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Sample records for affecting ecosystem function

  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. 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

  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. PMID:27509764

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Orwig, David A.; Barker Plotkin, Audrey A.; Davidson, Eric A.; Lux, Heidi; Savage, Kathleen E.

    2013-01-01

    underlying 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

  7. 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

  8. Several scales of biodiversity affect ecosystem multifunctionality.

    PubMed

    Pasari, Jae R; Levi, Taal; Zavaleta, Erika S; Tilman, David

    2013-06-18

    Society values landscapes that reliably provide many ecosystem functions. As the study of ecosystem functioning expands to include more locations, time spans, and functions, the functional importance of individual species is becoming more apparent. However, the functional importance of individual species does not necessarily translate to the functional importance of biodiversity measured in whole communities of interacting species. Furthermore, ecological diversity at scales larger than neighborhood species richness could also influence the provision of multiple functions over extended time scales. We created experimental landscapes based on whole communities from the world's longest running biodiversity-functioning field experiment to investigate how local species richness (α diversity), distinctness among communities (β diversity), and larger scale species richness (γ diversity) affected eight ecosystem functions over 10 y. Using both threshold-based and unique multifunctionality metrics, we found that α diversity had strong positive effects on most individual functions and multifunctionality, and that positive effects of β and γ diversity emerged only when multiple functions were considered simultaneously. Higher β diversity also reduced the variability in multifunctionality. Thus, in addition to conserving important species, maintaining ecosystem multifunctionality will require diverse landscape mosaics of diverse communities. PMID:23733963

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  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. 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.

  13. Avian ecosystem functions are influenced by small mammal ecosystem engineering

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Birds are important mobile link species that contribute to landscape-scale patterns by means of pollination, seed dispersal, and predation. Birds are often associated with habitats modified by small mammal ecosystem engineers. We investigated whether birds prefer to forage on degu (Octodon degus) runways by comparing their foraging effort across sites with a range of runway densities, including sites without runways. We measured granivory by granivorous and omnivorous birds at Rinconada de Maipú, central Chile. As a measure of potential bird foraging on insects, we sampled invertebrate prey richness and abundance across the same sites. We then quantified an index of plot-scale functional diversity due to avian foraging at the patch scale. Results We recorded that birds found food sources sooner and ate more at sites with higher densities of degu runways, cururo mounds, trees, and fewer shrubs. These sites also had higher invertebrate prey richness but lower invertebrate prey abundance. This implies that omnivorous birds, and possibly insectivorous birds, forage for invertebrates in the same plots with high degu runway densities where granivory takes place. In an exploratory analysis we also found that plot-scale functional diversity for four avian ecosystem functions were moderately to weakly correllated to expected ecosystem function outcomes at the plot scale. Conclusions Degu ecosystem engineering affects the behavior of avian mobile link species and is thus correlated with ecosystem functioning at relatively small spatial scales. PMID:24359802

  14. Obscuring ecosystem function with application of the ecosystem services concept.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Markus J; Hall, Damon M; Feldpausch-Parker, Andrea M; Peterson, Tarla Rai

    2010-02-01

    Conservationists commonly have framed ecological concerns in economic terms to garner political support for conservation and to increase public interest in preserving global biodiversity. Beginning in the early 1980s, conservation biologists adapted neoliberal economics to reframe ecosystem functions and related biodiversity as ecosystem services to humanity. Despite the economic success of programs such as the Catskill/Delaware watershed management plan in the United States and the creation of global carbon exchanges, today's marketplace often fails to adequately protect biodiversity. We used a Marxist critique to explain one reason for this failure and to suggest a possible, if partial, response. Reframing ecosystem functions as economic services does not address the political problem of commodification. Just as it obscures the labor of human workers, commodification obscures the importance of the biota (ecosystem workers) and related abiotic factors that contribute to ecosystem functions. This erasure of work done by ecosystems impedes public understanding of biodiversity. Odum and Odum's radical suggestion to use the language of ecosystems (i.e., emergy or energy memory) to describe economies, rather than using the language of economics (i.e., services) to describe ecosystems, reverses this erasure of the ecosystem worker. Considering the current dominance of economic forces, however, implementing such solutions would require social changes similar in magnitude to those that occurred during the 1960s. Niklas Luhmann argues that such substantive, yet rapid, social change requires synergy among multiple societal function systems (i.e., economy, education, law, politics, religion, science), rather than reliance on a single social sphere, such as the economy. Explicitly presenting ecosystem services as discreet and incomplete aspects of ecosystem functions not only allows potential economic and environmental benefits associated with ecosystem services, but also

  15. Effects of red-backed salamanders on ecosystem functions.

    PubMed

    Hocking, Daniel J; Babbitt, Kimberly J

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems provide a vast array of services for human societies, but understanding how various organisms contribute to the functions that maintain these services remains an important ecological challenge. Predators can affect ecosystem functions through a combination of top-down trophic cascades and bottom-up effects on nutrient dynamics. As the most abundant vertebrate predator in many eastern US forests, woodland salamanders (Plethodon spp.) likely affect ecosystems functions. We examined the effects of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) on a variety of forest ecosystem functions using a combined approach of large-scale salamander removals (314-m(2) plots) and small-scale enclosures (2 m(2)) where we explicitly manipulated salamander density (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 m(-2)). In these experiments, we measured the rates of litter and wood decomposition, potential nitrogen mineralization and nitrification rates, acorn germination, and foliar insect damage on red oak seedlings. Across both experimental venues, we found no significant effect of red-backed salamanders on any of the ecosystem functions. We also found no effect of salamanders on intraguild predator abundance (carabid beetles, centipedes, spiders). Our study adds to the already conflicting evidence on effects of red-backed salamander and other amphibians on terrestrial ecosystem functions. It appears likely that the impact of terrestrial amphibians on ecosystem functions is context dependent. Future research would benefit from explicitly examining terrestrial amphibian effects on ecosystem functions under a variety of environmental conditions and in different forest types. PMID:24466269

  16. Effects of Red-Backed Salamanders on Ecosystem Functions

    PubMed Central

    Hocking, Daniel J.; Babbitt, Kimberly J.

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems provide a vast array of services for human societies, but understanding how various organisms contribute to the functions that maintain these services remains an important ecological challenge. Predators can affect ecosystem functions through a combination of top-down trophic cascades and bottom-up effects on nutrient dynamics. As the most abundant vertebrate predator in many eastern US forests, woodland salamanders (Plethodon spp.) likely affect ecosystems functions. We examined the effects of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) on a variety of forest ecosystem functions using a combined approach of large-scale salamander removals (314-m2 plots) and small-scale enclosures (2 m2) where we explicitly manipulated salamander density (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 m−2). In these experiments, we measured the rates of litter and wood decomposition, potential nitrogen mineralization and nitrification rates, acorn germination, and foliar insect damage on red oak seedlings. Across both experimental venues, we found no significant effect of red-backed salamanders on any of the ecosystem functions. We also found no effect of salamanders on intraguild predator abundance (carabid beetles, centipedes, spiders). Our study adds to the already conflicting evidence on effects of red-backed salamander and other amphibians on terrestrial ecosystem functions. It appears likely that the impact of terrestrial amphibians on ecosystem functions is context dependent. Future research would benefit from explicitly examining terrestrial amphibian effects on ecosystem functions under a variety of environmental conditions and in different forest types. PMID:24466269

  17. How will increases in rainfall intensity affect semiarid ecosystems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siteur, Koen; Eppinga, Maarten B.; Karssenberg, Derek; Baudena, Mara; Bierkens, Marc F. P.; Rietkerk, Max

    2014-07-01

    Model studies suggest that semiarid ecosystems with patterned vegetation can respond in a nonlinear way to climate change. This means that gradual changes can result in a rapid transition to a desertified state. Previous model studies focused on the response of patterned semiarid ecosystems to changes in mean annual rainfall. The intensity of rain events, however, is projected to change as well in the coming decades. In this paper, we study the effect of changes in rainfall intensity on the functioning of patterned semiarid ecosystems with a spatially explicit model that captures rainwater partitioning and runoff-runon processes with simple event-based process descriptions. Analytical and numerical analyses of the model revealed that rainfall intensity is a key parameter in explaining patterning of vegetation in semiarid ecosystems as low mean rainfall intensities do not allow for vegetation patterning to occur. Surprisingly, we found that, for a constant annual rainfall rate, both an increase and a decrease in mean rainfall intensity can trigger desertification. An increase negatively affects productivity as a greater fraction of the rainwater is lost as runoff. This can result in a shift to a bare desert state only if the mean rainfall intensity exceeds the infiltration capacity of bare soil. On the other hand, a decrease in mean rainfall intensity leads to an increased fraction of rainwater infiltrating in bare soils, remaining unavailable to plants. Our findings suggest that considering rainfall intensity as a variable may help in assessing the proximity to regime shifts in patterned semiarid ecosystems and that monitoring losses of resource through runoff and bare soil infiltration could be used to determine ecosystem resilience.

  18. Functional traits, the phylogeny of function, and ecosystem service vulnerability

    PubMed Central

    Díaz, Sandra; Purvis, Andy; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Mace, Georgina M; Donoghue, Michael J; Ewers, Robert M; Jordano, Pedro; Pearse, William D

    2013-01-01

    People depend on benefits provided by ecological systems. Understanding how these ecosystem services – and the ecosystem properties underpinning them – respond to drivers of change is therefore an urgent priority. We address this challenge through developing a novel risk-assessment framework that integrates ecological and evolutionary perspectives on functional traits to determine species’ effects on ecosystems and their tolerance of environmental changes. We define Specific Effect Function (SEF) as the per-gram or per capita capacity of a species to affect an ecosystem property, and Specific Response Function (SRF) as the ability of a species to maintain or enhance its population as the environment changes. Our risk assessment is based on the idea that the security of ecosystem services depends on how effects (SEFs) and tolerances (SRFs) of organisms – which both depend on combinations of functional traits – correlate across species and how they are arranged on the species’ phylogeny. Four extreme situations are theoretically possible, from minimum concern when SEF and SRF are neither correlated nor show a phylogenetic signal, to maximum concern when they are negatively correlated (i.e., the most important species are the least tolerant) and phylogenetically patterned (lacking independent backup). We illustrate the assessment with five case studies, involving both plant and animal examples. However, the extent to which the frequency of the four plausible outcomes, or their intermediates, apply more widely in real-world ecological systems is an open question that needs empirical evidence, and suggests a research agenda at the interface of evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology. PMID:24101986

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-26

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

  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. PMID:25883357

  2. Ecosystem Function: Cyanobacteria Solutions, A Missed Opportunity?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Stream and wetland riparian functions integrate the relationships between species, their habitats and fostering ecosystem resilience, which is critical to resilience – i.e., ensuring long-term sustainability. These relationships are dependent on the drivers of ecological functio...

  3. Linking plant and ecosystem functional biogeography

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. 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. PMID:21352458

  5. INVASIVE PLANTS HARBOR HUNGRY DETRITIVORES THAT ALTER ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  6. Phylogenetic diversity and the functioning of ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Diane S; Cadotte, Marc W; MacDonald, A Andrew M; Marushia, Robin G; Mirotchnick, Nicholas

    2012-07-01

    Phylogenetic diversity (PD) describes the total amount of phylogenetic distance among species in a community. Although there has been substantial research on the factors that determine community PD, exploration of the consequences of PD for ecosystem functioning is just beginning. We argue that PD may be useful in predicting ecosystem functions in a range of communities, from single-trophic to complex networks. Many traits show a phylogenetic signal, suggesting that PD can estimate the functional trait space of a community, and thus ecosystem functioning. Phylogeny also determines interactions among species, and so could help predict how extinctions cascade through ecological networks and thus impact ecosystem functions. Although the initial evidence available suggests patterns consistent with these predictions, we caution that the utility of PD depends critically on the strength of phylogenetic signals to both traits and interactions. We advocate for a synthetic approach that incorporates a deeper understanding of how traits and interactions are shaped by evolution, and outline key areas for future research. If these complexities can be incorporated into future studies, relationships between PD and ecosystem function bear promise in conceptually unifying evolutionary biology with ecosystem ecology. PMID:22583836

  7. Forest restoration, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Globally, forests cover nearly one third of the land area and they contain over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. Both the extent and quality of forest habitat continue to decrease and the associated loss of biodiversity jeopardizes forest ecosystem functioning and the ability of forests to provide ecosystem services. In the light of the increasing population pressure, it is of major importance not only to conserve, but also to restore forest ecosystems. Ecological restoration has recently started to adopt insights from the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) perspective. Central is the focus on restoring the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Here we provide an overview of important considerations related to forest restoration that can be inferred from this BEF-perspective. Restoring multiple forest functions requires multiple species. It is highly unlikely that species-poor plantations, which may be optimal for above-ground biomass production, will outperform species diverse assemblages for a combination of functions, including overall carbon storage and control over water and nutrient flows. Restoring stable forest functions also requires multiple species. In particular in the light of global climatic change scenarios, which predict more frequent extreme disturbances and climatic events, it is important to incorporate insights from the relation between biodiversity and stability of ecosystem functioning into forest restoration projects. Rather than focussing on species per se, focussing on functional diversity of tree species assemblages seems appropriate when selecting tree species for restoration. Finally, also plant genetic diversity and above - below-ground linkages should be considered during the restoration process, as these likely have prominent but until now poorly understood effects at the level of the ecosystem. The BEF-approach provides a useful framework to evaluate forest restoration in an ecosystem functioning context, but

  8. Megafauna and ecosystem function from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene

    PubMed Central

    Malhi, Yadvinder; Doughty, Christopher E.; Galetti, Mauro; Smith, Felisa A.; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Terborgh, John W.

    2016-01-01

    Large herbivores and carnivores (the megafauna) have been in a state of decline and extinction since the Late Pleistocene, both on land and more recently in the oceans. Much has been written on the timing and causes of these declines, but only recently has scientific attention focused on the consequences of these declines for ecosystem function. Here, we review progress in our understanding of how megafauna affect ecosystem physical and trophic structure, species composition, biogeochemistry, and climate, drawing on special features of PNAS and Ecography that have been published as a result of an international workshop on this topic held in Oxford in 2014. Insights emerging from this work have consequences for our understanding of changes in biosphere function since the Late Pleistocene and of the functioning of contemporary ecosystems, as well as offering a rationale and framework for scientifically informed restoration of megafaunal function where possible and appropriate. PMID:26811442

  9. Megafauna and ecosystem function from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene.

    PubMed

    Malhi, Yadvinder; Doughty, Christopher E; Galetti, Mauro; Smith, Felisa A; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Terborgh, John W

    2016-01-26

    Large herbivores and carnivores (the megafauna) have been in a state of decline and extinction since the Late Pleistocene, both on land and more recently in the oceans. Much has been written on the timing and causes of these declines, but only recently has scientific attention focused on the consequences of these declines for ecosystem function. Here, we review progress in our understanding of how megafauna affect ecosystem physical and trophic structure, species composition, biogeochemistry, and climate, drawing on special features of PNAS and Ecography that have been published as a result of an international workshop on this topic held in Oxford in 2014. Insights emerging from this work have consequences for our understanding of changes in biosphere function since the Late Pleistocene and of the functioning of contemporary ecosystems, as well as offering a rationale and framework for scientifically informed restoration of megafaunal function where possible and appropriate. PMID:26811442

  10. Soil fauna, soil properties and geo-ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cammeraat, L. H.

    2012-04-01

    The impact of soil fauna on soil processes is of utmost importance, as the activity of soil fauna directly affects soil quality. This is expressed by the direct effects of soil fauna on soil physical and soil chemical properties that not only have great importance to food production and ecosystems services, but also on weathering and hydrological and geomorphological processes. Soil animals can be perceived as ecosystem engineers that directly affect the flow of water, sediments and nutrients through terrestrial ecosystems. The biodiversity of animals living in the soil is huge and shows a huge range in size, functions and effects. Most work has been focused on only a few species such as earthworms and termites, but in general the knowledge on the effect of soil biota on soil ecosystem functioning is limited as it is for their impact on processes in the soil and on the soil surface. In this presentation we would like to review some of the impacts of soil fauna on soil properties that have implications for geo-ecosystem functioning and soil formation processes.

  11. Maximum entropy models of ecosystem functioning

    SciTech Connect

    Bertram, Jason

    2014-12-05

    Using organism-level traits to deduce community-level relationships is a fundamental problem in theoretical ecology. This problem parallels the physical one of using particle properties to deduce macroscopic thermodynamic laws, which was successfully achieved with the development of statistical physics. Drawing on this parallel, theoretical ecologists from Lotka onwards have attempted to construct statistical mechanistic theories of ecosystem functioning. Jaynes’ broader interpretation of statistical mechanics, which hinges on the entropy maximisation algorithm (MaxEnt), is of central importance here because the classical foundations of statistical physics do not have clear ecological analogues (e.g. phase space, dynamical invariants). However, models based on the information theoretic interpretation of MaxEnt are difficult to interpret ecologically. Here I give a broad discussion of statistical mechanical models of ecosystem functioning and the application of MaxEnt in these models. Emphasising the sample frequency interpretation of MaxEnt, I show that MaxEnt can be used to construct models of ecosystem functioning which are statistical mechanical in the traditional sense using a savanna plant ecology model as an example.

  12. Maximum entropy models of ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bertram, Jason

    2014-12-01

    Using organism-level traits to deduce community-level relationships is a fundamental problem in theoretical ecology. This problem parallels the physical one of using particle properties to deduce macroscopic thermodynamic laws, which was successfully achieved with the development of statistical physics. Drawing on this parallel, theoretical ecologists from Lotka onwards have attempted to construct statistical mechanistic theories of ecosystem functioning. Jaynes' broader interpretation of statistical mechanics, which hinges on the entropy maximisation algorithm (MaxEnt), is of central importance here because the classical foundations of statistical physics do not have clear ecological analogues (e.g. phase space, dynamical invariants). However, models based on the information theoretic interpretation of MaxEnt are difficult to interpret ecologically. Here I give a broad discussion of statistical mechanical models of ecosystem functioning and the application of MaxEnt in these models. Emphasising the sample frequency interpretation of MaxEnt, I show that MaxEnt can be used to construct models of ecosystem functioning which are statistical mechanical in the traditional sense using a savanna plant ecology model as an example.

  13. How Does Climate Change Affect the Bering Sea Ecosystem?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sigler, Michael F.; Harvey, H. Rodger; Ashjian, Carin J.; Lomas, Michael W.; Napp, Jeffrey M.; Stabeno, Phyllis J.; Van Pelt, Thomas I.

    2010-11-01

    The Bering Sea is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world, sustaining nearly half of U.S. annual commercial fish catches and providing food and cultural value to thousands of coastal and island residents. Fish and crab are abundant in the Bering Sea; whales, seals, and seabirds migrate there every year. In winter, the topography, latitude, atmosphere, and ocean circulation combine to produce a sea ice advance in the Bering Sea unmatched elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, and in spring the retreating ice; longer daylight hours; and nutrient-rich, deep-ocean waters forced up onto the broad continental shelf result in intense marine productivity (Figure 1). This seasonal ice cover is a major driver of Bering Sea ecology, making this ecosystem particularly sensitive to changes in climate. Predicted changes in ice cover in the coming decades have intensified concern about the future of this economically and culturally important region. In response, the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) entered into a partnership in 2007 to support the Bering Sea Project, a comprehensive $52 million investigation to understand how climate change is affecting the Bering Sea ecosystem, ranging from lower trophic levels (e.g., plankton) to fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and, ultimately, humans. The project integrates two research programs, the NSF Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the NPRB Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP), with substantial in-kind contributions from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  14. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic landscapes.

    PubMed

    Brose, Ulrich; Hillebrand, Helmut

    2016-05-19

    The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) and its consequence for ecosystem services has predominantly been studied by controlled, short-term and small-scale experiments under standardized environmental conditions and constant community compositions. However, changes in biodiversity occur in real-world ecosystems with varying environments and a dynamic community composition. In this theme issue, we present novel research on BEF in such dynamic communities. The contributions are organized in three sections on BEF relationships in (i) multi-trophic diversity, (ii) non-equilibrium biodiversity under disturbance and varying environmental conditions, and (iii) large spatial and long temporal scales. The first section shows that multi-trophic BEF relationships often appear idiosyncratic, while accounting for species traits enables a predictive understanding. Future BEF research on complex communities needs to include ecological theory that is based on first principles of species-averaged body masses, stoichiometry and effects of environmental conditions such as temperature. The second section illustrates that disturbance and varying environments have direct as well as indirect (via changes in species richness, community composition and species' traits) effects on BEF relationships. Fluctuations in biodiversity (species richness, community composition and also trait dominance within species) can severely modify BEF relationships. The third section demonstrates that BEF at larger spatial scales is driven by different variables. While species richness per se and community biomass are most important, species identity effects and community composition are less important than at small scales. Across long temporal scales, mass extinctions represent severe changes in biodiversity with mixed effects on ecosystem functions. Together, the contributions of this theme issue identify new research frontiers and answer some open questions on BEF relationships

  15. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Brose, Ulrich; Hillebrand, Helmut

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) and its consequence for ecosystem services has predominantly been studied by controlled, short-term and small-scale experiments under standardized environmental conditions and constant community compositions. However, changes in biodiversity occur in real-world ecosystems with varying environments and a dynamic community composition. In this theme issue, we present novel research on BEF in such dynamic communities. The contributions are organized in three sections on BEF relationships in (i) multi-trophic diversity, (ii) non-equilibrium biodiversity under disturbance and varying environmental conditions, and (iii) large spatial and long temporal scales. The first section shows that multi-trophic BEF relationships often appear idiosyncratic, while accounting for species traits enables a predictive understanding. Future BEF research on complex communities needs to include ecological theory that is based on first principles of species-averaged body masses, stoichiometry and effects of environmental conditions such as temperature. The second section illustrates that disturbance and varying environments have direct as well as indirect (via changes in species richness, community composition and species' traits) effects on BEF relationships. Fluctuations in biodiversity (species richness, community composition and also trait dominance within species) can severely modify BEF relationships. The third section demonstrates that BEF at larger spatial scales is driven by different variables. While species richness per se and community biomass are most important, species identity effects and community composition are less important than at small scales. Across long temporal scales, mass extinctions represent severe changes in biodiversity with mixed effects on ecosystem functions. Together, the contributions of this theme issue identify new research frontiers and answer some open questions on BEF relationships

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Consumer diversity across kingdoms supports multiple functions in a coastal ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hensel, Marc J. S.; Silliman, Brian R.

    2013-01-01

    The global biodiversity crisis impairs the valuable benefits ecosystems provide humans. These nature-generated benefits are defined by a multitude of different ecosystem functions that operate simultaneously. Although several studies have simulated species loss in communities and tracked the response of single functions such as productivity or nutrient cycling, these studies have involved relatively similar taxa, and seldom are strikingly different functions examined. With the exception of highly managed ecosystems such as agricultural fields, rarely are we interested in only one function being performed well. Instead, we rely on ecosystems to deliver several different functions at the same time. Here, we experimentally investigated the extinction impacts of dominant consumers in a salt marsh. These consumers are remarkably phylogenetically diverse, spanning two kingdoms (i.e., Animalia and Fungi). Our field studies reveal that a diverse consumer assemblage significantly enhances simultaneous functioning of disparate ecosystem processes (i.e., productivity, decomposition, and infiltration). Extreme functional and phylogenetic differences among consumers underlie this relationship. Each marsh consumer affected at least one different ecosystem function, and each individual function was affected by no more than two consumers. The implications of these findings are profound: If we want ecosystems to perform many different functions well, it is not just number of species that matter. Rather, the presence of species representing markedly different ecologies and biology is also essential to maximizing multiple functions. Moreover, this work emphasizes the need to incorporate both microcomponents and macrocomponents of food webs to accurately predict biodiversity declines on integrated-ecosystem functioning. PMID:24297926

  19. Soil Nematode Diversity: Species Coexistence and Ecosystem Function

    PubMed Central

    Ettema, Christien H.

    1998-01-01

    Soil nematode species diversity is often high, both at ecosystem and single soil-core scales. First, how can so many species coexist? There is evidence of niche partitioning, notably of physical space, but vast interspecific overlaps and trait plasticity seem equally common. It appears that coexistence of species with similar resource needs is made possible by small-scale disturbance and predation, which likely reduce local population sizes and interspecific competition. Regional processes such as dispersal, large-scale disturbance, and aggregation, which govern ecosystem level diversity, may also affect local species interactions and soil-core scale diversity. Second, what is the significance of having so many species, with so few trophic functions, for ecosystem processes? Focusing on bacterivore diversity, it is clear that species contributions to decomposition, likely to differ as a function of individual biologies, are concealed by the trophic group approach. However, considerable functional redundancy probably exists, which may explain why decomposition processes are maintained in highly disturbed soils despite the extinction of many species. Thus, soil nematode diversity is important for the long-term stability of soil functioning, and merits protection and further study. PMID:19274206

  20. Multitrophic functional diversity predicts ecosystem functioning in experimental assemblages of estuarine consumers.

    PubMed

    Lefcheck, Jonathan S; Duffy, J Emmett

    2015-11-01

    The use of functional traits to explain how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning has attracted intense interest, yet few studies have a priori altered functional diversity, especially in multitrophic communities. Here, we manipulated multivariate functional diversity of estuarine grazers and predators within multiple levels of species richness to test how species richness and functional diversity predicted ecosystem functioning in a multitrophic food web. Community functional diversity was a better predictor than species richness for the majority of ecosystem properties, based on generalized linear mixed-effects models. Combining inferences from eight traits into a single multivariate index increased prediction accuracy of these models relative to any individual trait. Structural equation modeling revealed that functional diversity of both grazers and predators was important in driving final biomass within trophic levels, with stronger effects observed for predators. We also show that different species drove different ecosystem responses, with evidence for both sampling effects and complementarity. Our study extends experimental investigations of functional trait diversity to a multilevel food web, and demonstrates that functional diversity can be more accurate and effective than species richness in predicting community biomass in a food web context. PMID:27070016

  1. Quantifying species trait-function relationships for ecosystem management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The majority of the world's ecosystems are managed to provide ecosystem functions and services on which we rely. Even with recent advances, ecosystem managers lack a clear methodology for applying basic knowledge of plant traits to meet management goals. Questions: Can we develop a methodology to a...

  2. 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

  3. Realizing ecosystem services: wetland hydrologic function along a gradient of ecosystem condition.

    PubMed

    McLaughlin, Daniel L; Cohen, Matthew J

    2013-10-01

    Wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services, from habitat provision to pollutant removal, floodwater storage, and microclimate regulation. Delivery of particular services relies on specific ecological functions, and thus to varying degree on wetland ecological condition, commonly quantified as departure from minimally impacted reference sites. Condition assessments are widely adopted as regulatory indicators of ecosystem function, and for some services (e.g., habitat) links between condition and function are often direct. For others, however, links are more tenuous, and using condition alone to enumerate ecosystem value (e.g., for compensatory mitigation) may underestimate important services. Hydrologic function affects many services cited in support of wetland protection both directly (floodwater retention, microclimate regulation) and indirectly (biogeochemical cycling, pollutant removal). We investigated links between condition and hydrologic function to test the hypothesis, embedded in regulatory assessment of wetland value, that condition predicts function. Condition was assessed using rapid and intensive approaches, including Florida's official wetland assessment tool, in 11 isolated forested wetlands in north Florida (USA) spanning a land use intensity gradient. Hydrologic function was assessed using hydrologic regime (mean, variance, and rates of change of water depth), and measurements of groundwater exchange and evapotranspiration (ET). Despite a wide range in condition, no systematic variation in hydrologic regime was observed; indeed reference sites spanned the full range of variation. In contrast, ET was affected by land use, with higher rates in intensive (agriculture and urban) landscapes in response to higher leaf area. ET determines latent heat exchange, which regulates microclimate, a valuable service in urban heat islands. Higher ET also indicates higher productivity and thus carbon cycling. Groundwater exchange regularly reversed flow direction

  4. The Evolutionary Legacy of Diversification Predicts Ecosystem Function.

    PubMed

    Yguel, Benjamin; Jactel, Hervé; Pearse, Ian S; Moen, Daniel; Winter, Marten; Hortal, Joaquin; Helmus, Matthew R; Kühn, Ingolf; Pavoine, Sandrine; Purschke, Oliver; Weiher, Evan; Violle, Cyrille; Ozinga, Wim; Brändle, Martin; Bartish, Igor; Prinzing, Andreas

    2016-10-01

    Theory suggests that the structure of evolutionary history represented in a species community may affect its functioning, but phylogenetic diversity metrics do not allow for the identification of major differences in this structure. Here we propose a new metric, ELDERness (for Evolutionary Legacy of DivERsity) to estimate evolutionary branching patterns within communities by fitting a polynomial function to lineage-through-time (LTT) plots. We illustrate how real and simulated community branching patterns can be more correctly described by ELDERness and can successfully predict ecosystem functioning. In particular, the evolutionary history of branching patterns can be encapsulated by the parameters of third-order polynomial functions and further measured through only two parameters, the "ELDERness surfaces." These parameters captured variation in productivity of a grassland community better than existing phylogenetic diversity or diversification metrics and independent of species richness or presence of nitrogen fixers. Specifically, communities with small ELDERness surfaces (constant accumulation of lineages through time in LTT plots) were more productive, consistent with increased productivity resulting from complementary lineages combined with niche filling within lineages. Overall, while existing phylogenetic diversity metrics remain useful in many contexts, we suggest that our ELDERness approach better enables testing hypotheses that relate complex patterns of macroevolutionary history represented in local communities to ecosystem functioning. PMID:27622874

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  6. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

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

  7. Emergent Global Patterns of Ecosystem Structure and Function from a Mechanistic General Ecosystem Model

    PubMed Central

    Emmott, Stephen; Hutton, Jon; Lyutsarev, Vassily; Smith, Matthew J.; Scharlemann, Jörn P. W.; Purves, Drew W.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24756001

  8. Ecosystem biogeochemical function and services in an urbanizing desert region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grimm, N. B.; Cook, E. M.; Earl, S.; Hale, R. L.; Hall, S. J.; Hartnett, H. E.; Iwaniec, D.; Larson, E. K.; McHale, M.; Sponseller, R. A.

    2009-12-01

    Ecosystem services derive from underlying ecosystem processes but are distinguished by their benefits to society. Among ecosystem services, those associated with biogeochemical cycling and regulation of water, air, and soil quality are relatively unrecognized by the public, although concentrations of some materials are regulated by local, state and national laws. The disconnection between their importance and the degree to which these services are acknowledged means that biogeochemical ecosystem services have seldom been considered in urban planning and design. Drawing from research at multiple scales in the central Arizona region that includes over twenty cities and towns comprising metropolitan Phoenix, we illustrate the relationships between ecosystem functions and services in three areas. First, at household to whole-city scales, we show that the overriding influence of water and material inputs mediated by humans is changing biogeochemical patterns in soil and vegetation. Second, we show how human modification of aquatic ecosystems for water delivery, stormwater management, and wastewater removal give rise to important trade-offs among these services. And finally, we illustrate the limited capacity of surrounding unproductive desert ecosystems to assimilate the air pollutants generated by this region of >4 million inhabitants. We argue that urban planning and design that take into account the ecosystem functions underlying biogeochemical ecosystem services will be most effective in management of potential pollution problems associated with all of these cases. This paper thus highlights biogeochemical research conducted at the central Arizona-Phoenix LTER within a framework of ecosystem services.

  9. LINKING COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION IN AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS DEGRADED BY MOUNTAINTOP MINING

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Clean Water Act and its subsequent amendments recognize the importance of protecting biological integrity, a concept synonymous with preserving structure and function within lotic ecosystems. This research will improve current taxonomically based risk assessment models,...

  10. Meta-ecosystem dynamics and functioning on finite spatial networks

    PubMed Central

    Marleau, Justin N.; Guichard, Frédéric; Loreau, Michel

    2014-01-01

    The addition of spatial structure to ecological concepts and theories has spurred integration between sub-disciplines within ecology, including community and ecosystem ecology. However, the complexity of spatial models limits their implementation to idealized, regular landscapes. We present a model meta-ecosystem with finite and irregular spatial structure consisting of local nutrient–autotrophs–herbivores ecosystems connected through spatial flows of materials and organisms. We study the effect of spatial flows on stability and ecosystem functions, and provide simple metrics of connectivity that can predict these effects. Our results show that high rates of nutrient and herbivore movement can destabilize local ecosystem dynamics, leading to spatially heterogeneous equilibria or oscillations across the meta-ecosystem, with generally increased meta-ecosystem primary and secondary production. However, the onset and the spatial scale of these emergent dynamics depend heavily on the spatial structure of the meta-ecosystem and on the relative movement rate of the autotrophs. We show how this strong dependence on finite spatial structure eludes commonly used metrics of connectivity, but can be predicted by the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the connectivity matrix that describe the spatial structure and scale. Our study indicates the need to consider finite-size ecosystems in meta-ecosystem theory. PMID:24403323

  11. A meta-analysis of zooplankton functional traits influencing ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Hébert, Marie-Pier; Beisner, Beatrix E; Maranger, Roxane

    2016-04-01

    The use of functional traits to characterize community composition has been proposed as a more effective way to link community structure to ecosystem functioning. Organismal morphology, body stoichiometry, and physiology can be readily linked to large-scale ecosystem processes through functional traits that inform on interspecific and species-environment interactions; yet such effect traits are still poorly included in trait-based approaches. Given their key trophic position in aquatic ecosystems, individual zooplankton affect energy fluxes and elemental processing. We compiled a large database of zooplankton traits contributing to carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling and examined the effect of classification and habitat (marine vs. freshwater) on trait relationships. Respiration and nutrient excretion rates followed mass-dependent scaling in both habitats, with exponents ranging from 0.70 to 0.90. Our analyses revealed surprising differences in allometry and respiration between habitats, with freshwater species having lower length-specific mass and three times higher mass-specific respiration rates. These differences in traits point to implications for ecological strategies as well as overall carbon storage and fluxes based on habitat type. Our synthesis quantifies multiple trait relationships and links organisms to ecosystem processes they influence, enabling a more complete integration of aquatic community ecology and biogeochemistry through the promising use of effect traits. PMID:27220222

  12. Delayed responses of an Arctic ecosystem to an extreme summer: impacts on net ecosystem exchange and vegetation functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, D.; Lipson, D. A.; Richards, J. H.; Phoenix, G. K.; Liljedahl, A. K.; Ueyama, M.; Sturtevant, C. S.; Oechel, W. C.

    2014-10-01

    The importance and consequences of extreme events on the global carbon budget are inadequately understood. This includes the differential impact of extreme events on various ecosystem components, lag effects, recovery times, and compensatory processes. In the summer of 2007 in Barrow, Arctic Alaska, there were unusually high air temperatures (the fifth warmest summer over a 65-year period) and record low precipitation (the lowest over a 65-year period). These abnormal conditions were associated with substantial desiccation of the Sphagnum layer and a reduced net Sphagnum CO2 sink but did not affect net ecosystem exchange (NEE) from this wet-sedge arctic tundra ecosystem. Microbial biomass, NH4+ availability, gross primary production (GPP), and ecosystem respiration (Reco) were generally greater during this extreme summer. The cumulative ecosystem CO2 sink in 2007 was similar to the previous summers, suggesting that vascular plants were able to compensate for Sphagnum CO2 uptake, despite the impact on other functions and structure such as desiccation of the Sphagnum layer. Surprisingly, the lowest ecosystem CO2 sink over a five summer record (2005-2009) was observed during the 2008 summer (~70% lower), directly following the unusually warm and dry summer, rather than during the extreme summer. This sink reduction cannot solely be attributed to the potential damage to mosses, which typically contribute ~40% of the entire ecosystem CO2 sink. Importantly, the return to a substantial cumulative CO2 sink occurred two summers after the extreme event, which suggests a substantial resilience of this tundra ecosystem to at least an isolated extreme event. Overall, these results show a complex response of the CO2 sink and its sub-components to atypically warm and dry conditions. The impact of multiple extreme events requires further investigation.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Quantitative criteria for estimation of natural and artificial ecosystems functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pechurkin, N. S.

    It's necessary to have quantitative criteria to elaborate efficient artificial ecosystems (AES). As usual, these criteria are connected with exact objectives of AES designed. For example, if AES is considered for use in space, it's to be efficient in its use of mass, power, volume (size) and human labor and to be reliable. Another task arises: how to determine, to find out the quantitative criteria for natural ecosystems functioning. To solve the problem, it's fruitful to use a hierarchical approach suitable for both individual links and ecosystem as a whole. Energy fluxes criteria (principles) were developed to estimate the functional activities of biosystems at populations, communities and ecosystems levels. Major feature of ecosystem as a whole is a biotic turnover of matter the rate of which is restricted by the lack of limiting substances. Obviously, the most generalized criterion is to take into account: energy fluxes used by the biosystem and quantity of limiting substance included into its turnover. The use (utilization) of energy fluxes by ecosystem can be easily measured as a net primary production of photosynthesis (NPP). So, the ratio of NPP to the total mass of limiting substrate can serve as a main universal criterion (MUC). This MUC characterizes the specific cycling rate of limiting chemical elements in the system and effectiveness of every ecosystem functioning, including Biosphere. Comparative analysis and elaboration of quantitative criteria for estimation of natural and artificial ecosystems activities is of high importance both for theoretical considerations and for real applications.

  17. Biological Invasions Impact Ecosystem Properties and can Affect Climate Predictions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzalez-Meler, M.; Matamala, R.; Cook, D. R.; Graham, S.; Fan, Z.; Gomez-Casanovas, N.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change models vary widely in their predictions of the effects of climate forcing, in part because of difficulties in assigning sources of uncertainties and in simulating changes in the carbon source/sink status and climate-carbon cycle feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems. We studied the impacts of vegetation and weather variations on carbon and energy fluxes at a restored tallgrass prairie in Illinois. The prairie was a strong carbon sink, despite a prolonged drought period and vegetation changes due to the presence of a non-native biennial plant. A model considering the combined effects of air temperature, precipitation, RH, incoming solar radiation, and vegetation was also developed and used to describe net ecosystem exchange for all years. The vegetation factor was represented in the model with summer albedo and/or NDVI. Results showed that the vegetation factor was more important than abiotic factors in describing changes in C and energy fluxes in ecosystems under disturbances. Changes from natives to a non-native forbs species had the strongest effect in reducing net ecosystem production and increasing sensible heat flux and albedo, which may result in positive feedbacks on warming. Here we show that non-native species invasions can alter the ecosystem sensitivity to climatic factors often construed in models.

  18. Large effects of consumer offense on ecosystem structure and function.

    PubMed

    Chislock, Michael F; Sarnelle, Orlando; Olsen, Brianna K; Doster, Enrique; Wilson, Alan E

    2013-11-01

    Study of the role of within-species adaptation in ecological dynamics has focused largely on prey adaptations that reduce consumption risk (prey defense). Few, if any, studies have examined how consumer adaptations to overcome prey defenses (consumer offense) affect ecosystem structure and function. We manipulated two sets of genotypes of a planktonic herbivore (Daphnia pulicaria) in a highly productive ecosystem with abundant toxic prey (cyanobacteria). The two sets of consumer genotypes varied widely in their tolerance of toxic cyanobacteria in the diet (i.e., sensitive vs. tolerant). We found a large effect of tolerant D. pulicaria on phytoplankton biomass and gross primary productivity but no effect of sensitive genotypes, this result stemming from genotype-specific differences in population growth in the presence of toxic prey. The former effect was as large as effects seen in previous Daphnia manipulations at similar productivity levels. Thus, we demonstrated that the effect of consumer genotypes with contrasting offensive adaptations was as large as the effect of consumer presence/absence. PMID:24400489

  19. Species richness and biomass explain spatial turnover in ecosystem functioning across tropical and temperate ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Barnes, Andrew D; Weigelt, Patrick; Jochum, Malte; Ott, David; Hodapp, Dorothee; Haneda, Noor Farikhah; Brose, Ulrich

    2016-05-19

    Predicting ecosystem functioning at large spatial scales rests on our ability to scale up from local plots to landscapes, but this is highly contingent on our understanding of how functioning varies through space. Such an understanding has been hampered by a strong experimental focus of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research restricted to small spatial scales. To address this limitation, we investigate the drivers of spatial variation in multitrophic energy flux-a measure of ecosystem functioning in complex communities-at the landscape scale. We use a structural equation modelling framework based on distance matrices to test how spatial and environmental distances drive variation in community energy flux via four mechanisms: species composition, species richness, niche complementarity and biomass. We found that in both a tropical and a temperate study region, geographical and environmental distance indirectly influence species richness and biomass, with clear evidence that these are the dominant mechanisms explaining variability in community energy flux over spatial and environmental gradients. Our results reveal that species composition and trait variability may become redundant in predicting ecosystem functioning at the landscape scale. Instead, we demonstrate that species richness and total biomass may best predict rates of ecosystem functioning at larger spatial scales. PMID:27114580

  20. Ecosystem Warming Affects CO2 Flux in an Agricultural Soil

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Global warming seems likely based on present-day climate predictions. Our objective was to characterize and quantify the interactive effects of ecosystem warming (i.e., canopy temperature, TS), soil moisture content ('S) and microbial biomass (BM: bacteria, fungi) on the intra-row soil CO2 flux (FS)...

  1. How do land management practices affect net ecosystem CO2 exchange of an invasive plant infestation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonnentag, O.; Detto, M.; Runkle, B.; Kelly, M.; Baldocchi, D. D.

    2009-12-01

    Ecosystem gas and energy exchanges of invasive plant infestations under different land management practices have been subject of few studies and thus little is known. Our goal is to characterize seasonal changes in net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) through the processes of photosynthesis (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) of a grassland used as pasture yet infested by perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. We analyze eddy-covariance supported by environmental and canopy-scale hyperspectral reflectance measurements acquired in 2007-2009. Our study covers three summer drought periods with slightly different land management practices. Over the study period the site was subject to year-round grazing, and in 2008 the site was additionally mowed. Specific questions we address are a) how does pepperweed flowering affect GEP, b) does a mowing event affect NEE mainly through GEP or Reco, and c) can the combined effects of phenology and mowing on pepperweed NEE potentially be tracked using routinely applied remote sensing techniques? Preliminary results indicate that pepperweed flowering drastically decreases photosynthetic CO2 uptake due to shading by the dense arrangement of white flowers at the canopy top, causing the infestation to be almost CO2 neutral. In contrast, mowing causes the infestation to act as moderate net CO2 sink, mainly due to increased CO2 uptake during regrowth. We demonstrate that spectral regions other than commonly-used red and near-infrared might be more promising for pepperweed monitoring because of its spectral uniqueness during the flowering phase. Our results have important implications for land-use land-cover (LULC) change studies when biological invasions and their management alter ecosystem structure and functioning but not necessarily the respective LULC class.

  2. Rare Species Support Vulnerable Functions in High-Diversity Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Mouillot, David; Bellwood, David R.; Baraloto, Christopher; Chave, Jerome; Galzin, Rene; Harmelin-Vivien, Mireille; Kulbicki, Michel; Lavergne, Sebastien; Lavorel, Sandra; Mouquet, Nicolas; Paine, C. E. Timothy; Renaud, Julien; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2013-01-01

    Around the world, the human-induced collapses of populations and species have triggered a sixth mass extinction crisis, with rare species often being the first to disappear. Although the role of species diversity in the maintenance of ecosystem processes has been widely investigated, the role of rare species remains controversial. A critical issue is whether common species insure against the loss of functions supported by rare species. This issue is even more critical in species-rich ecosystems where high functional redundancy among species is likely and where it is thus often assumed that ecosystem functioning is buffered against species loss. Here, using extensive datasets of species occurrences and functional traits from three highly diverse ecosystems (846 coral reef fishes, 2,979 alpine plants, and 662 tropical trees), we demonstrate that the most distinct combinations of traits are supported predominantly by rare species both in terms of local abundance and regional occupancy. Moreover, species that have low functional redundancy and are likely to support the most vulnerable functions, with no other species carrying similar combinations of traits, are rarer than expected by chance in all three ecosystems. For instance, 63% and 98% of fish species that are likely to support highly vulnerable functions in coral reef ecosystems are locally and regionally rare, respectively. For alpine plants, 32% and 89% of such species are locally and regionally rare, respectively. Remarkably, 47% of fish species and 55% of tropical tree species that are likely to support highly vulnerable functions have only one individual per sample on average. Our results emphasize the importance of rare species conservation, even in highly diverse ecosystems, which are thought to exhibit high functional redundancy. Rare species offer more than aesthetic, cultural, or taxonomic diversity value; they disproportionately increase the potential breadth of functions provided by ecosystems across

  3. Ecosystem Functions Connecting Contributions from Ecosystem Services to Human Wellbeing in a Mangrove System in Northern Taiwan

    PubMed Central

    Hsieh, Hwey-Lian; Lin, Hsing-Juh; Shih, Shang-Shu; Chen, Chang-Po

    2015-01-01

    The present study examined a mangrove ecosystem in northern Taiwan to determine how the various components of ecosystem function, ecosystem services and human wellbeing are connected. The overall contributions of mangrove services to specific components of human wellbeing were also assessed. A network was developed and evaluated by an expert panel consisting of hydrologists, ecologists, and experts in the field of culture, landscape or architecture. The results showed that supporting habitats was the most important function to human wellbeing, while water quality, habitable climate, air quality, recreational opportunities, and knowledge systems were services that were strongly linked to human welfare. Security of continuous supply of services appeared to be the key to a comfortable life. From a bottom-up and top-down perspective, knowledge systems (a service) were most supported by ecosystem functions, while the security of continuous supply of services (wellbeing) had affected the most services. In addition, the overall benefits of mangrove services to human prosperity concentrated on mental health, security of continuous supply of services, and physical health. PMID:26067989

  4. Ecosystem Functions Connecting Contributions from Ecosystem Services to Human Wellbeing in a Mangrove System in Northern Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Hsieh, Hwey-Lian; Lin, Hsing-Juh; Shih, Shang-Shu; Chen, Chang-Po

    2015-06-01

    The present study examined a mangrove ecosystem in northern Taiwan to determine how the various components of ecosystem function, ecosystem services and human wellbeing are connected. The overall contributions of mangrove services to specific components of human wellbeing were also assessed. A network was developed and evaluated by an expert panel consisting of hydrologists, ecologists, and experts in the field of culture, landscape or architecture. The results showed that supporting habitats was the most important function to human wellbeing, while water quality, habitable climate, air quality, recreational opportunities, and knowledge systems were services that were strongly linked to human welfare. Security of continuous supply of services appeared to be the key to a comfortable life. From a bottom-up and top-down perspective, knowledge systems (a service) were most supported by ecosystem functions, while the security of continuous supply of services (wellbeing) had affected the most services. In addition, the overall benefits of mangrove services to human prosperity concentrated on mental health, security of continuous supply of services, and physical health. PMID:26067989

  5. Maintaining ecosystem function and services in logged tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Edwards, David P; Tobias, Joseph A; Sheil, Douglas; Meijaard, Erik; Laurance, William F

    2014-09-01

    Vast expanses of tropical forests worldwide are being impacted by selective logging. We evaluate the environmental impacts of such logging and conclude that natural timber-production forests typically retain most of their biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions, as well as their carbon, climatic, and soil-hydrological ecosystem services. Unfortunately, the value of production forests is often overlooked, leaving them vulnerable to further degradation including post-logging clearing, fires, and hunting. Because logged tropical forests are extensive, functionally diverse, and provide many ecosystem services, efforts to expand their role in conservation strategies are urgently needed. Key priorities include improving harvest practices to reduce negative impacts on ecosystem functions and services, and preventing the rapid conversion and loss of logged forests. PMID:25092495

  6. Bacterial Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Relations Are Modified by Environmental Complexity

    PubMed Central

    Langenheder, Silke; Bulling, Mark T.; Solan, Martin; Prosser, James I.

    2010-01-01

    relationships, suggests that detailed knowledge of how individual species interact with complex natural environments will be required in order to make reliable predictions about how altered levels of biodiversity will most likely affect ecosystem functioning. PMID:20520808

  7. Quantitative criteria for estimation of natural and artificial ecosystems functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pechurkin, N. S.

    Using biotic turnover of substances in trophic chains, natural and artificial ecosystems are similar in functioning, but different in structure. It is necessary to have quantitative criteria to evaluate the efficiency of artificial ecosystems (AES). These criteria are dependent on the specific objectives for which the AES are designed. For example, if AES is considered for use in space, important criteria are efficiency in use of mass, power, volume (size) and human labor and reliability. Another task involves the determination of quantitative criteria for the functioning of natural ecosystems. To solve the problem, it is fruitful to use a hierarchical approach suitable for both individual links and the ecosystem as a whole. Energy flux criteria (principles) were developed to estimate the functional activities of biosystems at the population, community and ecosystem levels. A major feature of ecosystems as a whole is their biotic turnover of matter the rate of which is restricted by the lack of limiting substances. Obviously, the most generalized criterion is to take into account the energy flux used by the biosystem and the quantity of limiting substance included in its turnover. The use of energy flux by ecosystem, EUSED - is determined from the photoassimilation of CO 2 by plants (per time unit). It can be approximately estimated as the net primary production of photosynthesis (NPP). So, the ratio of CO 2 photoassimilation rate (sometimes, measured as NPP) to the total mass of limiting substrate can serve as a main universal criterion (MUC). This MUC characterizes the specific cycling rate of limiting chemical elements in the system and effectiveness of every ecosystem including the global Biosphere. Comparative analysis and elaboration of quantitative criteria for estimation of natural and artificial ecosystems activities is of high importance both for theoretical considerations and for real applications.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Detecting Subtle Shifts in Ecosystem Functioning in a Dynamic Estuarine Environment.

    PubMed

    Pratt, Daniel R; Lohrer, Andrew M; Thrush, Simon F; Hewitt, Judi E; Townsend, Michael; Cartner, Katie; Pilditch, Conrad A; Harris, Rachel J; van Colen, Carl; Rodil, Iván F

    2015-01-01

    Identifying the effects of stressors before they impact ecosystem functioning can be challenging in dynamic, heterogeneous 'real-world' ecosystems. In aquatic systems, for example, reductions in water clarity can limit the light available for photosynthesis, with knock-on consequences for secondary consumers, though in naturally turbid wave-swept estuaries, detecting the effects of elevated turbidity can be difficult. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of shading on ecosystem functions mediated by sandflat primary producers (microphytobenthos) and deep-dwelling surface-feeding macrofauna (Macomona liliana; Bivalvia, Veneroida, Tellinidae). Shade cloths (which reduced incident light intensity by ~80%) were deployed on an exposed, intertidal sandflat to experimentally stress the microphytobenthic community associated with the sediment surface. After 13 weeks, sediment properties, macrofauna and fluxes of oxygen and inorganic nutrients across the sediment-water interface were measured. A multivariate metric of ecosystem function (MF) was generated by combining flux-based response variables, and distance-based linear models were used to determine shifts in the drivers of ecosystem function between non-shaded and shaded plots. No significant differences in MF or in the constituent ecosystem function variables were detected between the shaded and non-shaded plots. However, shading reduced the total explained variation in MF (from 64% in non-shaded plots to 15% in shaded plots) and affected the relative influence of M. liliana and other explanatory variables on MF. This suggests that although shade stress may shift the drivers of ecosystem functioning (consistent with earlier investigations of shading effects on sandflat interaction networks), ecosystem functions appear to have a degree of resilience to those changes. PMID:26214854

  12. Detecting Subtle Shifts in Ecosystem Functioning in a Dynamic Estuarine Environment

    PubMed Central

    Pratt, Daniel R.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Thrush, Simon F.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Townsend, Michael; Cartner, Katie; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Harris, Rachel J.; van Colen, Carl; Rodil, Iván F.

    2015-01-01

    Identifying the effects of stressors before they impact ecosystem functioning can be challenging in dynamic, heterogeneous ‘real-world’ ecosystems. In aquatic systems, for example, reductions in water clarity can limit the light available for photosynthesis, with knock-on consequences for secondary consumers, though in naturally turbid wave-swept estuaries, detecting the effects of elevated turbidity can be difficult. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of shading on ecosystem functions mediated by sandflat primary producers (microphytobenthos) and deep-dwelling surface-feeding macrofauna (Macomona liliana; Bivalvia, Veneroida, Tellinidae). Shade cloths (which reduced incident light intensity by ~80%) were deployed on an exposed, intertidal sandflat to experimentally stress the microphytobenthic community associated with the sediment surface. After 13 weeks, sediment properties, macrofauna and fluxes of oxygen and inorganic nutrients across the sediment-water interface were measured. A multivariate metric of ecosystem function (MF) was generated by combining flux-based response variables, and distance-based linear models were used to determine shifts in the drivers of ecosystem function between non-shaded and shaded plots. No significant differences in MF or in the constituent ecosystem function variables were detected between the shaded and non-shaded plots. However, shading reduced the total explained variation in MF (from 64% in non-shaded plots to 15% in shaded plots) and affected the relative influence of M. liliana and other explanatory variables on MF. This suggests that although shade stress may shift the drivers of ecosystem functioning (consistent with earlier investigations of shading effects on sandflat interaction networks), ecosystem functions appear to have a degree of resilience to those changes. PMID:26214854

  13. Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Tom H; Isaac, Nick J B; August, Tom A; Woodcock, Ben A; Roy, David B; Bullock, James M

    2015-01-01

    The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions--specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience. PMID:26646209

  14. Ecosystem functions across trophic levels are linked to functional and phylogenetic diversity.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Patrick L; Davies, T Jonathan; Gonzalez, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    In experimental systems, it has been shown that biodiversity indices based on traits or phylogeny can outperform species richness as predictors of plant ecosystem function. However, it is unclear whether this pattern extends to the function of food webs in natural ecosystems. Here we tested whether zooplankton functional and phylogenetic diversity explains the functioning of 23 natural pond communities. We used two measures of ecosystem function: (1) zooplankton community biomass and (2) phytoplankton abundance (Chl a). We tested for diversity-ecosystem function relationships within and across trophic levels. We found a strong correlation between zooplankton diversity and ecosystem function, whereas local environmental conditions were less important. Further, the positive diversity-ecosystem function relationships were more pronounced for measures of functional and phylogenetic diversity than for species richness. Zooplankton and phytoplankton biomass were best predicted by different indices, suggesting that the two functions are dependent upon different aspects of diversity. Zooplankton community biomass was best predicted by zooplankton trait-based functional richness, while phytoplankton abundance was best predicted by zooplankton phylogenetic diversity. Our results suggest that the positive relationship between diversity and ecosystem function can extend across trophic levels in natural environments, and that greater insight into variation in ecosystem function can be gained by combining functional and phylogenetic diversity measures. PMID:25693188

  15. Contrasting tropical estuarine ecosystem functioning and stability: A comparative study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villanueva, Maria Ching

    2015-03-01

    A comparative study of the Sine-saloum (Senegal) and Gambia (The Gambia) estuaries was performed based on trophic model outputs that describe the system structure and functioning. These trophic models were constructed such as to differentiate main energetic flows in the systems and express how climate change may have impacted ecosystem resilience to change. Estuarine fish assemblages are highly resilient despite exposure to vast hydrodynamic variations and stress. Coupled with strong anthropogenic-driven stresses such as fisheries and climate change, ecosystems may undergo severe regime shifts that may weaken their resilience and stability. Taxonomically related and morphologically similar species do not necessarily play similar ecological roles in these two ecosystems. Biomass and production in the Sine-saloum are concentrated at trophic levels (TLs) 2 and 3, while for the Gambia, both are concentrated at TL3. Higher TL biomasses in Gambia compared to Sine-Saloum may be explained by the latter ecosystem being characterized by inverse hypersalinity. Higher TL of production in Sine-Saloum is due to higher exploitations compared to Gambia where fishing activities are still less developed. High production and consumption rates of some groups in both ecosystems indicate high system productivity. Elevated productivity may be due to higher abundance of juvenile fishes in most groups that utilize the latter as refuge and/or nursery zones. Both ecosystems are phytoplankton-driven. Differences in group trophic and ecological roles are mainly due to adaptive responses of these species to seasonal and long-term climate and anthropogenic stressors. System indicators suggest different levels of ecosystem resilience and stability as a function of biodiversity. Relevance of other observations on ecosystem functioning and indicators in relation to perturbation is discussed.

  16. Consumer diversity interacts with prey defenses to drive ecosystem function

    PubMed Central

    Rasher, Douglas B.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hay, Mark E.

    2013-01-01

    Prey traits linking consumer diversity to ecosystem function remain poorly understood. On tropical coral reefs, herbivores promote coral dominance by suppressing competing macroalgae, but the roles of herbivore identity and diversity, macroalgal defenses, and their interactions in affecting reef resilience and function are unclear. We studied adjacent pairs of no-take marine reserves and fished areas on reefs in Fiji, and found that protected reefs supported 7–17x greater biomass and 2–3x higher species richness of herbivorous fishes, and 3–11x more live coral cover than did fished reefs. In contrast, macroalgae were 27–61x more abundant and 3–4x more species rich on fished reefs. When we transplanted seven common macroalgae from fished reefs into reserves they were rapidly consumed, suggesting that rates of herbivory (ecosystem functioning) differed inside versus outside reserves. We then video recorded feeding activity on the same seven macroalgae when transplanted into reserves, and assessed the functional redundancy versus complementarity of herbivorous fishes consuming these macroalgae. Of 29 species of larger herbivorous fishes on these reefs, only four species accounted for 97% of macroalgal consumption. Two unicornfish consumed a range of brown macroalgae, a parrotfish consumed multiple red algae, and a rabbitfish consumed a green alga, with almost no diet overlap among these groups. The two most chemically rich, allelopathic algae were each consumed by a single, but different, fish species. This striking complementarity resulted from herbivore species differing in their tolerances to macroalgal chemical and structural defenses. A model of assemblage diet breadth based on our feeding observations predicted that high browser diversity would be required for effective control of macroalgae on Fijian reefs. In support of this model, we observed strong, negative relationships between herbivore diversity and macroalgal abundance and diversity across the

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  18. Placebo Sleep Affects Cognitive Functioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Draganich, Christina; Erdal, Kristi

    2014-01-01

    The placebo effect is any outcome that is not attributed to a specific treatment but rather to an individual's mindset (Benson & Friedman, 1996). This phenomenon can extend beyond its typical use in pharmaceutical drugs to involve aspects of everyday life, such as the effect of sleep on cognitive functioning. In 2 studies examining whether…

  19. Global biodiversity, stoichiometry and ecosystem function responses to human-induced C-N-P imbalances.

    PubMed

    Carnicer, Jofre; Sardans, Jordi; Stefanescu, Constantí; Ubach, Andreu; Bartrons, Mireia; Asensio, Dolores; Peñuelas, Josep

    2015-01-01

    Global change analyses usually consider biodiversity as a global asset that needs to be preserved. Biodiversity is frequently analysed mainly as a response variable affected by diverse environmental drivers. However, recent studies highlight that gradients of biodiversity are associated with gradual changes in the distribution of key dominant functional groups characterized by distinctive traits and stoichiometry, which in turn often define the rates of ecosystem processes and nutrient cycling. Moreover, pervasive links have been reported between biodiversity, food web structure, ecosystem function and species stoichiometry. Here we review current global stoichiometric gradients and how future distributional shifts in key functional groups may in turn influence basic ecosystem functions (production, nutrient cycling, decomposition) and therefore could exert a feedback effect on stoichiometric gradients. The C-N-P stoichiometry of most primary producers (phytoplankton, algae, plants) has been linked to functional trait continua (i.e. to major axes of phenotypic variation observed in inter-specific analyses of multiple traits). In contrast, the C-N-P stoichiometry of higher-level consumers remains less precisely quantified in many taxonomic groups. We show that significant links are observed between trait continua across trophic levels. In spite of recent advances, the future reciprocal feedbacks between key functional groups, biodiversity and ecosystem functions remain largely uncertain. The reported evidence, however, highlights the key role of stoichiometric traits and suggests the need of a progressive shift towards an ecosystemic and stoichiometric perspective in global biodiversity analyses. PMID:25270104

  20. Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss

    PubMed Central

    Oliver, Tom H.; Isaac, Nick J. B.; August, Tom A.; Woodcock, Ben A.; Roy, David B.; Bullock, James M.

    2015-01-01

    The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions—specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience. PMID:26646209

  1. Consequences of Increasing Hypoxic Disturbance on Benthic Communities and Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Villnäs, Anna; Norkko, Joanna; Lukkari, Kaarina; Hewitt, Judi; Norkko, Alf

    2012-01-01

    , and that the link between biodiversity and ecosystem function is likely to be affected by a range of factors in complex, natural environments. PMID:23091592

  2. From Elements to Metabolism: Linking Organismal Stoichiometry to Ecosystem Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, M. J.; Nifong, R. L.

    2014-12-01

    Metabolism is an integrative metric of ecosystem function and energetics, synthesizing the relative contributions of multiple inputs, processes, and interactions. Stoichiometry is a framework based on elemental ratios for understanding how organisms interact within ecosystems. Linking the two has the potential to yield fresh insight about how ecosystems utilize elements and energy. We sought to quantify the link between the stoichiometry of ecosystem metabolism, specifically the C:N:P ratios of integrated autotrophic assimilation, and the stoichiometric tissue ratios observed in the dominant autotrophs. Using high frequency in situ nutrient sensors we estimated the assimilatory fluxes of C, N, and P in multiple spring-fed rivers of varying autotrophic species composition. We measured autotroph cover in each spring river, collected composite vegetation samples, and evaluated tissue stoichiometry; as expected, we observed large differences in C:N and N:P between algal and vascular plant taxa. We observed associations between measured tissue stoichiometry and elemental ratios at the ecosystem scale, suggesting that aggregated assimilatory fluxes may be useful for partitioning primary production and linking organismal nutrient content to the stoichiometry of ecosystem metabolism.

  3. Effects of Non-Indigenous Oysters on Microbial Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Green, Dannielle S.; Boots, Bas; Crowe, Tasman P.

    2012-01-01

    Invasive ecosystem engineers can physically and chemically alter the receiving environment, thereby affecting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, invasive throughout much of the world, can establish dense populations monopolising shorelines and possibly altering ecosystem processes including decomposition and nutrient cycling. The effects of increasing cover of invasive C. gigas on ecosystem processes and associated microbial assemblages in mud-flats were tested experimentally in the field. Pore-water nutrients (NH4+ and total oxidised nitrogen), sediment chlorophyll content, microbial activity, total carbon and nitrogen, and community respiration (CO2 and CH4) were measured to assess changes in ecosystem functioning. Assemblages of bacteria and functionally important microbes, including methanogens, methylotrophs and ammonia-oxidisers were assessed in the oxic and anoxic layers of sediment using terminal restriction length polymorphism of the bacterial 16S rRNA, mxaF, amoA and archaeal mcrA genes respectively. At higher covers (40 and 80%) of oysters there was significantly greater microbial activity, increased chlorophyll content, CO2 (13 fold greater) and CH4 (6 fold greater) emission from the sediment compared to mud-flats without C. gigas. At 10% cover, C. gigas increased the concentration of total oxidised nitrogen and altered the assemblage structure of ammonia-oxidisers and methanogens. Concentrations of pore-water NH4+ were increased by C. gigas regardless of cover. Invasive species can alter ecosystem functioning not only directly, but also indirectly, by affecting microbial communities vital for the maintenance of ecosystem processes, but the nature and magnitude of these effects can be non-linear, depending on invader abundance. PMID:23144762

  4. Adding ecosystem function to agent-based land use models

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The objective of this paper is to examine issues in the inclusion of simulations of ecosystem functions in agent-based models of land use decision-making. The reasons for incorporating these simulations include local interests in land fertility and global interests in carbon sequestration. Biogeoche...

  5. Does shallow geothermal energy use threaten groundwater ecosystem functions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brielmann, Heike; Schmidt, Susanne I.; Ferraro, Francesco; Schreglmann, Kathrin; Griebler, Christian; Lueders, Tillmann

    2010-05-01

    Today, the use of geothermal energy is strongly promoted as an alternative and sustainable source of energy. However, regarding the authorization, regulation and monitoring of such facilities with respect to possible environmental impacts, a severe lack of knowledge has been identified. Aquifers are not only abiotic reservoirs of water and sediment, but they are complex ecosystems harbouring an almost untapped diversity of microorganisms and fauna. Intrinsic groundwater organisms are highly adapted to extremely oligotrophic, but stable conditions including temperature. At the same time, groundwater biota are the key drivers of important ecosystem services, especially functions connected to water quality. So what happens if groundwater biota need to cope with sudden temperature dynamics caused by GSHP use? Potential effects of thermal use on pristine aquifers, and on groundwater systems already facing enhanced loads of nutrients or contamination require urgent scientific attention. Within this project, we have assessed - both in the field and in the laboratory - the impacts of temperature discharge and withdrawal on biotic parameters and functional characteristics of exemplary shallow groundwater systems. In the field, aquifer microbes did not show significant impacts under increased temperatures in terms of total cell numbers, selected enzyme activities and carbon production. However, bacterial diversity clearly increased with temperature, accompanied by the appearance of new bacterial lineages and the disappearance of others. On the contrary, faunal diversity decreased with temperature, highlighting the temperature sensitivity of groundwater invertebrates. These results demonstrate that aquifer thermal energy discharge can affect intrinsic aquifer biotic populations, while at the same time being only one of several drivers contributing to total variability connected to seasonal dynamics and spatial heterogeneity. In laboratory column experiments covering a larger

  6. Rapidly restoring biological soil crusts and ecosystem functions in a severely disturbed desert ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Chiquoine, Lindsay P; Abella, Scott R; Bowker, Matthew A

    2016-06-01

    Restoring biological soil crusts (biocrusts) in degraded drylands can contribute to recovery of ecosystem functions that have global implications, including erosion resistance and nutrient cycling. To examine techniques for restoring biocrusts, we conducted a replicated, factorial experiment on recently abandoned road surfaces by applying biocrust inoculation (salvaged and stored dry for two years), salvaged topsoil, an abiotic soil amendment (wood shavings), and planting of a dominant perennial shrub (Ambrosia dumosa). Eighteen months after treatments, we measured biocrust abundance and species composition, soil chlorophyll a content and fertility, and soil resistance to erosion. Biocrust addition significantly accelerated biocrust recovery on disturbed soils, including increasing lichen and moss cover and cyanobacteria colonization. Compared to undisturbed controls, inoculated plots had similar lichen and moss composition, recovered 43% of total cyanobacteria density, had similar soil chlorophyll content, and exhibited recovery of soil fertility and soil stability. Inoculation was the only treatment that generated lichen and moss cover. Topsoil application resulted in partial recovery of the cyanobacteria community and soil properties. Compared to untreated disturbed plots, topsoil application without inoculum increased cyanobacteria density by 186% and moderately improved soil chlorophyll and ammonium content and soil stability. Topsoil application produced 22% and 51% of the cyanobacteria density g⁻¹ soil compared to undisturbed and inoculated plots, respectively. Plots not treated with either topsoil or inoculum had significantly lower cyanobacteria density, soil chlorophyll and ammonium concentrations, and significantly higher soil nitrate concentration. Wood shavings and Ambrosia had no influence on biocrust lichen and moss species recovery but did affect cyanobacteria composition and soil fertility. Inoculation of severely disturbed soil with native

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

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

  8. Mechanisms driving change: altered species interactions and ecosystem function through global warming.

    PubMed

    Traill, Lochran W; Lim, Matthew L M; Sodhi, Navjot S; Bradshaw, Corey J A

    2010-09-01

    1. We review the mechanisms behind ecosystem functions, the processes that facilitate energy transfer along food webs, and the major processes that allow the cycling of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, and use case studies to show how these have already been, and will continue to be, altered by global warming. 2. Increased temperatures will affect the interactions between heterotrophs and autotrophs (e.g. pollination and seed dispersal), and between heterotrophs (e.g. predators-prey, parasites/pathogens-hosts), with generally negative ramifications for important ecosystem services (functions that provide direct benefit to human society such as pollination) and potential for heightened species co-extinction rates. 3. Mitigation of likely impacts of warming will require, in particular, the maintenance of species diversity as insurance for the provision of basic ecosystem services. Key to this will be long-term monitoring and focused research that seek to maintain ecosystem resilience in the face of global warming. 4. We provide guidelines for pursuing research that quantifies the nexus between ecosystem function and global warming. These include documentation of key functional species groups within systems, and understanding the principal outcomes arising from direct and indirect effects of a rapidly warming environment. Localized and targeted research and monitoring, complemented with laboratory work, will determine outcomes for resilience and guide adaptive conservation responses and long-term planning. PMID:20487086

  9. Indicators of ecosystem function identify alternate states in the sagebrush steppe.

    PubMed

    Kachergis, Emily; Rocca, Monique E; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E

    2011-10-01

    Models of ecosystem change that incorporate nonlinear dynamics and thresholds, such as state-and-transition models (STMs), are increasingly popular tools for land management decision-making. However, few models are based on systematic collection and documentation of ecological data, and of these, most rely solely on structural indicators (species composition) to identify states and transitions. As STMs are adopted as an assessment framework throughout the United States, finding effective and efficient ways to create data-driven models that integrate ecosystem function and structure is vital. This study aims to (1) evaluate the utility of functional indicators (indicators of rangeland health, IRH) as proxies for more difficult ecosystem function measurements and (2) create a data-driven STM for the sagebrush steppe of Colorado, USA, that incorporates both ecosystem structure and function. We sampled soils, plant communities, and IRH at 41 plots with similar clayey soils but different site histories to identify potential states and infer the effects of management practices and disturbances on transitions. We found that many IRH were correlated with quantitative measures of functional indicators, suggesting that the IRH can be used to approximate ecosystem function. In addition to a reference state that functions as expected for this soil type, we identified four biotically and functionally distinct potential states, consistent with the theoretical concept of alternate states. Three potential states were related to management practices (chemical and mechanical shrub treatments and seeding history) while one was related only to ecosystem processes (erosion). IRH and potential states were also related to environmental variation (slope, soil texture), suggesting that there are environmental factors within areas with similar soils that affect ecosystem dynamics and should be noted within STMs. Our approach generated an objective, data-driven model of ecosystem dynamics

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  13. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in evolving food webs.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, K T; Drossel, B

    2016-05-19

    We use computer simulations in order to study the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) during both the formation and the ongoing evolution of large food webs. A species in our model is characterized by its own body mass, its preferred prey body mass and the width of its potential prey body mass spectrum. On an ecological time scale, population dynamics determines which species are viable and which ones go extinct. On an evolutionary time scale, new species emerge as modifications of existing ones. The network structure thus emerges and evolves in a self-organized manner. We analyse the relation between functional diversity and five community level measures of ecosystem functioning. These are the metabolic loss of the predator community, the total biomasses of the basal and the predator community, and the consumption rates on the basal community and within the predator community. Clear BEF relations are observed during the initial build-up of the networks, or when parameters are varied, causing bottom-up or top-down effects. However, ecosystem functioning measures fluctuate only very little during long-term evolution under constant environmental conditions, despite changes in functional diversity. This result supports the hypothesis that trophic cascades are weaker in more complex food webs. PMID:27114582

  14. Heterogeneity of hemiboreal forests in relation to ecosystems functioning.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krasnov, Dmitrii; Noe, Steffen M.; Krasnova, Alisa; Niinemets, Ülo

    2015-04-01

    Heterogeneity is one of the key components of sustainable development of every living system. It provides the source for restocking of ecosystem living components, irregular distribution of nutrients and habitats. Main components of forest horizontal heterogeneity are related with horizontal distribution of dominant species, soil properties, topography and as natural as human disturbances. Soil as the main source for nutrients supply plays essential role in functioning terrestrial ecosystems. The understanding of spatial distribution principles of such soil properties as soil acidity, nutrients available for living organisms, soil moisture and temperature, soil density and the role of tree dominant and co-dominant species can give deeper knowledge about ecosystem functioning. Models based on this knowledge can be more precise and give possibilities to predict more exactly the behavior of ecosystem in terms of global climate changing. The aim of the project is to assess spatial distribution and changes in soil properties related to spatial distribution of vegetation, microtopography and landscape position. For this purpose we used 3D modelling of sample plots and soil profiles using photogrammetry. PhotoModelerScanner software from EOS System Inc. was used to create 3D models from photogrammetric images and GIS technology was used for soil mapping. The project was done in the frame of SMEAR Estonia.

  15. Heterogeneity of hemiboreal forests related to ecosystems functioning.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krasnov, Dmitrii; Noe, Steffen M.; Krasnova, Alisa; Niinemets, Ülo

    2014-05-01

    Heterogeneity is one of the key components of sustainable development of every living system. Boreal and hemiboreal terrestrial systems have less biodiversity compared to tropical (or more southern). Heterogeneity provides the source for restocking of ecosystem living components, irregular distribution of nutrients, places for living (medium for living). Main components of forest horizontal heterogeneity are related to: horizontal distribution of dominant species, soil properties, topography and as natural as human disturbances. Soil as a main source for nutrient supply plays important role in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. The understanding of principles (regularity) of spatial distribution of such soil properties as soil acidity, available for living organisms nutrients, soil moisture and temperature, soil density and the role of tree dominant and co-dominate species can give deeper knowledge about ecosystem functioning. The models based on this knowledge can be more precise and give possibilities to predict behavior of ecosystem in terms of global climate change. The aim of the project is to assess spatial distribution and changing of soil properties related to spatial distribution of vegetation, microtopography and landscape position. The project was done in the frame of SMEAR Estonia.

  16. Risks of large-scale use of systemic insecticides to ecosystem functioning and services.

    PubMed

    Chagnon, Madeleine; Kreutzweiser, David; Mitchell, Edward A D; Morrissey, Christy A; Noome, Dominique A; Van der Sluijs, Jeroen P

    2015-01-01

    Large-scale use of the persistent and potent neonicotinoid and fipronil insecticides has raised concerns about risks to ecosystem functions provided by a wide range of species and environments affected by these insecticides. The concept of ecosystem services is widely used in decision making in the context of valuing the service potentials, benefits, and use values that well-functioning ecosystems provide to humans and the biosphere and, as an endpoint (value to be protected), in ecological risk assessment of chemicals. Neonicotinoid insecticides are frequently detected in soil and water and are also found in air, as dust particles during sowing of crops and aerosols during spraying. These environmental media provide essential resources to support biodiversity, but are known to be threatened by long-term or repeated contamination by neonicotinoids and fipronil. We review the state of knowledge regarding the potential impacts of these insecticides on ecosystem functioning and services provided by terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including soil and freshwater functions, fisheries, biological pest control, and pollination services. Empirical studies examining the specific impacts of neonicotinoids and fipronil to ecosystem services have focused largely on the negative impacts to beneficial insect species (honeybees) and the impact on pollination service of food crops. However, here we document broader evidence of the effects on ecosystem functions regulating soil and water quality, pest control, pollination, ecosystem resilience, and community diversity. In particular, microbes, invertebrates, and fish play critical roles as decomposers, pollinators, consumers, and predators, which collectively maintain healthy communities and ecosystem integrity. Several examples in this review demonstrate evidence of the negative impacts of systemic insecticides on decomposition, nutrient cycling, soil respiration, and invertebrate populations valued by humans. Invertebrates

  17. 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. PMID:21345558

  18. 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

  19. European seaweeds under pressure: Consequences for communities and ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mineur, Frédéric; Arenas, Francisco; Assis, Jorge; Davies, Andrew J.; Engelen, Aschwin H.; Fernandes, Francisco; Malta, Erik-jan; Thibaut, Thierry; Van Nguyen, Tu; Vaz-Pinto, Fátima; Vranken, Sofie; Serrão, Ester A.; De Clerck, Olivier

    2015-04-01

    Seaweed assemblages represent the dominant autotrophic biomass in many coastal environments, playing a central structural and functional role in several ecosystems. In Europe, seaweed assemblages are highly diverse systems. The combined seaweed flora of different European regions hold around 1550 species (belonging to nearly 500 genera), with new species continuously uncovered, thanks to the emergence of molecular tools. In this manuscript we review the effects of global and local stressors on European seaweeds, their communities, and ecosystem functioning. Following a brief review on the present knowledge on European seaweed diversity and distribution, and the role of seaweed communities in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, we discuss the effects of biotic homogenization (invasive species) and global climate change (shifts in bioclimatic zones and ocean acidification) on the distribution of individual species and their effect on the structure and functioning of seaweed communities. The arrival of new introduced species (that already account for 5-10% of the European seaweeds) and the regional extirpation of native species resulting from oceans' climate change are creating new diversity scenarios with undetermined functional consequences. Anthropogenic local stressors create additional disruption often altering dramatically assemblage's structure. Hence, we discuss ecosystem level effects of such stressors like harvesting, trampling, habitat modification, overgrazing and eutrophication that impact coastal communities at local scales. Last, we conclude by highlighting significant knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to anticipate the combined effects of global and local stressors on seaweed communities. With physical and biological changes occurring at unexpected pace, marine phycologists should now integrate and join their research efforts to be able to contribute efficiently for the conservation and management of coastal systems.

  20. Real world biodiversity-ecosystem functioning: a seafloor perspective.

    PubMed

    Snelgrove, Paul V R; Thrush, Simon F; Wall, Diana H; Norkko, Alf

    2014-07-01

    The effective application of biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) research to societal needs amid the Anthropocene represents the next grand challenge for ecology. Biodiversity knowledge that is most meaningful to society must reconcile insights derived from theory with detailed experiments and broad-scale trends. This perspective requires science that addresses high species richness, redundancy, and natural variability, which simplified 'model systems' cannot mimic. Here, we illustrate solutions of biodiversity knowledge to management and societal problems that combine BEF with scaling experiments, analysis of BEF along environmental gradients, and mapping technologies. We primarily draw examples from biophysical interactions in seafloor environments, which cover 70% of the Earth and add significantly to global ecosystem functions and services. PMID:24932849

  1. Microbial communities, processes and functions in acid mine drainage ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Chen, Lin-Xing; Huang, Li-Nan; Méndez-García, Celia; Kuang, Jia-Liang; Hua, Zheng-Shuang; Liu, Jun; Shu, Wen-Sheng

    2016-04-01

    Acid mine drainage (AMD) is generated from the oxidative dissolution of metal sulfides when water and oxygen are available largely due to human mining activities. This process can be accelerated by indigenous microorganisms. In the last several decades, culture-dependent researches have uncovered and validated the roles of AMD microorganisms in metal sulfides oxidation and acid generation processes, and culture-independent studies have largely revealed the diversity and metabolic potentials and activities of AMD communities, leading towards a full understanding of the microbial diversity, functions and interactions in AMD ecosystems. This review describes the diversity of microorganisms and their functions in AMD ecosystems, and discusses their biotechnological applications in biomining and AMD bioremediation according to their capabilities. PMID:26921733

  2. The up-scaling of ecosystem functions in a heterogeneous world

    PubMed Central

    Lohrer, Andrew M.; Thrush, Simon F.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Kraan, Casper

    2015-01-01

    Earth is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis that is impacting the functioning of ecosystems and the delivery of valued goods and services. However, the implications of large scale species losses are often inferred from small scale ecosystem functioning experiments with little knowledge of how the dominant drivers of functioning shift across scales. Here, by integrating observational and manipulative experimental field data, we reveal scale-dependent influences on primary productivity in shallow marine habitats, thus demonstrating the scalability of complex ecological relationships contributing to coastal marine ecosystem functioning. Positive effects of key consumers (burrowing urchins, Echinocardium cordatum) on seafloor net primary productivity (NPP) elucidated by short-term, single-site experiments persisted across multiple sites and years. Additional experimentation illustrated how these effects amplified over time, resulting in greater primary producer biomass sediment chlorophyll a content (Chla) in the longer term, depending on climatic context and habitat factors affecting the strengths of mutually reinforcing feedbacks. The remarkable coherence of results from small and large scales is evidence of real-world ecosystem function scalability and ecological self-organisation. This discovery provides greater insights into the range of responses to broad-scale anthropogenic stressors in naturally heterogeneous environmental settings. PMID:25993477

  3. Characterizations of how species mediate ecosystem properties require more comprehensive functional effect descriptors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hale, R.; Mavrogordato, M. N.; Tolhurst, T. J.; Solan, M.

    2014-09-01

    The importance of individual species in mediating ecosystem process and functioning is generally accepted, but categorical descriptors that summarize species-specific contributions to ecosystems tend to reference a limited number of biological traits and underestimate the importance of how organisms interact with their environment. Here, we show how three functionally contrasting sediment-dwelling marine invertebrates affect fluid and particle transport - important processes in mediating nutrient cycling - and use high-resolution reconstructions of burrow geometry to determine the extent and nature of biogenic modification. We find that individual functional effect descriptors fall short of being able to adequately characterize how species mediate the stocks and flows of important ecosystem properties and that, in contrary to common practice and understanding, they are not substitutable with one another because they emphasize different aspects of species activity and behavior. When information derived from these metrics is combined with knowledge of how species behave and modify their environment, however, detailed mechanistic information emerges that increases the likelihood that a species functional standing will be appropriately summarized. Our study provides evidence that more comprehensive functional effect descriptors are required if they are to be of value to those tasked with projecting how altered biodiversity will influence future ecosystems.

  4. The up-scaling of ecosystem functions in a heterogeneous world.

    PubMed

    Lohrer, Andrew M; Thrush, Simon F; Hewitt, Judi E; Kraan, Casper

    2015-01-01

    Earth is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis that is impacting the functioning of ecosystems and the delivery of valued goods and services. However, the implications of large scale species losses are often inferred from small scale ecosystem functioning experiments with little knowledge of how the dominant drivers of functioning shift across scales. Here, by integrating observational and manipulative experimental field data, we reveal scale-dependent influences on primary productivity in shallow marine habitats, thus demonstrating the scalability of complex ecological relationships contributing to coastal marine ecosystem functioning. Positive effects of key consumers (burrowing urchins, Echinocardium cordatum) on seafloor net primary productivity (NPP) elucidated by short-term, single-site experiments persisted across multiple sites and years. Additional experimentation illustrated how these effects amplified over time, resulting in greater primary producer biomass (sediment chlorophyll a content) in the longer term, depending on climatic context and habitat factors affecting the strengths of mutually reinforcing feedbacks [corrected]. The remarkable coherence of results from small and large scales is evidence of real-world ecosystem function scalability and ecological self-organisation. This discovery provides greater insights into the range of responses to broad-scale anthropogenic stressors in naturally heterogeneous environmental settings. PMID:25993477

  5. The up-scaling of ecosystem functions in a heterogeneous world

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lohrer, Andrew M.; Thrush, Simon F.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Kraan, Casper

    2015-05-01

    Earth is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis that is impacting the functioning of ecosystems and the delivery of valued goods and services. However, the implications of large scale species losses are often inferred from small scale ecosystem functioning experiments with little knowledge of how the dominant drivers of functioning shift across scales. Here, by integrating observational and manipulative experimental field data, we reveal scale-dependent influences on primary productivity in shallow marine habitats, thus demonstrating the scalability of complex ecological relationships contributing to coastal marine ecosystem functioning. Positive effects of key consumers (burrowing urchins, Echinocardium cordatum) on seafloor net primary productivity (NPP) elucidated by short-term, single-site experiments persisted across multiple sites and years. Additional experimentation illustrated how these effects amplified over time, resulting in greater primary producer biomass sediment chlorophyll a content (Chla) in the longer term, depending on climatic context and habitat factors affecting the strengths of mutually reinforcing feedbacks. The remarkable coherence of results from small and large scales is evidence of real-world ecosystem function scalability and ecological self-organisation. This discovery provides greater insights into the range of responses to broad-scale anthropogenic stressors in naturally heterogeneous environmental settings.

  6. Biological factors of natural and artificial ecosystems stable (unstable) functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pechurkin, Nikolai S.

    The problem of sustainable development of humanity on Earth and the problem of supporting human life in space have the same scientific and methodological bases. The key to solve both problems is a long term maintenance of balanced material cycle. As a whole, natural or artificial ecosystems are to be more closed than open, but their elements (links of systems) are to be substantially open in interactions with each other. Prolonged stable interactions of different links have to have unique joint results - closed material cycling or biotic turnover. It is necessary to include, at least, three types of main links into any system to support real material cycling: producers, consumers, reducers. Producer links are now under studies in many laboratories. It is evident that the higher productivity of link, the lower link stability. Especially, it concerns with parasite impact to plants. As usual, artificial ecosystems are more simple (incomplete) than natural ecosystems, sometimes, they have not enough links for prolonged stable functioning. For example, life support system for space flight can be incomplete in consumer link, having only some crew persons, instead of interacting populations of consumers. As for reducer link, it is necessary to "organize" a special coordinated work of microbial biocenoses to fulfill proper cycling. Possible evolution of links, their self development is a matter of special attention for the maintenance of prolonged stable functioning. It's the most danger for systems with populations of quickly reproducing, so-called, R - strategists, according to symbols of logistic equation. From another side, quick reproduction of R - strategists is able to increase artificial ecosystems and their links functioning. After some damages of system, R - strategist's link can be quickly "self repaired" up to level of normal functioning. Some experimental data of this kind and mathematical models are to be discussed in the paper. This work is supported by

  7. 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.

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

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Functional identity and diversity of animals predict ecosystem functioning better than species-based indices

    PubMed Central

    Gagic, Vesna; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Jonsson, Tomas; Taylor, Astrid; Winqvist, Camilla; Fischer, Christina; Slade, Eleanor M.; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Emmerson, Mark; Potts, Simon G.; Tscharntke, Teja; Weisser, Wolfgang; Bommarco, Riccardo

    2015-01-01

    Drastic biodiversity declines have raised concerns about the deterioration of ecosystem functions and have motivated much recent research on the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem functioning. A functional trait framework has been proposed to improve the mechanistic understanding of this relationship, but this has rarely been tested for organisms other than plants. We analysed eight datasets, including five animal groups, to examine how well a trait-based approach, compared with a more traditional taxonomic approach, predicts seven ecosystem functions below- and above-ground. Trait-based indices consistently provided greater explanatory power than species richness or abundance. The frequency distributions of single or multiple traits in the community were the best predictors of ecosystem functioning. This implies that the ecosystem functions we investigated were underpinned by the combination of trait identities (i.e. single-trait indices) and trait complementarity (i.e. multi-trait indices) in the communities. Our study provides new insights into the general mechanisms that link biodiversity to ecosystem functioning in natural animal communities and suggests that the observed responses were due to the identity and dominance patterns of the trait composition rather than the number or abundance of species per se. PMID:25567651

  12. Standardising the assessment of Functional Integrity in benthic ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Juan, Silvia; Hewitt, Judi; Thrush, Simon; Freeman, Debbie

    2015-04-01

    Ecological integrity is an overarching concept that integrates multiple properties of ecosystems, including structure, function and resilience to external change. We explore the links between ecological integrity and structural surrogates for ecosystem functioning to develop a cost-effective assessment of Functional Integrity for marine habitats based on biological traits, abundance and heterogeneity, focused on the visible components of the seafloor, i.e., epibenthic flora and fauna and seabed biogenic habitat features. The assessment was based on diversity and redundancy of functional traits of the identified benthic components, supplemented by estimates of spatial heterogeneity (habitat transitions) and vertical habitat complexity. This approach was developed using video data collected in different years with different sampling strategies in two locations: Kawau Bay in North Island of New Zealand, and Port Pegasus in Stewart Island, off South Island of New Zealand; this last location was a priori expected to be nearly-pristine. Despite variability in sampling techniques and environmental settings, the approach proved effective and evidenced higher measures of Functional Integrity in the Port Pegasus location. This study introduces a first step to measure ecological integrity by successfully converting video data to surrogates of Functional Integrity, in a way expected to be habitat independent.

  13. Global Human Footprint on the Linkage between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Reef Fishes

    PubMed Central

    Mora, Camilo; Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio; Ayala Bocos, Arturo; Ayotte, Paula M.; Banks, Stuart; Bauman, Andrew G.; Beger, Maria; Bessudo, Sandra; Booth, David J.; Brokovich, Eran; Brooks, Andrew; Chabanet, Pascale; Cinner, Joshua E.; Cortés, Jorge; Cruz-Motta, Juan J.; Cupul Magaña, Amilcar; DeMartini, Edward E.; Edgar, Graham J.; Feary, David A.; Ferse, Sebastian C. A.; Friedlander, Alan M.; Gaston, Kevin J.; Gough, Charlotte; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Green, Alison; Guzman, Hector; Hardt, Marah; Kulbicki, Michel; Letourneur, Yves; López Pérez, Andres; Loreau, Michel; Loya, Yossi; Martinez, Camilo; Mascareñas-Osorio, Ismael; Morove, Tau; Nadon, Marc-Olivier; Nakamura, Yohei; Paredes, Gustavo; Polunin, Nicholas V. C.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Reyes Bonilla, Héctor; Rivera, Fernando; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A.; Soler, German; Stuart-Smith, Rick; Tessier, Emmanuel; Tittensor, Derek P.; Tupper, Mark; Usseglio, Paolo; Vigliola, Laurent; Wantiez, Laurent; Williams, Ivor; Wilson, Shaun K.; Zapata, Fernando A.

    2011-01-01

    Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a non-saturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs). Human effects were found to be related to fishing, coastal development, and land use stressors, and currently affect over 75% of the world's coral reefs. Our results indicate that the consequences of biodiversity loss in coral reefs have been considerably underestimated based on existing knowledge and that reef fish assemblages, particularly the most diverse, are greatly vulnerable to the expansion and intensity of anthropogenic stressors in coastal areas. PMID:21483714

  14. Phenological response of a key ecosystem function to biological invasion.

    PubMed

    Alp, Maria; Cucherousset, Julien; Buoro, Mathieu; Lecerf, Antoine

    2016-05-01

    Although climate warming has been widely demonstrated to induce shifts in the timing of many biological events, the phenological consequences of other prominent global change drivers remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effects of biological invasions on the seasonality of leaf litter decomposition, a crucial freshwater ecosystem function. Decomposition rates were quantified in 18 temperate shallow lakes distributed along a gradient of crayfish invasion and a temperature-based model was constructed to predict yearly patterns of decomposition. We found that, through direct detritus consumption, omnivorous invasive crayfish accelerated decomposition rates up to fivefold in spring, enhancing temperature dependence of the process and shortening the period of major detritus availability in the ecosystem by up to 39 days (95% CI: 15-61). The fact that our estimates are an order of magnitude higher than any previously reported climate-driven phenological shifts indicates that some powerful drivers of phenological change have been largely overlooked. PMID:26931804

  15. 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

  16. Spatial Pattern Enhances Ecosystem Functioning in an African Savanna

    PubMed Central

    Pringle, Robert M.; Doak, Daniel F.; Brody, Alison K.; Jocqué, Rudy; Palmer, Todd M.

    2010-01-01

    The finding that regular spatial patterns can emerge in nature from local interactions between organisms has prompted a search for the ecological importance of these patterns. Theoretical models have predicted that patterning may have positive emergent effects on fundamental ecosystem functions, such as productivity. We provide empirical support for this prediction. In dryland ecosystems, termite mounds are often hotspots of plant growth (primary productivity). Using detailed observations and manipulative experiments in an African savanna, we show that these mounds are also local hotspots of animal abundance (secondary and tertiary productivity): insect abundance and biomass decreased with distance from the nearest termite mound, as did the abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of insect-eating predators. Null-model analyses indicated that at the landscape scale, the evenly spaced distribution of termite mounds produced dramatically greater abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of consumers across trophic levels than would be obtained in landscapes with randomly distributed mounds. These emergent properties of spatial pattern arose because the average distance from an arbitrarily chosen point to the nearest feature in a landscape is minimized in landscapes where the features are hyper-dispersed (i.e., uniformly spaced). This suggests that the linkage between patterning and ecosystem functioning will be common to systems spanning the range of human management intensities. The centrality of spatial pattern to system-wide biomass accumulation underscores the need to conserve pattern-generating organisms and mechanisms, and to incorporate landscape patterning in efforts to restore degraded habitats and maximize the delivery of ecosystem services. PMID:20520846

  17. 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

  18. The Sphagnum microbiome supports bog ecosystem functioning under extreme conditions.

    PubMed

    Bragina, Anastasia; Oberauner-Wappis, Lisa; Zachow, Christin; Halwachs, Bettina; Thallinger, Gerhard G; Müller, Henry; Berg, Gabriele

    2014-09-01

    Sphagnum-dominated bogs represent a unique yet widely distributed type of terrestrial ecosystem and strongly contribute to global biosphere functioning. Sphagnum is colonized by highly diverse microbial communities, but less is known about their function. We identified a high functional diversity within the Sphagnum microbiome applying an Illumina-based metagenomic approach followed by de novo assembly and MG-RAST annotation. An interenvironmental comparison revealed that the Sphagnum microbiome harbours specific genetic features that distinguish it significantly from microbiomes of higher plants and peat soils. The differential traits especially support ecosystem functioning by a symbiotic lifestyle under poikilohydric and ombrotrophic conditions. To realise a plasticity-stability balance, we found abundant subsystems responsible to cope with oxidative and drought stresses, to exchange (mobile) genetic elements, and genes that encode for resistance to detrimental environmental factors, repair and self-controlling mechanisms. Multiple microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions were also found to play a crucial role as indicated by diverse genes necessary for biofilm formation, interaction via quorum sensing and nutrient exchange. A high proportion of genes involved in nitrogen cycle and recycling of organic material supported the role of bacteria for nutrient supply. 16S rDNA analysis indicated a higher structural diversity than that which had been previously detected using PCR-dependent techniques. Altogether, the diverse Sphagnum microbiome has the ability to support the life of the host plant and the entire ecosystem under changing environmental conditions. Beyond this, the moss microbiome presents a promising bio-resource for environmental biotechnology - with respect to novel enzymes or stress-protecting bacteria. PMID:25113243

  19. Soil restoration with organic amendments: linking cellular functionality and ecosystem processes

    PubMed Central

    Bastida, F.; Selevsek, N.; Torres, I. F.; Hernández, T.; García, C.

    2015-01-01

    A hot topic in recent decades, the application of organic amendments to arid-degraded soils has been shown to benefit microbially-mediated processes. However, despite the importance of soils for global sustainability, a gap has not been addressed yet in soil science: is there any connection between ecosystem-community processes, cellular functionality, and microbial lifestyles (i.e. oligotrophy-copiotrophy) in restored soils? Together with classical ecosystem indicators (fatty-acids, extracellular-enzyme activities, basal respiration), state-of-the-art metaproteomics was applied to fill this gap in a model-restoration experiment initiated 10-years ago by the addition of sewage-sludge and compost. Organic amendment strongly impacted ecosystem processes. Furthermore, the type of material used induced differences in the cellular functionalities through variations in the percentages of proteins involved in translation, transcription, energy production and C-fixation. We conclude that the long-term impact of organic restoration goes beyond ecosystem processes and affects cellular functionalities and phyla-lifestyles coupled with differences in microbial-community structures. PMID:26503516

  20. Soil restoration with organic amendments: linking cellular functionality and ecosystem processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bastida, F.; Selevsek, N.; Torres, I. F.; Hernández, T.; García, C.

    2015-10-01

    A hot topic in recent decades, the application of organic amendments to arid-degraded soils has been shown to benefit microbially-mediated processes. However, despite the importance of soils for global sustainability, a gap has not been addressed yet in soil science: is there any connection between ecosystem-community processes, cellular functionality, and microbial lifestyles (i.e. oligotrophy-copiotrophy) in restored soils? Together with classical ecosystem indicators (fatty-acids, extracellular-enzyme activities, basal respiration), state-of-the-art metaproteomics was applied to fill this gap in a model-restoration experiment initiated 10-years ago by the addition of sewage-sludge and compost. Organic amendment strongly impacted ecosystem processes. Furthermore, the type of material used induced differences in the cellular functionalities through variations in the percentages of proteins involved in translation, transcription, energy production and C-fixation. We conclude that the long-term impact of organic restoration goes beyond ecosystem processes and affects cellular functionalities and phyla-lifestyles coupled with differences in microbial-community structures.

  1. Soil restoration with organic amendments: linking cellular functionality and ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Bastida, F; Selevsek, N; Torres, I F; Hernández, T; García, C

    2015-01-01

    A hot topic in recent decades, the application of organic amendments to arid-degraded soils has been shown to benefit microbially-mediated processes. However, despite the importance of soils for global sustainability, a gap has not been addressed yet in soil science: is there any connection between ecosystem-community processes, cellular functionality, and microbial lifestyles (i.e. oligotrophy-copiotrophy) in restored soils? Together with classical ecosystem indicators (fatty-acids, extracellular-enzyme activities, basal respiration), state-of-the-art metaproteomics was applied to fill this gap in a model-restoration experiment initiated 10-years ago by the addition of sewage-sludge and compost. Organic amendment strongly impacted ecosystem processes. Furthermore, the type of material used induced differences in the cellular functionalities through variations in the percentages of proteins involved in translation, transcription, energy production and C-fixation. We conclude that the long-term impact of organic restoration goes beyond ecosystem processes and affects cellular functionalities and phyla-lifestyles coupled with differences in microbial-community structures. PMID:26503516

  2. Land use intensification alters ecosystem multifunctionality via loss of biodiversity and changes to functional composition.

    PubMed

    Allan, Eric; Manning, Pete; Alt, Fabian; Binkenstein, Julia; Blaser, Stefan; Blüthgen, Nico; Böhm, Stefan; Grassein, Fabrice; Hölzel, Norbert; Klaus, Valentin H; Kleinebecker, Till; Morris, E Kathryn; Oelmann, Yvonne; Prati, Daniel; Renner, Swen C; Rillig, Matthias C; Schaefer, Martin; Schloter, Michael; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily; Sorkau, Elisabeth; Steckel, Juliane; Steffen-Dewenter, Ingolf; Stempfhuber, Barbara; Tschapka, Marco; Weiner, Christiane N; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Werner, Michael; Westphal, Catrin; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Fischer, Markus

    2015-08-01

    Global change, especially land-use intensification, affects human well-being by impacting the delivery of multiple ecosystem services (multifunctionality). However, whether biodiversity loss is a major component of global change effects on multifunctionality in real-world ecosystems, as in experimental ones, remains unclear. Therefore, we assessed biodiversity, functional composition and 14 ecosystem services on 150 agricultural grasslands differing in land-use intensity. We also introduce five multifunctionality measures in which ecosystem services were weighted according to realistic land-use objectives. We found that indirect land-use effects, i.e. those mediated by biodiversity loss and by changes to functional composition, were as strong as direct effects on average. Their strength varied with land-use objectives and regional context. Biodiversity loss explained indirect effects in a region of intermediate productivity and was most damaging when land-use objectives favoured supporting and cultural services. In contrast, functional composition shifts, towards fast-growing plant species, strongly increased provisioning services in more inherently unproductive grasslands. PMID:26096863

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

    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 · τE · ?, where U is ecosystem carbon influx, τE is ecosystem carbon residence time, and τ1 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 (λ) 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°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.

  4. Ecosystem carbon storage capacity as affected by disturbance regimes: a general theoretical model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weng, E.; Luo, Y.; Wang, W.; Wang, H.; Hayes, D. J.; McGuire, A. D.; Hastings, A.; Schimel, D.

    2012-12-01

    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]=UτE λ/(λ+sτ1) , where U is ecosystem carbon influx, τE is ecosystem carbon residence time, and τ1 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 (λ) 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°N) if fire disturbance intensity increases around 5.7 time the current intensity to the end of 21st century, which will require around 12% increases in 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Microbial composition affects the functioning of estuarine sediments

    PubMed Central

    Reed, Heather E; Martiny, Jennifer BH

    2013-01-01

    Although microorganisms largely drive many ecosystem processes, the relationship between microbial composition and their functioning remains unclear. To tease apart the effects of composition and the environment directly, microbial composition must be manipulated and maintained, ideally in a natural ecosystem. In this study, we aimed to test whether variability in microbial composition affects functional processes in a field setting, by reciprocally transplanting riverbed sediments between low- and high-salinity locations along the Nonesuch River (Maine, USA). We placed the sediments into microbial ‘cages' to prevent the migration of microorganisms, while allowing the sediments to experience the abiotic conditions of the surroundings. We performed two experiments, short- (1 week) and long-term (7 weeks) reciprocal transplants, after which we assayed a variety of functional processes in the cages. In both experiments, we examined the composition of bacteria generally (targeting the 16S rDNA gene) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) specifically (targeting the dsrAB gene) using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). In the short-term experiment, sediment processes (CO2 production, CH4 flux, nitrification and enzyme activities) depended on both the sediment's origin (reflecting differences in microbial composition between salt and freshwater sediments) and the surrounding environment. In the long-term experiment, general bacterial composition (but not SRB composition) shifted in response to their new environment, and this composition was significantly correlated with sediment functioning. Further, sediment origin had a diminished effect, relative to the short-term experiment, on sediment processes. Overall, this study provides direct evidence that microbial composition directly affects functional processes in these sediments. PMID:23235294

  7. Functional consequences of realistic biodiversity changes in a marine ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Bracken, Matthew E. S.; Friberg, Sara E.; Gonzalez-Dorantes, Cirse A.; Williams, Susan L.

    2008-01-01

    Declines in biodiversity have prompted concern over the consequences of species loss for the goods and services provided by natural ecosystems. However, relatively few studies have evaluated the functional consequences of realistic, nonrandom changes in biodiversity. Instead, most designs have used randomly selected assemblages from a local species pool to construct diversity gradients. It is therefore difficult, based on current evidence, to predict the functional consequences of realistic declines in biodiversity. In this study, we used tide pool microcosms to demonstrate that the effects of real-world changes in biodiversity may be very different from those of random diversity changes. Specifically, we measured the relationship between the diversity of a seaweed assemblage and its ability to use nitrogen, a key limiting nutrient in nearshore marine systems. We quantified nitrogen uptake using both experimental and model seaweed assemblages and found that natural increases in diversity resulted in enhanced rates of nitrogen use, whereas random diversity changes had no effect on nitrogen uptake. Our results suggest that understanding the real-world consequences of declining biodiversity will require addressing changes in species performance along natural diversity gradients and understanding the relationships between species' susceptibility to loss and their contributions to ecosystem functioning. PMID:18195375

  8. Synergy of extreme drought and shrub invasion reduce ecosystem functioning and resilience in water-limited climates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caldeira, Maria C.; Lecomte, Xavier; David, Teresa S.; Pinto, Joaquim G.; Bugalho, Miguel N.; Werner, Christiane

    2015-10-01

    Extreme drought events and plant invasions are major drivers of global change that can critically affect ecosystem functioning and alter ecosystem-atmosphere exchange. Invaders are expanding worldwide and extreme drought events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. However, very little is known on how these drivers may interact to affect the functioning and resilience of ecosystems to extreme events. Using a manipulative shrub removal experiment and the co-occurrence of an extreme drought event (2011/2012) in a Mediterranean woodland, we show that native shrub invasion and extreme drought synergistically reduced ecosystem transpiration and the resilience of key-stone oak tree species. Ecosystem transpiration was dominated by the water use of the invasive shrub Cistus ladanifer, which further increased after the extreme drought event. Meanwhile, the transpiration of key-stone tree species decreased, indicating a competitive advantage in favour of the invader. Our results suggest that in Mediterranean-type climates the invasion of water spending species and projected recurrent extreme drought events may synergistically cause critical drought tolerance thresholds of key-stone tree species to be surpassed, corroborating observed higher tree mortality in the invaded ecosystems. Ultimately, this may shift seasonally water limited ecosystems into less desirable alternative states dominated by water spending invasive shrubs.

  9. Synergy of extreme drought and shrub invasion reduce ecosystem functioning and resilience in water-limited climates

    PubMed Central

    Caldeira, Maria C.; Lecomte, Xavier; David, Teresa S.; Pinto, Joaquim G.; Bugalho, Miguel N.; Werner, Christiane

    2015-01-01

    Extreme drought events and plant invasions are major drivers of global change that can critically affect ecosystem functioning and alter ecosystem-atmosphere exchange. Invaders are expanding worldwide and extreme drought events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. However, very little is known on how these drivers may interact to affect the functioning and resilience of ecosystems to extreme events. Using a manipulative shrub removal experiment and the co-occurrence of an extreme drought event (2011/2012) in a Mediterranean woodland, we show that native shrub invasion and extreme drought synergistically reduced ecosystem transpiration and the resilience of key-stone oak tree species. Ecosystem transpiration was dominated by the water use of the invasive shrub Cistus ladanifer, which further increased after the extreme drought event. Meanwhile, the transpiration of key-stone tree species decreased, indicating a competitive advantage in favour of the invader. Our results suggest that in Mediterranean-type climates the invasion of water spending species and projected recurrent extreme drought events may synergistically cause critical drought tolerance thresholds of key-stone tree species to be surpassed, corroborating observed higher tree mortality in the invaded ecosystems. Ultimately, this may shift seasonally water limited ecosystems into less desirable alternative states dominated by water spending invasive shrubs. PMID:26461978

  10. Synergy of extreme drought and shrub invasion reduce ecosystem functioning and resilience in water-limited climates.

    PubMed

    Caldeira, Maria C; Lecomte, Xavier; David, Teresa S; Pinto, Joaquim G; Bugalho, Miguel N; Werner, Christiane

    2015-01-01

    Extreme drought events and plant invasions are major drivers of global change that can critically affect ecosystem functioning and alter ecosystem-atmosphere exchange. Invaders are expanding worldwide and extreme drought events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. However, very little is known on how these drivers may interact to affect the functioning and resilience of ecosystems to extreme events. Using a manipulative shrub removal experiment and the co-occurrence of an extreme drought event (2011/2012) in a Mediterranean woodland, we show that native shrub invasion and extreme drought synergistically reduced ecosystem transpiration and the resilience of key-stone oak tree species. Ecosystem transpiration was dominated by the water use of the invasive shrub Cistus ladanifer, which further increased after the extreme drought event. Meanwhile, the transpiration of key-stone tree species decreased, indicating a competitive advantage in favour of the invader. Our results suggest that in Mediterranean-type climates the invasion of water spending species and projected recurrent extreme drought events may synergistically cause critical drought tolerance thresholds of key-stone tree species to be surpassed, corroborating observed higher tree mortality in the invaded ecosystems. Ultimately, this may shift seasonally water limited ecosystems into less desirable alternative states dominated by water spending invasive shrubs. PMID:26461978

  11. 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

  12. Re-connecting Urban Ecohydrology to Improve Ecosystem Functioning: The Role of Local-scale Green Infrastructure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pavao-Zuckerman, M.

    2010-12-01

    As rates of urbanization continue to rise and a greater proportion of the population lives in urban and suburban areas, the provision of ecological services and functions become increasingly important to sustain human and environmental health in urban ecosystems. Soils play a primary role in the healthy functioning of ecosystems that provide supporting, provisioning, regulating, preserving, and cultural ecosystem services, yet developing our understanding of how urban soils function to provide these services within an ecological context is just getting underway. Soils in urban ecosytems are highly heterogeneous, and are affected by both direct and indirect influences and local modifications which alter their functioning relative to non-urbanized local soils. Here I discuss the functioning of rain gardens in and around Tucson, AZ, that have been installed in the urban landscape with the purpose of providing various ecosystem services to local residents and the greater urban ecosystem. This reconnection of ecohydrologic flows in the city has the potential to alter the structure and function of urban ecosystems in positive (through the increase in water availability) and negative (through the import of pollutants to soils) ways. This study compares soil properties, microbial function, and ecosystem functions within the urban ecosystem to determine how urbanization alters soils in semi-arid environments, and to determine if green urban modifications in desert cities can improve soils and ecosystem services. Soils in rain gardens have nearly twice the organic matter contents of native and urban soils, and correspondingly, greater microbial function (as indicated through respiration potential), higher abundance (through substrate induced respiration), and community complexity (indicated by a 3x increase in metabolic diversity) in these green design modifications. Net N-mineralization rates are almost 1.5 times faster in the rain garden basins than urban soils in general

  13. How mental stress affects endothelial function.

    PubMed

    Toda, Noboru; Nakanishi-Toda, Megumi

    2011-12-01

    Mental stress is an important factor contributing to recognized mechanisms underlying cardiovascular events. Among these, stress-related endothelial dysfunction is an early risk factor that predicts future development of severe cardiovascular disorders. Acute mental stress by a variety of tests impairs endothelial function in humans, although the opposite results have been reported by some investigators. Chronic stress always deteriorates endothelial function in humans and experimental animals. Stress hormones, such as glucocorticoids and pro-inflammatory cytokines, and endothelin-1 liberated in response to mental stress participate in endothelial dysfunction possibly via downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression, eNOS inactivation, decreased nitric oxide (NO) actions, and increased NO degradation, together with vasoconstriction counteracting against NO-induced vasodilatation. Catecholamines do not directly affect endothelial function but impair its function when blood pressure elevation by the amines is sustained. Endogenous opioids favorably affect endothelial function, which counteract deteriorating effects of other stress hormones and mediators. Inhibition of cortisol and endothelin-1 production, prevention of pro-inflammatory mediator accumulation, hypnotics, mirthful laughter, humor orientation, and lifestyle modification would contribute to the prevention and treatment for stress-related endothelial dysfunction and future serious cardiovascular disease. PMID:21947555

  14. The role of local scale heterogeneities in terrestrial ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pappas, C.; Fatichi, S.; Rimkus, S.; Burlando, P.; Bugmann, H.; Huber, M.

    2013-12-01

    The coarse-grained spatial representation of many terrestrial ecosystem models hampers the importance of local scale heterogeneities. To discuss this issue, we combine a range of observations (forest inventories, eddy flux tower data, remote sensing products) and modeling approaches which allow us to investigate the role of local climate, topography and initial conditions (land cover and soil properties) when simulating vegetation dynamics. Three approaches for modeling terrestrial ecosystems, with contrasting degrees of abstraction, were selected: (i) LPJ, a well-established, area-based, Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (DGVM) that incorporates plant physiological and biogeochemical processes; (ii) LPJ-GUESS, a hybrid, individual-based approach that additionally considers more detailed processes of plant population dynamics; and (iii) D-LPJ, a spatially distributed version of LPJ, operating at a fine resolution (100m x 100m), which uses an enhanced hydrological representation accounting for lateral connectivity of surface and subsurface water fluxes. By confronting model simulations with a multivariate data-set available at the catchment scale, we argue that: (i) local environmental and topographic attributes that are often ignored or at best crudely represented within DGVM applications exert a strong control on terrestrial ecosystem functioning; (ii) the assumption of steady-state vegetation and soil carbon pools at the beginning of simulation studies (e.g., under 'current conditions'), as embedded in many DGVM applications, is in contradiction with the current state of many forests that, due to natural or anthropogenic disturbances, are often out of equilibrium; (iii) model evaluation against vegetation carbon fluxes (i.e., photosynthetic activity and respiration rates) does not imply an accurate simulation of vegetation carbon stocks (i.e., biomass). In addition, having gained insights about model performance at the catchment scale, where a wealth of information

  15. Revealing turning points in ecosystem functioning over the Northern Eurasian agricultural frontier.

    PubMed

    Horion, Stéphanie; Prishchepov, Alexander V; Verbesselt, Jan; de Beurs, Kirsten; Tagesson, Torbern; Fensholt, Rasmus

    2016-08-01

    The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 has been a turning point in the World history that left a unique footprint on the Northern Eurasian ecosystems. Conducting large scale mapping of environmental change and separating between naturogenic and anthropogenic drivers is a difficult endeavor in such highly complex systems. In this research a piece-wise linear regression method was used for breakpoint detection in Rain-Use Efficiency (RUE) time series and a classification of ecosystem response types was produced. Supported by earth observation data, field data, and expert knowledge, this study provides empirical evidence regarding the occurrence of drastic changes in RUE (assessment of the timing, the direction and the significance of these changes) in Northern Eurasian ecosystems between 1982 and 2011. About 36% of the study area (3.4 million km(2) ) showed significant (P < 0.05) trends and/or turning points in RUE during the observation period. A large proportion of detected turning points in RUE occurred around the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in the following years which were attributed to widespread agricultural land abandonment. Our study also showed that recurrent droughts deeply affected vegetation productivity throughout the observation period, with a general worsening of the drought conditions in recent years. Moreover, recent human-induced turning points in ecosystem functioning were detected and attributed to ongoing recultivation and change in irrigation practices in the Volgograd region, and to increased salinization and increased grazing intensity around Lake Balkhash. The ecosystem-state assessment method introduced here proved to be a valuable support that highlighted hotspots of potentially altered ecosystems and allowed for disentangling human from climatic disturbances. PMID:26929395

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  17. Bird functional diversity decreases with time since disturbance: Does patchy prescribed fire enhance ecosystem function?.

    PubMed

    Sitters, Holly; Di Stefano, Julian; Christie, Fiona; Swan, Matthew; York, Alan

    2016-01-01

    Animal species diversity is often associated with time since disturbance, but the effects of disturbances such as fire on functional diversity are unknown. Functional diversity measures the range, abundance, and distribution of trait values in a community, and links changes in species composition with the consequences for ecosystem function. Improved understanding of the relationship between time since fire (TSF) and functional diversity is critical given that the frequency of both prescribed fire and wildfire is expected to increase. To address this knowledge gap, we examined responses of avian functional diversity to TSF and two direct measures of environmental heterogeneity, plant diversity, and structural heterogeneity. We surveyed birds across a 70-year chronosequence spanning four vegetation types in southeast Australia. Six bird functional traits were used to derive four functional diversity indices (richness, evenness, divergence, and dispersion) and the effects of TSF, plant diversity and structural heterogeneity on species richness and the functional diversity indices were examined using mixed models. We used a regression tree method to identify traits associated with species more common in young vegetation. Functional richness and dispersion were negatively associated with TSF in all vegetation types, suggesting that recent prescribed fire generates heterogeneous vegetation and provides greater opportunities for resource partitioning. Species richness was not significantly associated with TSF, and is probably an unreliable surrogate for functional diversity in fire-prone systems. A positive, relationship between functional evenness and structural heterogeneity was comnon to all vegetation types, suggesting that fine-scale (tens of meters) structural variation can enhance ecosystem function. Species more common in young vegetation were primarily linked by their specialist diets, indicating that ecosystem services such as seed dispersal and insect control

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Size-dependent species removal impairs ecosystem functioning in a large-scale tropical field experiment.

    PubMed

    Dangles, Olivier; Carpio, Carlos; Woodward, Guy

    2012-12-01

    A major challenge of ecological research is to assess the functional consequences of species richness loss over time and space in global biodiversity hotspots, where extinctions are happening at an unprecedented rate. To address this issue, greater realism needs to be incorporated into both conceptual and experimental approaches. Here we propose a conceptual model that incorporates body size as a critical aspect of community responses to environmental change, which we tested in the Western Amazonian rain forest, one of the most speciose ecosystems on the planet. We employed an exclosure removal experiment (replicated under 10 microhabitats and four climatic conditions) in which we manipulated access to two types of resource by the whole community of dung and carrion beetles (> 60 species), depending on their size. Our 400 independent measurements revealed that changes in the number of species and functional groups, and temporal patterns in community composition, all affected resource burial rates, a key ecosystem process. Further, the functional contribution of species diversity in each size class was tightly dependent on beetle abundance, and while the role of large species could be performed by abundant smaller ones, and other naturally occurring decomposers, this was not the case when environmental conditions were harsher. These results demonstrate, for the first time in an animal assemblage in a tropical ecosystem, that although species may appear functionally redundant under one set of environmental conditions, many species would be needed to maintain ecosystem functioning at multiple temporal and spatial scales. This highlights the potential fragility of these systems to the ongoing global "Sixth Great Extinction," whose effects are likely to be especially pronounced in the Tropics. PMID:23431592

  20. Estrogen treatment affects brain functioning after menopause.

    PubMed

    Bayer, Ulrike; Hausmann, Markus

    2011-12-01

    Sex hormones have powerful neuromodulatory effects on functional brain organization and cognitive functioning. This paper reviews findings from studies investigating the influence of sex hormones in postmenopausal women with and without hormone therapy (HT). Functional brain organization was investigated using different behavioural tasks in postmenopausal women using either estrogen therapy or combined estrogen plus gestagen therapy and age- and IQ-matched postmenopausal women not taking HT. The results revealed HT-related modulations in specific aspects of functional brain organization including functional cerebral asymmetries and interhemispheric interaction. In contrast to younger women during the menstrual cycle, however, it seems that HT, and especially estrogen therapy, after menopause affects intrahemispheric processing rather than interhemispheric interaction. This might be explained by a faster and more pronounced age-related decline in intrahemispheric relative to interhemispheric functioning, which might be associated with higher sensitivity to HT. Taken together, the findings suggest that the female brain retains its plasticity even after reproductive age and remains susceptible to the effects of sex hormones throughout the lifetime, which might help to discover new clinical approaches in the hormonal treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. PMID:22120942

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  2. Spatial Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Functions and Services using Human Relating Factors for SDG

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Song, C.; Lee, W. K.; Jeon, S. W.; Kim, T.; Lim, C. H.

    2015-12-01

    Application of ecosystem service concept in environmental related decision making could be numerical and objective standard for policy maker between preserving and developing perspective of environment. However, pursuing maximum benefit from natural capital through ecosystem services caused failure by losing ecosystem functions through its trade-offs. Therefore, difference between ecosystem functions and services were demonstrated and would apply human relating perspectives. Assessment results of ecosystem functions and services can be divided 3 parts. Tree growth per year set as the ecosystem function factor and indicated through so called pure function map. After that, relating functions can be driven such as water conservation, air pollutant purification, climate change regulation, and timber production. Overall process and amount are numerically quantified. These functional results can be transferred to ecosystem services by multiplying economic unit value, so function reflecting service maps can be generated. On the other hand, above services, to implement more reliable human demand, human reflecting service maps are also be developed. As the validation, quantified ecosystem functions are compared with former results through pixel based analysis. Three maps are compared, and through comparing difference between ecosystem function and services and inversed trends in function based and human based service are analysed. In this study, we could find differences in PF, FRS, and HRS in relation to based ecosystem conditions. This study suggests that the differences in PF, FRS, and HRS should be understood in the decision making process for sustainable management of ecosystem services. Although the analysis is based on in sort existing process separation, it is important to consider the possibility of different usage of ecosystem function assessment results and ecosystem service assessment results in SDG policy making. Furthermore, process based functional approach

  3. Ecosystem Function in Appalachian Headwater Streams during an Active Invasion by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

    PubMed Central

    Northington, Robert M.; Webster, Jackson R.; Benfield, Ernest F.; Cheever, Beth M.; Niederlehner, Barbara R.

    2013-01-01

    Forested ecosystems in the southeastern United States are currently undergoing an invasion by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Previous studies in this area have shown changes to forest structure, decreases in canopy cover, increases in organic matter, and changes to nutrient cycling on the forest floor and soil. Here, we were interested in how the effects of canopy loss and nutrient leakage from terrestrial areas would translate into functional changes in streams draining affected watersheds. We addressed these questions in HWA-infested watersheds at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in North Carolina. Specifically, we measured stream metabolism (gross primary production and ecosystem respiration) and nitrogen uptake from 2008 to 2011 in five streams across the Coweeta basin. Over the course of our study, we found no change to in-stream nutrient concentrations. While canopy cover decreased annually in these watersheds, this change in light penetration did not translate to higher rates of in-stream primary production during the summer months of our study. We found a trend towards greater heterotrophy within our watersheds, where in-stream respiration accounted for a much larger component of net ecosystem production than GPP. Additionally, increases in rhododendron cover may counteract changes in light and nutrient availability that occurred with hemlock loss. The variability in our metabolic and uptake parameters suggests an actively-infested ecosystem in transition between steady states. PMID:23613803

  4. Soil ecosystem function under native and exotic plant assemblages as alternative states of successional grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spirito, Florencia; Yahdjian, Laura; Tognetti, Pedro M.; Chaneton, Enrique J.

    2014-01-01

    Old fields often become dominated by exotic plants establishing persistent community states. Ecosystem functioning may differ widely between such novel communities and the native-dominated counterparts. We evaluated soil ecosystem attributes in native and exotic (synthetic) grass assemblages established on a newly abandoned field, and in remnants of native grassland in the Inland Pampa, Argentina. We asked whether exotic species alter soil functioning through the quality of the litter they shed or by changing the decomposition environment. Litter decomposition of the exotic dominant Festuca arundinacea in exotic assemblages was faster than that of the native dominant Paspalum quadrifarium in native assemblages and remnant grasslands. Decomposition of a standard litter (Triticum aestivum) was also faster in exotic assemblages than in native assemblages and remnant grasslands. In a common garden, F. arundinacea showed higher decay rates than P. quadrifarium, which reflected the higher N content and lower C:N of the exotic grass litter. Soil respiration rates were higher in the exotic than in the native assemblages and remnant grasslands. Yet there were no significant differences in soil N availability or net N mineralization between exotic and native assemblages. Our results suggest that exotic grass dominance affected ecosystem function by producing a more decomposable leaf litter and by increasing soil decomposer activity. These changes might contribute to the extended dominance of fast-growing exotic grasses during old-field succession. Further, increased organic matter turnover under novel, exotic communities could reduce the carbon storage capacity of the system in the long term.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korrensalo, A.

    2015-12-01

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

  6. Adding ecosystem function to agent-based land use models

    PubMed Central

    Yadav, V.; Del Grosso, S.J.; Parton, W.J.; Malanson, G.P.

    2015-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to examine issues in the inclusion of simulations of ecosystem functions in agent-based models of land use decision-making. The reasons for incorporating these simulations include local interests in land fertility and global interests in carbon sequestration. Biogeochemical models are needed in order to calculate such fluxes. The Century model is described with particular attention to the land use choices that it can encompass. When Century is applied to a land use problem the combinatorial choices lead to a potentially unmanageable number of simulation runs. Century is also parameter-intensive. Three ways of including Century output in agent-based models, ranging from separately calculated look-up tables to agents running Century within the simulation, are presented. The latter may be most efficient, but it moves the computing costs to where they are most problematic. Concern for computing costs should not be a roadblock. PMID:26191077

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Biophysical interactions in fluvial ecosystems: effects of submerged aquatic macrophytes on hydro-morphological processes and ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cornacchia, Loreta; Davies, Grieg; Grabowski, Robert; van der Wal, Daphne; van de Koppel, Johan; Wharton, Geraldene; Bouma, Tjeerd

    2016-04-01

    Strong mutual interactions occur at the interface between biota and physical processes in biogeomorphic ecosystems, possibly resulting in self-organized spatial patterns. While these interactions and feedbacks have been increasingly studied in a wide range of landscapes previously, they are still poorly understood in lower energy fluvial systems. Consequently, their impact on the functioning of aquatic ecosystems is largely unknown. In this study we investigate the role of aquatic macrophytes as biological engineers of flow and sediment in lowland streams dominated by water crowfoot (Ranunculus spp.). Using field measurements from two annual growth cycles, we demonstrate that seasonally-changing macrophyte cover maintains relative constant flow rates, both within and between vegetation, despite temporal changes in channel flow discharge. By means of a mathematical model representing the interaction between hydrodynamics and vegetation dynamics, we reveal that scale-dependent feedbacks between plant growth and flow redistribution explain the influence of macrophytes on stabilizing flow rates. Our analysis reveals important implications for ecosystem functions. The creation of fast-flowing channels allows an adequate conveyance of water throughout the annual cycle; yet, patches also have a significant influence on sediment dynamics leading to heterogeneous habitats, thereby facilitating other species. As a last step we investigate the consequences on stream ecosystem functioning, by exploring the relationship between changes in macrophyte cover and the provision of different ecosystem functions (e.g. water conveyance, sediment trapping). Our results highlight that self-organization promotes the combination of multiple ecosystem functions through its effects on hydrological and morphological processes within biogeomorphic ecosystems.

  10. Calibration of two complex ecosystem models with different likelihood functions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hidy, Dóra; Haszpra, László; Pintér, Krisztina; Nagy, Zoltán; Barcza, Zoltán

    2014-05-01

    The biosphere is a sensitive carbon reservoir. Terrestrial ecosystems were approximately carbon neutral during the past centuries, but they became net carbon sinks due to climate change induced environmental change and associated CO2 fertilization effect of the atmosphere. Model studies and measurements indicate that the biospheric carbon sink can saturate in the future due to ongoing climate change which can act as a positive feedback. Robustness of carbon cycle models is a key issue when trying to choose the appropriate model for decision support. The input parameters of the process-based models are decisive regarding the model output. At the same time there are several input parameters for which accurate values are hard to obtain directly from experiments or no local measurements are available. Due to the uncertainty associated with the unknown model parameters significant bias can be experienced if the model is used to simulate the carbon and nitrogen cycle components of different ecosystems. In order to improve model performance the unknown model parameters has to be estimated. We developed a multi-objective, two-step calibration method based on Bayesian approach in order to estimate the unknown parameters of PaSim and Biome-BGC models. Biome-BGC and PaSim are a widely used biogeochemical models that simulate the storage and flux of water, carbon, and nitrogen between the ecosystem and the atmosphere, and within the components of the terrestrial ecosystems (in this research the developed version of Biome-BGC is used which is referred as BBGC MuSo). Both models were calibrated regardless the simulated processes and type of model parameters. The calibration procedure is based on the comparison of measured data with simulated results via calculating a likelihood function (degree of goodness-of-fit between simulated and measured data). In our research different likelihood function formulations were used in order to examine the effect of the different model

  11. Functional ecomorphology: Feedbacks between form and function in fluvial landscape ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisher, Stuart G.; Heffernan, James B.; Sponseller, Ryan A.; Welter, Jill R.

    2007-09-01

    The relationship between form and function has been a central organizing principle in biology throughout its history as a formal science. This concept has been relevant from molecules to organisms but loses meaning at population and community levels where study targets are abstract collectives and assemblages. Ecosystems include organisms and abiotic factors but ecosystem ecology too has developed until recently without a strong spatially explicit reference. Landscape ecology provides an opportunity to once again anneal form and function and to consider reciprocal causation between them. This ecomorphologic view can be applied at a variety of ecologically relevant scales and consists of an investigation of how geomorphology provides a structural template that shapes, and is shaped by ecological processes. Running water ecosystems illustrate several principles governing the interaction of landscape form and ecological function subsumed by the concept of "Functional Ecomorphology". Particularly lucrative are ecosystem-level interactions between geologic form and biogeochemical processes integrated by hydrologic flowpaths. While the utility of a flowpath-based approach is most apparent in streams, spatially explicit biogeochemical processing pervades all landscapes and may be of general ecological application.

  12. Ecosystem engineering by invasive exotic beavers reduces in-stream diversity and enhances ecosystem function in Cape Horn, Chile.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Christopher B; Rosemond, Amy D

    2007-11-01

    Species invasions are of global significance, but predicting their impacts can be difficult. Introduced ecosystem engineers, however, provide an opportunity to test the underlying mechanisms that may be common to all invasive engineers and link relationships between changes in diversity and ecosystem function, thereby providing explanatory power for observed ecological patterns. Here we test specific predictions for an invasive ecosystem engineer by quantifying the impacts of habitat and resource modifications caused by North American beavers (Castor canadensis) on aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure and stream ecosystem function in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile. We compared responses to beavers in three habitat types: (1) forested (unimpacted) stream reaches, (2) beaver ponds, and (3) sites immediately downstream of beaver dams in four streams. We found that beaver engineering in ponds created taxonomically simplified, but more productive, benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Specifically, macroinvertebrate richness, diversity and number of functional feeding groups were reduced by half, while abundance, biomass and secondary production increased three- to fivefold in beaver ponds compared to forested sites. Reaches downstream of beaver ponds were very similar to natural forested sections. Beaver invasion effects on both community and ecosystem parameters occurred predominantly via increased retention of fine particulate organic matter, which was associated with reduced macroinvertebrate richness and diversity (via homogenization of benthic microhabitat) and increased macroinvertebrate biomass and production (via greater food availability). Beaver modifications to macroinvertebrate community structure were largely confined to ponds, but increased benthic production in beaver-modified habitats adds to energy retention and flow for the entire stream ecosystem. Furthermore, the effects of beavers on taxa richness (negative) and measures of

  13. Landscape Degradation in Australian Semiarid Shrublands: Variations in Hydrological Connectivity Indicate Abrupt Changes in Ecosystem Functionality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreno de las Heras, M.; Saco, P. M.; Willgoose, G. R.

    2012-04-01

    Dryland vegetation frequently shows self-organized spatial patterns as mosaic-like structures of sources (bare areas) and sinks (vegetation patches) of water runoff and sediments with variable interconnection. Good examples are banded shrublands displayed by Mulga (Acacia aneura F. Muell) in semiarid Australia, where the spatial organization of vegetation optimizes the redistribution and use of water (and other scarce resources) at the landscape scale. The spatial structure of vegetation has therefore important implications for the resilience of these ecosystems, and is particularly relevant for the detection of landscape degradation processes in the present context of both climate and anthropogenic pressures. In fact, disturbances can disrupt the spatial distribution of vegetation causing a substantial loss of water by increasing landscape hydrological connectivity and consequently, affecting ecosystem function (e.g. decreasing the rainfall-use efficiency of the landscape). We analyze (i) hydrological connectivity trends obtained from coupled analysis of remotely sensed vegetation patterns and terrain elevations in several Mulga landscapes near Alice Springs (Northern Territory, Australia) subjected to different levels of disturbance, and (ii) the rainfall-use efficiency of these landscapes, exploring the relationship between rainfall and remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The analysis of the NDVI data series indicates that small reductions in the fractional cover of vegetation near a particular threshold can cause abrupt changes in ecosystem function, driven by large non-linear increases in the length of the connected flowpaths within the landscapes. In addition, simulations with simple vegetation patch thinning algorithms show that these non-linear responses are especially sensitive to the type of disturbance, suggesting that the amount of alterations that an ecosystem can absorb and still remain functional largely depends on

  14. 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.

  15. Can lifestyle modification affect men's erectile function?

    PubMed

    Hehemann, Marah C; Kashanian, James A

    2016-04-01

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition affecting millions of men worldwide. The pathophysiology and epidemiologic links between ED and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well-established. Lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, dietary modification, physical activity, and psychological stress reduction have been increasingly recognized as foundational to the prevention and treatment of ED. The aim of this review is to outline behavioral choices which may increase ones risk of developing ED, to present relevant studies addressing lifestyle factors correlated with ED, and to highlight proposed mechanisms for intervention aimed at improving erectile function in men with ED. These recommendations can provide a framework for counseling patients with ED about lifestyle modification. PMID:27141445

  16. Science and Measurement Requirements for a Plant Physiology and Functional Types Mission: Measuring the Composition, Function and Health of Global Land and Coastal Ocean Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, Robert O.; Rogez, Francois; Green, Rob; Ungar, Steve; Knox, Robert; Asner, Greg; Muller-Karger, Frank; Bissett, Paul; Chekalyuk, Alex; Dierssen, Heidi; Gamon, John; Hook, Simon; Meister, Gerhard; Middleton, Betsy; Ollinger, Scott; Roberts, Dar; Siegel, Dave; Townsend, Phil; Saatchi, Sassan; Unstin, Susan; Turner, Woody; Wickland, Diane; Bontempi, Paula; Emanuel, Bill

    2007-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the proposed Plant Physiology and Functional Types (PPFT) Mission. The National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey, placed a critical priority on a Mission to observe distribution and changes in ecosystem functions. The PPFT satellite mission provides the essential measurements needed to assess drivers of change in biodiversity and ecosystem services that affect human welfare. The presentation reviews the science questions that the mission will be designed to answer, the science rationale, the science measurements, the mission concept, the planned instrumentation, the calibration method, and key signal to noise ratios and uniformity requirements.

  17. Herbivorous fishes, ecosystem function and mobile links on coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Welsh, J. Q.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2014-06-01

    Understanding large-scale movement of ecologically important taxa is key to both species and ecosystem management. Those species responsible for maintaining functional connectivity between habitats are often called mobile links and are regarded as essential elements of resilience. By providing connectivity, they support resilience across spatial scales. Most marine organisms, including fishes, have long-term, biogeographic-scale connectivity through larval movement. Although most reef species are highly site attached after larval settlement, some taxa may also be able to provide rapid, reef-scale connectivity as adults. On coral reefs, the identity of such taxa and the extent of their mobility are not yet known. We use acoustic telemetry to monitor the movements of Kyphosus vaigiensis, one of the few reef fishes that feeds on adult brown macroalgae. Unlike other benthic herbivorous fish species, it also exhibits large-scale (>2 km) movements. Individual K. vaigiensis cover, on average, a 2.5 km length of reef (11 km maximum) each day. These large-scale movements suggest that this species may act as a mobile link, providing functional connectivity, should the need arise, and helping to support functional processes across habitats and spatial scales. An analysis of published studies of home ranges in reef fishes found a consistent relationship between home range size and body length. K. vaigiensis is the sole herbivore to depart significantly from the expected home range-body size relationship, with home range sizes more comparable to exceptionally mobile large pelagic predators rather than other reef herbivores. While the large-scale movements of K. vaigiensis reveal its potential capacity to enhance resilience over large areas, it also emphasizes the potential limitations of small marine reserves to protect some herbivore populations.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  1. Nematomorph parasites indirectly alter the food web and ecosystem function of streams through behavioural manipulation of their cricket hosts.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sato, T.; Egusa, T.; Fukushima, K.; Oda, T.; Ohte, N.; Tokuchi, Naoko; Watanabe, Katsutoshi; Kanaiwa, Minoru; Murakami, Isaya; Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2012-01-01

    Nematomorph parasites manipulate crickets to enter streams where the parasites reproduce. These manipulated crickets become a substantial food subsidy for stream fishes. We used a field experiment to investigate how this subsidy affects the stream community and ecosystem function. When crickets were available, predatory fish ate fewer benthic invertebrates. The resulting release of the benthic invertebrate community from fish predation indirectly decreased the biomass of benthic algae and slightly increased leaf break-down rate. This is the first experimental demonstration that host manipulation by a parasite can reorganise a community and alter ecosystem function. Nematomorphs are common, and many other parasites have dramatic effects on host phenotypes, suggesting that similar effects of parasites on ecosystems might be widespread.

  2. [Assessment on the changing conditions of ecosystems in key ecological function zones in China].

    PubMed

    Huang, Lin; Cao, Wei; Wu, Dan; Gong, Guo-li; Zhao, Guo-song

    2015-09-01

    In this paper, the dynamics of ecosystem macrostructure, qualities and core services during 2000 and 2010 were analyzed for the key ecological function zones of China, which were classified into four types of water conservation, soil conservation, wind prevention and sand fixation, and biodiversity maintenance. In the water conservation ecological function zones, the areas of forest and grassland ecosystems were decreased whereas water bodies and wetland were increased in the past 11 years, and the water conservation volume of forest, grassland and wetland ecosystems increased by 2.9%. This region needs to reverse the decreasing trends of forest and grassland ecosystems. In the soil conservation ecological function zones, the area of farmland ecosystem was decreased, and the areas of forest, grassland, water bodies and wetland ecosystems were increased. The total amount of the soil erosion was reduced by 28.2%, however, the soil conservation amount of ecosystems increased by 38.1%. In the wind prevention and sand fixation ecological function zones, the areas of grassland, water bodies and wetland ecosystems were decreased, but forest and farmland ecosystems were increased. The unit amount of the soil. wind erosion was reduced and the sand fixation amount of ecosystems increased lightly. In this kind of region that is located in arid and semiarid areas, ecological conservation needs to reduce farmland area and give priority to the protection of the original ecological system. In the biodiversity maintenance ecological function zones, the areas of grassland and desert ecosystems were decreased and other types were increased. The human disturbances showed a weakly upward trend and needs to be reduced. The key ecological function zones should be aimed at the core services and the protecting objects, to assess quantitatively on the effectiveness of ecosystem conservation and improvement. PMID:26785559

  3. Hyperinsulinemia adversely affects lung structure and function.

    PubMed

    Singh, Suchita; Bodas, Manish; Bhatraju, Naveen K; Pattnaik, Bijay; Gheware, Atish; Parameswaran, Praveen Kolumam; Thompson, Michael; Freeman, Michelle; Mabalirajan, Ulaganathan; Gosens, Reinoud; Ghosh, Balaram; Pabelick, Christina; Linneberg, Allan; Prakash, Y S; Agrawal, Anurag

    2016-05-01

    There is limited knowledge regarding the consequences of hyperinsulinemia on the lung. Given the increasing prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and epidemiological associations with asthma, this is a critical lacuna, more so with inhaled insulin on the horizon. Here, we demonstrate that insulin can adversely affect respiratory health. Insulin treatment (1 μg/ml) significantly (P < 0.05) increased the proliferation of primary human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells and induced collagen release. Additionally, ASM cells showed a significant increase in calcium response and mitochondrial respiration upon insulin exposure. Mice administered intranasal insulin showed increased collagen deposition in the lungs as well as a significant increase in airway hyperresponsiveness. PI3K/Akt mediated activation of β-catenin, a positive regulator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and fibrosis, was observed in the lungs of insulin-treated mice and lung cells. Our data suggests that hyperinsulinemia may have adverse effects on airway structure and function. Insulin-induced activation of β-catenin in lung tissue and the contractile effects on ASM cells may be causally related to the development of asthma-like phenotype. PMID:26919895

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  5. Fish foraging patterns, vulnerability to fishing, and implications for the management of ecosystem function across scales.

    PubMed

    Nash, Kirsty L; Graham, Nicholas A J; Bellwood, David R

    2013-10-01

    The function of species has been recognized as critical for the maintenance of ecosystems within desired states. However, there are still considerable gaps in our knowledge of interspecific differences in the functional roles of organisms, particularly with regard to the spatial scales over which functional impact is exerted. This has implications for the delivery of function and the maintenance of ecosystem processes. In this study we assessed the allometric relationship between foraging movements and fish body length at three sites, for 20 species of herbivorous reef fishes within four different functional groups: browsers, farmers, grazer/ detritivores, and scraper/excavators. The relationship between vulnerability of species to fishing and their scale of foraging was also examined. We present empirical evidence of the strong, positive, log-linear relationship between the scale of foraging movement and fish body length. This relationship was consistent among sites and between the two different movement metrics used. Phylogeny did not affect these results. Functional groups foraged over contrasting ranges of spatial scales; for example, scraper/excavators performed their role over a wide range of scales, whereas browsers were represented by few species and operated over a narrow range of scales. Overfishing is likely not only to remove species operating at large scales, but also to remove the browser group as a whole. Large fishes typically have a significant role in removing algae on reefs, and browsers are key to controlling macroalgae and reversing shifts to macroalgal-dominated states. This vulnerability to exploitation has serious consequences for the ability of fish assemblages to deliver their functional role in the face of anthropogenic impacts. However, identification of the scales at which herbivorous fish assemblages are susceptible to fishing provides managers with critical knowledge to design management strategies to support coral-dominated reefs by

  6. Functional diversity enhances the resistance of ecosystem multifunctionality to aridity in Mediterranean drylands

    PubMed Central

    Valencia-Gómez, Enrique; Maestre, Fernando T.; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Quero, José Luis; Tamme, Riin; Börger, Luca; García-Gómez, Miguel; Gross, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY We used a functional trait-based approach to assess the impacts of aridity and shrub encroachment on the functional structure of Mediterranean dryland communities (functional diversity and community-weighted mean trait values [CWM]), and to evaluate how these functional attributes ultimately affect multifunctionality (i.e., the provision of several ecosystem functions simultaneously). Shrub encroachment (the increase in the abundance/cover of shrubs) is a major land cover change that is taking place in grasslands worldwide. Studies conducted on drylands have reported positive or negative impacts of shrub encroachment depending on the functions and the traits of the sprouting or non-sprouting shrub species considered. Functional diversity and CWM were equally important as drivers of multifunctionality responses to both aridity and shrub encroachment. Size traits (e.g., vegetative height or lateral spread) and leaf traits (e.g., specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content) captured the effect of shrub encroachment on multifunctionality with a relative high accuracy (r2=0.63). Functional diversity also improved the resistance of multifunctionality along the aridity gradient studied. Maintaining and enhancing functional diversity in plant communities may help to buffer negative effects of ongoing global environmental change on dryland multifunctionality. PMID:25615801

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2010-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Minimal ecosystems: spirochetes populations as an example of functional stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berlanga, M.; Guerrero, R.

    2005-09-01

    Microbial mats are an extant paradigm of the earliest ecosystems. Defining the minimal ecosystem requirements necessary for the survival and proliferation of organisms is crucial in the search for extraterrestrial life and for establishing Earth-like ecosystems beyond our planet. Microbial mats are multilayered biofilms that operate as almost closed systems with persistent oxidation-reduction gradients and restricted vertical flows. Under the driving force of light the components interact and feedback flows become established. The community is the highest biological unit in an ecological hierarchy. The knowledge of the community composition is essential to understand the microbial mats dynamics. Understanding the factors that determine ecosystem stability has been one of the main challenges for ecologists. It has been pointed that both major and minor populations are important for maintaining ecosystem stability. Spirochetes represent one of the minor heterotrophic groups (ca. 1% total population) in microbial mats. However, when samples were examined with primers specific for the spirochete group, highly diverse collections of spirochete 16S rDNA were uncovered. Spirochetes may constitute a ubiquitous component of microbial mats that are linked to other microbial communities by robust trophic interactions.

  11. The influence of balanced and imbalanced resource supply on biodiversity-functioning relationship across ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lewandowska, Aleksandra M; Biermann, Antje; Borer, Elizabeth T; Cebrián-Piqueras, Miguel A; Declerck, Steven A J; De Meester, Luc; Van Donk, Ellen; Gamfeldt, Lars; Gruner, Daniel S; Hagenah, Nicole; Harpole, W Stanley; Kirkman, Kevin P; Klausmeier, Christopher A; Kleyer, Michael; Knops, Johannes M H; Lemmens, Pieter; Lind, Eric M; Litchman, Elena; Mantilla-Contreras, Jasmin; Martens, Koen; Meier, Sandra; Minden, Vanessa; Moore, Joslin L; Venterink, Harry Olde; Seabloom, Eric W; Sommer, Ulrich; Striebel, Maren; Trenkamp, Anastasia; Trinogga, Juliane; Urabe, Jotaro; Vyverman, Wim; Van de Waal, Dedmer B; Widdicombe, Claire E; Hillebrand, Helmut

    2016-05-19

    Numerous studies show that increasing species richness leads to higher ecosystem productivity. This effect is often attributed to more efficient portioning of multiple resources in communities with higher numbers of competing species, indicating the role of resource supply and stoichiometry for biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Here, we merged theory on ecological stoichiometry with a framework of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning to understand how resource use transfers into primary production. We applied a structural equation model to define patterns of diversity-productivity relationships with respect to available resources. Meta-analysis was used to summarize the findings across ecosystem types ranging from aquatic ecosystems to grasslands and forests. As hypothesized, resource supply increased realized productivity and richness, but we found significant differences between ecosystems and study types. Increased richness was associated with increased productivity, although this effect was not seen in experiments. More even communities had lower productivity, indicating that biomass production is often maintained by a few dominant species, and reduced dominance generally reduced ecosystem productivity. This synthesis, which integrates observational and experimental studies in a variety of ecosystems and geographical regions, exposes common patterns and differences in biodiversity-functioning relationships, and increases the mechanistic understanding of changes in ecosystems productivity. PMID:27114584

  12. Ecosystem function decays by fungal outbreaks in Antarctic microbial mats

    PubMed Central

    Velázquez, David; López-Bueno, Alberto; Aguirre de Cárcer, Daniel; de los Ríos, Asunción; Alcamí, Antonio; Quesada, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Antarctica harbours a remarkably diverse range of freshwater bodies and terrestrial ecosystems, where microbial mats are considered the most important systems in terms of biomass and metabolic capabilities. We describe the presence of lysis plaque-like macroscopic blighted patches within the predominant microbial mats on Livingston Island (Antarctic Peninsula). Those blighting circles are associated with decay in physiological traits as well as nitrogen depletion and changes in the spatial microstructure; these alterations were likely related to disruption of the biogeochemical gradients within the microbial ecosystem caused by an unusually high fungal abundance and consequent physical alterations. This phenomenon has been evidenced at a time of unprecedented rates of local warming in the Antarctic Peninsula area, and decay of these ecosystems is potentially stimulated by warmer temperatures. PMID:26972923

  13. Ecosystem function decays by fungal outbreaks in Antarctic microbial mats.

    PubMed

    Velázquez, David; López-Bueno, Alberto; Aguirre de Cárcer, Daniel; de Los Ríos, Asunción; Alcamí, Antonio; Quesada, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Antarctica harbours a remarkably diverse range of freshwater bodies and terrestrial ecosystems, where microbial mats are considered the most important systems in terms of biomass and metabolic capabilities. We describe the presence of lysis plaque-like macroscopic blighted patches within the predominant microbial mats on Livingston Island (Antarctic Peninsula). Those blighting circles are associated with decay in physiological traits as well as nitrogen depletion and changes in the spatial microstructure; these alterations were likely related to disruption of the biogeochemical gradients within the microbial ecosystem caused by an unusually high fungal abundance and consequent physical alterations. This phenomenon has been evidenced at a time of unprecedented rates of local warming in the Antarctic Peninsula area, and decay of these ecosystems is potentially stimulated by warmer temperatures. PMID:26972923

  14. Ecosystem services: developing sustainable management paradigms based on wetland functions and processes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Euliss, Ned H.; Mushet, David M.; Smith, Loren M.; Conner, William H.; Burkett, Virginia R.; Wilcox, Douglas A.; Hester, Mark W.; Zheng, Haochi

    2013-01-01

    findings. In comparison to older and more traditional scientific disciplines, the wetland sciences may be better equipped to tackle today’s complex problems. Since its emergence as a scientific discipline, the study of wetlands has frequently required interdisciplinary and integrated approaches. This interdisciplinary/integrated approach is largely the result of the fact that wetlands cannot be studied in isolation of upland areas that contribute surface and subsurface water, solutes, sediments, and nutrients into wetland basins. However, challenges still remain in thoroughly integrating the wetland sciences with scientific disciplines involved in upland studies, especially those involved with agriculture, development, and other land-conversion activities that influence wetland hydrology, chemistry, and sedimentation. One way to facilitate this integration is to develop an understanding of how human activities affect wetland ecosystem services, especially the trade-offs and synergisms that occur when land-use changes are made. Used in this context, an understanding of the real costs of managing for a particular ecosystem service or groups of services can be determined and quantified in terms of reduced delivery of other services and in overall sustainability of the wetland and the landscapes that support them. In this chapter, we discuss some of the more salient aspects of a few common wetland types to give the reader some background on the diversity of functions that wetlands perform and the specific ecosystem services they provide to society. Wetlands are among the most complex ecosystems on the planet, and it is often difficult to communicate to a diverse public all of the positive services wetlands provide to mankind. Our goal is to help the reader develop an understanding that management options can be approached as societal choices where decisions can be made within a spatial and temporal context to identify trade-offs, synergies, and effects on long

  15. Ecosystem functional properties - useful links to organism and to global scale?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reichstein, M.

    2015-12-01

    Classical biogeographical observations tell us that ecosystems (vegetation and soils) strongly respond to climate variation in terms of their structure and function. On the other hand the influence of vegetation function on climate via exchange of matter and energy with the atmosphere has become evident in the last decades via observational and modeling studies. Recent continuous observations of this exchange of CO2, H2O and sensible heat within the global observation network FLUXNET have enabled us to quantify ecosystem function in response to large eco-climatological spatio-temporal variability of climate. We see that ecosystem function co-varies strongly with climate, but that climate alone does not suffice to explain the variation in total. Instead vegetation biophysical and structural parameters co-determine the exchange of carbon, water and energy between the ecosystem and the atmosphere. By combining ecosystem level observation and information of spatial meteorological and vegetation remote sensing covariates we can infer global patterns of ecosystem atmosphere fluxes and derive key ecosystem functional properties globally. While this approach is powerful and meteorological and vegetation structural predictors explain more than 70% of the spatial variation of monthly fluxes at FLUXNET sites, it ignores the effect of ecophysiological vegetation properties, which is expected from plant physiological leaf or whole-plant studies. Hence, future research has to more strongly link the organismic trait information with ecosystem functional properties. For this we propose a framework that involves 1) the correlation of community aggregated traits with flux-derived ecosystem properties across a range of ecosystems, 2) the up-scaling of vegetation traits using spatially distributed geo-ecological co-variates and the comparison with global ecosystem functional properties and their co-variation with climate, 3) the use of vegetation traits instead of vegetation classes

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  17. [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

  18. Ecosystem Function in Amazon Floodplain Wetlands: Climate Variability, Landscape Dynamics and Carbon Biogeochemistry.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silva, T. S. F.; Melack, J. M.; Sousa, R. N. D.; Ferreira-Ferreira, J.; Streher, A. S.; Fragal, E. H.; Furtado, L. F.; Resende, A. F. D.; Luize, B. G.; Rudorff, C.; Queiroz, H. L.; Schongart, J.; Novo, E. M.

    2015-12-01

    Wetlands comprise 14% of the Amazon basin, and are a major component of the hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. Most of these areas correspond to floodplain ecosystems along the Amazon River and its major tributaries, hosting unique vegetation types that are strongly controlled by annual hydrological fluctuations. The combination of strong environmental filtering and active fluvial dynamics results in a highly heterogeneous landscape, and in physiological linkages between climate variability and ecosystem processes. We will show several years of results obtained within the framework of the LBA program, discussing the interplay between hydroclimatic variability, landscape dynamics, ecosystem functioning and carbon biogeochemistry in the Amazon floodplains. Using optical and microwave remote sensing, we assessed the distribution of major vegetation types and flooding regimes at several locations across the floodplain. Strong variability in vegetation distribution can be observed, with high and low várzea forests ranging from 30% and 34%, respectively, at the upper Solimões River, to 6% and 25% at the lower Solimões, while non-forested habitats and lakes increase from a percent cover of 8% and 10% to 28% and 27%, respectively. Strong variability in local flood regimes was also determined for each vegetation type, revealing a gradient of habitats within each floodplain. As tree growth, diversity and phenology are affected by flood duration, we expect local conditions to strongly impact carbon stocks and cycling at the landscape scale. Fluvial processes also disturb forest patches, ensuring a mixture of age distributions in the landscape, with varying species composition, carbon stocks, and carbon uptake rates. Herbaceous vegetation growth responds very rapidly to changes in hydrological conditions, and modeling based on microwave imagery and in situ observations showed expected changes of up to 50% in annual net primary production between regular and extreme

  19. 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 ...

  20. Does iron deficiency anemia affect olfactory function?

    PubMed

    Dinc, Mehmet Emre; Dalgic, Abdullah; Ulusoy, Seckin; Dizdar, Denizhan; Develioglu, Omer; Topak, Murat

    2016-07-01

    Conclusion This study found a negative effect of IDA on olfactory function. IDA leads to a reduction in olfactory function, and decreases in hemoglobin levels result in further reduction in olfactory function. Objective This study examined the effects of iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) on olfactory function. Method The study enrolled 50 IDA patients and 50 healthy subjects. Olfactory function was evaluated using the Sniffin' Sticks olfactory test. The diagnosis of IDA was made according to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Results Patients with IDA had a significantly lower threshold, discrimination, and identification (TDI) value, and a lower threshold compared with the control group. However, there were no significant differences between the groups in terms of smell selectivity values. PMID:26963317

  1. Restoring ecosystem functions and services by overcoming soil threats - The case of Mt. Hekla area in Iceland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorsson, Johann; Petursdottir, Thorunn

    2015-04-01

    Soils are one of the main fundamental bodies of terrestrial ecosystems. Soil functions contribute substantially to the ecosystem services humans and all other living beings depend on. Current soil threats are in most cases related to anthropogenic impacts and derived environmental pressures. For instance, overexploitation has in many cases damaged ecosystem resilience, affected current equilibrium and caused severe soil degradation. The resulting dysfunctional ecosystems are incapable of providing necessary ecosystem services. In such cases ecosystem restoration is necessary to restore ecosystem functions and ecological succession. The Mt. Hekla area in Iceland is an example of land suffering from accelerated erosion amplified by anthropogenic impacts. The area is 900 km2 located in South Iceland in the vicinity of the volcano Mt. Hekla. Today over 40% of the area is classified as eroded but historical documents indicate that vast part of the area were fertile and vegetated at the time of settlement, 1100 years ago; hence was able to withstand the geological disturbances occurring prior to the arrival of man as is obvious from the pristine woody patches still remaining. Severe soil degradation followed the large-scale deforestation and overgrazing that took place within the area. The initial land degradation event is considered to have occurred in the 11th century, but has been ongoing since then in several episodes. The Þjórsá glacial river flows through the area and carries enormous amounts of sediments every year. After the deforestation, the ecosystem resilience was damaged and the land left exposed to the elements. Eventually large scale wind erosion started, followed with water erosion and increased impact of freeze-thaw processes. The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland started working in the area in the early 20th century and land reclamation operations have been ongoing until this day. Considerable successes have been made as is manifested in the fact

  2. Stable isotope views on ecosystem function: challenging or challenged?

    PubMed Central

    Resco, Víctor; Querejeta, José I.; Ogle, Kiona; Voltas, Jordi; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa; Serrano-Ortiz, Penélope; Linares, Juan C.; Moreno-Gutiérrez, Cristina; Herrero, Asier; Carreira, José A.; Torres-Cañabate, Patricia; Valladares, Fernando

    2010-01-01

    Stable isotopes and their potential for detecting various and complex ecosystem processes are attracting an increasing number of scientists. Progress is challenging, particularly under global change scenarios, but some established views have been challenged. The IX meeting of the Spanish Association of Terrestrial Ecology (AAET, Úbeda, 18–22 October 2009) hosted a symposium on the ecology of stable isotopes where the linear mixing model approach of partitioning sinks and sources of carbon and water fluxes within an ecosystem was challenged, and new applications of stable isotopes for the study of plant interactions were evaluated. Discussion was also centred on the need for networks that monitor ecological processes using stable isotopes and key ideas for fostering future research with isotopes. PMID:20015858

  3. Sedimentary Environment Influences the Effect of an Infaunal Suspension Feeding Bivalve on Estuarine Ecosystem Function

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Hannah F. E.; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Bruesewitz, Denise A.; Lohrer, Andrew M.

    2011-01-01

    The suspension feeding bivalve Austrovenus stutchburyi is a key species on intertidal sandflats in New Zealand, affecting the appearance and functioning of these systems, but is susceptible to several environmental stressors including sedimentation. Previous studies into the effect of this species on ecosystem function have been restricted in space and time, limiting our ability to infer the effect of habitat change on functioning. We examined the effect of Austrovenus on benthic primary production and nutrient dynamics at two sites, one sandy, the other composed of muddy-sand to determine whether sedimentary environment alters this key species' role. At each site we established large (16 m2) plots of two types, Austrovenus addition and removal. In winter and summer we deployed light and dark benthic chambers to quantify oxygen and nutrient fluxes and measured sediment denitrification enzyme activity to assess denitrification potential. Rates of gross primary production (GPP) and ammonium uptake were significantly increased when Austrovenus was added, relative to removed, at the sandy site (GPP, 1.5 times greater in winter and summer; ammonium uptake, 8 times greater in summer; 3-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA), p<0.05). Denitrification potential was also elevated in Austrovenus addition plots at the sandy site in summer (by 1.6 times, p<0.1). In contrast, there was no effect of Austrovenus treatment on any of these variables at the muddy-sand site, and overall rates tended to be lower at the muddy-sand site, relative to the sandy site (e.g. GPP was 2.1 to 3.4 times lower in winter and summer, respectively, p<0.001). Our results suggest that the positive effects of Austrovenus on system productivity and denitrification potential is limited at a muddy-sand site compared to a sandy site, and reveal the importance of considering sedimentary environment when examining the effect of key species on ecosystem function. PMID:22046446

  4. Relative effects of precipitation variability and warming on tallgrass prairie ecosystem function

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Precipitation and temperature are primary drivers of many aspects of terrestrial ecosystem function, and vary in temporal hierarchies. Climate change scenarios predict increasing precipitation variability and temperature in the coming decades, and require long term experiments to evaluate the relat...

  5. Spatial patterns of fishing effort off San Diego: implications for zonal management and ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Parnell, P Ed; Dayton, Paul K; Fisher, Rachelle A; Loarie, Cina C; Darrow, Ryan D

    2010-12-01

    The essence of ecosystem-based management is managing human practices to conserve the ecosystem. Ecologists focus on understanding the ecosystem, but there are fundamental information gaps including patterns of human exploitation. In particular, the spatial distribution of fishing effort must be known at the scales needed for ecologically relevant management. Fishing is a primary impact on coastal ecosystems, yet catch distribution at scales relevant to habitats and processes are not well known for many fisheries. Here we utilized photographic time series, logbook records, and angler surveys to estimate the intensity and spatial pattern of commercial and recreational fishing. Effort was clearly aggregated for most types of fishing, the motivating factors for effort distribution varied among areas, and effort was coupled or uncoupled to habitat depending on the area and type of fishing. We estimated that approximately 60% and approximately 74% of private recreational and recreational charter vessel fishing effort, respectively, were concentrated into two small areas that also included approximately 78% of commercial sea urchin effort. Exploitation and effort were considerably greater in one kelp forest, which has important implications for patterns of kelp persistence, productivity, and ecosystem function. Areas subject to the greatest recreational fishing pressure appeared to have lower diversity. Our results indicate that fine-scale patterns of fishing effort and exploitation have profound consequences for ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. 'Ecosystem-based management of nearshore ecosystems depends on an understanding of the fine-scale patterns of exploitation. PMID:21265452

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Ferraro, Paul J.; Hanauer, Merlin M.

    2014-01-01

    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

  9. Warming Alters Expressions of Microbial Functional Genes Important to Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Xue, Kai; Xie, Jianping; Zhou, Aifen; Liu, Feifei; Li, Dejun; Wu, Liyou; Deng, Ye; He, Zhili; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Luo, Yiqi; Zhou, Jizhong

    2016-01-01

    Soil microbial communities play critical roles in ecosystem functioning and are likely altered by climate warming. However, so far, little is known about effects of warming on microbial functional gene expressions. Here, we applied functional gene array (GeoChip 3.0) to analyze cDNA reversely transcribed from total RNA to assess expressed functional genes in active soil microbial communities after nine years of experimental warming in a tallgrass prairie. Our results showed that warming significantly altered the community wide gene expressions. Specifically, expressed genes for degrading more recalcitrant carbon were stimulated by warming, likely linked to the plant community shift toward more C4 species under warming and to decrease the long-term soil carbon stability. In addition, warming changed expressed genes in labile C degradation and N cycling in different directions (increase and decrease), possibly reflecting the dynamics of labile C and available N pools during sampling. However, the average abundances of expressed genes in phosphorus and sulfur cycling were all increased by warming, implying a stable trend of accelerated P and S processes which might be a mechanism to sustain higher plant growth. Furthermore, the expressed gene composition was closely related to both dynamic (e.g., soil moisture) and stable environmental attributes (e.g., C4 leaf C or N content), indicating that RNA analyses could also capture certain stable trends in the long-term treatment. Overall, this study revealed the importance of elucidating functional gene expressions of soil microbial community in enhancing our understanding of ecosystem responses to warming. PMID:27199978

  10. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Multi-Functionality: Observed Relationships in Smallholder Fallows in Western Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Sircely, Jason; Naeem, Shahid

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies indicate that species richness can enhance the ability of plant assemblages to support multiple ecosystem functions. To understand how and when ecosystem services depend on biodiversity, it is valuable to expand beyond experimental grasslands. We examined whether plant diversity improves the capacity of agroecosystems to sustain multiple ecosystem services—production of wood and forage, and two elements of soil formation—in two types of smallholder fallows in western Kenya. In 18 grazed and 21 improved fallows, we estimated biomass and quantified soil organic carbon, soil base cations, sand content, and soil infiltration capacity. For four ecosystem functions (wood biomass, forage biomass, soil base cations, steady infiltration rates) linked to the focal ecosystem services, we quantified ecosystem service multi-functionality as (1) the proportion of functions above half-maximum, and (2) mean percentage excess above mean function values, and assessed whether plant diversity or environmental favorability better predicted multi-functionality. In grazed fallows, positive effects of plant diversity best explained the proportion above half-maximum and mean percentage excess, the former also declining with grazing intensity. In improved fallows, the proportion above half-maximum was not associated with soil carbon or plant diversity, while soil carbon predicted mean percentage excess better than diversity. Grazed fallows yielded stronger evidence for diversity effects on multi-functionality, while environmental conditions appeared more influential in improved fallows. The contrast in diversity-multi-functionality relationships among fallow types appears related to differences in management and associated factors including disturbance and species composition. Complementary effects of species with contrasting functional traits on different functions and multi-functional species may have contributed to diversity effects in grazed fallows. Biodiversity and

  11. Ecosystem regime shifts have not affected growth and survivorship of eastern Beaufort Sea belugas.

    PubMed

    Luque, Sebastián P; Ferguson, Steven H

    2009-05-01

    Large-scale ocean-atmosphere physical dynamics can have profound impacts on the structure and organization of marine ecosystems. These changes have been termed "regime shifts", and five different episodes have been detected in the North Pacific Ocean, with concurrent changes also occurring in the Bering and Beaufort Seas. Belugas from the Eastern Beaufort Sea (EBS) use the Bering Sea during winter and the Beaufort Sea during summer, yet the potential effects of regime shifts on belugas have not been assessed. We investigated whether body size and survivorship of EBS belugas harvested in the Mackenzie River delta region between 1993 and 2003 have been affected by previous purported regime shifts in the North Pacific. Residuals from the relationship between body length and age were calculated and compared among belugas born between 1932 and 1989. Residual body size was not significantly related to birth year for any regime, nor to the age group individuals belonged to during any regime. The percentage deviation in number of belugas born in any given year that survived to be included in the hunt (survivorship) did not show any significant trend within or between regimes. Accounting for lags of 1-5 years did not reveal any evidence of delayed effects. Furthermore, neither population index was significantly related to changes in major climatic variables that precede regime shifts. Our results suggest that EBS beluga body size and survivorship have not been affected by the major regime shifts of the North Pacific and the adjacent Bering and Beaufort Seas. EBS belugas may have been able to modify their diet without compromising their growth and survivorship. Diet and reproductive analyses over large and small time scales can help understand the mechanisms enabling belugas to avoid significant growth and reproductive effects of past regime shifts. PMID:19229560

  12. Effects of Detrital Subsidies on Soft-Sediment Ecosystem Function Are Transient and Source-Dependent

    PubMed Central

    Gladstone-Gallagher, Rebecca V.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Lundquist, Carolyn J.; Pilditch, Conrad A.

    2016-01-01

    Detrital subsidies from marine macrophytes are prevalent in temperate estuaries, and their role in structuring benthic macrofaunal communities is well documented, but the resulting impact on ecosystem function is not understood. We conducted a field experiment to test the effects of detrital decay on soft-sediment primary production, community metabolism and nutrient regeneration (measures of ecosystem function). Twenty four (2 m2) plots were established on an intertidal sandflat, to which we added 0 or 220 g DW m-2 of detritus from either mangroves (Avicennia marina), seagrass (Zostera muelleri), or kelp (Ecklonia radiata) (n = 6 plots per treatment). Then, after 4, 17 and 46 d we measured ecosystem function, macrofaunal community structure and sediment properties. We hypothesized that (1) detrital decay would stimulate benthic primary production either by supplying nutrients to the benthic macrophytes, or by altering the macrofaunal community; and (2) ecosystem responses would depend on the stage and rate of macrophyte decay (a function of source). Avicennia detritus decayed the slowest with a half-life (t50) of 46 d, while Zostera and Ecklonia had t50 values of 28 and 2.6 d, respectively. However, ecosystem responses were not related to these differences. Instead, we found transient effects (up to 17 d) of Avicennia and Ecklonia detritus on benthic primary production, where initially (4 d) these detrital sources suppressed primary production, but after 17 d, primary production was stimulated in Avicennia plots relative to controls. Other ecosystem function response variables and the macrofaunal community composition were not altered by the addition of detritus, but did vary with time. By sampling ecosystem function temporally, we were able to capture the in situ transient effects of detrital subsidies on important benthic ecosystem functions. PMID:27138563

  13. Effects of Detrital Subsidies on Soft-Sediment Ecosystem Function Are Transient and Source-Dependent.

    PubMed

    Gladstone-Gallagher, Rebecca V; Lohrer, Andrew M; Lundquist, Carolyn J; Pilditch, Conrad A

    2016-01-01

    Detrital subsidies from marine macrophytes are prevalent in temperate estuaries, and their role in structuring benthic macrofaunal communities is well documented, but the resulting impact on ecosystem function is not understood. We conducted a field experiment to test the effects of detrital decay on soft-sediment primary production, community metabolism and nutrient regeneration (measures of ecosystem function). Twenty four (2 m2) plots were established on an intertidal sandflat, to which we added 0 or 220 g DW m-2 of detritus from either mangroves (Avicennia marina), seagrass (Zostera muelleri), or kelp (Ecklonia radiata) (n = 6 plots per treatment). Then, after 4, 17 and 46 d we measured ecosystem function, macrofaunal community structure and sediment properties. We hypothesized that (1) detrital decay would stimulate benthic primary production either by supplying nutrients to the benthic macrophytes, or by altering the macrofaunal community; and (2) ecosystem responses would depend on the stage and rate of macrophyte decay (a function of source). Avicennia detritus decayed the slowest with a half-life (t50) of 46 d, while Zostera and Ecklonia had t50 values of 28 and 2.6 d, respectively. However, ecosystem responses were not related to these differences. Instead, we found transient effects (up to 17 d) of Avicennia and Ecklonia detritus on benthic primary production, where initially (4 d) these detrital sources suppressed primary production, but after 17 d, primary production was stimulated in Avicennia plots relative to controls. Other ecosystem function response variables and the macrofaunal community composition were not altered by the addition of detritus, but did vary with time. By sampling ecosystem function temporally, we were able to capture the in situ transient effects of detrital subsidies on important benthic ecosystem functions. PMID:27138563

  14. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists. PMID:27114571

  15. 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 (...

  16. Current developments in groundwater ecology--from biodiversity to ecosystem function and services.

    PubMed

    Griebler, Christian; Malard, Florian; Lefébure, Tristan

    2014-06-01

    Groundwater ecosystems constitute the largest terrestrial freshwater biome. They are dark, extremely low in energy and do not provide much space but they contain an unexpectedly high diversity of living forms showing characteristic adaptive features. The restricted accessibility along with the enormous 'invisible' heterogeneity challenged for a long time testing of scientific theories and unraveling of ecosystem functioning. Triggered by an improved interdisciplinarity, comprehensive sampling strategies and current developments in biotechnology and statistical analysis, groundwater ecology gains momentum entering a new era of research. We are only beginning to understand adaptive mechanisms, species distribution patterns and ecosystem functioning. Ninety-five percent of global liquid freshwater is stored in the terrestrial subsurface constituting a major source of water for drinking, irrigation and industrial purposes. There is an urgent need to integrate evolutionary and ecological research for developing a holistic perspective of the functional roles of biodiversity and ecosystem services and predicting global changes under alternative groundwater resource use scenarios. PMID:24590188

  17. Ecosystem sensitivity to climate warming: A modeling approach

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Warmer atmospheric temperatures will affect ecosystem functioning directly through changes in metabolic rate and tissue damage of organisms. Indirectly, increased temperatures can also affect ecosystem water balance with increased evapotranspiration (from bare-soil evaporation and transpiration) tha...

  18. 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

  19. The exergy of a phase shift: Ecosystem functioning loss in seagrass meadows of the Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montefalcone, Monica; Vassallo, Paolo; Gatti, Giulia; Parravicini, Valeriano; Paoli, Chiara; Morri, Carla; Bianchi, Carlo Nike

    2015-04-01

    Sustained functioning of ecosystems is predicted to depend upon the maintenance of their biodiversity, structure and integrity. The large consensus achieved in this regard, however, faces to the objective difficulty of finding appropriate metrics to measure ecosystem functioning. Here, we aim at evaluating functional consequence of the phase shift occurring in meadows of the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica, a priority habitat that is undergoing regression in many coastal areas due to multiple human pressures. Structural degradation of the P. oceanica ecosystem, consequent to increasing coastal exploitation and climate change, may result in the progressive replacement of this seagrass by opportunistic macrophytes, either native or alien. Reviewing published information and our personal records, we measured changes in biological habitat provisioning, species richness and biomass associated to each of the alternative states characterizing the phase shift. Then, ecosystem functioning was assessed by computing the exergy associated to each state, exergy being a state variable that measures the ecosystem capacity to produce work. Phase shift was consistently shown to imply loss in habitat provision, species richness, and biomass; structural and compositional loss was parallelled by a reduction of exergy content, thus providing for the first time an objective and integrative measure of the loss of ecosystem functioning following the degradation of healthy seagrass meadows.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahdavi, P.; Bergmeier, E.

    2016-07-01

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

  1. Water Content Differences Have Stronger Effects than Plant Functional Groups on Soil Bacteria in a Steppe Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Ximei; Barberán, Albert; Zhu, Xunzhi; Zhang, Guangming; Han, Xingguo

    2014-01-01

    Many investigations across natural and artificial plant diversity gradients have reported that both soil physicochemical factors and plant community composition affect soil microbial communities. To test the effect of plant diversity loss on soil bacterial communities, we conducted a five-year plant functional group removal experiment in a steppe ecosystem in Inner Mongolia (China). We found that the number and composition type of plant functional groups had no effect on bacterial diversity and community composition, or on the relative abundance of major taxa. In contrast, bacterial community patterns were significantly structured by soil water content differences among plots. Our results support researches that suggest that water availability is the key factor structuring soil bacterial communities in this semi-arid ecosystem. PMID:25546333

  2. Fungicide-induced declines of freshwater biodiversity modify ecosystem functions and services.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Taegan A; Halstead, Neal T; Johnson, Steven; Raffel, Thomas R; Romansic, John M; Crumrine, Patrick W; Rohr, Jason R

    2012-07-01

    Although studies on biodiversity and ecosystem function are often framed within the context of anthropogenic change, a central question that remains is how important are direct vs. indirect (via changes in biodiversity) effects of anthropogenic stressors on ecosystem functions in multitrophic-level communities. Here, we quantify the effects of the fungicide chlorothalonil on 34 species-, 2 community- and 11 ecosystem-level responses in a multitrophic-level system. At ecologically relevant concentrations, chlorothalonil increased mortality of amphibians, gastropods, zooplankton, algae and a macrophyte (reducing taxonomic richness), reduced decomposition and water clarity and elevated dissolved oxygen and net primary productivity. These ecosystem effects were indirect and predictable based on changes in taxonomic richness. A path analysis suggests that chlorothalonil-induced reductions in biodiversity and top-down and bottom-up effects facilitated algal blooms that shifted ecosystem functions. This work emphasises the need to re-evaluate the safety of chlorothalonil and to further link anthropogenic-induced changes in biodiversity to altered ecosystem functions. PMID:22587750

  3. Site variation in methane oxidation as affected by atmospheric deposition and type of temperate forest ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brumme, Rainer; Borken, Werner

    1999-06-01

    Factors controlling methane oxidation were analyzed along a soil acidity gradient (pH(H2O) 3.9 to 5.2) under beech and spruce forests in Germany. Mean annual methane oxidation ranged from 0.1 to 2.5 kg CH4 ha-1 yr-1 and was correlated with base saturation (r2 = 0.88), soil pH (r2 = 0.77), total nitrogen (r2 = 0.71), amount of the organic surface horizon (r2 = 0.49) and bulk density of the mineral soil (r2 = 0.43). At lower pHs the formation of an organic surface horizon was promoted. This horizon did not have any methane oxidation capacity and acted like a gas diffusion barrier, which decreased the methane oxidation capacity of the soil. In contrast, on sites at the higher end of the pH range, higher burrowing activity of earthworms increased macroporosity and thereby gas diffusivity and methane oxidation. Gas diffusivity was also affected by litter shape: broad beech leaves reduced methane oxidation more than spruce needles. An increase in methane oxidation of most soil samples following sieving indicates that diffusion is the main limiting factor for methane oxidation. However, this "sieving effect" was less in soils with a pH below 5 than in soils with a pH above 5, which we attribute to a direct effect of soil acidity. We discuss our results using a hierarchical concept for the "short-term" and "long-term" controls on methane oxidation in forest ecosystems.

  4. Uncertainty of Monetary Valued Ecosystem Services - Value Transfer Functions for Global Mapping.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Stefan; Manceur, Ameur M; Seppelt, Ralf

    2016-01-01

    Growing demand of resources increases pressure on ecosystem services (ES) and biodiversity. Monetary valuation of ES is frequently seen as a decision-support tool by providing explicit values for unconsidered, non-market goods and services. Here we present global value transfer functions by using a meta-analytic framework for the synthesis of 194 case studies capturing 839 monetary values of ES. For 12 ES the variance of monetary values could be explained with a subset of 93 study- and site-specific variables by utilizing boosted regression trees. This provides the first global quantification of uncertainties and transferability of monetary valuations. Models explain from 18% (water provision) to 44% (food provision) of variance and provide statistically reliable extrapolations for 70% (water provision) to 91% (food provision) of the terrestrial earth surface. Although the application of different valuation methods is a source of uncertainty, we found evidence that assuming homogeneity of ecosystems is a major error in value transfer function models. Food provision is positively correlated with better life domains and variables indicating positive conditions for human well-being. Water provision and recreation service show that weak ownerships affect valuation of other common goods negatively (e.g. non-privately owned forests). Furthermore, we found support for the shifting baseline hypothesis in valuing climate regulation. Ecological conditions and societal vulnerability determine valuation of extreme event prevention. Valuation of habitat services is negatively correlated with indicators characterizing less favorable areas. Our analysis represents a stepping stone to establish a standardized integration of and reporting on uncertainties for reliable and valid benefit transfer as an important component for decision support. PMID:26938447

  5. Uncertainty of Monetary Valued Ecosystem Services – Value Transfer Functions for Global Mapping

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Stefan; Manceur, Ameur M.; Seppelt, Ralf

    2016-01-01

    Growing demand of resources increases pressure on ecosystem services (ES) and biodiversity. Monetary valuation of ES is frequently seen as a decision-support tool by providing explicit values for unconsidered, non-market goods and services. Here we present global value transfer functions by using a meta-analytic framework for the synthesis of 194 case studies capturing 839 monetary values of ES. For 12 ES the variance of monetary values could be explained with a subset of 93 study- and site-specific variables by utilizing boosted regression trees. This provides the first global quantification of uncertainties and transferability of monetary valuations. Models explain from 18% (water provision) to 44% (food provision) of variance and provide statistically reliable extrapolations for 70% (water provision) to 91% (food provision) of the terrestrial earth surface. Although the application of different valuation methods is a source of uncertainty, we found evidence that assuming homogeneity of ecosystems is a major error in value transfer function models. Food provision is positively correlated with better life domains and variables indicating positive conditions for human well-being. Water provision and recreation service show that weak ownerships affect valuation of other common goods negatively (e.g. non-privately owned forests). Furthermore, we found support for the shifting baseline hypothesis in valuing climate regulation. Ecological conditions and societal vulnerability determine valuation of extreme event prevention. Valuation of habitat services is negatively correlated with indicators characterizing less favorable areas. Our analysis represents a stepping stone to establish a standardized integration of and reporting on uncertainties for reliable and valid benefit transfer as an important component for decision support. PMID:26938447

  6. Continental-scale effects of nutrient pollution on stream ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Woodward, Guy; Gessner, Mark O; Giller, Paul S; Gulis, Vladislav; Hladyz, Sally; Lecerf, Antoine; Malmqvist, Björn; McKie, Brendan G; Tiegs, Scott D; Cariss, Helen; Dobson, Mike; Elosegi, Arturo; Ferreira, Verónica; Graça, Manuel A S; Fleituch, Tadeusz; Lacoursière, Jean O; Nistorescu, Marius; Pozo, Jesús; Risnoveanu, Geta; Schindler, Markus; Vadineanu, Angheluta; Vought, Lena B-M; Chauvet, Eric

    2012-06-15

    Excessive nutrient loading is a major threat to aquatic ecosystems worldwide that leads to profound changes in aquatic biodiversity and biogeochemical processes. Systematic quantitative assessment of functional ecosystem measures for river networks is, however, lacking, especially at continental scales. Here, we narrow this gap by means of a pan-European field experiment on a fundamental ecosystem process--leaf-litter breakdown--in 100 streams across a greater than 1000-fold nutrient gradient. Dramatically slowed breakdown at both extremes of the gradient indicated strong nutrient limitation in unaffected systems, potential for strong stimulation in moderately altered systems, and inhibition in highly polluted streams. This large-scale response pattern emphasizes the need to complement established structural approaches (such as water chemistry, hydrogeomorphology, and biological diversity metrics) with functional measures (such as litter-breakdown rate, whole-system metabolism, and nutrient spiraling) for assessing ecosystem health. PMID:22700929

  7. Long-term and large-scale perspectives on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Symstad, A.J.; Chapin, F. S., III; Wall, D.H.; Gross, K.L.; Huenneke, L.F.; Mittelbach, G.G.; Peters, D.P.C.; Tilman, D.

    2003-01-01

    In a growing body of literature from a variety of ecosystems is strong evidence that various components of biodiversity have significant impacts on ecosystem functioning. However, much of this evidence comes from short-term, small-scale experiments in which communities are synthesized from relatively small species pools and conditions are highly controlled. Extrapolation of the results of such experiments to longer time scales and larger spatial scales - those of whole ecosystems - is difficult because the experiments do not incorporate natural processes such as recruitment limitation and colonization of new species. We show how long-term study of planned and accidental changes in species richness and composition suggests that the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning will vary over time and space. More important, we also highlight areas of uncertainty that need to be addressed through coordinated cross-scale and cross-site research.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-01

    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 modelling 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Linking hydrology, ecosystem function, and livelihood sustainability in African papyrus wetlands using a Bayesian Network Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Dam, A.; Gettel, G. M.; Kipkemboi, J.; Rahman, M. M.

    2011-12-01

    Papyrus wetlands in East Africa provide ecosystem services supporting the livelihoods of millions but are rapidly degrading due to economic development. For ecosystem conservation, an integrated understanding of the natural and social processes driving ecosystem change is needed. This research focuses on integrating the causal relationships between hydrology, ecosystem function, and livelihood sustainability in Nyando wetland, western Kenya. Livelihood sustainability is based on ecosystem services that include plant and animal harvest for building material and food, conversion of wetlands to crop and grazing land, water supply, and water quality regulation. Specific objectives were: to integrate studies of hydrology, ecology, and livelihood activities using a Bayesian Network (BN) model and include stakeholder involvement in model development. The BN model (Netica 4.16) had 35 nodes with seven decision nodes describing demography, economy, papyrus market, and rainfall, and two target nodes describing ecosystem function (defined by groundwater recharge, nutrient and sediment retention, and biodiversity) and livelihood sustainability (drinking water supply, crop production, livestock production, and papyrus yield). The conditional probability tables were populated using results of ecohydrological and socio-economic field work and consultations with stakeholders. The model was evaluated for an average year with decision node probabilities set according to data from research, expert opinion, and stakeholders' views. Then, scenarios for dry and wet seasons and for economic development (low population growth and unemployment) and policy development (more awareness of wetland value) were evaluated. In an average year, the probability for maintaining a "good" level of sediment and nutrient retention functions, groundwater recharge, and biodiversity was about 60%. ("Good" is defined by expert opinion based on ongoing field research.) In the dry season, the probability was

  13. Seafloor heterogeneity influences the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships in the deep sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeppilli, Daniela; Pusceddu, Antonio; Trincardi, Fabio; Danovaro, Roberto

    2016-05-01

    Theoretical ecology predicts that heterogeneous habitats allow more species to co-exist in a given area. In the deep sea, biodiversity is positively linked with ecosystem functioning, suggesting that deep-seabed heterogeneity could influence ecosystem functions and the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF). To shed light on the BEF relationships in a heterogeneous deep seabed, we investigated variations in meiofaunal biodiversity, biomass and ecosystem efficiency within and among different seabed morphologies (e.g., furrows, erosional troughs, sediment waves and other depositional structures, landslide scars and deposits) in a narrow geo-morphologically articulated sector of the Adriatic Sea. We show that distinct seafloor morphologies are characterized by highly diverse nematode assemblages, whereas areas sharing similar seabed morphologies host similar nematode assemblages. BEF relationships are consistently positive across the entire region, but different seabed morphologies are characterised by different slope coefficients of the relationship. Our results suggest that seafloor heterogeneity, allowing diversified assemblages across different habitats, increases diversity and influence ecosystem processes at the regional scale, and BEF relationships at smaller spatial scales. We conclude that high-resolution seabed mapping and a detailed analysis of the species distribution at the habitat scale are crucial for improving management of goods and services delivered by deep-sea ecosystems.

  14. Seafloor heterogeneity influences the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships in the deep sea

    PubMed Central

    Zeppilli, Daniela; Pusceddu, Antonio; Trincardi, Fabio; Danovaro, Roberto

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical ecology predicts that heterogeneous habitats allow more species to co-exist in a given area. In the deep sea, biodiversity is positively linked with ecosystem functioning, suggesting that deep-seabed heterogeneity could influence ecosystem functions and the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF). To shed light on the BEF relationships in a heterogeneous deep seabed, we investigated variations in meiofaunal biodiversity, biomass and ecosystem efficiency within and among different seabed morphologies (e.g., furrows, erosional troughs, sediment waves and other depositional structures, landslide scars and deposits) in a narrow geo-morphologically articulated sector of the Adriatic Sea. We show that distinct seafloor morphologies are characterized by highly diverse nematode assemblages, whereas areas sharing similar seabed morphologies host similar nematode assemblages. BEF relationships are consistently positive across the entire region, but different seabed morphologies are characterised by different slope coefficients of the relationship. Our results suggest that seafloor heterogeneity, allowing diversified assemblages across different habitats, increases diversity and influence ecosystem processes at the regional scale, and BEF relationships at smaller spatial scales. We conclude that high-resolution seabed mapping and a detailed analysis of the species distribution at the habitat scale are crucial for improving management of goods and services delivered by deep-sea ecosystems. PMID:27211908

  15. Seafloor heterogeneity influences the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in the deep sea.

    PubMed

    Zeppilli, Daniela; Pusceddu, Antonio; Trincardi, Fabio; Danovaro, Roberto

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical ecology predicts that heterogeneous habitats allow more species to co-exist in a given area. In the deep sea, biodiversity is positively linked with ecosystem functioning, suggesting that deep-seabed heterogeneity could influence ecosystem functions and the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF). To shed light on the BEF relationships in a heterogeneous deep seabed, we investigated variations in meiofaunal biodiversity, biomass and ecosystem efficiency within and among different seabed morphologies (e.g., furrows, erosional troughs, sediment waves and other depositional structures, landslide scars and deposits) in a narrow geo-morphologically articulated sector of the Adriatic Sea. We show that distinct seafloor morphologies are characterized by highly diverse nematode assemblages, whereas areas sharing similar seabed morphologies host similar nematode assemblages. BEF relationships are consistently positive across the entire region, but different seabed morphologies are characterised by different slope coefficients of the relationship. Our results suggest that seafloor heterogeneity, allowing diversified assemblages across different habitats, increases diversity and influence ecosystem processes at the regional scale, and BEF relationships at smaller spatial scales. We conclude that high-resolution seabed mapping and a detailed analysis of the species distribution at the habitat scale are crucial for improving management of goods and services delivered by deep-sea ecosystems. PMID:27211908

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-15

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

  17. Hydrologic Alteration and Response of Ecosystem Functions to River Restoration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orr, C. H.; Stanley, E. H.

    2005-12-01

    Stream ecology theory suggests that physical and hydrologic setting is often a dominant determinant of ecosystem structure in fluvial systems. Restorationist practitioners may work under the assumption that if the hydrologic parameters that control biological processes are restored, biotic components of interest should be restored as well. This method is sometimes called passive habitat restoration, or an eco-hydromorphic approach. An alternate to this hypothesis is that biological recovery is constrained by a number of other limitations such as distance to a source population, site history, and presence of invasive species. In this scenario, systems will not be restored by hydrologic alterations alone. To address the influence physical setting has on ecological process, we measured three specific ecological responses of streams to hydrologic manipulations separate restoration projects in Central Wisconsin. The projects shared the common trait of being primarily hydrologic alterations. We measured phosphorus retention capacity in a second-order stream before and after a pair of small dam removals, denitrification rates following the reflooding of a leveed floodplain and an approximately 50-year time series of vegetation recolonization on exposed mud flats following dam removal. In each case the measured responses showed unexpectedly large variability and there was not close correlation between physical and ecologic parameters. Such high variability in response to alterations also made it difficult to determine if the restorations met their goals. One conclusion of these studies may be that we need to move beyond hydrologic alterations to address additional manipulations to better meet the goals of specific projects.

  18. New Insights on the Variability of Ecosystem Functioning Across Time Scales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pappas, C.; Mahecha, M. D.; Frank, D. C.; Koutsoyiannis, D.

    2015-12-01

    Ecosystem functioning is monitored worldwide over several decades. However, a comparative in-depth characterization of the temporal variability of essential ecosystem processes, such as for example carbon assimilation and respiration is still lacking. The intra-annual (sub-diurnal, diurnal, and seasonal) variability of these processes can be well described by basic mechanisms such as the plant response to light. In contrast, the inter-annual variability and its origins and magnitude, remain highly uncertain. To date, there have only been a few attempts to investigate these issues across sites, ecosystems variables, and time scales, yet a general and comprehensive overview is outstanding. Here, we present a synthesis of a wide range of observations over Europe, namely: (i) eddy covariance measurements of carbon, energy, and water fluxes, (ii) satellite data of leaf area index and photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by plants, (iii) tree-ring widths, and (iv) dendrometer measurements of tree stem radius changes, and we analyze their variability from the half-hourly to the decadal time scale. Our analysis shows that all ecosystems can be characterized by three distinct regimes of variability (sub-daily, daily-seasonal, and seasonal-annual) confined within the ranges of the available resources, i.e., water (precipitation) and energy (radiation and temperature). We find a convergence of the range of variability of hydrometeorological drivers. Surprisingly, such convergence is not reflected in the variability of the ecosystem responses across sites. Although the magnitude of variability of ecosystem functioning varies across sites, the temporal dependences present the same characteristics over time scales spanning five orders of magnitude. We show that this behaviour can be well simulated by combining simple stochastic models with deterministic harmonics (diurnal and annual cycles). This allows us to statistically characterize the short- and long

  19. Effects of drought and irrigation on ecosystem functioning in a mature Scots pine forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dobbertin, Matthias; Brunner, Ivano; Egli, Simon; Eilmann, Britta; Graf Pannatier, Eisabeth; Schleppi, Patrick; Zingg, Andreas; Rigling, Andreas

    2010-05-01

    . Soil water content was significantly reduced during irrigation periods. Irrigation doubled tree stem growth, increased shoot growth and thus increased volume growth and crown dimensions. Annual tree mortality rates were reduced by 50% in irrigated plots. The growing period for stem growth was extended in pines as a result of irrigation. Altogether, increased growth and reduced mortality significantly increased tree stem basal area at breast height per ha. As irrigation also increased needle length, estimated mean foliage amount per tree and stand leaf area index significantly increased. However, the number of needle generations was not altered or even reduced due to irrigation. Root growth, was less affected by irrigation and only resulted in increased fine root length. Species richness and fruit body numbers of mycorrhizal fungi were several times higher on the irrigated plots. Overall, it can be concluded that water availability was the main ecosystem limiting factor and that any changes in water availability will result in changes in ecosystem functioning. References Brunner I, Graf-Pannatier E, Frey B, Rigling A, Landolt W, Dobbertin M (2009) Morphological and physiological responses of Scots pine fine roots to water supply in a climatic dry area in Switzerland. Tree Physiology 29:541-550. Dobbertin M, Eilmann B, Bleuler P, Giuggiola A, Graf Pannatier E, Landolt W, Schleppi P, Rigling A (2010) Effect of irrigation on needle, shoot and stem growth in natural drought-exposed Pinus sylvestris forests, Tree Physiology, doi:10.1093/treephys/tpp123. Eilmann B, Zweifel R, Buchmann N, Fonti P, Rigling A (2009) Drought induced adaptation of the xylem in Pinus sylvestris and Quercus pubescens. Tree Physiology 29:1011-1020.

  20. Ammonium as a Driving Force of Plant Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Observations Based on 5 Years' Manipulation of N Dose and Form in a Mediterranean Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Teresa; Clemente, Adelaide; Martins-Loução, Maria Amélia; Sheppard, Lucy; Bobbink, Roland; Cruz, Cristina

    2014-01-01

    Enhanced nitrogen (N) availability is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystem functions. However, in very nutrient-poor ecosystems, enhanced N input can, in the short-term, promote diversity. Mediterranean Basin ecosystems are nutrient-limited biodiversity hotspots, but no information is available on their medium- or long-term responses to enhanced N input. Since 2007, we have been manipulating the form and dose of available N in a Mediterranean Basin maquis in south-western Europe that has low ambient N deposition (<4 kg N ha−1 yr−1) and low soil N content (0.1%). N availability was modified by the addition of 40 kg N ha−1 yr−1 as a 1∶1 NH4Cl to (NH4)2SO4 mixture, and 40 and 80 kg N ha−1 yr−1 as NH4NO3. Over the following 5 years, the impacts on plant composition and diversity (richness and evenness) and some ecosystem characteristics (soil extractable N and organic matter, aboveground biomass and % of bare soil) were assessed. Plant species richness increased with enhanced N input and was more related to ammonium than to nitrate. Exposure to 40 kg NH4+-N ha−1 yr−1 (alone and with nitrate) enhanced plant richness, but did not increase aboveground biomass; soil extractable N even increased under 80 kg NH4NO3-N ha−1 yr−1 and the % of bare soil increased under 40 kg NH4+-N ha−1 yr−1. The treatment containing less ammonium, 40 kg NH4NO3-N ha−1 yr−1, did not enhance plant diversity but promoted aboveground biomass and reduced the % of bare soil. Data suggest that enhanced NHy availability affects the structure of the maquis, which may promote soil erosion and N leakage, whereas enhanced NOx availability leads to biomass accumulation which may increase the fire risk. These observations are relevant for land use management in biodiverse and fragmented ecosystems such as the maquis, especially in conservation areas. PMID:24695101

  1. Trophic complexity enhances ecosystem functioning in an aquatic detritus-based model system.

    PubMed

    Jabiol, Jérémy; McKie, Brendan G; Bruder, Andreas; Bernadet, Caroline; Gessner, Mark O; Chauvet, Eric

    2013-09-01

    1. Understanding the functional significance of species interactions in ecosystems has become a major challenge as biodiversity declines rapidly worldwide. Ecosystem consequences arising from the loss of diversity either within trophic levels (horizontal diversity) or across trophic levels (vertical diversity) are well documented. However, simultaneous losses of species at different trophic levels may also result in interactive effects, with potentially complex outcomes for ecosystem functioning. 2. Because of logistical constraints, the outcomes of such interactions have been difficult to assess in experiments involving large metazoan species. Here, we take advantage of a detritus-based model system to experimentally assess the consequences of biodiversity change within both horizontal and vertical food-web components on leaf-litter decomposition, a fundamental process in a wide range of ecosystems. 3. Our concurrent manipulation of fungal decomposer diversity (0, 1 or 5 species), detritivore diversity (0, 1 or 3 species), and the presence of predatory fish scent showed that trophic complexity is key to eliciting diversity effects on ecosystem functioning. Specifically, although fungi and detritivores tended to promote decomposition individually, rates were highest in the most complete community where all trophic levels were represented at the highest possible species richness. In part, the effects were trait-mediated, reflected in the contrasting foraging responses of the detritivore species to predator scent. 4. Our results thus highlight the importance of interactive effects of simultaneous species loss within multiple trophic levels on ecosystem functioning. If a common phenomenon, this outcome suggests that functional ecosystem impairment resulting from widespread biodiversity loss could be more severe than inferred from previous experiments confined to varying diversity within single trophic levels. PMID:23574276

  2. When does diversity matter? Species functional diversity and ecosystem functioning across habitats and seasons in a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Frainer, André; McKie, Brendan G; Malmqvist, Björn

    2014-03-01

    Despite ample experimental evidence indicating that biodiversity might be an important driver of ecosystem processes, its role in the functioning of real ecosystems remains unclear. In particular, the understanding of which aspects of biodiversity are most important for ecosystem functioning, their importance relative to other biotic and abiotic drivers, and the circumstances under which biodiversity is most likely to influence functioning in nature, is limited. We conducted a field study that focussed on a guild of insect detritivores in streams, in which we quantified variation in the process of leaf decomposition across two habitats (riffles and pools) and two seasons (autumn and spring). The study was conducted in six streams, and the same locations were sampled in the two seasons. With the aid of structural equations modelling, we assessed spatiotemporal variation in the roles of three key biotic drivers in this process: functional diversity, quantified based on a species trait matrix, consumer density and biomass. Our models also accounted for variability related to different litter resources, and other sources of biotic and abiotic variability among streams. All three of our focal biotic drivers influenced leaf decomposition, but none was important in all habitats and seasons. Functional diversity had contrasting effects on decomposition between habitats and seasons. A positive relationship was observed in pool habitats in spring, associated with high trait dispersion, whereas a negative relationship was observed in riffle habitats during autumn. Our results demonstrate that functional biodiversity can be as significant for functioning in natural ecosystems as other important biotic drivers. In particular, variation in the role of functional diversity between seasons highlights the importance of fluctuations in the relative abundances of traits for ecosystem process rates in real ecosystems. PMID:26046457

  3. Linking Soil Microbial Ecology to Ecosystem Functioning in Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Enhanced soil stability, nutrient cycling and C sequestration potential are important ecosystem functions driven by soil microbial processes and are directly influenced by agricultural management. Integrated crop-livestock agroecosystems (ICL) can enhance these functions via high-residue returning c...

  4. FROM NUTRIENTS TO METABOLISM: LINKING NUMERIC NUTRIENT CRITERIA TO ECOSYSTEM COMPOSITION AND FUNCTION USING ECOLOGICAL STOICHIOMETRY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Results of these experiments will inform resource managers of the impacts of raising ecosystem C:N ratios on species composition under various flow regimes as well as the extent to which the N:P interacts with the C:N ratio to affect individual species’ competitive ability,...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  6. Ecosystem functioning in the Mozambique Channel: Synthesis and future research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marsac, F.; Barlow, R.; Ternon, J. F.; Ménard, F.; Roberts, M.

    2014-02-01

    The MESOBIO programme investigated mesoscale dynamics using an integrated ecosystem approach, linking physical and biogeochemical processes with different trophic levels. Observation and modeling were used in combination to explain the main processes occurring in the mesoscale eddy field. The particular shape of the Mozambique Channel, composed of two basins interconnected through a narrow zone, favours the generation of mesoscale eddies and increases the opportunity for eddy-shelf interactions. Phytoplankton abundance peaked in areas of nutrient enrichment that are often found in the core of cyclonic eddies, as well as on the continental shelf. Grazers in zooplankton communities exhibited high biovolume in cyclonic eddies, but their abundance was lower in fronts and divergence zones, with lowest biovolume in anticyclones. Biovolume was highest at shelf stations, but very variable and similar to phytoplankton. Age of eddies, their subsequent maturation stage and the dynamics of the eddy field played a major role effecting zooplankton abundance. Micronekton presented abundance patterns coherent with zooplankton distribution, however this was only demonstrated by acoustic methods, whereas mid-water trawl collection and predators stomach contents (predators being used as biological samplers) did not reveal significant relationships with mesoscale features. For upper trophic levels, the average density of foraging seabirds was lowest in anticyclones, highest in cyclones and at intermediate levels in divergence, shelf and frontal zones. However, multifaceted behavioral responses were observed in such a highly variable environment. Swordfish was clearly associated with divergence zones, and to a lesser extent with fronts, suggesting that the higher density in divergences was related to the presence of its main prey, essentially large squids. Although tunas tended to be more abundant in areas with weak geostrophic currents, their relationship to mesoscale features was not

  7. Tropical Marginal Seas: Priority Regions for Managing Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinnon, A. David; Williams, Alan; Young, Jock; Ceccarelli, Daniela; Dunstan, Piers; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Watson, Reg; Brinkman, Richard; Cappo, Mike; Duggan, Samantha; Kelley, Russell; Ridgway, Ken; Lindsay, Dhugal; Gledhill, Daniel; Hutton, Trevor; Richardson, Anthony J.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical marginal seas (TMSs) are natural subregions of tropical oceans containing biodiverse ecosystems with conspicuous, valued, and vulnerable biodiversity assets. They are focal points for global marine conservation because they occur in regions where human populations are rapidly expanding. Our review of 11 TMSs focuses on three key ecosystems - coral reefs and emergent atolls, deep benthic systems, and pelagic biomes - and synthesizes, illustrates, and contrasts knowledge of biodiversity, ecosystem function, interaction between adjacent habitats, and anthropogenic pressures. TMSs vary in the extent that they have been subject to human influence - from the nearly pristine Coral Sea to the heavily exploited South China and Caribbean Seas - but we predict that they will all be similarly complex to manage because most span multiple national jurisdictions. We conclude that developing a structured process to identify ecologically and biologically significant areas that uses a set of globally agreed criteria is a tractable first step toward effective multinational and transboundary ecosystem management of TMSs.

  8. Using the CARDAMOM framework to retrieve global terrestrial ecosystem functioning properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Exbrayat, Jean-François; Bloom, A. Anthony; Smallman, T. Luke; van der Velde, Ivar R.; Feng, Liang; Williams, Mathew

    2016-04-01

    Terrestrial ecosystems act as a sink for anthropogenic emissions of fossil-fuel and thereby partially offset the ongoing global warming. However, recent model benchmarking and intercomparison studies have highlighted the non-trivial uncertainties that exist in our understanding of key ecosystem properties like plant carbon allocation and residence times. It leads to worrisome differences in terrestrial carbon stocks simulated by Earth system models, and their evolution in a warming future. In this presentation we attempt to provide global insights on these properties by merging an ecosystem model with remotely-sensed global observations of leaf area and biomass through a data-assimilation system: the CARbon Data MOdel fraMework (CARDAMOM). CARDAMOM relies on a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm to retrieve confidence intervals of model parameters that regulate ecosystem properties independently of any prior land-cover information. The MCMC method thereby enables an explicit representation of the uncertainty in land-atmosphere fluxes and the evolution of terrestrial carbon stocks through time. Global experiments are performed for the first decade of the 21st century using a 1°×1° spatial resolution. Relationships emerge globally between key ecosystem properties. For example, our analyses indicate that leaf lifespan and leaf mass per area are highly correlated. Furthermore, there exists a latitudinal gradient in allocation patterns: high latitude ecosystems allocate more carbon to photosynthetic carbon (leaves) while plants invest more carbon in their structural parts (wood and root) in the wet tropics. Overall, the spatial distribution of these ecosystem properties does not correspond to usual land-cover maps and are also partially correlated with disturbance regimes. For example, fire-prone ecosystems present statistically significant higher values of carbon use efficiency than less disturbed ecosystems experiencing similar climatic conditions. These results

  9. The relevance of marine chemical ecology to plankton and ecosystem function: an emerging field.

    PubMed

    Ianora, Adrianna; Bentley, Matthew G; Caldwell, Gary S; Casotti, Raffaella; Cembella, Allan D; Engström-Öst, Jonna; Halsband, Claudia; Sonnenschein, Eva; Legrand, Catherine; Llewellyn, Carole A; Paldavičienë, Aistë; Pilkaityte, Renata; Pohnert, Georg; Razinkovas, Arturas; Romano, Giovanna; Tillmann, Urban; Vaiciute, Diana

    2011-01-01

    Marine chemical ecology comprises the study of the production and interaction of bioactive molecules affecting organism behavior and function. Here we focus on bioactive compounds and interactions associated with phytoplankton, particularly bloom-forming diatoms, prymnesiophytes and dinoflagellates. Planktonic bioactive metabolites are structurally and functionally diverse and some may have multiple simultaneous functions including roles in chemical defense (antipredator, allelopathic and antibacterial compounds), and/or cell-to-cell signaling (e.g., polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs) of diatoms). Among inducible chemical defenses in response to grazing, there is high species-specific variability in the effects on grazers, ranging from severe physical incapacitation and/or death to no apparent physiological response, depending on predator susceptibility and detoxification capability. Most bioactive compounds are present in very low concentrations, in both the producing organism and the surrounding aqueous medium. Furthermore, bioactivity may be subject to synergistic interactions with other natural and anthropogenic environmental toxicants. Most, if not all phycotoxins are classic secondary metabolites, but many other bioactive metabolites are simple molecules derived from primary metabolism (e.g., PUAs in diatoms, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in prymnesiophytes). Producing cells do not seem to suffer physiological impact due to their synthesis. Functional genome sequence data and gene expression analysis will provide insights into regulatory and metabolic pathways in producer organisms, as well as identification of mechanisms of action in target organisms. Understanding chemical ecological responses to environmental triggers and chemically-mediated species interactions will help define crucial chemical and molecular processes that help maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functionality. PMID:22131962

  10. The Relevance of Marine Chemical Ecology to Plankton and Ecosystem Function: An Emerging Field

    PubMed Central

    Ianora, Adrianna; Bentley, Matthew G.; Caldwell, Gary S.; Casotti, Raffaella; Cembella, Allan D.; Engström-Öst, Jonna; Halsband, Claudia; Sonnenschein, Eva; Legrand, Catherine; Llewellyn, Carole A.; Paldavičienë, Aistë; Pilkaityte, Renata; Pohnert, Georg; Razinkovas, Arturas; Romano, Giovanna; Tillmann, Urban; Vaiciute, Diana

    2011-01-01

    Marine chemical ecology comprises the study of the production and interaction of bioactive molecules affecting organism behavior and function. Here we focus on bioactive compounds and interactions associated with phytoplankton, particularly bloom-forming diatoms, prymnesiophytes and dinoflagellates. Planktonic bioactive metabolites are structurally and functionally diverse and some may have multiple simultaneous functions including roles in chemical defense (antipredator, allelopathic and antibacterial compounds), and/or cell-to-cell signaling (e.g., polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs) of diatoms). Among inducible chemical defenses in response to grazing, there is high species-specific variability in the effects on grazers, ranging from severe physical incapacitation and/or death to no apparent physiological response, depending on predator susceptibility and detoxification capability. Most bioactive compounds are present in very low concentrations, in both the producing organism and the surrounding aqueous medium. Furthermore, bioactivity may be subject to synergistic interactions with other natural and anthropogenic environmental toxicants. Most, if not all phycotoxins are classic secondary metabolites, but many other bioactive metabolites are simple molecules derived from primary metabolism (e.g., PUAs in diatoms, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in prymnesiophytes). Producing cells do not seem to suffer physiological impact due to their synthesis. Functional genome sequence data and gene expression analysis will provide insights into regulatory and metabolic pathways in producer organisms, as well as identification of mechanisms of action in target organisms. Understanding chemical ecological responses to environmental triggers and chemically-mediated species interactions will help define crucial chemical and molecular processes that help maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functionality. PMID:22131962

  11. 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

  12. Effects of Trophic Skewing of Species Richness on Ecosystem Functioning in a Diverse Marine Community

    PubMed Central

    Reynolds, Pamela L.; Bruno, John F.

    2012-01-01

    Widespread overharvesting of top consumers of the world’s ecosystems has “skewed” food webs, in terms of biomass and species richness, towards a generally greater domination at lower trophic levels. This skewing is exacerbated in locations where exotic species are predominantly low-trophic level consumers such as benthic macrophytes, detritivores, and filter feeders. However, in some systems where numerous exotic predators have been added, sometimes purposefully as in many freshwater systems, food webs are skewed in the opposite direction toward consumer dominance. Little is known about how such modifications to food web topology, e.g., changes in the ratio of predator to prey species richness, affect ecosystem functioning. We experimentally measured the effects of trophic skew on production in an estuarine food web by manipulating ratios of species richness across three trophic levels in experimental mesocosms. After 24 days, increasing macroalgal richness promoted both plant biomass and grazer abundance, although the positive effect on plant biomass disappeared in the presence of grazers. The strongest trophic cascade on the experimentally stocked macroalgae emerged in communities with a greater ratio of prey to predator richness (bottom-rich food webs), while stronger cascades on the accumulation of naturally colonizing algae (primarily microalgae with some early successional macroalgae that recruited and grew in the mesocosms) generally emerged in communities with greater predator to prey richness (the more top-rich food webs). These results suggest that trophic skewing of species richness and overall changes in food web topology can influence marine community structure and food web dynamics in complex ways, emphasizing the need for multitrophic approaches to understand the consequences of marine extinctions and invasions. PMID:22693549

  13. Water ecosystem service function assessment based on eco-hydrological process in Luanhe Basin,China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, C.; Hao, C.; Qin, T.; Wang, G.; Weng, B.

    2012-12-01

    At present, ecological water are mainly occupied by a rapid development of social economic and population explosion, which seriously threat the ecological security and water security in watershed and regional scale. Due to the lack of a unified standard of measuring the benefit of water resource, social economic and ecosystem, the water allocation can't take place in social economic and ecosystem. The function which provided by water in terrestrial, aquatic and social economic system can be addressed through water ecosystem service function research, and it can guide the water allocation in water resource management. The function which provided by water in terrestrial, aquatic and social economic system can be addressed through water ecosystem service function research, and it can guide the water allocation in water resource management. Throughout the researches of water ecosystem service, a clear identification of the connection of water ecosystem service function has not been established, and eco-economic approach can't meet the practical requirement of water allocation. Based on "nature-artificiality" dual water cycle theory and eco-hydrological process, this paper proposes a connection and indicator system of water ecosystem service function. In approach, this paper establishes an integrated assessment approach through prototype observation technology, numerical simulation, physical simulation and modern geographic information technology. The core content is to couple an eco-hydrological model, which involves the key processes of distributed hydrological model (WEP), ecological model (CLM-DGVM), in terms of eco-hydrological process. This paper systematically evaluates the eco-hydrological process and evolution of Luanhe Basin in terms of precipitation, ET, runoff, groundwater, ecosystem's scale, form and distribution. According to the results of eco-hydrological process, this paper assesses the direct and derived service function. The result indicates that the

  14. Key role in ecosystem functioning of scavengers reliant on a single common species

    PubMed Central

    Inger, Richard; Per, Esra; Cox, Daniel T.C.; Gaston, Kevin J.

    2016-01-01

    The importance of species richness in maintaining ecosystem function in the field remains unclear. Recent studies however have suggested that in some systems functionality is maintained by a few abundant species. Here we determine this relationship by quantifying the species responsible for a key ecosystem role, carcass removal by scavengers. We find that, unlike those within largely unaltered environments, the scavenger community within our highly altered system is dominated by a single species, the Carrion crow, despite the presence of a number of other scavenging species. Furthermore, we find no relationship between abundance of crows and carcass removal. However, the overall activity of crows predicts carcass biomass removal rate in an asymptotic manner, suggesting that a relatively low level of abundance and scavenging activity is required to maintain this component of ecosystem function. PMID:27404915

  15. Key role in ecosystem functioning of scavengers reliant on a single common species.

    PubMed

    Inger, Richard; Per, Esra; Cox, Daniel T C; Gaston, Kevin J

    2016-01-01

    The importance of species richness in maintaining ecosystem function in the field remains unclear. Recent studies however have suggested that in some systems functionality is maintained by a few abundant species. Here we determine this relationship by quantifying the species responsible for a key ecosystem role, carcass removal by scavengers. We find that, unlike those within largely unaltered environments, the scavenger community within our highly altered system is dominated by a single species, the Carrion crow, despite the presence of a number of other scavenging species. Furthermore, we find no relationship between abundance of crows and carcass removal. However, the overall activity of crows predicts carcass biomass removal rate in an asymptotic manner, suggesting that a relatively low level of abundance and scavenging activity is required to maintain this component of ecosystem function. PMID:27404915

  16. The effect of sewage discharge on the ecosystem engineering activities of two East African fiddler crab species: consequences for mangrove ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Bartolini, Fabrizio; Cimò, Filippo; Fusi, Marco; Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid; Lopes, Gil Penha; Cannicci, Stefano

    2011-02-01

    A number of studies have suggested that mangrove forests and their faunal components may be pre-adapted to the impact of organic waste discharge, making them possible natural wastewater treatment wetlands. However, the results from recent research are contradictory. Some studies have shown that negative effects, sometimes subtle and difficult to observe, can be detected on specific biotic components of forests subjected to organic pollution. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate possible alterations in the ecosystem engineering activities of a fiddler crab community dominating the landward belts of Kenyan mangrove forests. The total processed sediment produced by burrowing and foraging activities in a population from a peri-urban mangrove area receiving untreated domestic sewage was compared with that from a forest not affected by urban wastewater. The results showed how the peri-urban site hosted a higher biomass of crabs, which produced a significantly lower amount of processed sediment compared with the pristine site, resulting in a lower total top sediment mixing activity of the crabs. Thus, the present study showed a link between sewage exposure and top sediment reworking by crabs, which is potentially beneficial for mangrove growth and ecosystem functioning. This represents a possible example of cryptic ecological degradation in mangal systems. PMID:21047678

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

    PubMed Central

    Schittko, Conrad; Hawa, Mahmoud; Wurst, Susanne

    2014-01-01

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

  18. How the origin of organic compounds affects vegetation patchiness and regime shifts in ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dekker, S. C.; Nierop, K. G. J.; Mao, J.

    2012-04-01

    Soil water repellency (SWR) is a common property of soils and has been reported from all inhabited continents. It can have negative consequences for plant growth due to stagnation of water infiltration. Recently, the understanding of SWR has increased, mainly for the soil physical mechanisms. Although it is known that SWR-causing compounds, so-called SWR-biomarkers, stem from organic matter, the types and their origin (leaf, root, microbial decomposed organic matter, algae), are largely unknown. At the ecosystem scale, positive feedbacks between vegetation and increased soil water due to increased infiltration lead to self-organization of vegetation patchiness and abrupt shifts in ecosystem for semi-arid regions (Rietkerk et al. 2004, Dekker et al. 2007). Organic matter can enhance infiltration capacity but can also interrupt water infiltration through SWR. In this research we hypothesize that biomarkers at the molecular level can explain spatial patterns of water infiltration while the origin of biomarkers determines whether they can trigger or halt regime shifts in patchy vegetation. Therefore, we analyze SWR-biomarkers found in soil and relate them to their origin and the extent of SWR for patchy vegetated sites. Vegetation-hydrology interactions at the ecosystem scale are unraveled by combining molecular level mechanisms of SWR with soil physical mechanisms at macro-level in spatial ecohydrological models. Our aim is to understand the effects of SWR at the molecular level and emerging consequences at ecosystem level.

  19. 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...

  20. Can Chemical Diversity Provide a Link to Ecosystem Function?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Biodiversity indices – whether to count or differentiate – reflect the purpose for which they are designed. Diversity in litter-mix experiments has been traditionally described by species or functional group richness. The lack of predictability in decomposition or mineralization response to these di...

  1. 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

  2. Social functioning and age across affective and non-affective psychoses

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Elizabeth A.; Öngür, Dost; Cohen, Bruce M.; Lewandowski, Kathryn E.

    2014-01-01

    Both non-affective and affective psychoses are associated with deficits in social functioning across the course of the illness. However, it is not clear how social functioning varies among diagnostic groups as a function of age. The current study examined the relationship between social functioning and age in schizophrenia (SZ), schizoaffective disorder (SZA), and psychotic bipolar disorder (PBD). We found that individuals with PBD had the highest functioning while individuals with SZ had the poorest. The functioning of individuals with SZA fell in between the other groups. We also found that older ages were associated with poorer functioning. Although there was not a significant diagnostic group by age interaction, visual inspection of our data suggests a subtly steeper trajectory of decline in PBD. These results indicate that a decline in social functioning with may be an important area of unmet need in treatment across psychotic disorders. PMID:25503785

  3. [Analysis on the ecosystem structure and function of Lake Taihu based on ecopath model].

    PubMed

    Li, Yun-Kai; Liu, En-Sheng; Wang, Hui; Gong, Yi

    2014-07-01

    Based on the data of lake survey conducted during 2008-2009 and the published data of the trophic ecology of key species, the exploited freshwater ecosystem of Lake Taihu was described using Ecopath with Ecosim 6.1 with the aim of characterizing its functioning and structure. The model comprised 20 functional groups including primary producers, the main species of fishes, nonfish vertebrates, and detritus. Results showed that the functional groups were organized into four aggregated trophic levels with the highest levels corresponding to the top predators, culters. Two trophic pathways were found in Lake Taihu, the detrital pathway and grazing pathway. The detrital pathway dominated in the ecosystem. As a consequence of the low ecotrophic efficiency of primary producer and detritus (trophic level I ), the accumulating detrital sediments continually released waste nutrients back into the system, resulting in its internal pollution. Considering Odum and Ulanowicz's theory of ecosystem development, the ecosystem was placed on a low developmental stage with high net primary production (NPP), net primary production/total respiration (NPP/R) and lower connectance index (CI), system omnivory index (SOI), and Finn' s cycling index (FCI). The results of mixed trophic impacts and keystone species selection showed that the increasingly intensive fishing exerted a negative effect on the ecosystem, and the top-down effects of top predators were becoming much obviously reduced. PMID:25345055

  4. Macroecological scale effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functions under environmental change.

    PubMed

    Burley, Hugh M; Mokany, Karel; Ferrier, Simon; Laffan, Shawn W; Williams, Kristen J; Harwood, Tom D

    2016-04-01

    Conserving different spatial and temporal dimensions of biological diversity is considered necessary for maintaining ecosystem functions under predicted global change scenarios. Recent work has shifted the focus from spatially local (α-diversity) to macroecological scales (β- and γ-diversity), emphasizing links between macroecological biodiversity and ecosystem functions (MB-EF relationships). However, before the outcomes of MB-EF analyses can be useful to real-world decisions, empirical modeling needs to be developed for natural ecosystems, incorporating a broader range of data inputs, environmental change scenarios, underlying mechanisms, and predictions. We outline the key conceptual and technical challenges currently faced in developing such models and in testing and calibrating the relationships assumed in these models using data from real ecosystems. These challenges are explored in relation to two potential MB-EF mechanisms: "macroecological complementarity" and "spatiotemporal compensation." Several regions have been sufficiently well studied over space and time to robustly test these mechanisms by combining cutting-edge spatiotemporal methods with remotely sensed data, including plant community data sets in Australia, Europe, and North America. Assessing empirical MB-EF relationships at broad spatiotemporal scales will be crucial in ensuring these macroecological processes can be adequately considered in the management of biodiversity and ecosystem functions under global change. PMID:27066246

  5. Organism-Sediment Interactions Govern Post-Hypoxia Recovery of Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Van Colen, Carl; Rossi, Francesca; Montserrat, Francesc; Andersson, Maria G. I.; Gribsholt, Britta; Herman, Peter M. J.; Degraer, Steven; Vincx, Magda; Ysebaert, Tom; Middelburg, Jack J.

    2012-01-01

    Hypoxia represents one of the major causes of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning loss for coastal waters. Since eutrophication-induced hypoxic events are becoming increasingly frequent and intense, understanding the response of ecosystems to hypoxia is of primary importance to understand and predict the stability of ecosystem functioning. Such ecological stability may greatly depend on the recovery patterns of communities and the return time of the system properties associated to these patterns. Here, we have examined how the reassembly of a benthic community contributed to the recovery of ecosystem functioning following experimentally-induced hypoxia in a tidal flat. We demonstrate that organism-sediment interactions that depend on organism size and relate to mobility traits and sediment reworking capacities are generally more important than recovering species richness to set the return time of the measured sediment processes and properties. Specifically, increasing macrofauna bioturbation potential during community reassembly significantly contributed to the recovery of sediment processes and properties such as denitrification, bedload sediment transport, primary production and deep pore water ammonium concentration. Such bioturbation potential was due to the replacement of the small-sized organisms that recolonised at early stages by large-sized bioturbating organisms, which had a disproportionately stronger influence on sediment. This study suggests that the complete recovery of organism-sediment interactions is a necessary condition for ecosystem functioning recovery, and that such process requires long periods after disturbance due to the slow growth of juveniles into adult stages involved in these interactions. Consequently, repeated episodes of disturbance at intervals smaller than the time needed for the system to fully recover organism-sediment interactions may greatly impair the resilience of ecosystem functioning. PMID:23185440

  6. Body size as a predictor of species loss effect on ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Séguin, Annie; Harvey, Éric; Archambault, Philippe; Nozais, Christian; Gravel, Dominique

    2014-01-01

    There is an urgent need to develop predictive indicators of the effect of species loss on ecosystem functioning. Body size is often considered as a good indicator because of its relationship to extinction risk and several functional traits. Here, we examined the predictive capacity of species body size in marine and freshwater multitrophic systems. We found a significant, but weak, effect of body size on functioning. The effect was much stronger when considering the effect of body size within trophic position levels. Compared to extinctions ordered by body size, random extinction sequences had lower multiple species loss effects on functioning. Our study is the first to show experimentally, in multitrophic systems, a more negative impact of ordered extinction sequences on ecosystem functioning than random losses. Our results suggest apparent ease in predicting species loss effect on functioning based on easily measured ecological traits that are body size and trophic position. PMID:24714619

  7. Abrupt shifts in ecosystem function and intensification of global biogeochemical cycle driven by hydroclimatic extremes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Xuanlong; Huete, Alfredo; Ponce-Campos, Guillermo; Zhang, Yongguang; Xie, Zunyi; Giovannini, Leandro; Cleverly, James; Eamus, Derek

    2016-04-01

    Amplification of the hydrologic cycle as a consequence of global warming is increasing the frequency, intensity, and spatial extent of extreme climate events globally. The potential influences resulting from amplification of the hydro-climatic cycle, coupled with an accelerating warming trend, pose great concerns on the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems to sequester carbon, maintain biodiversity, provide ecosystem services, food security, and support human livelihood. Despite the great implications, the magnitude, direction, and carry-over effect of these extreme climate events on ecosystem function, remain largely uncertain. To address these pressing issues, we conducted an observational, interdisciplinary study using satellite retrievals of atmospheric CO2 and photosynthesis (chlorophyll fluorescence), and in-situ flux tower measures of ecosystem-atmosphere carbon exchange, to reveal the shifts in ecosystem function across extreme drought and wet periods. We further determine the factors that govern ecosystem sensitivity to hydroclimatic extremes. We focus on Australia but extended our analyses to other global dryland regions due to their significant role in global biogeochemical cycles. Our results revealed dramatic impacts of drought and wet hydroclimatic extremes on ecosystem function, with abrupt changes in vegetation productivity, carbon uptake, and water-use-efficiency between years. Drought resulted in widespread reductions or collapse in the normal patterns of vegetation growth seasonality such that in many cases there was no detectable phenological cycle during extreme drought years. We further identified a significant increasing trend (p < 0.001) in extreme wet year precipitation amounts over Australia and many other global regions, resulting in an increasing trend in magnitude of the episodic carbon sink pulses coupled to each La Niña-induced wet years. This finding is of global biogeochemical significance, with the consequence of amplifying

  8. Integration of near-surface remote sensing and eddy covariance measurements: new insights on managed ecosystem structure and functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hatala, J.; Sonnentag, O.; Detto, M.; Runkle, B.; Vargas, R.; Kelly, M.; Baldocchi, D. D.

    2009-12-01

    Ground-based, visible light imagery has been used for different purposes in agricultural and ecological research. A series of recent studies explored the utilization of networked digital cameras to continuously monitor vegetation by taking oblique canopy images at fixed view angles and time intervals. In our contribution we combine high temporal resolution digital camera imagery, eddy-covariance, and meteorological measurements with weekly field-based hyperspectral and LAI measurements to gain new insights on temporal changes in canopy structure and functioning of two managed ecosystems in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta: a pasture infested by the invasive perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) and a rice plantation (Oryza sativa). Specific questions we address are: a) how does year-round grazing affect pepperweed canopy development, b) is it possible to identify phenological key events of managed ecosystems (pepperweed: flowering; rice: heading) from the limited spectral information of digital camera imagery, c) is a simple greenness index derived from digital camera imagery sufficient to track leaf area index and canopy development of managed ecosystems, and d) what are the scales of temporal correlation between digital camera signals and carbon and water fluxes of managed ecosystems? Preliminary results for the pasture-pepperweed ecosystem show that year-round grazing inhibits the accumulation of dead stalks causing earlier green-up and that digital camera imagery is well suited to capture the onset of flowering and the associated decrease in photosynthetic CO2 uptake. Results from our analyses are of great relevance from both a global environmental change and land management perspective.

  9. Ecosystem function and services provided by the deep sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thurber, A. R.; Sweetman, A. K.; Narayanaswamy, B. E.; Jones, D. O. B.; Ingels, J.; Hansman, R. L.

    2013-11-01

    The deep sea is often viewed as a vast, dark, remote, and inhospitable environment, yet the deep ocean and seafloor are crucial to our lives through the services and provisions that they provide. Our understanding of how the deep sea functions remains limited, but when treated synoptically, a diversity of provisioning, regulating and cultural services become apparent. The biological pump transports carbon from the atmosphere into deep-ocean water masses which are separated over prolonged periods, reducing the impact of anthropogenic carbon release. Microbial oxidation of methane keeps another potent greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere while trapping carbon in authigenic carbonates. Nutrient regeneration by all faunal size classes provides the elements necessary to fuel surface productivity and fisheries, and microbial processes detoxify a diversity of compounds. Each of these processes occur on a very small scale, yet considering the vast area over which they occur they become important for the global functioning of the ocean. The deep sea also provides a diversity of resources, including fish stocks, enormous bioprospecting potential, and elements and energy reserves that are currently being extracted and will be increasingly important in the near future. Society benefits from the intrigue and mystery, the strange life forms, and the great unknown which has acted as a muse for inspiration and imagination since near the beginning of civilization. While many functions occur on the scale of microns to meters and time scales up to years, the derived services that result are only useful after centuries of integrated activity. This vast dark habitat, that covers the majority of the globe, harbors processes that directly impact humans in a diversity of ways, however the same traits that differentiate it from terrestrial or shallow marine systems also result in a greater need for integrated spatial and temporal understanding as it experiences increased use by society.

  10. Ecosystem function and services provided by the deep sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thurber, A. R.; Sweetman, A. K.; Narayanaswamy, B. E.; Jones, D. O. B.; Ingels, J.; Hansman, R. L.

    2014-07-01

    The deep sea is often viewed as a vast, dark, remote, and inhospitable environment, yet the deep ocean and seafloor are crucial to our lives through the services that they provide. Our understanding of how the deep sea functions remains limited, but when treated synoptically, a diversity of supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural services becomes apparent. The biological pump transports carbon from the atmosphere into deep-ocean water masses that are separated over prolonged periods, reducing the impact of anthropogenic carbon release. Microbial oxidation of methane keeps another potent greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere while trapping carbon in authigenic carbonates. Nutrient regeneration by all faunal size classes provides the elements necessary for fueling surface productivity and fisheries, and microbial processes detoxify a diversity of compounds. Each of these processes occur on a very small scale, yet considering the vast area over which they occur they become important for the global functioning of the ocean. The deep sea also provides a wealth of resources, including fish stocks, enormous bioprospecting potential, and elements and energy reserves that are currently being extracted and will be increasingly important in the near future. Society benefits from the intrigue and mystery, the strange life forms, and the great unknown that has acted as a muse for inspiration and imagination since near the beginning of civilization. While many functions occur on the scale of microns to meters and timescales up to years, the derived services that result are only useful after centuries of integrated activity. This vast dark habitat, which covers the majority of the globe, harbors processes that directly impact humans in a variety of ways; however, the same traits that differentiate it from terrestrial or shallow marine systems also result in a greater need for integrated spatial and temporal understanding as it experiences increased use by society. In

  11. Features of the Functioning Bacterial Ecosystems in the Antarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yakushev, A. V.; Churilin, N.; Soina, V. S.; Vorobyova, E. A.; Mergelov, N. S.

    2014-10-01

    Studies of bacterial communities in the samples of Antarctic soils by different methods showed that, both in liquid soil suspensions and in situ, microbial complexes are functioning presumably by forming biofilms -- the phenomenon that is more expressed in such habitat than in soils of temperate zones. Functional (trophic) diversity and physiological state of hydrolytic bacteria was studied in the samples at the upper layer (0-2 cm) of gravel pavement with algae, in the underlying peat horizon (2-4 cm) with inclusions of dead biomass and its underlying mineral horizon (4-10 cm) with signs of fungal mycelium. The investigated samples of Antarctic soils revealed different trophic diversity and the maximum specific growth rate on mineral medium with different biopolymers as the sole carbon source (starch, chitin, pectin, xylan, dextran-500, tween-20, casein); this can testify to differences in the physiological state of hydrolytic bacteria in various soil horizons and their readiness for growth. The most remarkable characteristics of the studied Antarctic soil as compared to the soils of temperate zone, was the unusual ability of hydrolytic community to consume chitin in the mineral horizon; this can be explained by the presence of fungal mycelium. Also, an almost complete lack in consumption of tween-20 (a water-soluble analogue of fat) by bacterial community of Arctic soil horizons are not explained and needs further verification. The higher functional diversity was detected in the upper horizon of the gravel pavement, which "protects" microorganisms from exposure to extreme temperatures, UV radiation, and desiccation, but the maximum specific growth rate was higher in the lower mineral horizon; this can be explained by the specificity of bacterial colonizing processes and unique formation of Antarctic soil microprofiles in the Larsemann oasis. The obtained data indicate a specific environmental strategy in the samples of Antarctic soils: development in lower

  12. Arctic ecosystem functional zones: identification and quantification using an above and below ground monitoring strategy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, Susan S.; Ajo-Franklin, Jonathan B.; Dafflon, Baptiste; Dou, Shan; Kneafsey, Tim J.; Peterson, John E.; Tas, Neslihan; Torn, Margaret S.; Phuong Tran, Anh; Ulrich, Craig; Wainwright, Haruko; Wu, Yuxin; Wullschleger, Stan

    2015-04-01

    Although accurate prediction of ecosystem feedbacks to climate requires characterization of the properties that influence terrestrial carbon cycling, performing such characterization is challenging due to the disparity of scales involved. This is particularly true in vulnerable Arctic ecosystems, where microbial activities leading to the production of greenhouse gasses are a function of small-scale hydrological, geochemical, and thermal conditions influenced by geomorphology and seasonal dynamics. As part of the DOE Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE-Arctic), we are advancing two approaches to improve the characterization of complex Arctic ecosystems, with an initial application to an ice-wedge polygon dominated tundra site near Barrow, AK, USA. The first advance focuses on developing a new strategy to jointly monitor above- and below- ground properties critical for carbon cycling in the tundra. The strategy includes co-characterization of properties within the three critical ecosystem compartments: land surface (vegetation, water inundation, snow thickness, and geomorphology); active layer (peat thickness, soil moisture, soil texture, hydraulic conductivity, soil temperature, and geochemistry); and permafrost (mineral soil and ice content, nature, and distribution). Using a nested sampling strategy, a wide range of measurements have been collected at the study site over the past three years, including: above-ground imagery (LiDAR, visible, near infrared, NDVI) from various platforms, surface geophysical datasets (electrical, electromagnetic, ground penetrating radar, seismic), and point measurements (such as CO2 and methane fluxes, soil properties, microbial community composition). A subset of the coincident datasets is autonomously collected daily. Laboratory experiments and new inversion approaches are used to improve interpretation of the field geophysical datasets in terms of ecosystem properties. The new strategy has significantly advanced our ability

  13. Changes of ecosystem functions in a Mediterranean shrubland exposed for eight years to prolonged summer droughts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Dato, Giovanbattista; de Angelis, Paolo; Cesaraccio, Carla; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Duce, Pierpaolo; Sirca, Costantino; Spano, Donatella; Beier, Claus

    2010-05-01

    Where water is a limiting factor, like in arid and semiarid shrubland ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin, soil moisture, strengthen by high temperatures, is the key limiting factor controlling biogeochemical cycles. During the drought season, the unavailable water reduces plant growth, litter decomposition and microbial soil respiration. In order to assess the impacts of precipitation reduction on Mediterranean shrublands, a natural community has been exposed since 2001 to prolonged summer droughts by means of mobile plastic roofs, covering three experimental plots (20 m2) during rain events, in spring and in autumn. Three additional plots were used as control. The vegetation reaches a maximum height of 1.0 m and the main shrub species are Cistus monspeliensis, Helichrysum italicum and Dorycnium pentaphyllum. Bare soil constitutes about 20% of the plot surface. The aim of this paper is to summarize the impact of the treatment on the plant community structure and on ecosystem functions, after 8 years of experimentation. A general increase of vegetation cover was observed in the whole community during the years, as result of a natural process of recolonisation. This positive temporal pattern was mainly observed in the control plots, whereas in the drought treatment it was less evident and practically null in the year 2003. At species-specific level, a clear negative effect of drought treatment was observed for C. monspeliensis. Moreover, anticipated drought reduced C assimilation and induced an earlier change of leaf morphology in Cistus. These effects produced the reduction of LAI and of whole plant productivity. The seasonal pattern of soil CO2 efflux was characterized by higher rates during the wet vegetative season (autumn-spring) and lower rates during the dry non-vegetative season (summer). Significant negative effects were occasionally recorded during the period with the treatment turned on. The relation of soil respiration with temperature and soil water

  14. Marine mammals' influence on ecosystem processes affecting fisheries in the Barents Sea is trivial.

    PubMed

    Corkeron, Peter J

    2009-04-23

    Some interpretations of ecosystem-based fishery management include culling marine mammals as an integral component. The current Norwegian policy on marine mammal management is one example. Scientific support for this policy includes the Scenario Barents Sea (SBS) models. These modelled interactions between cod, Gadus morhua, herring, Clupea harengus, capelin, Mallotus villosus and northern minke whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Adding harp seals Phoca groenlandica into this top-down modelling approach resulted in unrealistic model outputs. Another set of models of the Barents Sea fish-fisheries system focused on interactions within and between the three fish populations, fisheries and climate. These model key processes of the system successfully. Continuing calls to support the SBS models despite their failure suggest a belief that marine mammal predation must be a problem for fisheries. The best available scientific evidence provides no justification for marine mammal culls as a primary component of an ecosystem-based approach to managing the fisheries of the Barents Sea. PMID:19126534

  15. Virus decomposition provides an important contribution to benthic deep-sea ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Dell’Anno, Antonio; Corinaldesi, Cinzia

    2015-01-01

    Viruses are key biological agents of prokaryotic mortality in the world oceans, particularly in deep-sea ecosystems where nearly all of the prokaryotic C production is transformed into organic detritus. However, the extent to which the decomposition of viral particles (i.e., organic material of viral origin) influences the functioning of benthic deep-sea ecosystems remains completely unknown. Here, using various independent approaches, we show that in deep-sea sediments an important fraction of viruses, once they are released by cell lysis, undergo fast decomposition. Virus decomposition rates in deep-sea sediments are high even at abyssal depths and are controlled primarily by the extracellular enzymatic activities that hydrolyze the proteins of the viral capsids. We estimate that on a global scale the decomposition of benthic viruses releases ∼37–50 megatons of C per year and thus represents an important source of labile organic compounds in deep-sea ecosystems. Organic material released from decomposed viruses is equivalent to 3 ± 1%, 6 ± 2%, and 12 ± 3% of the input of photosynthetically produced C, N, and P supplied through particles sinking to bathyal/abyssal sediments. Our data indicate that the decomposition of viruses provides an important, previously ignored contribution to deep-sea ecosystem functioning and has an important role in nutrient cycling within the largest ecosystem of the biosphere. PMID:25848024

  16. Using experimental manipulation to assess the roles of leaf litter in the functioning of forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sayer, Emma J

    2006-02-01

    The widespread use of forest litter as animal bedding in central Europe for many centuries gave rise to the first litter manipulation studies, and their results demonstrated that litter and its decomposition are a vital part of ecosystem function. Litter plays two major roles in forest ecosystems: firstly, litterfall is an inherent part of nutrient and carbon cycling, and secondly, litter forms a protective layer on the soil surface that also regulates microclimatic conditions. By reviewing 152 years of litter manipulation experiments, I show that the effects of manipulating litter stem from changes in one, or both, of these two functions, and interactions between the variables influenced by the accumulation of litter can result in feedback mechanisms that may intensify treatment effects or mask responses, making the interpretation of results difficult.Long-term litter removal increased soil bulk density, overland flow, erosion, and temperature fluctuations and upset the soil water balance, causing lower soil water content during dry periods. Soil pH increased or decreased in response to manipulation treatments depending on forest type and initial soil pH, but it is unclear why there was no uniform response. Long-term litter harvesting severely depleted the forests of nutrients. Decreases in the concentrations of available P, Ca, Mg, and K in the soil occurred after only three to five years. The decline in soil N occurred over longer periods of time, and the relative loss was greater in soils with high initial nitrogen concentration. Tree growth declined with long-term litter removal, probably due to lower nutrient availability. Litter manipulation also added or removed large amounts of carbon thereby affecting microbial communities and altering soil respiration rates. Litter manipulation experiments have shown that litter cover acts as a physical barrier to the shoot emergence of small-seeded species; further, the microclimate maintained by the litter layer may be

  17. How Does Maternal Employment Affect Children's Socioemotional Functioning?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lam, Gigi

    2015-01-01

    The maternal employment becomes an irreversible trend across the globe. The effect of maternal employment on children's socioemotional functioning is so pervasive that it warrants special attention to investigate into the issue. A trajectory of analytical framework of how maternal employment affects children's socioemotional functioning originates…

  18. Extreme drought event and shrub invasion combine to reduce ecosystem functioning and resilience in water-limited climates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caldeira, Maria; Lecomte, Xavier; David, Teresa; Pinto, Joaquim; Bugalho, Miguel; Werner, Christiane

    2016-04-01

    Extreme droughts and plant invasions are major drivers of global change that can critically affect ecosystem functioning. Shrub encroachment is increasing in many regions worldwide and extreme events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity, namely in the Mediterranean region. Nevertheless, little is known about how these drivers may interact and affect ecosystem functioning and resilience to extreme droughts. Using a manipulative shrub removal experiment and the co-occurrence of an extreme drought event (2011/2012) in a Mediterranean woodland, we show that the native shrub invasion and extreme drought combined to reduce ecosystem transpiration and the resilience of the key-stone oak tree species. We established six 25 x 25 m paired plots in a shrub (Cistus ladanifer L.) encroached Mediterranean cork-oak (Quercus suber L.) woodland. We measured sapflow and pre-dawn leaf water potential of trees and shrubs and soil water content in all plots during three years. We determined the resilience of tree transpiration to evaluate to what extent trees recovered from the extreme drought event. From February to November 2011 we conducted baseline measurements for plot comparison. In November 2011 all the shrubs from one of all the paired plots were cut and removed. Ecosystem transpiration was dominated by the water use of the invasive shrub, which further increased after the extreme drought. Simultaneously, tree transpiration in invaded plots declined much stronger (67 ± 13 %) than in plots cleared from shrubs (31 ± 11%) relative to the pre-drought year. Trees in invaded plots were not able to recover in the following wetter year showing lower resilience to the extreme drought event. Our results imply that in Mediterranean-type of climates invasion by water spending species can combine with projected recurrent extreme droughts causing critical drought tolerance thresholds of trees to be overcome increasing the probability of tree mortality (Caldeira et.al. 2015

  19. DEVELOPING TOOLS FOR EVALUATION OF INTERACTIONS BETWEEN GLOBAL CHANGE STRESSORS AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Case studies in key selected coral reefs and watersheds will be completed to provide scientific data, concepts and models that describe the responses of the functioning of these ecosystems to global change stressors. The studies will focus on relating global changes to local and...

  20. Pursuing robust agro-ecosystem functioning through effective soil organic carbon management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Soil organic matter is a key indicator of many ecosystem functions, particularly in agricultural systems. With carbon as its majority constituent (~58%), the quantity of soil organic C is a key variable relating production and environmental responses. However, it is argued that depth distribution ...

  1. Assessing Production and Ecosystem Function for Grain and Bioenergy Feedstock Crops Across Variable Soil Landscapes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Some soils in the U.S. Midwest region have been especially negatively impacted by grain cropping. The result has been lost productivity and diminished resiliency for ecosystem function. Of note are the degraded soils of the Midwest classed as “claypan soils.” These soils are disproportionate sources...

  2. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Exploring Principles of Ecology with Agricultural Plants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ruesink, Jennifer; O'Connor, Eileen; Sparks, Grace

    2006-01-01

    To date, little of the ecological research on biological diversity and ecosystem functioning has been carried out in agricultural systems, despite the fact that agriculture is a major contributor to loss of native habitats and species. However, agricultural research has demonstrated that polycultures of multiple crop species can have higher total…

  3. 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

  4. Fungal diversity and ecosystem function data from wine fermentation vats and microcosms.

    PubMed

    Boynton, Primrose J; Greig, Duncan

    2016-09-01

    Grape must is the precursor to wine, and consists of grape juice and its resident microbial community. We used Illumina MiSeq® to track changes in must fungal community composition over time in winery vats and laboratory microcosms. We also measured glucose consumption and biomass in microcosms derived directly from must, and glucose consumption in artificially assembled microcosms. Functional impacts of individual must yeasts in artificially assembled communities were calculated using a "keystone index," developed for "Species richness influences wine ecosystem function through a dominant species" [1]. Community composition data and functional measurements are included in this article. DNA sequences were deposited in GenBank (GenBank: SRP073276). Discussion of must succession and ecosystem functioning in must are provided in [1]. PMID:27331092

  5. Biogeochemical significance of pelagic ecosystem function: an end-Cretaceous case study.

    PubMed

    Henehan, Michael J; Hull, Pincelli M; Penman, Donald E; Rae, James W B; Schmidt, Daniela N

    2016-05-19

    Pelagic ecosystem function is integral to global biogeochemical cycling, and plays a major role in modulating atmospheric CO2 concentrations (pCO2). Uncertainty as to the effects of human activities on marine ecosystem function hinders projection of future atmospheric pCO2 To this end, events in the geological past can provide informative case studies in the response of ecosystem function to environmental and ecological changes. Around the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) boundary, two such events occurred: Deccan large igneous province (LIP) eruptions and massive bolide impact at the Yucatan Peninsula. Both perturbed the environment, but only the impact coincided with marine mass extinction. As such, we use these events to directly contrast the response of marine biogeochemical cycling to environmental perturbation with and without changes in global species richness. We measure this biogeochemical response using records of deep-sea carbonate preservation. We find that Late Cretaceous Deccan volcanism prompted transient deep-sea carbonate dissolution of a larger magnitude and timescale than predicted by geochemical models. Even so, the effect of volcanism on carbonate preservation was slight compared with bolide impact. Empirical records and geochemical models support a pronounced increase in carbonate saturation state for more than 500 000 years following the mass extinction of pelagic carbonate producers at the K-Pg boundary. These examples highlight the importance of pelagic ecosystems in moderating climate and ocean chemistry. PMID:27114586

  6. Tree species and functional traits but not species richness affect interrill erosion processes in young subtropical forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seitz, S.; Goebes, P.; Song, Z.; Bruelheide, H.; Härdtle, W.; Kühn, P.; Li, Y.; Scholten, T.

    2016-01-01

    Soil erosion is seriously threatening ecosystem functioning in many parts of the world. In this context, it is assumed that tree species richness and functional diversity of tree communities can play a critical role in improving ecosystem services such as erosion control. An experiment with 170 micro-scale run-off plots was conducted to investigate the influence of tree species and tree species richness as well as functional traits on interrill erosion in a young forest ecosystem. An interrill erosion rate of 47.5 Mg ha-1 a-1 was calculated. This study provided evidence that different tree species affect interrill erosion differently, while tree species richness did not affect interrill erosion in young forest stands. Thus, different tree morphologies have to be considered, when assessing soil erosion under forest. High crown cover and leaf area index reduced interrill erosion in initial forest ecosystems, whereas rising tree height increased it. Even if a leaf litter cover was not present, the remaining soil surface cover by stones and biological soil crusts was the most important driver for soil erosion control. Furthermore, soil organic matter had a decreasing influence on interrill erosion. Long-term monitoring of soil erosion under closing tree canopies is necessary, and a wide range of functional tree traits should be considered in future research.

  7. Exploring the Red Sea seasonal ecosystem functioning using a three-dimensional biophysical model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Triantafyllou, G.; Yao, F.; Petihakis, G.; Tsiaras, K. P.; Raitsos, D. E.; Hoteit, I.

    2014-03-01

    The Red Sea exhibits complex hydrodynamic and biogeochemical dynamics, which vary both in time and space. These dynamics have been explored through the development and application of a 3-D ecosystem model. The simulation system comprises two off-line coupled submodels: the MIT General Circulation Model (MITgcm) and the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), both adapted for the Red Sea. The results from an annual simulation under climatological forcing are presented. Simulation results are in good agreement with satellite and in situ data illustrating the role of the physical processes in determining the evolution and variability of the Red Sea ecosystem. The model was able to reproduce the main features of the Red Sea ecosystem functioning, including the exchange with the Gulf of Aden, which is a major driving mechanism for the whole Red Sea ecosystem and the winter overturning taking place in the north. Some model limitations, mainly related to the dynamics of the extended reef system located in the southern part of the Red Sea, which is not currently represented in the model, still need to be addressed.

  8. Functional diversity of marine ecosystems after the Late Permian mass extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foster, William J.; Twitchett, Richard J.

    2014-03-01

    The Late Permian mass extinction event about 252 million years ago was the most severe biotic crisis of the past 500 million years and occurred during an episode of global warming. The loss of around two-thirds of marine genera is thought to have had substantial ecological effects, but the overall impacts on the functioning of marine ecosystems and the pattern of marine recovery are uncertain. Here we analyse the fossil occurrences of all known benthic marine invertebrate genera from the Permian and Triassic periods, and assign each to a functional group based on their inferred lifestyle. We show that despite the selective extinction of 62-74% of these genera, all but one functional group persisted through the crisis, indicating that there was no significant loss of functional diversity at the global scale. In addition, only one new mode of life originated in the extinction aftermath. We suggest that Early Triassic marine ecosystems were not as ecologically depauperate as widely assumed. Functional diversity was, however, reduced in particular regions and habitats, such as tropical reefs; at these smaller scales, recovery varied spatially and temporally, probably driven by migration of surviving groups. We find that marine ecosystems did not return to their pre-extinction state, and by the Middle Triassic greater functional evenness is recorded, resulting from the radiation of previously subordinate groups such as motile, epifaunal grazers.

  9. Scaling up functional traits for ecosystem services with remote sensing: concepts and methods.

    PubMed

    Abelleira Martínez, Oscar J; Fremier, Alexander K; Günter, Sven; Ramos Bendaña, Zayra; Vierling, Lee; Galbraith, Sara M; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A; Ordoñez, Jenny C

    2016-07-01

    Ecosystem service-based management requires an accurate understanding of how human modification influences ecosystem processes and these relationships are most accurate when based on functional traits. Although trait variation is typically sampled at local scales, remote sensing methods can facilitate scaling up trait variation to regional scales needed for ecosystem service management. We review concepts and methods for scaling up plant and animal functional traits from local to regional spatial scales with the goal of assessing impacts of human modification on ecosystem processes and services. We focus our objectives on considerations and approaches for (1) conducting local plot-level sampling of trait variation and (2) scaling up trait variation to regional spatial scales using remotely sensed data. We show that sampling methods for scaling up traits need to account for the modification of trait variation due to land cover change and species introductions. Sampling intraspecific variation, stratification by land cover type or landscape context, or inference of traits from published sources may be necessary depending on the traits of interest. Passive and active remote sensing are useful for mapping plant phenological, chemical, and structural traits. Combining these methods can significantly improve their capacity for mapping plant trait variation. These methods can also be used to map landscape and vegetation structure in order to infer animal trait variation. Due to high context dependency, relationships between trait variation and remotely sensed data are not directly transferable across regions. We end our review with a brief synthesis of issues to consider and outlook for the development of these approaches. Research that relates typical functional trait metrics, such as the community-weighted mean, with remote sensing data and that relates variation in traits that cannot be remotely sensed to other proxies is needed. Our review narrows the gap between

  10. 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.

  11. Ocean circulation off east Antarctica affects ecosystem structure and sea-ice extent.

    PubMed

    Nicol, S; Pauly, T; Bindoff, N L; Wright, S; Thiele, D; Hosie, G W; Strutton, P G; Woehler, E

    2000-08-01

    Sea ice and oceanic boundaries have a dominant effect in structuring Antarctic marine ecosystems. Satellite imagery and historical data have identified the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current as a site of enhanced biological productivity. Meso-scale surveys off the Antarctic peninsula have related the abundances of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and salps (Salpa thompsoni) to inter-annual variations in sea-ice extent. Here we have examined the ecosystem structure and oceanography spanning 3,500 km of the east Antarctic coastline, linking the scales of local surveys and global observations. Between 80 degrees and 150 degrees E there is a threefold variation in the extent of annual sea-ice cover, enabling us to examine the regional effects of sea ice and ocean circulation on biological productivity. Phytoplankton, primary productivity, Antarctic krill, whales and seabirds were concentrated where winter sea-ice extent is maximal, whereas salps were located where the sea-ice extent is minimal. We found enhanced biological activity south of the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current rather than in association with it. We propose that along this coastline ocean circulation determines both the sea-ice conditions and the level of biological productivity at all trophic levels. PMID:10952309

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

    Morris, Rebecca J

    2010-11-27

    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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  15. Scorched earth: how will changes in ozone deposition caused by drought affect human health and ecosystems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emberson, L. D.; Kitwiroon, N.; Beevers, S.; Büker, P.; Cinderby, S.

    2012-10-01

    This unique study investigates the effect of ozone (O3) deposition on ground level O3 concentrations and subsequent human health and ecosystem risk under hot summer "heat wave" type meteorological events. Under such conditions, extended drought can effectively "turn off" the O3 vegetation sink leading to a substantial increase in ground level O3 concentrations. Two models that have been used for human health (the CMAQ chemical transport model) and ecosystem (the DO3SE O3 deposition model) risk assessment are combined to provide a powerful policy tool capable of novel integrated assessments of O3 risk using methods endorsed by the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. This study investigates 2006, a particularly hot and dry year during which a heat wave occurred during the summer across much of the UK and Europe. To understand the influence of variable O3 dry deposition three different simulations were investigated during June and July: (i) actual conditions in 2006; (ii) conditions that assume a perfect vegetation sink for O3 deposition and (iii) conditions that assume an extended drought period that reduces the vegetation sink to a minimum. The risk of O3 to human health, assessed by estimating the number of days during which running 8-h mean O3 concentrations exceeded 100 μg m-3, show that on average across the UK, there is a difference of 16 days exceedance of the threshold between the perfect sink and drought conditions. These average results hide local variation with exceedances reaching as high as 20 days in the East Midlands and Eastern UK. Estimates of acute exposure effects show that O3 removed from the atmosphere through dry deposition during the June and July period would have been responsible for approximately 460 premature deaths. Conversely, reduced O3 dry deposition will decrease the amount of O3 taken up by vegetation and, according to flux-based assessments of vegetation damage, will lead to protection from O3 across the UK

  16. Light availability affects stream biofilm bacterial community composition and function, but not diversity

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Karoline; Besemer, Katharina; Burns, Nancy R.; Battin, Tom J.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Changes in riparian vegetation or water turbidity and browning in streams alter the local light regime with potential implications for stream biofilms and ecosystem functioning. We experimented with biofilms in microcosms grown under a gradient of light intensities (range: 5–152 μmole photons s−1 m−2) and combined 454‐pyrosequencing and enzymatic activity assays to evaluate the effects of light on biofilm structure and function. We observed a shift in bacterial community composition along the light gradient, whereas there was no apparent change in alpha diversity. Multifunctionality, based on extracellular enzymes, was highest under high light conditions and decoupled from bacterial diversity. Phenol oxidase activity, involved in the degradation of polyphenolic compounds, was twice as high on average under the lowest compared with the highest light condition. This suggests a shift in reliance of microbial heterotrophs on biofilm phototroph‐derived organic matter under high light availability to more complex organic matter under low light. Furthermore, extracellular enzyme activities correlated with nutrient cycling and community respiration, supporting the link between biofilm structure–function and biogeochemical fluxes in streams. Our findings demonstrate that changes in light availability are likely to have significant impacts on biofilm structure and function, potentially affecting stream ecosystem processes. PMID:26013911

  17. Monitoring Ecosystem Quality and Function in Arid Settings of the Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Webb, Robert H.; Miller, Mark E.; Miller, David M.; DeFalco, Lesley A.; Medica, Philip A.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Esque, Todd C.; Bedford, Dave

    2008-01-01

    Monitoring ecosystem quality and function in the Mojave Desert is both a requirement of state and Federal government agencies and a means for determining potential long-term changes induced by climatic fluctuations and land use. Because it is not feasible to measure every attribute and process in the desert ecosystem, the choice of what to measure and where to measure it is the most important starting point of any monitoring program. In the Mojave Desert, ecosystem function is strongly influenced by both abiotic and biotic factors, and an understanding of the temporal and spatial variability induced by climate and landform development is needed to determine where site-specific measurements should be made. We review a wide variety of techniques for sampling, assessing, and measuring climatic variables, desert soils, biological soil crusts, annual and perennial vegetation, reptiles, and small mammals. The complete array of ecosystem attributes and processes that we describe are unlikely to be measured or monitored at any given location, but the array of possibilities allows for the development of specific monitoring protocols, which can be tailored to suit the needs of land-management agencies.

  18. Serotonin and Dopamine: Unifying Affective, Activational, and Decision Functions

    PubMed Central

    Cools, Roshan; Nakamura, Kae; Daw, Nathaniel D

    2011-01-01

    Serotonin, like dopamine (DA), has long been implicated in adaptive behavior, including decision making and reinforcement learning. However, although the two neuromodulators are tightly related and have a similar degree of functional importance, compared with DA, we have a much less specific understanding about the mechanisms by which serotonin affects behavior. Here, we draw on recent work on computational models of dopaminergic function to suggest a framework by which many of the seemingly diverse functions associated with both DA and serotonin—comprising both affective and activational ones, as well as a number of other functions not overtly related to either—can be seen as consequences of a single root mechanism. PMID:20736991

  19. Plant diversity and functional groups affect Si and Ca pools in aboveground biomass of grassland systems.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Roscher, Christiane; Hillebrand, Helmut; Weigelt, Alexandra; Oelmann, Yvonne; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Ebeling, Anne; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2016-09-01

    Plant diversity is an important driver of nitrogen and phosphorus stocks in aboveground plant biomass of grassland ecosystems, but plant diversity effects on other elements also important for plant growth are less understood. We tested whether plant species richness, functional group richness or the presence/absence of particular plant functional groups influences the Si and Ca concentrations (mmol g(-1)) and stocks (mmol m(-2)) in aboveground plant biomass in a large grassland biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment). In the experiment including 60 temperate grassland species, plant diversity was manipulated as sown species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16) and richness and identity of plant functional groups (1-4; grasses, small herbs, tall herbs, legumes). We found positive species richness effects on Si as well as Ca stocks that were attributable to increased biomass production. The presence of particular functional groups was the most important factor explaining variation in aboveground Si and Ca stocks (mmol m(-2)). Grass presence increased the Si stocks by 140 % and legume presence increased the Ca stock by 230 %. Both the presence of specific plant functional groups and species diversity altered Si and Ca stocks, whereas Si and Ca concentration were affected mostly by the presence of specific plant functional groups. However, we found a negative effect of species diversity on Si and Ca accumulation, by calculating the deviation between mixtures and mixture biomass proportions, but in monoculture concentrations. These changes may in turn affect ecosystem processes such as plant litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in grasslands. PMID:27164912

  20. Advancing biodiversity-ecosystem functioning science using high-density tree-based experiments over functional diversity gradients.

    PubMed

    Tobner, Cornelia M; Paquette, Alain; Reich, Peter B; Gravel, Dominique; Messier, Christian

    2014-03-01

    Increasing concern about loss of biodiversity and its effects on ecosystem functioning has triggered a series of manipulative experiments worldwide, which have demonstrated a general trend for ecosystem functioning to increase with diversity. General mechanisms proposed to explain diversity effects include complementary resource use and invoke a key role for species' functional traits. The actual mechanisms by which complementary resource use occurs remain, however, poorly understood, as well as whether they apply to tree-dominated ecosystems. Here we present an experimental approach offering multiple innovative aspects to the field of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research. The International Diversity Experiment Network with Trees (IDENT) allows research to be conducted at several hierarchical levels within individuals, neighborhoods, and communities. The network investigates questions related to intraspecific trait variation, complementarity, and environmental stress. The goal of IDENT is to identify some of the mechanisms through which individuals and species interact to promote coexistence and the complementary use of resources. IDENT includes several implemented and planned sites in North America and Europe, and uses a replicated design of high-density tree plots of fixed species-richness levels varying in functional diversity (FD). The design reduces the space and time needed for trees to interact allowing a thorough set of mixtures varying over different diversity gradients (specific, functional, phylogenetic) and environmental conditions (e.g., water stress) to be tested in the field. The intention of this paper is to share the experience in designing FD-focused BEF experiments with trees, to favor collaborations and expand the network to different conditions. PMID:24241640

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Convergence of the effect of root hydraulic functioning and root hydraulic redistribution on ecosystem water and carbon balance across divergent forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    domec, J.; King, J. S.; Ogée, J.; Noormets, A.; Warren, J.; Meinzer, F. C.; Sun, G.; Jordan-Meille, L.; Martineau, E.; Brooks, R. J.; Laclau, J.; Battie Laclau, P.; McNulty, S.

    2012-12-01

    INVITED ABSTRACT: Deep root water uptake and hydraulic redistribution (HR) play a major role in forest ecosystems during drought, but little is known about the impact of climate change on root-zone processes influencing HR and its consequences on water and carbon fluxes. Using data from two old growth sites in the western USA, two mature sites in the eastern USA, one site in southern Brazil, and simulations with the process-based model MuSICA, our objectives were to show that HR can 1) mitigate the effects of soil drying on root functioning, and 2) have important implications for carbon uptake and net ecosystem exchange (NEE). In a dry, old-growth ponderosa pine (USA) and a eucalyptus stand (Brazil) both characterized by deep sandy soils, HR limited the decline in root hydraulic conductivity and increased dry season tree transpiration (T) by up to 30%, which impacted NEE through major increases in gross primary productivity (GPP). The presence of deep-rooted trees did not necessarily imply high rates of HR unless soil texture allowed large water potential gradients to occur, as was the case in the wet old-growth Douglas-fir/mixed conifer stand. At the Duke mixed hardwood forest characterized by a shallow clay-loam soil, modeled HR was low but not negligible, representing annually up to 10% of T, and maintaining root conductance high. At this site, in the absence of HR, it was predicted that annual GPP would have been diminished by 7-19%. At the coastal loblolly pine plantation, characterized by deep organic soil, HR limited the decline in shallow root conductivity by more than 50% and increased dry season T by up to 40%, which increased net carbon gain by the ecosystem by about 400 gC m-2 yr-1, demonstrating the significance of HR in maintaining the stomatal conductance and assimilation capacity of the whole ecosystem. Under future climate conditions (elevated atmospheric [CO2] and temperature), HR is predicted to be reduced by up to 50%; reducing the resilience of

  4. Protecting marine biodiversity to preserve ecosystem functioning: A tribute to Carlo Heip

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herman, Peter; Warwick, Richard; Aller, Robert; Arvanitidis, Christos; Hewitt, Judi; Stal, Lucas; Vincx, Magda

    2015-04-01

    Carlo Heip was the highly respected Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Sea Research until his untimely death on 15 February 2013. As a tribute, the Journal wished to organize a special volume in his honour, the scope of which would provide an overview of the current state of affairs and the future outlook of marine biodiversity, a field of research to which Carlo made a major contribution. The volume places special emphasis on how marine biodiversity links to ecosystem functioning. Authors were invited to address such issues as: Which ecosystem functions are vulnerable to loss of biodiversity and how is the relation causally structured? How do trophic and non-trophic networks in ecosystems function and how do they depend on biodiversity? What is the role of spatial structuring for biodiversity? What is the role of biodiversity in biogeochemical fluxes at different scales? What are the new frontiers in the study of marine biodiversity and how can functional aspects be integrated in them? In this approach we wanted to cover a broad range of organisms reflecting Carlo's interests, the whole marine area from coastal systems to the deep sea, and spatial scales from single locations to worldwide databases.

  5. Microbial Fingerprints of Community Structure Correlate with Changes in Ecosystem Function Induced by Perturbing the Redox Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mills, A. L.; Ford, R. M.; Vallino, J. J.; Herman, J. S.; Hornberger, G. M.

    2001-12-01

    Restoration of high-quality groundwater has been an elusive engineering goal. Consequently, natural microbially-mediated reactions are increasingly relied upon to degrade organic contaminants, including hydrocarbons and many synthetic compounds. Of concern is how the introduction of an organic chemical contaminant affects the indigenous microbial communities, the geochemistry of the aquifer, and the function of the ecosystem. The presence of functional redundancy in microbial communities suggests that recovery of the community after a disturbance such as a contamination event could easily result in a community that is similar in function to that which existed prior to the contamination, but which is compositionally quite different. To investigate the relationship between community structure and function we observed the response of a diverse microbial community obtained from raw sewage to a dynamic redox environment using an aerobic/anaerobic/aerobic cycle. To evaluate changes in community function CO2, pH, ammonium and nitrate levels were monitored. A phylogenetically-based DNA technique (tRFLP) was used to assess changes in microbial community structure. Principal component analysis of the tRFLP data revealed significant changes in the composition of the microbial community that correlated well with changes in community function. Results from our experiments will be discussed in the context of a metabolic model based the biogeochemistry of the system. The governing philosophy of this thermodynamically constrained metabolic model is that living systems synthesize and allocate cellular machinery in such a way as to "optimally" utilize available resources in the environment. The robustness of this optimization-based approach provides a powerful tool for studying relationships between microbial diversity and ecosystem function.

  6. The assessment of a global marine ecosystem model on the basis of emergent properties and ecosystem function: a case study with ERSEM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Mora, L.; Butenschön, M.; Allen, J. I.

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem models are often assessed using quantitative metrics of absolute ecosystem state, but these model-data comparisons are disproportionately vulnerable to discrepancies in the location of important circulation features. An alternative method is to demonstrate the models capacity to represent ecosystem function; the emergence of a coherent natural relationship in a simulation indicates that the model may have an appropriate representation of the ecosystem functions that lead to the emergent relationship. Furthermore, as emergent properties are large-scale properties of the system, model validation with emergent properties is possible even when there is very little or no appropriate data for the region under study, or when the hydrodynamic component of the model differs significantly from that observed in nature at the same location and time.

    A selection of published meta-analyses are used to establish the validity of a complex marine ecosystem model and to demonstrate the power of validation with emergent properties. These relationships include the phytoplankton community structure, the ratio of carbon to chlorophyll in phytoplankton and particulate organic matter, the ratio of particulate organic carbon to particulate organic nitrogen and the stoichiometric balance of the ecosystem.

    These metrics can also inform aspects of the marine ecosystem model not available from traditional quantitative and qualitative methods. For instance, these emergent properties can be used to validate the design decisions of the model, such as the range of phytoplankton functional types and their behaviour, the stoichiometric flexibility with regards to each nutrient, and the choice of fixed or variable carbon to nitrogen ratios.

  7. Stress differentially impacts reserve pools and root exudation: implications for ecosystem functioning and carbon balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Landhäusser, Simon; Karst, Justine; Wiley, Erin; Gaster, Jacob

    2016-04-01

    Environmental stress can influence carbon assimilation and the accumulation and distribution of carbon between growth, reserves, and exudation; however, it is unclear how these processes vary by different stress types. Partitioning of carbon to growth and reserves in plants might also vary between different organs. Roots reserves are of particular interest as they link the plant with the soil carbon cycle through exudation. Simple models of diffusion across concentration gradients predict the more C reserves in roots, the more C should be exuded from roots. However, the mechanisms underlying the accumulation and loss of C from roots may differ depending on the stress experienced by the plants. In a controlled study we tested whether different types of stresses (shade, cold soil, and drought) have differential effects on the distribution, abundance, and form (sugar vs. starch) of carbohydrates in seedlings, and whether these changes alone could explain differences in root exudation between stress types. Non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentration and pool sizes varied by stress type and between organs. Mass-specific C exudation increased with fine root sugar concentration; however, stress type affected exudation independently of reserve concentration. Seedlings exposed to cold soils exuded the most C on a per root mass basis followed by shade and drought. Through 13C labeling, we also found that depending on the stress type, aspen seedlings may be less able to control the loss of C to the soil compared with unstressed seedlings, resulting in more C leaked to the rhizosphere. The loss of C beyond that predicted by simple concentration gradients might have important implications for ecosystem functioning and carbon balance. If stressed plants lose proportionally more carbon to the soil, existing interactions between plants and soils may decouple under stress, and may include unexpected C fluxes between trees, soils and the atmosphere with a changing climate.

  8. 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. PMID:23842653

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

    PubMed Central

    Freimann, Remo; Bürgmann, Helmut; Findlay, Stuart EG; Robinson, Christopher T

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23842653

  10. Proliferation of Purple Sulphur Bacteria at the Sediment Surface Affects Intertidal Mat Diversity and Functionality

    PubMed Central

    Hubas, Cédric; Jesus, Bruno; Ruivo, Mickael; Meziane, Tarik; Thiney, Najet; Davoult, Dominique; Spilmont, Nicolas; Paterson, David M.; Jeanthon, Christian

    2013-01-01

    There is a relative absence of studies dealing with mats of purple sulphur bacteria in the intertidal zone. These bacteria display an array of metabolic pathways that allow them to disperse and develop under a wide variety of conditions, making these mats important in terms of ecosystem processes and functions. Mass blooms of purple sulphur bacteria develop during summer on sediments in the intertidal zone especially on macroalgal deposits. The microbial composition of different types of mats differentially affected by the development of purple sulphur bacteria was examined, at low tide, using a set of biochemical markers (fatty acids, pigments) and composition was assessed against their influence on ecosystem functions (sediment cohesiveness, CO2 fixation). We demonstrated that proliferation of purple sulphur bacteria has a major impact on intertidal mats diversity and functions. Indeed, assemblages dominated by purple sulphur bacteria (Chromatiaceae) were efficient exopolymer producers and their biostabilisation potential was significant. In addition, the massive growth of purple sulphur bacteria resulted in a net CO2 degassing whereas diatom dominated biofilms represented a net CO2 sink. PMID:24340018

  11. Relating Snow Transport to Ecosystem Structure and Function: Lessons from Libby Flats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hiemstra, C. A.; Reiners, W. A.

    2003-12-01

    The effects of variable snow cover on ecosystem structure and function have been well-documented in cold, temperate ecosystems, especially in high-elevation treeline and alpine landscapes where long, windy winters can produce dramatic variations in snow depths over short distances. Additionally, wind directions, snowfall, and resultant snow-distribution patterns are essentially the same year after year, allowing for relatively steady state environmental conditions and ecosystem properties. These chronic and heterogeneous snow-cover patterns have been associated with ecosystem structure (e.g., plant species distributions, soil characteristics) and function (e.g., decomposition, primary production, nutrient cycling, water balance) in systems where winters are long and most precipitation falls as snow. We sought to determine the impacts of a heterogeneous snow distribution on ecosystem properties in a 6.25 km2 upper-treeline ecotone, called Libby Flats, in south-central Wyoming. This involved modeling and validating snow accumulation, ablation, and meltwater flow spatially coupled with observations of snow depth and density, soil moisture, soil temperature, plant species composition and cover, biomass, gross decomposition, and gopher activity. Model simulations successfully represented the general spatial patterns of snow redistribution and ablation, but field measurements pointed the way for model improvements. Dominant cover types varied with snow depth, meltwater flow, and soil temperature. Decomposition rates changed with soil moisture, soil temperature, snow depth, and length of time covered by snow. Gopher activity was inversely related to soil moisture and positively related to soil depth, soil temperature, snow water equivalent, and graminoid biomass. The role of snow in this landscape is best understood as a function of transport. Transport of snow and snow meltwater play distinctive roles in the spatial patterns of cover within the Libby Flats landscape

  12. 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

  13. Environmental Drivers of Benthic Flux Variation and Ecosystem Functioning in Salish Sea and Northeast Pacific Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Belley, Rénald; Snelgrove, Paul V. R.; Archambault, Philippe; Juniper, S. Kim

    2016-01-01

    The upwelling of deep waters from the oxygen minimum zone in the Northeast Pacific from the continental slope to the shelf and into the Salish Sea during spring and summer offers a unique opportunity to study ecosystem functioning in the form of benthic fluxes along natural gradients. Using the ROV ROPOS we collected sediment cores from 10 sites in May and July 2011, and September 2013 to perform shipboard incubations and flux measurements. Specifically, we measured benthic fluxes of oxygen and nutrients to evaluate potential environmental drivers of benthic flux variation and ecosystem functioning along natural gradients of temperature and bottom water dissolved oxygen concentrations. The range of temperature and dissolved oxygen encountered across our study sites allowed us to apply a suite of multivariate analyses rarely used in flux studies to identify bottom water temperature as the primary environmental driver of benthic flux variation and organic matter remineralization. Redundancy analysis revealed that bottom water characteristics (temperature and dissolved oxygen), quality of organic matter (chl a:phaeo and C:N ratios) and sediment characteristics (mean grain size and porosity) explained 51.5% of benthic flux variation. Multivariate analyses identified significant spatial and temporal variation in benthic fluxes, demonstrating key differences between the Northeast Pacific and Salish Sea. Moreover, Northeast Pacific slope fluxes were generally lower than shelf fluxes. Spatial and temporal variation in benthic fluxes in the Salish Sea were driven primarily by differences in temperature and quality of organic matter on the seafloor following phytoplankton blooms. These results demonstrate the utility of multivariate approaches in differentiating among potential drivers of seafloor ecosystem functioning, and indicate that current and future predictive models of organic matter remineralization and ecosystem functioning of soft-muddy shelf and slope seafloor

  14. Environmental Drivers of Benthic Flux Variation and Ecosystem Functioning in Salish Sea and Northeast Pacific Sediments.

    PubMed

    Belley, Rénald; Snelgrove, Paul V R; Archambault, Philippe; Juniper, S Kim

    2016-01-01

    The upwelling of deep waters from the oxygen minimum zone in the Northeast Pacific from the continental slope to the shelf and into the Salish Sea during spring and summer offers a unique opportunity to study ecosystem functioning in the form of benthic fluxes along natural gradients. Using the ROV ROPOS we collected sediment cores from 10 sites in May and July 2011, and September 2013 to perform shipboard incubations and flux measurements. Specifically, we measured benthic fluxes of oxygen and nutrients to evaluate potential environmental drivers of benthic flux variation and ecosystem functioning along natural gradients of temperature and bottom water dissolved oxygen concentrations. The range of temperature and dissolved oxygen encountered across our study sites allowed us to apply a suite of multivariate analyses rarely used in flux studies to identify bottom water temperature as the primary environmental driver of benthic flux variation and organic matter remineralization. Redundancy analysis revealed that bottom water characteristics (temperature and dissolved oxygen), quality of organic matter (chl a:phaeo and C:N ratios) and sediment characteristics (mean grain size and porosity) explained 51.5% of benthic flux variation. Multivariate analyses identified significant spatial and temporal variation in benthic fluxes, demonstrating key differences between the Northeast Pacific and Salish Sea. Moreover, Northeast Pacific slope fluxes were generally lower than shelf fluxes. Spatial and temporal variation in benthic fluxes in the Salish Sea were driven primarily by differences in temperature and quality of organic matter on the seafloor following phytoplankton blooms. These results demonstrate the utility of multivariate approaches in differentiating among potential drivers of seafloor ecosystem functioning, and indicate that current and future predictive models of organic matter remineralization and ecosystem functioning of soft-muddy shelf and slope seafloor

  15. Research needs to better understand Lake Ontario ecosystem function: A workshop summary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, Thomas J.; Rudstam, Lars G.; Watkins, James M.; Johnson, Timothy B.; Weidel, Brian C.; Koops, Marten A.

    2016-01-01

    Lake Ontario investigators discussed and interpreted published and unpublished information during two workshops to assess our current understanding of Lake Ontario ecosystem function and to identify research needs to guide future research and monitoring activities. The purpose of this commentary is to summarize key investigative themes and hypotheses that emerged from the workshops. The outcomes of the workshop discussions are organized under four themes: spatial linkages and interactions, drivers of primary production, trophic transfer, and human interactions.

  16. Ecosystem services of Phragmites in North America with emphasis on habitat functions

    PubMed Central

    Kiviat, Erik

    2013-01-01

    Phragmites australis (common reed) is widespread in North America, with native and non-native haplotypes. Many ecologists and wetland managers have considered P. australis a weed with little value to the native biota or human society. I document important ecosystem services of Phragmites including support for many common and rare species of plants and animals. This paper is based on an extensive review of the ecology and natural history literature, discussions with field workers, and observations in 13 US states and one Canadian province during the past 40 years. Phragmites sequesters nutrients, heavy metals and carbon, builds and stabilizes soils, and creates self-maintaining vegetation in urban and industrial areas where many plants do not thrive. These non-habitat ecosystem services are proportional to biomass and productivity. Phragmites was widely used by Native Americans for many purposes; the most important current direct use is for the treatment of wastes. Most of the knowledge of non-habitat ecosystem services is based on studies of P. australis haplotype M (an Old World haplotype). Phragmites also has habitat functions for many organisms. These functions depend on the characteristics of the landscape, habitat, Phragmites stand, species using Phragmites and life history element. The functions that Phragmites provides for many species are optimal at lower levels of Phragmites biomass and extent of stands. Old World Phragmites, contrary to many published statements, as well as North American native Phragmites, provide valuable ecosystem services including products for human use and habitat functions for other organisms. Phragmites stands may need management (e.g. thinning, fragmentation, containment or removal) to create or maintain suitable habitat for desired species of animals and plants.

  17. Tropical marginal seas: priority regions for managing marine biodiversity and ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    McKinnon, A David; Williams, Alan; Young, Jock; Ceccarelli, Daniela; Dunstan, Piers; Brewin, Robert J W; Watson, Reg; Brinkman, Richard; Cappo, Mike; Duggan, Samantha; Kelley, Russell; Ridgway, Ken; Lindsay, Dhugal; Gledhill, Daniel; Hutton, Trevor; Richardson, Anthony J

    2014-01-01

    Tropical marginal seas (TMSs) are natural subregions of tropical oceans containing biodiverse ecosystems with conspicuous, valued, and vulnerable biodiversity assets. They are focal points for global marine conservation because they occur in regions where human populations are rapidly expanding. Our review of 11 TMSs focuses on three key ecosystems-coral reefs and emergent atolls, deep benthic systems, and pelagic biomes-and synthesizes, illustrates, and contrasts knowledge of biodiversity, ecosystem function, interaction between adjacent habitats, and anthropogenic pressures. TMSs vary in the extent that they have been subject to human influence-from the nearly pristine Coral Sea to the heavily exploited South China and Caribbean Seas-but we predict that they will all be similarly complex to manage because most span multiple national jurisdictions. We conclude that developing a structured process to identify ecologically and biologically significant areas that uses a set of globally agreed criteria is a tractable first step toward effective multinational and transboundary ecosystem management of TMSs. PMID:24128091

  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. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Tree species identity and functional traits but not species richness affect interrill erosion processes in young subtropical forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seitz, S.; Goebes, P.; Song, Z.; Bruelheide, H.; Härdtle, W.; Kühn, P.; Li, Y.; Scholten, T.

    2015-06-01

    Soil erosion is seriously threatening ecosystem functioning in many parts of the world. In this context, it is assumed that tree species richness and functional diversity of tree communities can play a critical role in improving ecosystem services such as erosion control. An experiment with 170 micro-scale runoff plots was conducted to investigate the influence of tree species richness and identity as well as tree functional traits on interrill erosion in a young forest ecosystem. An interrill erosion rate of 47.5 t ha-1 a-1 was calculated. This study provided evidence that different tree species affect interrill erosion, but higher tree species richness did not mitigate soil losses in young forest stands. Thus, different tree morphologies have to be considered, when assessing erosion under forest. High crown cover and leaf area index reduced soil losses in initial forest ecosystems, whereas rising tree height increased them. Even if a leaf litter cover was not present, remaining soil surface cover by stones and biological soil crusts was the most important driver for soil erosion control. Furthermore, soil organic matter had a decreasing influence on soil loss. Long-term monitoring of soil erosion under closing tree canopies is necessary and a wide range of functional tree traits should be taken into consideration in future research.

  3. Lifetime affect and midlife cognitive function: prospective birth cohort study

    PubMed Central

    Richards, M.; Barnett, J. H.; Xu, M. K.; Croudace, T. J.; Gaysina, D.; Kuh, D.; Jones, P. B.

    2014-01-01

    Background Recurrent affective problems are predictive of cognitive impairment, but the timing and directionality, and the nature of the cognitive impairment, are unclear. Aims To test prospective associations between life-course affective symptoms and cognitive function in late middle age. Method A total of 1668 men and women were drawn from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort). Longitudinal affective symptoms spanning age 13-53 years served as predictors; outcomes consisted of self-reported memory problems at 60-64 years and decline in memory and information processing from age 53 to 60-64 years. Results Regression analyses revealed no clear pattern of association between longitudinal affective symptoms and decline in cognitive test scores, after adjusting for gender, childhood cognitive ability, education and midlife socioeconomic status. In contrast, affective symptoms were strongly, diffusely and independently associated with self-reported memory problems. Conclusions Affective symptoms are more clearly associated with self-reported memory problems in late midlife than with objectively measured cognitive performance. PMID:24357571

  4. Does Subacromial Osteolysis Affect Shoulder Function after Clavicle Hook Plating?

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Siwei; Gan, Minfeng; Sun, Han; Wu, Guizhong; Yang, Huilin; Zhou, Feng

    2016-01-01

    Purpose. To evaluate whether subacromial osteolysis, one of the major complications of the clavicle hook plate procedure, affects shoulder function. Methods. We had performed a retrospective study of 72 patients diagnosed with a Neer II lateral clavicle fracture or Degree-III acromioclavicular joint dislocation in our hospital from July 2012 to December 2013. All these patients had undergone surgery with clavicle hook plate and were divided into two groups based on the occurrence of subacromial osteolysis. By using the Constant-Murley at the first follow-up visit after plates removal, we evaluated patients' shoulder function to judge if it has been affected by subacromial osteolysis. Results. We have analyzed clinical data for these 72 patients, which shows that there is no significant difference between group A (39 patients) and group B (33 patients) in age, gender, injury types or side, and shoulder function (the Constant-Murley scores are 93.38 ± 3.56 versus 94.24 ± 3.60, P > 0.05). Conclusion. The occurrence of subacromial osteolysis is not rare, and also it does not significantly affect shoulder function. PMID:27034937

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Tradeoffs between income, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning during tropical rainforest conversion and agroforestry intensification.

    PubMed

    Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Kessler, Michael; Barkmann, Jan; Bos, Merijn M; Buchori, Damayanti; Erasmi, Stefan; Faust, Heiko; Gerold, Gerhard; Glenk, Klaus; Gradstein, S Robbert; Guhardja, Edi; Harteveld, Marieke; Hertel, Dietrich; Höhn, Patrick; Kappas, Martin; Köhler, Stefan; Leuschner, Christoph; Maertens, Miet; Marggraf, Rainer; Migge-Kleian, Sonja; Mogea, Johanis; Pitopang, Ramadhaniel; Schaefer, Matthias; Schwarze, Stefan; Sporn, Simone G; Steingrebe, Andrea; Tjitrosoedirdjo, Sri S; Tjitrosoemito, Soekisman; Twele, André; Weber, Robert; Woltmann, Lars; Zeller, Manfred; Tscharntke, Teja

    2007-03-20

    Losses of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning due to rainforest destruction and agricultural intensification are prime concerns for science and society alike. Potentially, ecosystems show nonlinear responses to land-use intensification that would open management options with limited ecological losses but satisfying economic gains. However, multidisciplinary studies to quantify ecological losses and socioeconomic tradeoffs under different management options are rare. Here, we evaluate opposing land use strategies in cacao agroforestry in Sulawesi, Indonesia, by using data on species richness of nine plant and animal taxa, six related ecosystem functions, and on socioeconomic drivers of agroforestry expansion. Expansion of cacao cultivation by 230% in the last two decades was triggered not only by economic market mechanisms, but also by rarely considered cultural factors. Transformation from near-primary forest to agroforestry had little effect on overall species richness, but reduced plant biomass and carbon storage by approximately 75% and species richness of forest-using species by approximately 60%. In contrast, increased land use intensity in cacao agroforestry, coupled with a reduction in shade tree cover from 80% to 40%, caused only minor quantitative changes in biodiversity and maintained high levels of ecosystem functioning while doubling farmers' net income. However, unshaded systems further increased income by approximately 40%, implying that current economic incentives and cultural preferences for new intensification practices put shaded systems at risk. We conclude that low-shade agroforestry provides the best available compromise between economic forces and ecological needs. Certification schemes for shade-grown crops may provide a market-based mechanism to slow down current intensification trends. PMID:17360392

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Field observed relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning during secondary succession in a tropical lowland rainforest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bu, Wensheng; Zang, Runguo; Ding, Yi

    2014-02-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) is one of the most concerned topics in ecology. However, most of the studies have been conducted in controlled experiments in grasslands, few observational field studies have been carried out in forests. In this paper, we report variations of species diversity, functional diversity and aboveground biomass (AGB) for woody plants (trees and shrubs) along a chronosequence of four successional stages (18-year-old fallow, 30-year-old fallow, 60-year-old fallow, and old-growth forest) in a tropical lowland rainforest recovered after shifting cultivation on Hainan Island, China. Fifty randomly selected sample plots of 20 m × 20 m were investigated in each of the four successional stages. Four functional traits (specific leaf area, wood density, maximum species height and leaf dry matter content) were measured for each woody plants species and the relationships between species/functional diversity and AGB during secondary succession were explored. The results showed that both plant diversity and AGB recovered gradually with the secondary succession. AGB was positively correlated with both species and functional diversity in each stage of succession. Consistent with many controlled experimental results in grasslands, our observational field study confirms that ecosystem functioning is closely related to biodiversity during secondary succession in species rich tropical forests.

  10. The resilience and functional role of moss in boreal and arctic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Turetsky, M R; Bond-Lamberty, B; Euskirchen, E; Talbot, J; Frolking, S; McGuire, A D; Tuittila, E-S

    2012-10-01

    Mosses in northern ecosystems are ubiquitous components of plant communities, and strongly influence nutrient, carbon and water cycling. We use literature review, synthesis and model simulations to explore the role of mosses in ecological stability and resilience. Moss community responses to disturbance showed all possible responses (increases, decreases, no change) within most disturbance categories. Simulations from two process-based models suggest that northern ecosystems would need to experience extreme perturbation before mosses were eliminated. But simulations with two other models suggest that loss of moss will reduce soil carbon accumulation primarily by influencing decomposition rates and soil nitrogen availability. It seems clear that mosses need to be incorporated into models as one or more plant functional types, but more empirical work is needed to determine how to best aggregate species. We highlight several issues that have not been adequately explored in moss communities, such as functional redundancy and singularity, relationships between response and effect traits, and parameter vs conceptual uncertainty in models. Mosses play an important role in several ecosystem processes that play out over centuries - permafrost formation and thaw, peat accumulation, development of microtopography - and there is a need for studies that increase our understanding of slow, long-term dynamical processes. PMID:22924403

  11. Impacts of discarded plastic bags on marine assemblages and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle Senga; Boots, Bas; Blockley, David James; Rocha, Carlos; Thompson, Richard

    2015-05-01

    The accumulation of plastic debris is a global environmental problem due to its durability, persistence, and abundance. Although effects of plastic debris on individual marine organisms, particularly mammals and birds, have been extensively documented (e.g., entanglement and choking), very little is known about effects on assemblages and consequences for ecosystem functioning. In Europe, around 40% of the plastic items produced are utilized as single-use packaging, which rapidly accumulate in waste management facilities and as litter in the environment. A range of biodegradable plastics have been developed with the aspiration of reducing the persistence of litter; however, their impacts on marine assemblages or ecosystem functioning have never been evaluated. A field experiment was conducted to assess the impact of conventional and biodegradable plastic carrier bags as litter on benthic macro- and meio-faunal assemblages and biogeochemical processes (primary productivity, redox condition, organic matter content, and pore-water nutrients) on an intertidal shore near Dublin, Ireland. After 9 weeks, the presence of either type of bag created anoxic conditions within the sediment along with reduced primary productivity and organic matter and significantly lower abundances of infaunal invertebrates. This indicates that both conventional and biodegradable bags can rapidly alter marine assemblages and the ecosystem services they provide. PMID:25822754

  12. The resilience and functional role of moss in boreal and arctic ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turetsky, M.; Bond-Lamberty, B.; Euskirchen, E.S.; Talbot, J. J.; Frolking, S.; McGuire, A.D.; Tuittila, E.S.

    2012-01-01

    Mosses in northern ecosystems are ubiquitous components of plant communities, and strongly influence nutrient, carbon and water cycling. We use literature review, synthesis and model simulations to explore the role of mosses in ecological stability and resilience. Moss community responses to disturbance showed all possible responses (increases, decreases, no change) within most disturbance categories. Simulations from two process-based models suggest that northern ecosystems would need to experience extreme perturbation before mosses were eliminated. But simulations with two other models suggest that loss of moss will reduce soil carbon accumulation primarily by influencing decomposition rates and soil nitrogen availability. It seems clear that mosses need to be incorporated into models as one or more plant functional types, but more empirical work is needed to determine how to best aggregate species. We highlight several issues that have not been adequately explored in moss communities, such as functional redundancy and singularity, relationships between response and effect traits, and parameter vs conceptual uncertainty in models. Mosses play an important role in several ecosystem processes that play out over centuries – permafrost formation and thaw, peat accumulation, development of microtopography – and there is a need for studies that increase our understanding of slow, long-term dynamical processes.

  13. Land use/ land cover and ecosystem functions change in the grassland restoration program areas in China from 2000 to 2010

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, H.; Fan, J.

    2015-12-01

    The grassland restoration areas in China, most of which was located in arid and semi-arid areas, are affected by climate change and anthropogenic activities. Using the 3S (RS, GIS, GPS) technologies, quantitative analysis method of landscape patterns and ecological simulation, this study examines the spatiotemporal characteristics of land use/ land cover and ecosystem functions change in the grassland restoration areas in China from 2000 to 2010. We apply two parameters land use transfer matrix and land use dynamic degree to explore the speed and regional differentiation of land use change. We propose vegetation coverage, net primary production (NPP), soil and water conservation capacity to assess the ecosystem functions. This study analyzes the characteristics of landscape patterns at the class and landscape levels and explores the ecological effect of land use pattern and regional ecological processes. The results show that: (1) Grassland and others were the main landscape types in the study area in the past decade. The ecosystem structure was stable. About 0.37% of the total grassland area in 2000 experienced change in land use / land cover types. The area of woodlands, wetlands, farmlands, and built-up areas expanded. The area of others has declined. (2) The dynamic degree of regional land use was less than one percent in the recent ten years. The speed of land use and land cover change was low, and regional differentiation of change between the provinces was small. (3) The matrix of the landscape did not change in the study area. Landscape fragmentation index values decreased progressively; landscape diversity rose continuously; landscape aggregation and continuity decreased slightly; the landscape maintained relative integrity. (4) Ecosystem functions has increased as a whole. The vegetation coverages with significant increase (with a 1.99% yr-1 slope of regression) in the total study area; NPP has a fluctuating and increasing tendency, ranging from 218.23 g

  14. 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

    compared to streams with developed watersheds and no management practices in place. However, ecosystem measures at restored sites were still only 53% of those in minimally disturbed reference streams. Some of our ongoing work further examines how watershed development and riparian condition affect stream ecosystem functions by altering the sources and delivery of nutrients and carbon. Our results can help inform management priorities and expectations, and they emphasize the importance of implementing mindful development and protective actions in a watershed context, especially in watersheds near impervious cover thresholds. Continued research on linked terrestrial-aquatic systems, improved BMP tracking, and ongoing monitoring will be essential to conserving and restoring the mechanisms that sustain valued ecological attributes and ecosystem services of streams.

  15. Recent advances in exploring physiology and biodiversity of ectomycorrhizas highlight the functioning of these symbioses in ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Buscot, F; Munch, J C; Charcosset, J Y; Gardes, M; Nehls, U; Hampp, R

    2000-12-01

    Ectomycorrhizas, the dominating mycorrhizal symbiosis in boreal, temperate and some tropical forests, are formed by 5000-6000 species of the asco- and basidiomycetes. This high diversity of fungal partners allows optimal foraging and mobilisation of various nitrogen and phosphorus forms from organic soil layers. In this review, two approaches to study the functioning of this multitude of symbiotic associations are presented. On selected culture models, physiological and molecular investigations have shown that the supply of hexoses has a key function in controlling the plant-fungus interaction via partner-specific regulation of gene expression. Environmental factors which affect fungal carbon supply, such as increased nitrogen availability, also affect mycorrhiza formation. Based on such laboratory results, the adaptative capability of ectomycorrhizas to changing field conditions is discussed. The second approach consists of analysing the distribution of mycorrhizas in ecosystem compartments and to relate distribution patterns to variations of ecological factors. Recent advances in identification of fungal partners in ectomycorrhizas by analysing the internal transcribed spacer of ribosomal DNA are presented, which can help to resolve sampling problems in field studies. The limits of the laboratory and the field approaches are discussed. Despite some problems, this combined approach is the most promising. Direct investigation of gene expression, which has been introduced for soil bacteria, will be difficult in the case of mycorrhizal fungi which constitute organisms with functionally varying structures. PMID:11077153

  16. 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

  17. Agricultural impacts on ecosystem functioning in temperate areas of North and South America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guerschman, Juan Pablo; Paruelo, José María

    2005-07-01

    Land use has a large impact on ecosystem functioning, though evidences of these impacts at the regional scale are scarce. The objective of this paper was to analyze the impacts of agricultural land use on ecosystem functioning (radiation interception and carbon uptake) in temperate areas of North and South America. From land cover maps generated using high-resolution satellite images we selected sites dominated by row crops (RC), small grain crops (SG), pastures (PA), and rangelands (RA) in the Central Plains of USA and the Pampas of Argentina. These two regions share climatic characteristics and the agricultural conditions (crop types) are also very similar. Both areas were originally dominated by temperate grasslands. In these sites we extracted the temporal series of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from the NOAA satellites for the period 1989-1998 and calculated the mean seasonal NDVI curve for each site. Additionally, we calculated the mean annual NDVI, the maximum NDVI, the date of the year when the max NDVI was recorded and the interannual variability of these three attributes. We compared the mean values of each NDVI-derived attribute between land cover types and between continents. The NDVI seasonal patterns for each land cover type were roughly similar between the Central Plains and the Pampas during the growing season. The largest differences were observed during the winter and spring, when the NDVI of all land cover types in the Central Plains remained at lower values than in the Pampas. This was probably caused by the high annual thermal amplitude in the Central Plains that results in a much more restricted growing season. As a result of these differences in the shape of the NDVI curve, the mean annual NDVI in the Central Plains was lower than in the Pampas for all land cover types but the maximum NDVI did not differ importantly. In both regions, row crops delayed the date of the NDVI peak, small grain crops advanced it and pastures

  18. 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., III; 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

  19. Ecosystem function in waste stabilisation ponds: Improving water quality through a better understanding of biophysical coupling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghadouani, Anas; Reichwaldt, Elke S.; Coggins, Liah X.; Ivey, Gregory N.; Ghisalberti, Marco; Zhou, Wenxu; Laurion, Isabelle; Chua, Andrew

    2014-05-01

    Wastewater stabilisation ponds (WSPs) are highly productive systems designed to treat wastewater using only natural biological and chemical processes. Phytoplankton, microbial communities and hydraulics play important roles for ecosystem functionality of these pond systems. Although WSPs have been used for many decades, they are still considered as 'black box' systems as very little is known about the fundamental ecological processes which occur within them. However, a better understanding of how these highly productive ecosystems function is particularly important for hydrological processes, as treated wastewater is commonly discharged into streams, rivers, and oceans, and subject to strict water quality guidelines. WSPs are known to operate at different levels of efficiency, and treatment efficiency of WSPs is dependent on physical (flow characteristics and sludge accumulation and distribution) and biological (microbial and phytoplankton communities) characteristics. Thus, it is important to gain a better understanding of the role and influence of pond hydraulics and vital microbial communities on pond performance and WSP functional stability. The main aim of this study is to investigate the processes leading to differences in treatment performance of WSPs. This study uses a novel and innovative approach to understand these factors by combining flow cytometry and metabolomics to investigate various biochemical characteristics, including the metabolite composition and microbial community within WSPs. The results of these analyses will then be combined with results from the characterisation of pond hydrodynamics and hydraulic performance, which will be performed using advanced hydrodynamic modelling and advanced sludge profiling technology. By understanding how hydrodynamic and biological processes influence each other and ecosystem function and stability in WSPs, we will be able to propose ways to improve the quality of the treatment using natural processes, with

  20. Critical indirect effects of climate change on sub-Antarctic ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Louise Allan, E; William Froneman, P; Durgadoo, Jonathan V; McQuaid, Christopher D; Ansorge, Isabelle J; Richoux, Nicole B

    2013-01-01

    Sub-Antarctic islands represent critical breeding habitats for land-based top predators that dominate Southern Ocean food webs. Reproduction and molting incur high energetic demands that are sustained at the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands (PEIs) by both inshore (phytoplankton blooms; “island mass effect”; autochthonous) and offshore (allochthonous) productivity. As the relative contributions of these sustenance pathways are, in turn, affected by oceanographic conditions around the PEIs, we address the consequences of climatically driven changes in the physical environment on this island ecosystem. We show that there has been a measurable long-term shift in the carbon isotope signatures of the benthos inhabiting the shallow shelf region of the PEIs, most likely reflecting a long-term decline in enhanced phytoplankton productivity at the islands in response to a climate-driven shift in the position of the sub-Antarctic Front. Our results indicate that regional climate change has affected the balance between allochthonous and autochthonous productivity at the PEIs. Over the last three decades, inshore-feeding top predators at the islands have shown a marked decrease in their population sizes. Conversely, population sizes of offshore-feeding predators that forage over great distances from the islands have remained stable or increased, with one exception. Population decline of predators that rely heavily on organisms inhabiting the inshore region strongly suggest changes in prey availability, which are likely driven by factors such as fisheries impacts on some prey populations and shifts in competitive interactions among predators. In addition to these local factors, our analysis indicates that changes in prey availability may also result indirectly through regional climate change effects on the islands' marine ecosystem. Most importantly, our results indicate that a fundamental shift in the balance between allochthonous and autochthonous trophic pathways

  1. Improved state estimations of lower trophic ecosystems in the global ocean based on a Green’s function approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toyoda, T.; Awaji, T.; Masuda, S.; Sugiura, N.; Igarashi, H.; Sasaki, Y.; Hiyoshi, Y.; Ishikawa, Y.; Saitoh, S.-I.; Yoon, S.; In, T.; Kishi, M. J.

    2013-12-01

    A lower trophic ecosystem model, which was originally developed for describing the variability in plankton distribution in the western North Pacific, is applied to the global ocean. A realistic time series of dynamically self-consistent circulation fields obtained by a 4-dimensional variational ocean data assimilation experiment is used for the environmental fields in the ecosystem model. An optimization of the bio-ecological parameter values in 40 provinces by a Green’s function approach enables the ecosystem model to represent the observed variabilities of nutrients and surface chlorophyll concentration with a relatively small number (11) of compartments. In addition, artificial trends of the ecosystem variables due to model errors are generally suppressed by the optimization. The obtained parameter values and ecosystem fields are generally consistent with observations in terms of assimilated and non-assimilated metrics. The integrated lower-trophic ecosystem and physical fields in the global ocean offer important information on the mechanisms (such as El Niños) responsible for the seasonal-interannual variability in the lower trophic ecosystem. Our results demonstrate that, with adequate parameter sets capable of modifying indirectly the model and significance of each pathway to reflect the characteristics of local species, a simple ecosystem model can be applied in quantitative analyses to enhance our understanding of the influence of climate variations on the ocean ecosystem.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-07-01

    the carbon cycle. Therefore, to analyze NEE of any glacier forefield ecosystem, different functional traits of the vegetation communities must be taken into consideration. Moreover, to assess the net ecosystem carbon balance it is necessary to consider the lateral fluxes of carbon via animal consumption, winter respiration, and in a broader temporal perspective, the different stages characterizing the primary succession.

  3. Species interactions regulate the collapse of biodiversity and ecosystem function in tropical forest fragments.

    PubMed

    Bregman, Tom P; Lees, Alexander C; Seddon, Nathalie; Macgregor, Hannah E A; Darski, Bianca; Aleixo, Alexandre; Bonsall, Michael B; Tobias, Joseph A

    2015-10-01

    Competitive interactions among species with similar ecological niches are known to regulate the assembly of biological communities. However, it is not clear whether such forms of competition can predict the collapse of communities and associated shifts in ecosystem function in the face of environmental change. Here, we use phylogenetic and functional trait data to test whether communities of two ecologically important guilds of tropical birds (frugivores and insectivores) are structured by species interactions in a fragmented Amazonian forest landscape. In both guilds, we found that forest patch size, quality, and degree of isolation influence the phylogenetic and functional trait structure of communities, with small, degraded, or isolated forest patches having an increased signature of competition (i.e., phylogenetic and functional trait overdispersion in relation to null models). These results suggest that local extinctions in the context of fragmentation are nonrandom, with a consistent bias toward more densely occupied regions of niche space. We conclude that the loss of biodiversity in fragmented landscapes is mediated by niche-based competitive interactions among species, with potentially far-reaching implications for key ecosystem processes, including seed dispersal and plant damage by phytophagous insects. PMID:26649390

  4. Impacts of multiple stressors on ecosystem function: Leaf decomposition in constructed urban wetlands.

    PubMed

    Mackintosh, Teresa J; Davis, Jenny A; Thompson, Ross M

    2016-01-01

    The impact of stormwater on stream biota is well documented, but less is known about the impacts on ecosystem processes, such as the breakdown of organic matter. This study sought to establish whether the degree of urbanisation affected rates of leaf-litter breakdown within constructed wetlands. A litter bag method was used to ascertain rate of decomposition along a gradient of urbanisation (total imperviousness, TI), in constructed wetlands in western and south-eastern Melbourne. A significant positive relationship between TI and breakdown rate was found in the south-eastern wetlands. The significant reduction in rate of invertebrate-mediated breakdown with increasing concentration of certain metals was consistent with other studies. However, overall there was an increase in rate of breakdown. Studies have shown that the effects of heavy metals can be negated if nutrient levels are high. Our results suggest that other parameters besides exposure to contaminants are likely to affect leaf litter breakdown. PMID:26371988

  5. Functional significance of preserved affect recognition in schizophrenia

    PubMed Central

    Fiszdon, Joanna M.; Johannesen, Jason K.

    2009-01-01

    Affect recognition (AR) is a core component of social information processing, thus may be critical to understanding social behavior and functioning in broader aspects of daily living. Deficits in AR are well documented in schizophrenia, however, there is also evidence that many individuals with schizophrenia perform AR tasks at near-normal levels. In the current study, we sought to evaluate the functional significance of AR deficits in schizophrenia by comparing subgroups with normal-range and impaired AR performance on proxy and interviewer-rated measures of real-world functioning. Schizophrenia outpatients were classified as normal-range (N=17) and impaired (N=31) based on a logistic cut point in the sample distribution of BLERT scores, referenced to a normative sample of healthy control subjects (N=56). The derived schizophrenia subgroups were then compared on proxy (UCSD, UPSA, SSPA, MMAA) and interviewer-rated (QLS, ILSS) measures of functioning, as well as battery of neurocognitive tests. Initial analyses indicated superior MMAA and QLS performance in the near-normal AR subgroup. Covariate analyses indicated that group differences in neurocognition fully mediated the observed associations between AR and MMAA and attenuated the observed relationships between AR classification and QLS. These results support three main conclusions. First, AR, like many other domains of psychopathology studied in schizophrenia, is preserved in select subgroups. Second, there is a positive relationship between AR performance and functional outcome measures. Third, neurocognition appears to mediate the relationship between AR and measures of functioning. PMID:20202689

  6. Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in long-term time series and palaeoecological records: deep sea as a test bed.

    PubMed

    Yasuhara, Moriaki; Doi, Hideyuki; Wei, Chih-Lin; Danovaro, Roberto; Myhre, Sarah E

    2016-05-19

    The link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) over long temporal scales is poorly understood. Here, we investigate biological monitoring and palaeoecological records on decadal, centennial and millennial time scales from a BEF framework by using deep sea, soft-sediment environments as a test bed. Results generally show positive BEF relationships, in agreement with BEF studies based on present-day spatial analyses and short-term manipulative experiments. However, the deep-sea BEF relationship is much noisier across longer time scales compared with modern observational studies. We also demonstrate with palaeoecological time-series data that a larger species pool does not enhance ecosystem stability through time, whereas higher abundance as an indicator of higher ecosystem functioning may enhance ecosystem stability. These results suggest that BEF relationships are potentially time scale-dependent. Environmental impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning may be much stronger than biodiversity impacts on ecosystem functioning at long, decadal-millennial, time scales. Longer time scale perspectives, including palaeoecological and ecosystem monitoring data, are critical for predicting future BEF relationships on a rapidly changing planet. PMID:27114583

  7. 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

  8. Are Hotspots Always Hotspots? The Relationship between Diversity, Resource and Ecosystem Functions in the Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Link, Heike; Piepenburg, Dieter; Archambault, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The diversity-ecosystem function relationship is an important topic in ecology but has not received much attention in Arctic environments, and has rarely been tested for its stability in time. We studied the temporal variability of benthic ecosystem functioning at hotspots (sites with high benthic boundary fluxes) and coldspots (sites with lower fluxes) across two years in the Canadian Arctic. Benthic remineralisation function was measured as fluxes of oxygen, silicic acid, phosphate, nitrate and nitrite at the sediment-water interface. In addition we determined sediment pigment concentration and taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity. To separate temporal from spatial variability, we sampled the same nine sites from the Mackenzie Shelf to Baffin Bay during the same season (summer or fall) in 2008 and 2009. We observed that temporal variability of benthic remineralisation function at hotspots is higher than at coldspots and that taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity did not change significantly between years. Temporal variability of food availability (i.e., sediment surface pigment concentration) seemed higher at coldspot than at hotspot areas. Sediment chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentration, taxonomic richness, total abundance, water depth and abundance of the largest gallery-burrowing polychaete Lumbrineristetraura together explained 42% of the total variation in fluxes. Food supply proxies (i.e., sediment Chl a and depth) split hot- from coldspot stations and explained variation on the axis of temporal variability, and macrofaunal community parameters explained variation mostly along the axis separating eastern from western sites with hot- or coldspot regimes. We conclude that variability in benthic remineralisation function, food supply and diversity will react to climate change on different time scales, and that their interactive effects may hide the detection of progressive change, particularly at hotspots. Time-series of benthic functions and

  9. Consumer return chronology alters recovery trajectory of stream ecosystem structure and function following drought.

    PubMed

    Murdock, Justin N; Gido, Keith B; Dodds, Walter K; Bertrand, Katie N; Whiles, Matt R

    2010-04-01

    Consumers are increasingly being recognized as important drivers of ecological succession, yet it is still hard to predict the nature and direction of consumer effects in nonequilibrium environments. We used stream consumer exclosures and large outdoor mesocosms to study the impact of macroconsumers (i.e., fish and crayfish) on recovery of intermittent prairie streams after drying. In the stream, macroconsumers altered system recovery trajectory by decreasing algal and macroinvertebrate biomass, primary productivity, and benthic nutrient uptake rates. However, macroconsumer influence was transient, and differences between exclosures and controls disappeared after 35 days. Introducing and removing macroconsumers after 28 days resulted mainly in changes to macroinvertebrates. In mesocosms, a dominant consumer (the grazing minnow Phoxinus erythrogaster) reduced macroinvertebrate biomass but had little effect on algal assemblage structure and ecosystem rates during recovery. The weak effect of P. erythrogaster in mesocosms, in contrast to the strong consumer effect in the natural stream, suggests that both timing and diversity of returning consumers are important to their overall influence on stream recovery patterns. Although we found that consumers significantly altered ecosystem structure and function in a system experiencing rapid changes in abiotic and biotic factors following disturbance, consumer effects diminished over time and trajectories converged to similar states with respect to primary producers, in spite of differences in consumer colonization history. Thus, consumer impacts can be substantial in recovering ecosystems and are likely to be dependent on the disturbance regime and diversity of the consumer community. PMID:20462119

  10. 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

  11. Global alteration of ocean ecosystem functioning due to increasing human CO2 emissions

    PubMed Central

    Nagelkerken, Ivan; Connell, Sean D.

    2015-01-01

    Rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions are anticipated to drive change to ocean ecosystems, but a conceptualization of biological change derived from quantitative analyses is lacking. Derived from multiple ecosystems and latitudes, our metaanalysis of 632 published experiments quantified the direction and magnitude of ecological change resulting from ocean acidification and warming to conceptualize broadly based change. Primary production by temperate noncalcifying plankton increases with elevated temperature and CO2, whereas tropical plankton decreases productivity because of acidification. Temperature increases consumption by and metabolic rates of herbivores, but this response does not translate into greater secondary production, which instead decreases with acidification in calcifying and noncalcifying species. This effect creates a mismatch with carnivores whose metabolic and foraging costs increase with temperature. Species diversity and abundances of tropical as well as temperate species decline with acidification, with shifts favoring novel community compositions dominated by noncalcifiers and microorganisms. Both warming and acidification instigate reduced calcification in tropical and temperate reef-building species. Acidification leads to a decline in dimethylsulfide production by ocean plankton, which as a climate gas, contributes to cloud formation and maintenance of the Earth’s heat budget. Analysis of responses in short- and long-term experiments and of studies at natural CO2 vents reveals little evidence of acclimation to acidification or temperature changes, except for microbes. This conceptualization of change across whole communities and their trophic linkages forecast a reduction in diversity and abundances of various key species that underpin current functioning of marine ecosystems. PMID:26460052

  12. Global alteration of ocean ecosystem functioning due to increasing human CO2 emissions.

    PubMed

    Nagelkerken, Ivan; Connell, Sean D

    2015-10-27

    Rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions are anticipated to drive change to ocean ecosystems, but a conceptualization of biological change derived from quantitative analyses is lacking. Derived from multiple ecosystems and latitudes, our metaanalysis of 632 published experiments quantified the direction and magnitude of ecological change resulting from ocean acidification and warming to conceptualize broadly based change. Primary production by temperate noncalcifying plankton increases with elevated temperature and CO2, whereas tropical plankton decreases productivity because of acidification. Temperature increases consumption by and metabolic rates of herbivores, but this response does not translate into greater secondary production, which instead decreases with acidification in calcifying and noncalcifying species. This effect creates a mismatch with carnivores whose metabolic and foraging costs increase with temperature. Species diversity and abundances of tropical as well as temperate species decline with acidification, with shifts favoring novel community compositions dominated by noncalcifiers and microorganisms. Both warming and acidification instigate reduced calcification in tropical and temperate reef-building species. Acidification leads to a decline in dimethylsulfide production by ocean plankton, which as a climate gas, contributes to cloud formation and maintenance of the Earth's heat budget. Analysis of responses in short- and long-term experiments and of studies at natural CO2 vents reveals little evidence of acclimation to acidification or temperature changes, except for microbes. This conceptualization of change across whole communities and their trophic linkages forecast a reduction in diversity and abundances of various key species that underpin current functioning of marine ecosystems. PMID:26460052

  13. 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.

  14. Testing functional trait-based mechanisms underpinning plant responses to grazing and linkages to ecosystem functioning in grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Li, W. H.; Lan, Z. C.; Ren, H. Y.; Wang, K. B.; Bai, Y. F.

    2014-09-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, ecological strategies, community structure, and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have examined how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and functional group identity. We test functional trait-based mechanisms underlying the responses of different life forms to grazing and linkages to ecosystem functioning along a soil moisture gradient in the Inner Mongolia grassland. A principal component analysis (PCA) based on 9 traits × 276 species matrix showed that the plant size spectrum (i.e., individual biomass), leaf economics spectrum (leaf N content and leaf density), and light competition spectrum (height and stem-leaf biomass ratio) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The three life forms exhibited differential strategies as indicated by trait responses to grazing. The annuals and biennials adopted grazing-tolerant strategies associated with high growth rate, reflected by high leaf N content and specific leaf area. The perennial grasses exhibited grazing-tolerant strategies associated with great regrowth capacity and high palatability scores, whereas perennial forbs showed grazing-avoidant strategies with short stature and low palatability scores. In addition, the dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance-resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive-conservative strategies in resource utilization. Grazing increased the relative abundance of perennial forbs with low palatability in the wet and fertile meadow, but it promoted perennial grasses with high palatability in the dry and infertile typical steppe. Our findings suggest that the effects of grazing on plant functional traits are dependent on both the abiotic (e.g., soil moisture) and biotic (e.g., plant functional group identity and composition) factors. Grazing-induced shifts in functional group composition are largely dependent on resource

  15. Structure, functioning, and cumulative stressors of Mediterranean deep-sea ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tecchio, Samuele; Coll, Marta; Sardà, Francisco

    2015-06-01

    Environmental stressors, such as climate fluctuations, and anthropogenic stressors, such as fishing, are of major concern for the management of deep-sea ecosystems. Deep-water habitats are limited by primary productivity and are mainly dependent on the vertical input of organic matter from the surface. Global change over the latest decades is imparting variations in primary productivity levels across oceans, and thus it has an impact on the amount of organic matter landing on the deep seafloor. In addition, anthropogenic impacts are now reaching the deep ocean. The Mediterranean Sea, the largest enclosed basin on the planet, is not an exception. However, ecosystem-level studies of response to varying food input and anthropogenic stressors on deep-sea ecosystems are still scant. We present here a comparative ecological network analysis of three food webs of the deep Mediterranean Sea, with contrasting trophic structure. After modelling the flows of these food webs with the Ecopath with Ecosim approach, we compared indicators of network structure and functioning. We then developed temporal dynamic simulations varying the organic matter input to evaluate its potential effect. Results show that, following the west-to-east gradient in the Mediterranean Sea of marine snow input, organic matter recycling increases, net production decreases to negative values and trophic organisation is overall reduced. The levels of food-web activity followed the gradient of organic matter availability at the seafloor, confirming that deep-water ecosystems directly depend on marine snow and are therefore influenced by variations of energy input, such as climate-driven changes. In addition, simulations of varying marine snow arrival at the seafloor, combined with the hypothesis of a possible fishery expansion on the lower continental slope in the western basin, evidence that the trawling fishery may pose an impact which could be an order of magnitude stronger than a climate

  16. Factors affecting sexual function in menopause: A review article.

    PubMed

    Nazarpour, Soheila; Simbar, Masoumeh; Tehrani, Fahimeh Ramezani

    2016-08-01

    This study aimed to systematically review the articles on factors affecting sexual function during menopause. Searching articles indexed in Pubmed, Science Direct, Iranmedex, EMBASE, Scopus, and Scientific Information Database databases, a total number of 42 studies published between 2003 and 2013 were selected. Age, estrogen deficiency, type of menopause, chronic medical problems, partner's sex problems, severity of menopause symptoms, dystocia history, and health status were the physical factors influencing sexual function of menopausal women. There were conflicting results regarding the amount of androgens, hormonal therapy, exercise/physical activity, and obstetric history. In the mental-emotional area, all studies confirmed the impact of depression and anxiety. Social factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption, the quality of relationship with husband, partner's loyalty, sexual knowledge, access to health care, a history of divorce or the death of a husband, living apart from a spouse, and a negative understanding of women's health were found to affect sexual function; however, there were conflicting results regarding the effects of education, occupation, socioeconomic status, marital duration, and frequency of sexual intercourse. PMID:27590367

  17. Microbial Functional Potential and Community Composition in Permafrost-Affected Soils of the NW Canadian Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Frank-Fahle, Béatrice A.; Yergeau, Étienne; Greer, Charles W.; Lantuit, Hugues; Wagner, Dirk

    2014-01-01

    Permafrost-affected soils are among the most obvious ecosystems in which current microbial controls on organic matter decomposition are changing as a result of global warming. Warmer conditions in polygonal tundra will lead to a deepening of the seasonal active layer, provoking changes in microbial processes and possibly resulting in exacerbated carbon degradation under increasing anoxic conditions. To identify current microbial assemblages in carbon rich, water saturated permafrost environments, four polygonal tundra sites were investigated on Herschel Island and the Yukon Coast, Western Canadian Arctic. Ion Torrent sequencing of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA amplicons revealed the presence of all major microbial soil groups and indicated a local, vertical heterogeneity of the polygonal tundra soil community with increasing depth. Microbial diversity was found to be highest in the surface layers, decreasing towards the permafrost table. Quantitative PCR analysis of functional genes involved in carbon and nitrogen-cycling revealed a high functional potential in the surface layers, decreasing with increasing active layer depth. We observed that soil properties driving microbial diversity and functional potential varied in each study site. These results highlight the small-scale heterogeneity of geomorphologically comparable sites, greatly restricting generalizations about the fate of permafrost-affected environments in a warming Arctic. PMID:24416279

  18. Ecological concerns following Superstorm Sandy: stressor level and recreational activity levels affect perceptions of ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Coastal habitats are vulnerable to storms, and with increasing urbanization, sea level rise, and storm frequency, some urban populations are at risk. This study examined perceptions of respondents in coastal and central New Jersey to Superstorm Sandy, including: 1) concerns about ecological resources and effects (open-ended question), 2) information sources for ecology of the coast (open-ended), and 3) ratings of a list of ecological services as a function of demographics, location (coastal, central Jersey), stressor level (power outages, high winds, flooding) and recreational rates. “Wildlife” and “fish” were the ecological concerns mentioned most often, while beaches and dunes were most often mentioned for environmental concerns. Television, radio, and web/internet were sources trusted for ecological information. The data indicate 1) stressor level was a better predictor of ratings of ecological services than geographical location, but days engaged in recreation contributed the most to variations in ratings, 2) ecological services were rated the highest by respondents with the highest stressor levels, and by those from the coast, compared to others, 3) Caucasians rated ecological services higher than all others, and 4) recreational rates were highest for coastal respondents, and ratings for ecological services increased with recreational rates. Only 20 % of respondents listed specific ecological services as one of their three most important environmental concerns. These data will be useful for increasing preparedness, enhancing educational strategies for shore protection, and providing managers and public policy makers with data essential to developing resiliency strategies. PMID:27011729

  19. Reconstructing ecosystem functions of the active microbial community of the Baltic Sea oxygen depleted sediments.

    PubMed

    Thureborn, Petter; Franzetti, Andrea; Lundin, Daniel; Sjöling, Sara

    2016-01-01

    Baltic Sea deep water and sediments hold one of the largest anthropogenically induced hypoxic areas in the world. High nutrient input and low water exchange result in eutrophication and oxygen depletion below the halocline. As a consequence at Landsort Deep, the deepest point of the Baltic Sea, anoxia in the sediments has been a persistent condition over the past decades. Given that microbial communities are drivers of essential ecosystem functions we investigated the microbial community metabolisms and functions of oxygen depleted Landsort Deep sediments by metatranscriptomics. Results show substantial expression of genes involved in protein metabolism demonstrating that the Landsort Deep sediment microbial community is active. Identified expressed gene suites of metabolic pathways with importance for carbon transformation including fermentation, dissimilatory sulphate reduction and methanogenesis were identified. The presence of transcripts for these metabolic processes suggests a potential for heterotrophic-autotrophic community synergism and indicates active mineralisation of the organic matter deposited at the sediment as a consequence of the eutrophication process. Furthermore, cyanobacteria, probably deposited from the water column, are transcriptionally active in the anoxic sediment at this depth. Results also reveal high abundance of transcripts encoding integron integrases. These results provide insight into the activity of the microbial community of the anoxic sediment at the deepest point of the Baltic Sea and its possible role in ecosystem functioning. PMID:26823996

  20. Reconstructing ecosystem functions of the active microbial community of the Baltic Sea oxygen depleted sediments

    PubMed Central

    Franzetti, Andrea; Lundin, Daniel; Sjöling, Sara

    2016-01-01

    Baltic Sea deep water and sediments hold one of the largest anthropogenically induced hypoxic areas in the world. High nutrient input and low water exchange result in eutrophication and oxygen depletion below the halocline. As a consequence at Landsort Deep, the deepest point of the Baltic Sea, anoxia in the sediments has been a persistent condition over the past decades. Given that microbial communities are drivers of essential ecosystem functions we investigated the microbial community metabolisms and functions of oxygen depleted Landsort Deep sediments by metatranscriptomics. Results show substantial expression of genes involved in protein metabolism demonstrating that the Landsort Deep sediment microbial community is active. Identified expressed gene suites of metabolic pathways with importance for carbon transformation including fermentation, dissimilatory sulphate reduction and methanogenesis were identified. The presence of transcripts for these metabolic processes suggests a potential for heterotrophic-autotrophic community synergism and indicates active mineralisation of the organic matter deposited at the sediment as a consequence of the eutrophication process. Furthermore, cyanobacteria, probably deposited from the water column, are transcriptionally active in the anoxic sediment at this depth. Results also reveal high abundance of transcripts encoding integron integrases. These results provide insight into the activity of the microbial community of the anoxic sediment at the deepest point of the Baltic Sea and its possible role in ecosystem functioning. PMID:26823996

  1. 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

  2. The resilience and functional role of moss in boreal and arctic ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Turetsky, Merritt; Bond-Lamberty, Benjamin; Euskirchen, Eugenie S.; Talbot, Julie; Frolking, Steve; McGuire, A. David; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina

    2012-08-24

    Mosses in boreal and arctic ecosystems are ubiquitous components of plant communities, represent an important component of plant diversity, and strongly influence the cycling of water, nutrients, energy and carbon. Here we use a literature review and synthesis as well as model simulations to explore the role of moss in ecological stability and resilience. Our literature review of moss community responses to disturbance showed all possible responses (increases, decreases, no change) within most disturbance categories in boreal and arctic regions. Our modeling simulations suggest that loss of moss within northern plant communities will reduce soil carbon accumulation primarily by influencing decomposition rates and soil nitrogen availability. While two models (HPM and STM-TEM) showed a significant effect of moss removal, results from the Biome-BGC and DVM-TEM models suggest that northern, moss-rich ecosystems would need to experience extreme perturbation before mosses were eliminated. We highlight a number of issues that have not been adequately explored in moss communities, such as functional redundancy and singularity, relationships between response and effect traits, phenotypical plasticity in traits, and whether the effects of moss on ecosystem processes scale with local abundance. We also suggest that as more models explore issues related to ecological resilience, issues related to both parameter and conceptual uncertainty should be addressed: are the models more limited by uncertainty in the parameterization of the processes included or by what is not represented in the model at all? It seems clear from our review that mosses need to be incorporated into models as one or more plant functional types, but more empirical work is needed to determine how to best aggregate species.

  3. How does temperature affect the function of tissue macrophages?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Chen-Ting; Repasky, Elizabeth A.

    2011-03-01

    Macrophages create a major danger signal following injury or infection and upon activation release pro-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn help to generate febrile conditions. Thus, like other cells of the body, tissue macrophages are often exposed to naturally occurring elevations in tissue temperature during inflammation and fever. However, whether macrophages sense and respond to temperature changes in a specific manner which modulates their function is still not clear. In this brief review, we highlight recent studies which have analyzed the effects of temperatures on macrophage function, and summarize the possible underlying molecular mechanisms which have been identified. Mild, physiological range hyperthermia has been shown to have both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles in regulating macrophage inflammatory cytokine production and at the meeting presentation, we will show new data demonstrating that hyperthermia can indeed exert both positive and negative signals to macrophages. While some thermal effects are correlated with the induction of heat shock factors/heat shock proteins, overall it is not clear how mild hyperthermia can exert both pro- and anti-inflammatory functions. We also summarize data which shows that hyperthermia can affect other macrophage effector functions, including the anti-tumor cytotoxicity. Overall, these studies may help us to better understand the immunological role of tissue temperature and may provide important information needed to maximize the application of heat in the treatment of various diseases including cancer.

  4. Can the hydrophilicity of functional monomers affect chemical interaction?

    PubMed

    Feitosa, V P; Ogliari, F A; Van Meerbeek, B; Watson, T F; Yoshihara, K; Ogliari, A O; Sinhoreti, M A; Correr, A B; Cama, G; Sauro, S

    2014-02-01

    The number of carbon atoms and/or ester/polyether groups in spacer chains may influence the interaction of functional monomers with calcium and dentin. The present study assessed the chemical interaction and bond strength of 5 standard-synthesized phosphoric-acid ester functional monomers with different spacer chain characteristics, by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), ATR-FTIR, thin-film x-ray diffraction (TF-XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and microtensile bond strength (μTBS). The tested functional monomers were 2-MEP (two-carbon spacer chain), 10-MDP (10-carbon), 12-MDDP (12-carbon), MTEP (more hydrophilic polyether spacer chain), and CAP-P (intermediate hydrophilicity ester spacer). The intensity of monomer-calcium salt formation measured by AAS differed in the order of 12-MDDP=10-MDP>CAP-P>MTEP>2-MEP. FTIR and SEM analyses of monomer-treated dentin surfaces showed resistance to rinsing for all monomer-dentin bonds, except with 2-MEP. TF-XRD confirmed the weaker interaction of 2-MEP. Highest µTBS was observed for 12-MDDP and 10-MDP. A shorter spacer chain (2-MEP) of phosphate functional monomers induced formation of unstable monomer-calcium salts, and lower chemical interaction and dentin bond strength. The presence of ester or ether groups within longer spacer carbon chains (CAP-P and MTEP) may affect the hydrophilicity, μTBS, and also the formation of monomer-calcium salts. PMID:24284259

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Simmons, Jeffrey A; Currie, William S; Eshleman, Keith N; Kuers, Karen; Monteleone, Susan; Negley, Tim L; Pohlad, Bob R; Thomas, Carolyn L

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:18372559

  7. Biodiversity and ecosystem function responses to disturbance and fertilization in a 35-years' vineyard experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pingel, Martin; Uzman, Deniz; Reineke, Annette; Leyer, Ilona

    2016-04-01

    Soil management techniques such as tillage, herbicide weeding, fertilization, and cover crop management have strong effects on soil biota in vineyards such as macro- and mesofauna, microflora and plants. Soil biota, in turn, is a major driver of soil processes and ecosystem functions, however, large gaps in knowledge regarding interactions between management practices, biodiversity and ecosystem functions exist. In this context, we analyzed the effects of nitrogen fertilization and ground cover management on mesofauna and microflora diversity, soil organic matter and nutrients as well as decomposition rates in an experimental vineyard in Germany where specific management practices are constantly applied for more than 35 years. Plots in this vineyard (Rheingau region near Wiesbaden, Germany) are treated with different amounts of nitrogen fertilizer (0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 kg N/ha/year) in four replicates in combination with two types of inter-rows with different ground cover management (tillage vs. permanent cover). Mesofauna diversity (using Berlese funnels), Microflora (using a metagenomics approach) as well as soil variables (standard procedures) were analyzed by sampling and analyzing soil cores (0-10 cm) in the year 2015. In order to assess the decomposition rate, the Teabag Index method was applied. First results showed that the ground cover management had strong effects on biodiversity, decomposition rate, soil organic matter and nutrients rather than fertilization.

  8. A test of the cross-scale resilience model: Functional richness in Mediterranean-climate ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wardwell, D.A.; Allen, C.R.; Peterson, G.D.; Tyre, A.J.

    2008-01-01

    Ecological resilience has been proposed to be generated, in part, in the discontinuous structure of complex systems. Environmental discontinuities are reflected in discontinuous, aggregated animal body mass distributions. Diversity of functional groups within body mass aggregations (scales) and redundancy of functional groups across body mass aggregations (scales) has been proposed to increase resilience. We evaluate that proposition by analyzing mammalian and avian communities of Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. We first determined that body mass distributions for each animal community were discontinuous. We then calculated the variance in richness of function across aggregations in each community, and compared observed values with distributions created by 1000 simulations using a null of random distribution of function, with the same n, number of discontinuities and number of functional groups as the observed data. Variance in the richness of functional groups across scales was significantly lower in real communities than in simulations in eight of nine sites. The distribution of function across body mass aggregations in the animal communities we analyzed was non-random, and supports the contentions of the cross-scale resilience model. ?? 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. The role of remote sensing data in conservation and sustainable management of the ecological functions and ecosystem services of deltas. (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, I.

    2013-12-01

    Several initiatives have developed over the last few years to describe the extent of wetland systems around the world, and to monitor changes in their condition. For example, this has become a priority action for the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). IUCN's Red List of Ecosystems has been proposed as a mechanism for assessing the status of ecosystems from the local to the global levels, and for measuring the change in status over time based on, for example, losses in area, and habitat degradation or conversion. Most recently, a collaborative team of experts has been assembled via the Belmont Forum to analyze the status of deltaic systems, deliver a science-based delta sustainability framework for risk assessment and decision support, build an international repository of integrated datasets on deltas, and implement the results of the modeling and decision support framework in selected deltas in partnership with local stakeholders. Direct observation of the extent and condition of wetlands, and monitoring of the species present is an important part of these global observation processes; however many regions are difficult to survey on the ground. In addition, in order to measure the rate at which the ecosystems are changing it is necessary to make repeated subsequent monitoring of their status, and inventorying of biodiversity; most organizations have limited capacity in terms of staff time and money to complete this work. Remotely sensed earth observation data represent a critical source of additional data on coastal wetland systems that is relatively easy to obtain and is regularly updated. It is generally assumed that any change to the biological diversity of an ecosystem (e.g. changes in size and distribution of populations, numbers and phylogenetic diversity of species) will affect the ecological function of ecosystems, and this will affect the capacity of the ecosystems to provide critical ecosystem services. However, the

  12. The importance of rare species: a trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies

    PubMed Central

    Jain, Meha; Flynn, Dan FB; Prager, Case M; Hart, Georgia M; DeVan, Caroline M; Ahrestani, Farshid S; Palmer, Matthew I; Bunker, Daniel E; Knops, Johannes MH; Jouseau, Claire F; Naeem, Shahid

    2014-01-01

    The majority of species in ecosystems are rare, but the ecosystem consequences of losing rare species are poorly known. To understand how rare species may influence ecosystem functioning, this study quantifies the contribution of species based on their relative level of rarity to community functional diversity using a trait-based approach. Given that rarity can be defined in several different ways, we use four different definitions of rarity: abundance (mean and maximum), geographic range, and habitat specificity. We find that rarer species contribute to functional diversity when rarity is defined by maximum abundance, geographic range, and habitat specificity. However, rarer species are functionally redundant when rarity is defined by mean abundance. Furthermore, when using abundance-weighted analyses, we find that rare species typically contribute significantly less to functional diversity than common species due to their low abundances. These results suggest that rare species have the potential to play an important role in ecosystem functioning, either by offering novel contributions to functional diversity or via functional redundancy depending on how rare species are defined. Yet, these contributions are likely to be greatest if the abundance of rare species increases due to environmental change. We argue that given the paucity of data on rare species, understanding the contribution of rare species to community functional diversity is an important first step to understanding the potential role of rare species in ecosystem functioning. PMID:24455165

  13. The importance of rare species: a trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies.

    PubMed

    Jain, Meha; Flynn, Dan Fb; Prager, Case M; Hart, Georgia M; Devan, Caroline M; Ahrestani, Farshid S; Palmer, Matthew I; Bunker, Daniel E; Knops, Johannes Mh; Jouseau, Claire F; Naeem, Shahid

    2014-01-01

    The majority of species in ecosystems are rare, but the ecosystem consequences of losing rare species are poorly known. To understand how rare species may influence ecosystem functioning, this study quantifies the contribution of species based on their relative level of rarity to community functional diversity using a trait-based approach. Given that rarity can be defined in several different ways, we use four different definitions of rarity: abundance (mean and maximum), geographic range, and habitat specificity. We find that rarer species contribute to functional diversity when rarity is defined by maximum abundance, geographic range, and habitat specificity. However, rarer species are functionally redundant when rarity is defined by mean abundance. Furthermore, when using abundance-weighted analyses, we find that rare species typically contribute significantly less to functional diversity than common species due to their low abundances. These results suggest that rare species have the potential to play an important role in ecosystem functioning, either by offering novel contributions to functional diversity or via functional redundancy depending on how rare species are defined. Yet, these contributions are likely to be greatest if the abundance of rare species increases due to environmental change. We argue that given the paucity of data on rare species, understanding the contribution of rare species to community functional diversity is an important first step to understanding the potential role of rare species in ecosystem functioning. PMID:24455165

  14. Predicting richness effects on ecosystem function in natural communities: insights from high-elevation streams.

    PubMed

    Dangles, Olivier; Crespo-Pérez, Verónica; Andino, Patricio; Espinosa, Rodrigo; Calvez, Roger; Jacobsen, Dean

    2011-03-01

    . Despite the increased complexity of experimental and theoretical studies on the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (B-EF) relationship, a major challenge is to demonstrate whether the observed importance of biodiversity in controlled experimental systems also persists in nature. Due to their structural simplicity and their low levels of human impacts, extreme species-poor ecosystems may provide new insights into B-EF relationships in natural systems. We address this issue using shredder invertebrate communities and organic matter decomposition rates in 24 high-altitude (3200-3900 m) Neotropical streams as a study model. We first assessed the effects of stream characteristics and shredder diversity and abundance on organic matter decomposition rates in coarse- and fine-mesh bags. We found the interaction term shredder richness x shredder abundance had the most significant impact on decomposition rates in the field, although water discharge may also play a role locally. We also examined the relative contribution of the three most abundant shredders on decomposition rates by manipulating shredder richness and community composition in a field experiment. Transgressive overyielding was detected among the three shredder species, indicating complementary resource use and/or facilitation. By integrating survey and experimental data in surface response analyses we found that observed B-EF patterns fit those predicted by a linear model that described litter decomposition rates as a function of increasing shredder richness and the relative abundance of the most efficient shredders. Finally, the validity of our approach was tested in a broader context by using two independent but comparable data sets from 49 French and Swedish streams showing more complex shredder community structure. Results revealed that richness and identity effects on decomposition rates were lost with increasing shredder community complexity. Our approach of combining experimental and empirical data

  15. Impacts of exotic mangrove forests and mangrove deforestation on carbon remineralization and ecosystem functioning in marine sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sweetman, A.K.; Middelburg, J.J.; Berle, A.M.; Bernardino, A.F.; Schander, C.; Demopoulos, A.W.J.; Smith, C.R.

    2010-01-01

    To evaluate how mangrove invasion and removal can modify benthic carbon cycling processes and ecosystem functioning, we used stable-isotopically labelled algae as a deliberate tracer to quantify benthic respiration and C-flow through macrofauna and bacteria in sediments collected from (1) an invasive mangrove forest, (2) deforested mangrove sites 2 and 6 years after removal of above-sediment mangrove biomass, and (3) two mangrove-free, control sites in the Hawaiian coastal zone. Sediment oxygen consumption (SOC) rates were significantly greater in the mangrove and mangrove removal site experiments than in controls and were significantly correlated with total benthic (macrofauna and bacteria) biomass and sedimentary mangrove biomass (SMB). Bacteria dominated short-term C-processing of added microalgal-C and benthic biomass in sediments from the invasive mangrove forest habitat. In contrast, macrofauna were the most important agents in the short-term processing of microalgal-C in sediments from the mangrove removal and control sites. Mean faunal abundance and short term C-uptake rates in sediments from both removal sites were significantly higher than in control cores, which collectively suggest that community structure and short-term C-cycling dynamics in habitats where mangroves have been cleared can remain fundamentally different from un-invaded mudflat sediments for at least 6-yrs following above-sediment mangrove removal. In summary, invasion by mangroves can lead to large shifts in benthic ecosystem function, with sediment metabolism, benthic community structure and short-term C-remineralization dynamics being affected for years following invader removal. ?? 2010 Author(s).

  16. Climate change induced rainfall patterns affect wheat productivity and agroecosystem functioning dependent on soil types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tabi Tataw, James; Baier, Fabian; Krottenthaler, Florian; Pachler, Bernadette; Schwaiger, Elisabeth; Whylidal, Stefan; Formayer, Herbert; Hösch, Johannes; Baumgarten, Andreas; Zaller, Johann G.

    2014-05-01

    Wheat is a crop of global importance supplying more than half of the world's population with carbohydrates. We examined, whether climate change induced rainfall patterns towards less frequent but heavier events alter wheat agroecosystem productivity and functioning under three different soil types. Therefore, in a full-factorial experiment Triticum aestivum L. was cultivated in 3 m2 lysimeter plots containing the soil types sandy calcaric phaeozem, gleyic phaeozem or calcic chernozem. Prognosticated rainfall patterns based on regionalised climate change model calculations were compared with current long-term rainfall patterns; each treatment combination was replicated three times. Future rainfall patterns significantly reduced wheat growth and yield, reduced the leaf area index, accelerated crop development, reduced arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi colonisation of roots, increased weed density and the stable carbon isotope signature (δ13C) of both old and young wheat leaves. Different soil types affected wheat growth and yield, ecosystem root production as well as weed abundance and biomass. The interaction between climate and soil type was significant only for the harvest index. Our results suggest that even slight changes in rainfall patterns can significantly affect the functioning of wheat agroecosystems. These rainfall effects seemed to be little influenced by soil types suggesting more general impacts of climate change across different soil types. Wheat production under future conditions will likely become more challenging as further concurrent climate change factors become prevalent.

  17. Quercetin Affects Erythropoiesis and Heart Mitochondrial Function in Mice.

    PubMed

    Ruiz, Lina M; Salazar, Celia; Jensen, Erik; Ruiz, Paula A; Tiznado, William; Quintanilla, Rodrigo A; Barreto, Marlen; Elorza, Alvaro A

    2015-01-01

    Quercetin, a dietary flavonoid used as a food supplement, showed powerful antioxidant effects in different cellular models. However, recent in vitro and in vivo studies in mammals have suggested a prooxidant effect of quercetin and described an interaction with mitochondria causing an increase in O2 (∙-) production, a decrease in ATP levels, and impairment of respiratory chain in liver tissue. Therefore, because of its dual actions, we studied the effect of quercetin in vivo to analyze heart mitochondrial function and erythropoiesis. Mice were injected with 50 mg/kg of quercetin for 15 days. Treatment with quercetin decreased body weight, serum insulin, and ceruloplasmin levels as compared with untreated mice. Along with an impaired antioxidant capacity in plasma, quercetin-treated mice showed a significant delay on erythropoiesis progression. Heart mitochondrial function was also impaired displaying more protein oxidation and less activity for IV, respectively, than no-treated mice. In addition, a significant reduction in the protein expression levels of Mitofusin 2 and Voltage-Dependent Anion Carrier was observed. All these results suggest that quercetin affects erythropoiesis and mitochondrial function and then its potential use as a dietary supplement should be reexamined. PMID:26106459

  18. Bisphenol A affects androgen receptor function via multiple mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Teng, Christina; Goodwin, Bonnie; Shockley, Keith; Xia, Menghang; Huang, Ruili; Norris, John; Merrick, B. Alex; Jetten, Anton M.; Austin, Christopher, P.; Tice, Raymond R.

    2013-01-01

    Bisphenol A (BPA), is a well-known endocrine disruptor compound (EDC) that affects the normal development and function of the female and male reproductive system, however the mechanisms of action remain unclear. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of how BPA may affect ten different nuclear receptors, stable cell lines containing individual nuclear receptor ligand binding domain (LBD)-linked to the β-Gal reporter were examined by a quantitative high throughput screening (qHTS) format in the Tox21 Screening Program of the NIH. The results showed that two receptors, estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and androgen receptor (AR), are affected by BPA in opposite direction. To confirm the observed effects of BPA on ERα and AR, we performed transient transfection experiments with full-length receptors and their corresponding response elements linked to luciferase reporters. We also included in this study two BPA analogs, bisphenol AF (BPAF) and bisphenol S (BPS). As seen in African green monkey kidney CV1 cells, the present study confirmed that BPA and BPAF act as ERα agonists (half maximal effective concentration EC50 of 10-100 nM) and as AR antagonists (half maximal inhibitory concentration IC50 of 1-2 μM). Both BPA and BPAF antagonized AR function via competitive inhibition of the action of synthetic androgen R1881. BPS with lower estrogenic activity (EC50 of 2.2 μM), did not compete with R1881 for AR binding, when tested at 30 μM. Finally, the effects of BPA were also evaluated in a nuclear translocation assays using EGPF-tagged receptors. Similar to 17β-estradiol (E2) which was used as control, BPA was able to enhance ERα nuclear foci formation but at a 100-fold higher concentration. Although BPA was able to bind AR, the nuclear translocation was reduced. Furthermore, BPA was unable to induce functional foci in the nuclei and is consistent with the transient transfection study that BPA is unable to activate AR. PMID:23562765

  19. Bisphenol A affects androgen receptor function via multiple mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Teng, Christina; Goodwin, Bonnie; Shockley, Keith; Xia, Menghang; Huang, Ruili; Norris, John; Merrick, B Alex; Jetten, Anton M; Austin, Christopher P; Tice, Raymond R

    2013-05-25

    Bisphenol A (BPA), is a well-known endocrine disruptor compound (EDC) that affects the normal development and function of the female and male reproductive system, however the mechanisms of action remain unclear. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of how BPA may affect ten different nuclear receptors, stable cell lines containing individual nuclear receptor ligand binding domain (LBD)-linked to the β-Gal reporter were examined by a quantitative high throughput screening (qHTS) format in the Tox21 Screening Program of the NIH. The results showed that two receptors, estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and androgen receptor (AR), are affected by BPA in opposite direction. To confirm the observed effects of BPA on ERα and AR, we performed transient transfection experiments with full-length receptors and their corresponding response elements linked to luciferase reporters. We also included in this study two BPA analogs, bisphenol AF (BPAF) and bisphenol S (BPS). As seen in African green monkey kidney CV1 cells, the present study confirmed that BPA and BPAF act as ERα agonists (half maximal effective concentration EC50 of 10-100 nM) and as AR antagonists (half maximal inhibitory concentration IC50 of 1-2 μM). Both BPA and BPAF antagonized AR function via competitive inhibition of the action of synthetic androgen R1881. BPS with lower estrogenic activity (EC50 of 2.2 μM), did not compete with R1881 for AR binding, when tested at 30 μM. Finally, the effects of BPA were also evaluated in a nuclear translocation assays using EGPF-tagged receptors. Similar to 17β-estradiol (E2) which was used as control, BPA was able to enhance ERα nuclear foci formation but at a 100-fold higher concentration. Although BPA was able to bind AR, the nuclear translocation was reduced. Furthermore, BPA was unable to induce functional foci in the nuclei and is consistent with the transient transfection study that BPA is unable to activate AR. PMID:23562765

  20. The use of soil quality indicators to assess soil functionality in restored semi-arid ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muñoz-Rojas, Miriam; Erickson, Todd E.; Dixon, Kingsley W.; Merritt, David J.

    2016-04-01

    Keywords: Pilbara, 1-day CO2 test, microbial activity, mine restoration, soil health, ecosystem services. Introduction Semi-arid and arid environments are highly vulnerable to land degradation and their restoration has commonly showed low rates of success (James et al., 2013). A systematic knowledge of soil functionality is critical to successful restoration of degraded ecosystems since approximately 80% of ecosystem services can be connected to soil functions. The assessment of soil functionality generally involves the evaluation of soil properties and processes as they relate to the ability of soil to function effectively as a component of a healthy ecosystem (Costantini et al., 2015) Using soil quality indicators may be a valuable approach to assess functionality of topsoil and novel substrates used in restoration (Muñoz-Rojas et al., 2014; 2015). A key soil chemical indicator is soil organic C, that has been widely used as an attribute of soil quality because of the many functions that it provides and supports (Willaarts et al., 2015). However, microbial indicators can be more sensitive to disturbances and could be a valuable addition in soil assessment studies in restoration programs. Here, we propose a set of soil quality indicators to assess the soil status in restored soils (topsoil and waste material) of semi-arid environments. The study was conducted during March 2015 in the Pilbara biogeographical region (northwestern Australia) at an iron ore mine site rehabilitated in 2011. Methods Soil samples were collected from two sub-areas with different soil materials used as growth media: topsoil retrieved from nearby stockpiles and a lateritic waste material utilised for its erosive stability and physical competence. An undisturbed natural shrub-grassland ecosystem dominated by Triodia spp. and Acacia spp. representative of the restored area was selected as the analogue reference site. Soil physicochemical analysis were undertaken according to standard methods

  1. Characterization of a rarely studied ecosystem: Initial insights into the functioning of Antarctic supraglacial streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaros, C.; SanClements, M.; McKnight, D. M.; Foreman, C. M.; Tedesco, M.; Smith, H.; Wei-Haas, M.; Chin, Y.

    2012-12-01

    Glacial ecosystems are biogeochemically active environments that influence downstream ecosystem function, yet there are few studies describing supraglacial stream systems, especially in Antarctica. During the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 austral summers we sampled the supraglacial Cotton Glacier Stream at regular intervals to characterize one of these rarely studied systems. Throughout the 2009-2010 summer we focused on stream chemistry and dissolved organic matter (DOM) characterization. During the 2010-2011 season we established a meteorological station on the glacial surface to conduct measurements of the physical environment. Meteorological data revealed that during summer, temperatures do not frequently exceed zero Celsius for extended periods of time. Pressure transducers and time lapse cameras were installed to capture changes in water depth and revealed a system capable of extreme change on the time-scale of hours. While both temperature and solar radiation appeared to exert significant influence on the daily flow regime, they were not the dominant factor in driving extreme changes in hydrology during the summer. Our observations indicate that extreme hydrologic events (i.e. rapid flooding and draining), were largely controlled by downstream moulins which dictate the drainage of Cotton Stream. This suggests the flow regimes of large Antarctic supraglacial streams may be controlled by a complex relationship between geomorphology and meteorology; resulting in a decoupling of flow, temperature and solar radiation. Chemical analysis and DOM characterization indicate that the dynamic nature of Cotton Stream, paired with very dilute nutrient concentrations, results in an ecosystem with little to no legacy of microbial communities and DOM from year to year.

  2. Can lifestyle modification affect men’s erectile function?

    PubMed Central

    Hehemann, Marah C.

    2016-01-01

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition affecting millions of men worldwide. The pathophysiology and epidemiologic links between ED and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well-established. Lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, dietary modification, physical activity, and psychological stress reduction have been increasingly recognized as foundational to the prevention and treatment of ED. The aim of this review is to outline behavioral choices which may increase ones risk of developing ED, to present relevant studies addressing lifestyle factors correlated with ED, and to highlight proposed mechanisms for intervention aimed at improving erectile function in men with ED. These recommendations can provide a framework for counseling patients with ED about lifestyle modification. PMID:27141445

  3. Scorpion venom components that affect ion-channels function

    PubMed Central

    Quintero-Hernández, V.; Jiménez-Vargas, J.M.; Gurrola, G.B.; Valdivia, H.H.F.; Possani, L.D.

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY The number and types of venom components that affect ion-channel function are reviewed. These are the most important venom components responsible for human intoxication, deserving medical attention, often requiring the use of specific anti-venoms. Special emphasis is given to peptides that recognize Na+-, K+- and Ca++-channels of excitable cells. Knowledge generated by direct isolation of peptides from venom and components deduced from cloned genes, whose amino acid sequences are deposited into databanks are now adays in the order of 1.5 thousands, out of an estimate biodiversity closed to 300,000. Here the diversity of components is briefly reviewed with mention to specific references. Structural characteristic are discussed with examples taken from published work. The principal mechanisms of action of the three different types of peptides are also reviewed. Na+-channel specific venom components usually are modifier of the open and closing kinetic mechanisms of the ion-channels, whereas peptides affecting K+-channels are normally pore blocking agents. The Ryanodine Ca++-channel specific peptides are known for causing sub-conducting stages of the channels conductance and some were shown to be able to internalize penetrating inside the muscle cells. PMID:23891887

  4. 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

  5. The Beddington-De Angelis and the HTII product response functions: Application to polluted ecosystems biodegradation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bulai, Iulia Martina; Venturino, Ezio

    2016-06-01

    In this paper we consider an aquatic ecosystem consisting of bacteria, organic pollutants and dissolved oxygen. By formulating two suitable mathematical models for their interactions, we investigate the sustainability in time of this ecosystem.

  6. Integrating Negative Affect Measures in a Measurement Model: Assessing the Function of Negative Affect as Interference to Self-Regulation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Magno, Carlo

    2010-01-01

    The present study investigated the composition of negative affect and its function as inhibitory to thought processes such as self-regulation. Negative affect in the present study were composed of anxiety, worry, thought suppression, and fear of negative evaluation. These four factors were selected based on the criteria of negative affect by…

  7. To what extent does urbanisation affect fragmented grassland functioning?

    PubMed

    van der Walt, L; Cilliers, S S; Kellner, K; Du Toit, M J; Tongway, D

    2015-03-15

    Urbanisation creates altered environments characterised by increased human habitation, impermeable surfaces, artificial structures, landscape fragmentation, habitat loss, resulting in different resource loss pathways. The vulnerable Rand Highveld Grassland vegetation unit in the Tlokwe Municipal area, South Africa, has been extensively affected and transformed by urbanisation, agriculture, and mining. Grassland fragments in urban areas are often considered to be less species rich and less functional than in the more untransformed or "natural" exurban environments, and are therefore seldom a priority for conservation. Furthermore, urban grassland fragments are often being more intensely managed than exurban areas, such as consistent mowing in open urban areas. Four urbanisation measures acting as indicators for patterns and processes associated with urban areas were calculated for matrix areas surrounding each selected grassland fragment to quantify the position of each grassland remnant along an urbanisation gradient. The grassland fragments were objectively classified into two classes of urbanisation, namely "exurban" and "urban" based on the urbanisation measure values. Grazing was recorded in some exurban grasslands and mowing in some urban grassland fragments. Unmanaged grassland fragments were present in both urban and exurban areas. Fine-scale biophysical landscape function was determined by executing the Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) method. LFA assesses fine-scale landscape patchiness (entailing resource conserving potential and erosion resistance) and 11 soil surface indicators to produce three main LFA parameters (stability, infiltration, and nutrient cycling), which indicates how well a system is functioning in terms of fine-scale biophysical soil processes and characteristics. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of urbanisation and associated management practices on fine-scale biophysical landscape function of urban and exurban

  8. The ECOMAN project: A novel approach to defining sustainable ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Galloway, Tamara S; Brown, Rebecca J; Browne, Mark A; Dissanayake, Awantha; Lowe, David; Depledge, Michael H; Jones, Malcolm B

    2006-01-01

    The ECOMAN was initiated in 2001 by the University of Plymouth, UK, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to address the need for more pragmatic assessment techniques linking environmental degradation with its causes. The primary aim of the project was to develop an evidence-based approach in which suites of easy-to-use, cost-effective and environmentally valid biological responses (biomarkers) could be used together to assess the health of coastal systems through the general condition of individuals. A range of sub-lethal endpoints, chosen to reflect successive levels of biological organisation (molecular, cellular, physiological), was evaluated in common coastal organisms showing different feeding types (filter feeding, grazing, predation) and habitat requirements (estuary, rocky shore). Initially, the suite of biomarkers was used in laboratory studies to determine the relative sensitivities of key species within different functional groups to common contaminants. These results were then validated in field studies performed in a range of ecosystems exhibiting different degrees/signatures of contamination. Here, an example is provided of a field study in the Humber Estuary, UK, which illustrates how multivariate statistical analysis can be used to identify patterns of response to discriminate between contaminated and clean sites. The use of a holistic, integrated approach of this kind is advocated as a practical means of assessing the impact of chemical contamination on organismal health and of ranking the status of marine ecosystems. PMID:16271731

  9. Ecosystem functioning and maximum entropy production: a quantitative test of hypotheses

    PubMed Central

    Meysman, Filip J. R.; Bruers, Stijn

    2010-01-01

    The idea that entropy production puts a constraint on ecosystem functioning is quite popular in ecological thermodynamics. Yet, until now, such claims have received little quantitative verification. Here, we examine three ‘entropy production’ hypotheses that have been forwarded in the past. The first states that increased entropy production serves as a fingerprint of living systems. The other two hypotheses invoke stronger constraints. The state selection hypothesis states that when a system can attain multiple steady states, the stable state will show the highest entropy production rate. The gradient response principle requires that when the thermodynamic gradient increases, the system's new stable state should always be accompanied by a higher entropy production rate. We test these three hypotheses by applying them to a set of conventional food web models. Each time, we calculate the entropy production rate associated with the stable state of the ecosystem. This analysis shows that the first hypothesis holds for all the food webs tested: the living state shows always an increased entropy production over the abiotic state. In contrast, the state selection and gradient response hypotheses break down when the food web incorporates more than one trophic level, indicating that they are not generally valid. PMID:20368259

  10. Does Ramadan Fasting Adversely Affect Cognitive Function in Young Females?

    PubMed Central

    Ghayour Najafabadi, Mahboubeh; Rahbar Nikoukar, Laya; Memari, Amir; Ekhtiari, Hamed; Beygi, Sara

    2015-01-01

    We examined the effects of Ramadan fasting on cognitive function in 17 female athletes. Data were obtained from participants of two fasting (n = 9) and nonfasting (n = 8) groups at three periods of the study (before Ramadan, at the third week in Ramadan, and after Ramadan). Digit span test (DST) and Stroop color test were employed to assess short-term memory and inhibition/cognitive flexibility at each time point. There were no significant changes for DST and Stroop task 1 in both groups, whereas Stroop task 2 and task 3 showed significant improvements in Ramadan condition (p < 0.05). Interference indices did not change significantly across the study except in post-Ramadan period of fasting group (p < 0.05). Group × week interaction was significant only for error numbers (p < 0.05). Athletes in nonfasting showed a significant decrease in number of errors in Ramadan compared to baseline (p < 0.05). The results suggest that Ramadan fasting may not adversely affect cognitive function in female athletes. PMID:26697263

  11. The use of soil quality indicators to assess soil functionality in restored semi-arid ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muñoz-Rojas, Miriam; Erickson, Todd E.; Dixon, Kingsley W.; Merritt, David J.

    2016-04-01

    Keywords: Pilbara, 1-day CO2 test, microbial activity, mine restoration, soil health, ecosystem services. Introduction Semi-arid and arid environments are highly vulnerable to land degradation and their restoration has commonly showed low rates of success (James et al., 2013). A systematic knowledge of soil functionality is critical to successful restoration of degraded ecosystems since approximately 80% of ecosystem services can be connected to soil functions. The assessment of soil functionality generally involves the evaluation of soil properties and processes as they relate to the ability of soil to function effectively as a component of a healthy ecosystem (Costantini et al., 2015) Using soil quality indicators may be a valuable approach to assess functionality of topsoil and novel substrates used in restoration (Muñoz-Rojas et al., 2014; 2015). A key soil chemical indicator is soil organic C, that has been widely used as an attribute of soil quality because of the many functions that it provides and supports (Willaarts et al., 2015). However, microbial indicators can be more sensitive to disturbances and could be a valuable addition in soil assessment studies in restoration programs. Here, we propose a set of soil quality indicators to assess the soil status in restored soils (topsoil and waste material) of semi-arid environments. The study was conducted during March 2015 in the Pilbara biogeographical region (northwestern Australia) at an iron ore mine site rehabilitated in 2011. Methods Soil samples were collected from two sub-areas with different soil materials used as growth media: topsoil retrieved from nearby stockpiles and a lateritic waste material utilised for its erosive stability and physical competence. An undisturbed natural shrub-grassland ecosystem dominated by Triodia spp. and Acacia spp. representative of the restored area was selected as the analogue reference site. Soil physicochemical analysis were undertaken according to standard methods

  12. Numerical modelling of spatio-temporal variability of growth of Mytilus edulis (L.) and influence of its cultivation on ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dabrowski, Tomasz; Lyons, Kieran; Curé, Marcel; Berry, Alan; Nolan, Glenn

    2013-02-01

    One of the key needs of the aquaculture industry is the implementation of effective management methods to ensure the sustainability, economic viability and minimization of negative impacts on both human and ecosystem well-being. The authors developed a Fortran 90 implementation of the dynamic energy budget (DEB) model for Mytilus edulis. The model has been further developed to include physiological interactions with the ecosystem and coupled to a biogeochemical nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton-detritus (NPZD) model. Phytoplankton and detritus uptakes, oxygen utilisation, CO2 production, NH4 excretion, egestion of faeces, and assimilation of food are modelled. A novel approach was derived that accounts for the allocation of C and N in mussel flesh and shell organic fraction. The DEB-NPZD model has been subsequently coupled to a high resolution three dimensional numerical coastal ocean model of the south-west coast of Ireland, where approximately 80% of national rope mussel is produced annually. Simulations have been carried out for the time period July 2010-June 2011, for which the field data on mussel biometrics and ambient seawater properties were collated. The model accurately reproduced the spatio-temporal variability in blue mussel growth. It is also shown that the ecosystem dynamics is affected by the presence of aquaculture farms. The modelling system presented allows for the assessment of the impacts of aquaculture activities on water quality, quantification of the production and ecological carrying capacities and improvement of our understanding of the ecosystem functioning with particular emphasis on interactions between various trophic levels.

  13. Grape polyphenols do not affect vascular function in healthy men.

    PubMed

    van Mierlo, Linda A J; Zock, Peter L; van der Knaap, Henk C M; Draijer, Richard

    2010-10-01

    Data suggest that polyphenol-rich products may improve endothelial function and other cardiovascular health risk factors. Grape and wine contain high amounts of polyphenols, but effects of these polyphenols have hardly been investigated in isolation in randomized controlled studies. Our objective in this study was to test the chronic effect of polyphenol-rich solids derived from either a wine grape mix or grape seed on flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Blood pressure and other vascular function measures, platelet function, and blood lipids were secondary outcomes. Thirty-five healthy males were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study consisting of three 2-wk intervention periods separated by 1-wk washout periods. The test products, containing 800 mg of polyphenols, were consumed as capsules. At the end of each intervention period, effects were measured after consumption of a low-fat breakfast (~751 kJ, 25% fat) and a high-fat lunch (~3136 kJ, 78% fat). After the low-fat breakfast, the treatments did not significantly affect FMD. The absolute difference after the wine grape solid treatment was -0.4% (95% CI = -1.8 to 0.9; P = 0.77) and after grape seed solids, 0.2% (95% CI = -1.2 to 1.5; P = 0.94) compared with after the placebo treatment. FMD effects after the high-fat lunch and effects on secondary outcomes also showed no consistent differences between both of the grape solids and placebo treatment. In conclusion, consumption of grape polyphenols has no major impact on FMD in healthy men. Future studies should address whether grape polyphenols can improve FMD and other cardiovascular health risk factors in populations with increased cardiovascular risk. PMID:20702747

  14. Does Bowel Preparation for Colonoscopy Affect Cognitive Function?

    PubMed Central

    Wadsworth, P.; Blackburne, H.; Dixon, L.; Dobbs, B.; Eglinton, T.; Ing, A.; Mulder, R.; Porter, R.J.; Wakeman, C.; Frizelle, F.A.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Colonoscopy is a common procedure used in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of bowel disorders. Prior preparation involving potent laxatives is a necessary stage to ensure adequate visualization of the bowel wall. It is known that the sedatives given to most patients during the colonoscopy cause a temporary impairment in cognitive function; however, the potential for bowel preparation to affect cognitive function has not previously been investigated. To assess the effect of bowel preparation for colonoscopy on cognitive function. This was a prospective, nonrandomized controlled study of cognitive function in patients who had bowel preparation for colonoscopy compared with those having gastroscopy and therefore no bowel preparation. Cognitive function was assessed using the Modified Mini Mental State Examination (MMMSE) and selected tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Individual test scores and changes between initial and subsequent tests were compared between the groups. Age, gender, and weight were also compared. Forty-three colonoscopy and 25 gastroscopy patients were recruited. The 2 groups were similar for age and gender; however, patients having gastroscopy were heavier. MMMSE scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 28.6 and 29.5 (P = 0.24) at baseline, 28.7 and 29.8 (P = 0.32) at test 2, 28.1 and 28.5 (P = 0.76) at test 3. Motor screening scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 349.3 and 354.1 (P = 0.97) at baseline, 307.5 and 199.7 (P = 0.06) at test 2, 212.0 and 183.2 (P = 0.33) at test 3. Spatial working memory scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 14.4 and 6.7 (P = 0.29) at baseline, 9.7 and 4.3 (P = 0.27) at test 2, 10 and 4.5 (P = 0.33) at test 3. Digit Symbol Substitution Test scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 36.3 and 37.8 (P = 0.84) at baseline, 36.4 and

  15. Does Bowel Preparation for Colonoscopy Affect Cognitive Function?

    PubMed

    Wadsworth, P; Blackburne, H; Dixon, L; Dobbs, B; Eglinton, T; Ing, A; Mulder, R; Porter, R J; Wakeman, C; Frizelle, F A

    2015-11-01

    Colonoscopy is a common procedure used in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of bowel disorders. Prior preparation involving potent laxatives is a necessary stage to ensure adequate visualization of the bowel wall. It is known that the sedatives given to most patients during the colonoscopy cause a temporary impairment in cognitive function; however, the potential for bowel preparation to affect cognitive function has not previously been investigated. To assess the effect of bowel preparation for colonoscopy on cognitive function. This was a prospective, nonrandomized controlled study of cognitive function in patients who had bowel preparation for colonoscopy compared with those having gastroscopy and therefore no bowel preparation. Cognitive function was assessed using the Modified Mini Mental State Examination (MMMSE) and selected tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Individual test scores and changes between initial and subsequent tests were compared between the groups. Age, gender, and weight were also compared. Forty-three colonoscopy and 25 gastroscopy patients were recruited. The 2 groups were similar for age and gender; however, patients having gastroscopy were heavier. MMMSE scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 28.6 and 29.5 (P = 0.24) at baseline, 28.7 and 29.8 (P = 0.32) at test 2, 28.1 and 28.5 (P = 0.76) at test 3. Motor screening scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 349.3 and 354.1 (P = 0.97) at baseline, 307.5 and 199.7 (P = 0.06) at test 2, 212.0 and 183.2 (P = 0.33) at test 3. Spatial working memory scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 14.4 and 6.7 (P = 0.29) at baseline, 9.7 and 4.3 (P = 0.27) at test 2, 10 and 4.5 (P = 0.33) at test 3. Digit Symbol Substitution Test scores for colonoscopy and gastroscopy groups, respectively, were 36.3 and 37.8 (P = 0.84) at baseline, 36.4 and 40.0 (P

  16. Assessing the impact of edaphic factors on coastal ecosystem functions in a tropical island using electromagnetic-induction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynch, N. E.; Wuddivira, M.; Oatham, M.

    2013-12-01

    The small islands in the low-lying states of the Caribbean Basin are among the most vulnerable to sea level rise caused by climate change. Bequia, a tropical Grenadine island, is particularly susceptible due to its small land mass, limited natural resources and an economy that is touristic and marine based. Consultation with stakeholders on sustainable livelihoods revealed that degradation of the coastal ecosystem is occurring with progressing time. Consequently, the island is losing its beneficial ecosystem services and its natural attractiveness leading to declining revenue base, increasing food security risk and job losses. We propose that with sea level rise, soil salinity increases further inland leading to degradation of coastal zones and ecosystem functions. Using geophysical techniques and standard sampling procedures we observationally investigated the spatial and temporal impacts of soil salinization due to sea level changes on the ecosystem functions of five coastal areas in the seven square mile island of Bequia. We analyzed soil, tidal, rainfall data and historical aerial imagery to assess the impact of soil salinity on the ecosystem of Bequia. Our results show extreme seasonal salinity variability with increased salinity inland during the dry season months of January to May. This was significantly influenced by the fluctuation of seasonal water content and temperature. A complete time-based analysis ensures the development of adaptation strategies to coastal change for sustainable provisioning of ecosystem services for Bequia and other Caribbean Islands with minimum ecological and economic losses.

  17. Priming effect and microbial diversity in ecosystem functioning and response to global change: a modeling approach using the SYMPHONY model.

    PubMed

    Perveen, Nazia; Barot, Sébastien; Alvarez, Gaël; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphael; Rapaport, Alain; Herfurth, Damien; Louault, Frédérique; Fontaine, Sébastien

    2014-04-01

    Integration of the priming effect (PE) in ecosystem models is crucial to better predict the consequences of global change on ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics and its feedbacks on climate. Over the last decade, many attempts have been made to model PE in soil. However, PE has not yet been incorporated into any ecosystem models. Here, we build plant/soil models to explore how PE and microbial diversity influence soil/plant interactions and ecosystem C and nitrogen (N) dynamics in response to global change (elevated CO2 and atmospheric N depositions). Our results show that plant persistence, soil organic matter (SOM) accumulation, and low N leaching in undisturbed ecosystems relies on a fine adjustment of microbial N mineralization to plant N uptake. This adjustment can be modeled in the SYMPHONY model by considering the destruction of SOM through PE, and the interactions between two microbial functional groups: SOM decomposers and SOM builders. After estimation of parameters, SYMPHONY provided realistic predictions on forage production, soil C storage and N leaching for a permanent grassland. Consistent with recent observations, SYMPHONY predicted a CO2 -induced modification of soil microbial communities leading to an intensification of SOM mineralization and a decrease in the soil C stock. SYMPHONY also indicated that atmospheric N deposition may promote SOM accumulation via changes in the structure and metabolic activities of microbial communities. Collectively, these results suggest that the PE and functional role of microbial diversity may be incorporated in ecosystem models with a few additional parameters, improving accuracy of predictions. PMID:24339186

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  19. 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

  20. Initial colonization, community assembly and ecosystem function: fungal colonist traits and litter biochemistry mediate decay rate.

    PubMed

    Cline, Lauren C; Zak, Donald R

    2015-10-01

    Priority effects are an important ecological force shaping biotic communities and ecosystem processes, in which the establishment of early colonists alters the colonization success of later-arriving organisms via competitive exclusion and habitat modification. However, we do not understand which biotic and abiotic conditions lead to strong priority effects and lasting historical contingencies. Using saprotrophic fungi in a model leaf decomposition system, we investigated whether compositional and functional consequences of initial colonization were dependent on initial colonizer traits, resource availability or a combination thereof. To test these ideas, we factorially manipulated leaf litter biochemistry and initial fungal colonist identity, quantifying subsequent community composition, using neutral genetic markers, and community functional characteristics, including enzyme potential and leaf decay rates. During the first 3 months, initial colonist respiration rate and physiological capacity to degrade plant detritus were significant determinants of fungal community composition and leaf decay, indicating that rapid growth and lignolytic potential of early colonists contributed to altered trajectories of community assembly. Further, initial colonization on oak leaves generated increasingly divergent trajectories of fungal community composition and enzyme potential, indicating stronger initial colonizer effects on energy-poor substrates. Together, these observations provide evidence that initial colonization effects, and subsequent consequences on litter decay, are dependent upon substrate biochemistry and physiological traits within a regional species pool. Because microbial decay of plant detritus is important to global C storage, our results demonstrate that understanding the mechanisms by which initial conditions alter priority effects during community assembly may be key to understanding the drivers of ecosystem-level processes. PMID:26331892

  1. Per capita interactions and stress tolerance drive stress-induced changes in biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions.

    PubMed

    Baert, Jan M; Janssen, Colin R; Sabbe, Koen; De Laender, Frederik

    2016-01-01

    Environmental stress changes the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functions, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Because species interactions shape biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, changes in per capita interactions under stress (as predicted by the stress gradient hypothesis) can be an important driver of stress-induced changes in these relationships. To test this hypothesis, we measure productivity in microalgae communities along a diversity and herbicide gradient. On the basis of additive partitioning and a mechanistic community model, we demonstrate that changes in per capita interactions do not explain effects of herbicide stress on the biodiversity-productivity relationship. Instead, assuming that the per capita interactions remain unaffected by stress, causing species densities to only change through differences in stress tolerance, suffices to predict the stress-induced changes in the biodiversity-productivity relationship and community composition. We discuss how our findings set the stage for developing theory on how environmental stress changes biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions. PMID:27534986

  2. Per capita interactions and stress tolerance drive stress-induced changes in biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions

    PubMed Central

    Baert, Jan M.; Janssen, Colin R.; Sabbe, Koen; De Laender, Frederik

    2016-01-01

    Environmental stress changes the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functions, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Because species interactions shape biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships, changes in per capita interactions under stress (as predicted by the stress gradient hypothesis) can be an important driver of stress-induced changes in these relationships. To test this hypothesis, we measure productivity in microalgae communities along a diversity and herbicide gradient. On the basis of additive partitioning and a mechanistic community model, we demonstrate that changes in per capita interactions do not explain effects of herbicide stress on the biodiversity–productivity relationship. Instead, assuming that the per capita interactions remain unaffected by stress, causing species densities to only change through differences in stress tolerance, suffices to predict the stress-induced changes in the biodiversity–productivity relationship and community composition. We discuss how our findings set the stage for developing theory on how environmental stress changes biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions. PMID:27534986

  3. Ecosystem Services in Environmental Science Literacy

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ruppert, John Robert

    2015-01-01

    Human beings depend on a set of benefits that emerge from functioning ecosystems, termed Ecosystem Services (ES), and make decisions in everyday life that affect these ES. Recent advancements in science have led to an increasingly sophisticated understanding of ES and how they can be used to inform environmental decision-making. Following suit, US…

  4. 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

  5. Effect of implementing ecosystem functional type data in a mesoscale climate model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Seung-Jae; Berbery, E. Hugo; Alcaraz-Segura, Domingo

    2013-09-01

    In this paper, we introduce a new concept of land-surface state representation for southern South America, which is based on "functional" attributes of vegetation, and implement a new land-cover (Ecosystem Functional Type, hereafter EFT) dataset in the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF) model. We found that the EFT data enabled us to deal with functional attributes of vegetation and time-variant features more easily than the default land-cover data in the WRF. In order to explore the usefulness of the EFT data in simulations of surface and atmospheric variables, numerical simulations of the WRF model, using both the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the EFT data, were conducted over the La Plata Basin in South America for the austral spring of 1998 and compared with observations. Results showed that the model simulations were sensitive to the lower boundary conditions and that the use of the EFT data improved the climate simulation of 2-m temperature and precipitation, implying the need for this type of information to be included in numerical climate models.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  7. Mediterranean-type ecosystems: the influence of biodiversity on their functioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Davis, George W.; Richardson, David M.; Keeley, Jon E.; Hobbs, Richard J.

    1996-01-01

    Ecosystems in the Mediterranean-climate regions of the world have served as a unit for comparative ecological studies for over two decades. The cohesiveness of research in this set of widely distributed regions rests on the similarity of the climates where they occur, and the identifiable convergence in elements of their vegetation structure (Di Castri and Mooney 1973). In this chapter we review functional aspects of what have come to be known as Mediterranean-type ecosystems (METs) in the context of a concerned global interest in the sustainability of the human environment and its dependence on biological diversity. The approach we adopt here is to look for evidence that this biodiversity, for which some MTEs are renowned (Cowling, 1992; Hobbs, 1992), has an influence on processes which are important both for the maintenance of natural systems, and for providing "ecosystem services" with human utility. Almost a century ago, Schimper (1903) recognized the biological similarities between five widely separated regions characterized by Mediterranean-type climates, and much comparative work has been done on that basis since. These regions comprise the Mediterranean basin itself, a major portion of California, central Chile, the southwestern and southern extremities of South Africa, and parts of southwestern and southern Australia (Figure 7.1). The first attention paid to MTEs in terms of quantitative ecological research arose out of the International Biological Programme (IBP) of the 1960s and 1970s. Those efforts focused on comparisons between the Chilean and Californian systems (Mooney 1977), and dealt with parallel models of ecosystem processes, especially water flux (Fuentes et al 1995). Because of the already perceived similarities between vegetation in these and the other three regions, the project was soon extended to include all five regions. The first broad comparative overview was published as an anthology which considered the origins and the convergent

  8. Cascading effects of induced terrestrial plant defences on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem function

    PubMed Central

    Jackrel, Sara L.; Wootton, J. Timothy

    2015-01-01

    Herbivores induce plants to undergo diverse processes that minimize costs to the plant, such as producing defences to deter herbivory or reallocating limited resources to inaccessible portions of the plant. Yet most plant tissue is consumed by decomposers, not herbivores, and these defensive processes aimed to deter herbivores may alter plant tissue even after detachment from the plant. All consumers value nutrients, but plants also require these nutrients for primary functions and defensive processes. We experimentally simulated herbivory with and without nutrient additions on red alder (Alnus rubra), which supplies the majority of leaf litter for many rivers in western North America. Simulated herbivory induced a defence response with cascading effects: terrestrial herbivores and aquatic decomposers fed less on leaves from stressed trees. This effect was context dependent: leaves from fertilized-only trees decomposed most rapidly while leaves from fertilized trees receiving the herbivory treatment decomposed least, suggesting plants funnelled a nutritionally valuable resource into enhanced defence. One component of the defence response was a decrease in leaf nitrogen leading to elevated carbon : nitrogen. Aquatic decomposers prefer leaves naturally low in C : N and this altered nutrient profile largely explains the lower rate of aquatic decomposition. Furthermore, terrestrial soil decomposers were unaffected by either treatment but did show a preference for local and nitrogen-rich leaves. Our study illustrates the ecological implications of terrestrial herbivory and these findings demonstrate that the effects of selection caused by terrestrial herbivory in one ecosystem can indirectly shape the structure of other ecosystems through ecological fluxes across boundaries. PMID:25788602

  9. Resource identity modifies the influence of predation risk on ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Trussell, Geoffrey C; Ewanchuk, Patrick J; Matassa, Catherine M

    2008-10-01

    It is well established that predators can scare as well as consume their prey. In many systems, the fear of being eaten causes trait-mediated cascades whose strength can rival or exceed that of more widely recognized density-mediated cascades transmitted by predators that consume their prey. Despite this progress it is only beginning to be understood how the influence of predation risk is shaped by environmental context and whether it can exert an important influence on ecosystem-level processes. This study used a factorial mesocosm experiment that manipulated basal-resource identity (either barnacles, Semibalanus balanoides, or mussels, Mytilus edulis) to determine how resources modify the influence of predation risk, cascade strength, and the efficiency of energy transfer in two, tritrophic, rocky-shore food chains containing the predatory green crab (Carcinus maenas) and an intermediate consumer (the snail, Nucella lapillus). The effect of predation risk and the strength of trait-mediated cascades (both in absolute and relative terms) were much stronger in the barnacle than in the mussel food chain. Moreover, predation risk strongly diminished the efficiency of energy transfer in the barnacle food chain but had no significant effect in the mussel food chain. The influence of resource identity on indirect-effect strength and energy transfer was likely caused by differences in how each resource shapes the degree of risk perceived by prey. We suggest that our understanding of the connection between trophic dynamics and ecosystem functioning will improve considerably once the effects of predation risk on individual behavior and physiology are considered. PMID:18959317

  10. Cascading effects of induced terrestrial plant defences on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Jackrel, Sara L; Wootton, J Timothy

    2015-04-22

    Herbivores induce plants to undergo diverse processes that minimize costs to the plant, such as producing defences to deter herbivory or reallocating limited resources to inaccessible portions of the plant. Yet most plant tissue is consumed by decomposers, not herbivores, and these defensive processes aimed to deter herbivores may alter plant tissue even after detachment from the plant. All consumers value nutrients, but plants also require these nutrients for primary functions and defensive processes. We experimentally simulated herbivory with and without nutrient additions on red alder (Alnus rubra), which supplies the majority of leaf litter for many rivers in western North America. Simulated herbivory induced a defence response with cascading effects: terrestrial herbivores and aquatic decomposers fed less on leaves from stressed trees. This effect was context dependent: leaves from fertilized-only trees decomposed most rapidly while leaves from fertilized trees receiving the herbivory treatment decomposed least, suggesting plants funnelled a nutritionally valuable resource into enhanced defence. One component of the defence response was a decrease in leaf nitrogen leading to elevated carbon : nitrogen. Aquatic decomposers prefer leaves naturally low in C : N and this altered nutrient profile largely explains the lower rate of aquatic decomposition. Furthermore, terrestrial soil decomposers were unaffected by either treatment but did show a preference for local and nitrogen-rich leaves. Our study illustrates the ecological implications of terrestrial herbivory and these findings demonstrate that the effects of selection caused by terrestrial herbivory in one ecosystem can indirectly shape the structure of other ecosystems through ecological fluxes across boundaries. PMID:25788602

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  12. Ecosystem functioning in the German bight under continental nutrient inputs by rivers

    SciTech Connect

    Radach, G. )

    1992-12-01

    The functioning of the German Bight ecosystem is determined largely by nutrient fluxes in and out of the system from the central and southern North Sea; by nutrient inputs through direct continental river runoff into the German Bight (Elbe, Weser, and Ems rivers); and by atmospheric nutrient inputs originating from land. The nutrient situation is assessed by estimating from available data. For the entire North Sea, the total input of phosphorus increased by 7.7% and nitrogen by about 11.4% from 1950 to 1980. The percentage of Atlantic input of phosphorus into the entire North Sea decreased from 91% to 85%, while river input increased from 2% to 13%. In the continental coastal strip the total inputs increased by 80%. The share of river input increased to 52%, both for phosphorus (1950: 14%) and nitrogen (1950: 20%). Of the winter nutrient content of the upper 30 m of the North Sea 33.5% of phosphate and 16.1% of nitrate are taken up by algae until summer. About 50% of total new production is generated in the coastal areas, with 32.8% of the volume and 34.4% of the area of the North Sea. In the German Bight, phosphate and nitrate concentrations increased during the last four decades. At Helgoland the five-year-medians of phosphate and nitrate increased by a factor of 1.7 and 2.5, respectively. As the nutrient inputs by river discharges are only slightly larger than advective contributions, the nutrient concentrations rose comparatively slowly. Diatoms stagnated and flagellates increased 10-fold. Common winter values in the early 1980s resemble those during summer blooms in the early 1960's. The German Bight ecosystem has changed drastically on all time scales under the anthropogenic nutrient inputs during the last 40 years; the plankton system is no longer in an annual quasiperiodic state.54 refs., 13 figs., 5 tabs.

  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. PMID:18811330

  14. 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

  15. Disentangling the influences of mean body size and size structure on ecosystem functioning: an example of nutrient recycling by a non-native crayfish.

    PubMed

    Fritschie, Keith J; Olden, Julian D

    2016-01-01

    Body size is a fundamental functional trait that can be used to forecast individuals' responses to environmental change and their contribution to ecosystem functioning. However, information on the mean and variation of size distributions often confound one another when relating body size to aggregate functioning. Given that size-based metrics are used as indicators of ecosystem status, it is important to identify the specific aspects of size distributions that mediate ecosystem functioning. Our goal was to simultaneously account for the mean, variance, and shape of size distributions when relating body size to aggregate ecosystem functioning. We take advantage of habitat-specific differences in size distributions to estimate nutrient recycling by a non-native crayfish using mean-field and variance-incorporating approaches. Crayfishes often substantially influence ecosystem functioning through their omnivorous role in aquatic food webs. As predicted from Jensen's inequality, considering only the mean body size of crayfish overestimated aggregate effects on ecosystem functioning. This bias declined with mean body size such that mean-field and variance-incorporating estimates of ecosystem functioning were similar for samples at mean body sizes >7.5 g. At low mean body size, mean-field bias in ecosystem functioning mismatch predictions from Jensen's inequality, likely because of the increasing skewness of the size distribution. Our findings support the prediction that variance around the mean can alter the relationship between body size and ecosystem functioning, especially at low mean body size. However, methods to account for mean-field bias performed poorly in samples with highly skewed distributions, indicating that changes in the shape of the distribution, in addition to the variance, may confound mean-based estimates of ecosystem functioning. Given that many biological functions scale allometrically, explicitly defining and experimentally or statistically

  16. Multi-stressor impacts on fungal diversity and ecosystem functions in streams: natural vs. anthropogenic stress.

    PubMed

    Tolkkinen, M; Mykrä, H; Annala, M; Markkola, A M; Vuori, K M; Muotka, T

    2015-03-01

    Biological assemblages are often subjected to multiple stressors emerging from both anthropogenic activities and naturally stressful conditions, and species' responses to simultaneous stressors may differ from those predicted based on the individual effects of each stressor alone. We studied the influence of land-use disturbance (forest drainage) on fungal decomposer assemblages and leaf decomposition rates in naturally harsh (low pH caused by black-shale dominated geology) vs. circumneutral streams. We used pyrosequencing to determine fungal richness and assemblage structure. Decomposition rates did not differ between circumneutral and naturally acidic reference sites. However, the effect of forest drainage on microbial decomposition was more pronounced in the naturally acidic streams than in circumneutral streams. Single-effect responses of fungal assemblages were mainly related to geology. Community similarity was significantly higher in the naturally acidic disturbed sites than in corresponding reference sites, suggesting that land-use disturbance simplifies fungal assemblages in naturally stressful conditions. Naturally acidic streams supported distinct fungal assemblages with many OTUs (operational taxonomic unit) unique to these streams. Our results indicate that fungal assemblages in streams are sensitive to both structural and functional impairment in response to multiple stressors. Anthropogenic degradation of naturally acidic streams may decrease regional fungal diversity and impair ecosystem functions, and these globally occurring environments therefore deserve special attention in conservation planning. PMID:26236864

  17. Does the current fungicide risk assessment provide sufficient protection for key drivers in aquatic ecosystem functioning?

    PubMed

    Zubrod, Jochen P; Englert, Dominic; Feckler, Alexander; Koksharova, Natalia; Konschak, Marco; Bundschuh, Rebecca; Schnetzer, Nadja; Englert, Katja; Schulz, Ralf; Bundschuh, Mirco

    2015-01-20

    The level of protection provided by the present environmental risk assessment (ERA) of fungicides in the European Union for fungi is unknown. Therefore, we assessed the structural and functional implications of five fungicides with different modes of action (azoxystrobin, carbendazim, cyprodinil, quinoxyfen, and tebuconazole) individually and in mixture on communities of aquatic hyphomycetes. This is a polyphyletic group of fungi containing key drivers in the breakdown of leaf litter, governing both microbial leaf decomposition and the palatability of leaves for leaf-shredding macroinvertebrates. All fungicides impaired leaf palatability to the leaf-shredder Gammarus fossarum and caused structural changes in fungal communities. In addition, all compounds except for quinoxyfen altered microbial leaf decomposition. Our results suggest that the European Union’s first-tier ERA provides sufficient protection for the tested fungicides, with the exception of tebuconazole and the mixture, while higher-tier ERA does not provide an adequate level of protection for fungicides in general. Therefore, our results show the need to incorporate aquatic fungi as well as their functions into ERA testing schemes to safeguard the integrity of aquatic ecosystems. PMID:25517729

  18. A metagenomic snapshot of taxonomic and functional diversity in an alpine glacier cryoconite ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, Arwyn; Pachebat, Justin A.; Swain, Martin; Hegarty, Matt; Hodson, Andrew J.; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; Rassner, Sara M. E.; Sattler, Birgit

    2013-09-01

    Cryoconite is a microbe-mineral aggregate which darkens the ice surface of glaciers. Microbial process and marker gene PCR-dependent measurements reveal active and diverse cryoconite microbial communities on polar glaciers. Here, we provide the first report of a cryoconite metagenome and culture-independent study of alpine cryoconite microbial diversity. We assembled 1.2 Gbp of metagenomic DNA sequenced using an Illumina HiScanSQ from cryoconite holes across the ablation zone of Rotmoosferner in the Austrian Alps. The metagenome revealed a bacterially-dominated community, with Proteobacteria (62% of bacterial-assigned contigs) and Bacteroidetes (14%) considerably more abundant than Cyanobacteria (2.5%). Streptophyte DNA dominated the eukaryotic metagenome. Functional genes linked to N, Fe, S and P cycling illustrated an acquisitive trend and a nitrogen cycle based upon efficient ammonia recycling. A comparison of 32 metagenome datasets revealed a similarity in functional profiles between the cryoconite and metagenomes characterized from other cold microbe-mineral aggregates. Overall, the metagenomic snapshot reveals the cryoconite ecosystem of this alpine glacier as dependent on scavenging carbon and nutrients from allochthonous sources, in particular mosses transported by wind from ice-marginal habitats, consistent with net heterotrophy indicated by productivity measurements. A transition from singular snapshots of cryoconite metagenomes to comparative analyses is advocated.

  19. Managing Artificially Drained Low-Gradient Agricultural Headwaters for Enhanced Ecosystem Functions

    PubMed Central

    Pierce, Samuel C.; Kröger, Robert; Pezeshki, Reza

    2012-01-01

    Large tracts of lowlands have been drained to expand extensive agriculture into areas that were historically categorized as wasteland. This expansion in agriculture necessarily coincided with changes in ecosystem structure, biodiversity, and nutrient cycling. These changes have impacted not only the landscapes in which they occurred, but also larger water bodies receiving runoff from drained land. New approaches must append current efforts toward land conservation and restoration, as the continuing impacts to receiving waters is an issue of major environmental concern. One of these approaches is agricultural drainage management. This article reviews how this approach differs from traditional conservation efforts, the specific practices of drainage management and the current state of knowledge on the ecology of drainage ditches. A bottom-up approach is utilized, examining the effects of stochastic hydrology and anthropogenic disturbance on primary production and diversity of primary producers, with special regard given to how management can affect establishment of macrophytes and how macrophytes in agricultural landscapes alter their environment in ways that can serve to mitigate non-point source pollution and promote biodiversity in receiving waters. PMID:24832519

  20. Functional responses and resilience of boreal forest ecosystem after reduction of deer density.

    PubMed

    Bachand, Marianne; Pellerin, Stéphanie; Moretti, Marco; Aubin, Isabelle; Tremblay, Jean-Pierre; Côté, Steeve D; Poulin, Monique

    2014-01-01

    The functional trait-based approach is increasingly used to predict responses of ecological communities to disturbances, but most studies target a single taxonomic group. Here, we assessed the resilience of a forest ecosystem to an overabundant herbivore population by assessing changes in 19 functional traits for plant, 13 traits for ground beetle and 16 traits for songbird communities after six years of controlled browsing on Anticosti Island (Quebec, Canada). Our results indicated that plants were more responsive to 6 years of reduced browsing pressure than ground beetles and songbirds. However, co-inertia analysis revealed that ground beetle communities responded in a similar way than plant communities with stronger relationships between plant and ground beetle traits at reduced deer density, a pattern not detected between plant and songbird. High deer density favored plants species that reproduce vegetatively and with abiotic pollination and seed dispersal, traits implying little interaction with animal. On the other hand, traits found at reduced deer density mostly involved trophic interaction. For example, plants in this treatment had fleshy fruits and large seeds dispersed by birds or other animals whereas ground beetle species were carnivorous. Overall, our results suggest that plant communities recovered some functional components to overabundant herbivore populations, since most traits associated with undisturbed forests were reestablished after six years of deer reduction. The re-establishment of functional plant communities with traits involving trophic interaction induces changes in the ground-beetle trait community, but forest structure remains likely insufficiently heterogeneous to shift the songbird trait community within six years. PMID:24587362

  1. 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

  2. Prioritizing conservation effort through the use of biological soil crusts as ecosystem function indicators in an arid region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowker, M.A.; Miller, M.E.; Belnap, J.; Sisk, T.D.; Johnson, N.C.

    2008-01-01

    Conservation prioritization usually focuses on conservation of rare species or biodiversity, rather than ecological processes. This is partially due to a lack of informative indicators of ecosystem function. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) trap and retain soil and water resources in arid ecosystems and function as major carbon and nitrogen fixers; thus, they may be informative indicators of ecosystem function. We created spatial models of multiple indicators of the diversity and function of BSCs (species richness, evenness, functional diversity, functional redundancy, number of rare species, number of habitat specialists, nitrogen and carbon fixation indices, soil stabilization, and surface roughening) for the 800,000-ha Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah, U.S.A.). We then combined the indicators into a single BSC function map and a single BSC biodiversity map (2 alternative types of conservation value) with an unweighted averaging procedure and a weighted procedure derived from validations performance. We also modeled potential degradation with data from a rangeland assessment survey. To determine which areas on the landscape were the highest conservation priorities, we overlaid the function- and diversity-based conservation-value layers on the potential degradation layer. Different methods for ascribing conservation-value and conservation-priority layers all yielded strikingly similar results (r = 0.89-0.99), which suggests that in this case biodiversity and function can be conserved simultaneously. We believe BSCs can be used as indicators of ecosystem function in concert with other indicators (such as plant-community properties) and that such information can be used to prioritize conservation effort in drylands. ?? 2008 Society for Conservation Biology.

  3. Ecological function as a target for ecosystem-based management: Defining when change matters in decision making

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecosystem-based management (EBM) accounts for both direct and indirect drivers of ecological change for decision making. Just as with direct management of a resource, EBM requires a definition of management thresholds that define when change in function is sufficient to merit ma...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  5. CHARACTERIZE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING AND CHANGES IN CLIMATE, UV, AND LAND USE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Assessments of the long-term impacts of global changes in climate, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and land use on ecosystems require scientific data, concepts and models that describe the responses of ecosystem health to stresses related to the changes as well as information and mode...

  6. Numerical modeling of the central Black Sea ecosystem functioning during the eutrophication phase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grégoire, M.; Raick, C.; Soetaert, K.

    2008-03-01

    A one-dimensional coupled physical-biogeochemical model has been developed to simulate the ecosystem of the central Black Sea at the end of the 1980s when eutrophication and invasion by gelatinous organisms seriously affected the stability and dynamics of the system. The physical model is the General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM) and the biogeochemical model describes the foodweb from bacteria to gelatinous carnivores through 24 state variables including three groups of phytoplankton: diatoms, small phototrophic flagellates and dinoflagellates, two zooplankton groups: micro- and mesozooplankton, two groups of gelatinous zooplankton: the omnivorous and carnivorous forms, an explicit representation of the bacterial loop: bacteria, labile and semi-labile dissolved organic matter, particulate organic matter. The model simulates oxygen, nitrogen, silicate and carbon cycling. In addition, an innovation of this model is that it explicitly represents processes in the anoxic layer. Biogeochemical processes in anaerobic conditions have been represented using an approach similar to that used in the modeling of diagenetic processes in the sediments lumping together all the reduced substances in one state variable [Soetaert, K., Herman, P., 1996. A model of early diagenetic processes from the shelf to abyssal depths. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 60 (6) 1019-1040]. In this way, processes in the upper oxygenated layer are fully coupled with anaerobic processes in the deep waters, allowing to perform longterm simulations. The mathematical modeling of phytoplankton and zooplankton dynamics, detritus and the microbial loop is based on the model developed by Van den Meersche et al. [Van den Meersche, K., Middelburg, J., Soetaert, K., van Rijswijk P.H.B., Heip, C., 2004. Carbon-nitrogen coupling and algal-bacterial interactions during an experimental bloom: Modeling a 13c tracer experiment. Limnology and Oceanography 49 (3), 862-878] and tested in the modeling of mesocosm

  7. 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

  8. Effects of grazing on leaf traits and ecosystem functioning in Inner Mongolia grasslands: scaling from species to community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Ren, H. Y.; Lan, Z. C.; Li, W. H.; Wang, K. B.; Bai, Y. F.

    2010-03-01

    Understanding the mechanistic links between environmental drivers, human disturbance, plant functional traits, and ecosystem properties is a fundamental aspect of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research. Recent studies have focused mostly on leaf-level traits or community-level weighted traits to predict species responses to grazing and the consequent change in ecosystem functioning. However, studies of leaf-level traits or community-level weighted traits seldom identify the mechanisms linking grazing impact on leaf traits to ecosystem functioning. Here, using a multi-organization-level approach, we examined the effects of grazing on leaf traits (i.e., leaf area, leaf dry mass and specific leaf area) and ecosystem functioning across six communities of three vegetation types along a soil moisture gradient in the Xilin River Basin of Inner Mongolia grassland, China. Our results showed that the effects of grazing on leaf traits differed substantially when scaling up from leaf-level to species, functional group (i.e., life forms and water ecotype types), and community levels; and they also varied with vegetation type or site conditions. The effects of grazing on leaf traits diminished progressively along the hierarchy of organizational levels in the meadow, whereas the impacts were predominantly negative and the magnitude of the effects increased considerably at higher organizational levels in the typical steppe. Soil water and nutrient availability, functional trade-offs between leaf size and number of leaves per individual, and differentiation in avoidance and tolerance strategies among coexisting species are likely to be responsible for the observed responses of leaf traits to grazing at different levels of organization and among vegetation types. Our findings also demonstrate that, at both the functional group and community levels, standing aboveground biomass increased with leaf area and specific leaf area. Compared with the large changes in leaf traits and

  9. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis: A keystone species for unraveling ecosystem functioning and biodiversity of fungi in tropical forests?

    PubMed

    Evans, Harry C; Elliot, Simon L; Hughes, David P

    2011-09-01

    Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (Ascomycota: Hypocreales) is a specialized parasite that infects, manipulates and kills formicine ants, predominantly in tropical forest ecosystems. We have reported previously, based on a preliminary study in remnant Atlantic Forest in Minas Gerais (Brazil), that O. unilateralis represents a species complex. On each of the four species of infected carpenter ant (Camponotus) collected, the fungus-characterized macroscopically by a single stalk arising from the dorsal neck region on which the sexual structures (stromatal plates) are borne laterally-can readily be distinguished both microscopically and functionally. Here, we describe and discuss the biology, life cycle and infection strategies of O. unilateralis s.l. and hypothesize that there may be hundreds of species within the complex parasitizing formicine ants worldwide. We then address the diversity within related hypocrealean fungi, with particular reference to symbionts (mutualists through to parasites), and argue that the widely-quoted total of extant fungi (1.5 million species) may be grossly underestimated. PMID:22046474

  10. Long term prevention of disturbance induces the collapse of a dominant species without altering ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Yu, Qiang; Wu, Honghui; Wang, Zhengwen; Flynn, Dan F B; Yang, Hao; Lü, Fumei; Smith, Melinda; Han, Xingguo

    2015-01-01

    Limitation of disturbances, such as grazing and fire, is a key tool for nature reserve management and ecological restoration. While the role of these disturbances in shaping ecosystem structure and functioning has been intensively studied, less is known about the consequences of long-term prevention of grazing and fire. Based on a 31-year study, we show that relative biomass of the dominant grass, Leymus chinensis, of grasslands in northern China declined dramatically, but only after 21 years of exclusion of fire and grazing. However, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) did not decline accordingly due to compensatory responses of several subdominant grass species. The decline in dominance of L. chinensis was not related to gradually changing climate during the same period, whereas experimentally imposed litter removal (simulating fire), mowing (simulating grazing), fire and moderate grazing enhanced dominance of L. chinensis significantly. Thus, our findings show that disturbances can be critical to maintain the dominance of key grass species in semiarid grassland, but that the collapse of a dominant species does not necessarily result in significant change in ANPP if there are species in the community capable of compensating for loss of a dominant. PMID:26388168

  11. Growth condition study of algae function in ecosystem for CO2 bio-fixation.

    PubMed

    Tsai, David Dah-Wei; Ramaraj, Rameshprabu; Chen, Paris Honglay

    2012-02-01

    Algae niche play a crucial role on carbon cycle and have great potential for CO(2) sequestration. This study was to investigate the CO(2) bio-fixation by the high rate pond (HRP) to mimic the algae function of nature. All the reactors can keep CO(2) consumption efficiencies over 100%. The statistical analyses proved HRPs were close to the natural system from all the growth conditions. The HRP could show the "natural optimization as nature" to perform as well as the artificial reactor of continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR). In the nutrition study, the carbon mass balance indicated CO(2) was the main carbon source. Accordingly, the HRPs can keep a neutral pH range to provide dissolved oxygen (DO), to promote total nitrogen (TN)/total phosphorous (TP) removal efficiencies and to demonstrate self-purification process. Furthermore, the observations of different nitrogen species in the reactors demonstrated that the major nitrogen source was decided by pH. This finding logically explained the complex nitrogen uptake by algae in nature. Consequently, this study took advantage of HRP to explore the processes of efficient CO(2) uptake with the corresponding growth condition in the ecosystem. Those results contributed the further understanding of the role of CO(2) bio-fixation in nature and demonstrated HRP could be a potential ecological engineering alternative. PMID:22196805

  12. Trip report: pilot studies of factors linking watershed function and coastal ecosystem health in American Samoa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Atkinson, Carter T.; Medeiros, Arthur C.

    2010-01-01

    Coral reef resources in the territory of American Samoa face significant problems from overfishing, non-point source pollution, global warming, and continuing population growth and development. The islands are still relatively isolated relative to other parts of the Pacific and have managed to avoid some of the more devastating invasive species that have reached other archipelagoes. As a result, there are opportunities for collaborative and integrative research and monitoring programs to help restore and maintain biodiversity and functioning natural ecosystem in the archipelago. We found that the 'Ridge to Reef' paradigm already exists in American Samoa, with a high degree of interagency cooperation and efficient use of limited resources already taking place in the Territory. USGS may be able to make contributions as a partner organization in the Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG) through deployment of sediment monitoring instrumentation to supplement stream monitoring by the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, by providing high resolution vegetation and land-use maps of main islands, by providing additional support to the American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources and the National Park Service for monitoring of invasive species, by working with members of CRAG to initiate sediment transport studies on Samoan reefs, and by developing new projects on the effects of bacterial contamination and pollutants on coral reef physiology and demography.

  13. Introduction. Antarctic ecology: from genes to ecosystems. Part 2. Evolution, diversity and functional ecology.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Alex D; Murphy, Eugene J; Johnston, Nadine M; Clarke, Andrew

    2007-12-29

    The Antarctic biota has evolved over the last 100 million years in increasingly isolated and cold conditions. As a result, Antarctic species, from micro-organisms to vertebrates, have adapted to life at extremely low temperatures, including changes in the genome, physiology and ecological traits such as life history. Coupled with cycles of glaciation that have promoted speciation in the Antarctic, this has led to a unique biota in terms of biogeography, patterns of species distribution and endemism. Specialization in the Antarctic biota has led to trade-offs in many ecologically important functions and Antarctic species may have a limited capacity to adapt to present climate change. These include the direct effects of changes in environmental parameters and indirect effects of increased competition and predation resulting from altered life histories of Antarctic species and the impacts of invasive species. Ultimately, climate change may alter the responses of Antarctic ecosystems to harvesting from humans. The unique adaptations of Antarctic species mean that they provide unique models of molecular evolution in natural populations. The simplicity of Antarctic communities, especially from terrestrial systems, makes them ideal to investigate the ecological implications of climate change, which are difficult to identify in more complex systems. PMID:17553772

  14. Ant-mediated ecosystem functions on a warmer planet: effects on soil movement, decomposition and nutrient cycling.

    PubMed

    Del Toro, Israel; Ribbons, Relena R; Ellison, Aaron M

    2015-09-01

    1. Direct and indirect consequences of global warming on ecosystem functions and processes mediated by invertebrates remain understudied but are likely to have major impacts on ecosystems in the future. Among animals, invertebrates are taxonomically diverse, responsive to temperature changes, and play major ecological roles which also respond to temperature changes. 2. We used a mesocosm experiment to evaluate impacts of two warming treatments (+3·5 and +5 °C, set-points) and the presence and absence of the ant Formica subsericea (a major mediator of processes in north temperate ecosystems) on decomposition rate, soil movement, soil respiration and nitrogen availability. 3, Replicate 19-L mesocosms were placed outdoors in lathe houses and continuously warmed for 30 days in 2011 and 85 days in 2012. Warming treatments mimicked expected temperature increases for future climates in eastern North America. 4. In both years, the amount of soil displaced and soil respiration increased in the warming and ant presence treatments (soil movement: 73-119%; soil respiration: 37-48% relative to the control treatments without ants). 5. Decomposition rate and nitrogen availability tended to decrease in the warmest treatments (decomposition rate: -26 to -30%; nitrate availability: -11 to -42%). 6. Path analyses indicated that ants had significant short-term direct and indirect effects on the studied ecosystem processes. These results suggest that ants may be moving more soil and building deeper nests to escape increasing temperatures, but warming may also influence their direct and indirect effects on soil ecosystem processes. PMID:25773283

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

  16. Functional Role of Native and Invasive Filter-Feeders, and the Effect of Parasites: Learning from Hypersaline Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Green, Andy J.

    2016-01-01

    Filter-feeding organisms are often keystone species with a major influence on the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. Studies of filtering rates in such taxa are therefore vital in order to understand ecosystem functioning and the impact of natural and anthropogenic stressors such as parasites, climate warming and invasive species. Brine shrimps Artemia spp. are the dominant grazers in hypersaline systems and are a good example of such keystone taxa. Hypersaline ecosystems are relatively simplified environments compared with much more complex freshwater and marine ecosystems, making them suitable model systems to address these questions. The aim of this study was to compare feeding rates at different salinities and temperatures between clonal A. parthenogenetica (native to Eurasia and Africa) and the invasive American brine shrimp A. franciscana, which is excluding native Artemia from many localities. We considered how differences observed in laboratory experiments upscale at the ecosystem level across both spatial and temporal scales (as indicated by chlorophyll-a concentration and turbidity). In laboratory experiments, feeding rates increased at higher temperatures and salinities in both Artemia species and sexes, whilst A. franciscana consistently fed at higher rates. A field study of temporal dynamics revealed significantly higher concentrations of chlorophyll-a in sites occupied by A. parthenogenetica, supporting our experimental findings. Artemia parthenogenetica density and biomass were negatively correlated with chlorophyll-a concentration at the spatial scale. We also tested the effect of cestode parasites, which are highly prevalent in native Artemia but much rarer in the invasive species. The cestodes Flamingolepis liguloides and Anomotaenia tringae decreased feeding rates in native Artemia, whilst Confluaria podicipina had no significant effect. Total parasite prevalence was positively correlated with turbidity. Overall, parasites are likely to reduce

  17. Functional Role of Native and Invasive Filter-Feeders, and the Effect of Parasites: Learning from Hypersaline Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Marta I; Paredes, Irene; Lebouvier, Marion; Green, Andy J

    2016-01-01

    Filter-feeding organisms are often keystone species with a major influence on the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. Studies of filtering rates in such taxa are therefore vital in order to understand ecosystem functioning and the impact of natural and anthropogenic stressors such as parasites, climate warming and invasive species. Brine shrimps Artemia spp. are the dominant grazers in hypersaline systems and are a good example of such keystone taxa. Hypersaline ecosystems are relatively simplified environments compared with much more complex freshwater and marine ecosystems, making them suitable model systems to address these questions. The aim of this study was to compare feeding rates at different salinities and temperatures between clonal A. parthenogenetica (native to Eurasia and Africa) and the invasive American brine shrimp A. franciscana, which is excluding native Artemia from many localities. We considered how differences observed in laboratory experiments upscale at the ecosystem level across both spatial and temporal scales (as indicated by chlorophyll-a concentration and turbidity). In laboratory experiments, feeding rates increased at higher temperatures and salinities in both Artemia species and sexes, whilst A. franciscana consistently fed at higher rates. A field study of temporal dynamics revealed significantly higher concentrations of chlorophyll-a in sites occupied by A. parthenogenetica, supporting our experimental findings. Artemia parthenogenetica density and biomass were negatively correlated with chlorophyll-a concentration at the spatial scale. We also tested the effect of cestode parasites, which are highly prevalent in native Artemia but much rarer in the invasive species. The cestodes Flamingolepis liguloides and Anomotaenia tringae decreased feeding rates in native Artemia, whilst Confluaria podicipina had no significant effect. Total parasite prevalence was positively correlated with turbidity. Overall, parasites are likely to reduce

  18. Diversity and abundance of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scaraebidae) at several different ecosystem functions in Peninsular Malaysia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Din, Abdullah Muhaimin Mohammad; Yaakop, Salmah; Hazmi, Izfa Riza

    2015-09-01

    Dung beetles has known for its bioindicator characteristic. Sensitive towards forest disturbance, dung beetles population and diversity will be less in disturbed and modified area. The objective of this study is to evaluate the diversity and distribution of dung beetles in different type of ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia. Fifteen baited pitfall traps aligned in three transects were used in this study. Samples were collected after 24 h and repeated three time collections and identified afterwards. Two ecosystem types were selected, which are forested and agricultural ecosystem (livestock and plantation). A total of 4249 individuals, 47 species, in 11 genera was successfully collected from all localities. The H' index for Fraser Hill, Langkawi, Bangi Reserve Forest, Selangor (HSB), Sungkai Reserve Forest, Perak (SRF), Chini Lake, Bera Lake, chicken farm, goat farm, Longan plantation, and palm oil plantation were 1.58, 1.74, 2.17, 2.63, 1.80, 1.52, 1.63, 0.46, 0.00 and 1.98 respectively.Forest ecosystem, SRF shows the highest abundance (1486 individuals) and diversity, while for agricultural ecosystem,palm oil plantation shows the highest with 273 individuals and 16 species. Based onDetrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) shows two groups that separate forest ecosystem with the agricultural ecosystem, with palm oil is the nearest to the forest. Palm oil ecosystem can sustain a dung beetles population due to the area can provide the requirements for the dung beetles to survive, such as food which comes from local domestic cows, shade from sunlight provide by the palm oil trees, and ground cover from small plants and shrubs.Even though modified ecosystem should have lower diversity of dung beetles, but some factors must be measured as well in order to have a better point of view.

  19. Restoring Ecosystem Function in Degraded Urban Soil Using Biosolids, Biosolids Blend, and Compost.

    PubMed

    Basta, N T; Busalacchi, D M; Hundal, L S; Kumar, K; Dick, R P; Lanno, R P; Carlson, J; Cox, A E; Granato, T C

    2016-01-01

    Many soils at former industrial sites are degraded. The objective of this research was to determine the ability of compost, biosolids, and biosolids blends to improve soil ecosystem function with minimal potential impact to surface water. Treatments rototilled into the top 12.5 cm of soil were biosolids at 202 Mg ha; biosolids at 404 Mg ha; compost at 137 Mg ha; or a blend consisting of biosolids applied at 202 Mg ha, drinking water treatment residual, and biochar. Rainfall runoff from experimental plots was collected for 3 yr. One year after soil amendments were incorporated, a native seed mix containing grasses, legumes, and forbs was planted. Soil amendments improved soil quality and nutrient pools, established a dense and high-quality vegetative cover, and improved earthworm reproductive measures. Amendments increased soil enzymatic activities that support soil function. Biosolids treatments increased the Shannon-Weaver Diversity Index for grasses. For the forbs group, control plots had the lowest diversity index and the biosolids blend had the highest diversity index. Biosolids and compost increased the number of earthworm juveniles. In general, biosolids outperformed compost. Biosolids increased N and P in rainfall runoff more than compost before vegetation was established. Several microconstituents (i.e., pharmaceutical and personal care products) were detected in runoff water but at concentrations below the probable no-effect levels and therefore should pose little impact to the aquatic environment. Future restoration design should ensure that runoff control measures are used to control sediment loss from the restored sites at least until vegetation is established. PMID:26828162

  20. Concomitant gastroparesis negatively affects children with functional gallbladder disease

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The aim of the present study was to determine whether concomitant gastroparesis and biliary dyskinesia (BD) occur in children, and if so, to determine whether concomitant gastroparesis affects clinical outcome in children with BD. We conducted a retrospective chart review of children with BD (ejecti...

  1. An unusually large phytoplankton spring bloom drives rapid changes in benthic diversity and ecosystem function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Qingtian; Warwick, Richard M.; McNeill, Caroline L.; Widdicombe, Claire E.; Sheehan, Aaron; Widdicombe, Stephen

    2015-09-01

    In 2012, the Western English Channel experienced an unusually large and long-lived phytoplankton spring bloom. When compared with data from the past 20 years, average phytoplankton biomass at Station L4 (part of the Western Channel Observatory) was approximately 3× greater and lasted 50% longer than any previous year. Regular (mostly weekly) box core samples were collected from this site before, during and after the bloom to determine its impact on macrofaunal abundance, diversity, biomass, community structure and function. The spring bloom of 2012 was shown to support a large and rapid response in the majority of benthic taxa and functional groups. However, key differences in the precise nature of this response, as well as in its timing, was observed between different macrofauna feeding groups. Deposit feeders responded almost instantly at the start of the bloom, primarily thorough an increase in abundance. Suspension feeders and opportunistic/predatory/carnivorous taxa responded slightly more slowly and primarily with an increase in biomass. At the end of the bloom