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Sample records for affecting ecosystem function

  1. Evolutionary diversification in stickleback affects ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Harmon, Luke J; Matthews, Blake; Des Roches, Simone; Chase, Jonathan M; Shurin, Jonathan B; Schluter, Dolph

    2009-04-30

    Explaining the ecological causes of evolutionary diversification is a major focus of biology, but surprisingly little has been said about the effects of evolutionary diversification on ecosystems. The number of species in an ecosystem and their traits are key predictors of many ecosystem-level processes, such as rates of productivity, biomass sequestration and decomposition. Here we demonstrate short-term ecosystem-level effects of adaptive radiation in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) over the past 10,000 years. These fish have undergone recent parallel diversification in several lakes in coastal British Columbia, resulting in the formation of two specialized species (benthic and limnetic) from a generalist ancestor. Using a mesocosm experiment, we demonstrate that this diversification has strong effects on ecosystems, affecting prey community structure, total primary production, and the nature of dissolved organic materials that regulate the spectral properties of light transmission in the system. However, these ecosystem effects do not simply increase in their relative strength with increasing specialization and species richness; instead, they reflect the complex and indirect consequences of ecosystem engineering by sticklebacks. It is well known that ecological factors influence adaptive radiation. We demonstrate that adaptive radiation, even over short timescales, can have profound effects on ecosystems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    Bracken, Matthew E S; Williams, Susan L

    2013-09-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Increasing fish taxonomic and functional richness affects ecosystem properties of small headwater prairie streams

    DOE PAGES

    Martin, Erika C.; Gido, Keith B.; Bello, Nora; ...

    2016-04-06

    Stream fish can regulate their environment through direct and indirect pathways, and the relative influence of communities with different taxonomic and functional richness on ecosystem properties likely depends on habitat structure. Given this complexity, it is not surprising that observational studies of how stream fish communities influence ecosystems have shown mixed results. In this study, we evaluated the effect of an observed gradient of taxonomic (zero, one, two or three species) and functional (zero, one or two groups) richness of fishes on several key ecosystem properties in experimental stream mesocosms. Our study simulated small (less than two metres wide) headwatermore » prairie streams with a succession of three pool-riffle structures (upstream, middle and downstream) per mesocosm. Additionally, ecosystem responses included chlorophyll a from floating algal mats and benthic algae, benthic organic matter, macroinvertebrates (all as mass per unit area), algal filament length and stream metabolism (photosynthesis and respiration rate). Ecosystem responses were analysed individually using general linear mixed models. Significant treatment (taxonomic and functional richness) by habitat (pools and riffles) interactions were found for all but one ecosystem response variable. After accounting for location (upstream, middle and downstream) effects, the presence of one or two grazers resulted in shorter mean algal filament lengths in pools compared to no-fish controls. These observations suggest grazers can maintain short algal filaments in pools, which may inhibit long filaments from reaching the surface. Accordingly, floating algal mats decreased in mid- and downstream locations in grazer treatment relative to no-fish controls. At the scale of the entire reach, gross primary productivity and respiration were greater in treatments with two grazer species compared to mixed grazer/insectivore or control treatments. Lastly, the distribution of stream resources

  8. Increasing fish taxonomic and functional richness affects ecosystem properties of small headwater prairie streams

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, Erika C.; Gido, Keith B.; Bello, Nora; Dodds, Walter K.; Veach, Allison

    2016-04-06

    Stream fish can regulate their environment through direct and indirect pathways, and the relative influence of communities with different taxonomic and functional richness on ecosystem properties likely depends on habitat structure. Given this complexity, it is not surprising that observational studies of how stream fish communities influence ecosystems have shown mixed results. In this study, we evaluated the effect of an observed gradient of taxonomic (zero, one, two or three species) and functional (zero, one or two groups) richness of fishes on several key ecosystem properties in experimental stream mesocosms. Our study simulated small (less than two metres wide) headwater prairie streams with a succession of three pool-riffle structures (upstream, middle and downstream) per mesocosm. Additionally, ecosystem responses included chlorophyll a from floating algal mats and benthic algae, benthic organic matter, macroinvertebrates (all as mass per unit area), algal filament length and stream metabolism (photosynthesis and respiration rate). Ecosystem responses were analysed individually using general linear mixed models. Significant treatment (taxonomic and functional richness) by habitat (pools and riffles) interactions were found for all but one ecosystem response variable. After accounting for location (upstream, middle and downstream) effects, the presence of one or two grazers resulted in shorter mean algal filament lengths in pools compared to no-fish controls. These observations suggest grazers can maintain short algal filaments in pools, which may inhibit long filaments from reaching the surface. Accordingly, floating algal mats decreased in mid- and downstream locations in grazer treatment relative to no-fish controls. At the scale of the entire reach, gross primary productivity and respiration were greater in treatments with two grazer species compared to mixed grazer/insectivore or control treatments. Lastly, the distribution of stream resources across

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Tree species, tree genotypes and tree genotypic diversity levels affect microbe-mediated soil ecosystem functions in a subtropical forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Purahong, Witoon; Durka, Walter; Fischer, Markus; Dommert, Sven; Schöps, Ricardo; Buscot, François; Wubet, Tesfaye

    2016-11-01

    Tree species identity and tree genotypes contribute to the shaping of soil microbial communities. However, knowledge about how these two factors influence soil ecosystem functions is still lacking. Furthermore, in forest ecosystems tree genotypes co-occur and interact with each other, thus the effects of tree genotypic diversity on soil ecosystem functions merit attention. Here we investigated the effects of tree species, tree genotypes and genotypic diversity levels, alongside soil physicochemical properties, on the overall and specific soil enzyme activity patterns. Our results indicate that tree species identity, tree genotypes and genotypic diversity level have significant influences on overall and specific soil enzyme activity patterns. These three factors influence soil enzyme patterns partly through effects on soil physicochemical properties and substrate quality. Variance partitioning showed that tree species identity, genotypic diversity level, pH and water content all together explained ~30% variations in the overall patterns of soil enzymes. However, we also found that the responses of soil ecosystem functions to tree genotypes and genotypic diversity are complex, being dependent on tree species identity and controlled by multiple factors. Our study highlights the important of inter- and intra-specific variations in tree species in shaping soil ecosystem functions in a subtropical forest.

  13. Tree species, tree genotypes and tree genotypic diversity levels affect microbe-mediated soil ecosystem functions in a subtropical forest

    PubMed Central

    Purahong, Witoon; Durka, Walter; Fischer, Markus; Dommert, Sven; Schöps, Ricardo; Buscot, François; Wubet, Tesfaye

    2016-01-01

    Tree species identity and tree genotypes contribute to the shaping of soil microbial communities. However, knowledge about how these two factors influence soil ecosystem functions is still lacking. Furthermore, in forest ecosystems tree genotypes co-occur and interact with each other, thus the effects of tree genotypic diversity on soil ecosystem functions merit attention. Here we investigated the effects of tree species, tree genotypes and genotypic diversity levels, alongside soil physicochemical properties, on the overall and specific soil enzyme activity patterns. Our results indicate that tree species identity, tree genotypes and genotypic diversity level have significant influences on overall and specific soil enzyme activity patterns. These three factors influence soil enzyme patterns partly through effects on soil physicochemical properties and substrate quality. Variance partitioning showed that tree species identity, genotypic diversity level, pH and water content all together explained ~30% variations in the overall patterns of soil enzymes. However, we also found that the responses of soil ecosystem functions to tree genotypes and genotypic diversity are complex, being dependent on tree species identity and controlled by multiple factors. Our study highlights the important of inter- and intra-specific variations in tree species in shaping soil ecosystem functions in a subtropical forest. PMID:27857198

  14. Tree species, tree genotypes and tree genotypic diversity levels affect microbe-mediated soil ecosystem functions in a subtropical forest.

    PubMed

    Purahong, Witoon; Durka, Walter; Fischer, Markus; Dommert, Sven; Schöps, Ricardo; Buscot, François; Wubet, Tesfaye

    2016-11-18

    Tree species identity and tree genotypes contribute to the shaping of soil microbial communities. However, knowledge about how these two factors influence soil ecosystem functions is still lacking. Furthermore, in forest ecosystems tree genotypes co-occur and interact with each other, thus the effects of tree genotypic diversity on soil ecosystem functions merit attention. Here we investigated the effects of tree species, tree genotypes and genotypic diversity levels, alongside soil physicochemical properties, on the overall and specific soil enzyme activity patterns. Our results indicate that tree species identity, tree genotypes and genotypic diversity level have significant influences on overall and specific soil enzyme activity patterns. These three factors influence soil enzyme patterns partly through effects on soil physicochemical properties and substrate quality. Variance partitioning showed that tree species identity, genotypic diversity level, pH and water content all together explained ~30% variations in the overall patterns of soil enzymes. However, we also found that the responses of soil ecosystem functions to tree genotypes and genotypic diversity are complex, being dependent on tree species identity and controlled by multiple factors. Our study highlights the important of inter- and intra-specific variations in tree species in shaping soil ecosystem functions in a subtropical forest.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-01

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

  20. Termites create spatial structure and govern ecosystem function by affecting N2 fixation in an East African savanna.

    PubMed

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Doak, Daniel F; Brody, Alison K; Palmer, Todd M

    2010-05-01

    The mechanisms by which even the clearest of keystone or dominant species exert community-wide effects are only partially understood in most ecosystems. This is especially true when a species or guild influences community-wide interactions via changes in the abiotic landscape. Using stable isotope analyses, we show that subterranean termites in an East African savanna strongly influence a key ecosystem process: atmospheric nitrogen fixation by a monodominant tree species and its bacterial symbionts. Specifically, we applied the 15N natural abundance method in combination with other biogeochemical analyses to assess levels of nitrogen fixation by Acacia drepanolobium and its effects on co-occurring grasses and forbs in areas near and far from mounds and where ungulates were or were not excluded. We find that termites exert far stronger effects than do herbivores on nitrogen fixation. The percentage of nitrogen derived from fixation in Acacia drepanolobium trees is higher (55-80%) away from mounds vs. near mounds (40-50%). Mound soils have higher levels of plant available nitrogen, and Acacia drepanolobium may preferentially utilize soil-based nitrogen sources in lieu of fixed nitrogen when these sources are readily available near termite mounds. At the scale of the landscape, our models predict that termite/soil derived nitrogen sources influence >50% of the Acacia drepanolobium trees in our system. Further, the spatial extent of these effects combine with the spacing of termite mounds to create highly regular patterning in nitrogen fixation rates, resulting in marked habitat heterogeneity in an otherwise uniform landscape. In summary, we show that termite-associated effects on nitrogen processes are not only stronger than those of more apparent large herbivores in the same system, but also occur in a highly regular spatial pattern, potentially adding to their importance as drivers of community and ecosystem structure.

  1. Phylogenetic constraints on ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Bell, Thomas; Barbera, Claire; Combe, Marine; Pommier, Thomas; Mouquet, Nicolas

    2012-01-01

    There is consensus that biodiversity losses will result in declining ecosystem functioning if species have different functional traits. Phylogenetic diversity has recently been suggested as a predictor of ecosystem functioning because it could approximate the functional complementarity among species. Here we describe an experiment that takes advantage of the rapid evolutionary response of bacteria to disentangle the role of phylogenetic and species diversity. We impose a strong selection regime on marine bacterial lineages and assemble the ancestral and evolved lines in microcosms of varying lineage and phylogenetic diversity. We find that the relationship between phylogenetic diversity and productivity is strong for the ancestral lineages but brakes down for the evolved lineages. Our results not only emphasize the potential of using phylogeny to evaluate ecosystem functioning, but also they warn against using phylogenetics as a proxy for functional diversity without good information on species evolutionary history.

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

    PubMed

    Havenhand, Jonathan N

    2012-09-01

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

  3. Eight questions about invasions and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Strayer, David L

    2012-10-01

    I pose eight questions central to understanding how biological invasions affect ecosystems, assess progress towards answering those questions and suggest ways in which progress might be made. The questions concern the frequency with which invasions affect ecosystems; the circumstances under which ecosystem change is most likely; the functions that are most often affected by invaders; the relationships between changes to ecosystems, communities, and populations; the long-term responses of ecosystems to invasions; interactions between biological invasions and other anthropogenic activities and the difficulty of managing undesirable impacts of non-native species. Some questions have been answered satisfactorily, others require more data and thought, and others might benefit from being reformulated or abandoned. Actions that might speed progress include careful development of trait-based approaches; strategic collection and publication of new data, including more frequent publication of negative results; replacement of expert opinion with hard data where needed; careful consideration of whether questions really need to be answered, especially in cases where answers are being provided for managers and policy-makers; explicit attention to and testing of the domains of theories; integrating invasions better into an ecosystem context; and remembering that our predictive ability is limited and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

  4. Ecosystem structure and function modeling

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Humphries, H.C.; Baron, J.S.; Jensen, M.E.; Bourgeron, P.

    2001-01-01

    An important component of ecological assessments is the ability to predict and display changes in ecosystem structure and function over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. These changes can occur over short (less than 1 year) or long time frames (over 100 years). Models may emphasize structural responses (changes in species composition, growth forms, canopy height, amount of old growth, etc.) or functional responses (cycling of carbon, nutrients, and water). Both are needed to display changes in ecosystem components for use in robust ecological assessments. Structure and function models vary in the ecosystem components included, algorithms employed, level of detail, and spatial and temporal scales incorporated. They range from models that track individual organisms to models of broad-scale landscape changes. This chapter describes models appropriate for ecological assessments. The models selected for inclusion can be implemented in a spatial framework and for the most part have been run in more than one system.

  5. Does Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Literature Neglect Tropical Ecosystems?

    PubMed

    Clarke, David A; York, Paul H; Rasheed, Michael A; Northfield, Tobin D

    2017-03-06

    Current evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, but few studies have addressed tropical ecosystems where the highest levels of biodiversity occur. We develop two hypotheses for the implications of generalizing from temperate studies to tropical ecosystems, and discuss the need for more tropical research.

  6. 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

  7. Effects of predator functional diversity on grassland ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Schmitz, Oswald J

    2009-09-01

    Predator species individually are known to have important effects on plant communities and ecosystem functions such as production, decomposition, and elemental cycling, the nature of which is determined by a key functional trait, predator hunting mode. However, it remains entirely uncertain how predators with different hunting modes combine to influence ecosystem function. I report on an experiment conducted in a New England grassland ecosystem that quantified the net effects of a sit-and-wait and an actively hunting spider species on the plant composition and functioning of a New England grassland ecosystem. I manipulated predator functional diversity by varying the dominance ratio of the two predator species among five treatments using a replacement series design. Experimentation revealed that predator functional diversity effects propagated down the live plant-based chain to affect the levels of plant diversity, and plant litter quality, elemental cycling, and production. Moreover, many of these effects could be approximately by the weighted average of the individual predator species effects, suggesting that this kind of predator diversity effect on ecosystems is not highly nonlinear.

  8. Incorporating plant functional diversity effects in ecosystem service assessments.

    PubMed

    Díaz, Sandra; Lavorel, Sandra; de Bello, Francesco; Quétier, Fabien; Grigulis, Karl; Robson, T Matthew

    2007-12-26

    Global environmental change affects the sustained provision of a wide set of ecosystem services. Although the delivery of ecosystem services is strongly affected by abiotic drivers and direct land use effects, it is also modulated by the functional diversity of biological communities (the value, range, and relative abundance of functional traits in a given ecosystem). The focus of this article is on integrating the different possible mechanisms by which functional diversity affects ecosystem properties that are directly relevant to ecosystem services. We propose a systematic way for progressing in understanding how land cover change affects these ecosystem properties through functional diversity modifications. Models on links between ecosystem properties and the local mean, range, and distribution of plant trait values are numerous, but they have been scattered in the literature, with varying degrees of empirical support and varying functional diversity components analyzed. Here we articulate these different components in a single conceptual and methodological framework that allows testing them in combination. We illustrate our approach with examples from the literature and apply the proposed framework to a grassland system in the central French Alps in which functional diversity, by responding to land use change, alters the provision of ecosystem services important to local stakeholders. We claim that our framework contributes to opening a new area of research at the interface of land change science and fundamental ecology.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siteur, Koen; Eppinga, Maarten; Karssenberg, Derek; Baudena, Mara; Bierkens, Marc; Rietkerk, Max

    2014-05-01

    Model studies suggest that semiarid ecosystems with patterned vegetation can respond in a non-linear way to climate change. This means that gradual changes can result in a sudden and significant loss of biological productivity, also referred to as desertification. Previous model studies focused on the response of patterned semiarid ecosystems to changes in mean annual rainfall. However, climate projections show that, as a result of global warming, the intensity of rain events may change as well. We studied 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.

  12. Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystem Functions.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Tom H; Heard, Matthew S; Isaac, Nick J B; Roy, David B; Procter, Deborah; Eigenbrod, Felix; Freckleton, Rob; Hector, Andy; Orme, C David L; Petchey, Owen L; Proença, Vânia; Raffaelli, David; Suttle, K Blake; Mace, Georgina M; Martín-López, Berta; Woodcock, Ben A; Bullock, James M

    2015-11-01

    Accelerating rates of environmental change and the continued loss of global biodiversity threaten functions and services delivered by ecosystems. Much ecosystem monitoring and management is focused on the provision of ecosystem functions and services under current environmental conditions, yet this could lead to inappropriate management guidance and undervaluation of the importance of biodiversity. The maintenance of ecosystem functions and services under substantial predicted future environmental change (i.e., their 'resilience') is crucial. Here we identify a range of mechanisms underpinning the resilience of ecosystem functions across three ecological scales. Although potentially less important in the short term, biodiversity, encompassing variation from within species to across landscapes, may be crucial for the longer-term resilience of ecosystem functions and the services that they underpin.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-17

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

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. Structure and functioning of dryland ecosystems in a changing world.

    PubMed

    Maestre, Fernando T; Eldridge, David J; Soliveres, Santiago; Kéfi, Sonia; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Bowker, Matthew A; García-Palacios, Pablo; Gaitán, Juan; Gallardo, Antonio; Lázaro, Roberto; Berdugo, Miguel

    2016-11-01

    Understanding how drylands respond to ongoing environmental change is extremely important for global sustainability. Here we review how biotic attributes, climate, grazing pressure, land cover change and nitrogen deposition affect the functioning of drylands at multiple spatial scales. Our synthesis highlights the importance of biotic attributes (e.g. species richness) in maintaining fundamental ecosystem processes such as primary productivity, illustrate how N deposition and grazing pressure are impacting ecosystem functioning in drylands worldwide, and highlight the importance of the traits of woody species as drivers of their expansion in former grasslands. We also emphasize the role of attributes such as species richness and abundance in controlling the responses of ecosystem functioning to climate change. This knowledge is essential to guide conservation and restoration efforts in drylands, as biotic attributes can be actively managed at the local scale to increase ecosystem resilience to global change.

  20. Structure and functioning of dryland ecosystems in a changing world

    PubMed Central

    Maestre, Fernando T.; Eldridge, David J.; Soliveres, Santiago; Kéfi, Sonia; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Bowker, Matthew A.; García-Palacios, Pablo; Gaitán, Juan; Gallardo, Antonio; Lázaro, Roberto; Berdugo, Miguel

    2017-01-01

    Understanding how drylands respond to ongoing environmental change is extremely important for global sustainability. Here we review how biotic attributes, climate, grazing pressure, land cover change and nitrogen deposition affect the functioning of drylands at multiple spatial scales. Our synthesis highlights the importance of biotic attributes (e.g. species richness) in maintaining fundamental ecosystem processes such as primary productivity, illustrate how N deposition and grazing pressure are impacting ecosystem functioning in drylands worldwide, and highlight the importance of the traits of woody species as drivers of their expansion in former grasslands. We also emphasize the role of attributes such as species richness and abundance in controlling the responses of ecosystem functioning to climate change. This knowledge is essential to guide conservation and restoration efforts in drylands, as biotic attributes can be actively managed at the local scale to increase ecosystem resilience to global change. PMID:28239303

  1. Forest restoration, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Aerts, Raf; Honnay, Olivier

    2011-11-24

    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

  2. Food-web composition affects cross-ecosystem interactions and subsidies.

    PubMed

    Romero, Gustavo Q; Srivastava, Diane S

    2010-09-01

    1. Ecosystems may affect each other through trophic interactions that cross ecosystem boundaries as well as via the transfer of subsidies, but these effects can vary depending on the identity of species involved in the interaction. 2. In this study, we manipulated two terrestrial bromeliad-living spider species (Aglaoctenus castaneus, Corinna gr. rubripes) that have variable hunting modes, to test their individual and combined effects on aquatic invertebrate community structure and ecosystem processes (i.e. decomposition rate and nitrogen cycling). We predicted that these terrestrial predators can affect aquatic invertebrates and nutrient dynamics within water-filled bromeliads. 3. Aglaoctenus spiders reduced the richness, abundance and biomass of aquatic insect larvae via consumptive or non-consumptive effects on ovipositing terrestrial adults, but effects of the two spider species in combination were usually the linear average of their monoculture effects. In contrast, invertebrates with entirely aquatic life cycles were unaffected or facilitated by spiders. Spiders did not affect either net detritivore biomass or the flux of detrital nitrogen to the bromeliad. Instead, Corinna spiders contributed allochthonous nitrogen to bromeliads. 4. Our results provide the novel observations that predators in one ecosystem not only directly reduce taxa whose life cycles cross-ecosystem boundaries, but also indirectly facilitate taxa whose life cycles are entirely within the second ecosystem. This compensatory response between cross-ecosystem and within-ecosystem taxa may have led to an attenuation of top-down effects across ecosystem boundaries. In addition, our results add to a growing consensus that species identity is an important determinant of community structure and ecosystem functioning. Thus, the composition of both terrestrial and aquatic food webs may affect the strength of cross-ecosystem interactions.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Island biology and ecosystem functioning in epiphytic soil communities.

    PubMed

    Wardle, David A; Yeates, Gregor W; Barker, Gary M; Bellingham, Peter J; Bonner, Karen I; Williamson, Wendy M

    2003-09-19

    Although island attributes such as size and accessibility to colonizing organisms can influence community structure, the consequences of these for ecosystem functioning are little understood. A study of the suspended soils of spatially discrete epiphytes or treetop "islands" in the canopies of New Zealand rainforest trees revealed that different components of the decomposer community responded either positively or negatively to island size, as well as to the tree species that the islands occurred in. This in turn led to important differences between islands in the rates of ecosystem processes driven by the decomposer biota. This system serves as a model for better understanding how attributes of both real and habitat islands may affect key ecosystem functions through determining the community structure of organisms that drive these functions.

  7. Assembly history dictates ecosystem functioning: evidence from wood decomposer communities.

    PubMed

    Fukami, Tadashi; Dickie, Ian A; Paula Wilkie, J; Paulus, Barbara C; Park, Duckchul; Roberts, Andrea; Buchanan, Peter K; Allen, Robert B

    2010-06-01

    Community assembly history is increasingly recognized as a fundamental determinant of community structure. However, little is known as to how assembly history may affect ecosystem functioning via its effect on community structure. Using wood-decaying fungi as a model system, we provide experimental evidence that large differences in ecosystem functioning can be caused by small differences in species immigration history during community assembly. Direct manipulation of early immigration history resulted in three-fold differences in fungal species richness and composition and, as a consequence, differences of the same magnitude in the rate of decomposition and carbon release from wood. These effects - which were attributable to the history-dependent outcome of competitive and facilitative interactions - were significant across a range of nitrogen availabilities observed in natural forests. Our results highlight the importance of considering assembly history in explaining ecosystem functioning.

  8. Measuring the Human Footprint on Ecosystem Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeFries, R. S.; DeFries, R. S.

    2001-12-01

    Major questions for the biogeosciences concern the consequences of human transformation of landscapes for biogeochemical cycling and other ecosystem functions. While it is clear that the footprint of humans extends to almost all corners of the world, there is no single measure of the anthropogenic effect on ecosystems. Unlike the "Keeling curve" representing anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in a single atmospheric measurement, the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of ecosystems and the patchy nature of human activities on the landscape make such a measurement impossible. Here we present two approaches for assessing the consequences of human modification of the landscape on ecosystem processes: the effects of past and future land use change on net primary production at the global scale and analysis of satellite observations over the past 18 years to quantify the carbon dioxide emissions from tropical land use change. Key issues for quantifying human influences on ecosystem function include accounting for natural variability on a variety of time scales and incorporating spatial heterogeneity in landscape-level analysis.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Ecosystem functions and densities of contributing functional groups respond in a different way to chemical stress.

    PubMed

    De Laender, Frederik; Taub, Frieda B; Janssen, Colin R

    2011-12-01

    Understanding whether and to what extent ecosystem functions respond to chemicals is a major challenge in environmental toxicology. The available data gathered by ecosystem-level experiments (micro- and mesocosms) often describe the responses of taxa densities to stress. However, whether these responses are proportional to the responses of associated ecosystem functions to stress is unclear. By combining a carbon budget modeling technique with data from a standardized microcosm experiment with a known community composition, we quantified three ecosystem functions (net primary production [NPP], net mesozooplankton production [NZP], and net bacterial production [NBP]) at three Cu concentrations, with a control. Changes of these ecosystem functions with increasing chemical concentrations were not always proportional to the Cu effects on the densities of the contributing functional groups. For example, Cu treatments decreased mesozooplankton density by 100-fold and increased phytoplankton density 10- to 100-fold while increasing NZP and leaving NPP unaltered. However, in contrast, Cu affected microzooplankton and the associated function (NBP) in a comparable way. We illustrate that differences in the response of phytoplankton/mesozooplankton densities and the associated ecosystem functions to stress occur because functional rates (e.g., photosynthesis rates/ingestion rates) vary among Cu treatments and in time. These variations could be explained by food web ecology but not by direct Cu effects, indicating that ecology may be a useful basis for understanding environmental effects of stressors.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  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. Biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services in environmental risk assessment: introduction to the special issue.

    PubMed

    Schäfer, Ralf B

    2012-01-15

    This Special Issue focuses on the questions if and how biodiversity, ecosystem functions and resulting services could be incorporated into the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). Therefore, three articles provide a framework for the integration of ecosystem services into ERA of soils, sediments and pesticides. Further articles demonstrate ways how stakeholders can be integrated into an ecosystem service-based ERA for soils and describe how the current monitoring could be adapted to new assessment endpoints that are directly linked to ecosystem services. Case studies show that the current ERA may not be protective for biodiversity, ecosystem functions and resulting services and that both pesticides and salinity currently adversely affect ecosystem functions in the field. Moreover, ecological models can be used for prediction of new protection goals and could finally support their implementation into the ERA. Overall, the Special Issue stresses the urgent need to enhance current procedures of ERA if biodiversity, ecosystem functions and resulting services are to be protected.

  17. The intestinal ecosystem in chronic functional constipation.

    PubMed

    Zoppi, G; Cinquetti, M; Luciano, A; Benini, A; Muner, A; Bertazzoni Minelli, E

    1998-08-01

    Chronic functional constipation is common in infants, and the bacterial composition of stools in this condition is not known. The study aims were to: (i) investigate the composition of the intestinal ecosystem in chronic functional constipation; (ii) establish whether the addition of the water-holding agent calcium polycarbophil to the diet induces an improvement in constipation; and (iii) determine the composition of the intestinal ecosystem after the use of this agent. In total, 42 children (20F, 22M; mean age: 8.6 +/- 2.9 y) were studied. Twenty-eight children with functional chronic constipation without anatomical disorders were treated double-blind in random sequence for 1 month with an oral preparation of calcium polycarbophil (0.62 g/twice daily) or placebo. Intestinal flora composition was evaluated by standard microbiological methods and biochemical assays on faecal samples collected before and after treatment. Fourteen healthy children were studied as controls. The results show that (i) the constipated children presented a significant increase in clostridia and bifidobacteria in faeces compared to healthy subjects--different species of clostridia and enterobacteriaceae were frequently isolated; no generalized overgrowth was observed; Clostridia outnumbered bacteroides and E. coli mean counts by 2-3log, while bacteroides and E. coli counts were similar (5-6 log10/g fresh faeces); these intestinal disturbances could be defined as a dysbiosis, i.e. a quantitative alteration in the relative proportions of certain intestinal bacterial species. (ii) Clinical resolution of constipation was achieved only in 43% of treated children and an improvement in 21% (one bowel movement every 2 d). (iii) Calcium polycarbophil treatment induced no significant changes in the composition of the intestinal ecosystem, nor in blood chemistry parameters.

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

    PubMed

    Hensel, Marc J S; Silliman, Brian R

    2013-12-17

    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.

  19. Marine biodiversity–ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures

    PubMed Central

    Bulling, Mark T.; Hicks, Natalie; Murray, Leigh; Paterson, David M.; Raffaelli, Dave; White, Piran C. L.; Solan, Martin

    2010-01-01

    Anthropogenic activity is currently leading to dramatic transformations of ecosystems and losses of biodiversity. The recognition that these ecosystems provide services that are essential for human well-being has led to a major interest in the forms of the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship. However, there is a lack of studies examining the impact of climate change on these relationships and it remains unclear how multiple climatic drivers may affect levels of ecosystem functioning. Here, we examine the roles of two important climate change variables, temperature and concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, on the relationship between invertebrate species richness and nutrient release in a model benthic estuarine system. We found a positive relationship between invertebrate species richness and the levels of release of NH4-N into the water column, but no effect of species richness on the release of PO4-P. Higher temperatures and greater concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide had a negative impact on nutrient release. Importantly, we found significant interactions between the climate variables, indicating that reliably predicting the effects of future climate change will not be straightforward as multiple drivers are unlikely to have purely additive effects, resulting in increased levels of uncertainty. PMID:20513718

  20. Marine biodiversity-ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures.

    PubMed

    Bulling, Mark T; Hicks, Natalie; Murray, Leigh; Paterson, David M; Raffaelli, Dave; White, Piran C L; Solan, Martin

    2010-07-12

    Anthropogenic activity is currently leading to dramatic transformations of ecosystems and losses of biodiversity. The recognition that these ecosystems provide services that are essential for human well-being has led to a major interest in the forms of the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. However, there is a lack of studies examining the impact of climate change on these relationships and it remains unclear how multiple climatic drivers may affect levels of ecosystem functioning. Here, we examine the roles of two important climate change variables, temperature and concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, on the relationship between invertebrate species richness and nutrient release in a model benthic estuarine system. We found a positive relationship between invertebrate species richness and the levels of release of NH(4)-N into the water column, but no effect of species richness on the release of PO(4)-P. Higher temperatures and greater concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide had a negative impact on nutrient release. Importantly, we found significant interactions between the climate variables, indicating that reliably predicting the effects of future climate change will not be straightforward as multiple drivers are unlikely to have purely additive effects, resulting in increased levels of uncertainty.

  1. 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.

  2. Community history affects the predictability of microbial ecosystem development.

    PubMed

    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.

  3. 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

  4. Extinction and ecosystem function in the marine benthos.

    PubMed

    Solan, Martin; Cardinale, Bradley J; Downing, Amy L; Engelhardt, Katharina A M; Ruesink, Jennifer L; Srivastava, Diane S

    2004-11-12

    Rapid changes in biodiversity are occurring globally, yet the ecological impacts of diversity loss are poorly understood. Here we use data from marine invertebrate communities to parameterize models that predict how extinctions will affect sediment bioturbation, a process vital to the persistence of aquatic communities. We show that species extinction is generally expected to reduce bioturbation, but the magnitude of reduction depends on how the functional traits of individual species covary with their risk of extinction. As a result, the particular cause of extinction and the order in which species are lost ultimately govern the ecosystem-level consequences of biodiversity loss.

  5. 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

  6. Towards a standardized Rapid Ecosystem Function Assessment (REFA).

    PubMed

    Meyer, Sebastian T; Koch, Christiane; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2015-07-01

    Quantifying ecosystem functioning is important for both fundamental and applied ecological research. However, there is currently a gap between the data available and the data needed to address topical questions, such as the drivers of functioning in different ecosystems under global change or the best management to sustain provisioning of ecosystem functions and services. Here, we identify a set of important functions and propose a Rapid Ecosystem Function Assessment (REFA). The proposed methods were specifically selected to be low-tech, easy to use, repeatable, and cost efficient. Thus, REFA enables standardized and comparable measurements of proxies for these functions that can be used at a large scale within and across studies. Adopting REFA can help to close the identified ecosystem functioning data gap.

  7. [Advances in study of factors affecting soil N mineralization in grassland ecosystems].

    PubMed

    Wang, Changhui; Xing, Xuerong; Han, Xingguo

    2004-11-01

    The biological and non-biological factors affecting soil N availability in grassland ecosystems were reviewed in this paper. Nitrogen cycling in grassland ecosystems is one of the focuses widely concerned. Nitrogen mineralization is affected by many factors in grassland ecosystem, which can be classified into biological and non-biological ones. Biological factors include soil animals, soil microorganisms and plants. Soil animals could accelerate the organic matter to degrade. The species, structure and function of soil microorganisms correlate significantly with N degradation and mineralization. Different vegetation has different effects on soil nitrogen mineralization. The non-biological factors include environmental factors and anthropogenic disturbance, which have direct and obvious effects on N mineralization. The effects of soil temperature and moisture on N mineralization are given more attention, but many phenomena, such as the effects of soil type, soil structure and vegetation type on N mineralization still could not be explained clearly, and no general agreements were reached. Anthropogenic disturbance such as grazing, firing and fertilization influence N mineralization evidently. It is of great significance to understand the N cycling pattern and N availability in different grassland ecosystems all around the world.

  8. Linking biodiversity to ecosystem function: Implications for conservation ecology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, M.W.; Brigham, C.A.; Hoeksema, J.D.; Lyons, K.G.; Mills, M.H.; van Mantgem, P.

    2000-01-01

    We evaluate the empirical and theoretical support for the hypothesis that a large proportion of native species richness is required to maximize ecosystem stability and sustain function. This assessment is important for conservation strategies because sustenance of ecosystem functions has been used as an argument for the conservation of species. If ecosystem functions are sustained at relatively low species richness, then arguing for the conservation of ecosystem function, no matter how important in its own right, does not strongly argue for the conservation of species. Additionally, for this to be a strong conservation argument the link between species diversity and ecosystem functions of value to the human community must be clear. We review the empirical literature to quantify the support for two hypotheses: (1) species richness is positively correlated with ecosystem function, and (2) ecosystem functions do not saturate at low species richness relative to the observed or experimental diversity. Few empirical studies demonstrate improved function at high levels of species richness. Second, we analyze recent theoretical models in order to estimate the level of species richness required to maintain ecosystem function. Again we find that, within a single trophic level, most mathematical models predict saturation of ecosystem function at a low proportion of local species richness. We also analyze a theoretical model linking species number to ecosystem stability. This model predicts that species richness beyond the first few species does not typically increase ecosystem stability. One reason that high species richness may not contribute significantly to function or stability is that most communities are characterized by strong dominance such that a few species provide the vast majority of the community biomass. Rapid turnover of species may rescue the concept that diversity leads to maximum function and stability. The role of turnover in ecosystem function and

  9. Linking biodiversity to ecosystem function: implications for conservation ecology.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, M W; Brigham, C A; Hoeksema, J D; Lyons, K G; Mills, M H; van Mantgem, P J

    2000-02-01

    We evaluate the empirical and theoretical support for the hypothesis that a large proportion of native species richness is required to maximize ecosystem stability and sustain function. This assessment is important for conservation strategies because sustenance of ecosystem functions has been used as an argument for the conservation of species. If ecosystem functions are sustained at relatively low species richness, then arguing for the conservation of ecosystem function, no matter how important in its own right, does not strongly argue for the conservation of species. Additionally, for this to be a strong conservation argument the link between species diversity and ecosystem functions of value to the human community must be clear. We review the empirical literature to quantify the support for two hypotheses: (1) species richness is positively correlated with ecosystem function, and (2) ecosystem functions do not saturate at low species richness relative to the observed or experimental diversity. Few empirical studies demonstrate improved function at high levels of species richness. Second, we analyze recent theoretical models in order to estimate the level of species richness required to maintain ecosystem function. Again we find that, within a single trophic level, most mathematical models predict saturation of ecosystem function at a low proportion of local species richness. We also analyze a theoretical model linking species number to ecosystem stability. This model predicts that species richness beyond the first few species does not typically increase ecosystem stability. One reason that high species richness may not contribute significantly to function or stability is that most communities are characterized by strong dominance such that a few species provide the vast majority of the community biomass. Rapid turnover of species may rescue the concept that diversity leads to maximum function and stability. The role of turnover in ecosystem function and

  10. 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, ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Landscape structure affects the provision of multiple ecosystem services

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamy, T.; Liss, K. N.; Gonzalez, A.; Bennett, E. M.

    2016-12-01

    Understanding how landscape structure, the composition and configuration of land use/land cover (LULC) types, affects the relative supply of ecosystem services (ES), is critical to improving landscape management. While there is a long history of studies on landscape composition, the importance of landscape configuration has only recently become apparent. To understand the role of landscape structure in the provision of multiple ES, we must understand how ES respond to different measures of both composition and configuration of LULC. We used a multivariate framework to quantify the role of landscape configuration and composition in the provision of ten ES in 130 municipalities in an agricultural region in Southern Québec. We identified the relative influence of composition and configuration in the provision of these ES using multiple regression, and on bundles of ES using canonical redundancy analysis. We found that both configuration and composition play a role in explaining variation in the supply of ES, but the relative contribution of composition and configuration varies significantly among ES. We also identified three distinct ES bundles (sets of ES that regularly appear together on the landscape) and found that each bundle was associated with a unique area in the landscape, that mapped to a gradient in the composition and configuration of forest and agricultural LULC. These results show that the distribution of ES on the landscape depends upon both the overall composition of LULC types and their configuration on the landscape. As ES become more widely used to steer land use decision-making, quantifying the roles of configuration and composition in the provision of ES bundles can improve landscape management by helping us understand when and where the spatial pattern of land cover is important for multiple services.

  15. Functional traits in agriculture: agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Wood, Stephen A; Karp, Daniel S; DeClerck, Fabrice; Kremen, Claire; Naeem, Shahid; Palm, Cheryl A

    2015-09-01

    Functional trait research has led to greater understanding of the impacts of biodiversity in ecosystems. Yet, functional trait approaches have not been widely applied to agroecosystems and understanding of the importance of agrobiodiversity remains limited to a few ecosystem processes and services. To improve this understanding, we argue here for a functional trait approach to agroecology that adopts recent advances in trait research for multitrophic and spatially heterogeneous ecosystems. We suggest that trait values should be measured across environmental conditions and agricultural management regimes to predict how ecosystem services vary with farm practices and environment. This knowledge should be used to develop management strategies that can be easily implemented by farmers to manage agriculture to provide multiple ecosystem services.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-22

    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.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-13

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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Linking plat traits at ecosystem scale to ecosystem functions as observed by eddy covariance measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-04-01

    In this study we analyze the correlation structure among plant traits, ecosystem functional properties, characteristics of climate, soil and vegetation at 253 FLUXNET sites. This correlation structure may provide a basis for assessing vegetation functioning and its vulnerability under climate change. Until now, analyses of the FLUXNET dataset have shown that much of the observed spatial and temporal variation of ecosystem fluxes can be explained and scaled by information on soil, climate and vegetation structure, without considering the variation in the functional characteristics of the vegetation occurring at the FLUXNET sites. Instead, these studies have used plant functional types (PFT) as a parameter representing the vegetation influence on fluxes. However, provided the variability in traits that exists within an individual PFT at different sites, we analyze in this study how traits additionally influence ecosystem functional properties. We use community mean trait values to understand how vegetation characteristics relate to ecosystem functional properties, like maximum GPP at light saturation, or photosynthetic water use efficiency. These functional properties are derived from the combination of ecosystem level flux observation and information of spatial meteorology and vegetation remote sensing covariates. In addition, we investigate whether vegetation characteristics have an influence on ecosystem fluxes when combined with climate and soil information. So far analyses of this kind were impossible due to a lack of plant trait information. But the plant trait dataset TRY has been growing for years and in combination with novel methods in machine learning. We now have the opportunity to predict plant trait values for individual sites. We will present first results focusing on the relationship of ecosystem functional properties to leaf traits like specific leaf area and leaf carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus concentration scaled to canopy level.

  2. 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.

  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

    2015-06-09

    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.

  5. Rare species support vulnerable functions in high-diversity ecosystems.

    PubMed

    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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-15

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

  9. 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

  10. Structural and functional loss in restored wetland ecosystems.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  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

    2015-12-08

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Ecosystem restoration strengthens pollination network resilience and function.

    PubMed

    Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N; Mougal, James; Whittington, Andrew E; Valentin, Terence; Gabriel, Ronny; Olesen, Jens M; Blüthgen, Nico

    2017-02-09

    Land degradation results in declining biodiversity and the disruption of ecosystem functioning worldwide, particularly in the tropics. Vegetation restoration is a common tool used to mitigate these impacts and increasingly aims to restore ecosystem functions rather than species diversity. However, evidence from community experiments on the effect of restoration practices on ecosystem functions is scarce. Pollination is an important ecosystem function and the global decline in pollinators attenuates the resistance of natural areas and agro-environments to disturbances. Thus, the ability of pollination functions to resist or recover from disturbance (that is, the functional resilience) may be critical for ensuring a successful restoration process. Here we report the use of a community field experiment to investigate the effects of vegetation restoration, specifically the removal of exotic shrubs, on pollination. We analyse 64 plant-pollinator networks and the reproductive performance of the ten most abundant plant species across four restored and four unrestored, disturbed mountaintop communities. Ecosystem restoration resulted in a marked increase in pollinator species, visits to flowers and interaction diversity. Interactions in restored networks were more generalized than in unrestored networks, indicating a higher functional redundancy in restored communities. Shifts in interaction patterns had direct and positive effects on pollination, especially on the relative and total fruit production of native plants. Pollinator limitation was prevalent at unrestored sites only, where the proportion of flowers producing fruit increased with pollinator visitation, approaching the higher levels seen in restored plant communities. Our results show that vegetation restoration can improve pollination, suggesting that the degradation of ecosystem functions is at least partially reversible. The degree of recovery may depend on the state of degradation before restoration

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

    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, 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 vs. outside reserves. We then video-recorded feeding activity on the same seven macroalgae when transplanted into reserves, and assessed the functional redundancy vs. 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 six study reefs. Our

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Ecosystem functioning impacts of the invasive seaweed Sargassum muticum (Fucales, Phaeophyceae).

    PubMed

    Vaz-Pinto, Fátima; Olabarria, Celia; Arenas, Francisco

    2014-02-01

    Ongoing changes in natural diversity due to anthropogenic activities can alter ecosystem functioning. Particular attention has been given to research on biodiversity loss and how those changes can affect the functioning of ecosystems, and, by extension, human welfare. Few studies, however, have addressed how increased diversity due to establishment of nonindigenous species (NIS) may affect ecosystem function in the recipient communities. Marine algae have a highly important role in sustaining nearshore marine ecosystems and are considered a significant component of marine bioinvasions. Here, we examined the patterns of respiration and light-use efficiency across macroalgal assemblages with different levels of species richness and evenness. Additionally, we compared our results between native and invaded macroalgal assemblages, using the invasive brown macroalga Sargassum muticum (Yendo) Fensholt as a model species. Results showed that the presence of the invader increased the rates of respiration and production, most likely as a result of the high biomass of the invader. This effect disappeared when S. muticum lost most of its biomass after senescence. Moreover, predictability-diversity relationships of macroalgal assemblages varied between native and invaded assemblages. Hence, the introduction of high-impact invasive species may trigger major changes in ecosystem functioning. The impact of S. muticum may be related to its greater biomass in the invaded assemblages, although species interactions and seasonality influenced the magnitude of the impact.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    Besemer, Katharina

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel; Allen, Andrew P

    2012-11-05

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

  7. 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…

  8. Effects of non-indigenous oysters on microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    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 (NH(4)(+) and total oxidised nitrogen), sediment chlorophyll content, microbial activity, total carbon and nitrogen, and community respiration (CO(2) and CH(4)) 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, CO(2) (13 fold greater) and CH(4) (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 NH(4)(+) 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.

  9. Subclinical hypothyroidism affects mitochondrial function.

    PubMed

    Kvetny, J; Wilms, L; Pedersen, P L; Larsen, J

    2010-05-01

    The aim of the present study was to examine mitochondrial function in cells from persons with subclinical hypothyroidism and euthyroid controls. The participating persons were examined clinically and had basal oxygen consumption (VO(2)) determined. The concentrations of thyroid hormones and thyrotropine stimulating hormone were determined, and mitochondrial function in isolated mononuclear blood cells was examined by enzymatic methods [citrate synthase activity (CS)] and by flow cytometry (mitochondrial membrane potential by TMRM fluorescence and mitochondrial mass by MTG fluorescence). The ratio of T(4)/T(3) was lowered in subclinical hypothyroidism patients compared to controls (2.5+/-0.5 vs. 2.9+/-0.4, p=0.005). VO(2) was increased in persons with subclinical hypothyroidism compared to controls (adolescents: 134+/-27 ml O(2)/min*m(2) vs. 119+/-27 ml O(2)/min*m(2), p=0.006, adults: 139+/-14 ml O(2)/min*m(2) vs. 121+/-17 ml O(2)/min*m(2), p=0.001). The mitochondrial function, represented by citrate synthase activity, MTG, and TMRM fluorescence were all increased (CS in subclinical hypothyroidism vs. controls: 0.074+/-0.044 nmol/mg*min vs. 0.056+/-0.021 nmol/mg*min, p=0.005; MTG fluorescence in subclinical hypothyroidism vs. controls: 7,482+/-1,733 a.u. vs. 6,391+/-2,171 a.u., p=0.027; TMRM fluorescence in subclinical hypothyroidism vs. controls: 13,449+/-3,807 a.u. vs. 11,733+/-4,473 a.u, p=0.04). Our results indicate an increased mitochondrial stimulation, eventually caused by increased deiodination of T(4) to intracellular bioactive iodothyronines in adults and adolescents with subclinical hypothyroidism.

  10. Reintroducing Environmental Change Drivers in Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Research.

    PubMed

    De Laender, Frederik; Rohr, Jason R; Ashauer, Roman; Baird, Donald J; Berger, Uta; Eisenhauer, Nico; Grimm, Volker; Hommen, Udo; Maltby, Lorraine; Meliàn, Carlos J; Pomati, Francesco; Roessink, Ivo; Radchuk, Viktoriia; Van den Brink, Paul J

    2016-12-01

    For the past 20 years, research on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (B-EF) has only implicitly considered the underlying role of environmental change. We illustrate that explicitly reintroducing environmental change drivers in B-EF research is needed to predict the functioning of ecosystems facing changes in biodiversity. Next we show how this reintroduction improves experimental control over community composition and structure, which helps to provide mechanistic insight on how multiple aspects of biodiversity relate to function and how biodiversity and function relate in food webs. We also highlight challenges for the proposed reintroduction and suggest analyses and experiments to better understand how random biodiversity changes, as studied by classic approaches in B-EF research, contribute to the shifts in function that follow environmental change.

  11. Effects of functional diversity loss on ecosystem functions are influenced by compensation.

    PubMed

    Pan, Qingmin; Tian, Dashuan; Naeem, Shahid; Auerswald, Karl; Elser, James J; Bai, Yongfei; Huang, Jianhui; Wang, Qibing; Wang, Hong; Wu, Jianguo; Han, Xingguo

    2016-09-01

    Understanding the impacts of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning and services has been a central issue in ecology. Experiments in synthetic communities suggest that biodiversity loss may erode a set of ecosystem functions, but studies in natural communities indicate that the effects of biodiversity loss are usually weak and that multiple functions can be sustained by relatively few species. Yet, the mechanisms by which natural ecosystems are able to maintain multiple functions in the face of diversity loss remain poorly understood. With a long-term and large-scale removal experiment in the Inner Mongolian grassland, here we showed that losses of plant functional groups (PFGs) can reduce multiple ecosystem functions, including biomass production, soil NO3 -N use, net ecosystem carbon exchange, gross ecosystem productivity, and ecosystem respiration, but the magnitudes of these effects depended largely on which PFGs were removed. Removing the two dominant PFGs (perennial rhizomatous grasses and perennial bunchgrasses) simultaneously resulted in dramatic declines in all examined functions, but such declines were circumvented when either dominant PFG was present. We identify the major mechanism for this as a compensation effect by which each dominant PFG can mitigate the losses of others. This study provides evidence that compensation ensuing from PFG losses can mitigate their negative consequence, and thus natural communities may be more resilient to biodiversity loss than currently thought if the remaining PFGs have strong compensation capabilities. On the other hand, ecosystems without well-developed compensatory functional diversity may be much more vulnerable to biodiversity loss.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Links between tree species, symbiotic fungal diversity and ecosystem functioning in simplified tropical ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lovelock, Catherine E; Ewel, John J

    2005-07-01

    We studied the relationships among plant and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal diversity, and their effects on ecosystem function, in a series of replicate tropical forestry plots in the La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Forestry plots were 12 yr old and were either monocultures of three tree species, or polycultures of the tree species with two additional understory species. Relationships among the AM fungal spore community, host species, plant community diversity and ecosystem phosphorus-use efficiency (PUE) and net primary productivity (NPP) were assessed. Analysis of the relative abundance of AM fungal spores found that host tree species had a significant effect on the AM fungal community, as did host plant community diversity (monocultures vs polycultures). The Shannon diversity index of the AM fungal spore community differed significantly among the three host tree species, but was not significantly different between monoculture and polyculture plots. Over all the plots, significant positive relationships were found between AM fungal diversity and ecosystem NPP, and between AM fungal community evenness and PUE. Relative abundance of two of the dominant AM fungal species also showed significant correlations with NPP and PUE. We conclude that the AM fungal community composition in tropical forests is sensitive to host species, and provide evidence supporting the hypothesis that the diversity of AM fungi in tropical forests and ecosystem NPP covaries.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Loss of functionally unique species may gradually undermine ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    O'Gorman, Eoin J.; Yearsley, Jon M.; Crowe, Tasman P.; Emmerson, Mark C.; Jacob, Ute; Petchey, Owen L.

    2011-01-01

    Functionally unique species contribute to the functional diversity of natural systems, often enhancing ecosystem functioning. An abundance of weakly interacting species increases stability in natural systems, suggesting that loss of weakly linked species may reduce stability. Any link between the functional uniqueness of a species and the strength of its interactions in a food web could therefore have simultaneous effects on ecosystem functioning and stability. Here, we analyse patterns in 213 real food webs and show that highly unique species consistently tend to have the weakest mean interaction strength per unit biomass in the system. This relationship is not a simple consequence of the interdependence of both measures on body size and appears to be driven by the empirical pattern of size structuring in aquatic systems and the trophic position of each species in the web. Food web resolution also has an important effect, with aggregation of species into higher taxonomic groups producing a much weaker relationship. Food webs with fewer unique and less weakly interacting species also show significantly greater variability in their levels of primary production. Thus, the loss of highly unique, weakly interacting species may eventually lead to dramatic state changes and unpredictable levels of ecosystem functioning. PMID:21106593

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Ecosystem Services Transcend Boundaries: Estuaries Provide Resource Subsidies and Influence Functional Diversity in Coastal Benthic Communities

    PubMed Central

    Savage, Candida; Thrush, Simon F.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Hewitt, Judi E.

    2012-01-01

    Background Estuaries are highly productive ecosystems that can export organic matter to coastal seas (the ‘outwelling hypothesis’). However the role of this food resource subsidy on coastal ecosystem functioning has not been examined. Methodology/Principal Findings We investigated the influence of estuarine primary production as a resource subsidy and the influence of estuaries on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in coastal mollusk-dominated sediment communities. Stable isotope values (δ13C, δ15N) demonstrated that estuarine primary production was exported to the adjacent coast and contributed to secondary production up to 4 km from the estuary mouth. Further, isotope signatures of suspension feeding bivalves on the adjacent coast (Dosinia subrosea) closely mirrored the isotope values of the dominant bivalves inside the estuaries (Austrovenus stutchburyi), indicating utilization of similar organic matter sources. However, the food subsidies varied between estuaries; with estuarine suspended particulate organic matter (SPOM) dominant at Tairua estuary, while seagrass and fringing vegetation detritus was proportionately more important at Whangapoua estuary, with lesser contributions of estuarine SPOM. Distance from the estuary mouth and the size and density of large bivalves (Dosinia spp.) had a significant influence on the composition of biological traits in the coastal macrobenthic communities, signaling the potential influence of these spatial subsidies on ecosystem functioning. Conclusions/Significance Our study demonstrated that the locations where ecosystem services like productivity are generated are not necessarily where the services are utilized. Further, we identified indirect positive effects of the nutrient subsidies on biodiversity (the estuarine subsidies influenced the bivalves, which in turn affected the diversity and functional trait composition of the coastal sediment macrofaunal communities). These findings highlight the importance of

  1. Spatial pattern enhances ecosystem functioning in an African savanna.

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-25

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Forecasting Urban Forest Ecosystem Structure, Function, and Vulnerability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steenberg, James W. N.; Millward, Andrew A.; Nowak, David J.; Robinson, Pamela J.; Ellis, Alexis

    2017-03-01

    The benefits derived from urban forest ecosystems are garnering increasing attention in ecological research and municipal planning. However, because of their location in heterogeneous and highly-altered urban landscapes, urban forests are vulnerable and commonly suffer disproportionate and varying levels of stress and disturbance. The objective of this study is to assess and analyze the spatial and temporal changes, and potential vulnerability, of the urban forest resource in Toronto, Canada. This research was conducted using a spatially-explicit, indicator-based assessment of vulnerability and i-Tree Forecast modeling of temporal changes in forest structure and function. Nine scenarios were simulated for 45 years and model output was analyzed at the ecosystem and municipal scale. Substantial mismatches in ecological processes between spatial scales were found, which can translate into unanticipated loss of function and social inequities if not accounted for in planning and management. At the municipal scale, the effects of Asian longhorned beetle and ice storm disturbance were far less influential on structure and function than changes in management actions. The strategic goals of removing invasive species and increasing tree planting resulted in a decline in carbon storage and leaf biomass. Introducing vulnerability parameters in the modeling increased the spatial heterogeneity in structure and function while expanding the disparities of resident access to ecosystem services. There was often a variable and uncertain relationship between vulnerability and ecosystem structure and function. Vulnerability assessment and analysis can provide strategic planning initiatives with valuable insight into the processes of structural and functional change resulting from management intervention.

  4. 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

  5. Functional richness and ecosystem services: bird predation on arthropods in tropical agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Philpott, Stacy M; Soong, Oliver; Lowenstein, Jacob H; Pulido, Astrid Luz; Lopez, Diego Tobar; Flynn, Dan F B; DeClerck, Fabrice

    2009-10-01

    In agroecosystems, biodiversity correlates with ecosystem function, yet mechanisms driving these relationships are often unknown. Examining traits and functional classifications of organisms providing ecosystem functions may provide insight into the mechanisms. Birds are important predators of insects, including pests. However, biological simplification of agroforests may decrease provisioning of this pest removal service by reducing bird taxonomic and functional diversity. A recent meta-analysis of bird exclosure studies from a range of agroecosystems in Central America concluded that higher bird richness is associated with significantly greater arthropod removal, yet the mechanism remains unclear. We conducted a meta-analysis of the same data to examine whether birds demonstrate functional complementarity in tropical agroforests. We classified birds according to relevant traits (body mass, foraging strategy, foraging Strata, and diet) and then examined how design of functional classification, including trait selection, classification methods, and the functional diversity metric used affect the suitability of different classifications as predictors of ecosystem services. We determined that vegetation characteristics are not likely drivers of arthropod removal by birds. For some functional classifications, functional richness positively correlated with arthropod removal, indicating that species complementarity may be an important mechanism behind this ecosystem function. The predictive ability of functional classifications increased with the number of traits included in the classification. For the two best classifications examined, functional group richness was a better predictor of arthropod reduction than other metrics of functional diversity (FD and Rao's Q). However, no functional classification predicted arthropod removal better than simple species richness; thus other factors may be important. Our analysis indicates that the sampling effect may also play a

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. [Multi-scenario simulation and prediction of ecosystem services as affected by urban expansion: A case study in coastal area of Tianjin, North China].

    PubMed

    Huang, Huan-Chun; Yun, Ying-Xia; Miao, Zhan-Tang; Hao, Cui; Li, Hong-yuan

    2013-03-01

    Based on the modified Logistic-CA model, and taking the coastal area of Tianjin as a case, this paper simulated the spatial evolution patterns of ecosystem services as affected by the urban expansion in 2011-2020 under the scenarios of historical extrapolation, endogenous development, and exogenous development. Overall, the total ecosystem services of the study area under the three scenarios were generally the same, and the functional region with the lowest level ecosystem services had the identical spatial pattern. However, the spatial evolution patterns of the ecosystem services of the study area under the three scenarios had a great difference. The functional regions with lower-level ecosystem services grew in a cross-shaped pattern, with the Tanggu downtown as a center, and finally formed a full connectivity area along the Haihe River and coastal zone.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25249055

  12. Inconsistent impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability of aboveground and belowground ecosystem functions

    PubMed Central

    Schädler, Martin

    2010-01-01

    The intensive discussion on the importance of biodiversity for the stability of essential processes in ecosystems has prompted a multitude of studies since the middle of the last century. Nevertheless, research has been extremely biased by focusing on the producer level, while studies on the impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability of ecosystem functions are lacking. Here, we investigate the impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability (reliability) of three important aboveground and belowground ecosystem functions: primary productivity (shoot and root biomass), litter decomposition, and herbivore infestation. For this, we analyzed the results of three laboratory experiments manipulating decomposer diversity (1–3 species) in comparison to decomposer-free treatments in terms of variability of the measured variables. Decomposer diversity often significantly but inconsistently affected the stability of all aboveground and belowground ecosystem functions investigated in the present study. While primary productivity was mainly destabilized, litter decomposition and aphid infestation were essentially stabilized by increasing decomposer diversity. However, impacts of decomposer diversity varied between plant community and fertility treatments. There was no general effect of the presence of decomposers on stability and no trend toward weaker effects in fertilized communities and legume communities. This indicates that impacts of decomposers are based on more than effects on nutrient availability. Although inconsistent impacts complicate the estimation of consequences of belowground diversity loss, underpinning mechanisms of the observed patterns are discussed. Impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability of essential ecosystem functions differed between plant communities of varying composition and fertility, implicating that human-induced changes of biodiversity and land-use management might have unpredictable effects on the processes mankind relies on

  13. Inconsistent impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability of aboveground and belowground ecosystem functions.

    PubMed

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Schädler, Martin

    2011-02-01

    The intensive discussion on the importance of biodiversity for the stability of essential processes in ecosystems has prompted a multitude of studies since the middle of the last century. Nevertheless, research has been extremely biased by focusing on the producer level, while studies on the impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability of ecosystem functions are lacking. Here, we investigate the impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability (reliability) of three important aboveground and belowground ecosystem functions: primary productivity (shoot and root biomass), litter decomposition, and herbivore infestation. For this, we analyzed the results of three laboratory experiments manipulating decomposer diversity (1-3 species) in comparison to decomposer-free treatments in terms of variability of the measured variables. Decomposer diversity often significantly but inconsistently affected the stability of all aboveground and belowground ecosystem functions investigated in the present study. While primary productivity was mainly destabilized, litter decomposition and aphid infestation were essentially stabilized by increasing decomposer diversity. However, impacts of decomposer diversity varied between plant community and fertility treatments. There was no general effect of the presence of decomposers on stability and no trend toward weaker effects in fertilized communities and legume communities. This indicates that impacts of decomposers are based on more than effects on nutrient availability. Although inconsistent impacts complicate the estimation of consequences of belowground diversity loss, underpinning mechanisms of the observed patterns are discussed. Impacts of decomposer diversity on the stability of essential ecosystem functions differed between plant communities of varying composition and fertility, implicating that human-induced changes of biodiversity and land-use management might have unpredictable effects on the processes mankind relies on

  14. [Ecosystem service interactions and their affecting factors in Jinghe watershed at county level].

    PubMed

    Pan, Ying; Zhen, Lin; Long, Xin; Cao, Xiao-Chang

    2012-05-01

    Taking the multiple ecosystem services (grain supply, meat supply, fuel-wood supply, water resource conservation and soil retention) as test objects, this paper analyzed the interactions among these services, the interaction modes and the possible affecting factors in 31 counties of Jinghe watershed. At the county level, there existed great differences in the interactions among different pairs of the ecosystem services. The grain supply showed significant positive correlation with meat supply but negative correlation with soil retention, whereas the water resource conservation showed significant positive correlations with fuel-wood supply and soil retention. As for the interaction modes of the ecosystem services, 24 counties were primarily of regulation services, 3 counties were of supply and regulation services in balance, and 4 counties were primarily of grain supply. The total ecosystem service index of the interaction modes in each county varied greatly, with 5.1 times of difference between the maximum (Jingyuan County) and the minimum value (Yanchi County). The total ecosystem service index was significantly positively correlated with precipitation and soil total nitrogen, and negatively correlated with solar hours. The increase of farmland had negative effects, while that of shrub land and grassland had great positive effects on the total ecosystem service index, but the increase of forestland had less effects.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; ...

    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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.; Burgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J.; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M. P.; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Baneras, Lluis; 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; Lindstrom, Eva S.; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R.

    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 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.

  19. 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

  20. Surface heat fluxes and ecosystem function in the Cretan Sea (eastern Mediterranean): a modelling study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siddorn, J. R.; Allen, J. I.

    2003-01-01

    As a component of the Mediterranean Forecast System Pilot Project, a data buoy was deployed in the Cretan Sea. A 1-D ecosystem model of the site has been used to investigate the role of surface heat fluxes in determining modelled ecosystem behaviour. The method of calculation of these fluxes, the quality of the data used, and the temporal resolution of the data all had an impact upon the modelled ecosystem function. The effects of the changes in heat flux formulation were substantial, with both annually averaged properties of the system and the seasonal evolution of the biology being affected. It was also found that the ecosystem model was extremely sensitive to the accuracy of the meteorological forcing data used, with substantial changes in biology found when offsets in the forcing data were imposed. The frequency of forcing data was relatively unimportant in determining the biological function, although lower frequency forcing damped high frequency variability in the biology. During periods of mixing the biology showed an amplified response to changes in physical dynamics, but during periods of stratification the variations in the physics were found to be less important. Zooplankton showed more sensitivity to physical variability than either phytoplankton or bacteria. The consequences for ecosystem modelling are discussed.

  1. 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.

  2. Contrasting biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in phylogenetic and functional diversity.

    PubMed

    Steudel, Bastian; Hallmann, Christine; Lorenz, Maike; Abrahamczyk, Stefan; Prinz, Kathleen; Herrfurth, Cornelia; Feussner, Ivo; Martini, Johannes W R; Kessler, Michael

    2016-10-01

    It is well known that ecosystem functioning is positively influenced by biodiversity. Most biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiments have measured biodiversity based on species richness or phylogenetic relationships. However, theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that ecosystem functioning should be more closely related to functional diversity than to species richness. We applied different metrics of biodiversity in an artificial biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiment using 64 species of green microalgae in combinations of two to 16 species. We found that phylogenetic and functional diversity were positively correlated with biomass overyield, driven by their strong correlation with species richness. At low species richness, no significant correlation between overyield and functional and phylogenetic diversity was found. However, at high species richness (16 species), we found a positive relationship of overyield with functional diversity and a negative relationship with phylogenetic diversity. We show that negative phylogenetic diversity-ecosystem functioning relationships can result from interspecific growth inhibition. The opposing performances of facilitation (functional diversity) and inhibition (phylogenetic diversity) we observed at the 16 species level suggest that phylogenetic diversity is not always a good proxy for functional diversity and that results from experiments with low species numbers may underestimate negative species interactions.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-02-22

    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.

  4. Global human footprint on the linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in reef fishes.

    PubMed

    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

    2011-04-01

    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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-10-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Effects on the function of Arctic ecosystems in the short- and long-term perspectives.

    PubMed

    Callaghan, Terry V; Björn, Lars Olof; Chernov, Yuri; Chapin, Terry; Christensen, Torben R; Huntley, Brian; Ims, Rolf A; Johansson, Margareta; Jolly, Dyanna; Jonasson, Sven; Matveyeva, Nadya; Panikov, Nicolai; Oechel, Walter; Shaver, Gus

    2004-11-01

    Historically, the function of Arctic ecosystems in terms of cycles of nutrients and carbon has led to low levels of primary production and exchanges of energy, water and greenhouse gases have led to low local and regional cooling. Sequestration of carbon from atmospheric CO2, in extensive, cold organic soils and the high albedo from low, snow-covered vegetation have had impacts on regional climate. However, many aspects of the functioning of Arctic ecosystems are sensitive to changes in climate and its impacts on biodiversity. The current Arctic climate results in slow rates of organic matter decomposition. Arctic ecosystems therefore tend to accumulate organic matter and elements despite low inputs. As a result, soil-available elements like nitrogen and phosphorus are key limitations to increases in carbon fixation and further biomass and organic matter accumulation. Climate warming is expected to increase carbon and element turnover, particularly in soils, which may lead to initial losses of elements but eventual, slow recovery. Individual species and species diversity have clear impacts on element inputs and retention in Arctic ecosystems. Effects of increased CO2 and UV-B on whole ecosystems, on the other hand, are likely to be small although effects on plant tissue chemisty, decomposition and nitrogen fixation may become important in the long-term. Cycling of carbon in trace gas form is mainly as CO2 and CH4. Most carbon loss is in the form of CO2, produced by both plants and soil biota. Carbon emissions as methane from wet and moist tundra ecosystems are about 5% of emissions as CO2 and are responsive to warming in the absence of any other changes. Winter processes and vegetation type also affect CH4 emissions as well as exchanges of energy between biosphere and atmosphere. Arctic ecosystems exhibit the largest seasonal changes in energy exchange of any terrestrial ecosystem because of the large changes in albedo from late winter, when snow reflects most

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-27

    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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Consequences of tropical land use for multitrophic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Barnes, Andrew D.; Jochum, Malte; Mumme, Steffen; Haneda, Noor Farikhah; Farajallah, Achmad; Widarto, Tri Heru; Brose, Ulrich

    2014-01-01

    Our knowledge about land-use impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is mostly limited to single trophic levels, leaving us uncertain about whole-community biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. We analyse consequences of the globally important land-use transformation from tropical forests to oil palm plantations. Species diversity, density and biomass of invertebrate communities suffer at least 45% decreases from rainforest to oil palm. Combining metabolic and food-web theory, we calculate annual energy fluxes to model impacts of land-use intensification on multitrophic ecosystem functioning. We demonstrate a 51% reduction in energy fluxes from forest to oil palm communities. Species loss clearly explains variation in energy fluxes; however, this relationship depends on land-use systems and functional feeding guilds, whereby predators are the most heavily affected. Biodiversity decline from forest to oil palm is thus accompanied by even stronger reductions in functionality, threatening to severely limit the functional resilience of communities to cope with future global changes. PMID:25350947

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-01-22

    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.

  18. Insights into functional bacterial diversity and its effects on Alpine bog ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Bragina, Anastasia; Berg, Christian; Müller, Henry; Moser, Daniel; Berg, Gabriele

    2013-01-01

    Plant-associated bacteria are important for the growth and health of their host, but little is known about its functional diversity and impact on ecosystem functioning. We studied bacterial nitrogen fixation and methane oxidation from indicator Sphagnum mosses in Alpine bogs to test a hypothesis that the plant microbiome contained different functional patterns depending on their functions within the ecosystem. A high abundance and diversity of nitrogenase genes were detected, mostly specific for each Sphagnum. In contrast, methanotrophs formed highly similar patterns despite a high abundance and diversity of methane monooxygenase genes. Our hypothesis was supported by these contrasting functional patterns together with the result that the Sphagnum sporophyte contained a high proportion of specific diazotrophs (45.5%) but no potential methanotrophs. While essential for plant growth under nutrient-limited conditions, nitrogen-fixing bacteria were highly specific and transferred with the sporophyte unlike the ubiquitous methanotrophs which are important for the climate-relevant ecosystem itself.

  19. Targeted Gene Capture by Hybridization to Illuminate Ecosystem Functioning.

    PubMed

    Ribière, Céline; Beugnot, Réjane; Parisot, Nicolas; Gasc, Cyrielle; Defois, Clémence; Denonfoux, Jérémie; Boucher, Delphine; Peyretaillade, Eric; Peyret, Pierre

    2016-01-01

    Microbial communities are extremely abundant and diverse on earth surface and play key role in the ecosystem functioning. Thus, although next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have greatly improved knowledge on microbial diversity, it is necessary to reduce the biological complexity to better understand the microorganism functions. To achieve this goal, we describe a promising approach, based on the solution hybrid selection (SHS) method for the selective enrichment in a target-specific biomarker from metagenomic and metatranscriptomic samples. The success of this method strongly depends on the determination of sensitive, specific, and explorative probes to assess the complete targeted gene repertoire. Indeed, in this method, RNA probes were used to capture large DNA or RNA fragments harboring biomarkers of interest that potentially allow to link structure and function of communities of interest.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

    2015-10-13

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

    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

  5. Phytoplankton traits predict ecosystem function in a global set of lakes.

    PubMed

    Zwart, Jacob A; Solomon, Christopher T; Jones, Stuart E

    2015-08-01

    Predicting ecosystem function from environmental conditions is a central goal of ecosystem ecology. However, many traditional ecosystem models are tailored for specific regions or ecosystem types, requiring several regional models to predict the same function. Alternatively, trait-based approaches have been effectively used to predict community structure in both terrestrial and aquatic environments and ecosystem function in a limited number of terrestrial examples. Here, we test the efficacy of a trait-based model in predicting gross primary production (GPP) in lake ecosystems. We incorporated data from >1000 United States lakes along with laboratory-generated phytoplankton trait data to build a trait-based model of GPP and then validated the model with GPP observations from a separate set of globally distributed lakes. The trait-based model performed as well as or outperformed two ecosystem models both spatially and temporally, demonstrating the efficacy of trait-based models for predicting ecosystem function over a range of environmental conditions.

  6. Using ecological production functions to link ecological processes to ecosystem services.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecological production functions (EPFs) link ecosystems, stressors, and management actions to ecosystem services (ES) production. Although EPFs are acknowledged as being essential to improve environmental management, their use in ecological risk assessment has received relatively ...

  7. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity. PMID:27703157

  8. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Florian D; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-05

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  9. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  10. Linking functional group richness and ecosystem functions of dung beetles: an experimental quantification.

    PubMed

    Milotić, Tanja; Quidé, Stijn; Van Loo, Thomas; Hoffmann, Maurice

    2017-01-01

    Dung beetles form an insect group that fulfils important functions in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world. These include nutrient cycling through dung removal, soil bioturbation, plant growth, secondary seed dispersal and parasite control. We conducted field experiments at two sites in the northern hemisphere temperate region in which dung removal and secondary seed dispersal were assessed. Dung beetles were classified in three functional groups, depending on their size and dung manipulation method: dwellers, large and small tunnelers. Other soil inhabiting fauna were included as a fourth functional group. Dung removal and seed dispersal by each individual functional group and combinations thereof were estimated in exclusion experiments using different dung types. Dwellers were the most diverse and abundant group, but tunnelers were dominant in terms of biomass. All dung beetle functional groups had a clear preference for fresh dung. The ecosystem services in dung removal and secondary seed dispersal provided by dung beetles were significant and differed between functional groups. Although in absolute numbers more dwellers were found, large tunnelers were disproportionally important for dung burial and seed removal. In the absence of dung beetles, other soil inhabiting fauna, such as earthworms, partly took over the dung decomposing role of dung beetles while most dung was processed when all native functional groups were present. Our results, therefore, emphasize the need to conserve functionally complete dung ecosystems to maintain full ecosystem functioning.

  11. 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

  12. Functional diversity in three Mediterranean transitional water ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sigala, Kalliopi; Reizopoulou, Sofia; Basset, Alberto; Nicolaidou, Artemis

    2012-09-01

    Biological trait analysis (BTA) is a method that describes ecological functioning of species assemblages incorporating information on species' distributions and their biological characteristics. In the present study, soft bottom communities of three Mediterranean coastal lagoons with different degree of salinity range were analyzed for seven biological traits (mobility, habitat, feeding type, habitat modification, body form, body size and feeding apparatus) in order to investigate the differences in communities' structure and functional diversity across a scale of natural stress. In more variable environments semi-mobile and epibenthic organisms prevailed, while predators were found under more stable conditions. Multivariate analyses using biological traits gave similar results with those obtained by the traditional analyses using species abundances; however, the distinction among lagoons was less evident, indicating that in transitional waters species can be different but their biological traits similar. This supports the idea of species redundancy in transitional water ecosystems.

  13. Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid plant and biological soil crust communities

    PubMed Central

    Maestre, Fernando T.; Bowker, Matthew A.; Escolar, Cristina; Puche, María D.; Soliveres, Santiago; Maltez-Mouro, Sara; García-Palacios, Pablo; Castillo-Monroy, Andrea P.; Martínez, Isabel; Escudero, Adrián

    2010-01-01

    Climate change will exacerbate the degree of abiotic stress experienced by semi-arid ecosystems. While abiotic stress profoundly affects biotic interactions, their potential role as modulators of ecosystem responses to climate change is largely unknown. Using plants and biological soil crusts, we tested the relative importance of facilitative–competitive interactions and other community attributes (cover, species richness and species evenness) as drivers of ecosystem functioning along stress gradients in semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. Biotic interactions shifted from facilitation to competition along stress gradients driven by water availability and temperature. These changes were, however, dependent on the spatial scale and the community considered. We found little evidence to suggest that biotic interactions are a major direct influence upon indicators of ecosystem functioning (soil respiration, organic carbon, water-holding capacity, compaction and the activity of enzymes related to the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) along stress gradients. However, attributes such as cover and species richness showed a direct effect on ecosystem functioning. Our results do not agree with predictions emphasizing that the importance of plant–plant interactions will be increased under climate change in dry environments, and indicate that reductions in the cover of plant and biological soil crust communities will negatively impact ecosystems under future climatic conditions. PMID:20513714

  14. 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.

  15. 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,...

  16. Bioturbators enhance ecosystem function through complex biogeochemical interactions.

    PubMed

    Lohrer, Andrew M; Thrush, Simon F; Gibbs, Max M

    2004-10-28

    Predicting the consequences of species loss is critically important, given present threats to biological diversity such as habitat destruction, overharvesting and climate change. Several empirical studies have reported decreased ecosystem performance (for example, primary productivity) coincident with decreased biodiversity, although the relative influence of biotic effects and confounding abiotic factors has been vigorously debated. Whereas several investigations focused on single trophic levels (for example, grassland plants), studies of whole systems have revealed multiple layers of feedbacks, hidden drivers and emergent properties, making the consequences of species loss more difficult to predict. Here we report functionally important organisms and considerable biocomplexity in a sedimentary seafloor habitat, one of Earth's most widespread ecosystems. Experimental field measurements demonstrate how the abundance of spatangoid urchins--infaunal (in seafloor sediment) grazers/deposit feeders--is positively related to primary production, as their activities change nutrient fluxes and improve conditions for production by microphytobenthos (sedimentatry microbes and unicellular algae). Declines of spatangoid urchins after trawling are well documented, and our research linking these bioturbators to important benthic-pelagic fluxes highlights potential ramifications for productivity in coastal oceans.

  17. Herbivore and predator diversity interactively affect ecosystem properties in an experimental marine community.

    PubMed

    Douglass, James G; Duffy, J Emmett; Bruno, John F

    2008-06-01

    Interacting changes in predator and prey diversity likely influence ecosystem properties but have rarely been experimentally tested. We manipulated the species richness of herbivores and predators in an experimental benthic marine community and measured their effects on predator, herbivore and primary producer performance. Predator composition and richness strongly affected several community and population responses, mostly via sampling effects. However, some predators survived better in polycultures than in monocultures, suggesting complementarity due to stronger intra- than interspecific interactions. Predator effects also differed between additive and substitutive designs, emphasizing that the relationship between diversity and abundance in an assemblage can strongly influence whether and how diversity effects are realized. Changing herbivore richness and predator richness interacted to influence both total herbivore abundance and predatory crab growth, but these interactive diversity effects were weak. Overall, the presence and richness of predators dominated biotic effects on community and ecosystem properties.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-01

    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 fully

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Ecosystem function in Appalachian headwater streams during an active invasion by the hemlock woolly adelgid.

    PubMed

    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.

  3. Testing the link between functional diversity and ecosystem functioning in a Minnesota grassland experiment.

    PubMed

    Clark, Christopher M; Flynn, Dan F B; Butterfield, Bradley J; Reich, Peter B

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Diane S

    2006-09-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Species-Specific Effects on Ecosystem Functioning Can Be Altered by Interspecific Interactions.

    PubMed

    Clare, David S; Spencer, Matthew; Robinson, Leonie A; Frid, Christopher L J

    2016-01-01

    Biological assemblages are constantly undergoing change, with species being introduced, extirpated and experiencing shifts in their densities. Theory and experimentation suggest that the impacts of such change on ecosystem functioning should be predictable based on the biological traits of the species involved. However, interspecific interactions could alter how species affect functioning, with the strength and sign of interactions potentially depending on environmental context (e.g. homogenous vs. heterogeneous conditions) and the function considered. Here, we assessed how concurrent changes to the densities of two common marine benthic invertebrates, Corophium volutator and Hediste diversicolor, affected the ecological functions of organic matter consumption and benthic-pelagic nutrient flux. Complementary experiments were conducted within homogenous laboratory microcosms and naturally heterogeneous field plots. When the densities of the species were increased within microcosms, interspecific interactions enhanced effects on organic matter consumption and reduced effects on nutrient flux. Trait-based predictions of how each species would affect functioning were only consistently supported when the density of the other species was low. In field plots, increasing the density of either species had a positive effect on organic matter consumption (with no significant interspecific interactions) but no effect on nutrient flux. Our results indicate that species-specific effects on ecosystem functioning can be altered by interspecific interactions, which can be either facilitative (positive) or antagonistic (negative) depending on the function considered. The impacts of biodiversity change may therefore not be predictable based solely on the biological traits of the species involved. Possible explanations for why interactions were detected in microcosms but not in the field are discussed.

  9. Species-Specific Effects on Ecosystem Functioning Can Be Altered by Interspecific Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Spencer, Matthew; Robinson, Leonie A.; Frid, Christopher L. J.

    2016-01-01

    Biological assemblages are constantly undergoing change, with species being introduced, extirpated and experiencing shifts in their densities. Theory and experimentation suggest that the impacts of such change on ecosystem functioning should be predictable based on the biological traits of the species involved. However, interspecific interactions could alter how species affect functioning, with the strength and sign of interactions potentially depending on environmental context (e.g. homogenous vs. heterogeneous conditions) and the function considered. Here, we assessed how concurrent changes to the densities of two common marine benthic invertebrates, Corophium volutator and Hediste diversicolor, affected the ecological functions of organic matter consumption and benthic-pelagic nutrient flux. Complementary experiments were conducted within homogenous laboratory microcosms and naturally heterogeneous field plots. When the densities of the species were increased within microcosms, interspecific interactions enhanced effects on organic matter consumption and reduced effects on nutrient flux. Trait-based predictions of how each species would affect functioning were only consistently supported when the density of the other species was low. In field plots, increasing the density of either species had a positive effect on organic matter consumption (with no significant interspecific interactions) but no effect on nutrient flux. Our results indicate that species-specific effects on ecosystem functioning can be altered by interspecific interactions, which can be either facilitative (positive) or antagonistic (negative) depending on the function considered. The impacts of biodiversity change may therefore not be predictable based solely on the biological traits of the species involved. Possible explanations for why interactions were detected in microcosms but not in the field are discussed. PMID:27812164

  10. 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

  11. Assessing mismatches between ecosystem structure and function in Jiaozhou Bay by coordination degree algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Xiaoyan; Gao, Huiwang; Chen, Zhenhua; Yao, Xiaohong; Sun, Peng

    2017-04-01

    A healthy ecosystem depends on the coordination of ecosystem structure and function. The coordination among ecosystem components, however, is seldom taken into account in current ecosystem health assessments (EHA). Neglect of such coordination may lead to large degrees of uncertainty in EHA and fail to support ecosystem management. We propose an approach to quantify the level of dynamic mismatching between ecosystem structure and function and the impact on ecosystem health by incorporating the ecosystem coordination index into EHA. The coordination degree is calculated using variation coefficient of six proxies for ecosystem structure and functions. The ecosystem at Jiaozhou Bay, as a microcosm of China's coast, has been documented to fluctuate from healthy to unhealthy status over the past three decades. The results indicate that there is a 3%-17% lower health level than that calculated by common methods used in the literature, indicating that the health of Jiaozhou Bay has become worse than expected. Habitat change contributes 20%-52% to ecosystem mismatches and is the most uncoordinated factor. Mismatch-related declines account for approximately one-fourth of the total ecological declines. Restoration scenarios that aim to resolve ecosystem mismatches could increase efficiency by about 50% compared to restoration scenarios that do not consider mismatches. This study investigates ecological declines in a coastal bay due to 30 years of rapid economic development. In doing so, this study provides novel insights and enhances our understanding of the reasons for failure in ecological restoration.

  12. Soil CO2 dynamics and fluxes as affected by tree harvest in an experimental sand ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, C. K.; White, T. M.; O'Brien, R.; Smith, J. L.

    2006-09-01

    Soil CO2 production is a key process in ecosystem C exchange, and global change predictions require understanding of how ecosystem disturbance affects this process. We monitored CO2 levels in soil gas and as bicarbonate in drainage from an experimental red pine ecosystem, for 1 year before and 3 years after its aboveground biomass was removed. Lack of physical disturbance, strict prevention of plant regrowth, and a comparison ecosystem without rooted plants facilitated isolation of the microclimatic and biochemical effects of instantaneous canopy removal and cessation of photosynthesis. Preharvest gas-phase CO2 levels fluctuated with growing-season soil temperature but reached their greatest levels (up to 10,000 ppmV) during late winter beneath snow and ice cover. This pattern, and the annual CO2 efflux of ˜500 g C m-2 yr-1, continued for 2 years following harvest; the efflux declined by half in the third year. The surprising continuity of preharvest and postharvest rates of soil CO2 production reflects the replacement of root respiration with microbial respiration of root and litter substrates of declining lability, but boosted by soil temperature increases. Mass balance is consistent with a bulk root+litter exponential decay time (-1/k) of 4-6 years, such that most of the subsurface biomass accumulated over 15 years of tree growth would be lost in a decade after the harvest. The preharvest bicarbonate C efflux, which was less than 0.1% of the gas-phase efflux, trebled after the harvest owing to elimination of evapotranspiration and consequent increases in drainage while soil CO2 levels remained high. A large fraction of this "hydrospheric" sink for atmospheric CO2 is attributed to weathering under high soil CO2 levels before spring snowmelt and soil-water flushing. These observations suggest that disturbance may enhance long-term chemical-weathering CO2 sinks.

  13. 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.

  14. Climatic versus biotic constraints on carbon and water fluxes in seasonally drought-affected ponderosa pine ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-12-01

    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 (<10%), largest at the MS (>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. The importance of benthic-pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning in a changing world.

    PubMed

    Griffiths, Jennifer R; Kadin, Martina; Nascimento, Francisco J A; Tamelander, Tobias; Törnroos, Anna; Bonaglia, Stefano; Bonsdorff, Erik; Brüchert, Volker; Gårdmark, Anna; Järnström, Marie; Kotta, Jonne; Lindegren, Martin; Nordström, Marie C; Norkko, Alf; Olsson, Jens; Weigel, Benjamin; Žydelis, Ramunas; Blenckner, Thorsten; Niiranen, Susa; Winder, Monika

    2017-01-28

    Benthic-pelagic coupling is manifested as the exchange of energy, mass, or nutrients between benthic and pelagic habitats. It plays a prominent role in aquatic ecosystems, and it is crucial to functions from nutrient cycling to energy transfer in food webs. Coastal and estuarine ecosystem structure and function are strongly affected by anthropogenic pressures; however, there are large gaps in our understanding of the responses of inorganic nutrient and organic matter fluxes between benthic habitats and the water column. We illustrate the varied nature of physical and biological benthic-pelagic coupling processes and their potential sensitivity to three anthropogenic pressures - climate change, nutrient loading, and fishing - using the Baltic Sea as a case study and summarize current knowledge on the exchange of inorganic nutrients and organic material between habitats. Traditionally measured benthic-pelagic coupling processes (e.g., nutrient exchange and sedimentation of organic material) are to some extent quantifiable, but the magnitude and variability of biological processes are rarely assessed, preventing quantitative comparisons. Changing oxygen conditions will continue to have widespread effects on the processes that govern inorganic and organic matter exchange among habitats while climate change and nutrient load reductions may have large effects on organic matter sedimentation. Many biological processes (predation, bioturbation) are expected to be sensitive to anthropogenic drivers, but the outcomes for ecosystem function are largely unknown. We emphasize how improved empirical and experimental understanding of benthic-pelagic coupling processes and their variability are necessary to inform models that can quantify the feedbacks among processes and ecosystem responses to a changing world.

  16. Grazing intensity significantly affects belowground carbon and nitrogen cycling in grassland ecosystems: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Guiyao; Zhou, Xuhui; He, Yanghui; Shao, Junjiong; Hu, Zhenhong; Liu, Ruiqiang; Zhou, Huimin; Hosseinibai, Shahla

    2017-03-01

    Livestock grazing activities potentially alter ecosystem carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles in grassland ecosystems. Despite the fact that numerous individual studies and a few meta-analyses had been conducted, how grazing, especially its intensity, affects belowground C and N cycling in grasslands remains unclear. In this study, we performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of 115 published studies to examine the responses of 19 variables associated with belowground C and N cycling to livestock grazing in global grasslands. Our results showed that, on average, grazing significantly decreased belowground C and N pools in grassland ecosystems, with the largest decreases in microbial biomass C and N (21.62% and 24.40%, respectively). In contrast, belowground fluxes, including soil respiration, soil net N mineralization and soil N nitrification increased by 4.25%, 34.67% and 25.87%, respectively, in grazed grasslands compared to ungrazed ones. More importantly, grazing intensity significantly affected the magnitude (even direction) of changes in the majority of the assessed belowground C and N pools and fluxes, and C : N ratio as well as soil moisture. Specifically,light grazing contributed to soil C and N sequestration whereas moderate and heavy grazing significantly increased C and N losses. In addition, soil depth, livestock type and climatic conditions influenced the responses of selected variables to livestock grazing to some degree. Our findings highlight the importance of the effects of grazing intensity on belowground C and N cycling, which may need to be incorporated into regional and global models for predicting effects of human disturbance on global grasslands and assessing the climate-biosphere feedbacks.

  17. Direct and indirect effects of invasive plants on soil chemistry and ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Weidenhamer, Jeffrey D; Callaway, Ragan M

    2010-01-01

    Invasive plants have a multitude of impacts on plant communities through their direct and indirect effects on soil chemistry and ecosystem function. For example, plants modify the soil environment through root exudates that affect soil structure, and mobilize and/or chelate nutrients. The long-term impact of litter and root exudates can modify soil nutrient pools, and there is evidence that invasive plant species may alter nutrient cycles differently from native species. The effects of plants on ecosystem biogeochemistry may be caused by differences in leaf tissue nutrient stoichiometry or secondary metabolites, although evidence for the importance of allelochemicals in driving these processes is lacking. Some invasive species may gain a competitive advantage through the release of compounds or combinations of compounds that are unique to the invaded community—the “novel weapons hypothesis.” Invasive plants also can exert profound impact on plant communities indirectly through the herbicides used to control them. Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, often is used to help control invasive weeds, and generally is considered to have minimal environmental impacts. Most studies show little to no effect of glyphosate and other herbicides on soil microbial communities. However, herbicide applications can reduce or promote rhizobium nodulation and mycorrhiza formation. Herbicide drift can affect the growth of non-target plants, and glyphosate and other herbicides can impact significantly the secondary chemistry of plants at sublethal doses. In summary, the literature indicates that invasive species can alter the biogeochemistry of ecosystems, that secondary metabolites released by invasive species may play important roles in soil chemistry as well as plant-plant and plant-microbe interactions, and that the herbicides used to control invasive species can impact plant chemistry and ecosystems in ways that have yet to be fully explored.

  18. Climate change drives a shift in peatland ecosystem plant community: implications for ecosystem function and stability.

    PubMed

    Dieleman, Catherine M; Branfireun, Brian A; McLaughlin, James W; Lindo, Zoë

    2015-01-01

    The composition of a peatland plant community has considerable effect on a range of ecosystem functions. Peatland plant community structure is predicted to change under future climate change, making the quantification of the direction and magnitude of this change a research priority. We subjected intact, replicated vegetated poor fen peat monoliths to elevated temperatures, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ), and two water table levels in a factorial design to determine the individual and synergistic effects of climate change factors on the poor fen plant community composition. We identify three indicators of a regime shift occurring in our experimental poor fen system under climate change: nonlinear decline of Sphagnum at temperatures 8 °C above ambient conditions, concomitant increases in Carex spp. at temperatures 4 °C above ambient conditions suggesting a weakening of Sphagnum feedbacks on peat accumulation, and increased variance of the plant community composition and pore water pH through time. A temperature increase of +4 °C appeared to be a threshold for increased vascular plant abundance; however the magnitude of change was species dependent. Elevated temperature combined with elevated CO2 had a synergistic effect on large graminoid species abundance, with a 15 times increase as compared to control conditions. Community analyses suggested that the balance between dominant plant species was tipped from Sphagnum to a graminoid-dominated system by the combination of climate change factors. Our findings indicate that changes in peatland plant community composition are likely under future climate change conditions, with a demonstrated shift toward a dominance of graminoid species in poor fens.

  19. Risk assessment of nitrate and oxytetracycline addition on coastal ecosystem functions.

    PubMed

    Feng-Jiao, Liu; Shun-Xing, Li; Feng-Ying, Zheng; Xu-Guang, Huang; Yue-Gang, Zuo; Teng-Xiu, Tu; Xue-Qing, Wu

    2014-01-01

    Diatoms dominate phytoplankton communities in the well-mixed coastal and upwelling regions. Coastal diatoms are often exposed to both aquaculture pollution and eutrophication. But how these exposures influence on coastal ecosystem functions are unknown. To examine these influences, a coastal centric diatom, Conticribra weissflogii was maintained at different concentrations of nitrate (N) and/or oxytetracycline (OTC). Algal density, cell growth cycle, protein, chlorophyll a, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and malonaldehyde (MDA) were determined for the assessment of algal biomass, lifetime, nutritional value, photosynthesis and respiration, antioxidant capacity, and lipid peroxidation, respectively. When N addition was combined with OTC pollution, the cell growth cycles were shortened by 56-73%; algal density, SOD activities, the concentrations of chlorophyll a, protein, and MDA varied between 73 and 121%, 19 and 397%, 52 and 693%, 19 and 875%, and 66 and 2733% of the values observed in N addition experiments, respectively. According to P-value analysis, the influence of OTC on algal density and SOD activity was not significant, but the effect on cell growth cycle, protein, chlorophyll a, and MDA were significant (P<0.05). The influence of N addition with simultaneous OTC pollution on the above six end points was significant. Algal biomass, lifetime, nutrition, antioxidant capacity, lipid peroxidation, photosynthesis, and respiration were all affected by the addition of OTC and N. Coastal ecosystem functions were severely affected by N and OTC additions, and the influence was increased in the order: Necosystem functions.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Refining our understanding of oceanic biogeochemistry and ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    On societally relevant time scales (e.g., decades to centuries), oceanic biological processes sequester large quantities of atmospheric carbon, thereby modulating C02 concentrations in the lower atmosphere [IPCC, 2001]. The complex physical and biogeochemical interactions that regulate carbon fluxes between the atmosphere and the surface ocean— apparently random physical events, fluctuations in community structure and function, natural climate cycles, and long-term changes in anthropogenic forcing—are best studied within the framework of ocean time-series observations. Such thinking led in 1988 to the initiation of the U.S. JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Study) time-series programs in the subtropical North Atlantic (BATS = Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study) and North Pacific (HOT = Hawaii Ocean Time-series), and motivates continuing observations into the foreseeable future. After 14 years of intensive physical, biological, and biogeochemical sampling in these regions, the paradigms that initially guided our understanding and research of ocean ecosystems have been found wanting, and new perspectives have emerged to provide a stimulating foundation for continued investigations.

  4. Land use affects the net ecosystem CO(2) exchange and its components in mountain grasslands.

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

    Changes in land use and management have been strongly affecting mountain grassland, however, their effects on the net ecosystem exchange of CO(2) (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.

  5. Intraspecific traits change biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning under metal stress.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Isabel; Pascoal, Cláudia; Cássio, Fernanda

    2011-08-01

    Studies investigating the impacts of biodiversity loss on ecosystem processes have often reached different conclusions, probably because insufficient attention has been paid to some aspects including (1) which biodiversity measure (e.g., species number, species identity or trait) better explains ecosystem functioning, (2) the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity effects, and (3) how can environmental context modulates biodiversity effects. Here, we investigated how species number (one to three species) and traits of aquatic fungal decomposers (by replacement of a functional type from an unpolluted site by another from a metal-polluted site) affect fungal production (biomass accumulation) and plant litter decomposition in the presence and absence of metal stress. To examine the putative mechanisms that explain biodiversity effects, we determined the contribution of each fungal species to the total biomass produced in multicultures by real-time PCR. In the absence of metal, positive diversity effects were observed for fungal production and leaf decomposition as a result of species complementarity. Metal stress decreased diversity effects on leaf decomposition in assemblages containing the functional type from the unpolluted site, probably due to competitive interactions between fungi. However, dominance effect maintained positive diversity effects under metal stress in assemblages containing the functional type from the metal-polluted site. These findings emphasize the importance of intraspecific diversity in modulating diversity effects under metal stress, providing evidence that trait-based diversity measures should be incorporated when examining biodiversity effects.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sato, Takuya; Egusa, Tomohiro; Fukushima, Keitaro; Oda, Tomoki; Ohte, Nobuhito; Tokuchi, Naoko; Watanabe, Katsutoshi; Kanaiwa, Minoru; Murakami, Isaya; Lafferty, Kevin D

    2012-08-01

    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.

  10. Effects of biodiversity on the functioning of trophic groups and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Cardinale, Bradley J; Srivastava, Diane S; Duffy, J Emmett; Wright, Justin P; Downing, Amy L; Sankaran, Mahesh; Jouseau, Claire

    2006-10-26

    Over the past decade, accelerating rates of species extinction have prompted an increasing number of studies to reduce species diversity experimentally and examine how this alters the efficiency by which communities capture resources and convert those into biomass. So far, the generality of patterns and processes observed in individual studies have been the subjects of considerable debate. Here we present a formal meta-analysis of studies that have experimentally manipulated species diversity to examine how it affects the functioning of numerous trophic groups in multiple types of ecosystem. We show that the average effect of decreasing species richness is to decrease the abundance or biomass of the focal trophic group, leading to less complete depletion of resources used by that group. At the same time, analyses reveal that the standing stock of, and resource depletion by, the most species-rich polyculture tends to be no different from that of the single most productive species used in an experiment. Of the known mechanisms that might explain these trends, results are most consistent with what is called the 'sampling effect', which occurs when diverse communities are more likely to contain and become dominated by the most productive species. Whether this mechanism is widespread in natural communities is currently controversial. Patterns we report are remarkably consistent for four different trophic groups (producers, herbivores, detritivores and predators) and two major ecosystem types (aquatic and terrestrial). Collectively, our analyses suggest that the average species loss does indeed affect the functioning of a wide variety of organisms and ecosystems, but the magnitude of these effects is ultimately determined by the identity of species that are going extinct.

  11. [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.

  12. Modeled diversity effects on microbial ecosystem functions of primary production, nutrient uptake, and remineralization.

    PubMed

    Goebel, Nicole L; Edwards, Christopher A; Follows, Michael J; Zehr, Jonathan P

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystem-wide primary productivity generally increases with primary producer diversity, emphasizing the importance of diversity for ecosystem function. However, most studies that demonstrate this positive relationship have focused on terrestrial and aquatic benthic systems, with little attention to the diverse marine pelagic primary producers that play an important role in regulating global climate. Here we show how phytoplankton biodiversity enhances overall marine ecosystem primary productivity and other ecosystem functions using a self-organizing ecosystem model. Diversity manipulation numerical experiments reveal positive, asymptotically saturating relationships between ecosystem-wide phytoplankton diversity and functions of productivity, nutrient uptake, remineralization, and diversity metrics used to identify mechanisms shaping these relationships. Increase in productivity with increasing diversity improves modeled ecosystem stability and model robustness and leads to productivity rates that exceed expected yields primarily through niche complementarity and facilitative interactions between coexisting phytoplankton types; the composition of traits in assemblages determines the magnitude of complementarity and selection effects. While findings based on these aggregate measures of diversity effects parallel those from the majority of experimental outcomes of terrestrial and benthic biodiversity-ecosystem function studies, we combine analyses of community diversity effects and investigations of the underlying interactions among phytoplankton types to demonstrate how an increase in recycled production of non-diatoms through an increase in new production of diatoms drives this diversity-cosystem function response. We demonstrate the important role that facilitation plays in the modeled marine plankton and how this facilitative interaction could amplify future climate-driven changes in ocean ecosystem productivity.

  13. 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...

  14. Global climate change and the evolutionary ecology of ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Schmitz, Oswald J

    2013-09-01

    Environmental warming due to global climate change is an important stressor that stands to alter organismal physiology and, ultimately, carbon cycling in ecosystems. Yet the theoretical framework for predicting warming effects on whole-ecosystem carbon balance by way of changes in organismal physiology remains rudimentary. This is because ecosystem science has yet to embrace principles of evolutionary ecology that offer the means to explain how environmental stress on organisms mediates ecosystem carbon dynamics. Here, using selected case studies and a theoretical model, I sketch out one framework that shows how increases in animal metabolic rates in response to thermal stress lead to phenotypically plastic shifts in animal elemental demand, from nitrogen-rich proteins that support production to carbon-rich soluble carbohydrates that support elevated energy demands. I further show how such a switch in resource selection alters the fate of carbon between atmospheric versus animal, plant, and soil pools. The framework shows that animals, despite having relatively low biomass representation in ecosystems, can nonetheless have disproportionately larger effects on carbon cycling in ecosystems whose effects are exacerbated by environmental stressors like climate warming.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-09

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

  18. Deconstructing the relationships between phylogenetic diversity and ecology: a case study on ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Davies, T Jonathan; Urban, Mark C; Rayfield, Bronwyn; Cadotte, Marc W; Peres-Neto, Pedro R

    2016-09-01

    Recent studies have supported a link between phylogenetic diversity and various ecological properties including ecosystem function. However, such studies typically assume that phylogenetic branches of equivalent length are more or less interchangeable. Here we suggest that there is a need to consider not only branch lengths but also their placement on the phylogeny. We demonstrate how two common indices of network centrality can be used to describe the evolutionary distinctiveness of network elements (nodes and branches) on a phylogeny. If phylogenetic diversity enhances ecosystem function via complementarity and the representation of functional diversity, we would predict a correlation between evolutionary distinctiveness of network elements and their contribution to ecosystem process. In contrast, if one or a few evolutionary innovations play key roles in ecosystem function, the relationship between evolutionary distinctiveness and functional contribution may be weak or absent. We illustrate how network elements associated with high functional contribution can be identified from regressions between phylogenetic diversity and productivity using a well-known empirical data set on plant productivity from the Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research. We find no association between evolutionary distinctiveness and ecosystem functioning, but we are able to identify phylogenetic elements associated with species of known high functional contribution within the Fabaceae. Our perspective provides a useful guide in the search for ecological traits linking diversity and ecosystem function, and suggests a more nuanced consideration of phylogenetic diversity is required in the conservation and biodiversity-ecosystem-function literature.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

    Feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to atmospheric and 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 soil communities that depend 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 precipitation in Tennessee (USA). 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 activity, and soil nematodes. Multiple climate-change factors can interact to shape ecosystems, but in our study, those interactions were largely driven by changes in water. (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. 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

  2. Scale-dependent diversity patterns affect spider assemblages of two contrasting forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuldt, Andreas; Assmann, Thorsten; Schaefer, Matthias

    2013-05-01

    Spiders are important generalist predators in forests. However, differences in assemblage structure and diversity can have consequences for their functional impact. Such differences are particularly evident across latitudes, and their analysis can help to generate a better understanding of region-specific characteristics of predator assemblages. Here, we analyse the relationships between species richness, family richness and functional diversity (FD) as well as α- and β-components of epigeic spider diversity in semi-natural temperate and subtropical forest sites. As expected, within-plot and overall spider species and family richness were higher in the subtropical plots. In contrast, local FD within plots was similar between sites, and differences in FD only became evident at larger spatial scales due to higher species turnover in the subtropical forests. Our study indicates that the functional effects of predator assemblages can change across spatial scales. We discuss how differences in richness and functional diversity between contrasting forest ecosystems can depend on environmental heterogeneity and the effects of species filters acting at local scales. The high turnover observed in the species-rich subtropical forests also requires a more regional perspective for the conservation of the overall diversity and the ecological functions of predators than in less diverse forests, as strategies need to account for the large spatial heterogeneity among plots.

  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.

  4. 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

    2016-03-14

    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.

  5. 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

  6. The functional value of Caribbean coral reef, seagrass and mangrove habitats to ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Harborne, Alastair R; Mumby, Peter J; Micheli, Fiorenza; Perry, Christopher T; Dahlgren, Craig P; Holmes, Katherine E; Brumbaugh, Daniel R

    2006-01-01

    Caribbean coral reef habitats, seagrass beds and mangroves provide important goods and services both individually and through functional linkages. A range of anthropogenic factors are threatening the ecological and economic importance of these habitats and it is vital to understand how ecosystem processes vary across seascapes. A greater understanding of processes will facilitate further insight into the effects of disturbances and assist with assessing management options. Despite the need to study processes across whole seascapes, few spatially explicit ecosystem-scale assessments exist. We review the empirical literature to examine the role of different habitat types for a range of processes. The importance of each of 10 generic habitats to each process is defined as its "functional value" (none, low, medium or high), quantitatively derived from published data wherever possible and summarised in a single figure. This summary represents the first time the importance of habitats across an entire Caribbean seascape has been assessed for a range of processes. Furthermore, we review the susceptibility of each habitat to disturbances to investigate spatial patterns that might affect functional values. Habitat types are considered at the scale discriminated by remotely-sensed imagery and we envisage that functional values can be combined with habitat maps to provide spatially explicit information on processes across ecosystems. We provide examples of mapping the functional values of habitats for populations of three commercially important species. The resulting data layers were then used to generate seascape-scale assessments of "hot spots" of functional value that might be considered priorities for conservation. We also provide an example of how the literature reviewed here can be used to parameterise a habitat-specific model investigating reef resilience under different scenarios of herbivory. Finally, we use multidimensional scaling to provide a basic analysis of the

  7. Fighting carbon loss of degraded peatlands by jump-starting ecosystem functioning with ecological restoration.

    PubMed

    Kareksela, Santtu; Haapalehto, Tuomas; Juutinen, Riikka; Matilainen, Rose; Tahvanainen, Teemu; Kotiaho, Janne S

    2015-12-15

    Degradation of ecosystems is a great concern on the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecological restoration fights degradation aiming at the recovery of ecosystem functions such as carbon (C) sequestration and ecosystem structures like plant communities responsible for the C sequestration function. We selected 38 pristine, drained and restored boreal peatland sites in Finland and asked i) what is the long-term effect of drainage on the peatland surface layer C storage, ii) can restoration recover ecosystem functioning (surface layer growth) and structure (plant community composition) and iii) is the recovery of the original structure needed for the recovery of ecosystem functions? We found that drainage had resulted in a substantial net loss of C from surface layer of drained sites. Restoration was successful in regaining natural growth rate in the peatland surface layer already within 5 years after restoration. However, the regenerated surface layer sequestered C at a mean rate of 116.3 g m(-2) yr(-1) (SE 12.7), when a comparable short-term rate was 178.2 g m(-2) yr(-1) (SE 13.3) at the pristine sites. The plant community compositions of the restored sites were considerably dissimilar to those of pristine sites still 10 years after restoration. We conclude that ecological restoration can be used to jump-start some key peatland ecosystem functions even without the recovery of original ecosystem structure (plant community composition). However, the re-establishment of other functions like C sequestration may require more profound recovery of conditions and ecosystem structure. We discuss the potential economic value of restored peatland ecosystems from the perspective of their C sequestration function.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  9. Diversity, functional similarity, and top-down control drive synchronization and the reliability of ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Bauer, Barbara; Vos, Matthijs; Klauschies, Toni; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-03-01

    The concept that diversity promotes reliability of ecosystem function depends on the pattern that community-level biomass shows lower temporal variability than species-level biomasses. However, this pattern is not universal, as it relies on compensatory or independent species dynamics. When in contrast within-trophic level synchronization occurs, variability of community biomass will approach population-level variability. Current knowledge fails to integrate how species richness, functional distance between species, and the relative importance of predation and competition combine to drive synchronization at different trophic levels. Here we clarify these mechanisms. Intense competition promotes compensatory dynamics in prey, but predators may at the same time increasingly synchronize, under increasing species richness and functional similarity. In contrast, predators and prey both show perfect synchronization under strong top-down control, which is promoted by a combination of low functional distance and high net growth potential of predators. Under such conditions, community-level biomass variability peaks, with major negative consequences for reliability of ecosystem function.

  10. [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.

  11. 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...

  12. Impacts of marine-derived nutrients on stream ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yixin; Negishi, Junjiro N; Richardson, John S; Kolodziejczyk, Renata

    2003-01-01

    Energy and nutrient subsidies transported across ecosystem boundaries are increasingly appreciated as key drivers of consumer-resource dynamics. As purveyors of pulsed marine-derived nutrients (MDN), spawning salmon are one such cross-ecosystem subsidy to freshwaters connected to the north Pacific. We examined how salmon carcasses influenced detrital processing in an oligotrophic stream. Experimental manipulations of MDN inputs revealed that salmon carcasses indirectly reduced detrital processing in streams through temporarily decoupling the detrital resource-consumer relationship, in which detrital consumers shifted their diet to the high-nutrient resource, i.e. salmon carcasses. The average decomposition rate of alder leaves with salmon carcass addition was significantly lower than that without the carcass, which was associated with lower abundance and biomass of detritivorous Trichoptera on the carcass-treated leaves. There were generally larger in size Trichopteran detritivores on the carcasses than on leaves. These results imply that cross-boundary MDN subsidies indirectly retard the ecosystem processing of leaf litter within the short term, but may enhance those food-limited detritivorous consumers. Because unproductive freshwaters in the Pacific northwest are highly dependent upon the organic matter inputs from surrounding forests, this novel finding has implications for determining conservation and management strategies of salmon-related aquatic ecosystems, in terms of salmon habitat protection and fisheries exploitation. PMID:14561274

  13. 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 ...

  14. Size matters: implications of the loss of large individuals for ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Norkko, Alf; Villnäs, Anna; Norkko, Joanna; Valanko, Sebastian; Pilditch, Conrad

    2013-01-01

    Size is a fundamental organismal trait and an important driver of ecosystem functions. Although large individuals may dominate some functions and provide important habitat structuring effects, intra-specific body size effects are rarely investigated in the context of BEF relationships. We used an in situ density manipulation experiment to explore the contribution of large, deep-burrowing bivalves to oxygen and nutrient fluxes across the sediment-water interface. By manipulating bivalve size structure through the removal of large individuals, we held species identity constant, but altered the trait characteristics of the community. The number of large bivalves was the best predictor of ecosystem functioning. Our results highlight that (a) accounting for body size provides important insights into the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity effects on ecosystem function, and (b) if local disturbances are recurrent, preventing individuals from reaching large sizes, the contribution of large adults may be lost, with largely unknown implications for ecosystem functionality.

  15. Effects of water flow regulation on ecosystem functioning in a Mediterranean river network assessed by wood decomposition.

    PubMed

    Abril, Meritxell; Muñoz, Isabel; Casas-Ruiz, Joan P; Gómez-Gener, Lluís; Barceló, Milagros; Oliva, Francesc; Menéndez, Margarita

    2015-06-01

    Mediterranean rivers are extensively modified by flow regulation practises along their courses. An important part of the river impoundment in this area is related to the presence of small dams constructed mainly for water abstraction purposes. These projects drastically modified the ecosystem morphology, transforming lotic into lentic reaches and increasing their alternation along the river. Hydro-morphologial differences between these reaches indicate that flow regulation can trigger important changes in the ecosystem functioning. Decomposition of organic matter is an integrative process and this complexity makes it a good indicator of changes in the ecosystem. The aim of this study was to assess the effect caused by flow regulation on ecosystem functioning at the river network scale, using wood decomposition as a functional indicator. We studied the mass loss from wood sticks during three months in different lotic and lentic reaches located along a Mediterranean river basin, in both winter and summer. Additionally, we identified the environmental factors affecting decomposition rates along the river orders. The results revealed differences in decomposition rates between sites in both seasons that were principally related to the differences between stream orders. The rates were mainly related to temperature, nutrient concentrations (NO2(-), NO3(2-)) and water residence time. High-order streams with higher temperature and nutrient concentrations exhibited higher decomposition rates compared with low-order streams. The effect of the flow regulation on the decomposition rates only appeared to be significant in high orders, especially in winter, when the hydrological characteristics of lotic and lentic habitats widely varied. Lotic reaches with lower water residence time exhibited greater decomposition rates compared with lentic reaches probably due to more physical abrasion and differences in the microbial assemblages. Overall, our study revealed that in high orders

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

    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 (FD) 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 nonsprouting shrub species considered. FD 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 (r(2)  = 0.63). FD also improved the resistance of multifunctionality along the aridity gradient studied. Maintaining and enhancing FD in plant communities may help to buffer negative effects of ongoing global environmental change on dryland multifunctionality.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2010-06-23

    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, Ubeda, 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.

  20. 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

  1. On the functional role of tree species in two forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kutsch, Werner Leo; Herbst, Mathias; Liu, Chunjiang

    2010-05-01

    Ecosystems can be characterized in different ways depending on the point of view or the scientific background. Summarizing these views, one can describe ecosystems by their structure and metabolism. The species composition is part of the ecosystem structure. Moreover, ecosystem structures are detailed by biomass or soil and canopy architecture. Ecosystem metabolism represents the functional side. It can be described by primary production, nutrient retention, or control and use of water resources. Structure and function are connected. The biomass that is produced by the ecosystem metabolism is used to construct the ecosystem structure, which vice versa the structure controls the efficiency of the ecosystem metabolism. One hypothesis is that ecosystems with many species provide a more efficient metabolism than ecosystems with fewer species. We tested this hypothesis by using two ecosystems functional parameters in several deciduous forest ecosystems. The first example are possible relations between canopy carbon uptake capacity (FP,max) as measured with the eddy covariance technique (ecosystem metabolism) and LAI as well as spatial and temporal variability of leaf traits (ecosystem structure). We investigated leaf traits of four tree species in a mixed deciduous forest in northern Germany in search for an explanation for the differences in canopy photosynthetic capacity between different forest sectors consisting of different species and species numbers (Quercus robur + Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior + Alnus glutinosa, pure Fagus sylvatica). We identified leaf traits that were adjusted to the canopy light profile in species-specific ways, and for these traits the plasticity indices were calculated. Canopy photosynthetic capacity did neither correlate with leaf area index (LAI) alone nor with canopy plasticity indices which were almost similar between the three sectors although it differed at the species level. It is suggested that the spatial variability of FP

  2. 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.

  3. Trade-off between taxon diversity and functional diversity in European lake ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Grossmann, Lars; Beisser, Daniela; Bock, Christina; Chatzinotas, Antonis; Jensen, Manfred; Preisfeld, Angelika; Psenner, Roland; Rahmann, Sven; Wodniok, Sabina; Boenigk, Jens

    2016-12-01

    Inferring ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services through inspections of the species inventory is a major aspect of ecological field studies. Ecosystem functions are often stable despite considerable species turnover. Using metatranscriptome analyses, we analyse a thus-far unparalleled freshwater data set which comprises 21 mainland European freshwater lakes from the Sierra Nevada (Spain) to the Carpathian Mountains (Romania) and from northern Germany to the Apennines (Italy) and covers an altitudinal range from 38 m above sea level (a.s.l) to 3110 m a.s.l. The dominant taxa were Chlorophyta and streptophytic algae, Ciliophora, Bacillariophyta and Chrysophyta. Metatranscriptomics provided insights into differences in community composition and into functional diversity via the relative share of taxa to the overall read abundance of distinct functional genes on the ecosystem level. The dominant metabolic pathways in terms of the fraction of expressed sequences in the cDNA libraries were affiliated with primary metabolism, specifically oxidative phosphorylation, photosynthesis and the TCA cycle. Our analyses indicate that community composition is a good first proxy for the analysis of ecosystem functions. However, differential gene regulation modifies the relative importance of taxa in distinct pathways. Whereas taxon composition varies considerably between lakes, the relative importance of distinct metabolic pathways is much more stable, indicating that ecosystem functioning is buffered against shifts in community composition through a functional redundancy of taxa.

  4. 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.

  5. Chronic Exposure Effects of Silver Nanoparticles on Stream Microbial Decomposer Communities and Ecosystem Functions.

    PubMed

    Tlili, Ahmed; Jabiol, Jérémy; Behra, Renata; Gil-Allué, Carmen; Gessner, Mark O

    2017-02-21

    With the accelerated use of silver nanoparticles (AgNP) in commercial products, streams will increasingly serve as recipients of, and repositories for, AgNP. This raises concerns about the potential toxicity of these nanomaterials in the environment. Here we aimed to assess the impacts of chronic AgNP exposure on the metabolic activities and community structure of fungal and bacterial plant litter decomposers as central players in stream ecosystems. Minimal variation in the size and surface charge of AgNP indicated that nanoparticles were rather stable during the experiment. Five days of exposure to 0.05 and 0.5 μM AgNP in microcosms shifted bacterial community structure but had no effect on a suite of microbial metabolic activities, despite silver accumulation in the decomposing leaf litter. After 25 days, however, a broad range of microbial endpoints, as well as rates of litter decomposition, were strongly affected. Declines matched with the total silver concentration in the leaves and were accompanied by changes in fungal and bacterial community structure. These results highlight a distinct sensitivity of litter-associated microbial communities in streams to chronic AgNP exposure, with effects on both microbial functions and community structure resulting in notable ecosystem consequences through impacts on litter decomposition and further biogeochemical processes.

  6. Alternative hypotheses to explain why biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships are concave-up in some natural ecosystems but concave-down in manipulative experiments

    PubMed Central

    Mora, Camilo; Danovaro, Roberto; Loreau, Michel

    2014-01-01

    Recent studies of the relationship between biodiversity and functioning in marine ecosystems have yielded non-saturating patterns that contrast sharply with the results of experimental studies, where ecosystem functioning rapidly saturates with increases in biodiversity. Here we provide a simple theoretical framework of three alternative hypotheses that, individually or combined, are likely to explain this contrast: i) the use of functional richness instead of species richness, ii) an increased production efficiency of species in producing biomass when more ecological interactions are present, and iii) the fact that communities are likely assembled in an ordered succession of species from low to high ecological efficiency. Our results provide theoretical support for concave-up biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in natural ecosystems and confirm that the loss of species can have substantially larger effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems than anticipated from controlled manipulative experiments. PMID:24962477

  7. Alternative hypotheses to explain why biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships are concave-up in some natural ecosystems but concave-down in manipulative experiments.

    PubMed

    Mora, Camilo; Danovaro, Roberto; Loreau, Michel

    2014-06-25

    Recent studies of the relationship between biodiversity and functioning in marine ecosystems have yielded non-saturating patterns that contrast sharply with the results of experimental studies, where ecosystem functioning rapidly saturates with increases in biodiversity. Here we provide a simple theoretical framework of three alternative hypotheses that, individually or combined, are likely to explain this contrast: i) the use of functional richness instead of species richness, ii) an increased production efficiency of species in producing biomass when more ecological interactions are present, and iii) the fact that communities are likely assembled in an ordered succession of species from low to high ecological efficiency. Our results provide theoretical support for concave-up biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in natural ecosystems and confirm that the loss of species can have substantially larger effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems than anticipated from controlled manipulative experiments.

  8. 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 (...

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Large-scale variation in combined impacts of canopy loss and disturbance on community structure and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  16. 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...

  17. A review of the ecosystem functions in oil palm plantations, using forests as a reference system.

    PubMed

    Dislich, Claudia; Keyel, Alexander C; Salecker, Jan; Kisel, Yael; Meyer, Katrin M; Auliya, Mark; Barnes, Andrew D; Corre, Marife D; Darras, Kevin; Faust, Heiko; Hess, Bastian; Klasen, Stephan; Knohl, Alexander; Kreft, Holger; Meijide, Ana; Nurdiansyah, Fuad; Otten, Fenna; Pe'er, Guy; Steinebach, Stefanie; Tarigan, Suria; Tölle, Merja H; Tscharntke, Teja; Wiegand, Kerstin

    2016-08-11

    Oil palm plantations have expanded rapidly in recent decades. This large-scale land-use change has had great ecological, economic, and social impacts on both the areas converted to oil palm and their surroundings. However, research on the impacts of oil palm cultivation is scattered and patchy, and no clear overview exists. We address this gap through a systematic and comprehensive literature review of all ecosystem functions in oil palm plantations, including several (genetic, medicinal and ornamental resources, information functions) not included in previous systematic reviews. We compare ecosystem functions in oil palm plantations to those in forests, as the conversion of forest to oil palm is prevalent in the tropics. We find that oil palm plantations generally have reduced ecosystem functioning compared to forests: 11 out of 14 ecosystem functions show a net decrease in level of function. Some functions show decreases with potentially irreversible global impacts (e.g. reductions in gas and climate regulation, habitat and nursery functions, genetic resources, medicinal resources, and information functions). The most serious impacts occur when forest is cleared to establish new plantations, and immediately afterwards, especially on peat soils. To variable degrees, specific plantation management measures can prevent or reduce losses of some ecosystem functions (e.g. avoid illegal land clearing via fire, avoid draining of peat, use of integrated pest management, use of cover crops, mulch, and compost) and we highlight synergistic mitigation measures that can improve multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously. The only ecosystem function which increases in oil palm plantations is, unsurprisingly, the production of marketable goods. Our review highlights numerous research gaps. In particular, there are significant gaps with respect to socio-cultural information functions. Further, there is a need for more empirical data on the importance of spatial and temporal

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Water content differences have stronger effects than plant functional groups on soil bacteria in a steppe ecosystem.

    PubMed

    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.

  1. Plant Functional Type Shifts in Big Sagebrush Ecosystems: Impacts on Dryland Ecosystem Water Balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogenschuetz, N. M.; Bearup, L. A.; Maxwell, R. M.; Santi, P. M.

    2014-12-01

    The mountain pine beetle (MPB), Dendroctonus ponderosae, has caused significant tree mortality within North America. Specifically, the MPB affects ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine forests within the Rocky Mountains with approximately 3.4 million acres of forest impacted over the past 20 years. The full impacts of such unprecedented tree mortality on hydrology and slope stability is not well understood. This work studies the affects of MPB infestation on slope instability. A large-scale statistical analysis of MPB and slope stability is combined with a more in-depth analysis of the factors that contribute to slope stability. These factors include: slope aspect, slope angle, root decay, regrowth and hydrologic properties, such as water table depth and soil moisture. Preliminary results show that MPB may affect a greater number of north- and east-facing slopes. This is in accordance with more water availability and a higher MPB impacted tree density on north-facing slopes which, in turn, could potentially increase the probability of slope failure. Root strength is predicted to decrease as the roots stop transpiring 3-4 years proceeding infestation. However, this effect on the hillslope is likely being counterbalanced by the regrowth of grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees. In addition, the increase in water table height from the lack of transpiring trees is adding a driving force to the slopes. The combination of all these factors will be used in order to assess the effects of MPB tree mortality on slope stability.

  2. Does microbial community structure matter for predicting ecosystem function? Use of statistical models to examine relationships between the environment, community and processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nemergut, D.; Graham, E. B.

    2014-12-01

    Microorganisms control all major biogeochemical cycles, yet the importance of microbial community structure for ecosystem function is widely debated. Indeed, few nutrient cycling models directly account for variation in community structure, leading some researchers to speculate that this information could provide important and missing explanatory power to predict ecosystem function. However, if variation in environmental variables strongly correlates with variation in microbial community composition, then information on microbial community composition may not improve models. Here, we use a data synthesis approach to ask when and where information on the microbial community matters for predictions of ecosystem function. We collated data from approximately 100 different studies and used statistical approaches to ask if models with data on microbial community composition significantly improved models of ecosystem function based on environmental data alone. We found that only 25% of models of ecosystem processes were significantly improved with the addition of data on microbial community composition. Specifically, we found that for phylogenetically broad processes, diversity indicators yielded more significant increases in explanatory power than abundance data. Our results also demonstrate that for phylogenetically narrow processes, qPCR data on functional genes yielded higher explanatory power than for broad processes. Further, we found that all types of data on microbial community composition explained more variation in obligate processes compared to facultative processes. Overall, our results suggest that trait distributions both within communities and within individuals affect the relative importance of microbial community composition for explaining ecosystem function.

  3. From Bacteria to Whales: Using Functional Size Spectra to Model Marine Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Blanchard, Julia L; Heneghan, Ryan F; Everett, Jason D; Trebilco, Rowan; Richardson, Anthony J

    2017-03-01

    Size-based ecosystem modeling is emerging as a powerful way to assess ecosystem-level impacts of human- and environment-driven changes from individual-level processes. These models have evolved as mechanistic explanations for observed regular patterns of abundance across the marine size spectrum hypothesized to hold from bacteria to whales. Fifty years since the first size spectrum measurements, we ask how far have we come? Although recent modeling studies capture an impressive range of sizes, complexity, and real-world applications, ecosystem coverage is still only partial. We describe how this can be overcome by unifying functional traits with size spectra (which we call functional size spectra) and highlight the key knowledge gaps that need to be filled to model ecosystems from bacteria to whales.

  4. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Symstad, A.J.; Chapin, F. S.; Wall, D.H.; Gross, K.L.; Huenneke, L.F.; Mittelbach, G.G.; Peters, Debra 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Considerations on a data-driven approach to identify plant's imprint on ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Musavi, Talie; Kattge, Jens; Mahecha, Miguel; Reichstein, Markus; Van de Weg, Martine Janet; Van Bodegom, Peter; Bahn, Michael; Migliavacca, Mirco; Wirth, Christian; Reich, Peter

    2015-04-01

    Terrestrial ecosystems strongly determine the exchange of carbon, water and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. These exchanges are influenced and partly driven by environmental conditions (e.g. local meteorology, soils), but generally mediated by organisms. In commonly used terrestrial biosphere models, this principle is implemented by process-based descriptions of plant functioning at the organ level. In order to validate these model formulations, we need an independent empirical approach to understand the plant's imprint on ecosystem functioning. We use land-atmosphere exchange of fluxes of CO2, H2O and energy in tandem with environmental controls available in FLUXNET to quantify "ecosystem functional properties" (EFPs). The latter are generally time-invariant ecosystem specific properties, for instance process sensitivities or efficiencies that shape ecosystem scale responses. Our crucial question is if plant traits measured at the organ level (available e.g. in the TRY database) can elucidate the characteristics of EFPs. In this study we follow this new avenue and link the two global databases FLUXNET and TRY to study the role of plants for biogeochemical cycles across a large number of different globally distributed ecosystem types. We aim to address emerging difficulties and possible solutions. For instance, we show that using average values of plant traits from TRY that are not necessarily measured at the fluxnet sites is of use but has clear limitations. However having information on the amount of vegetation at the sites derived from remote sensing is needed for weighting the plant traits. In addition, we have to consider that EFPs are not really time-invariant and subject to alterations after disturbance, meteorological extremes, management etc. Overall, we provide an outlook on perspectives and applications of empirical analyses of plants' imprint on ecosystem functioning by combining remote sensing, in situ measured plant traits and ecosystem

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Ecosystem impairment evaluation on biodiversity and functional diversity for contaminated soil assessment.

    PubMed

    Semenzin, Elena; Critto, Andrea; Marcomini, Antonio

    2009-07-01

    A site-specific ecological risk assessment procedure for a qualitative evaluation of impairment occurring at the ecosystem level, as a result of soil contamination, was developed to integrate and visualize impairment in both terrestrial biodiversity and functional diversity and to support the decision maker in the contaminated site assessment. An Ecosystem Impairment Matrix (EcoIM) was proposed to identify the relationships between the applied measurement endpoints and the taxonomic groups living in the terrestrial system and between these taxonomic groups and the fundamental ecological processes. A specific impairment analysis procedure that used expert judgment allowed for the linking of impairment highlighted by the measurement endpoints with the terrestrial ecosystem's structure and functionality. Impairment occurring on each ecological element (i.e., biodiversity aspects and ecological functions and processes) was visualized by colored cells--1 for each relationship among measurement endpoint, taxonomic group, and ecological element--to support the expert in the ecosystem impairment evaluation. These results were then reported by the expert into the Global Ecosystem Impairment Evaluation Matrix (GEM) to summarize the obtained information and formulate a final judgment on ecosystem quality status. EcoIM and GEM were implemented in Module 2 of the decision support system DSS-ERAMANIA and are presented in this paper. The tools have been preliminarily applied to the Acna di Cengio (Italy) contaminated site; the results of this application are also presented and discussed.

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-23

    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.

  16. Effects of roads on adjacent plant community composition and ecosystem function: An example from three calcareous ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lee, Mark A; Davies, Linda; Power, Sally A

    2012-04-01

    Roads and exhaust emissions can affect plant communities directly, for example via direct foliar uptake of exhaust products, or indirectly via changes to soil biogeochemistry and hydrology. A transect study adjacent to roads of different traffic densities was carried out at three species-rich calcareous grasslands in south eastern England. Measured annual NO(2) concentrations and modelled NH(3) concentrations increased towards the roads and with higher traffic densities, and there was evidence of increased soil moisture, pH and heavy metal concentrations at roadsides. Increases in the abundance of nitrogen (N) tolerant species and grasses at roadsides were associated with N enrichment from vehicle exhausts at two of the sites. In contrast plant species richness, the abundance of forb and moss species declined at roadside locations. As vehicle usage spreads across the world, it is increasingly important to understand the effects of road traffic on adjacent ecosystems to inform traffic and conservation management policies.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Spatially variable effects of a marine pest on ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Ross, D Jeff; Longmore, Andy R; Keough, Michael J

    2013-06-01

    The broad spectrum of anthropogenic pressures on many of the world's coastal bays and estuaries rarely act in isolation, yet few studies have directly addressed the interactive effects of multiple pressures. Port Phillip Bay in southeastern Australia is a semi-enclosed bay in which nutrient management is a major concern. In recent years it has been heavily invaded by marine pests. We manipulated the density of one such invader, the European fanworm Sabella spallanzanii, and showed that it causes changes in the composition of macrofauna in the surrounding sediments, provides habitat for epibiota (both fauna and flora) on Sabella tubes, and reduces the biomass of microphytobenthos on the surrounding sediments. Of greatest concern, however, was the indirect impact on nutrient cycling. We suggest that the impacts on nutrient cycling are largely due to the feeding of Sabella and the epifauna on its tubes, capturing organic N before it reaches the sediment, excreting it back up into the water column as NH4, thereby bypassing sedimentary processes such as denitrification. Most notably, the efficiency of denitrification, the key ecosystem process that permanently removes N from the system, fell by 37-53 % in the presence of Sabella. Importantly though, this study also demonstrated significant spatial variability in fauna, geochemistry and the magnitude of Sabella effects. Given that the effect of Sabella is also likely to vary in time and with changes in density, all of these sources of variability need to be considered when incorporating the effects of Sabella in nutrient management strategies.

  20. 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

  1. Trophic complementarity drives the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship in food webs.

    PubMed

    Poisot, Timothée; Mouquet, Nicolas; Gravel, Dominique

    2013-07-01

    The biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationship is central in community ecology. Its drivers in competitive systems (sampling effect and functional complementarity) are intuitive and elegant, but we lack an integrative understanding of these drivers in complex ecosystems. Because networks encompass two key components of the BEF relationship (species richness and biomass flow), they provide a key to identify these drivers, assuming that we have a meaningful measure of functional complementarity. In a network, diversity can be defined by species richness, the number of trophic levels, but perhaps more importantly, the diversity of interactions. In this paper, we define the concept of trophic complementarity (TC), which emerges through exploitative and apparent competition processes, and study its contribution to ecosystem functioning. Using a model of trophic community dynamics, we show that TC predicts various measures of ecosystem functioning, and generate a range of testable predictions. We find that, in addition to the number of species, the structure of their interactions needs to be accounted for to predict ecosystem productivity.

  2. 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.

  3. Cryptic diversity and ecosystem functioning: a complex tale of differential effects on decomposition.

    PubMed

    De Meester, N; Gingold, R; Rigaux, A; Derycke, S; Moens, T

    2016-10-01

    Marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating population and species loss. Some ecosystem functions are decreasing and there is growing interest in the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The role of cryptic (morphologically identical but genetically distinct) species in this biodiversity-ecosystem functioning link is unclear and has not yet been formally tested. We tested if there is a differential effect of four cryptic species of the bacterivorous nematode Litoditis marina on the decomposition process of macroalgae. Bacterivorous nematodes can stimulate or slow down bacterial activity and modify the bacterial assemblage composition. Moreover, we tested if interspecific interactions among the four cryptic species influence the decomposition process. A laboratory experiment with both mono- and multispecific nematode cultures was conducted, and loss of organic matter and the activity of two key extracellular enzymes for the degradation of phytodetritus were assessed. L. marina mainly influenced qualitative aspects of the decomposition process rather than its overall rate: an effect of the nematodes on the enzymatic activities became manifest, although no clear nematode effect on bulk organic matter weight loss was found. We also demonstrated that species-specific effects on the decomposition process existed. Combining the four cryptic species resulted in high competition, with one dominant species, but without complete exclusion of other species. These interspecific interactions translated into different effects on the decomposition process. The species-specific differences indicated that each cryptic species may play an important and distinct role in ecosystem functioning. Functional differences may result in coexistence among very similar species.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Semiarid ecosystem development as a function of resource processing and allocation

    SciTech Connect

    Redente, E.F.; Cook, C.W.; Stark, J.M.; Simmons, C.L.

    1985-02-01

    The overall objective of the research contained in this report was to study the structural and functional changes occurring within and among ecosystem compartments during secondary succession. The report is divided into two major sections. The first part, Ecosystem Development Section, presents first year data from a new study funded for the first time in 1984. The second part, Restoration of Natural Functioning Ecosystem Section, presents results from on-going long-term experiments dealing with ecosystem recovery and restoration following disturbance related to oil shale development. Accomplishments during the first year of the new study consisted of construction of the Ecosystem Development Plot and collection of baseline data before and after plot establishment. Baseline sampling of the vegetation prior to plot construction has shown that the plant community was essentially a shrub-grass community with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata tridentata) being the dominant woody species. Results from on-going long-term studies in ecosystem recovery and restoration are extensive and range from the effects of weathering processes on retorted shale chemical properties and how this effects the structure of vascular plant and microbial communities, to the influence of competition on the structure of natural and disturbed plant communities.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Direct and indirect effects of temperature on the population dynamics and ecosystem functioning of aquatic microbial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Beveridge, Oliver S; Petchey, Owen L; Humphries, Stuart

    2010-11-01

    1. While much is known about the direct effect that temperature can have on aquatic communities, less is known about its indirect effect via the temperature dependence of viscosity and temperature-dependent trophic interactions. 2. We manipulated the temperature (5-20 °C) and the viscosity (equivalent to 5-20 °C) of water in laboratory-based bacteria-protist communities. Communities contained food chains with one, two or three trophic levels. Responses measured were population dynamics (consumer carrying capacity and growth rate, average species population density, and the coefficient of variation of population density through time) and ecosystem function (decomposition). 3. Temperature, viscosity and food chain length produced significant responses in population dynamics. Temperature-dependent viscosity had a significant effect on the carrying capacity and growth rates of consumers, as well as the average density of the top predator. Overall, indirect effects of temperature via changes in viscosity were subtle in comparison to the indirect effect of temperature via trophic interactions. 4. Our results highlight the importance of direct and indirect effects of temperature, mediated through trophic interactions and physical changes in the environment, both for population dynamics and ecosystem processes. Future mechanistic modelling of effects of environmental change on species will benefit from distinguishing the different mechanisms of the overall effect of temperature.

  13. Effects of trophic skewing of species richness on ecosystem functioning in a diverse marine community.

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2014-06-01

    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 km(2) eelgrass (maximum >2100 km(2)), 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Functional, regulatory and indicator features of microorganisms in man-made ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Somova, L. A.; Pechurkin, N. S.

    Functional, regulatory and indicator features of microorganisms in development and functioning of the systems and sustaining stability of three man-made ecosystem types has been studied. 1) The functional (metabolic) feature was studied in aquatic ecosystems of biological treatment of sewage waters for the reducer component. 2) The regulatory feature of bacteria for plants (producer component) was studied in simple terrestrial systems "wheat plants-rhizospheric microorganisms - artificial soil" where the behavior of the system varied with activity of the microbial component. For example with atmospheric carbon dioxide content elevated microbes promote intensification of photosynthesis processes, without binding the carbon in the plant biomass. 3) The indicator feature for the humans (consumer component) was studied in Life Support Systems (LSS). High sensitivity of human microflora to system conditions allowed its use as an indicator of the state of both system components and the entire ecosystem.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-07-01

    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.

  20. 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

  1. Predicting climate change effects on wetland ecosystem services using species distribution modeling and plant functional traits.

    PubMed

    Moor, Helen; Hylander, Kristoffer; Norberg, Jon

    2015-01-01

    Wetlands provide multiple ecosystem services, the sustainable use of which requires knowledge of the underlying ecological mechanisms. Functional traits, particularly the community-weighted mean trait (CWMT), provide a strong link between species communities and ecosystem functioning. We here combine species distribution modeling and plant functional traits to estimate the direction of change of ecosystem processes under climate change. We model changes in CWMT values for traits relevant to three key services, focusing on the regional species pool in the Norrström area (central Sweden) and three main wetland types. Our method predicts proportional shifts toward faster growing, more productive and taller species, which tend to increase CWMT values of specific leaf area and canopy height, whereas changes in root depth vary. The predicted changes in CWMT values suggest a potential increase in flood attenuation services, a potential increase in short (but not long)-term nutrient retention, and ambiguous outcomes for carbon sequestration.

  2. 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...

  3. Long term trends of carbon dioxide exchange in a tundra ecosystem affected by permafrost thaw

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuur, E. A.; Bracho, R. G.; Belshe, F.; Crummer, K. G.; Hicks Pries, C.; Krapek, J.; Natali, S.; Pegoraro, E.; Salmon, V.; Trucco, C.; Vogel, J. G.; Webb, E.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic warming has led to permafrost degradation and ground subsidence as a result of ground ice melting. Frozen soil organic matter that thaws can increase carbon (C) emissions to the atmosphere via respiration, but this can be offset in part by increases in plant growth. The balance of plant and microbial processes, and how they change through time, will determine how permafrost ecosystems influence future climate change via the C cycle. This study addressed this question both on short (interannual) and longer (decadal) time periods by measuring C fluxes over a ten-year period at three sites that represent a gradient of time since permafrost thaw. All three sites are upland tundra ecosystems located in Interior Alaska but differed in the extent of permafrost thaw and ground subsidence. Results showed an increasing growing season (May - September) trend in gross primary productivity, net ecosystem exchange, aboveground net primary productivity, and annual net ecosystem exchange at all sites over the study period from 2004-2013. In contrast, there was no directional change in annual and growing season ecosystem respiration, or mass loss from decomposition of a common cellulose substrate. The increasing trends over time as well as inter site differences most closely followed variation in growing season thaw depth over the same time period. During the study period, sites with more permafrost degradation (deeper seasonal thaw) had significantly greater gross primary productivity compared to where degradation was least, but also greater growing season ecosystem respiration. Adding in winter respiration decreased, in part, the summer C sink and left the site with the most permafrost degradation near C neutral, with the other sites annual C sinks. However, annual C balance was strongly dependent on winter respiration, which, compared to the growing season, was relatively data-poor due to extreme environmental conditions. Measurements of growing season and annual C

  4. Consumer trophic diversity as a fundamental mechanism linking predation and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Hines, Jes; Gessner, Mark O

    2012-11-01

    1. Primary production and decomposition, two fundamental processes determining the functioning of ecosystems, may be sensitive to changes in biodiversity and food web interactions. 2. The impacts of food web interactions on ecosystem functioning are generally quantified by experimentally decoupling these linked processes and examining either primary production-based (green) or decomposition-based (brown) food webs in isolation. This decoupling may strongly limit our ability to assess the importance of food web interactions on ecosystem processes. 3. To evaluate how consumer trophic diversity mediates predator effects on ecosystem functioning, we conducted a mesocosm experiment and a field study using an assemblage of invertebrates that naturally co-occur on North Atlantic coastal saltmarshes. We measured the indirect impact of predation on primary production and leaf decomposition as a result of prey communities composed of herbivores alone, detritivores alone or both prey in combination. 4. We find that primary consumers can influence ecosystem process rates not only within, but also across green and brown sub-webs. Moreover, by feeding on a functionally diverse consumer assemblage comprised of both herbivores and detritivores, generalist predators can diffuse consumer effects on decomposition, primary production and feedbacks between the two processes. 5. These results indicate that maintaining functional diversity among primary consumers can alter the consequences of traditional trophic cascades, and they emphasize the role of the detritus-based sub-web when seeking key biotic drivers of plant production. Clearly, traditional compartmentalization of empirical food webs can limit our ability to predict the influence of food web interactions on ecosystem functioning.

  5. [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.

  6. 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

  7. Organism-sediment interactions govern post-hypoxia recovery of ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    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.

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-09

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Corkeron, Peter J.

    2009-01-01

    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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Consequences of niche overlap for ecosystem functioning: an experimental test with pond grazers.

    PubMed

    Wojdak, Jeremy M; Mittelbach, Gary G

    2007-08-01

    While the number of studies investigating the effects of species diversity on ecosystem properties continues to expand, few have explicitly examined how ecosystem functioning depends quantitatively on the degree of niche complementarity among species. We report the results of a microcosm experiment where similarity in habitat use among aquatic snail species was evaluated as a predictor of changes in community and ecosystem properties due to increasing species richness. Replicate microcosms with all possible one- and two-species combinations of a guild of six snail species were stocked with identical initial snail biomass. Microcosms with two species of snails had greater final snail biomass, lower attached algae biomass, and less total organic matter than monocultures. Snail species differed in their use of five distinct habitat types in the microcosms. Similarity in habitat use between a species pair was negatively related to the magnitude of change (e.g., deltaEF [change in ecosystem function]) in dissolved oxygen. periphyton biomass, and accrual of organic matter with a change in diversity. However, using the most stringent criterion for complementarity effects (e.g., Dmax [proportional deviation of the total polyculture yield from the highest yielding monoculture]), a relationship between species' niche similarity and changes in function with increasing species richness was only observed for dissolved oxygen. The identity of snail species present in the microcosms had strong effects on total organic matter, snail biomass, dissolved oxygen, periphyton biomass, and sedimentation rate. In this study, herbivore identity, sampling effects, and niche complementarity all appear to contribute to species richness effects on pond ecosystem properties and community structure. The analytical approach employed here may profitably be used in other systems to quantify the role of niche complementarity in species richness-ecosystem function relationships.

  18. Understanding the structure and functioning of polar pelagic ecosystems to predict the impacts of change

    PubMed Central

    Drinkwater, K. F.; Grant, S. M.; Heymans, J. J.; Hofmann, E. E.; Hunt, G. L.; Johnston, N. M.

    2016-01-01

    The determinants of the structure, functioning and resilience of pelagic ecosystems across most of the polar regions are not well known. Improved understanding is essential for assessing the value of biodiversity and predicting the effects of change (including in biodiversity) on these ecosystems and the services they maintain. Here we focus on the trophic interactions that underpin ecosystem structure, developing comparative analyses of how polar pelagic food webs vary in relation to the environment. We highlight that there is not a singular, generic Arctic or Antarctic pelagic food web, and, although there are characteristic pathways of energy flow dominated by a small number of species, alternative routes are important for maintaining energy transfer and resilience. These more complex routes cannot, however, provide the same rate of energy flow to highest trophic-level species. Food-web structure may be similar in different regions, but the individual species that dominate mid-trophic levels vary across polar regions. The characteristics (traits) of these species are also different and these differences influence a range of food-web processes. Low functional redundancy at key trophic levels makes these ecosystems particularly sensitive to change. To develop models for projecting responses of polar ecosystems to future environmental change, we propose a conceptual framework that links the life histories of pelagic species and the structure of polar food webs. PMID:27928038

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

    PubMed

    Dell'Anno, Antonio; Corinaldesi, Cinzia; Danovaro, Roberto

    2015-04-21

    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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Microplastics Affect the Ecological Functioning of an Important Biogenic Habitat.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle Senga; Boots, Bas; O'Connor, Nessa E; Thompson, Richard

    2017-01-03

    Biological effects of microplastics on the health of bivalves have been demonstrated elsewhere, but ecological impacts on the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of bivalve-dominated habitats are unknown. Thus, we exposed intact sediment cores containing European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) or blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in seawater to two different densities (2.5 or 25 μg L(-1)) of biodegradable or conventional microplastics in outdoor mesocosms. We hypothesized that filtration rates of the bivalves, inorganic nitrogen cycling, primary productivity of sediment dwelling microphytobenthos, and the structure of invertebrate benthic assemblages would be influenced by microplastics. After 50 days, filtration by M. edulis was significantly less when exposed to 25 μg L(-1) of either type of microplastics, but there were no effects on ecosystem functioning or the associated invertebrate assemblages. Contrastingly, filtration by O. edulis significantly increased when exposed to 2.5 or 25 μg L(-1) of microplastics, and porewater ammonium and biomass of benthic cyanobacteria decreased. Additionally the associated infaunal invertebrate assemblages differed, with significantly less polychaetes and more oligochaetes in treatments exposed to microplastics. These findings highlight the potential of microplastics to impact the functioning and structure of sedimentary habitats and show that such effects may depend on the dominant bivalve present.

  3. 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…

  4. 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

  5. Changes in the location of biodiversity-ecosystem function hot spots across the seafloor landscape with increasing sediment nutrient loading.

    PubMed

    Thrush, Simon F; Hewitt, Judi E; Kraan, Casper; Lohrer, A M; Pilditch, Conrad A; Douglas, Emily

    2017-04-12

    Declining biodiversity and loss of ecosystem function threatens the ability of habitats to contribute ecosystem services. However, the form of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function (BEF) and how relationships change with environmental change is poorly understood. This limits our ability to predict the consequences of biodiversity loss on ecosystem function, particularly in real-world marine ecosystems that are species rich, and where multiple ecosystem functions are represented by multiple indicators. We investigated spatial variation in BEF relationships across a 300 000 m(2) intertidal sandflat by nesting experimental manipulations of sediment pore water nitrogen concentration into sites with contrasting macrobenthic community composition. Our results highlight the significance of many different elements of biodiversity associated with environmental characteristics, community structure, functional diversity, ecological traits or particular species (ecosystem engineers) to important functions of coastal marine sediments (benthic oxygen consumption, ammonium pore water concentrations and flux across the sediment-water interface). Using the BEF relationships developed from our experiment, we demonstrate patchiness across a landscape in functional performance and the potential for changes in the location of functional hot and cold spots with increasing nutrient loading that have important implications for mapping and predicating change in functionality and the concomitant delivery of ecosystem services.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Overland, James E.; Stabeno, Phyllis J.

    2004-08-01

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

  7. 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

    2000-08-03

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Balancing ecosystem function, services and disservices resulting from expanding goose populations.

    PubMed

    Buij, Ralph; Melman, Theodorus C P; Loonen, Maarten J J E; Fox, Anthony D

    2017-03-01

    As goose populations increase in abundance, their influence on ecological processes is increasing. We review the evidence for key ecological functions of wild goose populations in Eurasia and North America, including aquatic invertebrate and plant propagule transport, nutrient deposition in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the influence of goose populations on vegetation biomass, carbon storage and methane emission, species diversity and disease transmission. To estimate the implications of their growing abundance for humans, we explore how these functions contribute to the provision of ecosystem services and disservices. We assess the weight, extent and trends among such impacts, as well as the balance of their value to society. We examine key unresolved issues to enable a more balanced assessment of the economic costs or benefits of migratory geese along their flyways, including the spatial and temporal variation in services and their contrasting value to different user groups. Many ecological functions of geese are concluded to provide neither services nor disservices and, ecosystem disservices currently appear to outweigh services, although this varies between regions. We consider an improved quantification of ecosystem services and disservices, and how these vary along population flyways with respect to variation in valuing certain cultural services, and under different management scenarios aimed at reducing their disservices, essential for a more balanced management of goose populations.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boot, C. M.

    2012-12-01

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

  11. Specific arrangements of species dominance can be more influential than evenness in maintaining ecosystem process and function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wohlgemuth, Daniel; Solan, Martin; Godbold, Jasmin A.

    2016-12-01

    The ecological consequences of species loss are widely studied, but represent an end point of environmental forcing that is not always realised. Changes in species evenness and the rank order of dominant species are more widespread responses to directional forcing. However, despite the repercussions for ecosystem functioning such changes have received little attention. Here, we experimentally assess how the rearrangement of species dominance structure within specific levels of evenness, rather than changes in species richness and composition, affect invertebrate particle reworking and burrow ventilation behaviour - important moderators of microbial-mediated remineralisation processes in benthic environments - and associated levels of sediment nutrient release. We find that the most dominant species exert a disproportionate influence on functioning at low levels of evenness, but that changes in biomass distribution and a change in emphasis in species-environmental interactions become more important in governing system functionality as evenness increases. Our study highlights the need to consider the functional significance of alterations to community attributes, rather than to solely focus on the attainment of particular levels of diversity when safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems that provide essential services to society.

  12. Specific arrangements of species dominance can be more influential than evenness in maintaining ecosystem process and function

    PubMed Central

    Wohlgemuth, Daniel; Solan, Martin; Godbold, Jasmin A.

    2016-01-01

    The ecological consequences of species loss are widely studied, but represent an end point of environmental forcing that is not always realised. Changes in species evenness and the rank order of dominant species are more widespread responses to directional forcing. However, despite the repercussions for ecosystem functioning such changes have received little attention. Here, we experimentally assess how the rearrangement of species dominance structure within specific levels of evenness, rather than changes in species richness and composition, affect invertebrate particle reworking and burrow ventilation behaviour - important moderators of microbial-mediated remineralisation processes in benthic environments - and associated levels of sediment nutrient release. We find that the most dominant species exert a disproportionate influence on functioning at low levels of evenness, but that changes in biomass distribution and a change in emphasis in species-environmental interactions become more important in governing system functionality as evenness increases. Our study highlights the need to consider the functional significance of alterations to community attributes, rather than to solely focus on the attainment of particular levels of diversity when safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems that provide essential services to society. PMID:27996034

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. Invasion by the Alien Tree Prunus serotina Alters Ecosystem Functions in a Temperate Deciduous Forest.

    PubMed

    Aerts, Raf; Ewald, Michael; Nicolas, Manuel; Piat, Jérôme; Skowronek, Sandra; Lenoir, Jonathan; Hattab, Tarek; Garzón-López, Carol X; Feilhauer, Hannes; Schmidtlein, Sebastian; Rocchini, Duccio; Decocq, Guillaume; Somers, Ben; Van De Kerchove, Ruben; Denef, Karolien; Honnay, Olivier

    2017-01-01

    Alien invasive species can affect large areas, often with wide-ranging impacts on ecosystem structure, function, and services. Prunus serotina is a widespread invader of European temperate forests, where it tends to form homogeneous stands and limits recruitment of indigenous trees. We hypotesized that invasion by P. serotina would be reflected in the nutrient contents of the native species' leaves and in the respiration of invaded plots as efficient resource uptake and changes in nutrient cycling by P. serotina probably underly its aggressive invasiveness. We combined data from 48 field plots in the forest of Compiègne, France, and data from an experiment using 96 microcosms derived from those field plots. We used general linear models to separate effects of invasion by P. serotina on heterotrophic soil and litter respiration rates and on canopy foliar nutrient content from effects of soil chemical properties, litter quantity, litter species composition, and tree species composition. In invaded stands, average respiration rates were 5.6% higher for soil (without litter) and 32% higher for soil and litter combined. Compared to indigenous tree species, P. serotina exhibited higher foliar N (+24.0%), foliar P (+50.7%), and lower foliar C:N (-22.4%) and N:P (-10.1%) ratios. P. serotina affected foliar nutrient contents of co-occuring indigenous tree species leading to decreased foliar N (-8.7 %) and increased C:N ratio (+9.5%) in Fagus sylvatica, decreased foliar N:P ratio in Carpinus betulus (-13.5%) and F. sylvatica (-11.8%), and increased foliar P in Pinus sylvestris (+12.3%) in invaded vs. uninvaded stands. Our results suggest that P. serotina is changing nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycles to its own advantage, hereby increasing carbon turnover via labile litter, affecting the relative nutrient contents in the overstory leaves, and potentially altering the photosynthetic capacity of the long-lived indigenous broadleaved species. Uncontrolled invasion of

  16. Invasion by the Alien Tree Prunus serotina Alters Ecosystem Functions in a Temperate Deciduous Forest

    PubMed Central

    Aerts, Raf; Ewald, Michael; Nicolas, Manuel; Piat, Jérôme; Skowronek, Sandra; Lenoir, Jonathan; Hattab, Tarek; Garzón-López, Carol X.; Feilhauer, Hannes; Schmidtlein, Sebastian; Rocchini, Duccio; Decocq, Guillaume; Somers, Ben; Van De Kerchove, Ruben; Denef, Karolien; Honnay, Olivier

    2017-01-01

    Alien invasive species can affect large areas, often with wide-ranging impacts on ecosystem structure, function, and services. Prunus serotina is a widespread invader of European temperate forests, where it tends to form homogeneous stands and limits recruitment of indigenous trees. We hypotesized that invasion by P. serotina would be reflected in the nutrient contents of the native species' leaves and in the respiration of invaded plots as efficient resource uptake and changes in nutrient cycling by P. serotina probably underly its aggressive invasiveness. We combined data from 48 field plots in the forest of Compiègne, France, and data from an experiment using 96 microcosms derived from those field plots. We used general linear models to separate effects of invasion by P. serotina on heterotrophic soil and litter respiration rates and on canopy foliar nutrient content from effects of soil chemical properties, litter quantity, litter species composition, and tree species composition. In invaded stands, average respiration rates were 5.6% higher for soil (without litter) and 32% higher for soil and litter combined. Compared to indigenous tree species, P. serotina exhibited higher foliar N (+24.0%), foliar P (+50.7%), and lower foliar C:N (−22.4%) and N:P (−10.1%) ratios. P. serotina affected foliar nutrient contents of co-occuring indigenous tree species leading to decreased foliar N (−8.7 %) and increased C:N ratio (+9.5%) in Fagus sylvatica, decreased foliar N:P ratio in Carpinus betulus (−13.5%) and F. sylvatica (−11.8%), and increased foliar P in Pinus sylvestris (+12.3%) in invaded vs. uninvaded stands. Our results suggest that P. serotina is changing nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycles to its own advantage, hereby increasing carbon turnover via labile litter, affecting the relative nutrient contents in the overstory leaves, and potentially altering the photosynthetic capacity of the long-lived indigenous broadleaved species. Uncontrolled

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Feedbacks Between Microenvironment and Plant Functional Type and Implications for CO2 Flux in Arctic Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Squires, E.; Rodenheizer, H.; Natali, S.; Mann, P.

    2013-12-01

    Future climate models predict a warmer, drier Arctic, with resultant shifts in vegetative composition and implications for ecosystem carbon budgets. The impact of vegetation change, however, may depend on which plant functional groups are favored in a warming Arctic. Physiological and functional differences between plant groups influence both the local microenvironment and, on a broader scale, whole-ecosystem CO2 flux. We examined the interactions between plants and their microenvironment, and analyzed the effect of these interactions on both soil microbial communities and CO2 flux across different functional groups. Physical and biological aspects of the microenvironment differed between plant functional groups. Lichen patches were characterized by deeper thaw depths, lower soil moisture, greater thermal conductivity, and a thinner organic layer than mosses. To better understand the development of these plant-environment interactions, we conducted a reciprocal transplant experiment, switching multiple lichen and moss patches. Temporal changes in environmental parameters at these sites will demonstrate how different plants modify their environment and will help identify associated implications for soil microbial communities and CO2 flux. We measured CO2 flux and used Biolog assays to examine soil microbial communities in undisturbed patches of mosses, lichens, and shrubs. Patches of birch shrubs had more negative net ecosystem exchange, signifying a carbon sink. Soils from alder shrubs and mosses hosted more active microbial communities than soils under birch shrubs and lichens. These results suggest a strong link between environment, plant functional type, and C cycling. Understanding how this relationship differs among plant functional types is an important part of predicting ecosystem carbon budgets as Arctic vegetation composition shifts in response to climate change.

  5. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brazier, Richard E.

    2015-04-01

    Grassland ecosystems cover significant areas of the terrestrial land mass, across a range of geoclimates, from arctic tundra, through temperate and semi-arid landscapes. In very few locations, such grasslands may be termed 'pristine' in that they remain undamaged by human activities and resilient to changing climates. In far more cases, grasslands are being degraded, often irreversibly so, with significant implications for a number of ecosystem services related to water resources, soil quality, nutrient cycles, and therefore both global food and water security. This paper draws upon empirical research that has been undertaken over the last decade to characterise a range of different grasslands in terms of soil properties, vegetation structure and geomorphology and to understand how these structures or patterns might interact or control how the grassland ecosystems function. Particular emphasis is placed upon quantifying fluxes of water, within and from grasslands, but also fluxes of sediment, via the processes of soil erosion and finally fluxes of the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon from the landscape to surface waters. Data are presented from semi-arid grasslands, which are subject to severe encroachment by woody species, temperate upland grasslands that have been 'improved' via drainage to support grazing, temperate lowland grasslands, that are unimproved (Culm or Rhôs pastures) and finally intensively managed grasslands in temperate regions, that have been significantly modified via land management practices to improve productivity. It is hypothesised that, once degraded, the structure and function of these very diverse grassland ecosystems follows the same negative trajectory, resulting in depleted soil depths, nutrient storage capacities and therefore reduced plant growth and long-term carbon sequestration. Results demonstrate that similar, but highly complex and non-linear responses to perturbation of the ecosystem are observed, regardless of

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. The importance of biodiversity and dominance for multiple ecosystem functions in a human-modified tropical landscape.

    PubMed

    Lohbeck, Madelon; Bongers, Frans; Martinez-Ramos, Miguel; Poorter, Lourens

    2016-10-01

    Many studies suggest that biodiversity may be particularly important for ecosystem multifunctionality, because different species with different traits can contribute to different functions. Support, however, comes mostly from experimental studies conducted at small spatial scales in low-diversity systems. Here, we test whether different species contribute to different ecosystem functions that are important for carbon cycling in a high-diversity human-modified tropical forest landscape in Southern Mexico. We quantified aboveground standing biomass, primary productivity, litter production, and wood decomposition at the landscape level, and evaluated the extent to which tree species contribute to these ecosystem functions. We used simulations to tease apart the effects of species richness, species dominance and species functional traits on ecosystem functions. We found that dominance was more important than species traits in determining a species' contribution to ecosystem functions. As a consequence of the high dominance in human-modified landscapes, the same small subset of species mattered across different functions. In human-modified landscapes in the tropics, biodiversity may play a limited role for ecosystem multifunctionality due to the potentially large effect of species dominance on biogeochemical functions. However, given the spatial and temporal turnover in species dominance, biodiversity may be critically important for the maintenance and resilience of ecosystem functions.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Shifts and oscillations in a forest-grassland ecosystem affected by fire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spiliotis, Konstantinos G.; Russo, Lucia

    2016-12-01

    The existence of periodic regimes of a forest-grassland ecosystem is here investigated as the main parameters are changed. The model consists of a couple of nonlinear ordinary differential equations which describes the evolution of the forest densities and includes the feed-back mechanisms induced by fires, coupled with the human perceptions of the forest/grassland value. The system shows a rich dynamic behavior such as: transient oscillations; the presence of dynamic regimes which are characterized by periodic oscillations in time; and shifts between steady and dynamic regimes as the parameters are perturbed. Focusing on the periodic regimes, we performed the bifurcation analysis of the system to detect the critical points which are responsible of the appearance of the periodic regimes. In particular, considering as bifurcation parameter the one that regulates the feed-back mechanism induced by fires, we found that Hopf bifurcations are responsible for appearance of periodic regimes, whereas the sudden appearance/ disappearance is related to the presence of catastrophic bifurcations (limit points of the periodic regimes).

  13. Ultraviolet radiation affects invasibility of lake ecosystems by warm-water fish.

    PubMed

    Tucker, Andrew J; Williamson, Craig E; Rose, Kevin C; Oris, James T; Connelly, Sandra J; Olson, Mark H; Mitchell, David L

    2010-03-01

    Predicting where species invasions will occur remains a substantial challenge in ecology, but identifying factors that ultimately constrain the distribution of potential invaders could facilitate successful prediction. Whereas ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is recognized as an important factor controlling species distribution and community composition, the role of UVR in a habitat invasibility context has not been explored. Here we examine how underwater UVR can regulate warm-water fish invasion. In Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, USA, established populations of exotic bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) are currently limited to turbid, low-UVR embayments. An in situ incubation experiment that manipulated incident UVR exposure of larval bluegill, combined with an assessment of UVR exposure levels in nearshore habitats around Lake Tahoe, demonstrates that UVR can mediate habitat invasibility. Our findings suggest that the susceptibility to invasion by UVR sensitive species may increase in transparent aquatic systems threatened by declining water quality, and they highlight the importance of abiotic factors as regulators of invasion risk in ecosystems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-05-15

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

  15. 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

  16. Global-change drivers of ecosystem functioning modulated by natural variability and saturating responses.

    PubMed

    Flombaum, Pedro; Yahdjian, Laura; Sala, Osvaldo E

    2017-02-01

    Humans are altering global environment at an unprecedented rate through changes in biodiversity, climate, nitrogen cycle, and land use. To address their effects on ecosystem functioning, experiments most frequently explore one driver at a time and control as many confounding factors as possible. Yet, which driver exerts the largest influence on ecosystem functioning and whether their relative importance changes among systems remain unclear. We analyzed experiments in the Patagonian steppe that evaluated the aboveground net primary production (ANPP) response to manipulated gradients of species richness, precipitation, temperature, nitrogen fertilization (N), and grazing intensity. We compared the effect on ANPP relative to ambient conditions considering intensity and direction of manipulations for each driver. The ranking of responses to drivers with comparable manipulation intensity was as follows: biodiversity>grazing>precipitation>N. For a similar intensity of manipulation, the effect of biodiversity loss was 4.0, 3.6, and 1.5, times larger than N deposition, decreased precipitation, and increased grazing intensity. We interpreted our results considering two hypotheses. First, the response of ANPP to changes in precipitation and biodiversity is saturating, so we expected larger effects when the driver was reduced, relative to ambient conditions, than when it was increased. Experimental manipulations that reduced ambient levels had larger effects than those that increased them. Second, the sensitivity of ANPP to each driver is inversely related to the natural variability of the driver. In Patagonia, the ranking of natural variability of drivers is as follows: precipitation>grazing>temperature>biodiversity>N. So, in general, the ecosystem was most sensitive to drivers that varied the least. Comparable results from Cedar Creek (MN) support both hypotheses and suggest that sensitivity to drivers varies among ecosystem types. Given the importance of understanding

  17. Drought effects on ecosystem functioning and interactions with CO2 and warming - results from CLIMAITE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beier, Claus; Ibrom, Andreas; Linden, Leon G.; Selsted, Merete B.; Albert, Kristian R.; Kongstad, Jane; Andresen, Louise C.

    2010-05-01

    Current predictions indicate that, unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly curtailed, atmospheric CO2 concentrations will double during the present century inducing an additional 1.4 to 5.8oC increase in mean global temperature, alterations in global and regional precipitation patterns, and increase the frequency and magnitude of severe weather events (e.g. droughts and floods). Such changes will have strong effects on the terrestrial ecosystems as CO2, temperature and water are main drivers in ecosystem processes. There is growing concern that climate driven changes in precipitation patterns and water availability will have significant effects on ecosystem processes and functioning, and in some regions may be the most influential climate change factor. Yet, it has received much less attention in recent climate change research relative to elevated CO2 and temperature. Furthermore, most precipitation experiments have focussed on water alone despite the fact that at least CO2 and temperature will change simultaneously and both of these factors will have direct or indirect effects on water status and use in the ecosystem. In the CLIMAITE project a Danish heathland has been exposed since 2005 to elevated CO2, temperature and extended drought in a full factorial experiment (Mikkelsen et al., 2008). The CO2 concentration in the canopy level is elevated by 50% by the Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) technique, temperature is elevated by 1-2 °C by the passive night time warming technique and summer drought is extended for 4-6 weeks by rain out shelters. The full factor combination mimics recent climate projections for Denmark 2075. Following the experiments, responses of major ecosystem processes and functioning is recorded. Drought generally leads to hypothesised reductions in most ecosystem processes during and shortly after the drought but on the short term, many of these processes also show a strong potential to recover during rewetting. Drought reduces

  18. 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.

  19. Variation in Biological Soil Crust Bacterial Abundance and Diversity as a Function of Climate in Cold Steppe Ecosystems in the Intermountain West, USA.

    PubMed

    Blay, Erika S; Schwabedissen, Stacy G; Magnuson, Timothy S; Aho, Ken A; Sheridan, Peter P; Lohse, Kathleen A

    2017-04-13

    Biological soil crust (biocrust) is a composite of mosses, lichens, and bacteria that performs many important soil system functions, including increasing soil stability, protecting against wind erosion, reducing nutrient loss, and mediating carbon and nitrogen fixation cycles. These cold desert and steppe ecosystems are expected to experience directional changes in both climate and disturbance. These include increased temperatures, precipitation phase changes, and increased disturbance from anthropogenic land use. In this study, we assessed how climate and grazing disturbance may affect the abundance and diversity of bacteria in biocrusts in cold steppe ecosystems located in southwestern Idaho, USA. To our knowledge, our study is the first to document how biocrust bacterial composition and diversity change along a cold steppe climatic gradient. Analyses based on 16S small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences identified the phylum Actinobacteria as the major bacterial component within study site biocrusts (relative abundance = 36-51%). The abundance of the phyla Actinobacteria and Firmicutes was higher at elevations experiencing cooler, wetter climates, while the abundance of Cyanobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Chloroflexi decreased. The abundance of the phyla Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria showed no significant evidence of decline in grazed areas. Taken together, results from this study indicate that bacterial communities from rolling biocrusts found in cold steppe ecosystems are affected by climate regime and differ substantially from other cold desert ecosystems, resulting in potential differences in nutrient cycling and ecosystem dynamics.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  9. Understanding the value of plant diversity for ecosystem functioning through niche theory.

    PubMed

    Turnbull, Lindsay A; Isbell, Forest; Purves, Drew W; Loreau, Michel; Hector, Andy

    2016-12-14

    Biodiversity experiments have generated robust empirical results supporting the hypothesis that ecosystems function better when they contain more species. Given that ecosystems provide services that are valued by humans, this inevitably suggests that the loss of species from natural ecosystems could diminish their value. This raises two important questions. First, will experimental results translate into the real world, where species are being lost at an alarming rate? And second, what are the benefits and pitfalls of such valuation exercises? We argue that the empirical results obtained in experiments are entirely consistent with well-established theories of species coexistence. We then examine the current body of work through the lens of niche theory and highlight where closer links with theory could open up opportunities for future research. We argue that niche theory predicts that diversity-functioning relationships are likely to be stronger (and require more species) in the field than in simplified experimental settings. However, we caution that while many of the biological processes that promote coexistence can also generate diversity-function relationships, there is no simple mapping between the two. This implies that valuation exercises need to proceed with care.

  10. Trait-based approaches for understanding microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Krause, Sascha; Le Roux, Xavier; Niklaus, Pascal A.; Van Bodegom, Peter M.; Lennon, Jay T.; Bertilsson, Stefan; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Philippot, Laurent; Bodelier, Paul L. E.

    2014-01-01

    In ecology, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has seen a shift in perspective from taxonomy to function in the last two decades, with successful application of trait-based approaches. This shift offers opportunities for a deeper mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity in maintaining multiple ecosystem processes and services. In this paper, we highlight studies that have focused on BEF of microbial communities with an emphasis on integrating trait-based approaches to microbial ecology. In doing so, we explore some of the inherent challenges and opportunities of understanding BEF using microbial systems. For example, microbial biologists characterize communities using gene phylogenies that are often unable to resolve functional traits. Additionally, experimental designs of existing microbial BEF studies are often inadequate to unravel BEF relationships. We argue that combining eco-physiological studies with contemporary molecular tools in a trait-based framework can reinforce our ability to link microbial diversity to ecosystem processes. We conclude that such trait-based approaches are a promising framework to increase the understanding of microbial BEF relationships and thus generating systematic principles in microbial ecology and more generally ecology. PMID:24904563

  11. Evaluating simulated functional trait patterns and quantifying modelled trait diversity effects on simulated ecosystem fluxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pavlick, R.; Schimel, D.

    2014-12-01

    Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs) typically employ only a small set of Plant Functional Types (PFTs) to represent the vast diversity of observed vegetation forms and functioning. There is growing evidence, however, that this abstraction may not adequately represent the observed variation in plant functional traits, which is thought to play an important role for many ecosystem functions and for ecosystem resilience to environmental change. The geographic distribution of PFTs in these models is also often based on empirical relationships between present-day climate and vegetation patterns. Projections of future climate change, however, point toward the possibility of novel regional climates, which could lead to no-analog vegetation compositions incompatible with the PFT paradigm. Here, we present results from the Jena Diversity-DGVM (JeDi-DGVM), a novel traits-based vegetation model, which simulates a large number of hypothetical plant growth strategies constrained by functional tradeoffs, thereby allowing for a more flexible temporal and spatial representation of the terrestrial biosphere. First, we compare simulated present-day geographical patterns of functional traits with empirical trait observations (in-situ and from airborne imaging spectroscopy). The observed trait patterns are then used to improve the tradeoff parameterizations of JeDi-DGVM. Finally, focusing primarily on the simulated leaf traits, we run the model with various amounts of trait diversity. We quantify the effects of these modeled biodiversity manipulations on simulated ecosystem fluxes and stocks for both present-day conditions and transient climate change scenarios. The simulation results reveal that the coarse treatment of plant functional traits by current PFT-based vegetation models may contribute substantial uncertainty regarding carbon-climate feedbacks. Further development of trait-based models and further investment in global in-situ and spectroscopic plant trait observations

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2007-01-01

    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 ≈75% and species richness of forest-using species by ≈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 ≈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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Proliferation of purple sulphur bacteria at the sediment surface affects intertidal mat diversity and functionality.

    PubMed

    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.

  17. Partitioning interannual variability in net ecosystem exchange between climatic variability and functional change.

    PubMed

    Hui, Dafeng; Luo, Yiqi; Katul, Gabriel

    2003-05-01

    Interannual variability (IAV) in net ecosystem exchange of carbon (NEE) is a critical factor in projections of future ecosystem changes. However, our understanding of IAV is limited because of the difficulty in isolating its numerous causes. We proposed that IAV in NEE is primarily caused by climatic variability, through its direct effects on photosynthesis and respiration and through its indirect effects on carbon fluxes (i.e., the parameters that govern photosynthesis and respiration), hereafter called functional change. We employed a homogeneity-of-slopes model to identify the functional change contributing to IAV in NEE and nighttime ecosystem respiration (RE). The model uses multiple regression analysis to relate NEE and RE with climatic variables for individual years and for all years. If the use of different slopes for each year significantly improves the model fitting compared to the use of one slope for all years, we consider that functional change exists, at least on annual time scales. With the functional change detected, we then partition the observed variation in NEE or RE to four components, namely, the functional change, the direct effect of interannual climatic variability, the direct effect of seasonal climatic variation, and random error. Application of this approach to a data set collected at the Duke Forest AmeriFlux site from August 1997 to December 2001 indicated that functional change, interannual climatic variability, seasonal climatic variation and random error explained 9.9, 8.9, 59.9 and 21.3%, respectively, of the observed variation in NEE and 13.1, 5.0, 38.1 and 43.8%, respectively, of the observed variation in RE.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-05

    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.

  19. Impacts of engineered nanomaterials on microbial community structure and function in natural and engineered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mohanty, Anee; Wu, Yichao; Cao, Bin

    2014-10-01

    In natural and engineered environments, microorganisms often exist as complex communities, which are key to the health of ecosystems and the success of bioprocesses in various engineering applications. With the rapid development of nanotechnology in recent years, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been considered one type of emerging contaminants that pose great potential risks to the proper function of microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems. The impacts of ENMs on microorganisms have attracted increasing research attentions; however, most studies focused on the antimicrobial activities of ENMs at single cell and population level. Elucidating the influence of ENMs on microbial communities represents a critical step toward a comprehensive understanding of the ecotoxicity of ENMs. In this mini-review, we summarize and discuss recent research work on the impacts of ENMs on microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems, with an emphasis on their influences on the community structure and function. We also highlight several important research topics which may be of great interest to the research community.

  20. 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.

  1. Ecosystem Screening Approach for Pathogen-Associated Microorganisms Affecting Host Disease▿†

    PubMed Central

    Galiana, Eric; Marais, Antoine; Mura, Catherine; Industri, Benoît; Arbiol, Gilles; Ponchet, Michel

    2011-01-01

    The microbial community in which a pathogen evolves is fundamental to disease outcome. Species interacting with a pathogen on the host surface shape the distribution, density, and genetic diversity of the inoculum, but the role of these species is rarely determined. The screening method developed here can be used to characterize pathogen-associated species affecting disease. This strategy involves three steps: (i) constitution of the microbial community, using the pathogen as a trap; (ii) community selection, using extracts from the pathogen as the sole nutrient source; and (iii) molecular identification and the screening of isolates focusing on their effects on the growth of the pathogen in vitro and host disease. This approach was applied to a soilborne plant pathogen, Phytophthora parasitica, structured in a biofilm, for screening the microbial community from the rhizosphere of Nicotiana tabacum (the host). Two of the characterized eukaryotes interfered with the oomycete cycle and may affect the host disease. A Vorticella species acted through a mutualistic interaction with P. parasitica, disseminating pathogenic material by leaving the biofilm. A Phoma species established an amensal interaction with P. parasitica, strongly suppressing disease by inhibiting P. parasitica germination. This screening method is appropriate for all nonobligate pathogens. It allows the definition of microbial species as promoters or suppressors of a disease for a given biotope. It should also help to identify important microbial relationships for ecology and evolution of pathogens. PMID:21742919

  2. Ecosystem screening approach for pathogen-associated microorganisms affecting host disease.

    PubMed

    Galiana, Eric; Marais, Antoine; Mura, Catherine; Industri, Benoît; Arbiol, Gilles; Ponchet, Michel

    2011-09-01

    The microbial community in which a pathogen evolves is fundamental to disease outcome. Species interacting with a pathogen on the host surface shape the distribution, density, and genetic diversity of the inoculum, but the role of these species is rarely determined. The screening method developed here can be used to characterize pathogen-associated species affecting disease. This strategy involves three steps: (i) constitution of the microbial community, using the pathogen as a trap; (ii) community selection, using extracts from the pathogen as the sole nutrient source; and (iii) molecular identification and the screening of isolates focusing on their effects on the growth of the pathogen in vitro and host disease. This approach was applied to a soilborne plant pathogen, Phytophthora parasitica, structured in a biofilm, for screening the microbial community from the rhizosphere of Nicotiana tabacum (the host). Two of the characterized eukaryotes interfered with the oomycete cycle and may affect the host disease. A Vorticella species acted through a mutualistic interaction with P. parasitica, disseminating pathogenic material by leaving the biofilm. A Phoma species established an amensal interaction with P. parasitica, strongly suppressing disease by inhibiting P. parasitica germination. This screening method is appropriate for all nonobligate pathogens. It allows the definition of microbial species as promoters or suppressors of a disease for a given biotope. It should also help to identify important microbial relationships for ecology and evolution of pathogens.

  3. Testing the field of dreams hypothesis: functional responses to urbanization and restoration in stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sudduth, Elizabeth B; Hassett, Brooke A; Cada, Peter; Bernhardt, Emily S

    2011-09-01

    As catchments become increasingly urban, the streams that drain them become increasingly degraded. Urban streams are typically characterized by high-magnitude storm flows, homogeneous habitats, disconnected riparian zones, and elevated nitrogen concentrations. To reverse the degradation of urban water quality, watershed managers and regulators are increasingly turning to stream restoration approaches. By reshaping the channel and reconnecting the surface waters with their riparian zone, practitioners intend to enhance the natural nutrient retention capacity of the restored stream ecosystem. Despite the exponential growth in stream restoration projects and expenditures, there has been no evaluation to date of the efficacy of urban stream restoration projects in enhancing nitrogen retention or in altering the underlying ecosystem metabolism that controls instream nitrogen consumption. In this study, we compared ecosystem metabolism and nitrate uptake kinetics in four stream restoration projects within urban watersheds to ecosystem functions measured in four unrestored urban stream segments and four streams draining minimally impacted forested watersheds in central North Carolina, U.S.A. All 12 sites were surveyed in June through August of 2006 and again in January through March of 2007. We anticipated that urban streams would have enhanced rates of ecosystem metabolism and nitrate uptake relative to forested streams due to the increases in nutrient loads and temperature associated with urbanization, and we predicted that restored streams would have further enhanced rates for these ecosystem functions by virtue of their increased habitat heterogeneity and water residence times. Contrary to our predictions we found that stream metabolism did not differ between stream types in either season and that nitrate uptake kinetics were not different between stream types in the winter. During the summer, restored stream reaches had substantially higher rates of nitrate uptake

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Potential impacts of climate change on biogeochemical functioning of Cerrado ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bustamante, M M C; Nardoto, G B; Pinto, A S; Resende, J C F; Takahashi, F S C; Vieira, L C G

    2012-08-01

    The Cerrado Domain comprises one of the most diverse savannas in the world and is undergoing a rapid loss of habitats due to changes in fire regimes and intense conversion of native areas to agriculture. We reviewed data on the biogeochemical functioning of Cerrado ecosystems and evaluated the potential impacts of regional climate changes. Variation in temperature extremes and in total amount of rainfall and altitude throughout the Cerrado determines marked differences in the composition of species. Cerrado ecosystems are controlled by interactions between water and nutrient availability. In general, nutrient cycles (N, P and base cations) are very conservative, while litter, microbial and plant biomass are important stocks. In terms of C cycling, root systems and especially the soil organic matter are the most important stocks. Typical cerrado ecosystems function as C sinks on an annual basis, although they work as source of C to the atmosphere close to the end of the dry season. Fire is an important factor altering stocks and fluxes of C and nutrients. Predicted changes in temperature, amount and distribution of precipitation vary according to Cerrado sub-regions with more marked changes in the northeastern part of the domain. Higher temperatures, decreases in rainfall with increase in length of the dry season could shift net ecosystem exchanges from C sink to source of C and might intensify burning, reducing nutrient stocks. Interactions between the heterogeneity in the composition and abundance of biological communities throughout the Cerrado Domain and current and future changes in land use make it difficult to project the impacts of future climate scenarios at different temporal and spatial scales and new modeling approaches are needed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-03-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

    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 within

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Lexical and Affective Prosody in Children with High Functioning Autism

    PubMed Central

    Grossman, Ruth B.; Bemis, Rhyannon H.; Skwerer, Daniela Plesa; Tager-Flusberg, Helen

    2012-01-01

    Purpose We investigated perception and production of lexical stress and processing of affective prosody in adolescents with high functioning autism (HFA). We hypothesized preserved processing of lexical and affective prosody, but atypical lexical prosody production. Method 16 children with HFA and 15 typically developing (TD) peers participated in three experiments: 1. Perception of affective prosody, 2. Lexical stress perception, 3. Lexical stress production. In Experiment 1, participants labeled sad, happy, and neutral spoken sentences that were low-pass filtered, to eliminate verbal content. In Experiment 2 participants disambiguated word meanings based on lexical stress (HOTdog, vs. hotDOG). In Experiment 3 participants produced these words in a sentence completion task. Productions were analyzed using acoustic measures. Results Accuracy levels showed no group differences. Participants with HFA could determine affect from filtered sentences and disambiguate words based on lexical stress. They produced appropriately differentiated lexical stress patterns but demonstrated atypically long productions indicating reduced ability in natural prosody production. Conclusions Children with HFA were as capable as their TD peers in receptive tasks of lexical stress and affective prosody. Prosody productions were atypically long, despite accurate differentiation of lexical stress patterns. Future research should use larger samples and spontaneous vs. elicited productions. PMID:20530388

  20. 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

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    Burger, Joanna

    2015-06-01

    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.

  3. 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

  4. How Habitat Change and Rainfall Affect Dung Beetle Diversity in Caatinga, a Brazilian Semi-Arid Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Liberal, Carolina Nunes; de Farias, Ângela Maria Isidro; Meiado, Marcos Vinicius; Filgueiras, Bruno K. C.; Iannuzzi, Luciana

    2011-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate how dung beetle communities respond to both environment and rainfall in the Caatinga, a semi-arid ecosystem in northeastern Brazil. The communities were sampled monthly from May 2006 to April 2007 using pitfall traps baited with human feces in two environments denominated “land use area” and “undisturbed area.” Abundance and species richness were compared between the two environments and two seasons (dry and wet season) using a generalized linear model with a Poisson error distribution. Diversity was compared between the two environments (land use area and undisturbed area) and seasons (dry and wet) using the Two-Way ANOVA test. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was performed on the resemblance matrix of Bray-Curtis distances (with 1000 random restarts) to determine whether disturbance affected the abundance and species composition of the dung beetle communities. Spearman's correlation coefficient was used to determine whether rainfall was correlated with abundance and species richness. A total of 1097 specimens belonging to 13 species were collected. The most abundant and frequent species was Dichotomius geminatus Arrow (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). The environment exerted an influence over abundance. Abundance and diversity were affected by season, with an increase in abundance at the beginning of the wet season. The correlation coefficient values were high and significant for abundance and species richness, which were both correlated to rainfall. In conclusion, the restriction of species to some environments demonstrates the need to preserve these areas in order to avoid possible local extinction. Therefore, in extremely seasonable environments, such as the Caatinga, seasonal variation strongly affects dung beetle communities. PMID:22224924

  5. How habitat change and rainfall affect dung beetle diversity in Caatinga, a Brazilian semi-arid ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Liberal, Carolina Nunes; de Farias, Ângela Maria Isidro; Meiado, Marcos Vinicius; Filgueiras, Bruno K C; Iannuzzi, Luciana

    2011-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate how dung beetle communities respond to both environment and rainfall in the Caatinga, a semi-arid ecosystem in northeastern Brazil. The communities were sampled monthly from May 2006 to April 2007 using pitfall traps baited with human feces in two environments denominated "land use area" and "undisturbed area." Abundance and species richness were compared between the two environments and two seasons (dry and wet season) using a generalized linear model with a Poisson error distribution. Diversity was compared between the two environments (land use area and undisturbed area) and seasons (dry and wet) using the Two-Way ANOVA test. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was performed on the resemblance matrix of Bray-Curtis distances (with 1000 random restarts) to determine whether disturbance affected the abundance and species composition of the dung beetle communities. Spearman's correlation coefficient was used to determine whether rainfall was correlated with abundance and species richness. A total of 1097 specimens belonging to 13 species were collected. The most abundant and frequent species was Dichotomius geminatus Arrow (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). The environment exerted an influence over abundance. Abundance and diversity were affected by season, with an increase in abundance at the beginning of the wet season. The correlation coefficient values were high and significant for abundance and species richness, which were both correlated to rainfall. In conclusion, the restriction of species to some environments demonstrates the need to preserve these areas in order to avoid possible local extinction. Therefore, in extremely seasonable environments, such as the Caatinga, seasonal variation strongly affects dung beetle communities.

  6. 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