did not result in convergence between restored and unrestored sites. Particularly in filled sites, soil conditions may combine to constrain rapid development of the seagrass community and associated infauna. Our study is important for understanding early recovery trajectories following restoration using these methods.

  14. Structured populations of the oriental fruit moth in an agricultural ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Torriani, Marco V G; Mazzi, Dominique; Hein, Silke; Dorn, Silvia

    2010-07-01

    Intercontinental trade has led to multiple introductions of invasive pest species at a global scale. Molecular analyses of the structure of populations support the understanding of ecological strategies and evolutionary patterns that promote successful biological invasions. The oriental fruit moth, Grapholita (= Cydia) molesta, is a cosmopolitan and economically destructive pest of stone and pome fruits, expanding its distribution range concomitantly with global climate warming. We used ten newly developed polymorphic microsatellite markers to examine the genetic structure of G. molesta populations in an agricultural ecosystem in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Larvae collected in eight sampling sites were assigned to a mosaic of five populations with significant intra-regional structure. Inferred measures of gene flow within populations implicated both active dispersal, and passive dispersal associated with accidental anthropogenic displacements. Small effective population sizes, coupled with high inbreeding levels, highlighted the effect of orchard management practices on the observed patterns of genetic variation within the sampling sites. Isolation by distance did not appear to play a major role at the spatial scale considered. Our results provide new insights into the population genetics and dynamics of an invasive pest species at a regional scale.

  15. [Structure and function of Fenshuijiang Reservoir ecosystem based on the analysis with Ecopath model].

    PubMed

    Wu, Zhen; Jia, Pei-Qiao; Hu, Zhong-Jun; Chen, Li-Qiao; Gu, Zhi-Min; Liu, Qi-Gen

    2012-03-01

    Based on the 2008-2009 survey data of fishery resources and eco-environment of Fenshuijiang Reservoir, a mass balance model for the Reservoir ecosystem was constructed by Ecopath with Ecosim software. The model was composed of 14 functional groups, including silver carp, bighead carp, Hemibarbus maculates, Cutler alburnus, Microlepis and other fishes, Oligochaeta, aquatic insect, zooplankton, phytoplankton, and organic detritus, etc. , being able to better simulate Fenshuijiang Reservoir ecosystem. In this ecosystem, there were five trophic levels (TLs), and the nutrient flow mainly occurred in the first three TLs. Grazing and detritus food chains were the main energy flows in the ecosystem, but the food web was simpler and susceptible to be disturbed by outer environment. The transfer efficiency at lower TLs was relatively low, indicating that the ecosystem had a lower capability in energy utilization, and the excessive stock of nutrients in the ecosystem could lead to eutrophication. The lower connectance index, system omnivory index, Finn' s cycled index, and Finn's mean path length demonstrated that the ecosystem was unstable, while the high ecosystem property indices such as Pp/R and Pp/B showed that the ecosystem was immature and highly productive. It was suggested that Fenshuijiang Reservoir was still a developing new reservoir ecosystem, with a very short history and comparatively high primary productivity.

  16. [Structure and function of Fenshuijiang Reservoir ecosystem based on the analysis with Ecopath model].

    PubMed

    Wu, Zhen; Jia, Pei-Qiao; Hu, Zhong-Jun; Chen, Li-Qiao; Gu, Zhi-Min; Liu, Qi-Gen

    2012-03-01

    Based on the 2008-2009 survey data of fishery resources and eco-environment of Fenshuijiang Reservoir, a mass balance model for the Reservoir ecosystem was constructed by Ecopath with Ecosim software. The model was composed of 14 functional groups, including silver carp, bighead carp, Hemibarbus maculates, Cutler alburnus, Microlepis and other fishes, Oligochaeta, aquatic insect, zooplankton, phytoplankton, and organic detritus, etc. , being able to better simulate Fenshuijiang Reservoir ecosystem. In this ecosystem, there were five trophic levels (TLs), and the nutrient flow mainly occurred in the first three TLs. Grazing and detritus food chains were the main energy flows in the ecosystem, but the food web was simpler and susceptible to be disturbed by outer environment. The transfer efficiency at lower TLs was relatively low, indicating that the ecosystem had a lower capability in energy utilization, and the excessive stock of nutrients in the ecosystem could lead to eutrophication. The lower connectance index, system omnivory index, Finn' s cycled index, and Finn's mean path length demonstrated that the ecosystem was unstable, while the high ecosystem property indices such as Pp/R and Pp/B showed that the ecosystem was immature and highly productive. It was suggested that Fenshuijiang Reservoir was still a developing new reservoir ecosystem, with a very short history and comparatively high primary productivity. PMID:22720630

  17. Abandoned coal mine drainage and its remediation: impacts on stream ecosystem structure and function.

    PubMed

    Bott, Thomas L; Jackson, John K; McTammany, Matthew E; Newbold, J Denis; Rier, Steven T; Sweeney, Bernard W; Battle, Juliann M

    2012-12-01

    The effects of abandoned mine drainage (AMD) on streams and responses to remediation efforts were studied using three streams (AMD-impacted, remediated, reference) in both the anthracite and the bituminous coal mining regions of Pennsylvania (USA). Response variables included ecosystem function as well as water chemistry and macroinvertebrate community composition. The bituminous AMD stream was extremely acidic with high dissolved metals concentrations, a prolific mid-summer growth of the filamentous alga, Mougeotia, and > 10-fold more chlorophyll than the reference stream. The anthracite AMD stream had a higher pH, substrata coated with iron hydroxide(s), and negligible chlorophyll. Macroinvertebrate communities in the AMD streams were different from the reference streams, the remediated streams, and each other. Relative to the reference stream, the AMD stream(s) had (1) greater gross primary productivity (GPP) in the bituminous region and undetectable GPP in the anthracite region, (2) greater ecosystem respiration in both regions, (3) greatly reduced ammonium uptake and nitrification in both regions, (4) lower nitrate uptake in the bituminous (but not the anthracite) region, (5) more rapid phosphorus removal from the water column in both regions, (6) activities of phosphorus-acquiring, nitrogen-acquiring, and hydrolytic-carbon-acquiring enzymes that indicated extreme phosphorus limitation in both regions, and (7) slower oak and maple leaf decomposition in the bituminous region and slower oak decomposition in the anthracite region. Remediation brought chlorophyll concentrations and GPP nearer to values for respective reference streams, depressed ecosystem respiration, restored ammonium uptake, and partially restored nitrification in the bituminous (but not the anthracite) region, reduced nitrate uptake to an undetectable level, restored phosphorus uptake to near normal rates, and brought enzyme activities more in line with the reference stream in the bituminous

  18. Abandoned coal mine drainage and its remediation: impacts on stream ecosystem structure and function.

    PubMed

    Bott, Thomas L; Jackson, John K; McTammany, Matthew E; Newbold, J Denis; Rier, Steven T; Sweeney, Bernard W; Battle, Juliann M

    2012-12-01

    The effects of abandoned mine drainage (AMD) on streams and responses to remediation efforts were studied using three streams (AMD-impacted, remediated, reference) in both the anthracite and the bituminous coal mining regions of Pennsylvania (USA). Response variables included ecosystem function as well as water chemistry and macroinvertebrate community composition. The bituminous AMD stream was extremely acidic with high dissolved metals concentrations, a prolific mid-summer growth of the filamentous alga, Mougeotia, and > 10-fold more chlorophyll than the reference stream. The anthracite AMD stream had a higher pH, substrata coated with iron hydroxide(s), and negligible chlorophyll. Macroinvertebrate communities in the AMD streams were different from the reference streams, the remediated streams, and each other. Relative to the reference stream, the AMD stream(s) had (1) greater gross primary productivity (GPP) in the bituminous region and undetectable GPP in the anthracite region, (2) greater ecosystem respiration in both regions, (3) greatly reduced ammonium uptake and nitrification in both regions, (4) lower nitrate uptake in the bituminous (but not the anthracite) region, (5) more rapid phosphorus removal from the water column in both regions, (6) activities of phosphorus-acquiring, nitrogen-acquiring, and hydrolytic-carbon-acquiring enzymes that indicated extreme phosphorus limitation in both regions, and (7) slower oak and maple leaf decomposition in the bituminous region and slower oak decomposition in the anthracite region. Remediation brought chlorophyll concentrations and GPP nearer to values for respective reference streams, depressed ecosystem respiration, restored ammonium uptake, and partially restored nitrification in the bituminous (but not the anthracite) region, reduced nitrate uptake to an undetectable level, restored phosphorus uptake to near normal rates, and brought enzyme activities more in line with the reference stream in the bituminous

  19. 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

  20. Structural and functional changes in early successional stages of a semiarid ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Redente, E.F.; Cook, C.W.

    1986-02-01

    The objective of our research was to study structural and functional changes that occur within and between ecosystem compartments during secondary succession in disturbed semiarid environments. First year data clearly showed an increase in resource abundance after disturbance which produced not only alteration of the soil surface but a decrease in available organic matter. In addition, marked increases in NO3 and soil water potentials were evident at all depths in the disturbed sites as compared to the undisturbed community. Soil disturbance as well as manipulation of the microflora compartment by fumigation had a significant impact on microflora structure and function. The mycorrhizal population was also drastically reduced by disturbance and fumigation. The floristic composition of the primary producers on the disturbed site was highly correlated with the propagule supply, with composition of the seed bank being the main driving force. Competition studies between bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron inerme), western wheatgrass, big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), and winterfat (Ceratoides lanata) showed that these four species were able to coexist under a wide range of water availability conditions. The final phase of an experiment designed to determine the effects of retorted shale recarbonation on plant uptake of toxic trace elements was completed. These initial studies indicate that both plant community characteristics and the presence of a functioning belowground community will be important in secondary succession processes which occur in disturbed semiarid environments. 36 figs., 41 tabs.

  1. Changing Ecosystem Service Values Following Technological Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Honey-Rosés, Jordi; Schneider, Daniel W.; Brozović, Nicholas

    2014-06-01

    Research on ecosystem services has focused mostly on natural areas or remote places, with less attention given to urban ecosystem services and their relationship with technological change. However, recent work by urban ecologists and urban designers has more closely examined and appreciated the opportunities associated with integrating natural and built infrastructures. Nevertheless, a perception remains in the literature on ecosystem services that technology may easily and irreversibly substitute for services previously obtained from ecosystems, especially when the superiority of the engineered system motivated replacement in the first place. We emphasize that the expected tradeoff between natural and manufactured capital is false. Rather, as argued in other contexts, the adoption of new technologies is complementary to ecosystem management. The complementarity of ecosystem services and technology is illustrated with a case study in Barcelona, Spain where the installation of sophisticated water treatment technology increased the value of the ecosystem services found there. Interestingly, the complementarity between natural and built infrastructures may remain even for the very ecosystems that are affected by the technological change. This finding suggests that we can expect the value of ecosystem services to co-evolve with new technologies. Technological innovation can generate new opportunities to harness value from ecosystems, and the engineered structures found in cities may generate more reliance on ecosystem processes, not less.

  2. Risk and markets for ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Bendor, Todd K; Riggsbee, J Adam; Doyle, Martin

    2011-12-15

    Market-based environmental regulations (e.g., cap and trade, "payments for ecosystem services") are increasingly common. However, few detailed studies of operating ecosystem markets have lent understanding to how such policies affect incentive structures for improving environmental quality. The largest U.S. market stems from the Clean Water Act provisions requiring ecosystem restoration to offset aquatic ecosystems damaged during development. We describe and test how variations in the rules governing this ecosystem market shift risk between regulators and entrepreneurs to promote ecological restoration. We analyze extensive national scale data to assess how two critical aspects of market structure - (a) the geographic scale of markets and (b) policies dictating the release of credits - affect the willingness of entrepreneurs to enter specific markets and produce credits. We find no discernible relationship between policies attempting to ease market entry and either the number of individual producers or total credits produced. Rather, market entry is primarily related to regional geography (the prevalence of aquatic ecosystems) and regional economic growth. Any improvements to policies governing ecosystem markets require explicit evaluation of the interplay between policy and risk elements affecting both regulators and entrepreneurial credit providers. Our findings extend to emerging, regulated ecosystem markets, including proposed carbon offset mechanisms, biodiversity banking, and water quality trading programs. PMID:22044319

  3. Risk and markets for ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Bendor, Todd K; Riggsbee, J Adam; Doyle, Martin

    2011-12-15

    Market-based environmental regulations (e.g., cap and trade, "payments for ecosystem services") are increasingly common. However, few detailed studies of operating ecosystem markets have lent understanding to how such policies affect incentive structures for improving environmental quality. The largest U.S. market stems from the Clean Water Act provisions requiring ecosystem restoration to offset aquatic ecosystems damaged during development. We describe and test how variations in the rules governing this ecosystem market shift risk between regulators and entrepreneurs to promote ecological restoration. We analyze extensive national scale data to assess how two critical aspects of market structure - (a) the geographic scale of markets and (b) policies dictating the release of credits - affect the willingness of entrepreneurs to enter specific markets and produce credits. We find no discernible relationship between policies attempting to ease market entry and either the number of individual producers or total credits produced. Rather, market entry is primarily related to regional geography (the prevalence of aquatic ecosystems) and regional economic growth. Any improvements to policies governing ecosystem markets require explicit evaluation of the interplay between policy and risk elements affecting both regulators and entrepreneurial credit providers. Our findings extend to emerging, regulated ecosystem markets, including proposed carbon offset mechanisms, biodiversity banking, and water quality trading programs.

  4. Artificial structures in sediment-dominated estuaries and their possible influences on the ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, Markus A; Scholle, Jörg; Teschke, Katharina

    2014-08-01

    Artificial substrates are omnipresent today in most estuaries mostly in form of massive rip-rap used for groynes and jetties. In the Weser estuary, Germany, 60% of the shoreline is covered with such artificial substrates while, natural rocky substrate is lacking, as in all Wadden Sea estuaries. This large quantity of artificial substrates may be colonized by a benthic hard-substrate community which differs from the local natural soft-substrate assemblage. In this study we examined species compositions, abundances, biomass, and numbers of species of subtidal benthic communities on groynes and in the natural habitat, the sediment, along the salinity gradient of the Weser estuary. Species composition changed on both substrates significantly with salinity and was also significantly different between the substrates. In a comparison with the sediment, the groynes did not provide any benefit for non-indigenous nor for endangered species in terms of abundance, biomass, and number of species, but represent habitats with higher total abundances and biomass; though some non-indigenous species even occurred exclusively on groynes. In particular, groynes supported filter-feeding organisms which play an important role by linking benthic and pelagic food webs. The dominance of the suspension feeders affects crucial estuarine ecosystem services and may have important implications for the estuarine management by altering the estuarine ecological quality status. Hence, artificial substrates should be considered in future conservation planning and in ecological quality monitoring of the benthic fauna according to the European Water Framework Directive. PMID:24816192

  5. Artificial structures in sediment-dominated estuaries and their possible influences on the ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, Markus A; Scholle, Jörg; Teschke, Katharina

    2014-08-01

    Artificial substrates are omnipresent today in most estuaries mostly in form of massive rip-rap used for groynes and jetties. In the Weser estuary, Germany, 60% of the shoreline is covered with such artificial substrates while, natural rocky substrate is lacking, as in all Wadden Sea estuaries. This large quantity of artificial substrates may be colonized by a benthic hard-substrate community which differs from the local natural soft-substrate assemblage. In this study we examined species compositions, abundances, biomass, and numbers of species of subtidal benthic communities on groynes and in the natural habitat, the sediment, along the salinity gradient of the Weser estuary. Species composition changed on both substrates significantly with salinity and was also significantly different between the substrates. In a comparison with the sediment, the groynes did not provide any benefit for non-indigenous nor for endangered species in terms of abundance, biomass, and number of species, but represent habitats with higher total abundances and biomass; though some non-indigenous species even occurred exclusively on groynes. In particular, groynes supported filter-feeding organisms which play an important role by linking benthic and pelagic food webs. The dominance of the suspension feeders affects crucial estuarine ecosystem services and may have important implications for the estuarine management by altering the estuarine ecological quality status. Hence, artificial substrates should be considered in future conservation planning and in ecological quality monitoring of the benthic fauna according to the European Water Framework Directive.

  6. Soil warming alters nitrogen cycling in a New England forest: implications for ecosystem function and structure.

    PubMed

    Butler, S M; Melillo, J M; Johnson, J E; Mohan, J; Steudler, P A; Lux, H; Burrows, E; Smith, R M; Vario, C L; Scott, L; Hill, T D; Aponte, N; Bowles, F

    2012-03-01

    Global climate change is expected to affect terrestrial ecosystems in a variety of ways. Some of the more well-studied effects include the biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system that can either increase or decrease the atmospheric load of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Less well-studied are the effects of climate change on the linkages between soil and plant processes. Here, we report the effects of soil warming on these linkages observed in a large field manipulation of a deciduous forest in southern New England, USA, where soil was continuously warmed 5°C above ambient for 7 years. Over this period, we have observed significant changes to the nitrogen cycle that have the potential to affect tree species composition in the long term. Since the start of the experiment, we have documented a 45% average annual increase in net nitrogen mineralization and a three-fold increase in nitrification such that in years 5 through 7, 25% of the nitrogen mineralized is then nitrified. The warming-induced increase of available nitrogen resulted in increases in the foliar nitrogen content and the relative growth rate of trees in the warmed area. Acer rubrum (red maple) trees have responded the most after 7 years of warming, with the greatest increases in both foliar nitrogen content and relative growth rates. Our study suggests that considering species-specific responses to increases in nitrogen availability and changes in nitrogen form is important in predicting future forest composition and feedbacks to the climate system. PMID:21983640

  7. Soil warming alters nitrogen cycling in a New England forest: implications for ecosystem function and structure.

    PubMed

    Butler, S M; Melillo, J M; Johnson, J E; Mohan, J; Steudler, P A; Lux, H; Burrows, E; Smith, R M; Vario, C L; Scott, L; Hill, T D; Aponte, N; Bowles, F

    2012-03-01

    Global climate change is expected to affect terrestrial ecosystems in a variety of ways. Some of the more well-studied effects include the biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system that can either increase or decrease the atmospheric load of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Less well-studied are the effects of climate change on the linkages between soil and plant processes. Here, we report the effects of soil warming on these linkages observed in a large field manipulation of a deciduous forest in southern New England, USA, where soil was continuously warmed 5°C above ambient for 7 years. Over this period, we have observed significant changes to the nitrogen cycle that have the potential to affect tree species composition in the long term. Since the start of the experiment, we have documented a 45% average annual increase in net nitrogen mineralization and a three-fold increase in nitrification such that in years 5 through 7, 25% of the nitrogen mineralized is then nitrified. The warming-induced increase of available nitrogen resulted in increases in the foliar nitrogen content and the relative growth rate of trees in the warmed area. Acer rubrum (red maple) trees have responded the most after 7 years of warming, with the greatest increases in both foliar nitrogen content and relative growth rates. Our study suggests that considering species-specific responses to increases in nitrogen availability and changes in nitrogen form is important in predicting future forest composition and feedbacks to the climate system.

  8. How will ocean acidification affect Baltic sea ecosystems? an assessment of plausible impacts on key functional groups.

    PubMed

    Havenhand, Jonathan N

    2012-09-01

    Increasing partial pressure of atmospheric CO₂ is causing ocean pH to fall-a process known as 'ocean acidification'. Scenario modeling suggests that ocean acidification in the Baltic Sea may cause a ≤ 3 times increase in acidity (reduction of 0.2-0.4 pH units) by the year 2100. The responses of most Baltic Sea organisms to ocean acidification are poorly understood. Available data suggest that most species and ecologically important groups in the Baltic Sea food web (phytoplankton, zooplankton, macrozoobenthos, cod and sprat) will be robust to the expected changes in pH. These conclusions come from (mostly) single-species and single-factor studies. Determining the emergent effects of ocean acidification on the ecosystem from such studies is problematic, yet very few studies have used multiple stressors and/or multiple trophic levels. There is an urgent need for more data from Baltic Sea populations, particularly from environmentally diverse regions and from controlled mesocosm experiments. In the absence of such information it is difficult to envision the likely effects of future ocean acidification on Baltic Sea species and ecosystems.

  9. Interactive effects between N addition and disturbance on boreal forest ecosystem structure and function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nordin, Annika; Strengbom, Joachim; From, Fredrik

    2014-05-01

    In management of boreal forests, nitrogen (N) enrichment from atmospheric deposition or from forest fertilization can appear in combination with land-use related disturbances, i.e. tree harvesting by clear-felling. Long-term interactive effects between N enrichment and disturbance on boreal forest ecosystem structure and function are, however, poorly known. We investigated effects of N enrichment by forest fertilization done > 25 years ago on forest understory species composition in old-growth (undisturbed) forests, and in forests clear-felled 10 years ago (disturbed). In clear-felled forests we also investigated effects of the previous N addition on growth of tree saplings. The results show that the N enrichment effect on the understory species composition was strongly dependent on the disturbance caused by clear-felling. In undisturbed forests, there were small or no effects on understory species composition from N addition. In contrast, effects were large in forests first exposed to N addition and subsequently disturbed by clear-felling. Effects of N addition differed among functional groups of plants. Abundance of graminoids increased (+232%) and abundance of dwarf shrubs decreased (-44%) following disturbance in N fertilized forests. For vascular plants, the two perturbations had contrasting effects on α-(within forests) and β-diversity (among forests): in disturbed forests, N addition reduced, or had no effect on α-diversity, while β-diversity increased. For bryophytes, negative effects of disturbance on α-diversity were smaller in N fertilized forests than in forests not fertilized, while neither N addition nor disturbance had any effects on β-diversity. Moreover, sapling growth in forests clear-felled 10 years ago was significantly higher in previously N fertilized forests than in forests not fertilized. Our study show that effects of N addition on plant communities may appear small, short-lived, or even absent until exposed to a disturbance. This

  10. Uncoupling of microbial community structure and function in decomposing litter across beech forest ecosystems in Central Europe

    PubMed Central

    Purahong, Witoon; Schloter, Michael; Pecyna, Marek J.; Kapturska, Danuta; Däumlich, Veronika; Mital, Sanchit; Buscot, François; Hofrichter, Martin; Gutknecht, Jessica L. M.; Krüger, Dirk

    2014-01-01

    The widespread paradigm in ecology that community structure determines function has recently been challenged by the high complexity of microbial communities. Here, we investigate the patterns of and connections between microbial community structure and microbially-mediated ecological function across different forest management practices and temporal changes in leaf litter across beech forest ecosystems in Central Europe. Our results clearly indicate distinct pattern of microbial community structure in response to forest management and time. However, those patterns were not reflected when potential enzymatic activities of microbes were measured. We postulate that in our forest ecosystems, a disconnect between microbial community structure and function may be present due to differences between the drivers of microbial growth and those of microbial function. PMID:25388562

  11. Uncoupling of microbial community structure and function in decomposing litter across beech forest ecosystems in Central Europe.

    PubMed

    Purahong, Witoon; Schloter, Michael; Pecyna, Marek J; Kapturska, Danuta; Däumlich, Veronika; Mital, Sanchit; Buscot, François; Hofrichter, Martin; Gutknecht, Jessica L M; Krüger, Dirk

    2014-01-01

    The widespread paradigm in ecology that community structure determines function has recently been challenged by the high complexity of microbial communities. Here, we investigate the patterns of and connections between microbial community structure and microbially-mediated ecological function across different forest management practices and temporal changes in leaf litter across beech forest ecosystems in Central Europe. Our results clearly indicate distinct pattern of microbial community structure in response to forest management and time. However, those patterns were not reflected when potential enzymatic activities of microbes were measured. We postulate that in our forest ecosystems, a disconnect between microbial community structure and function may be present due to differences between the drivers of microbial growth and those of microbial function. PMID:25388562

  12. Subterranean ventilation: a key but poorly known process affecting the carbon balance of semi-arid ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    López Ballesteros, Ana; Sánchez Cañete, Enrique P.; Serrano Ortiz, Penélope; Kowalski, Andrew S.; Oyonarte, Cecilio; Domingo, Francisco

    2016-04-01

    Subterranean ventilation, conceived as the advective transport of CO2-rich air from the vadose zone to the atmosphere through a porous media (i.e. soil or snow; Sánchez-Cañete et al., 2013), has arisen as an important process contributing to the carbon (C) balance of Mediterranean ecosystems (Kowalski et al., 2008; Sánchez-Cañete et al., 2011; Serrano-Ortiz et al., 2014), apart from other well-known biotic processes (i.e. plant photosynthesis, autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration). Recent studies have linked this subterranean CO2 release to fluctuations in the friction velocity or wind speed under drought conditions when water-free soil pores enable air transport (Rey et al., 2012a, 2013), however, barometric pressure variations has been suggested as another important driver (Sánchez-Cañete et al., 2013). In this study, we investigate this process in newly studied semi-arid grassland located in SE Spain, as the ideal ecosystem to do so given the great length of the dry season and the slight biotic activity limited to the winter season. Preliminary results, based on unpublished analyzed eddy covariance data and subterranean CO2 molar fraction measurements, confirm the presence of ventilation events from May to October for seven years 2009-2015. During these events, increases in the friction velocity correlates with sizeable CO2 emissions of up to ca.10 μmol m‑2 s‑1, and CO2 molar fraction regularly drops 2000-3000 ppm just after the turbulence peak, at several depths below the soil surface (0.15 and 1.5 m). Additionally, during the driest period (July-August), the friction velocity explains from 37% to 57% of the net C emission variability. On the other hand, the model residuals do not show a significant relationship, neither with air pressure nor with soil water content. Overall, the results found in this newly monitored site demonstrate, as shown by past research, the relevance of subterranean ventilation as a key process in the C balance of

  13. Subterranean ventilation: a key but poorly known process affecting the carbon balance of semi-arid ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    López Ballesteros, Ana; Sánchez Cañete, Enrique P.; Serrano Ortiz, Penélope; Kowalski, Andrew S.; Oyonarte, Cecilio; Domingo, Francisco

    2016-04-01

    Subterranean ventilation, conceived as the advective transport of CO2-rich air from the vadose zone to the atmosphere through a porous media (i.e. soil or snow; Sánchez-Cañete et al., 2013), has arisen as an important process contributing to the carbon (C) balance of Mediterranean ecosystems (Kowalski et al., 2008; Sánchez-Cañete et al., 2011; Serrano-Ortiz et al., 2014), apart from other well-known biotic processes (i.e. plant photosynthesis, autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration). Recent studies have linked this subterranean CO2 release to fluctuations in the friction velocity or wind speed under drought conditions when water-free soil pores enable air transport (Rey et al., 2012a, 2013), however, barometric pressure variations has been suggested as another important driver (Sánchez-Cañete et al., 2013). In this study, we investigate this process in newly studied semi-arid grassland located in SE Spain, as the ideal ecosystem to do so given the great length of the dry season and the slight biotic activity limited to the winter season. Preliminary results, based on unpublished analyzed eddy covariance data and subterranean CO2 molar fraction measurements, confirm the presence of ventilation events from May to October for seven years 2009-2015. During these events, increases in the friction velocity correlates with sizeable CO2 emissions of up to ca.10 μmol m-2 s-1, and CO2 molar fraction regularly drops 2000-3000 ppm just after the turbulence peak, at several depths below the soil surface (0.15 and 1.5 m). Additionally, during the driest period (July-August), the friction velocity explains from 37% to 57% of the net C emission variability. On the other hand, the model residuals do not show a significant relationship, neither with air pressure nor with soil water content. Overall, the results found in this newly monitored site demonstrate, as shown by past research, the relevance of subterranean ventilation as a key process in the C balance of

  14. Rapid Morphological Change in the Masticatory Structures of an Important Ecosystem Service Provider.

    PubMed

    Doudna, John W; Danielson, Brent J

    2015-01-01

    Humans have altered the biotic and abiotic environmental conditions of most organisms. In some cases, such as intensive agriculture, an organism's entire ecosystem is converted to novel conditions. Thus, it is striking that some species continue to thrive under such conditions. The prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) is an example of such an organism, and so we sought to understand what role evolutionary adaptation played in the success of this species, with particular interest in adaptations to novel foods. In order to understand the evolutionary history of this species' masticatory structures, we examined the maxilla, zygomatic plate, and mandible of historic specimens collected prior to 1910 to specimens collected in 2012 and 2013. We found that mandibles, zygomatic plates, and maxilla have all changed significantly since 1910, and that morphological development has shifted significantly. We present compelling evidence that these differences are due to natural selection as a response to a novel and ubiquitous food source, waste grain (corn, Zea mays and soybean, Glycine max). PMID:26061880

  15. Propagule supply controls grazer community structure and primary production in a benthic marine ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Sarah C.; Bruno, John F.

    2009-01-01

    Early theories of species diversity proposed that communities at equilibrium are saturated with species. However, experiments in plant communities suggest that many communities are unsaturated and species richness can be increased by adding propagules of new species. We experimentally tested for community saturation and measured the effects of propagule supply on community structure in a benthic marine system. We manipulated propagule supply (arrival of individuals of numerous species) of mobile grazers in experimental mesocosms over multiple generations and, unlike previous tests, we examined the cascading effects of propagule supply on prey (macroalgae) biomass. We found little evidence for saturation, despite the absence of processes such as disturbance and predation that are thought to alleviate saturation in nature. Increasing propagule supply increased the total number of species and made rare species more abundant. Perhaps surprisingly, given the strong effect of propagule supply on species richness, supply-related changes in body size and composition suggest that competitive interactions remained important. Grazer supply also had strong cascading effects on primary production, possibly because of dietary complementarity modified by territorial behavior. Our results indicate that propagule supply can directly influence the diversity and composition of communities of mobile animals. Furthermore, the supply of consumer propagules can have strong indirect effects on prey and fundamental ecosystem properties. PMID:19359487

  16. Use of structured decision making to identify monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marsh ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neckles, Hilary A.; Lyons, James E.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Shriver, W. Gregory; Adamowicz, Susan C.

    2015-01-01

    Most salt marshes in the USA have been degraded by human activities, and coastal managers are faced with complex choices among possible actions to restore or enhance ecosystem integrity. We applied structured decision making (SDM) to guide selection of monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marshes within the National Wildlife Refuge System in the northeastern USA. In general, SDM is a systematic process for decomposing a decision into its essential elements. We first engaged stakeholders in clarifying regional salt marsh decision problems, defining objectives and attributes to evaluate whether objectives are achieved, and developing a pool of alternative management actions for achieving objectives. Through this process, we identified salt marsh attributes that were applicable to monitoring National Wildlife Refuges on a regional scale and that targeted management needs. We then analyzed management decisions within three salt marsh units at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, coastal Delaware, as a case example of prioritizing management alternatives. Values for salt marsh attributes were estimated from 2 years of baseline monitoring data and expert opinion. We used linear value modeling to aggregate multiple attributes into a single performance score for each alternative, constrained optimization to identify alternatives that maximized total management benefits subject to refuge-wide cost constraints, and used graphical analysis to identify the optimal set of alternatives for the refuge. SDM offers an efficient, transparent approach for integrating monitoring into management practice and improving the quality of management decisions.

  17. Rapid Morphological Change in the Masticatory Structures of an Important Ecosystem Service Provider

    PubMed Central

    Doudna, John W.; Danielson, Brent J.

    2015-01-01

    Humans have altered the biotic and abiotic environmental conditions of most organisms. In some cases, such as intensive agriculture, an organism’s entire ecosystem is converted to novel conditions. Thus, it is striking that some species continue to thrive under such conditions. The prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) is an example of such an organism, and so we sought to understand what role evolutionary adaptation played in the success of this species, with particular interest in adaptations to novel foods. In order to understand the evolutionary history of this species’ masticatory structures, we examined the maxilla, zygomatic plate, and mandible of historic specimens collected prior to 1910 to specimens collected in 2012 and 2013. We found that mandibles, zygomatic plates, and maxilla have all changed significantly since 1910, and that morphological development has shifted significantly. We present compelling evidence that these differences are due to natural selection as a response to a novel and ubiquitous food source, waste grain (corn, Zea mays and soybean, Glycine max). PMID:26061880

  18. Community structure and nutrient content of canopy arthropods in clearcut and uncut forest ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Schowalter, T.D.; Webb, J.W.; Crossley, D.A. Jr.

    1981-08-01

    This paper describes differences in canopy arthropod community structure, major cation content, and calculated nutrient consumption between clearcut and undisturbed hardwood forest watersheds at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, North Carolina, USA, during the first two growing seasons following cutting. Although canopy arthropod biomass was about 0.08% of foliage biomass on both watersheds, aphid mass increased 23-fold and ant mass increased 6-fold per unit foliage mass following cutting. These groups in general had lower nutrient concentrations than did chewing herbivores and predators. Arthropod K concentrations were 33% lower on the clearcut; Na, K, and Mg concentrations were 20 to 50% higher in 1978 than in 1977. Arthropod Mg and Ca concentrations, but not Na and K, were reduced significantly more by the greater effect of drought on the clearcut watershed. Consumption estimates based in part on consumption rates reported by others indicated increased nutrient translocation from foilage via arthropods following cutting. These data indicated that canopy arthropod responses to changes in nutrient availability following disturbance could have increased nutrient cycling rates and contributed to nutrient retention by the recovering ecosystem.

  19. Rapid Morphological Change in the Masticatory Structures of an Important Ecosystem Service Provider.

    PubMed

    Doudna, John W; Danielson, Brent J

    2015-01-01

    Humans have altered the biotic and abiotic environmental conditions of most organisms. In some cases, such as intensive agriculture, an organism's entire ecosystem is converted to novel conditions. Thus, it is striking that some species continue to thrive under such conditions. The prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) is an example of such an organism, and so we sought to understand what role evolutionary adaptation played in the success of this species, with particular interest in adaptations to novel foods. In order to understand the evolutionary history of this species' masticatory structures, we examined the maxilla, zygomatic plate, and mandible of historic specimens collected prior to 1910 to specimens collected in 2012 and 2013. We found that mandibles, zygomatic plates, and maxilla have all changed significantly since 1910, and that morphological development has shifted significantly. We present compelling evidence that these differences are due to natural selection as a response to a novel and ubiquitous food source, waste grain (corn, Zea mays and soybean, Glycine max).

  20. Wetlands serve as natural sources for improvement of stream ecosystem health in regions affected by acid deposition.

    PubMed

    Pound, Katrina L; Lawrence, Gregory B; Passy, Sophia I

    2013-09-01

    For over 40 years, acid deposition has been recognized as a serious international environmental problem, but efforts to restore acidified streams and biota have had limited success. The need to better understand the effects of different sources of acidity on streams has become more pressing with the recent increases in surface water organic acids, or 'brownification,' associated with climate change and decreased inorganic acid deposition. Here, we carried out a large scale multi-seasonal investigation in the Adirondacks, one of the most acid-impacted regions in the United States, to assess how acid stream producers respond to local and watershed influences and whether these influences can be used in acidification remediation. We explored the pathways of wetland control on aluminum chemistry and diatom taxonomic and functional composition. We demonstrate that streams with larger watershed wetlands have higher organic content, lower concentrations of acidic anions, and lower ratios of inorganic to organic monomeric aluminum, all beneficial for diatom biodiversity and guilds producing high biomass. Although brownification has been viewed as a form of pollution, our results indicate that it may be a stimulating force for biofilm producers with potentially positive consequences for higher trophic levels. Our research also reveals that the mechanism of watershed control of local stream diatom biodiversity through wetland export of organic matter is universal in running waters, operating not only in hard streams, as previously reported, but also in acid streams. Our findings that the negative impacts of acid deposition on Adirondack stream chemistry and biota can be mitigated by wetlands have important implications for biodiversity conservation and stream ecosystem management. Future acidification research should focus on the potential for wetlands to improve stream ecosystem health in acid-impacted regions and their direct use in stream restoration, for example, through

  1. Wetlands serve as natural sources for improvement of stream ecosystem health in regions affected by acid deposition

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pound, Katrina L; Lawrence, Gregory B.; Passy, Sophia I.

    2013-01-01

    For over 40 years, acid deposition has been recognized as a serious international environmental problem, but efforts to restore acidified streams and biota have had limited success. The need to better understand the effects of different sources of acidity on streams has become more pressing with the recent increases in surface water organic acids, or 'brownification' associated with climate change and decreased inorganic acid deposition. Here, we carried out a large scale multi-seasonal investigation in the Adirondacks, one of the most acid-impacted regions in the United States, to assess how acid stream producers respond to local and watershed influences and whether these influences can be used in acidification remediation. We explored the pathways of wetland control on aluminum chemistry and diatom taxonomic and functional composition. We demonstrate that streams with larger watershed wetlands have higher organic content, lower concentrations of acidic anions, and lower ratios of inorganic to organic monomeric aluminum, all beneficial for diatom biodiversity and guilds producing high biomass. Although brownification has been viewed as a form of pollution, our results indicate that it may be a stimulating force for biofilm producers with potentially positive consequences for higher trophic levels. Our research also reveals that the mechanism of watershed control of local stream diatom biodiversity through wetland export of organic matter is universal in running waters, operating not only in hard streams, as previously reported, but also in acid streams. Our findings that the negative impacts of acid deposition on Adirondack stream chemistry and biota can be mitigated by wetlands have important implications for biodiversity conservation and stream ecosystem management. Future acidification research should focus on the potential for wetlands to improve stream ecosystem health in acid-impacted regions and their direct use in stream restoration, for example, through

  2. Wetlands serve as natural sources for improvement of stream ecosystem health in regions affected by acid deposition.

    PubMed

    Pound, Katrina L; Lawrence, Gregory B; Passy, Sophia I

    2013-09-01

    For over 40 years, acid deposition has been recognized as a serious international environmental problem, but efforts to restore acidified streams and biota have had limited success. The need to better understand the effects of different sources of acidity on streams has become more pressing with the recent increases in surface water organic acids, or 'brownification,' associated with climate change and decreased inorganic acid deposition. Here, we carried out a large scale multi-seasonal investigation in the Adirondacks, one of the most acid-impacted regions in the United States, to assess how acid stream producers respond to local and watershed influences and whether these influences can be used in acidification remediation. We explored the pathways of wetland control on aluminum chemistry and diatom taxonomic and functional composition. We demonstrate that streams with larger watershed wetlands have higher organic content, lower concentrations of acidic anions, and lower ratios of inorganic to organic monomeric aluminum, all beneficial for diatom biodiversity and guilds producing high biomass. Although brownification has been viewed as a form of pollution, our results indicate that it may be a stimulating force for biofilm producers with potentially positive consequences for higher trophic levels. Our research also reveals that the mechanism of watershed control of local stream diatom biodiversity through wetland export of organic matter is universal in running waters, operating not only in hard streams, as previously reported, but also in acid streams. Our findings that the negative impacts of acid deposition on Adirondack stream chemistry and biota can be mitigated by wetlands have important implications for biodiversity conservation and stream ecosystem management. Future acidification research should focus on the potential for wetlands to improve stream ecosystem health in acid-impacted regions and their direct use in stream restoration, for example, through

  3. Modeling compensatory responses of ecosystem-scale water fluxes in forests affected by pine and spruce beetle mortality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Millar, D.; Ewers, B. E.; Peckham, S. D.; Mackay, D. S.; Frank, J. M.; Massman, W. J.; Reed, D. E.

    2015-12-01

    Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) epidemics have led to extensive mortality in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) forests in the Rocky Mountains of the western US. In both of these tree species, mortality results from hydraulic failure within the xylem, due to blue stain fungal infection associated with beetle attack. However, the impacts of these disturbances on ecosystem-scale water fluxes can be complex, owing to their variable and transient nature. In this work, xylem scaling factors that reduced whole-tree conductance were initially incorporated into a forest ecohydrological model (TREES) to simulate the impact of beetle mortality on evapotranspiration (ET) in both pine and spruce forests. For both forests, simulated ET was compared to observed ET fluxes recorded using eddy covariance techniques. Using xylem scaling factors, the model overestimated the impact of beetle mortality, and observed ET fluxes were approximately two-fold higher than model predictions in both forests. The discrepancy between simulated and observed ET following the onset of beetle mortality may be the result of spatial and temporal heterogeneity of plant communities within the foot prints of the eddy covariance towers. Since simulated ET fluxes following beetle mortality in both forests only accounted for approximately 50% of those observed in the field, it is possible that newly established understory vegetation in recently killed tree stands may play a role in stabilizing ecosystem ET fluxes. Here, we further investigate the unaccounted for ET fluxes in the model by breaking it down into multiple cohorts that represent live trees, dying trees, and understory vegetation that establishes following tree mortality.

  4. Multiple plant-wax compounds record differential sources and ecosystem structure in large river catchments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemingway, Jordon D.; Schefuß, Enno; Dinga, Bienvenu Jean; Pryer, Helena; Galy, Valier V.

    2016-07-01

    n-alkanes better represent a catchment-integrated signal with minimal response to discharge seasonality. Comparison to published data on other large watersheds indicates that this phenomenon is not limited to the Congo River, and that analysis of multiple plant-wax lipid classes and chain lengths can be used to better resolve local vs. distal ecosystem structure in river catchments.

  5. Food-web constraints on biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships

    PubMed Central

    Thébault, Elisa; Loreau, Michel

    2003-01-01

    The consequences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services have aroused considerable interest during the past decade. Recent work has focused mainly on the impact of species diversity within single trophic levels, both experimentally and theoretically. Experiments have usually showed increased plant biomass and productivity with increasing plant diversity. Changes in biodiversity, however, may affect ecosystem processes through trophic interactions among species as well. An important current challenge is to understand how these trophic interactions affect the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Here we present a mechanistic model of an ecosystem with multiple trophic levels in which plants compete for a limiting soil nutrient. In contrast to previous studies that focused on single trophic levels, we show that plant biomass does not always increase with plant diversity and that changes in biodiversity can lead to complex if predictable changes in ecosystem processes. Our analysis demonstrates that food-web structure can profoundly influence ecosystem properties. PMID:14638942

  6. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubayah, R.; Goetz, S. J.; Blair, J. B.; Fatoyinbo, T. E.; Hansen, M.; Healey, S. P.; Hofton, M. A.; Hurtt, G. C.; Kellner, J.; Luthcke, S. B.; Swatantran, A.

    2014-12-01

    Spaceborne lidar has been identified as a key technology by the international ecosystem science community because it enables accurate estimates of canopy structure and biomass and forms the basis for fusion approaches that extend the capabilities of existing and planned radar missions, such as the NASA-ISRO SAR and the ESA BIOMASS mission. The Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation Lidar (GEDI Lidar) was recently selected by NASA's Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) program. From its vantage point on the International Space Station, GEDI Lidar provides high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure and addresses three, core science questions: What is the aboveground carbon balance of the land surface? What role will the land surface play in mitigating atmospheric CO2 in the coming decades? How does ecosystem structure affect habitat quality and biodiversity? GEDI informs these science questions by making billions of lidar waveform observations of canopy structure over its nominal one year mission length. The instrument uses three laser transmitters to produce 14 parallel tracks of 25 m footprints. These canopy measurements are then used to measure biomass and in fusion with radar and other remote sensing data to quantify changes in biomass resulting from disturbance and recovery. GEDI further marries ecosystem structure from lidar with ecosystem modeling to predict the sequestration potential of existing forests and to evaluate the impact of policy-driven afforestation and reforestation actions on sequestering additional carbon. Lastly, GEDI's observations of ecosystem structure provide a mapping of critical habitat metrics at the fine scales required for understanding the patterns, processes, and controls on biodiversity and habitat quality. The selection of GEDI Lidar, when combined with the rapid advancement of new radar missions and the availability of long-term land cover archives from passive optical sensors, ushers in an exciting new era of land

  7. Earthworm-Mycorrhiza Interactions Can Affect the Diversity, Structure and Functioning of Establishing Model Grassland Communities

    PubMed Central

    Zaller, Johann G.; Heigl, Florian; Grabmaier, Andrea; Lichtenegger, Claudia; Piller, Katja; Allabashi, Roza; Frank, Thomas; Drapela, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    Both earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important ecosystem engineers co-occurring in temperate grasslands. However, their combined impacts during grassland establishment are poorly understood and have never been studied. We used large mesocosms to study the effects of different functional groups of earthworms (i.e., vertically burrowing anecics vs. horizontally burrowing endogeics) and a mix of four AMF taxa on the establishment, diversity and productivity of plant communities after a simulated seed rain of 18 grassland species comprising grasses, non-leguminous forbs and legumes. Moreover, effects of earthworms and/or AMF on water infiltration and leaching of ammonium, nitrate and phosphate were determined after a simulated extreme rainfall event (40 l m−2). AMF colonisation of all three plant functional groups was altered by earthworms. Seedling emergence and diversity was reduced by anecic earthworms, however only when AMF were present. Plant density was decreased in AMF-free mesocosms when both anecic and endogeic earthworms were active; with AMF also anecics reduced plant density. Plant shoot and root biomass was only affected by earthworms in AMF-free mesocosms: shoot biomass increased due to the activity of either anecics or endogeics; root biomass increased only when anecics were active. Water infiltration increased when earthworms were present in the mesocosms but remained unaffected by AMF. Ammonium leaching was increased only when anecics or a mixed earthworm community was active but was unaffected by AMF; nitrate and phosphate leaching was neither affected by earthworms nor AMF. Ammonium leaching decreased with increasing plant density, nitrate leaching decreased with increasing plant diversity and density. In order to understand the underlying processes of these interactions further investigations possibly under field conditions using more diverse belowground communities are required. Nevertheless, this study demonstrates that

  8. Root dynamics in an artificially constructed regenerating longleaf pine ecosystem are affected by atmospheric CO(2) enrichment.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, S G.; Davis, M A.; Mitchell, R J.; Prior, S A.; Boykin, D L.; Rogers, H H.; Runion, G B.

    2001-08-01

    Differential responses to elevated atmospheric CO(2) concentration exhibited by different plant functional types may alter competition for above- and belowground resources in a higher CO(2) world. Because C allocation to roots is often favored over C allocation to shoots in plants grown with CO(2) enrichment, belowground function of forest ecosystems may change significantly. We established an outdoor facility to examine the effects of elevated CO(2) on root dynamics in artificially constructed communities of five early successional forest species: (1) a C(3) evergreen conifer (longleaf pine, Pinus palustris Mill.); (2) a C(4) monocotyledonous bunch grass (wiregrass, Aristida stricta Michx.); (3) a C(3) broadleaf tree (sand post oak, Quercus margaretta); (4) a C(3) perennial herbaceous legume (rattlebox, Crotalaria rotundifolia Walt. ex Gemel); and (5) an herbaceous C(3) dicotyledonous perennial (butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa L.). These species are common associates in early successional longleaf pine savannahs throughout the southeastern USA and represent species that differ in life-form, growth habit, physiology, and symbiotic relationships. A combination of minirhizotrons and soil coring was used to examine temporal and spatial rooting dynamics from October 1998 to October 1999. CO(2)-enriched plots exhibited 35% higher standing root crop length, 37% greater root length production per day, and 47% greater root length mortality per day. These variables, however, were enhanced by CO(2) enrichment only at the 10-30 cm depth. Relative root turnover (flux/standing crop) was unchanged by elevated CO(2). Sixteen months after planting, root biomass of pine was 62% higher in elevated compared to ambient CO(2) plots. Conversely, the combined biomass of rattlebox, wiregrass, and butterfly weed was 28% greater in ambient compared to high CO(2) plots. There was no difference in root biomass of oaks after 16 months of exposure to elevated CO(2). Using root and shoot

  9. An ecological model of the Northern and Central Adriatic Sea: Analysis of ecosystem structure and fishing impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coll, Marta; Santojanni, Alberto; Palomera, Isabel; Tudela, Sergi; Arneri, Enrico

    2007-08-01

    A trophic mass-balance model was developed to characterise the food web structure and functioning of the Northern and Central Adriatic Sea and to quantify the ecosystem impacts of fishing during the 1990s. Forty functional groups were described, including target and non-target fish and invertebrate groups, and three detritus groups (natural detritus, discards and by-catch of cetaceans and marine turtles). Results highlighted that there was an important coupling between pelagic-benthic production of plankton, benthic invertebrates and detritus. Organisms located at low and medium trophic levels, (i.e. benthic invertebrates, zooplankton and anchovy), as well as dolphins, were identified as keystone groups of the ecosystem. Jellyfish were an important element in terms of consumption and production of trophic flows within the ecosystem. The analysis of trophic flows of zooplankton and detritus groups indirectly underlined the importance of the microbial food web in the Adriatic Sea. Fishing activities inflicted notable impacts on the ecosystem during the 1990s, with a high gross efficiency of the fishery, a high consumption of fishable production, high exploitation rates for various target and non target species, a low trophic level of the catch and medium values of primary production required to sustain the fishery. Moreover, the analysis of Odum's ecological indicators highlighted that the ecosystem was in a low-medium developmental stage. Bottom trawling ( Strascico), mid-water trawling ( Volante) and beam trawling ( Rapido) fleets had the highest impacts on both target and non target ecological groups. On the contrary, purse seining ( Lampara) showed medium to low impacts on the ecosystem; cetaceans, marine turtles and sea birds were not significantly involved in competition with fishing activity.

  10. Sucrose prevents protein fibrillation through compaction of the tertiary structure but hardly affects the secondary structure.

    PubMed

    Estrela, Nídia; Franquelim, Henri G; Lopes, Carlos; Tavares, Evandro; Macedo, Joana A; Christiansen, Gunna; Otzen, Daniel E; Melo, Eduardo P

    2015-11-01

    Amyloid fibers, implicated in a wide range of diseases, are formed when proteins misfold and stick together in long rope-like structures. As a natural mechanism, osmolytes can be used to modulate protein aggregation pathways with no interference with other cellular functions. The osmolyte sucrose delays fibrillation of the ribosomal protein S6 leading to softer and less shaped-defined fibrils. The molecular mechanism used by sucrose to delay S6 fibrillation was studied based on the two-state unfolding kinetics of the secondary and tertiary structures. It was concluded that the delay in S6 fibrillation results from stabilization and compaction of the slightly expanded tertiary native structure formed under fibrillation conditions. Interestingly, this compaction extends to almost all S6 tertiary structure but hardly affects its secondary structure. The part of the S6 tertiary structure that suffered more compaction by sucrose is known to be the first part to unfold, indicating that the native S6 has entered the unfolding pathway under fibrillation conditions.

  11. Consumer versus resource control of producer diversity depends on ecosystem type and producer community structure.

    PubMed

    Hillebrand, Helmut; Gruner, Daniel S; Borer, Elizabeth T; Bracken, Matthew E S; Cleland, Elsa E; Elser, James J; Harpole, W Stanley; Ngai, Jacqueline T; Seabloom, Eric W; Shurin, Jonathan B; Smith, Jennifer E

    2007-06-26

    Consumer and resource control of diversity in plant communities have long been treated as alternative hypotheses. However, experimental and theoretical evidence suggests that herbivores and nutrient resources interactively regulate the number and relative abundance of coexisting plant species. Experiments have yielded divergent and often contradictory responses within and among ecosystems, and no effort has to date reconciled this empirical variation within a general framework. Using data from 274 experiments from marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, we present a cross-system analysis of producer diversity responses to local manipulations of resource supply and/or herbivory. Effects of herbivory and fertilization on producer richness differed substantially between systems: (i) herbivores reduced species richness in freshwater but tended to increase richness in terrestrial systems; (ii) fertilization increased richness in freshwater systems but reduced richness on land. Fertilization consistently reduced evenness, whereas herbivores increased evenness only in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Producer community evenness and ecosystem productivity mediated fertilization and herbivore effects on diversity across ecosystems. Herbivores increased producer richness in more productive habitats and in producer assemblages with low evenness. These same assemblages also showed the strongest reduction in richness with fertilization, whereas fertilization increased (and herbivory decreased) richness in producer assemblages with high evenness. Our study indicates that system productivity and producer evenness determine the direction and magnitude of top-down and bottom-up control of diversity and may reconcile divergent empirical results within and among ecosystems.

  12. Consumer versus resource control of producer diversity depends on ecosystem type and producer community structure

    PubMed Central

    Hillebrand, Helmut; Gruner, Daniel S.; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Bracken, Matthew E. S.; Cleland, Elsa E.; Elser, James J.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Ngai, Jacqueline T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Smith, Jennifer E.

    2007-01-01

    Consumer and resource control of diversity in plant communities have long been treated as alternative hypotheses. However, experimental and theoretical evidence suggests that herbivores and nutrient resources interactively regulate the number and relative abundance of coexisting plant species. Experiments have yielded divergent and often contradictory responses within and among ecosystems, and no effort has to date reconciled this empirical variation within a general framework. Using data from 274 experiments from marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, we present a cross-system analysis of producer diversity responses to local manipulations of resource supply and/or herbivory. Effects of herbivory and fertilization on producer richness differed substantially between systems: (i) herbivores reduced species richness in freshwater but tended to increase richness in terrestrial systems; (ii) fertilization increased richness in freshwater systems but reduced richness on land. Fertilization consistently reduced evenness, whereas herbivores increased evenness only in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Producer community evenness and ecosystem productivity mediated fertilization and herbivore effects on diversity across ecosystems. Herbivores increased producer richness in more productive habitats and in producer assemblages with low evenness. These same assemblages also showed the strongest reduction in richness with fertilization, whereas fertilization increased (and herbivory decreased) richness in producer assemblages with high evenness. Our study indicates that system productivity and producer evenness determine the direction and magnitude of top-down and bottom-up control of diversity and may reconcile divergent empirical results within and among ecosystems. PMID:17581875

  13. How Knowledge Management Is Affected by Organizational Structure

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mahmoudsalehi, Mehdi; Moradkhannejad, Roya; Safari, Khalil

    2012-01-01

    Purpose: Identifying the impact of organizational structure on knowledge management (KM) is the aim of this study, as well as recognizing the importance of each variable indicator in creating, sharing and utility of knowledge. Design/methodology/approach: For understanding relationships between the main variables (organizational structure-KM), the…

  14. Coupled cryoconite ecosystem structure-function relationships are revealed by comparing bacterial communities in alpine and Arctic glaciers.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Arwyn; Mur, Luis A J; Girdwood, Susan E; Anesio, Alexandre M; Stibal, Marek; Rassner, Sara M E; Hell, Katherina; Pachebat, Justin A; Post, Barbara; Bussell, Jennifer S; Cameron, Simon J S; Griffith, Gareth Wyn; Hodson, Andrew J; Sattler, Birgit

    2014-08-01

    Cryoconite holes are known as foci of microbial diversity and activity on polar glacier surfaces, but are virtually unexplored microbial habitats in alpine regions. In addition, whether cryoconite community structure reflects ecosystem functionality is poorly understood. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and Fourier transform infrared metabolite fingerprinting of cryoconite from glaciers in Austria, Greenland and Svalbard demonstrated cryoconite bacterial communities are closely correlated with cognate metabolite fingerprints. The influence of bacterial-associated fatty acids and polysaccharides was inferred, underlining the importance of bacterial community structure in the properties of cryoconite. Thus, combined application of T-RFLP and FT-IR metabolite fingerprinting promises high throughput, and hence, rapid assessment of community structure-function relationships. Pyrosequencing revealed Proteobacteria were particularly abundant, with Cyanobacteria likely acting as ecosystem engineers in both alpine and Arctic cryoconite communities. However, despite these generalities, significant differences in bacterial community structures, compositions and metabolomes are found between alpine and Arctic cryoconite habitats, reflecting the impact of local and regional conditions on the challenges of thriving in glacial ecosystems.

  15. Environmental conditions and biotic interactions influence ecosystem structure and function in a drying stream

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ludlam, J.P.; Magoulick, D.D.

    2010-01-01

    Benthic consumers influence stream ecosystem structure and function, but these interactions depend on environmental context. We experimentally quantified the effects of central stoneroller minnows (Campostoma anomalum (Rafinesque) and Meek's crayfish (Orconectes meeki meeki (Faxon)) on benthic communities using electric exclusion quadrats in Little Mulberry Creek before (June) and during (August) seasonal stream drying. Unglazed ceramic tiles were deployed in June and August to measure periphyton and invertebrate abundance, and leafpack decomposition and primary production were also measured in August. Relationships between stoneroller and crayfish density and the size of consumer effects were evaluated with multiple linear regression models. Average chlorophyll a abundance was greater on exposed than exclusion tiles in August, but not in June. Sediment dry mass, periphyton ash-free dry mass (AFDM), and chironomid densities on tiles did not differ among treatments in either period. Leaf packs decayed faster in exposed than exclusion treatments (kexposed = 0.038 ?? 0.013, kexclusion = 0.007 ?? 0.002), but consumer effects were stronger in some pools than others. Leafpack invertebrate biomass and abundance and tile primary productivity did not differ among treatments. Consumer effects on chlorophyll a were related to crayfish and stoneroller density, and effects on chironomid density were related to stoneroller density. These results contrast with a previous exclusion experiment in Little Mulberry Creek that demonstrated strong consumer effects. The influence of stream drying on consumer effects appears to have been reduced by strong spates, underscoring the importance of conducting multi-year studies to determine the magnitude of variability in ecological interactions. ?? US Government: USGS 2010.

  16. Importance of storm events in controlling ecosystem structure and function in a Florida Gulf Coast estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Davis, S. E.; Cable, J.E.; Childers, D.L.; Coronado-Molina, C.; Day, J.W.; Hittle, C.D.; Madden, C.J.; Reyes, E.; Rudnick, D.; Sklar, F.

    2004-01-01

    From 8/95 to 2/01, we investigated the ecological effects of intra- and inter-annual variability in freshwater flow through Taylor Creek in southeastern Everglades National Park. Continuous monitoring and intensive sampling studies overlapped with an array of pulsed weather events that impacted physical, chemical, and biological attributes of this region. We quantified the effects of three events representing a range of characteristics (duration, amount of precipitation, storm intensity, wind direction) on the hydraulic connectivity, nutrient and sediment dynamics, and vegetation structure of the SE Everglades estuarine ecotone. These events included a strong winter storm in November 1996, Tropical Storm Harvey in September 1999, and Hurricane Irene in October 1999. Continuous hydrologic and daily water sample data were used to examine the effects of these events on the physical forcing and quality of water in Taylor Creek. A high resolution, flow-through sampling and mapping approach was used to characterize water quality in the adjacent bay. To understand the effects of these events on vegetation communities, we measured mangrove litter production and estimated seagrass cover in the bay at monthly intervals. We also quantified sediment deposition associated with Hurricane Irene's flood surge along the Buttonwood Ridge. These three events resulted in dramatic changes in surface water movement and chemistry in Taylor Creek and adjacent regions of Florida Bay as well as increased mangrove litterfall and flood surge scouring of seagrass beds. Up to 5 cm of bay-derived mud was deposited along the ridge adjacent to the creek in this single pulsed event. These short-term events can account for a substantial proportion of the annual flux of freshwater and materials between the mangrove zone and Florida Bay. Our findings shed light on the capacity of these storm events, especially when in succession, to have far reaching and long lasting effects on coastal ecosystems such

  17. Effect of Changes in Seasonal Rain Regime on Coastal Ecosystem Structure and Aquaculture Activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosimo, S.; Melaku Canu, D.; Libralato, S.; Cossarini, G.; Giorgi, F.

    2008-12-01

    A downscaling experiment linked climate forcing produced by a Regional Climate Model for Europe to a 3D high resolution coupled transport biogeochemical model for the Lagoon of Venice, which in turn forced: a) a food web model for evaluation of cascading effects on ecosystem structure and b) a population dynamic bioenergetic filter feeders bivalvae model for evaluation of effects on aquaculture activities. The hierarchy of models was used to compare result for a reference situation (RF, 1961-1990) with results for two future IPCC scenarios (2071-2100), representing market oriented and local sustainability policies (scenarios A2 and B2, respectively). Future climate projections suggest that, locally, annual mean rain will not change much but the seasonal patterns will likely do so. Summer and spring will be more dry and winter and autumn more rainy. This will potentially increase winter nutrient concentrations but -because of unfavourable timing - primary and secondary productions will decrease, and nutrient surplus will be exported from the Lagoon of Venice to the Adriatic Sea. The impacts on higher trophic levels could be softened thanks to presence of alternative energy pathways and role of omnivory. However, in our future scenario of the lagoon food web the suitability for higher trophic level organisms seems lower. A more detailed analysis on clam aquaculture indicates that this activity will suffer the decrease of primary productivity, and point to the need of implementation of proper aquaculture management policies. In the light of adaptive management. These policies cannot be a straightfoward extrapolation of present practises, but need to be defined basing on future conditions.

  18. Environmental Impacts of the Use of Ecosystem Services: Case Study of Birdwatching

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronenberg, Jakub

    2014-09-01

    The main reason for promoting the concept of ecosystem services lies in its potential to contribute to environmental conservation. Highlighting the benefits derived from ecosystems fosters an understanding of humans' dependence on nature, as users of ecosystem services. However, the act of using ecosystem services may not be environmentally neutral. As with the use of products and services generated within an economy, the use of ecosystem services may lead to unintended environmental consequences throughout the `ecosystem services supply chain.' This article puts forward a framework for analyzing environmental impacts related to the use of ecosystem services, indicating five categories of impact: (1) direct impacts (directly limiting the service's future availability); and four categories of indirect impacts, i.e., on broader ecosystem structures and processes, which can ultimately also affect the initial service: (2) impacts related to managing ecosystems to maximize the delivery of selected services (affecting ecosystems' capacity to provide other services); (3) impacts associated with accessing ecosystems to use their services (affecting other ecosystem components); (4) additional consumption of products, infrastructure or services required to use a selected ecosystem service, and their life-cycle environmental impacts; and (5) broader impacts on the society as a whole (environmental awareness of ecosystem service users and other stakeholders). To test the usefulness of this framework, the article uses the case study of birdwatching, which demonstrates all of the above categories of impacts. The article justifies the need for a broader consideration of environmental impacts related to the use of ecosystem services.

  19. Environmental impacts of the use of ecosystem services: case study of birdwatching.

    PubMed

    Kronenberg, Jakub

    2014-09-01

    The main reason for promoting the concept of ecosystem services lies in its potential to contribute to environmental conservation. Highlighting the benefits derived from ecosystems fosters an understanding of humans' dependence on nature, as users of ecosystem services. However, the act of using ecosystem services may not be environmentally neutral. As with the use of products and services generated within an economy, the use of ecosystem services may lead to unintended environmental consequences throughout the 'ecosystem services supply chain.' This article puts forward a framework for analyzing environmental impacts related to the use of ecosystem services, indicating five categories of impact: (1) direct impacts (directly limiting the service's future availability); and four categories of indirect impacts, i.e., on broader ecosystem structures and processes, which can ultimately also affect the initial service: (2) impacts related to managing ecosystems to maximize the delivery of selected services (affecting ecosystems' capacity to provide other services); (3) impacts associated with accessing ecosystems to use their services (affecting other ecosystem components); (4) additional consumption of products, infrastructure or services required to use a selected ecosystem service, and their life-cycle environmental impacts; and (5) broader impacts on the society as a whole (environmental awareness of ecosystem service users and other stakeholders). To test the usefulness of this framework, the article uses the case study of birdwatching, which demonstrates all of the above categories of impacts. The article justifies the need for a broader consideration of environmental impacts related to the use of ecosystem services. PMID:24993794

  20. Wetland-stream ecosystems of the western Kentucky coalfield: environmental disturbance and the shaping of aquatic community structure

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, P.L. Jr.

    1983-01-01

    The effects of surface mining effluents of the shaping of aquatic community structure in wetland-stream ecosystems of the western Kentucky coalfield were examined. Three variously impacted drainage systems were utilized for the investigation of cause-and-effect relationships. Clear Creek wetland-stream ecosystem had a uniformly low pH, high conductivity and high dissolved minerals load linked to the oozing of old, unreclaimed surface mine spoils. Cypress Creek wetland-stream ecosystem exhibited a slug-pulsing of mine drainage effluents tied to active surface mining limited to the headwaters region. Henderson Sloughs-Pond Creek wetland-stream ecosystem had no mining impact and was utilized as a comparison site. Macroinvertebrate taxa and diversity were considerably lowered in the systems receiving mine drainage. The Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H) was 0.61 for Clear Creek, 1.80 for Cypress Creek and 2.01 for Henderson Sloughs. Large numbers of chironomid larvae dominated the benthic community of Clear Creek while mayflies, caddisflies and crustaceans were the major components of the Cypress Creek community. Henderson Sloughs-Pond Creek had an even more diverse community of mayflies, caddisflies, crustaceans, molluscs and odonates. Fishes followed the same general trend, being almost absent in Clear Creek (H - 0.47), slightly depressed in Cypress Creek (H = 1.74) and generally diverse in Henderson Sloughs (H = 2.37).

  1. Structure, Behavior, Function as a Framework For Teaching and Learning about Complexity In Ecosystems: Lessons from Middle School Classrooms (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hmelo-Silver, C.; Gray, S.; Jordan, R.

    2010-12-01

    Complex systems surround us, and as Sabelli (2006) has argued, understanding complex systems is a critical component of science literacy. Understanding natural and designed systems are also prominent in the new draft science standards (NRC, 2010) and therefore of growing importance in the science classroom. Our work has focused on promoting an understanding of one complex natural system, aquatic ecosystems, which given current events, is fast becoming a requisite for informed decision-making as citizens (Jordan et al. 2008). Learners have difficulty understanding many concepts related to complex natural systems (e.g., Hmelo-Silver, Marathe, & Liu, 2007; Jordan, Gray, Liu, Demeter, & Hmelo-Silver, 2009). Studies of how students think about complex ecological systems (e.g; Hmelo-Silver, Marathe, & Liu, 2007; Hogan, 2000, Hogan & Fisherkeller, 1996: Covitt & Gunkel, 2008) have revealed difficulties in thinking beyond linear flow, single causality, and visible structure. Helping students to learn about ecosystems is a complex task that requires providing opportunities for students to not only engage directly with ecosystems but also with resources that provide relevant background knowledge and opportunities for learners to make their thinking visible. Both tasks can be difficult given the large spatial and temporal scales on which ecosystems operate. Additionally, visible components interact with often invisible components which can obscure ecosystem processes for students. Working in the context of aquatic ecosystems, we sought to provide learners with representations and simulations that make salient the relationship between system components. In particular, we provided learners with opportunities to experience both the micro-level and macro-level phenomena that are key to understanding ecosystems (Hmelo-Silver, Liu, Gray, & Jordan, submitted; Liu & Hmelo-Silver, 2008; Jacobson & Wilensky, 2006). To accomplish this, we needed to help learners make connections across

  2. Phosphate Ions Affect the Water Structure at Functionalized Membrane Surfaces.

    PubMed

    Barrett, Aliyah; Imbrogno, Joseph; Belfort, Georges; Petersen, Poul B

    2016-09-01

    Antifouling surfaces improve function, efficiency, and safety in products such as water filtration membranes, marine vehicle coatings, and medical implants by resisting protein and biofilm adhesion. Understanding the role of water structure at these materials in preventing protein adhesion and biofilm formation is critical to designing more effective coatings. Such fouling experiments are typically performed under biological conditions using isotonic aqueous buffers. Previous studies have explored the structure of pure water at a few different antifouling surfaces, but the effect of electrolytes and ionic strength (I) on the water structure at antifouling surfaces is not well studied. Here sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy is used to characterize the interfacial water structure at poly(ether sulfone) (PES) and two surface-modified PES films in contact with 0.01 M phosphate buffer with high and low salt (Ionic strength, I= 0.166 and 0.025 M, respectively). Unmodified PES, commonly used as a filtration membrane, and modified PES with a hydrophobic alkane (C18) and with a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) were used. In the low ionic strength phosphate buffer, water was strongly ordered near the surface of the PEG-modified PES film due to exclusion of phosphate ions and the creation of a surface potential resulting from charge separation between phosphate anions and sodium cations. However, in the high ionic strength phosphate buffer, the sodium and potassium chloride (138 and 3 mM, respectively) in the phosphate buffered saline screened this charge and substantially reduced water ordering. A much smaller water ordering and subsequent reduction upon salt addition was observed for the C18-modified PES, and little water structure change was seen for the unmodified PES. The large difference in water structuring with increasing ionic strength between widely used phosphate buffer and phosphate buffered saline at the PEG interface demonstrates the importance of studying

  3. Structural and leakage integrity of tubes affected by circumferential cracking

    SciTech Connect

    Hernalsteen, P.

    1997-02-01

    In this paper the author deals with the notion that circumferential cracks are generally considered unacceptable. He argues for the need to differentiate two facets of such cracks: the issue of the size and growth rate of a crack; and the issue of the structural strength and leakage potential of the tube in the presence of the crack. In this paper the author tries to show that the second point is not a major concern for such cracks. The paper presents data on the structural strength or burst pressure characteristics of steam generator tubes derived from models and data bases of experimental work. He also presents a leak rate model, and compares the performance of circumferential and axial cracks as far as burst strength and leak rate. The final conclusion is that subject to improvement in NDE capabilities (sizing, detection, growth), that Steam Generator Defect Specific Management can be used to allow circumferentially degraded tubes to remain in service.

  4. Stage structure alters how complexity affects stability of ecological networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rudolf, V.H.W.; Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2011-01-01

    Resolving how complexity affects stability of natural communities is of key importance for predicting the consequences of biodiversity loss. Central to previous stability analysis has been the assumption that the resources of a consumer are substitutable. However, during their development, most species change diets; for instance, adults often use different resources than larvae or juveniles. Here, we show that such ontogenetic niche shifts are common in real ecological networks and that consideration of these shifts can alter which species are predicted to be at risk of extinction. Furthermore, niche shifts reduce and can even reverse the otherwise stabilizing effect of complexity. This pattern arises because species with several specialized life stages appear to be generalists at the species level but act as sequential specialists that are hypersensitive to resource loss. These results suggest that natural communities are more vulnerable to biodiversity loss than indicated by previous analyses.

  5. Large herbivore grazing affects the vegetation structure and greenhouse gas balance in a high arctic mire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falk, Julie Maria; Schmidt, Niels Martin; Christensen, Torben R.; Ström, Lena

    2015-04-01

    Herbivory is an important part of most ecosystems and affects the ecosystems’ carbon balance both directly and indirectly. Little is known about herbivory and its impact on the carbon balance in high arctic mire ecosystems. We hypothesized that trampling and grazing by large herbivores influences the vegetation density and composition and thereby also the carbon balance. In 2010, we established fenced exclosures in high arctic Greenland to prevent muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) from grazing. During the growing seasons of 2011 to 2013 we measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes in these ungrazed blocks and compared them to blocks subjected to natural grazing. Additionally, we measured depth of the water table and active layer, soil temperature, and in 2011 and 2013 an inventory of the vegetation density and composition were made. In 2013 a significant decrease in total number of vascular plant (33-44%) and Eriophorum scheuchzeri (51-53%) tillers were found in ungrazed plots, the moss-layer and amount of litter had also increased substantially in these plots. This resulted in a significant decrease in net ecosystem uptake of CO2 (47%) and likewise a decrease in CH4 emission (44%) in ungrazed plots in 2013. While the future of the muskoxen in a changing arctic is unknown, this experiment points to a potentially large effect of large herbivores on the carbon balance in natural Arctic ecosystems. It thus sheds light on the importance of grazing mammals, and hence adds to our understanding of natural ecosystem greenhouse gas balance in the past and in the future.

  6. Density, distribution, and genetic structure of grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Macleod, Amy C.; Boyd, Kristina L; Boulanger, John; Royle, J. Andrew; Kasworm, Wayne F.; Paetkau, David; Proctor, Michael F; Annis, Kim; Graves, Tabitha A.

    2016-01-01

    The conservation status of the 2 threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) populations in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (CYE) of northern Montana and Idaho had remained unchanged since designation in 1975; however, the current demographic status of these populations was uncertain. No rigorous data on population density and distribution or analysis of recent population genetic structure were available to measure the effectiveness of conservation efforts. We used genetic detection data from hair corral, bear rub, and opportunistic sampling in traditional and spatial capture–recapture models to generate estimates of abundance and density of grizzly bears in the CYE. We calculated mean bear residency on our sampling grid from telemetry data using Huggins and Pledger models to estimate the average number of bears present and to correct our superpopulation estimates for lack of geographic closure. Estimated grizzly bear abundance (all sex and age classes) in the CYE in 2012 was 48–50 bears, approximately half the population recovery goal. Grizzly bear density in the CYE (4.3–4.5 grizzly bears/1,000 km2) was among the lowest of interior North American populations. The sizes of the Cabinet (n = 22–24) and Yaak (n = 18–22) populations were similar. Spatial models produced similar estimates of abundance and density with comparable precision without requiring radio-telemetry data to address assumptions of geographic closure. The 2 populations in the CYE were demographically and reproductively isolated from each other and the Cabinet population was highly inbred. With parentage analysis, we documented natural migrants to the Cabinet and Yaak populations by bears born to parents in the Selkirk and Northern Continental Divide populations. These events supported data from other sources suggesting that the expansion of neighboring populations may eventually help sustain the CYE populations. However, the small size, isolation, and inbreeding documented by this study

  7. Nonlinear response of stream ecosystem structure to low-level phosphorus enrichment

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) create novel environmental conditions that alter biological organization and ecosystem functioning in freshwaters. We studied 38 wadeable streams spanning an N and P gradient to contrast responses of algal and fish assemblages to nutrient enric...

  8. Fire as an ecosystem process: Chapter 3

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keeley, Jon E.; Safford, Hugh D.

    2016-01-01

    This long-anticipated reference and sourcebook for California’s remarkable ecological abundance provides an integrated assessment of each major ecosystem type—its distribution, structure, function, and management. A comprehensive synthesis of our knowledge about this biologically diverse state, Ecosystems of California covers the state from oceans to mountaintops using multiple lenses: past and present, flora and fauna, aquatic and terrestrial, natural and managed. Each chapter evaluates natural processes for a specific ecosystem, describes drivers of change, and discusses how that ecosystem may be altered in the future. This book also explores the drivers of California’s ecological patterns and the history of the state’s various ecosystems, outlining how the challenges of climate change and invasive species and opportunities for regulation and stewardship could potentially affect the state’s ecosystems. The text explicitly incorporates both human impacts and conservation and restoration efforts and shows how ecosystems support human well-being. Edited by two esteemed ecosystem ecologists and with overviews by leading experts on each ecosystem, this definitive work will be indispensable for natural resource management and conservation professionals as well as for undergraduate or graduate students of California’s environment and curious naturalists.

  9. Does small scale structure significantly affect cosmological dynamics?

    PubMed

    Adamek, Julian; Clarkson, Chris; Durrer, Ruth; Kunz, Martin

    2015-02-01

    The large-scale homogeneity and isotropy of the Universe is generally thought to imply a well-defined background cosmological model. It may not. Smoothing over structure adds in an extra contribution, transferring power from small scales up to large. Second-order perturbation theory implies that the effect is small, but suggests that formally the perturbation series may not converge. The amplitude of the effect is actually determined by the ratio of the Hubble scales at matter-radiation equality and today-which are entirely unrelated. This implies that a universe with significantly lower temperature today could have significant backreaction from more power on small scales, and so provides the ideal testing ground for understanding backreaction. We investigate this using two different N-body numerical simulations-a 3D Newtonian and a 1D simulation which includes all relevant relativistic effects. We show that while perturbation theory predicts an increasing backreaction as more initial small-scale power is added, in fact the virialization of structure saturates the backreaction effect at the same level independently of the equality scale. This implies that backreaction is a small effect independently of initial conditions. Nevertheless, it may still contribute at the percent level to certain cosmological observables and therefore it cannot be neglected in precision cosmology. PMID:25699430

  10. Earthworm ecology affects the population structure of their Verminephrobacter symbionts.

    PubMed

    Viana, Flávia; Jensen, Christopher Erik; Macey, Michael; Schramm, Andreas; Lund, Marie Braad

    2016-05-01

    Earthworms carry species-specific Verminephrobacter symbionts in their nephridia (excretory organs). The symbionts are vertically transmitted via the cocoon, can only colonize the host during early embryonic development, and have co-speciated with their host for about 100 million years. Although several studies have addressed Verminephrobacter diversity between worm species, the intra-species diversity of the symbiont population has never been investigated. In this study, symbiont population structure was examined by using a multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) approach on Verminephrobacter isolated from two contrasting ecological types of earthworm hosts: the high population density, fast reproducing compost worms, Eisenia andrei and Eisenia fetida, and the low-density, slow reproducing Aporrectodea tuberculata, commonly found in garden soils. Three distinct populations were investigated for both types and, according to MLST analysis of 193 Verminephrobacter isolates, the symbiont community in each worm individual was very homogeneous. The more solitary A. tuberculata carried unique symbiont populations in 9 out of 10 host individuals, whereas the symbiont populations in the social compost worms were homogeneous across host individuals from the same population. These data suggested that host ecology shaped the population structure of Verminephrobacter symbionts. The homogeneous symbiont populations in the compost worms led to the hypothesis that Verminephrobacter could be transferred bi-parentally or via leaky horizontal transmission in high-density, frequently mating worm populations. PMID:27040820

  11. Does Small Scale Structure Significantly Affect Cosmological Dynamics?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adamek, Julian; Clarkson, Chris; Durrer, Ruth; Kunz, Martin

    2015-02-01

    The large-scale homogeneity and isotropy of the Universe is generally thought to imply a well-defined background cosmological model. It may not. Smoothing over structure adds in an extra contribution, transferring power from small scales up to large. Second-order perturbation theory implies that the effect is small, but suggests that formally the perturbation series may not converge. The amplitude of the effect is actually determined by the ratio of the Hubble scales at matter-radiation equality and today—which are entirely unrelated. This implies that a universe with significantly lower temperature today could have significant backreaction from more power on small scales, and so provides the ideal testing ground for understanding backreaction. We investigate this using two different N -body numerical simulations—a 3D Newtonian and a 1D simulation which includes all relevant relativistic effects. We show that while perturbation theory predicts an increasing backreaction as more initial small-scale power is added, in fact the virialization of structure saturates the backreaction effect at the same level independently of the equality scale. This implies that backreaction is a small effect independently of initial conditions. Nevertheless, it may still contribute at the percent level to certain cosmological observables and therefore it cannot be neglected in precision cosmology.

  12. Processes affecting oxygen isotope ratios of atmospheric and ecosystem sulfate in two contrasting forest catchments in Central Europe.

    PubMed

    Novák, Martin; Mitchell, Myron J; Jacková, Iva; Buzek, Frantisek; Schweigstillová, Jana; Erbanová, Lucie; Prikryl, Richard; Fottová, Daniela

    2007-02-01

    Sulfate aerosols are harmful as respirable particles. They also play a role as cloud condensation nuclei and have radiative effects on global climate. A combination of delta18O-SO4 data with catchment sulfur mass balances was used to constrain processes affecting S cycling in the atmosphere and spruce forests of the Czech Republic. Extremely high S fluxes via spruce throughfall and runoff were measured at Jezeri (49 and 80 kg S ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively). The second catchment, Na Lizu, was 10 times less polluted. In both catchments, delta18O-SO4 decreased in the following order: open-area precipitation > throughfall > runoff. The delta18O-SO4 values of throughfall exhibited a seasonal pattern at both sites, with maxima in summer and minima in winter. This seasonal pattern paralleled delta18O-H2O values, which were offset by -18 per thousand. Sulfate in throughfall was predominantly formed by heterogeneous (aqueous) oxidation of SO2. Wet-deposited sulfate in an open area did not show systematic delta18O-SO4 trends, suggesting formation by homogeneous (gaseous) oxidation and/or transport from large distances. The percentage of incoming S that is organically cycled in soil was similar under the high and the low pollution. High-temperature 18O-rich sulfate was not detected, which contrasts with North American industrial sites.

  13. Warming reduces the growth and diversity of biological soil crusts in a semi-arid environment: implications for ecosystem structure and functioning

    PubMed Central

    Escolar, Cristina; Martínez, Isabel; Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.

    2012-01-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are key biotic components of dryland ecosystems worldwide that control many functional processes, including carbon and nitrogen cycling, soil stabilization and infiltration. Regardless of their ecological importance and prevalence in drylands, very few studies have explicitly evaluated how climate change will affect the structure and composition of BSCs, and the functioning of their constituents. Using a manipulative experiment conducted over 3 years in a semi-arid site from central Spain, we evaluated how the composition, structure and performance of lichen-dominated BSCs respond to a 2.4°C increase in temperature, and to an approximately 30 per cent reduction of total annual rainfall. In areas with well-developed BSCs, warming promoted a significant decrease in the richness and diversity of the whole BSC community. This was accompanied by important compositional changes, as the cover of lichens suffered a substantial decrease with warming (from 70 to 40% on average), while that of mosses increased slightly (from 0.3 to 7% on average). The physiological performance of the BSC community, evaluated using chlorophyll fluorescence, increased with warming during the first year of the experiment, but did not respond to rainfall reduction. Our results indicate that ongoing climate change will strongly affect the diversity and composition of BSC communities, as well as their recovery after disturbances. The expected changes in richness and composition under warming could reduce or even reverse the positive effects of BSCs on important soil processes. Thus, these changes are likely to promote an overall reduction in ecosystem processes that sustain and control nutrient cycling, soil stabilization and water dynamics. PMID:23045707

  14. Warming reduces the growth and diversity of biological soil crusts in a semi-arid environment: implications for ecosystem structure and functioning.

    PubMed

    Escolar, Cristina; Martínez, Isabel; Bowker, Matthew A; Maestre, Fernando T

    2012-11-19

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are key biotic components of dryland ecosystems worldwide that control many functional processes, including carbon and nitrogen cycling, soil stabilization and infiltration. Regardless of their ecological importance and prevalence in drylands, very few studies have explicitly evaluated how climate change will affect the structure and composition of BSCs, and the functioning of their constituents. Using a manipulative experiment conducted over 3 years in a semi-arid site from central Spain, we evaluated how the composition, structure and performance of lichen-dominated BSCs respond to a 2.4°C increase in temperature, and to an approximately 30 per cent reduction of total annual rainfall. In areas with well-developed BSCs, warming promoted a significant decrease in the richness and diversity of the whole BSC community. This was accompanied by important compositional changes, as the cover of lichens suffered a substantial decrease with warming (from 70 to 40% on average), while that of mosses increased slightly (from 0.3 to 7% on average). The physiological performance of the BSC community, evaluated using chlorophyll fluorescence, increased with warming during the first year of the experiment, but did not respond to rainfall reduction. Our results indicate that ongoing climate change will strongly affect the diversity and composition of BSC communities, as well as their recovery after disturbances. The expected changes in richness and composition under warming could reduce or even reverse the positive effects of BSCs on important soil processes. Thus, these changes are likely to promote an overall reduction in ecosystem processes that sustain and control nutrient cycling, soil stabilization and water dynamics.

  15. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents.

    PubMed

    Kempton, Matthew J; Ettinger, Ulrich; Foster, Russell; Williams, Steven C R; Calvert, Gemma A; Hampshire, Adam; Zelaya, Fernando O; O'Gorman, Ruth L; McMorris, Terry; Owen, Adrian M; Smith, Marcus S

    2011-01-01

    It was recently observed that dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue and an associated increase in ventricular volume. Negative effects of dehydration on cognitive performance have been shown in some but not all studies, and it has also been reported that an increased perceived effort may be required following dehydration. However, the effects of dehydration on brain function are unknown. We investigated this question using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 10 healthy adolescents (mean age = 16.8, five females). Each subject completed a thermal exercise protocol and nonthermal exercise control condition in a cross-over repeated measures design. Subjects lost more weight via perspiration in the thermal exercise versus the control condition (P < 0.0001), and lateral ventricle enlargement correlated with the reduction in body mass (r = 0.77, P = 0.01). Dehydration following the thermal exercise protocol led to a significantly stronger increase in fronto-parietal blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) response during an executive function task (Tower of London) than the control condition, whereas cerebral perfusion during rest was not affected. The increase in BOLD response after dehydration was not paralleled by a change in cognitive performance, suggesting an inefficient use of brain metabolic activity following dehydration. This pattern indicates that participants exerted a higher level of neuronal activity in order to achieve the same performance level. Given the limited availability of brain metabolic resources, these findings suggest that prolonged states of reduced water intake may adversely impact executive functions such as planning and visuo-spatial processing.

  16. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents.

    PubMed

    Kempton, Matthew J; Ettinger, Ulrich; Foster, Russell; Williams, Steven C R; Calvert, Gemma A; Hampshire, Adam; Zelaya, Fernando O; O'Gorman, Ruth L; McMorris, Terry; Owen, Adrian M; Smith, Marcus S

    2011-01-01

    It was recently observed that dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue and an associated increase in ventricular volume. Negative effects of dehydration on cognitive performance have been shown in some but not all studies, and it has also been reported that an increased perceived effort may be required following dehydration. However, the effects of dehydration on brain function are unknown. We investigated this question using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 10 healthy adolescents (mean age = 16.8, five females). Each subject completed a thermal exercise protocol and nonthermal exercise control condition in a cross-over repeated measures design. Subjects lost more weight via perspiration in the thermal exercise versus the control condition (P < 0.0001), and lateral ventricle enlargement correlated with the reduction in body mass (r = 0.77, P = 0.01). Dehydration following the thermal exercise protocol led to a significantly stronger increase in fronto-parietal blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) response during an executive function task (Tower of London) than the control condition, whereas cerebral perfusion during rest was not affected. The increase in BOLD response after dehydration was not paralleled by a change in cognitive performance, suggesting an inefficient use of brain metabolic activity following dehydration. This pattern indicates that participants exerted a higher level of neuronal activity in order to achieve the same performance level. Given the limited availability of brain metabolic resources, these findings suggest that prolonged states of reduced water intake may adversely impact executive functions such as planning and visuo-spatial processing. PMID:20336685

  17. Processes affecting oxygen isotope ratios of atmospheric and ecosystem sulfate in two contrasting forest catchments in Central Europe

    SciTech Connect

    Martin Novak; Myron J. Mitchell; Iva Jackova; Frantisek Buzek; Jana Schweigstillova; Lucie Erbanova; Richard Prikryl; Daniela Fottova

    2007-02-15

    Sulfate aerosols are harmful as respirable particles. They also play a role as cloud condensation nuclei and have radiative effects on global climate. A combination of {delta}{sup 18}O-SO{sub 4} data with catchment sulfur mass balances was used to constrain processes affecting S cycling in the atmosphere and spruce forests of the Czech Republic. Extremely high S fluxes via spruce throughfall and runoff were measured at Jezeri (49 and 80 kg S ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1}, respectively). The second catchment, Na Lizu, was 10 times less polluted. In both catchments, {delta}{sup 18}O-SO{sub 4} decreased in the following order: open-area precipitation {gt} throughfall {gt} runoff. The 180-SO{sub 4} values of throughfall exhibited a seasonal pattern at both sites, with maxima in summer and minima in winter. This seasonal pattern paralleled {delta}{sup 18}O-H{sub 2}O values, which were offset by -18{per_thousand}. Sulfate in throughfall was predominantly formed by heterogeneous (aqueous) oxidation of SO{sub 2}. Wet-deposited sulfate in an open area did not show systematic {delta}{sup 18}O-SO{sub 4} trends, suggesting formation by homogeneous (gaseous) oxidation and/or transport from large distances. The percentage of incoming S that is organically cycled in soil was similar under the high and the low pollution. High-temperature {sup 18}O-rich sulfate was not detected, which contrasts with North American industrial sites. 29 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.

  18. Reindeer grazing and climate change affects vegetation structure in the Swedish mountains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vowles, Tage; Klemendtsen, Leif; Molau, Ulf; Björk, Robert G.

    2013-04-01

    There is substantial evidence indicating that arctic and alpine landscapes are undergoing distinct changes in plant community structure, presumably brought about by increasing temperatures and a prolonged snow-free season. However, recent studies have revealed that grazing by large herbivores can inhibit a climate-driven shrub expansion and plant community change. In northern Fennoscandia reindeer grazing has helped to shape the vegetation patterns since the last glacial period and is an important factor to consider in the understanding of how a changing climate will affect tundra ecosystems. This project examines the effects of reindeer grazing by revisiting fenced exclosures constructed in 1995. The exclosures were erected at four sites with different grazing intensities situated along the Scandinavian mountain range (from 61°30' to 68°30'). At three of the four sites, three fenced and three control (ambient conditions) plots (25×25 m each) were established in alpine tundra and in mountain birch forest, respectively. In the fourth site only tundra plots were established. In 2011/12 we used the same methodology as in the original 1995 inventories to determine the species composition, canopy height, and percentage cover of the shrub, field and bottom layers in the plots. In the birch forest, the tree layer was also estimated by determining species composition, cover, height, diameter, and individual density. Our results show that on the tundra, tall shrub cover has increased at our fenced-in plots over the past 16 years, whereas in ambient plots the response varies between sites. Low shrubs, too, have increased over time, yet showing no significant treatment effect. Graminoids, on the other hand have decreased overall, but significantly more in fenced-in plots. Furthermore, the shrub canopy height has increased significantly over time with implications for albedo and snow trapping effects. Bryophyte cover was significantly larger in ambient plots than in fenced

  19. Eighty-five million years of Pacific Ocean gyre ecosystem structure: long-term stability marked by punctuated change.

    PubMed

    Sibert, Elizabeth; Norris, Richard; Cuevas, Jose; Graves, Lana

    2016-05-25

    While the history of taxonomic diversification in open ocean lineages of ray-finned fish and elasmobranchs is increasingly known, the evolution of their roles within the open ocean ecosystem remains poorly understood. To assess the relative importance of these groups through time, we measured the accumulation rate of microfossil fish teeth and elasmobranch dermal denticles (ichthyoliths) in deep-sea sediment cores from the North and South Pacific gyres over the past 85 million years (Myr). We find three distinct and stable open ocean ecosystem structures, each defined by the relative and absolute abundance of elasmobranch and ray-finned fish remains. The Cretaceous Ocean (pre-66 Ma) was characterized by abundant elasmobranch denticles, but low abundances of fish teeth. The Palaeogene Ocean (66-20 Ma), initiated by the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction, had nearly four times the abundance of fish teeth compared with elasmobranch denticles. This Palaeogene Ocean structure remained stable during the Eocene greenhouse (50 Ma) and the Eocene-Oligocene glaciation (34 Ma), despite large changes in the overall accumulation of both groups during those intervals, suggesting that climate change is not a primary driver of ecosystem structure. Dermal denticles virtually disappeared from open ocean ichthyolith assemblages approximately 20 Ma, while fish tooth accumulation increased dramatically in variability, marking the beginning of the Modern Ocean. Together, these results suggest that open ocean fish community structure is stable on long timescales, independent of total production and climate change. The timing of the abrupt transitions between these states suggests that the transitions may be due to interactions with other, non-preserved pelagic consumer groups. PMID:27194702

  20. Habitat structure and body size distributions: cross-ecosystem comparison for taxa with determinate and indeterminate growth

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, Kirsty L.; Allen, Craig R.; Barichievy, Chris; Nystrom, Magnus; Sundstrom, Shana M.; Graham, Nicholas A.J.

    2014-01-01

    Habitat structure across multiple spatial and temporal scales has been proposed as a key driver of body size distributions for associated communities. Thus, understanding the relationship between habitat and body size is fundamental to developing predictions regarding the influence of habitat change on animal communities. Much of the work assessing the relationship between habitat structure and body size distributions has focused on terrestrial taxa with determinate growth, and has primarily analysed discontinuities (gaps) in the distribution of species mean sizes (species size relationships or SSRs). The suitability of this approach for taxa with indeterminate growth has yet to be determined. We provide a cross-ecosystem comparison of bird (determinate growth) and fish (indeterminate growth) body mass distributions using four independent data sets. We evaluate three size distribution indices: SSRs, species size–density relationships (SSDRs) and individual size–density relationships (ISDRs), and two types of analysis: looking for either discontinuities or abundance patterns and multi-modality in the distributions. To assess the respective suitability of these three indices and two analytical approaches for understanding habitat–size relationships in different ecosystems, we compare their ability to differentiate bird or fish communities found within contrasting habitat conditions. All three indices of body size distribution are useful for examining the relationship between cross-scale patterns of habitat structure and size for species with determinate growth, such as birds. In contrast, for species with indeterminate growth such as fish, the relationship between habitat structure and body size may be masked when using mean summary metrics, and thus individual-level data (ISDRs) are more useful. Furthermore, ISDRs, which have traditionally been used to study aquatic systems, present a potentially useful common currency for comparing body size distributions

  1. Eighty-five million years of Pacific Ocean gyre ecosystem structure: long-term stability marked by punctuated change.

    PubMed

    Sibert, Elizabeth; Norris, Richard; Cuevas, Jose; Graves, Lana

    2016-05-25

    While the history of taxonomic diversification in open ocean lineages of ray-finned fish and elasmobranchs is increasingly known, the evolution of their roles within the open ocean ecosystem remains poorly understood. To assess the relative importance of these groups through time, we measured the accumulation rate of microfossil fish teeth and elasmobranch dermal denticles (ichthyoliths) in deep-sea sediment cores from the North and South Pacific gyres over the past 85 million years (Myr). We find three distinct and stable open ocean ecosystem structures, each defined by the relative and absolute abundance of elasmobranch and ray-finned fish remains. The Cretaceous Ocean (pre-66 Ma) was characterized by abundant elasmobranch denticles, but low abundances of fish teeth. The Palaeogene Ocean (66-20 Ma), initiated by the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction, had nearly four times the abundance of fish teeth compared with elasmobranch denticles. This Palaeogene Ocean structure remained stable during the Eocene greenhouse (50 Ma) and the Eocene-Oligocene glaciation (34 Ma), despite large changes in the overall accumulation of both groups during those intervals, suggesting that climate change is not a primary driver of ecosystem structure. Dermal denticles virtually disappeared from open ocean ichthyolith assemblages approximately 20 Ma, while fish tooth accumulation increased dramatically in variability, marking the beginning of the Modern Ocean. Together, these results suggest that open ocean fish community structure is stable on long timescales, independent of total production and climate change. The timing of the abrupt transitions between these states suggests that the transitions may be due to interactions with other, non-preserved pelagic consumer groups.

  2. Gall structure affects ecological associations of Dryocosmus kuriphilus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae).

    PubMed

    Cooper, W Rodney; Rieske, Lynne K

    2010-06-01

    Gall wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) induce structures (galls) on their host plants that house developing wasps and provide them with protection from natural enemies. The Asian chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu, is an invasive pest that is destructive to chestnut (Castanea spp.). An improved understanding of the interactions among D. kuriphilus, its host, and its natural enemies is critical for the development of effective management strategies against this pest. The objective of our study was to evaluate the D. kuriphilus community interactions, and relate these interactions to variations among gall traits. Galls were collected from four locations throughout the eastern United States from May (gall initiation) through August (after gall wasp emergence), and January. Gall characteristics (volume, weight, and schlerenchyma layer thickness), gall inhabitants (D. kuriphilus, parasitoids, and chamber fungi), and other community associates (insect herbivores and lesions thought to be caused by endophytes) were evaluated and correlated using canonical correlation analyses. The primary mortality factors for D. kuriphilus were parasitism, gall chamber-invading fungi, and failure of adult gall wasps to emerge. Larger gall size and thicker schlerenchyma layers surrounding the larval chambers were negatively correlated with parasitoids and chamber fungi, indicating these gall traits are important defenses. External fungal lesions and insect herbivory were positively correlated with the absence of D. kuriphilus within galls. This study provides support for the protective role of cynipid galls for the gall inducer, identifies specific gall traits that influence gall wasp mortality, and improves our knowledge of D. kuriphilus ecology in North America.

  3. Wasp waist or beer belly? Modeling food web structure and energetic control in Alaskan marine ecosystems, with implications for fishing and environmental forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaichas, Sarah; Aydin, Kerim; Francis, Robert C.

    2015-11-01

    The Eastern Bering Sea (EBS) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) continental shelf ecosystems show some similar and some distinctive groundfish biomass dynamics. Given that similar species occupy these regions and fisheries management is also comparable, similarities might be expected, but to what can we attribute the differences? Different types of ecosystem structure and control (e.g. top-down, bottom-up, mixed) can imply different ecosystem dynamics and climate interactions. Further, the structural type identified for a given ecosystem may suggest optimal management for sustainable fishing. Here, we use information on the current system state derived from food web models of both the EBS and the GOA combined with dynamic ecosystem models incorporating uncertainty to classify each ecosystem by its structural type. We then suggest how this structure might be generally related to dynamics and predictability. We find that the EBS and GOA have fundamentally different food web structures both overall, and when viewed from the perspective of the same commercially and ecologically important species in each system, walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus). EBS food web structure centers on a large mass of pollock, which appears to contribute to relative system stability and predictability. In contrast, GOA food web structure features high predator biomass, which contributes to a more dynamic, less predictable ecosystem. Mechanisms for climate influence on pollock production in the EBS are increasingly understood, while climate forcing mechanisms contributing to the potentially destabilizing high predator biomass in the GOA remain enigmatic. We present results of identical pollock fishing and climate-driven pollock recruitment simulations in the EBS and GOA which show different system responses, again with less predictable response in the GOA. Overall, our results suggest that identifying structural properties of fished food webs is as important for sustainable fisheries management as

  4. Glomalin-related soil protein in a Mediterranean ecosystem affected by a copper smelter and its contribution to Cu and Zn sequestration.

    PubMed

    Cornejo, Pablo; Meier, Sebastián; Borie, Gilda; Rillig, Matthias C; Borie, Fernando

    2008-11-15

    The amount of glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP), a glycoprotein produced by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), its contribution to the sequestering of Cu and Zn in the soil, and the microsite variation of other soil traits (pH, water-stable aggregates--[WSA], soil organic carbon--[SOC]) was studied in a semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystem near a copper smelter and affected by deposit of metal-rich particles since 1964. Rhizospheric (R) and non-rhizospheric (NR) soil of four representative plants (Argemone subfusiformis, Baccharis linearis, Oenothera affinis and Polypogon viridis) was analyzed. The results showed a strong variability in GRSP (6.6-36.8 mg g(-1)), Cu content (62-831 mg kg(-1) for the total Cu and 5.8-326 mg kg(-1) for the available Cu) and pH (4.2-5.5) in the different plant and rhizospheric zones analyzed. A strong relationship between the GRSP with the soil Cu and Zn contents was found (r=0.89 and 0.76 for Cu and Zn respectively, p<0.001). The GRSP-bound Cu ranged from 3.76 to 89.0 mg g(-1) soil and represents 1.44-27.5% of the total Cu content in soil. Moreover, the WSA reached 89% in P. viridis R. For this plant, the C contained in GRSP represented up to 89% of SOC, and this coincided with the most extreme conditions of soil degradation within the ecosystem (the highest content of heavy metals and low pH values). This study provides evidence on the role of the GRSP in Cu and Zn sequestration and suggests a highly efficient mechanism of AMF to mitigate stress leading to stabilization of soils highly polluted by mining activities. PMID:18762323

  5. Combined impacts of global warming and pollution: impacts on food web structure and ecosystem function.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, R. M.

    2005-05-01

    Effects of global species loss on ecosystem function have traditionally been extrapolated from studies which investigate the effect of random species loss or addition. Real species loss is highly patterned and clumped according to trophic position, taxonomic relatedness and interconnectedness with the remainder of the food web. Using pond microcosms, I evoked a realistic pattern of species loss using toxins and warming. Species loss was predictably highly patterned. Influences on ecosystem functions ranged from simple and linear in the case of algal productivity, through to complex and step-like in the case of bacterial decomposition. Impacts on algal productivity were mediated by effects on the rate of grazing by invertebrates. There is strong evidence from the bacterial decomposition results of an `insurance effect' whereby the presence of multiple stressors has a strong, non-additive effect on function. These results clearly show that the traditional ecotoxicological practice of studying effects of single toxins on single species may be highly misleading.

  6. Do cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous effects drive the structure of tumor ecosystems?

    PubMed

    Tissot, Tazzio; Ujvari, Beata; Solary, Eric; Lassus, Patrice; Roche, Benjamin; Thomas, Frédéric

    2016-04-01

    By definition, a driver mutation confers a growth advantage to the cancer cell in which it occurs, while a passenger mutation does not: the former is usually considered as the engine of cancer progression, while the latter is not. Actually, the effects of a given mutation depend on the genetic background of the cell in which it appears, thus can differ in the subclones that form a tumor. In addition to cell-autonomous effects generated by the mutations, non-cell-autonomous effects shape the phenotype of a cancer cell. Here, we review the evidence that a network of biological interactions between subclones drives cancer cell adaptation and amplifies intra-tumor heterogeneity. Integrating the role of mutations in tumor ecosystems generates innovative strategies targeting the tumor ecosystem's weaknesses to improve cancer treatment. PMID:26845682

  7. Millennial climatic fluctuations are key to the structure of last glacial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Huntley, Brian; Allen, Judy R M; Collingham, Yvonne C; Hickler, Thomas; Lister, Adrian M; Singarayer, Joy; Stuart, Anthony J; Sykes, Martin T; Valdes, Paul J

    2013-01-01

    Whereas fossil evidence indicates extensive treeless vegetation and diverse grazing megafauna in Europe and northern Asia during the last glacial, experiments combining vegetation models and climate models have to-date simulated widespread persistence of trees. Resolving this conflict is key to understanding both last glacial ecosystems and extinction of most of the mega-herbivores. Using a dynamic vegetation model (DVM) we explored the implications of the differing climatic conditions generated by a general circulation model (GCM) in "normal" and "hosing" experiments. Whilst the former approximate interstadial conditions, the latter, designed to mimic Heinrich Events, approximate stadial conditions. The "hosing" experiments gave simulated European vegetation much closer in composition to that inferred from fossil evidence than did the "normal" experiments. Given the short duration of interstadials, and the rate at which forest cover expanded during the late-glacial and early Holocene, our results demonstrate the importance of millennial variability in determining the character of last glacial ecosystems. PMID:23613985

  8. Aluminum fluoride affects the structure and functions of cell membranes.

    PubMed

    Suwalsky, M; Norris, B; Villena, F; Cuevas, F; Sotomayor, P; Zatta, P

    2004-06-01

    No useful biological function for aluminum has been found. To the contrary, it might play an important role in several pathologies, which could be related to its interactions with cell membranes. On the other hand, fluoride is a normal component of body fluids, soft tissues, bones and teeth. Its sodium salt is frequently added to drinking water to prevent dental caries. However, large doses cause severe pathological alterations. In view of the toxicity of Al(3+) and F(-) ions, it was thought of interest to explore the damaging effects that AlF(3) might induce in cell membranes. With this aim, it was incubated with human erythrocytes, which were examined by phase contrast and scanning electron microscopy, and molecular models of biomembranes. The latter consisted of large unilamellar vesicles (LUV) of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and bilayers of DMPC and dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DMPE) which were studied by fluorescence spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, respectively. In order to understand the effects of AlF(3) on ion transport (principally sodium and chloride) we used the isolated toad skin to which electrophysiological measurements were applied. It was found that AlF(3) altered the shape of erythrocytes inducing the formation of echinocytes. This effect was explained by X-ray diffraction which revealed that AlF(3) perturbed the structure of DMPC, class of lipids located in the outer monolayer of the erythrocyte membrane. This result was confirmed by fluorescence spectroscopy on DMPC LUV. The biphasic (stimulatory followed by inhibitory) effects on the isolated skin suggested changes in apical Cl(-) secretion and moderate ATPase inactivation. PMID:15110101

  9. Trophic structure in the Gulf of Lions marine ecosystem (north-western Mediterranean Sea) and fishing impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bănaru, D.; Mellon-Duval, C.; Roos, D.; Bigot, J.-L.; Souplet, A.; Jadaud, A.; Beaubrun, P.; Fromentin, J.-M.

    2013-02-01

    The Gulf of Lions ecosystem was described using the Ecopath mass-balance model to characterise its structure and functioning and to examine the effects of the multispecific fisheries operating in this area. The model is composed of 40 compartments, including 1 group of seabirds, 2 groups of cetaceans, 18 groups of fish, 12 groups of invertebrates, 5 groups of primary producers, detritus and discards. Input data were based on several recurrent scientific surveys, two alternative datasets for fishing data, stock assessment outputs, stomach content analyses and published information. Results showed that the functional groups were organised into five trophic levels with the highest one represented by dolphins, anglerfish, Atlantic bluefin tuna, European hake and European conger. European pilchard and European anchovy dominated in terms of fish biomass and catch. Other fish with high biomass such as Atlantic mackerel and blue whiting were highly important in the food web. Seabirds, dolphins and cuttlefish-squids represented keystone species. Important coupled pelagic-demersal-benthic interactions were described. The 7 different fisheries analysed were operating at mean trophic levels situated between 2.6 for small artisanal boats, and 4.1 for purse seines (> 24 m) targeting large pelagic fish, indicating an intensively exploited ecosystem. Large trawlers (24-40 m) had the highest impact on most of the groups considered; while purse seines (12-24 m) targeting small pelagic fish had the lowest impact. Preliminary results highlighted the importance of data sources for further ecosystem and fisheries analyses and management scenarios.

  10. Effects of vegetation structure on soil carbon, nutrients and greenhouse gas exchange in a savannah ecosystem of Mount Kilimanjaro Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, J.

    2015-12-01

    The savannah biome is a hotspot for biodiversity and wildlife conservation in Africa and recently got in the focus of research on carbon sequestration. Savannah ecosystems are under strong pressure from climate and land-use change, especially around populous areas like the Mt. Kilimanjaro region. Savannah vegetation consists of grassland with isolated trees and is therefore characterized by high spatial variation of canopy cover, aboveground biomass and root structure. The canopy structure is a major regulator for soil ecological parameters and soil-atmospheric trace gas exchange (CO2, N2O, CH4) in water limited environments. The spatial distribution of these parameters and the connection between above and belowground processes are important to understand and predict ecosystem changes and estimate its vulnerability. Our objective was to determine spatial trends and changes of soil parameters and relate their variability to the vegetation structure. We chose three trees from each of the two most dominant species (Acacia nilotica and Balanites aegyptiaca) in our research area. For each tree, we selected transects with nine sampling points of the same relative distances to the stem. At these each sampling point a soil core was taken and separated in 0-10 cm and 10-30 cm depth. We measured soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage, microbial biomass C and N, Natural δ13C, soil respiration, available nutrients, pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC) as well as root biomass and -density, soil temperature and soil water content. Concentrations and stocks of C and N fractions, CEC and K+ decreased up to 50% outside the crown covered area. Microbial C:N ratio and CO2 efflux was about 30% higher outside the crown. This indicates N limitation and low C use efficiency in soil outside the crown area. We conclude that the spatial structure of aboveground biomass in savanna ecosystems leads to a spatial variance in nutrient limitation. Therefore, the capability of a savanna ecosystem

  11. Net ecosystem CO2 exchange of an invasive plant infestation: new insights on the effects of phenology and management practices on structure and functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonnentag, Oliver; Detto, Matteo; Runkle, Benjamin; Hatala, Jaclyn; Vargas, Rodrigo; Kelly, Maggi; Baldocchi, Dennis

    2010-05-01

    The net ecosystem carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange (FC) of invasive plant infestations has been subject of few studies only. Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium L.) is an aggressive invasive plant with severe economic and environmental consequences for infested ecosystems. A characteristic feature of pepperweed's phenological cycle is the dense arrangement of small white flowers during secondary inflorescence. Little is known about how pepperweed flowering and management practices such as mowing affect canopy structure and canopy photosynthesis (FA) and autotrophic respiration (FAR) and thus ecosystem respiration (FER; FC=FER-FA with FER=FAR+heterotrophic respiration [FHR]). To examine these effects we analyzed three years (2007-2010) of CO2 flux measurements made with eddy covariance, supporting environmental measurements and near-surface remote sensing data (canopy-scale reflectance, digital camera imagery) from a pepperweed-infested pasture in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The measurements cover three meteorologically similar summers (1 May - 30 September) that slightly differed in terms of land use practices. In 2007-2010, the site was subjected to year-round grazing by beef cattle, and in 2008, the site was additionally mowed in mid-May during flowering. We described structural changes in canopy development through seasonal changes in surface roughness for momentum transfer (z0m). Weekly soil CO2 efflux (≈ FHR) estimates from static chamber measurements made over bare soil were used to separate FER into FAR and FHR. We identified the onset of pepperweed's key phenological phases (i.e., germination, early vegetative growth, flowering, seed maturation, senescence, dormancy) through the integrated analysis of albedo of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), a broad-band green normalized difference vegetation index, and a digital camera-based color index. We used non-linear mixed-effects model analysis to investigate the combined

  12. Reducing Uncertainty In Ecosystem Structure Inventories From Spaceborne Lidar Using Alternate Spatial Sampling Approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lefsky, M. A.; Ramond, T.; Weimer, C. S.

    2010-12-01

    Current and proposed spaceborne lidar sensors sample the land surface using observations along transects in which consecutive observations in the along-track dimension are either contiguous (e.g. VCL, DESDynI, Livex) or spaced (ICESat). These sampling patterns are inefficient because multiple observations are made of a spatially autocorrelated phenomenon (i.e. vegetation patches) while large areas of the landscape are left un-sampled. This results in higher uncertainty in estimates of average ecosystem structure than would be obtained using either random sampling or sampling in regular grids. We compared three sampling scenarios for spaceborne lidar: five transects spaced every 850 m across-track with contiguous 25m footprints along-track, the same number of footprints distributed randomly, and a hybrid approach that retains the central transect of contiguous 25m footprints and distributes the remainder of the footprints into a grid with 178 m spacing. We used simulated ground tracks at four latitudes for a realistic spaceborne lidar mission and calculated the amount of time required to achieve 150 m spacing between transects and the number of near-coincident observations for each scenario. We used four lidar height datasets collected using the Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (La Selva, Costa Rica, Sierra Nevada, California, Duke Forest, North Carolina and Harvard Forest, Massachusetts) to calculate the standard error of estimates of landscape height for each scenario. We found that a hybrid sampling approach reduced the amount of time required to reach a transect spacing of 150 m by a factor of three at all four latitudes, and that the number of near-coincident observations was greater by a factor of five at the equator and at least equal throughout the range of latitudes sampled. The standard error of landscape height was between 2 and 2.5 times smaller using either hybrid or random sampling than using transect sampling. As the pulses generated by a spaceborne

  13. Variability in ecosystem structure and functioning in a low order stream: Implications of land use and season.

    PubMed

    Englert, Dominic; Zubrod, Jochen P; Schulz, Ralf; Bundschuh, Mirco

    2015-12-15

    Human activity can degrade the habitat quality for aquatic communities, which ultimately impacts the functions these communities provide. Disentangling the complex interaction between environmental and anthropogenic parameters as well as their alteration both along the stream channel, over the seasons, and finally their impact in the aquatic ecosystem represents a fundamental challenge for environmental scientists. Therefore, the present study investigates the implications of successive land uses (i.e., vineyard, urban area, highway and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)) on structural and functional endpoints related to the ecosystem process of leaf litter breakdown during a winter and summer season in a five km stretch of a second-order stream in southern Germany. This sequence of the different land uses caused, among others, a downstream decline of the ecological status from "high" to "bad" judged based on the SPEARpesticides index together with significant shifts in the macroinvertebrate community composition, which coincided with substantial impairments (up to 100%) in the macroinvertebrate-mediated leaf decomposition. These effects, seem to be mainly driven by alterations in water quality rather than morphological modifications of the stream's habitat since the key shredder Gammarus was not in direct contact with the local habitat during in situ bioassays but showed similar response patterns than the other endpoints. While the relative effect size for most endpoints deviated considerably (sometimes above 2-fold) among seasons, the general response pattern pointed to reductions in energy supply for local and downstream communities. Although the present study focused on a single low-order stream with the main purpose of describing the impact of different land uses on various levels of biological organization, which limits the direct transferability and thus applicability of results to other stream ecosystems, the findings point to the need to develop adequate

  14. Variability in ecosystem structure and functioning in a low order stream: Implications of land use and season.

    PubMed

    Englert, Dominic; Zubrod, Jochen P; Schulz, Ralf; Bundschuh, Mirco

    2015-12-15

    Human activity can degrade the habitat quality for aquatic communities, which ultimately impacts the functions these communities provide. Disentangling the complex interaction between environmental and anthropogenic parameters as well as their alteration both along the stream channel, over the seasons, and finally their impact in the aquatic ecosystem represents a fundamental challenge for environmental scientists. Therefore, the present study investigates the implications of successive land uses (i.e., vineyard, urban area, highway and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)) on structural and functional endpoints related to the ecosystem process of leaf litter breakdown during a winter and summer season in a five km stretch of a second-order stream in southern Germany. This sequence of the different land uses caused, among others, a downstream decline of the ecological status from "high" to "bad" judged based on the SPEARpesticides index together with significant shifts in the macroinvertebrate community composition, which coincided with substantial impairments (up to 100%) in the macroinvertebrate-mediated leaf decomposition. These effects, seem to be mainly driven by alterations in water quality rather than morphological modifications of the stream's habitat since the key shredder Gammarus was not in direct contact with the local habitat during in situ bioassays but showed similar response patterns than the other endpoints. While the relative effect size for most endpoints deviated considerably (sometimes above 2-fold) among seasons, the general response pattern pointed to reductions in energy supply for local and downstream communities. Although the present study focused on a single low-order stream with the main purpose of describing the impact of different land uses on various levels of biological organization, which limits the direct transferability and thus applicability of results to other stream ecosystems, the findings point to the need to develop adequate

  15. The importance of heterogeneity: integrating lidar remote sensing and height-structured ecosystem models to improve estimation forest structure and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, R. Q.; Hurtt, G. C.; Dubayah, R. O.; Ranson, K. J.; Ollinger, S. V.; Aber, J. D.

    2006-12-01

    Lidar remote sensing data have been shown to effectively represent forest structure, constrain estimates of carbon stocks and, when used to initialize a height-structured ecosystem model fluxes, constrain fluxes. Here we use large-footprint lidar data from the NASA Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) to initialize the height-structured Ecosystem Demography (ED) model to study forest structure and dynamics at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF). HBEF is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and includes heterogeneity in elevation dependent abiotic factors (i.e. temperature, precipitation, and soil depth), which are important drivers in a well documented decline in biomass and species change with elevation. We produced an estimate of the forest structure and fluxes in 1999 across all elevations at HBEF by first spinning up the model with elevation dependent climate and soil characteristics and then initializing the model using 1999 LVIS canopy height data. We validated the initialized model estimates against extensive field data and demonstrated that above ground carbon stocks, basal area, and species composition were within 1, 5 and 7%, respectively, of the field data at all elevations. Model projections were validated using data from a second LVIS acquisition obtained in 2003, accounting for the effects of both model uncertainty and lidar uncertainty. The additional constraint provided by including elevation dependent abiotic heterogeneity in the model initialization suggests that the forest is closer to a mature state than when initialized without the heterogeneity. We conclude that together lidar data and a height-structured ecosystem model give more information about forest structure and dynamics because together they account for critical fine scale heterogeneity.

  16. Satellite Ecology (SATECO)-linking ecology, remote sensing and micrometeorology, from plot to regional scale, for the study of ecosystem structure and function.

    PubMed

    Muraoka, Hiroyuki; Koizumi, Hiroshi

    2009-01-01

    There is a growing requirement for ecosystem science to help inform a deeper understanding of the effects of global climate change and land use change on terrestrial ecosystem structure and function, from small area (plot) to landscape, regional and global scales. To meet these requirements, ecologists have investigated plant growth and carbon cycling processes at plot scale, using biometric methods to measure plant carbon accumulation, and gas exchange (chamber) methods to measure soil respiration. Also at the plot scale, micrometeorologists have attempted to measure canopy- or ecosystem-scale CO(2) flux by the eddy covariance technique, which reveals diurnal, seasonal and annual cycles. Mathematical models play an important role in integrating ecological and micrometeorological processes into ecosystem scales, which are further useful in interpreting time-accumulated information derived from biometric methods by comparing with CO(2) flux measurements. For a spatial scaling of such plot-level understanding, remote sensing via satellite is used to measure land use/vegetation type distribution and temporal changes in ecosystem structures such as leaf area index. However, to better utilise such data, there is still a need for investigations that consider the structure and function of ecosystems and their processes, especially in mountainous areas characterized by complex terrain and a mosaic distribution of vegetation. For this purpose, we have established a new interdisciplinary approach named 'Satellite Ecology', which aims to link ecology, remote sensing and micrometeorology to facilitate the study of ecosystem function, at the plot, landscape, and regional scale.

  17. Satellite Ecology (SATECO)-linking ecology, remote sensing and micrometeorology, from plot to regional scale, for the study of ecosystem structure and function.

    PubMed

    Muraoka, Hiroyuki; Koizumi, Hiroshi

    2009-01-01

    There is a growing requirement for ecosystem science to help inform a deeper understanding of the effects of global climate change and land use change on terrestrial ecosystem structure and function, from small area (plot) to landscape, regional and global scales. To meet these requirements, ecologists have investigated plant growth and carbon cycling processes at plot scale, using biometric methods to measure plant carbon accumulation, and gas exchange (chamber) methods to measure soil respiration. Also at the plot scale, micrometeorologists have attempted to measure canopy- or ecosystem-scale CO(2) flux by the eddy covariance technique, which reveals diurnal, seasonal and annual cycles. Mathematical models play an important role in integrating ecological and micrometeorological processes into ecosystem scales, which are further useful in interpreting time-accumulated information derived from biometric methods by comparing with CO(2) flux measurements. For a spatial scaling of such plot-level understanding, remote sensing via satellite is used to measure land use/vegetation type distribution and temporal changes in ecosystem structures such as leaf area index. However, to better utilise such data, there is still a need for investigations that consider the structure and function of ecosystems and their processes, especially in mountainous areas characterized by complex terrain and a mosaic distribution of vegetation. For this purpose, we have established a new interdisciplinary approach named 'Satellite Ecology', which aims to link ecology, remote sensing and micrometeorology to facilitate the study of ecosystem function, at the plot, landscape, and regional scale. PMID:18958540

  18. Tropical forest fragmentation affects floral visitors but not the structure of individual-based palm-pollinator networks.

    PubMed

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests

  19. Tropical forest fragmentation affects floral visitors but not the structure of individual-based palm-pollinator networks.

    PubMed

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests.

  20. Tropical Forest Fragmentation Affects Floral Visitors but Not the Structure of Individual-Based Palm-Pollinator Networks

    PubMed Central

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests

  1. Ecosystem structure and fishing impacts in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea using a food web model within a comparative approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corrales, Xavier; Coll, Marta; Tecchio, Samuele; Bellido, José María; Fernández, Ángel Mario; Palomera, Isabel

    2015-08-01

    We developed an ecological model to characterize the structure and functioning of the marine continental shelf and slope area of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, from Toulon to Cape La Nao (NWM model), in the early 2000s. The model included previously modeled areas in the NW Mediterranean (the Gulf of Lions and the Southern Catalan Sea) and expanded their ranges, covering 45,547 km2, with depths from 0 to 1000 m. The study area was chosen to specifically account for the connectivity between the areas and shared fish stocks and fleets. Input data were based on local scientific surveys and fishing statistics, published data on stomach content analyses, and the application of empirical equations to estimate consumption and production rates. The model was composed of 54 functional groups, from primary producers to top predators, and Spanish and French fishing fleets were considered. Results were analyzed using ecological indicators and compared with outputs from ecosystem models developed in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Cadiz prior to this study. Results showed that the main trophic flows were associated with detritus, phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates. Several high trophic level organisms (such as dolphins, benthopelagic cephalopods, large demersal fishes from the continental shelf, and other large pelagic fishes), and the herbivorous salema fish, were identified as keystone groups within the ecosystem. Results confirmed that fishing impact was high and widespread throughout the food web. The comparative approach highlighted that, despite productivity differences, the ecosystems shared common features in structure and functioning traits such as the important role of detritus, the dominance of the pelagic fraction in terms of flows and the importance of benthic-pelagic coupling.

  2. Bacterial community structure across environmental gradients in permafrost thaw ponds: methanotroph-rich ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Crevecoeur, Sophie; Vincent, Warwick F.; Comte, Jérôme; Lovejoy, Connie

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost thawing leads to the formation of thermokarst ponds that potentially emit CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere. In the Nunavik subarctic region (northern Québec, Canada), these numerous, shallow ponds become well-stratified during summer. This creates a physico-chemical gradient of temperature and oxygen, with an upper oxic layer and a bottom low oxygen or anoxic layer. Our objective was to determine the influence of stratification and related limnological and landscape properties on the community structure of potentially active bacteria in these waters. Samples for RNA analysis were taken from ponds in three contrasting valleys across a gradient of permafrost degradation. A total of 1296 operational taxonomic units were identified by high throughput amplicon sequencing, targeting bacterial 16S rRNA that was reverse transcribed to cDNA. β-proteobacteria were the dominant group in all ponds, with highest representation by the genera Variovorax and Polynucleobacter. Methanotrophs were also among the most abundant sequences at most sites. They accounted for up to 27% of the total sequences (median of 4.9% for all samples), indicating the importance of methane as a bacterial energy source in these waters. Both oxygenic (cyanobacteria) and anoxygenic (Chlorobi) phototrophs were also well-represented, the latter in the low oxygen bottom waters. Ordination analyses showed that the communities clustered according to valley and depth, with significant effects attributed to dissolved oxygen, pH, dissolved organic carbon, and total suspended solids. These results indicate that the bacterial assemblages of permafrost thaw ponds are filtered by environmental gradients, and are complex consortia of functionally diverse taxa that likely affect the composition as well as magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions from these abundant waters. PMID:25926816

  3. Bacterial community structure across environmental gradients in permafrost thaw ponds: methanotroph-rich ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Crevecoeur, Sophie; Vincent, Warwick F; Comte, Jérôme; Lovejoy, Connie

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost thawing leads to the formation of thermokarst ponds that potentially emit CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere. In the Nunavik subarctic region (northern Québec, Canada), these numerous, shallow ponds become well-stratified during summer. This creates a physico-chemical gradient of temperature and oxygen, with an upper oxic layer and a bottom low oxygen or anoxic layer. Our objective was to determine the influence of stratification and related limnological and landscape properties on the community structure of potentially active bacteria in these waters. Samples for RNA analysis were taken from ponds in three contrasting valleys across a gradient of permafrost degradation. A total of 1296 operational taxonomic units were identified by high throughput amplicon sequencing, targeting bacterial 16S rRNA that was reverse transcribed to cDNA. β-proteobacteria were the dominant group in all ponds, with highest representation by the genera Variovorax and Polynucleobacter. Methanotrophs were also among the most abundant sequences at most sites. They accounted for up to 27% of the total sequences (median of 4.9% for all samples), indicating the importance of methane as a bacterial energy source in these waters. Both oxygenic (cyanobacteria) and anoxygenic (Chlorobi) phototrophs were also well-represented, the latter in the low oxygen bottom waters. Ordination analyses showed that the communities clustered according to valley and depth, with significant effects attributed to dissolved oxygen, pH, dissolved organic carbon, and total suspended solids. These results indicate that the bacterial assemblages of permafrost thaw ponds are filtered by environmental gradients, and are complex consortia of functionally diverse taxa that likely affect the composition as well as magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions from these abundant waters.

  4. Millennial Climatic Fluctuations Are Key to the Structure of Last Glacial Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Huntley, Brian; Allen, Judy R. M.; Collingham, Yvonne C.; Hickler, Thomas; Lister, Adrian M.; Singarayer, Joy; Stuart, Anthony J.; Sykes, Martin T.; Valdes, Paul J.

    2013-01-01

    Whereas fossil evidence indicates extensive treeless vegetation and diverse grazing megafauna in Europe and northern Asia during the last glacial, experiments combining vegetation models and climate models have to-date simulated widespread persistence of trees. Resolving this conflict is key to understanding both last glacial ecosystems and extinction of most of the mega-herbivores. Using a dynamic vegetation model (DVM) we explored the implications of the differing climatic conditions generated by a general circulation model (GCM) in “normal” and “hosing” experiments. Whilst the former approximate interstadial conditions, the latter, designed to mimic Heinrich Events, approximate stadial conditions. The “hosing” experiments gave simulated European vegetation much closer in composition to that inferred from fossil evidence than did the “normal” experiments. Given the short duration of interstadials, and the rate at which forest cover expanded during the late-glacial and early Holocene, our results demonstrate the importance of millennial variability in determining the character of last glacial ecosystems. PMID:23613985

  5. Biotic interactions as determinants of ecosystem structure in prairie wetlands: An example using fish

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hanson, M.A.; Zimmer, K.D.; Butler, Malcolm G.; Tangen, B.A.; Herwig, B.R.; Euliss, N.H.

    2005-01-01

    Wetlands are abundant throughout the prairie pothole region (PPR), an area comprising over 700,000 km2 in central North America. Prairie wetland communities are strongly influenced by regional physiography and climate, resulting in extreme spatial and temporal variability relative to other aquatic ecosystems. Given the strong influence of abiotic factors, PPR wetland communities have been viewed traditionally in the context of their responses to chemical and physical features of landscape and climate. Although useful, this physical-chemical paradigm may fail to account for ecosystem variability due to biotic influences, particularly those associated with presence of fish. Spatial and temporal variability in fish populations, in turn, may reflect anthropogenic activities, landscape characteristics, and climate-mediated effects on water levels, surface connectivity, and hydroperiods. We reviewed studies assessing influences of fish on prairie wetlands and examined precipitation patterns and biological data from PPR wetlands in east-central North Dakota and western Minnesota, USA. Our review and analysis indicated that native fish influence many characteristics of permanently flooded prairie wetlands, including water clarity and abundance of phytoplankton, submerged macrophytes, and aquatic invertebrates. We suggest that ecologists and managers will benefit from conceptual paradigms that better meld biotic interactions associated with fish, and perhaps other organisms, with chemical and physical influences on prairie wetland communities. ?? 2005, The Society of Wetland Scientists.

  6. Spatially cascading effect of perturbations in experimental meta-ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Harvey, Eric; Gounand, Isabelle; Ganesanandamoorthy, Pravin; Altermatt, Florian

    2016-09-14

    Ecosystems are linked to neighbouring ecosystems not only by dispersal, but also by the movement of subsidy. Such subsidy couplings between ecosystems have important landscape-scale implications because perturbations in one ecosystem may affect community structure and functioning in neighbouring ecosystems via increased/decreased subsidies. Here, we combine a general theoretical approach based on harvesting theory and a two-patch protist meta-ecosystem experiment to test the effect of regional perturbations on local community dynamics. We first characterized the relationship between the perturbation regime and local population demography on detritus production using a mathematical model. We then experimentally simulated a perturbation gradient affecting connected ecosystems simultaneously, thus altering cross-ecosystem subsidy exchanges. We demonstrate that the perturbation regime can interact with local population dynamics to trigger unexpected temporal variations in subsidy pulses from one ecosystem to another. High perturbation intensity initially led to the highest level of subsidy flows; however, the level of perturbation interacted with population dynamics to generate a crash in subsidy exchange over time. Both theoretical and experimental results show that a perturbation regime interacting with local community dynamics can induce a collapse in population levels for recipient ecosystems. These results call for integrative management of human-altered landscapes that takes into account regional dynamics of both species and resource flows. PMID:27629038

  7. Soil enzyme inhibition by condensed litter tannins may drive ecosystem structure and processes: the case of Kalmia angustifolia.

    PubMed

    Joanisse, G D; Bradley, R L; Preston, C M; Munson, A D

    2007-01-01

    Kalmia angustifolia is an ericaceous shrub that can rapidly spread on recently harvested boreal forest sites, causing a slow-down in soil nutrient cycling and reduced growth of spruce seedlings. It has been hypothesized that tannins released from Kalmia litter suppress soil enzyme activity, and are thus important in controlling ecosystem structure and processes. Here the effects of different concentrations of tannins extracted from both Kalmia and black spruce (Picea mariana) foliage were tested on enzyme activities of soil extracts. Then the effects of various Kalmia-black spruce litter mixtures on soil enzyme activity were investigated. Lastly, the correlation between Kalmia cover in the field and soil enzyme activity was measured. Both tannin types suppressed beta-glucosidase and acid phosphatase activities, and the magnitude of these effects was concentration-dependent. beta-glucosidase and amidase activity decreased linearly with an increasing Kalmia : spruce litter ratio added to soil. A field survey of 24 sites revealed a negative relationship between percentage Kalmia cover and beta-glucosidase activity. Collectively, results of the three experiments converge to support the claim that enzyme inhibition by litter tannins has evolved as an important mechanism controlling ecosystem processes and structure following Kalmia invasion on recently disturbed forest sites.

  8. The Internal Structure of Positive and Negative Affect: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the PANAS

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tuccitto, Daniel E.; Giacobbi, Peter R., Jr.; Leite, Walter L.

    2010-01-01

    This study tested five confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) models of the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) to provide validity evidence based on its internal structure. A sample of 223 club sport athletes indicated their emotions during the past week. Results revealed that an orthogonal two-factor CFA model, specifying error…

  9. 28 CFR 0.191 - Changes which affect the overall structure of the Department.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Changes which affect the overall structure of the Department. 0.191 Section 0.191 Judicial Administration DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Sections and Subunits § 0.191 Changes which affect the overall...

  10. Influence of chemosynthetic ecosystems on nematode community structure and biomass in the deep eastern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lampadariou, N.; Kalogeropoulou, V.; Sevastou, K.; Keklikoglou, K.; Sarrazin, J.

    2013-08-01

    Mud volcanoes are a~special type of cold seeps where life is based on chemoautotrophic processes. They are considered to be extreme environments and are characterized by unique megafaunal and macrofaunal communities. However, very few studies on mud volcanoes taking into account the smaller meiobenthic communities have been carried out. Two mud volcanoes were explored during the MEDECO (MEditerranean Deep-sea ECOsystems) cruise (2007) with the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Victor-6000: Amsterdam, located south of Turkey between 1700 and 2000 m depth (Anaximander mud field); and Napoli, south of Crete, located along the Mediterranean Ridge at about 2000 m depth (Olimpi mud field). The major aim of this study was to describe distributional patterns of meiofaunal communities and nematode assemblages from different seep microhabitats. Meiofaunal taxa and nematode assemblages at both mud volcanoes differed significantly from other Mediterranean sites in terms of standing stocks, dominance and species diversity. Density and biomass values were significantly higher at the seep sites, particularly at Amsterdam. Patterns of nematode diversity, the dominant meiofaunal taxon, varied, displaying both very high or very low species richness and dominance, depending on the microhabitat studied. The periphery of the Lamellibrachia and bivalve shell microhabitats of Napoli exhibited the highest species richness, while the reduced sediments of Amsterdam yielded a species-poor nematode community dominated by two successful species, one belonging to the genus Aponema and the other to the genus Sabatieria. Analysis of β-diversity showed that microhabitat heterogeneity of mud volcanoes contributed substantially to the total nematode species richness in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. These observations indicate a strong influence of mud volcanoes and cold-seep ecosystems on the meiofaunal communities and nematode assemblages.

  11. School and Classroom Goal Structures: Effects on Affective Responses in Physical Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barkoukis, Vassilis; Koidou, Eirini; Tsorbatzoudis, Haralambos; Grouios, George

    2012-01-01

    The current study examined the relative impact of school and classroom goal structures on students' affective responses and the mediating role of motivation. The sample of the study consisted of 368 high school students, who completed measures of school and classroom goal structures, motivational regulations in physical education, boredom, and…

  12. Ecosystem Processes at the Watershed Scale: Stability and Resilience of Catchment Spatial Structure and Function to Disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baron, J.; Mast, A.; Clow, D. W.; Wetherbee, G. A.

    2014-12-01

    Ecohydrological systems evolve spontaneously in response to geologic, hydroclimate and biodiversity drivers. The stability and resilience of these systems to multiple disturbances can be addressed over specific temporal extents, potentially embedded within long term transience in response to geologic or climate change. The limits of ecohydrological resilience of system state in terms of vegetation canopy and soil catenae and the space/time distribution of water, carbon and nutrient cycling is determined by a set of critical feedbacks and potential substitutions of plant functional forms in response to disturbance. The ability of forest systems to return to states functionally similar to states prior to major disturbance, or combinations of multiple disturbances, is a critical question given increasing hydroclimate extremes, biological invasions, and human disturbance. Over the past century, forest landscape ecological patterns appear to have the ability to recover from significant disturbance and re-establish similar hydrological and ecological function in humid, biodiverse regions such as the southern Appalachians, and potentially drier forest ecosystems. Understanding and prediction of past and future long term dynamics requires explicit representation of spatial and temporal feedbacks and dependencies between hydrological, ecosystem and geomorphic processes, and the spatial pattern of species or plant functional type (PFT). Comprehensive models of watershed ecohydrological resilience requires careful balance between the level of process and parameter detail between the interacting components, relative to the structure, organization, space and time scales of the landscape.

  13. Ecosystem Processes at the Watershed Scale: Stability and Resilience of Catchment Spatial Structure and Function to Disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Band, L. E.

    2015-12-01

    Ecohydrological systems evolve spontaneously in response to geologic, hydroclimate and biodiversity drivers. The stability and resilience of these systems to multiple disturbances can be addressed over specific temporal extents, potentially embedded within long term transience in response to geologic or climate change. The limits of ecohydrological resilience of system state in terms of vegetation canopy and soil catenae and the space/time distribution of water, carbon and nutrient cycling is determined by a set of critical feedbacks and potential substitutions of plant functional forms in response to disturbance. The ability of forest systems to return to states functionally similar to states prior to major disturbance, or combinations of multiple disturbances, is a critical question given increasing hydroclimate extremes, biological invasions, and human disturbance. Over the past century, forest landscape ecological patterns appear to have the ability to recover from significant disturbance and re-establish similar hydrological and ecological function in humid, biodiverse regions such as the southern Appalachians, and potentially drier forest ecosystems. Understanding and prediction of past and future long term dynamics requires explicit representation of spatial and temporal feedbacks and dependencies between hydrological, ecosystem and geomorphic processes, and the spatial pattern of species or plant functional type (PFT). Comprehensive models of watershed ecohydrological resilience requires careful balance between the level of process and parameter detail between the interacting components, relative to the structure, organization, space and time scales of the landscape.

  14. Changes within a single land-use category alter microbial diversity and community structure: molecular evidence from wood-inhabiting fungi in forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Purahong, Witoon; Hoppe, Björn; Kahl, Tiemo; Schloter, Michael; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Bauhus, Jürgen; Buscot, François; Krüger, Dirk

    2014-06-15

    The impact of changes within a single land-use category or land-use intensity on microbial communities is poorly understood, especially with respect to fungi. Here we assessed how forest management regimes and a change in forest type affect the richness and community structure of wood-inhabiting fungi across Germany. We used molecular methods based on the length polymorphism of the internal transcribed spacers and the 5.8S rRNA gene to assess fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs). A cloning/sequencing approach was used to identify taxonomic affinities of the fungal OTUs. Overall, 20-24% and 25-27% of native fungal OTUs from forest reserves and semi-natural forests became undetectable or were lost in managed and converted forests, respectively. Fungal richness was significantly reduced during a regeneration phase in age-class beech forests with a high level of wood extraction (P = 0.017), whereas fungal community structures were not significantly affected. Conversion of forests from native, deciduous to coniferous species caused significant changes in the fungal community structure (R = 0.64-0.66, P = 0.0001) and could reduce fungal richness (P < 0.05) which may depend on which coniferous species was introduced. Our results showed that Ascocoryne cylichnium, Armillaria sp., Exophiala moniliae, Hyphodontia subalutacea and Fomes fomentarius, all known for wood-decaying abilities were strongly reduced in their abundances when forests were converted from beech to coniferous. We conclude that changes within a single land-use category can be regarded as a major threat to fungal diversity in temperate forest ecosystems. PMID:24681650

  15. Changes within a single land-use category alter microbial diversity and community structure: molecular evidence from wood-inhabiting fungi in forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Purahong, Witoon; Hoppe, Björn; Kahl, Tiemo; Schloter, Michael; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Bauhus, Jürgen; Buscot, François; Krüger, Dirk

    2014-06-15

    The impact of changes within a single land-use category or land-use intensity on microbial communities is poorly understood, especially with respect to fungi. Here we assessed how forest management regimes and a change in forest type affect the richness and community structure of wood-inhabiting fungi across Germany. We used molecular methods based on the length polymorphism of the internal transcribed spacers and the 5.8S rRNA gene to assess fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs). A cloning/sequencing approach was used to identify taxonomic affinities of the fungal OTUs. Overall, 20-24% and 25-27% of native fungal OTUs from forest reserves and semi-natural forests became undetectable or were lost in managed and converted forests, respectively. Fungal richness was significantly reduced during a regeneration phase in age-class beech forests with a high level of wood extraction (P = 0.017), whereas fungal community structures were not significantly affected. Conversion of forests from native, deciduous to coniferous species caused significant changes in the fungal community structure (R = 0.64-0.66, P = 0.0001) and could reduce fungal richness (P < 0.05) which may depend on which coniferous species was introduced. Our results showed that Ascocoryne cylichnium, Armillaria sp., Exophiala moniliae, Hyphodontia subalutacea and Fomes fomentarius, all known for wood-decaying abilities were strongly reduced in their abundances when forests were converted from beech to coniferous. We conclude that changes within a single land-use category can be regarded as a major threat to fungal diversity in temperate forest ecosystems.

  16. Bacterial community structure and carbon turnover in permafrost-affected soils of the Lena Delta, northeastern Siberia.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Dirk; Kobabe, Svenja; Liebner, Susanne

    2009-01-01

    Arctic permafrost environments store large amounts of organic carbon. As a result of global warming, intensified permafrost degradation and release of significant quantities of the currently conserved organic matter is predicted for high latitudes. To improve our understanding of the present and future carbon dynamics in climate sensitive permafrost ecosystems, the present study investigates structure and carbon turnover of the bacterial community in a permafrost-affected soil of the Lena Delta (72 degrees 22'N, 126 degrees 28'E) in northeastern Siberia. 16S rRNA gene clone libraries revealed the presence of all major soil bacterial groups and of the canditate divisions OD1 and OP11. A shift within the bacterial community was observed along the soil profile indicated by the absence of Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria and a simultaneous increase in abundance and diversity of fermenting bacteria like Firmicutes and Actinobacteria near the permafrost table. BIOLOG EcoPlates were used to describe the spectrum of utilized carbon sources of the bacterial community in different horizons under in situ temperature conditions in the presence and absence of oxygen. The results revealed distinct qualitative differences in the substrates used and the turnover rates under oxic and anoxic conditions. It can be concluded that constantly negative redox potentials as characteristic for the near permafrost table horizons of the investigated soil did effectively shape the structure of the indigenous bacterial community limiting its phylum-level diversity and carbon turnover capacity.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  18. Biogeochemical processes underpin ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Elemental cycling is critical to the function of ecosystems and delivery of key ecosystem services because many of these elements are essential nutrients or detrimental toxicants that directly affect the health of organisms and ecosystems. A team of authors from North Carolina State University and ...

  19. Understanding relationships between morphology and ecosystem structure in a shallow tidal basins of Venice lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giuseppina Persichillo, Maria; Taramelli, Andrea; Valentini, Emiliana; Filipponi, Federico; Meisina, Claudia; Zucca, Francesco

    2014-05-01

    Coastal wetlands represent complex ecosystems prone to continue fluctuation of their internal equilibrium. They are valuable natural resources characterized by the continue interactions between geomorphological and biological components. Their adaptation to changing conditions is highly dependent on the rate and extent of spatial and temporal processes and their responses are still poorly understood. According to this, the vulnerability assessment to natural and human made hazard have became fundamental to analyse the resilience of these areas, their ability to cope with the impacts from externally driven forces or the efforts needed to minimize the impacts (Gitay et al., 2011). The objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive and replicable method through the application of Multi-Source data analysis, based on the integration of Earth Observation data and field survey, to analyse a shallow tidal basin of salt marshes, located in the northern part of the Venice lagoon. The study site is characterised by relatively elevated areas colonized by halophytic vegetation, and tidal flats, with not vegetated areas, characterized by lower elevations. Sub-pixel processing techniques (Spectral Mixing Analysis - SMA) were used to analyse the spatial distribution of both vegetation and sediments typology. Furthermore the classifications were assayed in terms of spatial (Power law) and temporal (Empirical Orthogonal Functions) patterns, in order to find the main characteristics of the aforementioned spatial trends and their variation over time. The principal aim is to study the spatio-temporal evolution of this coastal wetland area, in order to indentify tipping points, namely thresholds, beyond which the system reaches critical state and the main climatic, hydrodynamic and morphological variables that may influence and increase this behaviour. This research represents a new approach to study the geomorphological processes and to improve the management and

  20. Influence of chemosynthetic ecosystems on nematode community structure and biomass in the deep eastern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lampadariou, N.; Kalogeropoulou, V.; Sevastou, K.; Keklikoglou, K.; Sarrazin, J.

    2012-12-01

    -seep ecosystems on the meiofaunal communities and nematode assemblages.

  1. IMPACTS OF INTERACTING ELEVATED ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AND O3 ON THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONING OF A NORTHERN FOREST ECOSYSTEM: OPERATING AND DECOMMISSIONING THE ASPEN FACE PROJECT

    SciTech Connect

    Burton, Andrew J.; Zak, Donald R.; Kubiske, Mark E.; Pregitzer, Kurt S.

    2014-06-30

    Two of the most important and pervasive greenhouse gases driving global change and impacting forests in the U.S. and around the world are atmospheric CO2 and tropospheric O3. As the only free air, large-scale manipulative experiment studying the interaction of elevated CO2 and O3 on forests, the Aspen FACE experiment was uniquely designed to address the long-term ecosystem level impacts of these two greenhouse gases on aspen-birch-maple forests, which dominate the richly forested Lake States region. The project was established in 1997 to address the overarching scientific question: “What are the effects of elevated [CO2] and [O3], alone and in combination, on the structure and functioning of northern hardwood forest ecosystems?” From 1998 through the middle of the 2009 growing season, we examined the interacting effects of elevated CO2 and O3 on ecosystem processes in an aggrading northern forest ecosystem to compare the responses of early-successional, rapid-growing shade intolerant trembling aspen and paper birch to those of a late successional, slower growing shade tolerant sugar maple. Fumigations with elevated CO2 (560 ppm during daylight hours) and O3 (approximately 1.5 x ambient) were conducted during the growing season from 1998 to 2008, and in 2009 through harvest date. Response variables quantified during the experiment included growth, competitive interactions and stand dynamics, physiological processes, plant nutrient status and uptake, tissue biochemistry, litter quality and decomposition rates, hydrology, soil respiration, microbial community composition and respiration, VOC production, treatment-pest interactions, and treatment-phenology interactions. In 2009, we conducted a detailed harvest of the site. The harvest included detailed sampling of a subset of trees by component (leaves and buds, fine branches, coarse branches and stem, coarse roots, fine roots) and excavation of soil to a depth of 1 m. Throughout the experiment, aspen and birch

  2. Ecosystem Mapping Approaches Based on Vegetation Structure Using NEON Prototype Airborne LiDAR and Field Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krause, K.; Emery, W. J.; Barnett, D.; Petroy, S. B.; Meier, C. L.; Wessman, C. A.

    2014-12-01

    classification accuracy. Finally, a classification map is generated for entire site. Future work with the flux tower measurements, field vegetation observations, and airborne hyperspectral data from NEON at OSBS will facilitate analysis of how ecosystem structure is connected to ecosystem function.

  3. Setting up an ethics of ecosystem research structure based on the precautionary principle.

    PubMed

    Farmer, Michael C

    2013-01-01

    Ethical practices in ecological field research differ from those in laboratory research in more than the technical setting and the important distinction between population-level and individual-based concerns. The number of stakeholders affected by the conduct of field research is far larger; private landholders, public water utilities, public land managers, local industries, and communities large and small are only some of those who may be impacted. As research review boards move to establish specific ethical practices for field biologists, the process of identifying appropriate standards will affect the degree to which research will ultimately be disrupted. Standards that lead to research protocols that alienate key interests are not likely to be sustainable. Already, standards that have conflicted with the primary values of a key interest have resulted in disruptions to research and scientific progress. One way to manage this problem of deeply competing interests is to avoid the deepest offenses to any relevant interest group in the design of a proposed study. This is an application of the precautionary principle and is likely to generate a more sustainable balance among competing interests. Unfortunately, this process is also likely to be a never-ending, consensus-seeking process. Fortunately, scientists can have enormous influence on the process if they choose to engage in it early. If scientists use their expertise to function as honest brokers among affected interests, their own interest in scientific research progress is likely to be better met.

  4. Linking morphology to ecosystem structure using air-borne sensors for monitoring the Earth System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taramelli, A.; Giardino, C.; Valentini, E.; Bresciani, M.; Gasperini, L.

    2010-12-01

    Coastal Landscape, and how they change over time, provide the template on which the emerging role of Earth system science (ESS) closely linked with the development of space-borne sensors can stand in the center of a newly emerging science of the Earth's surface, where strong couplings links human dynamics, biology, biochemistry, geochemistry, geomorphology, and fluid dynamics including climate change. Modern views on the behavior of complex systems like the coastal one, allow the interpretation of phenomenological coastal landscape as a stationary landscape-state that correspond to a dynamic equilibrium, and to a self-organized exogenic order of the edge of the chaos. Therefore is essential for a thoroughly understanding of spatiotemporal variations in coastal dynamics and habitat distribution for the source of nonlinearity and complexity in geomorphic system make gathering data appropriate for use in developing and testing models of biological and physical process interacting across a wide range of scale. In this paper a physics based approach was applied to MIVIS (Multi-spectral IR and Visible Imaging Spectrometer) and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) airborne data, simultaneously acquired on 12 May 2009 in order to integrate geomorphological and ecological observations into a detailed macrophytes map of Lake Trasimeno (Italy). Shallow water vegetation, in fact, plays an essential role in determining how coastal morphology and ecosystems dynamics respond to feedbacks between biological and physical processes. An accurate field campaign was carried out during the airborne survey and a collection of different biophysical parameter has been achieved. The purposes of the field observations were twofold. First, field observations allowed identification of biophysical habitats and properties associated both to radiometric and limnological features. Secondly, field reconnaissance allowed identifying significant parameters involved in optical interpretation of the

  5. Is increasing industrialization affecting remote ecosystem health in the South Americas? Insights from ocean surface water measurements of As, Sb and Pb from a GEOTRACES transect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, Dominik; Salaun, Pascal; Van den Berg, Stan; Bi, Zaoshun

    2014-05-01

    Continued industrial development of the South Americas with increasing atmospheric emission of toxic trace metals has lead to a growing concern about possible effects on pristine ecosystem health. Concentration measurements of trace metals in ocean surface waters in the North Atlantic have successfully revealed the global extent of atmospheric pollution in the Northern Hemisphere during economical growth in the USA and Europe, suggesting a similar approach can be applied to the Southern Hemisphere. To this end, we determined concentrations of lead (Pb), antimony (Sb) and arsenic (As) using voltammetry in surface water samples of the South Atlantic Ocean collected during the third leg of the GEOTRACES West Atlantic Cruise. These elements are volatile and therefore most likely suitable tracer elements of industrial emissions from South America. The samples were not filtered and the solutions were acidified and UV digested. Total concentrations of Pb were detected. Detected As levels correspond to the sum of inorganic species (AsIII + AsV) plus the mono methyl arsenic acid (MMA) while the dimethyl arsenic acid (DMA) is not detected in such conditions. For Sb, detected levels correspond at least to the sum of inorganic fractions (SbIII + SbV). The measured concentrations for Pb varied from 6 to 23 pM. Concentrations were highest at -35° latitude and lowest at -40° and -50° latitude. We found a decreasing trend from about -35° latitude southwards. The average concentrations of As was 20 nM and of Sb 1.2 nM. Arsenic showed a more significant north to south trend than Sb. Arsenic concentration was highest at -23 ° latitude (21 nM) and the lowest at -43 ° latitude (17.7 nM). Antimony concentration was highest at -31 ° latitude (1.5 nM) and lowest at -35 ° latitude (1.0 nM). Our preliminary data suggests that the major industrial centres in Brazil (i.e., Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro) and Argentina (i.e., Buenos Aires) affect atmospheric metal fluxes to remote

  6. Ecosystem exploitation and trophodynamic indicators: A comparison between the Northern Adriatic Sea and Southern New England

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pranovi, Fabio; Link, Jason S.

    2009-04-01

    In an ecosystem-based resource management context, it is crucial to assess the relationships between community structure and ecosystem function and how those relationships change with resource extraction. To elucidate how changes in resource use can affect community structure and ecosystem function, we executed a comparative analysis of two different ecosystems subjected to notable fishing pressure. We contrasted the Northern Adriatic Sea (NAS) and Southern New England (SNE) ecosystems by examining outputs from comparable steady-state models. Both ecosystems have relatively high fishing pressure and a high biomass of benthic invertebrates. The basic structure of the food webs shows differences both in the number and definition of the functional groups, as described in the models. Fisheries, on the contrary, show similarities both in terms of catches and discards. Almost all statistics summarizing the structure and flows showed values three times higher in the SNE than in the NAS ecosystem, but despite this difference the two ecosystems exhibited similar, overall properties. Biomass ratios and the Mixed Trophic Impact (MTI) analysis showed that both ecosystems are dominated by the benthic compartment. Removing the biomass effect, however, shows a clear top-down effect, with a high rank achieved by fishing activities. In general terms, the low mean trophic level of catches and the high primary production required (PPR) values result in a high overexploitation level of the ecosystem, as highlighted by the L index. We conclude by exploring how comparative studies will continue to be valuable as ecosystem-based management is further implemented.

  7. Ecosystem Journalism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, Amy; Mahlin, Kathryn

    2005-01-01

    If the organisms in a prairie ecosystem created a newspaper, what would it look like? What important news topics of the ecosystem would the organisms want to discuss? Imaginative and enthusiastic third-grade students were busy pondering these questions as they tried their hands at "ecosystem journalism." The class had recently completed a study of…

  8. Ecosystem Jenga!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Umphlett, Natalie; Brosius, Tierney; Laungani, Ramesh; Rousseau, Joe; Leslie-Pelecky, Diandra L.

    2009-01-01

    To give students a tangible model of an ecosystem and have them experience what could happen if a component of that ecosystem were removed; the authors developed a hands-on, inquiry-based activity that visually demonstrates the concept of a delicately balanced ecosystem through a modification of the popular game Jenga. This activity can be…

  9. Natural ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleishman, Erica; Belnap, Jayne; Cobb, Neil; Enquist, Carolyn A.F.; Ford, Karl; MacDonald, Glen; Pellant, Mike; Schoennagel, Tania; Schmit, Lara M.; Schwartz, Mark; van Drunick, Suzanne; Westerling, Anthony LeRoy; Keyser, Alisa; Lucas, Ryan

    2013-01-01

    Natural Ecosystems analyzes the association of observed changes in climate with changes in the geographic distributions and phenology (the timing of blossoms or migrations of birds) for Southwestern ecosystems and their species, portraying ecosystem disturbances—such as wildfires and outbreaks of forest pathogens—and carbon storage and release, in relation to climate change.

  10. Simulating changes in ecosystem structure and composition in response to climate change: a case study focused on tropical nitrogen-fixing trees (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medvigy, D.; Levy, J.; Xu, X.; Batterman, S. A.; Hedin, L.

    2013-12-01

    Ecosystems, by definition, involve a community of organisms. These communities generally exhibit heterogeneity in their structure and composition as a result of local variations in climate, soil, topography, disturbance history, and other factors. Climate-driven shifts in ecosystems will likely include an internal re-organization of community structure and composition and as well as the introduction of novel species. In terms of vegetation, this ecosystem heterogeneity can occur at relatively small scales, sometimes of the order of tens of meters or even less. Because this heterogeneous landscape generally has a variable and nonlinear response to environmental perturbations, it is necessary to carefully aggregate the local competitive dynamics between individual plants to the large scales of tens or hundreds of kilometers represented in climate models. Accomplishing this aggregation in a computationally efficient way has proven to be an extremely challenging task. To meet this challenge, the Ecosystem Demography 2 (ED2) model statistically characterizes a distribution of local resource environments, and then simulates the competition between individuals of different sizes and species (or functional groupings). Within this framework, it is possible to explicitly simulate the impacts of climate change on ecosystem structure and composition, including both internal re-organization and the introduction of novel species or functional groups. This presentation will include several illustrative applications of the evolution of ecosystem structure and composition under climate change. One application pertains to the role of nitrogen-fixing species in tropical forests. Will increasing CO2 concentrations increase the demand for nutrients and perhaps give a competitive edge to nitrogen-fixing species? Will potentially warmer and drier conditions make some tropical forests more water-limited, reducing the demand for nitrogen, thereby giving a competitive advantage to non

  11. Effects of urbanization and urban stream restoration on the physical and biological structure of stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Violin, Christy R; Cada, Peter; Sudduth, Elizabeth B; Hassett, Brooke A; Penrose, David L; Bernhardt, Emily S

    2011-09-01

    Streams, as low-lying points in the landscape, are strongly influenced by the stormwaters, pollutants, and warming that characterize catchment urbanization. River restoration projects are an increasingly popular method for mitigating urban insults. Despite the growing frequency and high expense of urban stream restoration projects, very few projects have been evaluated to determine whether they can successfully enhance habitat structure or support the stream biota characteristic of reference sites. We compared the physical and biological structure of four urban degraded, four urban restored, and four forested streams in the Piedmont region of North Carolina to quantify the ability of reach-scale stream restoration to restore physical and biological structure to urban streams and to examine the assumption that providing habitat is sufficient for biological recovery. To be successful at mitigating urban impacts, the habitat structure and biological communities found in restored streams should be more similar to forested reference sites than to their urban degraded counterparts. For every measured reach- and patch-scale attribute, we found that restored streams were indistinguishable from their degraded urban stream counterparts. Forested streams were shallower, had greater habitat complexity and median sediment size, and contained less-tolerant communities with higher sensitive taxa richness than streams in either urban category. Because heavy machinery is used to regrade and reconfigure restored channels, restored streams had less canopy cover than either forested or urban streams. Channel habitat complexity and watershed impervious surface cover (ISC) were the best predictors of sensitive taxa richness and biotic index at the reach and catchment scale, respectively. Macroinvertebrate communities in restored channels were compositionally similar to the communities in urban degraded channels, and both were dissimilar to communities in forested streams. The

  12. The effect of model structure and data in modeling land conditions in disturbed complex ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fang, Shoufan; Gertner, George Z; Anderson, Alan B

    2007-10-01

    Off-road vehicles increase soil erosion by reducing vegetation cover and other types of ground cover, and by changing the structure of soil. The investigation of the relationship between disturbance from off-road vehicles and the intensity of the activities that involve use of vehicles is essential for water and soil conservation and facility management. Models have been developed in a previous study to predict disturbance caused by off-road vehicles. However, the effect of data on model quality and model performance, and the appropriate structure of models have not been previously investigated. In order to improve the quality and performance of disturbance models, this study was designed to investigate the effects of model structure and data. The experiment considered and tested: (1) two measures of disturbance based on the Vegetation Cover Factor (C Factor) of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and Disturbance Intensity; (2) model structure using two modeling approaches; and (3) three subsets of data. The adjusted R-square and residuals from validation data are used to represent model quality and performance, respectively. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is used to identify factors which have significant effects on model quality and performance. The results of the ANOVA show that subsets of data have significant effects on both model quality and performance for both measures of disturbance. The ANOVA also detected that the C Factor models have higher quality and performance than the Disturbance models. Although modeling approaches are not a significant factor based on the ANOVA tests, models containing interaction terms can increase the adjusted R-squares for nearly all tested conditions and the maximum improvement can reach 31%.

  13. Predicting Consumer Biomass, Size-Structure, Production, Catch Potential, Responses to Fishing and Associated Uncertainties in the World's Marine Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Jennings, Simon; Collingridge, Kate

    2015-01-01

    can support equitable analysis and comparison of diverse ecosystems. The analyses provide insights into the effects of parameter uncertainty on global biomass and production estimates, which have yet to be achieved with complex models, and will therefore help to highlight priorities for future research and data collection. However, the focus on simple model structures and global processes means that non-phytoplankton primary production and several groups, structures and processes of ecological and conservation interest are not represented. Consequently, our simple models become increasingly less useful than more complex alternatives when addressing questions about food web structure and function, biodiversity, resilience and human impacts at smaller scales and for areas closer to coasts. PMID:26226590

  14. Predicting Consumer Biomass, Size-Structure, Production, Catch Potential, Responses to Fishing and Associated Uncertainties in the World's Marine Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Jennings, Simon; Collingridge, Kate

    2015-01-01

    can support equitable analysis and comparison of diverse ecosystems. The analyses provide insights into the effects of parameter uncertainty on global biomass and production estimates, which have yet to be achieved with complex models, and will therefore help to highlight priorities for future research and data collection. However, the focus on simple model structures and global processes means that non-phytoplankton primary production and several groups, structures and processes of ecological and conservation interest are not represented. Consequently, our simple models become increasingly less useful than more complex alternatives when addressing questions about food web structure and function, biodiversity, resilience and human impacts at smaller scales and for areas closer to coasts.

  15. Is Long-Term Structural Priming Affected by Patterns of Experience with Individual Verbs?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kaschak, Michael P.; Borreggine, Kristin L.

    2008-01-01

    Several recent papers have reported long-term structural priming effects in experiments where previous patterns of experience with the double object and prepositional object constructions are shown to affect later patterns of language production for those constructions. The experiments reported in this paper address the extent to which these…

  16. Factors Affecting Higher Order Thinking Skills of Students: A Meta-Analytic Structural Equation Modeling Study

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Budsankom, Prayoonsri; Sawangboon, Tatsirin; Damrongpanit, Suntorapot; Chuensirimongkol, Jariya

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of the research is to develop and identify the validity of factors affecting higher order thinking skills (HOTS) of students. The thinking skills can be divided into three types: analytical, critical, and creative thinking. This analysis is done by applying the meta-analytic structural equation modeling (MASEM) based on a database of…

  17. The importance of landscape and spatial structure for hymenopteran-based food webs in an agro-ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Fabian, Yvonne; Sandau, Nadine; Bruggisser, Odile T; Aebi, Alex; Kehrli, Patrik; Rohr, Rudolf P; Naisbit, Russell E; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2013-11-01

    1. Understanding the environmental factors that structure biodiversity and food webs among communities is central to assess and mitigate the impact of landscape changes. 2. Wildflower strips are ecological compensation areas established in farmland to increase pollination services and biological control of crop pests and to conserve insect diversity. They are arranged in networks in order to favour high species richness and abundance of the fauna. 3. We describe results from experimental wildflower strips in a fragmented agricultural landscape, comparing the importance of landscape, of spatial arrangement and of vegetation on the diversity and abundance of trap-nesting bees, wasps and their enemies, and the structure of their food webs. 4. The proportion of forest cover close to the wildflower strips and the landscape heterogeneity stood out as the most influential landscape elements, resulting in a more complex trap-nest community with higher abundance and richness of hosts, and with more links between species in the food webs and a higher diversity of interactions. We disentangled the underlying mechanisms for variation in these quantitative food web metrics. 5. We conclude that in order to increase the diversity and abundance of pollinators and biological control agents and to favour a potentially stable community of cavity-nesting hymenoptera in wildflower strips, more investment is needed in the conservation and establishment of forest habitats within agro-ecosystems, as a reservoir of beneficial insect populations.

  18. Limited Population Structure, Genetic Drift and Bottlenecks Characterise an Endangered Bird Species in a Dynamic, Fire-Prone Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Sarah M.; Harrisson, Katherine A.; Clarke, Rohan H.; Bennett, Andrew F.; Sunnucks, Paul

    2013-01-01

    Fire is a major disturbance process in many ecosystems world-wide, resulting in spatially and temporally dynamic landscapes. For populations occupying such environments, fire-induced landscape change is likely to influence population processes, and genetic patterns and structure among populations. The Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee is an endangered passerine whose global distribution is confined to fire-prone, semi-arid mallee shrublands in south-eastern Australia. This species, with poor capacity for dispersal, has undergone a precipitous reduction in distribution and numbers in recent decades. We used genetic analyses of 11 length-variable, nuclear loci to examine population structure and processes within this species, across its global range. Populations of the Mallee Emu-wren exhibited a low to moderate level of genetic diversity, and evidence of bottlenecks and genetic drift. Bayesian clustering methods revealed weak genetic population structure across the species' range. The direct effects of large fires, together with associated changes in the spatial and temporal patterns of suitable habitat, have the potential to cause population bottlenecks, serial local extinctions and subsequent recolonisation, all of which may interact to erode and homogenise genetic diversity in this species. Movement among temporally and spatially shifting habitat, appears to maintain long-term genetic connectivity. A plausible explanation for the observed genetic patterns is that, following extensive fires, recolonisation exceeds in-situ survival as the primary driver of population recovery in this species. These findings suggest that dynamic, fire-dominated landscapes can drive genetic homogenisation of populations of species with low-mobility and specialised habitat that otherwise would be expected to show strongly structured populations. Such effects must be considered when formulating management actions to conserve species in fire-prone systems. PMID:23626668

  19. Metacommunity theory as a multispecies, multiscale framework for studying the influence of river network structure on riverine communities and ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brown, B.L.; Swan, C.M.; Auerbach, D.A.; Campbell, Grant E.H.; Hitt, N.P.; Maloney, K.O.; Patrick, C.

    2011-01-01

    Explaining the mechanisms underlying patterns of species diversity and composition in riverine networks is challenging. Historically, community ecologists have conceived of communities as largely isolated entities and have focused on local environmental factors and interspecific interactions as the major forces determining species composition. However, stream ecologists have long embraced a multiscale approach to studying riverine ecosystems and have studied both local factors and larger-scale regional factors, such as dispersal and disturbance. River networks exhibit a dendritic spatial structure that can constrain aquatic organisms when their dispersal is influenced by or confined to the river network. We contend that the principles of metacommunity theory would help stream ecologists to understand how the complex spatial structure of river networks mediates the relative influences of local and regional control on species composition. From a basic ecological perspective, the concept is attractive because new evidence suggests that the importance of regional processes (dispersal) depends on spatial structure of habitat and on connection to the regional species pool. The role of local factors relative to regional factors will vary with spatial position in a river network. From an applied perspective, the long-standing view in ecology that local community composition is an indicator of habitat quality may not be uniformly applicable across a river network, but the strength of such bioassessment approaches probably will depend on spatial position in the network. The principles of metacommunity theory are broadly applicable across taxa and systems but seem of particular consequence to stream ecology given the unique spatial structure of riverine systems. By explicitly embracing processes at multiple spatial scales, metacommunity theory provides a foundation on which to build a richer understanding of stream communities.

  20. Limited population structure, genetic drift and bottlenecks characterise an endangered bird species in a dynamic, fire-prone ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Brown, Sarah M; Harrisson, Katherine A; Clarke, Rohan H; Bennett, Andrew F; Sunnucks, Paul

    2013-01-01

    Fire is a major disturbance process in many ecosystems world-wide, resulting in spatially and temporally dynamic landscapes. For populations occupying such environments, fire-induced landscape change is likely to influence population processes, and genetic patterns and structure among populations. The Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee is an endangered passerine whose global distribution is confined to fire-prone, semi-arid mallee shrublands in south-eastern Australia. This species, with poor capacity for dispersal, has undergone a precipitous reduction in distribution and numbers in recent decades. We used genetic analyses of 11 length-variable, nuclear loci to examine population structure and processes within this species, across its global range. Populations of the Mallee Emu-wren exhibited a low to moderate level of genetic diversity, and evidence of bottlenecks and genetic drift. Bayesian clustering methods revealed weak genetic population structure across the species' range. The direct effects of large fires, together with associated changes in the spatial and temporal patterns of suitable habitat, have the potential to cause population bottlenecks, serial local extinctions and subsequent recolonisation, all of which may interact to erode and homogenise genetic diversity in this species. Movement among temporally and spatially shifting habitat, appears to maintain long-term genetic connectivity. A plausible explanation for the observed genetic patterns is that, following extensive fires, recolonisation exceeds in-situ survival as the primary driver of population recovery in this species. These findings suggest that dynamic, fire-dominated landscapes can drive genetic homogenisation of populations of species with low-mobility and specialised habitat that otherwise would be expected to show strongly structured populations. Such effects must be considered when formulating management actions to conserve species in fire-prone systems.

  1. Spatiotemporal diversity, structure and trophic guilds of insect assemblages in a semi-arid Sabkha ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Menasria, Taha; Neffar, Souad; Chafaa, Smail; Bradai, Lyès; Chaibi, Rachid; Mekahlia, Mohamed Nacer; Bendjoudi, Djamel; Si Bachir, Abdelkrim

    2015-01-01

    The current study highlights some knowledge on the diversity and structure of insect communities and trophic groups living in Sabkha Djendli (semi-arid area of Northeastern Algeria). The entomofauna was monthly sampled from March to November 2006 using pitfall traps at eight sites located at the vicinity of the Sabkha. Structural and diversity parameters (species richness, Shannon index, evenness) were measured for both insect orders and trophic guilds. The canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was applied to determine how vegetation parameters (species richness and cover) influence spatial and seasonal fluctuations of insect assemblages. The catches totalled 434 insect individuals classified into 75 species, 62 genera, 31 families and 7 orders, of which Coleoptera and Hymenoptera were the most abundant and constant over seasons and study stations. Spring and autumn presented the highest values of diversity parameters. Individual-based Chao-1 species richness estimator indicated 126 species for the total individuals captured in the Sabkha. Based on catch abundances, the structure of functional trophic groups was predators (37.3%), saprophages (26.7%), phytophages (20.5%), polyphages (10.8%), coprophages (4.6%); whereas in terms of numbers of species, they can be classified as phytophages (40%), predators (25.3%), polyphages (13.3%), saprophages (12%), coprophages (9.3%). The CCA demonstrated that phytophages and saprophages as well as Coleoptera and Orthoptera were positively correlated with the two parameters of vegetation, especially in spring and summer. While the abundance of coprophages was positively correlated with species richness of plants, polyphage density was positively associated with vegetation cover. The insect community showed high taxonomic and functional diversity that is closely related to diversity and vegetation cover in different stations of the wetland and seasons. PMID:25825682

  2. Spatiotemporal diversity, structure and trophic guilds of insect assemblages in a semi-arid Sabkha ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Chenchouni, Haroun; Menasria, Taha; Neffar, Souad; Chafaa, Smail; Bradai, Lyès; Chaibi, Rachid; Mekahlia, Mohamed Nacer; Bendjoudi, Djamel; Si Bachir, Abdelkrim

    2015-01-01

    The current study highlights some knowledge on the diversity and structure of insect communities and trophic groups living in Sabkha Djendli (semi-arid area of Northeastern Algeria). The entomofauna was monthly sampled from March to November 2006 using pitfall traps at eight sites located at the vicinity of the Sabkha. Structural and diversity parameters (species richness, Shannon index, evenness) were measured for both insect orders and trophic guilds. The canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was applied to determine how vegetation parameters (species richness and cover) influence spatial and seasonal fluctuations of insect assemblages. The catches totalled 434 insect individuals classified into 75 species, 62 genera, 31 families and 7 orders, of which Coleoptera and Hymenoptera were the most abundant and constant over seasons and study stations. Spring and autumn presented the highest values of diversity parameters. Individual-based Chao-1 species richness estimator indicated 126 species for the total individuals captured in the Sabkha. Based on catch abundances, the structure of functional trophic groups was predators (37.3%), saprophages (26.7%), phytophages (20.5%), polyphages (10.8%), coprophages (4.6%); whereas in terms of numbers of species, they can be classified as phytophages (40%), predators (25.3%), polyphages (13.3%), saprophages (12%), coprophages (9.3%). The CCA demonstrated that phytophages and saprophages as well as Coleoptera and Orthoptera were positively correlated with the two parameters of vegetation, especially in spring and summer. While the abundance of coprophages was positively correlated with species richness of plants, polyphage density was positively associated with vegetation cover. The insect community showed high taxonomic and functional diversity that is closely related to diversity and vegetation cover in different stations of the wetland and seasons.

  3. Relationship between Microtubule Network Structure and Intracellular Transport in Cultured Endothelial Cells Affected by Shear Stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kudo, Susumu; Ikezawa, Kenji; Ikeda, Mariko; Tanishita, Kazuo

    Endothelial cells (ECs) that line the inner surface of blood vessels are barriers to the transport of various substances into or from vessel walls, and are continuously exposed to shear stress induced by blood flow in vivo. Shear stress affects the cytoskeleton (e.g., microtubules, microfilaments, intermediate filaments), and affects the transport of macromolecules. Here, the relationship between the microtubule network structure and this transport process for albumin uptake within cultured aortic endothelial cells affected by shear stress was studied. Based on fluorescent images of albumin uptake obtained by using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), both the microtubule network and albumin uptake in ECs were disrupted by colchicine and were affected by shear stress loading.

  4. Disgust proneness and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in a clinical sample: structural differentiation from negative affect.

    PubMed

    Olatunji, Bunmi O; Ebesutani, Chad; David, Bieke; Fan, Qianqian; McGrath, Patrick B

    2011-10-01

    Although a growing body of research has revealed robust associations between disgust and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms, there remains a paucity of research examining the specificity of this association in clinical samples. The present study employed structural equation modeling to differentiate disgust from negative affect in the prediction of OCD symptoms in a clinical sample (n=153). Results indicate that disgust and negative affect latent factors were independently related to OCD symptoms. However, when both variables were simultaneously modeled as predictors, latent disgust remained significantly associated with OCD symptoms, whereas the association between latent negative affect and OCD symptoms became nonsignificant. Multiple statistical tests of mediation converged in support of disgust as a significant intervening variable between negative affect and OCD symptoms. The implications of these findings for further delineating the role of individual differences in disgust proneness in the development of OCD are discussed.

  5. Stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids reveals food web structure in stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Naoto F; Kato, Yoshikazu; Togashi, Hiroyuki; Yoshimura, Mayumi; Yoshimizu, Chikage; Okuda, Noboru; Tayasu, Ichiro

    2014-07-01

    The stable N isotopic composition of individual amino acids (SIAA) has recently been used to estimate trophic positions (TPs) of animals in several simple food chain systems. However, it is unknown whether the SIAA is applicable to more complex food web analysis. In this study we measured the SIAA of stream macroinvertebrates, fishes, and their potential food sources (periphyton and leaf litter of terrestrial C3 plants) collected from upper and lower sites in two streams having contrasting riparian landscapes. The stable N isotope ratios of glutamic acid and phenylalanine confirmed that for primary producers (periphyton and C3 litter) the TP was 1, and for primary consumers (e.g., mayfly and caddisfly larvae) it was 2. We built a two-source mixing model to estimate the relative contributions of aquatic and terrestrial sources to secondary and higher consumers (e.g., stonefly larva and fishes) prior to the TP calculation. The estimated TPs (2.3-3.5) roughly corresponded to their omnivorous and carnivorous feeding habits, respectively. We found that the SIAA method offers substantial advantages over traditional bulk method for food web analysis because it defines the food web structure based on the metabolic pathway of amino groups, and can be used to estimate food web structure under conditions where the bulk method cannot be used. Our result provides evidence that the SIAA method is applicable to the analysis of complex food webs, where heterogeneous resources are mixed. PMID:24719209

  6. Accounting for age Structure in Ponderosa Pine Ecosystem Analyses: Integrating Management, Disturbance Histories and Observations with the BIOME-BGC Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hibbard, K. A.; Law, B.; Thornton, P.

    2003-12-01

    Disturbance and management regimes in forested ecosystems have been recently highlighted as important factors contributing to quantification of carbon stocks and fluxes. Disturbance events, such as stand-replacing fires and current management regimes that emphasize understory and tree thinning are primary suspects influencing ecosystem processes, including net ecosystem productivity (NEP) in forests of the Pacific Northwest. Several recent analyses have compared simulated to measured component stocks and fluxes of carbon in Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa var. Laws) at 12 sites ranging from 9 to 300 years in central Oregon (Law et al. 2001, Law et al. 2003) using the BIOME-BGC model. Major emphases on ecosystem model developments include improving allocation logic, integrating ecosystem processes with disturbance such as fire and including nitrogen in biogeochemical cycling. In Law et al. (2001, 2003), field observations prompted BIOME-BGC improvements including dynamic allocation of carbon to fine root mass through the life of a stand. A sequence of simulations was also designed to represent both management and disturbance histories for each site, however, current age structure of each sites wasn't addressed. Age structure, or cohort management has largely been ignored by ecosystem models, however, some studies have sought to incorporate stand age with disturbance and management (e.g. Hibbard et al. 2003). In this analyses, we regressed tree ages against height (R2 = 0.67) to develop a proportional distribution of age structure for each site. To preserve the integrity of the comparison between Law et al. (2003) and this study, we maintained the same timing of harvest, however, based on the distribution of age structures, we manipulated the amount of removal. Harvest by Law et al. (2003) was set at stand-replacement (99%) levels to simulate clear-cutting and reflecting the average top 10% of the age in each plot. For the young sites, we set removal at 73%, 51% and

  7. Identification of model structure for aquatic ecosystems using regionalized sensitivity analysis.

    PubMed

    Osidele, O O; Beck, M B

    2001-01-01

    The Regionalized Sensitivity Analysis (RSA) was developed in 1978, for identifying critical unknown processes in poorly defined systems, thus directing the focus of further scientific investigations. Here, we demonstrate its application to model structure identification, by ranking the constituent hypotheses and identifying the critical elements for progressive revision of the model. Our case study is Lake Oglethorpe--a small monomictic impoundment in South-eastern Georgia, USA. Recent studies indicate that the warm temperate regional climate affords an extended growing season--typically from March to October--which promotes bacterial productivity in the lake. The result is a summer food web dominated by microbial processes, in contrast to the conventional phytoplankton-dominated food chains typically observed in the cold temperate lakes of Europe and North America. Starting with a simple phytoplankton-based food web model and a qualitative definition of system behaviour, we use the RSA procedure to establish the critical role of bacteria-mediated decomposition in Lake Oglethorpe, thus justifying the inclusion of microbial processes. Further analysis reveals the importance of size-dependent selective consumption of phytoplankton and bacteria. Finally, we discuss important practical implications of this novel application of the RSA regarding sampling efficiency and statistical robustness.

  8. Geological connectivity drives microbial community structure and connectivity in polar, terrestrial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Ferrari, Belinda C; Bissett, Andrew; Snape, Ian; van Dorst, Josie; Palmer, Anne S; Ji, Mukan; Siciliano, Steven D; Stark, Jonathon S; Winsley, Tristrom; Brown, Mark V

    2016-06-01

    Landscape heterogeneity impacts community assembly in animals and plants, but it is not clear if this ecological concept extends to microbes. To examine this question, we chose to investigate polar soil environments from the Antarctic and Arctic, where microbes often form the major component of biomass. We examined soil environments that ranged in connectivity from relatively well-connected slopes to patchy, fragmented landforms that comprised isolated frost boils. We found landscape connectedness to have a significant correlation with microbial community structure and connectivity, as measured by co-occurrence networks. Soils from within fragmented landforms appeared to exhibit less local environmental heterogeneity, harboured more similar communities, but fewer biological associations than connected landforms. This effect was observed at both poles, despite the geographical distances and ecological differences between them. We suggest that microbial communities inhabiting well-connected landscape elements respond consistently to regional-scale gradients in biotic and edaphic factors. Conversely, the repeated freeze thaw cycles that characterize fragmented landscapes create barriers within the landscape and act to homogenize the soil environment within individual frost boils and consequently the microbial communities. We propose that lower microbial connectivity in the fragmented landforms is a function of smaller patch size and continual disturbances following soil mixing. PMID:26310523

  9. Changes in the structure and function of soil ecosystems in soils contaminated with heavy metals

    SciTech Connect

    Kuperman, R.; Parmelee, R.; Carreiro, M. ||

    1995-09-01

    The structure and function of soil communities in an area with a wide range of concentrations of heavy metals was studied in portions of the U.S. Army`s Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The study included survey of soil macro- and microinvertebrate communities, soil microorganisms, enzyme activities and the rates of nutrient dynamics in soil. Soil macroinvertebrate communities showed significant reductions in the adundance of several taxonomic and functional groups in contaminated areas. The total numbers of nematodes and numbers of fungivore, bacterivore and omnivore-predator nematodes were lower in the more contaminated areas. The numbers of active bacteria and fungi were lower in areas of soil contamination. Significant reduction in the activities of all enzymes closely paralleled the increase in heavy metal concentrations. Ten-to-fifty fold reductions in enzyme activities were observed as heavy metal concentrations increased. These results suggest that soil contamination with heavy metals may have detrimental effects on soil biota and the rates of organic matter degradation and subsequent release of nutrients to aboveground communities in the area.

  10. Changes in the structure and function of soil ecosystems in soils contaminated with heavy metals

    SciTech Connect

    Kuperman, R.; Parmelee, R.; Carreiro, M. ||

    1995-06-01

    The structure and function of soil communities in an area with a wide range of concentrations of heavy metals was studied in portions of the U.S. Army`s Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The study included survey of soil macro- and microinvertebrate communities, soil microorganisms, enzyme activities and the rates of nutrient dynamics in soil. Soil macroinvertebrate communities showed significant reductions in the abundance of several taxonomic and functional groups in contaminated areas. The total numbers of nematodes and numbers of fungivore, bacterivore and omnivore-predator nematodes were lower in the more contaminated areas. The numbers of active bacteria and fungi were lower in areas of soil contamination. Significant reduction in the activities of all enzymes closely paralleled the increase in heavy metal concentrations. Ten-to-fifty fold reductions in enzyme activities were observed as heavy metal concentrations increased. These results suggest that soil contamination with heavy metals may have detrimental effects on soil biota and the rates of organic matter degradation and subsequent release of nutrients to aboveground communities in the area.

  11. 'One physical system': Tansley's ecosystem as Earth's critical zone.

    PubMed

    Richter, Daniel deB; Billings, Sharon A

    2015-05-01

    Integrative concepts of the biosphere, ecosystem, biogeocenosis and, recently, Earth's critical zone embrace scientific disciplines that link matter, energy and organisms in a systems-level understanding of our remarkable planet. Here, we assert the congruence of Tansley's (1935) venerable ecosystem concept of 'one physical system' with Earth science's critical zone. Ecosystems and critical zones are congruent across spatial-temporal scales from vegetation-clad weathering profiles and hillslopes, small catchments, landscapes, river basins, continents, to Earth's whole terrestrial surface. What may be less obvious is congruence in the vertical dimension. We use ecosystem metabolism to argue that full accounting of photosynthetically fixed carbon includes respiratory CO₂ and carbonic acid that propagate to the base of the critical zone itself. Although a small fraction of respiration, the downward diffusion of CO₂ helps determine rates of soil formation and, ultimately, ecosystem evolution and resilience. Because life in the upper portions of terrestrial ecosystems significantly affects biogeochemistry throughout weathering profiles, the lower boundaries of most terrestrial ecosystems have been demarcated at depths too shallow to permit a complete understanding of ecosystem structure and function. Opportunities abound to explore connections between upper and lower components of critical-zone ecosystems, between soils and streams in watersheds, and between plant-derived CO₂ and deep microbial communities and mineral weathering.

  12. 'One physical system': Tansley's ecosystem as Earth's critical zone.

    PubMed

    Richter, Daniel deB; Billings, Sharon A

    2015-05-01

    Integrative concepts of the biosphere, ecosystem, biogeocenosis and, recently, Earth's critical zone embrace scientific disciplines that link matter, energy and organisms in a systems-level understanding of our remarkable planet. Here, we assert the congruence of Tansley's (1935) venerable ecosystem concept of 'one physical system' with Earth science's critical zone. Ecosystems and critical zones are congruent across spatial-temporal scales from vegetation-clad weathering profiles and hillslopes, small catchments, landscapes, river basins, continents, to Earth's whole terrestrial surface. What may be less obvious is congruence in the vertical dimension. We use ecosystem metabolism to argue that full accounting of photosynthetically fixed carbon includes respiratory CO₂ and carbonic acid that propagate to the base of the critical zone itself. Although a small fraction of respiration, the downward diffusion of CO₂ helps determine rates of soil formation and, ultimately, ecosystem evolution and resilience. Because life in the upper portions of terrestrial ecosystems significantly affects biogeochemistry throughout weathering profiles, the lower boundaries of most terrestrial ecosystems have been demarcated at depths too shallow to permit a complete understanding of ecosystem structure and function. Opportunities abound to explore connections between upper and lower components of critical-zone ecosystems, between soils and streams in watersheds, and between plant-derived CO₂ and deep microbial communities and mineral weathering. PMID:25731586

  13. Future directions of ecosystem science

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baron, Jill; Galvin, Kathleen A.

    1990-01-01

    Scientific knowledge about ecosystem structure and function has expanded greatly during the past few decades. Terrestrial and aquatic nutrient cycling, ecosystem energetics, population dynamics, belowground processes, and food webs have been studied at the plot, stand, watershed, and landscape levels at many locations around the globe. Ideas about terrestrial-atmospheric interactions and human interference in these processes have changed dramatically. There is new appreciation of the need to incorporate into ecosystem studies the interactions between human populations and the ecosystem, not only because humans affect ecosystem processes, but because these systems support human populations (Glantz 1988, Holden 1988, Parry et al. 1988, WCED 1987). Recent advances in ecosystem science are due, in part, to technological improvements in computing power, new laboratory and field physical and chemical analytical techniques, and satellite imagery for remote sensing of Earth's structure and dynamics. Modeling and geographic information systems have provided the capability for integrating multiple data sets with process simulations to generate hypotheses about regional ecosystem function. Concurrent with these scientific developments has been a growing concern about the links between the health of the environment and world-wide industrial, land, and resource-management practices. Environmental damage at the local level was widely recognized in the 1960s, prompting the environmental movement of that decade. Regional environmental problems with multiple effects and politically difficult solutions have been perceived more recently; the issue of acidic deposition provides an example of such a second-generation concern (Clark and Holling 1985). Today there is a growing awareness of global-scale environmental degradation brought about by the combined actions of all peoples on Earth (Clark 1989, Woodmansee et al. 1988). The three levels of environmental concern--local, regional

  14. Reconciling In Situ Foliar Nitrogen and Vegetation Structure Measurements with Airborne Imagery Across Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flagg, C.

    2015-12-01

    Over the next 30 years the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) will monitor environmental and ecological change throughout North America. NEON will provide a suite of standardized data from several ecological topics of interest, including net primary productivity and nutrient cycling, from 60+ sites across 20 eco-climatic domains when fully operational in 2017. The breadth of sampling includes ground-based measurements of foliar nitrogen and vegetation structure, ground-based spectroscopy, airborne LIDAR, and airborne hyperspectral surveys occurring within narrow overlapping time intervals once every five years. While many advancements have been made in linking and scaling in situ data with airborne imagery, establishing these relationships across dozens of highly variable sites poses significant challenges to understanding continental-wide processes. Here we study the relationship between foliar nitrogen content and airborne hyperspectral imagery at different study sites. NEON collected foliar samples from three sites in 2014 as part of a prototype study: Ordway Swisher Biological Station (pine-oak savannah, with active fire management), Jones Ecological Research Center (pine-oak savannah), and San Joaquin Experimental Range (grass-pine oak woodland). Leaf samples and canopy heights of dominant and co-dominant species were collected from trees located within 40 x 40 meter sampling plots within two weeks of aerial LIDAR and hyperspectral surveys. Foliar canopy samples were analyzed for leaf mass per area (LMA), stable isotopes of C and N, C/N content. We also examine agreement and uncertainty between ground based canopy height and airborne LIDAR derived digital surface models (DSM) for each site. Site-scale maps of canopy nitrogen and canopy height will also be presented.

  15. Landscape structure affects specialists but not generalists in naturally fragmented grasslands.

    PubMed

    Miller, Jesse E D; Damschen, Ellen I; Harrison, Susan P; Grace, James B

    2015-12-01

    Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural habitats become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches are needed. We asked how landscape structure affects total plant species richness and the richness of a guild of specialized plants in a multivariate context. We sampled herbaceous plant communities at 56 dolomite glades (insular, fire-adapted grasslands) across the Missouri Ozarks, USA, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the relative importance of landscape structure, soil resource availability, and fire history for plant communities. We found that landscape spatial structure, defined as the area-weighted proximity of glade habitat surrounding study sites (proximity index), had a significant effect on total plant species richness, but only after we controlled for environmental covariates. Richness of specialist species, but not generalists, was positively related to landscape spatial structure. Our results highlight that local environmental filters must be considered to understand the influence of landscape structure on communities and that unique species guilds may respond differently to landscape structure than the community as a whole. These findings suggest that both local environment and landscape context should be considered when developing management strategies for species of conservation concern in fragmented habitats. PMID:26909437

  16. Landscape structure affects specialists but not generalists in naturally fragmented grasslands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Jesse E.D.; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Harrison, Susan P.; Grace, James B.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural landscapes become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches are needed. In this study, we asked how landscape structure affects total plant species richness and the richness of a guild of specialized plants in a multivariate context. We sampled herbaceous plant communities at 56 dolomite glades (insular, fire-adapted grasslands) across the Missouri Ozarks, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the relative importance of landscape structure, soil resource availability, and fire history for plant communities. We found that landscape spatial structure-defined as the area-weighted proximity of glade habitat surrounding study sites (proximity index)-had a significant effect on total plant species richness, but only after we controlled for environmental covariates. Richness of specialist species, but not generalists, was positively related to landscape spatial structure. Our results highlight that local environmental filters must be considered to understand the influence of landscape structure on communities, and that unique species guilds may respond differently to landscape structure than the community as a whole. These findings suggest that both local environment and landscape context should be considered when developing management strategies for species of conservation concern in fragmented habitats.

  17. Landscape structure affects specialists but not generalists in naturally fragmented grasslands.

    PubMed

    Miller, Jesse E D; Damschen, Ellen I; Harrison, Susan P; Grace, James B

    2015-12-01

    Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural habitats become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches are needed. We asked how landscape structure affects total plant species richness and the richness of a guild of specialized plants in a multivariate context. We sampled herbaceous plant communities at 56 dolomite glades (insular, fire-adapted grasslands) across the Missouri Ozarks, USA, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the relative importance of landscape structure, soil resource availability, and fire history for plant communities. We found that landscape spatial structure, defined as the area-weighted proximity of glade habitat surrounding study sites (proximity index), had a significant effect on total plant species richness, but only after we controlled for environmental covariates. Richness of specialist species, but not generalists, was positively related to landscape spatial structure. Our results highlight that local environmental filters must be considered to understand the influence of landscape structure on communities and that unique species guilds may respond differently to landscape structure than the community as a whole. These findings suggest that both local environment and landscape context should be considered when developing management strategies for species of conservation concern in fragmented habitats.

  18. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests.

  19. Food-Web Structure in Relation to Environmental Gradients and Predator-Prey Ratios in Tank-Bromeliad Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  20. Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) Device Structures: Background, Fabrication Ecosystem, Relevance to Space Systems Applications, and Discussion of Related Radiation Effects

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alt, Shannon

    2016-01-01

    Electronic integrated circuits are considered one of the most significant technological advances of the 20th century, with demonstrated impact in their ability to incorporate successively higher numbers transistors and construct electronic devices onto a single CMOS chip. Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) exist as the optical analog to integrated circuits; however, in place of transistors, PICs consist of numerous scaled optical components, including such "building-block" structures as waveguides, MMIs, lasers, and optical ring resonators. The ability to construct electronic and photonic components on a single microsystems platform offers transformative potential for the development of technologies in fields including communications, biomedical device development, autonomous navigation, and chemical and atmospheric sensing. Developing on-chip systems that provide new avenues for integration and replacement of bulk optical and electro-optic components also reduces size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) limitations, which are important in the selection of instrumentation for specific flight projects. The number of applications currently emerging for complex photonics systems-particularly in data communications-warrants additional investigations when considering reliability for space systems development. This Body of Knowledge document seeks to provide an overview of existing integrated photonics architectures; the current state of design, development, and fabrication ecosystems in the United States and Europe; and potential space applications, with emphasis given to associated radiation effects and reliability.

  1. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  2. Trophic flow structure of the Danajon ecosystem (Central Philippines) and impacts of illegal and destructive fishing practices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacalso, Regina Therese M.; Wolff, Matthias

    2014-11-01

    A trophic model of the shallow Danajon Bank, in the Central Visayas, Philippines was developed using a mass-balance approach (Ecopath) to describe the system characteristics and fisheries interactions. The Ecopath model is composed of 37 functional groups and 17 fishing fleet types reflecting the high diversity of catches and fishing operations in the Danajon Bank. Collectively, the catch is dominated by lower trophic level fish and invertebrates as reflected in the mean trophic level of the fishery (2.95). The low biomass and high exploitation levels for many upper trophic level groups and the little evidence for strong natural physical disturbances suggest that top-down fishery is the main driver of system dynamics. The mixed trophic impacts (MTI) analysis reveals the role of the illegal and destructive fishing operations in influencing the ecosystem structure and dynamics. Furthermore, the illegal fisheries' estimated collective annual harvest is equivalent to nearly a quarter of the entire municipal fisheries catch in the area. Improved fisheries law enforcement by the local government units to curb these illegal and destructive fishing operations could substantially increase the potential gains of the legal fisheries.

  3. Roles of Benthic Algae in the Structure, Function, and Assessment of Stream Ecosystems Affected by Acid Mine Drainage

    EPA Science Inventory

    Tens of thousands of stream kilometers around the world are degraded by a legacy of environmental impacts and acid mine drainage (AMD) caused by abandoned underground and surface mines, piles of discarded coal wastes, and tailings. Increased acidity, high concentrations of metals...

  4. Land management practices interactively affect wetland beetle ecological and phylogenetic community structure.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Sandor L; Song, Hojun; Jenkins, David G

    2015-06-01

    Management practices can disturb ecological communities in grazing lands, which represent one-quarter of land surface. But three knowledge gaps exist regarding disturbances: disturbances potentially interact but are most often studied singly; experiments with multiple ecosystems as treatment units are rare; and relatively new metrics of phylogenetic community structure have not been widely applied. We addressed all three of these needs with a factorial experiment; 40 seasonal wetlands embedded in a Florida ranch were treated with pasture intensification, cattle exclosure, and prescribed fire. Treatment responses were evaluated through four years for aquatic beetle (Coleoptera: Adephaga) assemblages using classic ecological metrics (species richness, diversity) and phylogenetic community structure (PCS) metrics. Adephagan assemblages consisted of 23 genera representing three families in a well-resolved phylogeny. Prescribed fire significantly reduced diversity one year post-fire, followed by a delayed pasture X fire interaction. Cattle exclosure significantly reduced one PCS metric after one year and a delayed pasture x fence x fire interaction was detected with another PCs metric. Overall, effects of long-term pasture intensification were modified by cattle exclosure and prescribed fire. Also, PCS metrics revealed effects otherwise undetected by classic ecological metrics. Management strategies (e.g., "flash grazing," prescribed fires) in seasonal wetlands may successfully balance economic gains from high forage quality with ecological benefits of high wetland diversity in otherwise simplified grazing lands. Effects are likely taxon specific; multiple taxa should be similarly evaluated.

  5. Forest structure affects trophic linkages: How silvicultural disturbance impacts bats and their insect prey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodd, L.E.; Lacki, M.J.; Britzke, E.R.; Buehler, D.A.; Keyser, P.D.; Larkin, J.L.; Rodewald, A.D.; Wigley, T.B.; Wood, P.B.; Rieske, L.K.

    2012-01-01

    Vertebrate insectivores such as bats are a pervasive top-down force on prey populations in forest ecosystems. Conservation focusing on forest-dwelling bats requires understanding of community-level interactions between these predators and their insect prey. Our study assessed bat activity and insect occurrence (abundance and diversity) across a gradient of forest disturbance and structure (silvicultural treatments) in the Central Appalachian region of North America. We conducted acoustic surveys of bat echolocation concurrent with insect surveys using blacklight and malaise traps over 2 years. Predator activity, prey occurrence and prey biomass varied seasonally and across the region. The number of bat echolocation pulses was positively related with forest disturbance, whereas prey demonstrated varied trends. Lepidopteran abundance was negatively related with disturbance, while dipteran abundance and diversity was positively related with disturbance. Coleoptera were unaffected. Neither bat nor insect response variables differed between plot interiors and edges. Correlations between bat activity and vegetative structure reflected differences in foraging behavior among ensembles. Activity of myotine bats was correlated with variables describing sub-canopy vegetation, whereas activity of lasiurine bats was more closely correlated with canopy-level vegetation. Lepidopteran abundance was correlated with variables describing canopy and sub-canopy vegetation, whereas coleopteran and dipteran occurrence were more closely correlated with canopy-level vegetative structure. Our study demonstrates regional variation in bat activity and prey occurrence across a forested disturbance gradient. Land management and conservation efforts should consider the importance of vegetation structure and plant species richness to sustain forest-dwelling bats and their insect prey.

  6. Glacier Ecosystems of Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2012-12-01

    Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. In this presentation, we will briefly introduce glacier ecosystems in Himalaya; ecology and behavior of glacier animals, altitudinal zonation of snow algal communities, and the structure of their habitats in the glacier. Since the microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. We showed that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.

  7. Evaluation of the trophic structure of the West Florida Shelf in the 2000s using the ecosystem model OSMOSE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grüss, Arnaud; Schirripa, Michael J.; Chagaris, David; Drexler, Michael; Simons, James; Verley, Philippe; Shin, Yunne-Jai; Karnauskas, Mandy; Oliveros-Ramos, Ricardo; Ainsworth, Cameron H.

    2015-04-01

    We applied the individual-based, multi-species OSMOSE modeling approach to the West Florida Shelf, with the intent to inform ecosystem-based management (EBM) in this region. Our model, referred to as 'OSMOSE-WFS', explicitly considers both pelagic-demersal and benthic high trophic level (HTL) groups of fish and invertebrate species, and is forced by the biomass of low trophic level groups of species (plankton and benthos). We present a steady-state version of the OSMOSE-WFS model describing trophic interactions in the West Florida Shelf in the 2000s. OSMOSE-WFS was calibrated using a recently developed evolutionary algorithm that allowed simulated biomasses of HTL groups to match observed biomasses over the period 2005-2009. The validity of OSMOSE-WFS was then evaluated by comparing simulated diets to observed ones, and the simulated trophic levels to those in an Ecopath model of the West Florida Shelf (WFS Reef fish Ecopath). Finally, OSMOSE-WFS was used to explore the trophic structure of the West Florida Shelf in the 2000s and estimate size-specific natural mortality rates for a socio-economically important species, gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis). OSMOSE-WFS outputs were in full agreement with observations as to the body size and ecological niche of prey of the different HTL groups, and to a lesser extent in agreement with the observed species composition of the diet of HTL groups. OSMOSE-WFS and WFS Reef fish Ecopath concurred on the magnitude of the instantaneous natural mortality of the different life stages of gag grouper over the period 2005-2009, but not always on the main causes of natural mortality. The model evaluations conducted here provides a strong basis for ongoing work exploring fishing and environmental scenarios so as to inform EBM. From simple size-based predation rules, we were indeed able to capture the complexity of trophic interactions in the West Florida Shelf, and to identify the predators, prey and competitors of socio

  8. Beyond Potential Vegetation: Combining Lidar Remote Sensing and a Height- Structured Terrestrial Ecosystem Model for Improved Estimates of Carbon Stocks and Fluxes at a Set of Sites in North and Central America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurtt, G. C.; Dubayah, R.; Fearon, M.; Drake, J.; Schwarz, P.; Pacala, S.; Moorcroft, P.

    2004-12-01

    Because of natural disturbance events, human land use, and land-use history, terrestrial ecosystems globally are generally not in a "potential" state. However, the information required to adequately describe the current state of terrestrial ecosystems is lacking and currently limiting our understanding of the carbon cycle. To address this challenge, we combined airborne lidar remote sensing of vegetation structure and the height-structured terrestrial ecosystem model ED to produce lidar-initialized model estimates of ecosystem structure, carbon stocks, and carbon fluxes at a set of 10 study sites in North and Central America. Field data were used to test model results and form the basis for improved model parameterizations. Resulting lidar-initialized ED estimates of ecosystem structure and above-ground biomass compared favorably to field-based estimates at key study sites, and corresponding model estimates of net carbon fluxes differed substantially from estimates based on bracketing alternatives. The results of this multi-site study build on earlier published results from La Selva, Costa Rica and provide additional evidence of the power of combining remote sensing data on vegetation structure with a height-structured ecosystem model to go beyond potential vegetation and address the heterogeneity in terrestrial ecosystems caused by disturbance. Extending these analyses to larger scales will require the development of regional and global lidar data sets, and the continued development and application of height-structured ecosystem models.

  9. The structure and size of sensory bursts encode stimulus information but only size affects behavior.

    PubMed

    Marsat, Gary; Pollack, Gerald S

    2010-04-01

    Cricket ultrasound avoidance is a classic model system for neuroethology. Avoidance steering is triggered by high-firing-rate bursts of spikes in the auditory command neuron AN2. Although bursting is common among sensory neurons, and although the detailed structure of bursts may encode information about the stimulus, it is as yet unclear whether this information is decoded. We address this question in two ways: from an information coding point of view, by showing the relationship between stimulus and burst structure; and also from a functional point of view by showing the relationship between burst structure and behavior. We conclude that the burst structure carries detailed temporal information about the stimulus but that this has little impact on the behavioral response, which is affected mainly by burst size.

  10. The structure and size of sensory bursts encode stimulus information but only size affects behavior.

    PubMed

    Marsat, Gary; Pollack, Gerald S

    2010-04-01

    Cricket ultrasound avoidance is a classic model system for neuroethology. Avoidance steering is triggered by high-firing-rate bursts of spikes in the auditory command neuron AN2. Although bursting is common among sensory neurons, and although the detailed structure of bursts may encode information about the stimulus, it is as yet unclear whether this information is decoded. We address this question in two ways: from an information coding point of view, by showing the relationship between stimulus and burst structure; and also from a functional point of view by showing the relationship between burst structure and behavior. We conclude that the burst structure carries detailed temporal information about the stimulus but that this has little impact on the behavioral response, which is affected mainly by burst size. PMID:20213110

  11. Changing Arctic ecosystems--research to understand and project changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Geiselman, Joy; DeGange, Anthony R.; Oakley, Karen; Derksen, Dirk; Whalen, Mary

    2012-01-01

    Ecosystems and their wildlife communities are not static; they change and evolve over time due to numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors. A period of rapid change is occurring in the Arctic for which our current understanding of potential ecosystem and wildlife responses is limited. Changes to the physical environment include warming temperatures, diminishing sea ice, increasing coastal erosion, deteriorating permafrost, and changing water regimes. These changes influence biological communities and the ways in which human communities interact with them. Through the new initiative Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) strives to (1) understand the potential suite of wildlife population responses to these physical changes to inform key resource management decisions such as those related to the Endangered Species Act, and (2) provide unique insights into how Arctic ecosystems are responding under new stressors. Our studies examine how and why changes in the ice-dominated ecosystems of the Arctic are affecting wildlife and will provide a better foundation for understanding the degree and manner in which wildlife species respond and adapt to rapid environmental change. Changes to Arctic ecosystems will be felt broadly because the Arctic is a production zone for hundreds of species that migrate south for the winter. The CAE initiative includes three major research themes that span Arctic ice-dominated ecosystems and that are structured to identify and understand the linkages between physical processes, ecosystems, and wildlife populations. The USGS is applying knowledge-based modeling structures such as Bayesian Networks to integrate the work.

  12. Protein Molecular Structures, Protein SubFractions, and Protein Availability Affected by Heat Processing: A Review

    SciTech Connect

    Yu,P.

    2007-01-01

    The utilization and availability of protein depended on the types of protein and their specific susceptibility to enzymatic hydrolysis (inhibitory activities) in the gastrointestine and was highly associated with protein molecular structures. Studying internal protein structure and protein subfraction profiles leaded to an understanding of the components that make up a whole protein. An understanding of the molecular structure of the whole protein was often vital to understanding its digestive behavior and nutritive value in animals. In this review, recently obtained information on protein molecular structural effects of heat processing was reviewed, in relation to protein characteristics affecting digestive behavior and nutrient utilization and availability. The emphasis of this review was on (1) using the newly advanced synchrotron technology (S-FTIR) as a novel approach to reveal protein molecular chemistry affected by heat processing within intact plant tissues; (2) revealing the effects of heat processing on the profile changes of protein subfractions associated with digestive behaviors and kinetics manipulated by heat processing; (3) prediction of the changes of protein availability and supply after heat processing, using the advanced DVE/OEB and NRC-2001 models, and (4) obtaining information on optimal processing conditions of protein as intestinal protein source to achieve target values for potential high net absorbable protein in the small intestine. The information described in this article may give better insight in the mechanisms involved and the intrinsic protein molecular structural changes occurring upon processing.

  13. Familiarity affects social network structure and discovery of prey patch locations in foraging stickleback shoals

    PubMed Central

    Atton, N.; Galef, B. J.; Hoppitt, W.; Webster, M. M.; Laland, K. N.

    2014-01-01

    Numerous factors affect the fine-scale social structure of animal groups, but it is unclear how important such factors are in determining how individuals encounter resources. Familiarity affects shoal choice and structure in many social fishes. Here, we show that familiarity between shoal members of sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) affects both fine-scale social organization and the discovery of resources. Social network analysis revealed that sticklebacks remained closer to familiar than to unfamiliar individuals within the same shoal. Network-based diffusion analysis revealed that there was a strong untransmitted social effect on patch discovery, with individuals tending to discover a task sooner if a familiar individual from their group had previously done so than if an unfamiliar fish had done so. However, in contrast to the effect of familiarity, the frequency with which individuals had previously associated with one another had no effect upon the likelihood of prey patch discovery. This may have been due to the influence of fish on one another's movements; the effect of familiarity on discovery of an empty ‘control’ patch was as strong as for discovery of an actual prey patch. Our results demonstrate that factors affecting fine-scale social interactions can also influence how individuals encounter and exploit resources. PMID:25009061

  14. Invasive plants have different effects on trophic structure of green and brown food webs in terrestrial ecosystems: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    McCary, Matthew A; Mores, Robin; Farfan, Monica A; Wise, David H

    2016-03-01

    Although invasive plants are a major source of terrestrial ecosystem degradation worldwide, it remains unclear which trophic levels above the base of the food web are most vulnerable to plant invasions. We performed a meta-analysis of 38 independent studies from 32 papers to examine how invasive plants alter major groupings of primary and secondary consumers in three globally distributed ecosystems: wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. Within each ecosystem we examined if green (grazing) food webs are more sensitive to plant invasions compared to brown (detrital) food webs. Invasive plants have strong negative effects on primary consumers (detritivores, bacterivores, fungivores, and/or herbivores) in woodlands and wetlands, which become less abundant in both green and brown food webs in woodlands and green webs in wetlands. Plant invasions increased abundances of secondary consumers (predators and/or parasitoids) only in woodland brown food webs and green webs in wetlands. Effects of invasive plants on grazing and detrital food webs clearly differed between ecosystems. Overall, invasive plants had the most pronounced effects on the trophic structure of wetlands and woodlands, but caused no detectable changes to grassland trophic structure. PMID:26757702

  15. Invasive plants have different effects on trophic structure of green and brown food webs in terrestrial ecosystems: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    McCary, Matthew A; Mores, Robin; Farfan, Monica A; Wise, David H

    2016-03-01

    Although invasive plants are a major source of terrestrial ecosystem degradation worldwide, it remains unclear which trophic levels above the base of the food web are most vulnerable to plant invasions. We performed a meta-analysis of 38 independent studies from 32 papers to examine how invasive plants alter major groupings of primary and secondary consumers in three globally distributed ecosystems: wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. Within each ecosystem we examined if green (grazing) food webs are more sensitive to plant invasions compared to brown (detrital) food webs. Invasive plants have strong negative effects on primary consumers (detritivores, bacterivores, fungivores, and/or herbivores) in woodlands and wetlands, which become less abundant in both green and brown food webs in woodlands and green webs in wetlands. Plant invasions increased abundances of secondary consumers (predators and/or parasitoids) only in woodland brown food webs and green webs in wetlands. Effects of invasive plants on grazing and detrital food webs clearly differed between ecosystems. Overall, invasive plants had the most pronounced effects on the trophic structure of wetlands and woodlands, but caused no detectable changes to grassland trophic structure.

  16. Anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems in Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Aronson, Richard B; Thatje, Sven; McClintock, James B; Hughes, Kevin A

    2011-03-01

    Antarctica is the most isolated continent on Earth, but it has not escaped the negative impacts of human activity. The unique marine ecosystems of Antarctica and their endemic faunas are affected on local and regional scales by overharvesting, pollution, and the introduction of alien species. Global climate change is also having deleterious impacts: rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification already threaten benthic and pelagic food webs. The Antarctic Treaty System can address local- to regional-scale impacts, but it does not have purview over the global problems that impinge on Antarctica, such as emissions of greenhouse gases. Failure to address human impacts simultaneously at all scales will lead to the degradation of Antarctic marine ecosystems and the homogenization of their composition, structure, and processes with marine ecosystems elsewhere.

  17. Linking Landscapes to Ecosystem Services: Landscape Structure as an Indicator and Predictor of Water Clarity in New England Lakes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Lakes provide ecosystem services such as recreation, clean water, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and nutrient attenuation. While numerous methods exist to monitor these services (e.g. visitor counts, opinion surveys, water quality monitoring, etc.) they are labor intensive to col...

  18. Responses of ecosystem carbon cycling to climate change treatments along an elevation gradient

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wu, Zhuoting; Koch, George W.; Dijkstra, Paul; Bowker, Matthew A.; Hungate, Bruce A.

    2011-01-01

    Global temperature increases and precipitation changes are both expected to alter ecosystem carbon (C) cycling. We tested responses of ecosystem C cycling to simulated climate change using field manipulations of temperature and precipitation across a range of grass-dominated ecosystems along an elevation gradient in northern Arizona. In 2002, we transplanted intact plant–soil mesocosms to simulate warming and used passive interceptors and collectors to manipulate precipitation. We measured daytime ecosystem respiration (ER) and net ecosystem C exchange throughout the growing season in 2008 and 2009. Warming generally stimulated ER and photosynthesis, but had variable effects on daytime net C exchange. Increased precipitation stimulated ecosystem C cycling only in the driest ecosystem at the lowest elevation, whereas decreased precipitation showed no effects on ecosystem C cycling across all ecosystems. No significant interaction between temperature and precipitation treatments was observed. Structural equation modeling revealed that in the wetter-than-average year of 2008, changes in ecosystem C cycling were more strongly affected by warming-induced reduction in soil moisture than by altered precipitation. In contrast, during the drier year of 2009, warming induced increase in soil temperature rather than changes in soil moisture determined ecosystem C cycling. Our findings suggest that warming exerted the strongest influence on ecosystem C cycling in both years, by modulating soil moisture in the wet year and soil temperature in the dry year.

  19. AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS,

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic ecosystems are a vital part of the urban water cycle (and of urban areas more broadly), and, if healthy, provide a range of goods and services valued by humans (Meyer 1997). For example, aquatic ecosystems (e.g., rivers, lakes, wetlands) provide potable water, food resou...

  20. Structural and functional effects of herbicides on non-target organisms in aquatic ecosystems with an emphasis on atrazine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fairchild, James; Kortekamp, Andreas

    2011-01-01

    Agricultural production accounts for approximately 90% of herbicide use in the U.S. (Kiely et al., 2004). Gianessi and Reigner (2007) indicated that herbicides are routinely used on more than 90% of the area designated for large commercial crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, peanuts, and rice. Increased farm mechanization, technological advancements in production of inexpensive sources of inorganic nitrogen fertilizer (e.g., anhydrous ammonia), and conversion of forest, grassland, and wetland habitats to cropland has led to a tremendous increase in global food production over the past half-century. Herbicides have augmented advances in large-scale agricultural systems and have largely replaced mechanical and hand-weeding control mechanisms (Gianessi and Reigner, 2007). The wide-spread use of herbicides in agriculture has resulted in frequent chemical detections in surface and groundwaters (Gilliom, 2007). The majority of herbicides used are highly water soluble and are therefore prone to runoff from terrestrial environments. In additon, spray drift and atmospheric deposition can contribute to herbicide contamination of aquatic environments. Lastly, selected herbicides are deliberately applied to aquatic environments for controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation. Although aquatic herbicide exposure has been widely documented, these exposures are not necessarily related to adverse non-target ecological effects on natural communities in aquatic environments. This chapter evaluates the potential for effects of herbicides on the structure and function of aquatic envrionments at the population, community, and ecosystem levels of biological organization. In this manuscript I examine several critical aspects of the subject matter area: primary herbicides in use and chemical modes of action; the regulatory process used for registration and risk assessment of herbicides; data regarding non-target risks and the relative sensitivity of aquatic plants

  1. Effects of whaling on the structure of the Southern Ocean food web: insights on the "krill surplus" from ecosystem modelling.

    PubMed

    Surma, Szymon; Pakhomov, Evgeny A; Pitcher, Tony J

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the ecological plausibility of the "krill surplus" hypothesis and the effects of whaling on the Southern Ocean food web using mass-balance ecosystem modelling. The depletion trajectory and unexploited biomass of each rorqual population in the Antarctic was reconstructed using yearly catch records and a set of species-specific surplus production models. The resulting estimates of the unexploited biomass of Antarctic rorquals were used to construct an Ecopath model of the Southern Ocean food web existing in 1900. The rorqual depletion trajectory was then used in an Ecosim scenario to drive rorqual biomasses and examine the "krill surplus" phenomenon and whaling effects on the food web in the years 1900-2008. An additional suite of Ecosim scenarios reflecting several hypothetical trends in Southern Ocean primary productivity were employed to examine the effect of bottom-up forcing on the documented krill biomass trend. The output of the Ecosim scenarios indicated that while the "krill surplus" hypothesis is a plausible explanation of the biomass trends observed in some penguin and pinniped species in the mid-20th century, the excess krill biomass was most likely eliminated by a rapid decline in primary productivity in the years 1975-1995. Our findings suggest that changes in physical conditions in the Southern Ocean during this time period could have eliminated the ecological effects of rorqual depletion, although the mechanism responsible is currently unknown. Furthermore, a decline in iron bioavailability due to rorqual depletion may have contributed to the rapid decline in overall Southern Ocean productivity during the last quarter of the 20th century. The results of this study underscore the need for further research on historical changes in the roles of top-down and bottom-up forcing in structuring the Southern Ocean food web.

  2. Elevated atmospheric CO2 levels affect community structure of rice root-associated bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Okubo, Takashi; Liu, Dongyan; Tsurumaru, Hirohito; Ikeda, Seishi; Asakawa, Susumu; Tokida, Takeshi; Tago, Kanako; Hayatsu, Masahito; Aoki, Naohiro; Ishimaru, Ken; Ujiie, Kazuhiro; Usui, Yasuhiro; Nakamura, Hirofumi; Sakai, Hidemitsu; Hayashi, Kentaro; Hasegawa, Toshihiro; Minamisawa, Kiwamu

    2015-01-01

    A number of studies have shown that elevated atmospheric CO2 ([CO2]) affects rice yields and grain quality. However, the responses of root-associated bacteria to [CO2] elevation have not been characterized in a large-scale field study. We conducted a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment (ambient + 200 μmol.mol−1) using three rice cultivars (Akita 63, Takanari, and Koshihikari) and two experimental lines of Koshihikari [chromosome segment substitution and near-isogenic lines (NILs)] to determine the effects of [CO2] elevation on the community structure of rice root-associated bacteria. Microbial DNA was extracted from rice roots at the panicle formation stage and analyzed by pyrosequencing the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to characterize the members of the bacterial community. Principal coordinate analysis of a weighted UniFrac distance matrix revealed that the community structure was clearly affected by elevated [CO2]. The predominant community members at class level were Alpha-, Beta-, and Gamma-proteobacteria in the control (ambient) and FACE plots. The relative abundance of Methylocystaceae, the major methane-oxidizing bacteria in rice roots, tended to decrease with increasing [CO2] levels. Quantitative PCR revealed a decreased copy number of the methane monooxygenase (pmoA) gene and increased methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) in elevated [CO2]. These results suggest elevated [CO2] suppresses methane oxidation and promotes methanogenesis in rice roots; this process affects the carbon cycle in rice paddy fields. PMID:25750640

  3. Neonatal handling alters the structure of maternal behavior and affects mother-pup bonding.

    PubMed

    Reis, A R; de Azevedo, M S; de Souza, M A; Lutz, M L; Alves, M B; Izquierdo, I; Cammarota, M; Silveira, P P; Lucion, A B

    2014-05-15

    During early life, a mother and her pups establish a very close relationship, and the olfactory learning of the nest odor is very important for the bond formation. The olfactory bulb (OB) is a structure that plays a fundamental role in the olfactory learning (OL) mechanism that also involves maternal behavior (licking and contact). We hypothesized that handling the pups would alter the structure of the maternal behavior, affect OL, and alter mother-pup relationships. Moreover, changes in the cyclic AMP-response element binding protein phosphorylation (CREB) and neurotrophic factors could be a part of the mechanism of these changes. This study aimed to analyze the effects of neonatal handling, 1 min per day from postpartum day 1 to 10 (PPD 1 to PPD 10), on the maternal behavior and pups' preference for the nest odor in a Y maze (PPD 11). We also tested CREB's phosphorylation and BDNF signaling in the OB of the pups (PPD 7) by Western blot analysis. The results showed that handling alters mother-pups interaction by decreasing mother-pups contact and changing the temporal pattern of all components of the maternal behavior especially the daily licking and nest-building. We found sex-dependent changes in the nest odor preference, CREB and BDNF levels in pups OB. Male pups were more affected by alterations in the licking pattern, and female pups were more affected by changes in the mother-pup contact (the time spent outside the nest and nursing).

  4. Richness, biomass, and nutrient content of a wetland macrophyte community affect soil nitrogen cycling in a diversity-ecosystem functioning experiment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Korol, Alicia R.; Ahn, Changwoo; Noe, Gregory

    2016-01-01

    The development of soil nitrogen (N) cycling in created wetlands promotes the maturation of multiple biogeochemical cycles necessary for ecosystem functioning. This development proceeds from gradual changes in soil physicochemical properties and influential characteristics of the plant community, such as competitive behavior, phenology, productivity, and nutrient composition. In the context of a 2-year diversity experiment in freshwater mesocosms (0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 richness levels), we assessed the direct and indirect impacts of three plant community characteristics – species richness, total biomass, and tissue N concentration – on three processes in the soil N cycle – soil net ammonification, net nitrification, and denitrification potentials. Species richness had a positive effect on net ammonification potential (NAP) through higher redox potentials and likely faster microbial respiration. All NAP rates were negative, however, due to immobilization and high rates of ammonium removal. Net nitrification was inhibited at higher species richness without mediation from the measured soil properties. Higher species richness also inhibited denitrification potential through increased redox potential and decreased nitrification. Both lower biomass and/or higher tissue ratios of carbon to nitrogen, characteristics indicative of the two annual plants, were shown to have stimulatory effects on all three soil N processes. The two mediating physicochemical links between the young macrophyte community and microbial N processes were soil redox potential and temperature. Our results suggest that early-successional annual plant communities play an important role in the development of ecosystem N multifunctionality in newly created wetland soils.

  5. The effects of extracellular sugar extraction on the 3D-structure of biological soil crusts from different ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Felde, Vincent; Rossi, Federico; Colesie, Claudia; Uteau-Puschmann, Daniel; Felix-Henningsen, Peter; Peth, Stephan; De Philippis, Roberto

    2015-04-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) play important roles in the hydrological cycles of many different ecosystems around the world. In arid and semi-arid regions, they alter the availability and redistribution of water. Especially in early successional stage BSCs, this feature can be attributed to the presence and characteristics of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that are excreted by the crusts' organisms. In a previous study, the extraction of EPS from BSCs of the SW United States lead to a significant change in their hydrological behavior, namely the sorptivity of water (Rossi et al. 2012). This was concluded to be the effect of a change in the pore structure of these crusts, which is why in this work we investigated the effect of the EPS-extraction on soil structure using 3D-computed micro-tomography (µCT). We studied different types of BSCs from Svalbard, Germany, Israel and South Africa with varying grain sizes and species compositions (from green algae to light and dark cyanobacterial crusts with and without lichens and/or mosses). Unlike other EPS-extraction methods, the one utilized here is aimed at removing the extracellular matrix from crust samples whilst acting non-destructively (Rossi et al. 2012). For every crust sample, we physically cut out a small piece (1cm) from a larger sample contained in Petri dish, and scanned it in a CT at a high resolution (voxel edge length: 7µm). After putting it back in the dish, approximately in the same former position, it was treated for EPS-extraction and then removed and scanned again in order to check for a possible effect of the EPS-extraction. Our results show that the utilized EPS-extraction method had varying extraction efficiencies: while in some cases the amount removed was barely significant, in other cases up to 50% of the total content was recovered. Notwithstanding, no difference in soil micro-structure could be detected, neither in total porosity, nor in the distribution of pore sizes, the

  6. The Ecosystems SAR (EcoSAR) an Airborne P-band Polarimetric InSAR for the Measurement of Vegetation Structure, Biomass and Permafrost

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rincon, Rafael F.; Fatoyinbo, Temilola; Ranson, K. Jon; Osmanoglu, Batuhan; Sun, Guoqing; Deshpande, Manohar D.; Perrine, Martin L.; Du Toit, Cornelis F.; Bonds, Quenton; Beck, Jaclyn; Lu, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    EcoSAR is a new synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instrument being developed at the NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for the polarimetric and interferometric measurements of ecosystem structure and biomass. The instrument uses a phased-array beamforming architecture and supports full polarimetric measurements and single pass interferometry. This Instrument development is part of NASA's Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program (ESTO IIP).

  7. Forest canopy structural controls over throughfall affect soil microbial community structure in an epiphyte-laden maritime oak stand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Stan, J. T., II; Rosier, C. L.; Schrom, J. O.; Wu, T.; Reichard, J. S.; Kan, J.

    2014-12-01

    Identifying spatiotemporal influences on soil microbial community (SMC) structure is critical to understanding of patterns in nutrient cycling and related ecological services. Since forest canopy structure alters the spatiotemporal patterning of precipitation water and solute supplies to soils (via the "throughfall" mechanism), is it possible changes in SMC structure variability could arise from modifications in canopy elements? Our study investigates this question by monitoring throughfall water and dissolved ion supply to soils beneath a continuum of canopy structure: from a large gap (0% cover) to heavy Tillandsia usneoides L. (Spanish moss) canopy (>90% cover). Throughfall water supply diminished with increasing canopy cover, yet increased washoff/leaching of Na+, Cl-, PO43-, and SO42- from the canopy to the soils (p < 0.01). Presence of T. usneoides diminished throughfall NO3-, but enhanced NH4+, concentrations supplied to subcanopy soils. The mineral soil horizon (0-10 cm) from canopy gaps, bare canopy, and T. usneoides-laden canopy significantly differed (p < 0.05) in soil chemistry parameters (pH, Ca2+, Mg2+, CEC). PCR-DGGE banding patterns beneath similar canopy covers (experiencing similar throughfall dynamics) also produced high similarities per ANalyses Of SIMilarity (ANO-SIM), and clustered together when analyzed by Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS). Correlation analysis of DGGE banding patterns, throughfall dynamics, and soil chemistry yielded significant correlations (p < 0.05) between fungal communities and soil chemical properties significantly differing between canopy cover types (pH: r2 = 0.50; H+ %-base saturation: r2 = 0.48; Ca2+ %-base saturation: r2 = 0.43). Bacterial community structure correlated with throughfall NO3-, NH4+, and Ca2+ concentrations (r2 = 0.37, p = 0.16). These results suggest that modifications of forest canopy structures are capable of affecting mineral-soil horizon SMC structure via the throughfall mechanism when

  8. Do Species-specific Hydraulic Traits Predict Ecosystem Response and Community Structure? Evidence From Co-occurring Bryophytes of a Sloping Wetland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lintz, H. E.; Russell, M. C.; Hardman, A. C.

    2007-12-01

    Ecosystems comprise a complex assortment species, and each species has a unique set of physiological and anatomical characteristics or traits. Landscape-level forecasts of ecosystem response to climate change can benefit by accounting for species-specific traits. Here, we demonstrate how a hydraulic trait can be quantified and aggregrated to community and ecosystem levels using a model life form and system, bryophytes in a sloping wetland. Growth and reproduction of bryophytes depend on the quantity of external water held, which varies by species. Wetlands provide a soil substrate that supplies either an unlimited amount of water, or at minimum, a shallow water table for part of the year. We hypothesized and confirmed that external water holding capacity of bryophyte species (measured in the laboratory) corresponded to bryophyte community structure along a hydrology gradient in the wetland. In addition, we demonstrated that water holding capacity by species can be aggregated to the level of the wetland ecosystem to reveal an emergent community property, water holding capacity of the bryophyte mat. Our results support ecological theory presented by Paul Keddy (1999) that co-occurring organisms show similarity in resource acquisition along gradients of resource limitation. We promote a conceptual framework that incorporates species-specific traits as modeling currency that can bridge scales.

  9. Impact of Hydrologic Variability on Ecosystem Dynamics and the Sustainable Use of Soil and Water Resources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porporato, A. M.

    2013-05-01

    We discuss the key processes by which hydrologic variability affects the probabilistic structure of soil moisture dynamics in water-controlled ecosystems. These in turn impact biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem structure through plant productivity and biodiversity as well as nitrogen availability and soil conditions. Once the long-term probabilistic structure of these processes is quantified, the results become useful to understand the impact of climatic changes and human activities on ecosystem services, and can be used to find optimal strategies of water and soil resources management under unpredictable hydro-climatic fluctuations. Particular applications regard soil salinization, phytoremediation and optimal stochastic irrigation.

  10. The use of noncrystallographic symmetry averaging to solve structures from data affected by perfect hemihedral twinning.

    PubMed

    Sabin, Charles; Plevka, Pavel

    2016-03-01

    Hemihedral twinning is a crystal-growth anomaly in which a specimen is composed of two crystal domains that coincide with each other in three dimensions. However, the orientations of the crystal lattices in the two domains differ in a specific way. In diffraction data collected from hemihedrally twinned crystals, each observed intensity contains contributions from both of the domains. With perfect hemihedral twinning, the two domains have the same volumes and the observed intensities do not contain sufficient information to detwin the data. Here, the use of molecular replacement and of noncrystallographic symmetry (NCS) averaging to detwin a 2.1 Å resolution data set for Aichi virus 1 affected by perfect hemihedral twinning is described. The NCS averaging enabled the correction of errors in the detwinning introduced by the differences between the molecular-replacement model and the crystallized structure. The procedure permitted the structure to be determined from a molecular-replacement model that had 16% sequence identity and a 1.6 Å r.m.s.d. for C(α) atoms in comparison to the crystallized structure. The same approach could be used to solve other data sets affected by perfect hemihedral twinning from crystals with NCS.

  11. Complex regional pain syndrome type I affects brain structure in prefrontal and motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Pleger, Burkhard; Draganski, Bogdan; Schwenkreis, Peter; Lenz, Melanie; Nicolas, Volkmar; Maier, Christoph; Tegenthoff, Martin

    2014-01-01

    The complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a rare but debilitating pain disorder that mostly occurs after injuries to the upper limb. A number of studies indicated altered brain function in CRPS, whereas possible influences on brain structure remain poorly investigated. We acquired structural magnetic resonance imaging data from CRPS type I patients and applied voxel-by-voxel statistics to compare white and gray matter brain segments of CRPS patients with matched controls. Patients and controls were statistically compared in two different ways: First, we applied a 2-sample ttest to compare whole brain white and gray matter structure between patients and controls. Second, we aimed to assess structural alterations specifically of the primary somatosensory (S1) and motor cortex (M1) contralateral to the CRPS affected side. To this end, MRI scans of patients with left-sided CRPS (and matched controls) were horizontally flipped before preprocessing and region-of-interest-based group comparison. The unpaired ttest of the "non-flipped" data revealed that CRPS patients presented increased gray matter density in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. The same test applied to the "flipped" data showed further increases in gray matter density, not in the S1, but in the M1 contralateral to the CRPS-affected limb which were inversely related to decreased white matter density of the internal capsule within the ipsilateral brain hemisphere. The gray-white matter interaction between motor cortex and internal capsule suggests compensatory mechanisms within the central motor system possibly due to motor dysfunction. Altered gray matter structure in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex may occur in response to emotional processes such as pain-related suffering or elevated analgesic top-down control.

  12. Analysis of factors affecting satisfaction level on problem based learning approach using structural equation modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hussain, Nur Farahin Mee; Zahid, Zalina

    2014-12-01

    Nowadays, in the job market demand, graduates are expected not only to have higher performance in academic but they must also be excellent in soft skill. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has a number of distinct advantages as a learning method as it can deliver graduates that will be highly prized by industry. This study attempts to determine the satisfaction level of engineering students on the PBL Approach and to evaluate their determinant factors. The Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to investigate how the factors of Good Teaching Scale, Clear Goals, Student Assessment and Levels of Workload affected the student satisfaction towards PBL approach.

  13. Mechanistic scaling of ecosystem function and dynamics in space and time: Ecosystem Demography model version 2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medvigy, D.; Wofsy, S. C.; Munger, J. W.; Hollinger, D. Y.; Moorcroft, P. R.

    2009-03-01

    Insights into how terrestrial ecosystems affect the Earth's response to changes in climate and rising atmospheric CO2 levels rely heavily on the predictions of terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs). These models contain detailed mechanistic representations of biological processes affecting terrestrial ecosystems; however, their ability to simultaneously predict field-based measurements of terrestrial vegetation dynamics and carbon fluxes has remained largely untested. In this study, we address this issue by developing a constrained implementation of a new structured TBM, the Ecosystem Demography model version 2 (ED2), which explicitly tracks the dynamics of fine-scale ecosystem structure and function. Carbon and water flux measurements from an eddy-flux tower are used in conjunction with forest inventory measurements of tree growth and mortality at Harvard Forest (42.5°N, 72.1°W) to estimate a number of important but weakly constrained model parameters. Evaluation against a decade of tower flux and forest dynamics measurements shows that the constrained ED2 model yields greatly improved predictions of annual net ecosystem productivity, carbon partitioning, and growth and mortality dynamics of both hardwood and conifer trees. The generality of the model formulation is then evaluated by comparing the model's predictions against measurements from two other eddy-flux towers and forest inventories of the northeastern United States and Quebec. Despite the markedly different composition throughout this region, the optimized model realistically predicts observed patterns of carbon fluxes and tree growth. These results demonstrate how TBMs parameterized with field-based measurements can provide quantitative insight into the underlying biological processes governing ecosystem composition, structure, and function at larger scales.

  14. Snow vole (Chionomys nivalis Martins) affects the redistribution of soil organic matter and hormone-like activity in the alpine ecosystem: ecological implications.

    PubMed

    Pizzeghello, Diego; Cocco, Stefania; Francioso, Ornella; Ferrari, Erika; Cardinali, Alessandra; Nardi, Serenella; Agnelli, Alberto; Corti, Giuseppe

    2015-10-01

    In alpine environments, colonies of snow vole (Chionomys nivalis Martins) cause strong pedoturbation, which may affect humification process and soil organic matter (SOM) cycling, with repercussions on the hormone-like activity of organics. We investigated the effect of snow vole pedoturbation on the chemical and spectroscopic features of soil organic fractions, and the potential hormone-like activity of humic and fulvic acids (HA, FA). The study site was located on the high-mountain environment of the Majella massif (central Italy). Pedoturbated and regular soils were morphologically described and characterized for pH and content of total organic carbon, total extractable carbon, HA, and FA. Both HA and FA were extracted and investigated using attenuated total reflectance/Fourier transform infrared (ATR/FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance with high-resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS-NMR), and (1)H-(13)C heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC). HA and FA were also tested for their auxin-like and gibberellin-like activities. Results provide evidences that bioturbated and regular soils contain a poorly decomposed SOM, but HA and FA with a well-defined molecular structure. The HA and FA from both bioturbated and regular soils show a hormone-like activity with a different allocation along the soil profile. In the regular soil, the highest auxin-like activity was shown by HA and FA from Oe1 horizon, while gibberellin-like activity was expressed by FA from Oe2 horizon. Burrowing activity determines a redistribution of organics throughout the profile with a relatively high auxin-like activity in the FA from straw tunnel wall (STW) and gibberellin-like activity in the HA from vole feces (VF). The relative high presence of carboxylic acids, amides, proteins, and amino acids in the FA from STW and the aromatic moieties in the HA from VF put evidences for their different behavior. The fact that snow vole activity has modified the chemical and biological properties of

  15. Concrete modelling for expertise of structures affected by alkali aggregate reaction

    SciTech Connect

    Grimal, E.; Sellier, A.; Multon, S.; Le Pape, Y.; Bourdarot, E.

    2010-04-15

    Alkali aggregate reaction (AAR) affects numerous civil engineering structures and causes irreversible expansion and cracking. In order to control the safety level and the maintenance cost of its hydraulic dams, Electricite de France (EDF) must reach better comprehension and better prediction of the expansion phenomena. For this purpose, EDF has developed a numerical model based on the finite element method in order to assess the mechanical behaviour of damaged structures. The model takes the following phenomena into account: concrete creep, the stress induced by the formation of AAR gel and the mechanical damage. A rheological model was developed to assess the coupling between the different phenomena (creep, AAR and anisotropic damage). Experimental results were used to test the model. The results show the capability of the model to predict the experimental behaviour of beams subjected to AAR. In order to obtain such prediction, it is necessary to take all the phenomena occurring in the concrete into consideration.

  16. Clonal structure affects the assembling behavior in the Japanese queenless ant Pristomyrmex punctatus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishide, Yudai; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Hiraoka, Tuyosi; Obara, Yoshiaki; Iwabuchi, Kikuo

    2007-10-01

    The queenless ant Pristomyrmex punctatus (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae) has a unique society that differs from those of other typical ants. This species does not have a queen, and the workers lay eggs and produce their clones parthenogenetically. However, a colony of these ants does not always comprise members derived from a single clonal line. In this study, we examined whether P. punctatus changes its “assembling behavior” based on colony genetic structure. We prepared two subcolonies—a larger one comprising 200 individuals and a smaller one comprising 100 individuals; these subcolonies were established from a single stock colony. We investigated whether these subcolonies assemble into a single nest. The genetically monomorphic subcolonies (single clonal line) always fused into a single nest; however, the genetically polymorphic subcolonies (multiple clonal lines) did not tend to form a single colony. The present study is the first to demonstrate that the colony genetic structure significantly affects social viscosity in social insects.

  17. Regulation of electron transfer processes affects phototrophic mat structure and activity.

    PubMed

    Ha, Phuc T; Renslow, Ryan S; Atci, Erhan; Reardon, Patrick N; Lindemann, Stephen R; Fredrickson, James K; Call, Douglas R; Beyenal, Haluk

    2015-01-01

    Phototrophic microbial mats are among the most diverse ecosystems in nature. These systems undergo daily cycles in redox potential caused by variations in light energy input and metabolic interactions among the microbial species. In this work, solid electrodes with controlled potentials were placed under mats to study the electron transfer processes between the electrode and the microbial mat. The phototrophic microbial mat was harvested from Hot Lake, a hypersaline, epsomitic lake located near Oroville (Washington, USA). We operated two reactors: graphite electrodes were polarized at potentials of -700 mVAg/AgCl [cathodic (CAT) mat system] and +300 mVAg/AgCl [anodic (AN) mat system] and the electron transfer rates between the electrode and mat were monitored. We observed a diel cycle of electron transfer rates for both AN and CAT mat systems. Interestingly, the CAT mats generated the highest reducing current at the same time points that the AN mats showed the highest oxidizing current. To characterize the physicochemical factors influencing electron transfer processes, we measured depth profiles of dissolved oxygen (DO) and sulfide in the mats using microelectrodes. We further demonstrated that the mat-to-electrode and electrode-to-mat electron transfer rates were light- and temperature-dependent. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging, we determined that the electrode potential regulated the diffusivity and porosity of the microbial mats. Both porosity and diffusivity were higher in the CAT mats than in the AN mats. We also used NMR spectroscopy for high-resolution quantitative metabolite analysis and found that the CAT mats had significantly higher concentrations of osmoprotectants such as betaine and trehalose. Subsequently, we performed amplicon sequencing across the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene of incubated mats to understand the impact of electrode potential on microbial community structure. These data suggested that variation in the

  18. Regulation of electron transfer processes affects phototrophic mat structure and activity.

    PubMed

    Ha, Phuc T; Renslow, Ryan S; Atci, Erhan; Reardon, Patrick N; Lindemann, Stephen R; Fredrickson, James K; Call, Douglas R; Beyenal, Haluk

    2015-01-01

    Phototrophic microbial mats are among the most diverse ecosystems in nature. These systems undergo daily cycles in redox potential caused by variations in light energy input and metabolic interactions among the microbial species. In this work, solid electrodes with controlled potentials were placed under mats to study the electron transfer processes between the electrode and the microbial mat. The phototrophic microbial mat was harvested from Hot Lake, a hypersaline, epsomitic lake located near Oroville (Washington, USA). We operated two reactors: graphite electrodes were polarized at potentials of -700 mVAg/AgCl [cathodic (CAT) mat system] and +300 mVAg/AgCl [anodic (AN) mat system] and the electron transfer rates between the electrode and mat were monitored. We observed a diel cycle of electron transfer rates for both AN and CAT mat systems. Interestingly, the CAT mats generated the highest reducing current at the same time points that the AN mats showed the highest oxidizing current. To characterize the physicochemical factors influencing electron transfer processes, we measured depth profiles of dissolved oxygen (DO) and sulfide in the mats using microelectrodes. We further demonstrated that the mat-to-electrode and electrode-to-mat electron transfer rates were light- and temperature-dependent. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging, we determined that the electrode potential regulated the diffusivity and porosity of the microbial mats. Both porosity and diffusivity were higher in the CAT mats than in the AN mats. We also used NMR spectroscopy for high-resolution quantitative metabolite analysis and found that the CAT mats had significantly higher concentrations of osmoprotectants such as betaine and trehalose. Subsequently, we performed amplicon sequencing across the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene of incubated mats to understand the impact of electrode potential on microbial community structure. These data suggested that variation in the

  19. Regulation of electron transfer processes affects phototrophic mat structure and activity

    PubMed Central

    Ha, Phuc T.; Renslow, Ryan S.; Atci, Erhan; Reardon, Patrick N.; Lindemann, Stephen R.; Fredrickson, James K.; Call, Douglas R.; Beyenal, Haluk

    2015-01-01

    Phototrophic microbial mats are among the most diverse ecosystems in nature. These systems undergo daily cycles in redox potential caused by variations in light energy input and metabolic interactions among the microbial species. In this work, solid electrodes with controlled potentials were placed under mats to study the electron transfer processes between the electrode and the microbial mat. The phototrophic microbial mat was harvested from Hot Lake, a hypersaline, epsomitic lake located near Oroville (Washington, USA). We operated two reactors: graphite electrodes were polarized at potentials of -700 mVAg/AgCl [cathodic (CAT) mat system] and +300 mVAg/AgCl [anodic (AN) mat system] and the electron transfer rates between the electrode and mat were monitored. We observed a diel cycle of electron transfer rates for both AN and CAT mat systems. Interestingly, the CAT mats generated the highest reducing current at the same time points that the AN mats showed the highest oxidizing current. To characterize the physicochemical factors influencing electron transfer processes, we measured depth profiles of dissolved oxygen (DO) and sulfide in the mats using microelectrodes. We further demonstrated that the mat-to-electrode and electrode-to-mat electron transfer rates were light- and temperature-dependent. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging, we determined that the electrode potential regulated the diffusivity and porosity of the microbial mats. Both porosity and diffusivity were higher in the CAT mats than in the AN mats. We also used NMR spectroscopy for high-resolution quantitative metabolite analysis and found that the CAT mats had significantly higher concentrations of osmoprotectants such as betaine and trehalose. Subsequently, we performed amplicon sequencing across the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene of incubated mats to understand the impact of electrode potential on microbial community structure. These data suggested that variation in the

  20. Dioecy, more than monoecy, affects plant spatial genetic structure: the case study of Ficus

    PubMed Central

    Nazareno, Alison G; Alzate-Marin, Ana L; Pereira, Rodrigo Augusto S

    2013-01-01

    In this analysis, we attempt to understand how monoecy and dioecy drive spatial genetic structure (SGS) in plant populations. For this purpose, plants of the genus Ficus were used as a comparative model due to their particular characteristics, including high species diversity, variation in life histories, and sexual systems. One of the main issues we assessed is whether dioecious fig tree populations are more spatially genetically structured than monoecious populations. Using the Sp statistic, which allows for quantitative comparisons among different studies, we compared the extent of SGS between monoecious and dioecious Ficus species. To broaden our conclusions we used published data on an additional 27 monoecious and dioecious plant species. Furthermore, genetic diversity analyses were performed for two monoecious Ficus species using 12 microsatellite markers in order to strengthen our conclusions about SGS. Our results show that dioecy, more than monoecy, significantly contributes to SGS in plant populations. On average, the estimate of Sp was six times higher for dioecious Ficus species than monoecious Ficus species and it was two times higher in dioecious than monoecious plant species. Considering these results, we emphasize that the long-distance pollen dispersal mechanism in monoecious Ficus species seems to be the dominant factor in determining weak spatial genetic structure, high levels of genetic diversity, and lack of inbreeding. Although Ficus constitute a model species to study SGS, a more general comparison encompassing a wider range of plants is required in order to better understand how sexual systems affect genetic structure. PMID:24223285

  1. Structural changes in emulsion-bound bovine beta-lactoglobulin affect its proteolysis and immunoreactivity.

    PubMed

    Marengo, Mauro; Miriani, Matteo; Ferranti, Pasquale; Bonomi, Francesco; Iametti, Stefania; Barbiroli, Alberto

    2016-07-01

    Adsorption on the surface of sub-micrometric oil droplets resulted in significant changes in the tertiary structure of bovine beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), a whey protein broadly used as a food ingredient and a major food allergen. The adsorbed protein had increased sensitivity to trypsin, and increased immunoreactivity towards specific monoclonal antibodies. In spite of the extensive tryptic breakdown of emulsion-bound BLG, some sequence stretches in BLG became trypsin-insensitive upon absorption of the protein on the fat droplets. As a consequence - at contrast with free BLG - proteolysis of emulsion-bound BLG did not decrease the immunoreactivity of the protein, and some of the large peptides generated by trypsinolysis of emulsion-bound BLG were still recognizable by specific monoclonal antibodies. Structural changes occurring in emulsion-bound BLG and their consequences are discussed in comparison with those occurring when the tertiary structure of BLG is modified by lipophilic salts, by urea, or upon interaction with solid hydrophobic surfaces. Such a comparison highlights the relevance of situation-specific structural modifications, that in turn may affect physiologically relevant features of the protein. PMID:27085639

  2. An investigation of factors affecting the entry of radon into structures on the Island of Guam

    SciTech Connect

    Kladder, D.L.; Burkhart, J.F.; Thorburn, M.S.

    1995-12-31

    Factors affecting the entry of radon-222 gas into structures on the Island of Guam were investigated during the summer of 1993. Research findings indicated that radon transport into buildings on Guam, and perhaps in other tropical areas, is driven by sub-grade soil pressure (positive with respect to atmospheric pressure) rather than interior buildings vacuums. Immediate and substantive increases in indoor radon concentrations were associated with environmental effects of wind and rain. Radon entry, and hence indoor radon concentrations, is significantly greater during the rainy season as opposed to the dry season. In the absence of mechanically induced interior vacuums in buildings, external environmental forces creating sub-slab pressures are the predominant factor in affecting radon entry in Guam. Indoor radon potentials can be correlated to the locations where the underlying geology is limestone. Furthermore, the radon source appears to be within the first few feet of the surface of these limestones rather than uniformly distributed throughout the limestone. The effects of seismic activity on radon entry are short-lived unless significant damage occurs to a structure. Radon entry during calm weather conditions may also be a function of the rising and falling of ocean tides.

  3. Optimized Structure and Vibrational Properties by Error Affected Potential Energy Surfaces

    PubMed Central

    Zen, Andrea; Zhelyazov, Delyan; Guidoni, Leonardo

    2013-01-01

    The precise theoretical determination of the geometrical parameters of molecules at the minima of their potential energy surface and of the corresponding vibrational properties are of fundamental importance for the interpretation of vibrational spectroscopy experiments. Quantum Monte Carlo techniques are correlated electronic structure methods promising for large molecules, which are intrinsically affected by stochastic errors on both energy and force calculations, making the mentioned calculations more challenging with respect to other more traditional quantum chemistry tools. To circumvent this drawback in the present work, we formulate the general problem of evaluating the molecular equilibrium structures, the harmonic frequencies, and the anharmonic coefficients of an error affected potential energy surface. The proposed approach, based on a multidimensional fitting procedure, is illustrated together with a critical evaluation of systematic and statistical errors. We observe that the use of forces instead of energies in the fitting procedure reduces the statistical uncertainty of the vibrational parameters by 1 order of magnitude. Preliminary results based on variational Monte Carlo calculations on the water molecule demonstrate the possibility to evaluate geometrical parameters and harmonic and anharmonic coefficients at this level of theory with an affordable computational cost and a small stochastic uncertainty (<0.07% for geometries and <0.7% for vibrational properties). PMID:24093004

  4. Diversity and structure of AMF communities as affected by tillage in a temperate soil.

    PubMed

    Jansa, J; Mozafar, A; Anken, T; Ruh, R; Sanders, I R; Frossard, E

    2002-10-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were studied in differently tilled soils from a long-term field experiment in Switzerland. Diversity and structure of AMF communities were surveyed either directly on spores isolated from the field soil or on spores isolated from trap cultures, planted with different host plants. Single-spore cultures were established from the AMF spores obtained from trap cultures. Identification of the AMF was made by observation of spore morphology and confirmed by sequencing of ITS rDNA. At least 17 recognised AMF species were identified in samples from field and/or trap cultures, belonging to five genera of AMF--Glomus, Gigaspora, Scutellospora, Acaulospora, and Entrophospora. Tillage had a significant influence on the sporulation of some species and non- Glomus AMF tended to be more abundant in the no-tilled soil. The community structure of AMF in the field soil was significantly affected by tillage treatment. However, no significant differences in AMF diversity were detected among different soil tillage treatments. AMF community composition in trap cultures was affected much more by the species of the trap plant than by the original tillage treatment of the field soil. The use of trap cultures for fungal diversity estimation in comparison with direct observation of field samples is discussed.

  5. Diversity and structure of AMF communities as affected by tillage in a temperate soil.

    PubMed

    Jansa, J; Mozafar, A; Anken, T; Ruh, R; Sanders, I R; Frossard, E

    2002-10-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were studied in differently tilled soils from a long-term field experiment in Switzerland. Diversity and structure of AMF communities were surveyed either directly on spores isolated from the field soil or on spores isolated from trap cultures, planted with different host plants. Single-spore cultures were established from the AMF spores obtained from trap cultures. Identification of the AMF was made by observation of spore morphology and confirmed by sequencing of ITS rDNA. At least 17 recognised AMF species were identified in samples from field and/or trap cultures, belonging to five genera of AMF--Glomus, Gigaspora, Scutellospora, Acaulospora, and Entrophospora. Tillage had a significant influence on the sporulation of some species and non- Glomus AMF tended to be more abundant in the no-tilled soil. The community structure of AMF in the field soil was significantly affected by tillage treatment. However, no significant differences in AMF diversity were detected among different soil tillage treatments. AMF community composition in trap cultures was affected much more by the species of the trap plant than by the original tillage treatment of the field soil. The use of trap cultures for fungal diversity estimation in comparison with direct observation of field samples is discussed. PMID:12375133

  6. Tropical cyclone rainfall structure affecting indochina peninsula and lower mekong river basin (LMB)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    CHHIN, Rattana; Joko Trilaksono, Nurjanna; Wahyu Hadi, Tri

    2016-08-01

    Indochina Peninsula is located in between Bay of Bengal (BoB) and South-China Sea (SCS). This region is affected frequently from Tropical Cyclones (TCs) formed in North Indian Ocean (NIO), South-China Sea (SCS), and North West Pacific Ocean (NWP). This research analyzed the structure of the rainfall over Indochina Peninsula and its relationships with TCs from the aforementioned sources. Principle Component Analysis (PCA) was performed to investigate the dominant rainfall area produced from those TCs. Spatial and Temporal structures of rainfall from the TCs is analyzed to understand their propagation. The results show that the dominant TC rainfall area covers Central Vietnam which contributed around 25% to total rainfall in the region. However, the contribution of this TC rainfall over LMB is likely less than 20% where Laos's territory receives highest contribution (20%). Furthermore, from the three source areas, TCs formed in SCS produce the highest rain rate when they develop into typhoon intensity stage of Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC)’s scale. The average duration of TC rainfall over Indochina Peninsula is 81.28 hours, and over LMB is 66.22 hours. Thus, same as other regions in the Indochina Peninsula, LMB is affected by TC rainfall with considerable scales both spatially and temporally that may lead to significant hydrometeorological hazards.

  7. The structure and duplex context of DNA interstrand crosslinks affects the activity of DNA polymerase η

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Upasana; Mukherjee, Shivam; Sharma, Anjali; Frank, Ekaterina G.; Schärer, Orlando D.

    2016-01-01

    Several important anti-tumor agents form DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs), but their clinical efficiency is counteracted by multiple complex DNA repair pathways. All of these pathways require unhooking of the ICL from one strand of a DNA duplex by nucleases, followed by bypass of the unhooked ICL by translesion synthesis (TLS) polymerases. The structures of the unhooked ICLs remain unknown, yet the position of incisions and processing of the unhooked ICLs significantly influence the efficiency and fidelity of bypass by TLS polymerases. We have synthesized a panel of model unhooked nitrogen mustard ICLs to systematically investigate how the state of an unhooked ICL affects pol η activity. We find that duplex distortion induced by a crosslink plays a crucial role in translesion synthesis, and length of the duplex surrounding an unhooked ICL critically affects polymerase efficiency. We report the synthesis of a putative ICL repair intermediate that mimics the complete processing of an unhooked ICL to a single crosslinked nucleotide, and find that it provides only a minimal obstacle for DNA polymerases. Our results raise the possibility that, depending on the structure and extent of processing of an ICL, its bypass may not absolutely require TLS polymerases. PMID:27257072

  8. Analysis of the ecosystem structure of Laguna Alvarado, western Gulf of Mexico, by means of a mass balance model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruz-Escalona, V. H.; Arreguín-Sánchez, F.; Zetina-Rejón, M.

    2007-03-01

    Alvarado is one of the most productive estuary-lagoon systems in the Mexican Gulf of Mexico. It has great economic and ecological importance due to high fisheries productivity and because it serves as a nursery, feeding, and reproduction area for numerous populations of fishes and crustaceans. Because of this, extensive studies have focused on biology, ecology, fisheries (e.g. shrimp, oysters) and other biological components of the system during the last few decades. This study presents a mass-balanced trophic model for Laguna Alvarado to determine it's structure and functional form, and to compare it with similar coastal systems of the Gulf of Mexico and Mexican Pacific coast. The model, based on the software Ecopath with Ecosim, consists of eighteen fish groups, seven invertebrate groups, and one group each of sharks and rays, marine mammals, phytoplankton, sea grasses and detritus. The acceptability of the model is indicated by the pedigree index (0.5) which range from 0 to 1 based on the quality of input data. The highest trophic level was 3.6 for marine mammals and snappers. Total system throughput reached 2680 t km -2 year -1, of which total consumption made up 47%, respiratory flows made up 37% and flows to detritus made up 16%. The total system production was higher than consumption, and net primary production higher than respiration. The mean transfer efficiency was 13.8%. The mean trophic level of the catch was 2.3 and the primary production required to sustain the catch was estimated in 31 t km -2 yr -1. Ecosystem overhead was 2.4 times the ascendancy. Results suggest a balance between primary production and consumption. In contrast with other Mexican coastal lagoons, Laguna Alvarado differs strongly in relation to the primary source of energy; here the primary producers (seagrasses) are more important than detritus pathways. This fact can be interpreted a response to mangrove deforest, overfishing, etc. Future work might include the compilation of

  9. Host species and developmental stage, but not host social structure, affects bacterial community structure in socially polymorphic bees.

    PubMed

    McFrederick, Quinn S; Wcislo, William T; Hout, Michael C; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2014-05-01

    Social transmission and host developmental stage are thought to profoundly affect the structure of bacterial communities associated with honey bees and bumble bees, but these ideas have not been explored in other bee species. The halictid bees Megalopta centralis and M. genalis exhibit intrapopulation social polymorphism, which we exploit to test whether bacterial communities differ by host social structure, developmental stage, or host species. We collected social and solitary Megalopta nests and sampled bees and nest contents from all stages of host development. To survey these bacterial communities, we used 16S rRNA gene 454 pyrosequencing. We found no effect of social structure, but found differences by host species and developmental stage. Wolbachia prevalence differed between the two host species. Bacterial communities associated with different developmental stages appeared to be driven by environmentally acquired bacteria. A Lactobacillus kunkeei clade bacterium that is consistently associated with other bee species was dominant in pollen provisions and larval samples, but less abundant in mature larvae and pupae. Foraging adults appeared to often reacquire L. kunkeei clade bacteria, likely while foraging at flowers. Environmental transmission appears to be more important than social transmission for Megalopta bees at the cusp between social and solitary behavior.

  10. Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics: Chapter 5

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Littell, Jeremy S.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Shafer, Sarah L.; Capalbo, Susan M.; Houston, Laurie L.; Glick, Patty

    2013-01-01

    Forests cover about 47% of the Northwest (NW–Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) (Smith et al. 2009, fig. 5.1, table 5.1). The impacts of current and future climate change on NW forest ecosystems are a product of the sensitivities of ecosystem processes to climate and the degree to which humans depend on and interact with those systems. Forest ecosystem structure and function, particularly in relatively unmanaged forests where timber harvest and other land use have smaller effects, is sensitive to climate change because climate has a strong influence on ecosystem processes. Climate can affect forest structure directly through its control of plan physiology and life history (establishment, individual growth, productivity, and morality) or indirectly through its control of disturbance (fire, insects, disease). As climate changes, many forest processes will be affected, altering ecosystem services such as timber production and recreation. These changes have socioeconomic implications (e.g. for timber economies) and will require changes to current management of forests. Climate and management will interact to determine the forests of the future, and the scientific basis for adaptation to climate change in forests thus depends significantly on how forests will be affected.

  11. Local adaptation in Trinidadian guppies alters ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Bassar, Ronald D; Marshall, Michael C; López-Sepulcre, Andrés; Zandonà, Eugenia; Auer, Sonya K; Travis, Joseph; Pringle, Catherine M; Flecker, Alexander S; Thomas, Steven A; Fraser, Douglas F; Reznick, David N

    2010-02-23

    Theory suggests evolutionary change can significantly influence and act in tandem with ecological forces via ecological-evolutionary feedbacks. This theory assumes that significant evolutionary change occurs over ecologically relevant timescales and that phenotypes have differential effects on the environment. Here we test the hypothesis that local adaptation causes ecosystem structure and function to diverge. We demonstrate that populations of Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata), characterized by differences in phenotypic and population-level traits, differ in their impact on ecosystem properties. We report results from a replicated, common garden mesocosm experiment and show that differences between guppy phenotypes result in the divergence of ecosystem structure (algal, invertebrate, and detrital standing stocks) and function (gross primary productivity, leaf decomposition rates, and nutrient flux). These phenotypic effects are further modified by effects of guppy density. We evaluated the generality of these effects by replicating the experiment using guppies derived from two independent origins of the phenotype. Finally, we tested the ability of multiple guppy traits to explain observed differences in the mesocosms. Our findings demonstrate that evolution can significantly affect both ecosystem structure and function. The ecosystem differences reported here are consistent with patterns observed across natural streams and argue that guppies play a significant role in shaping these ecosystems. PMID:20133670

  12. Aquatic Plants and Animals as Ecosystem Engineers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wotton, R. S.

    2005-05-01

    Studies on aquatic plants and animals focus on population dynamics, the structure of communities and the part played by organisms in food webs and other ecosystem processes. As Lawton and Jones point out in "Linking Species and Ecosystems", less attention is given to the role of organisms as ecosystem engineers, modifying the environment in which they live. Yet plants can have a profound effect on their surroundings, altering flow patterns and trapping large amounts of organic and inorganic material. Animals also affect aquatic ecosystems in many ways, both in building structures such as tubes and shelters, and in their feeding. For example, detritus feeders often produce large numbers of faecal pellets (and pseudofaeces in bivalves) and these are very different in size to the materials ingested. Pellets are deposited in masses over the bed of streams, lakes and the sea and therefore effect a translocation of nutrients. The action of plants and animals in altering their environment is likely to be a significant process in all water bodies, from both small to large scale.

  13. Cognitive structure and the affective domain: on knowing and feeling in biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, Tressa L.; Mintzes, Joel J.

    2002-06-01

    This cross-age study explored the structural complexity and propositional validity of knowledge about and attitudes toward sharks, and the relationships among knowledge and attitudes. Responses were elicited from a convenience sample of students (5th, 8th and 11th grade, and college level) and senior citizens (n = 238). All subjects constructed a concept map on sharks and responded to a Likert-type attitude inventory. Based on the work of Novak and Gowin (Leaning How to Learn, Cambridge University Press, 1984), concept maps were scored for frequencies of non-redundant concepts and scientifically valid relationships, levels of hierarchy, incidence of branching and number of crosslinks. The attitude inventory, emerging from Kellert's (The Value of Life: Biological Diversity and Human S