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Bibliography on: Long Term Ecological Research

The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project: Providing world-wide, free access to classic scientific papers and other scholarly materials, since 1993.


ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 17 Sep 2020 at 01:52 Created: 

Long Term Ecological Research

The LTER Network: The US. long-term ecological research network consists of 28 sites with a rich history of ecological inquiry, collaboration across a wide range of research topics, and engagement with students, educators, and community members. Bringing together diverse groups of researchers with sustained data collection, ecosystem manipulation experiments, and modeling, these sites allow scientists to apply new tools and explore new questions in systems where the context is well understood, shared, and thoroughly documented.

Created with PubMed® Query: "Long Term Ecological Research" OR LTER NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2020-09-16

Gade MR, Connette GM, Crawford JA, et al (2020)

Predicted alteration of surface activity as a consequence of climate change.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Wildlife are faced with numerous threats to survival, none more pressing than that of climate change. Understanding how species will respond behaviorally, physiologically, and demographically to a changing climate is a cornerstone of many contemporary ecological studies, especially for organisms, such as amphibians, whose persistence is closely tied to abiotic conditions. Activity is a useful parameter for understanding the effects of climate change because activity is directly linked to fitness as it dictates foraging times, energy budgets, and mating opportunities. However, activity can be challenging to measure directly, especially for secretive organisms like plethodontid salamanders, which only become surface active when conditions are cool and moist because of their anatomical and physiological restrictions. We estimated abiotic predictors of surface activity for the seven species of the Plethodon jordani complex. Five independent data sets collected from 2004 to 2017 were used to determine the parameters driving salamander surface activity in the present day, which were then used to predict potential activity changes over the next 80 yrs. Average active seasonal temperature and vapor pressure deficit were the strongest predictors of salamander surface activity and, without physiological or behavioral modifications, salamanders were predicted to exhibit a higher probability of surface activity during peak active season under future climate conditions. Temperatures during the active season likely do not exceed salamander thermal maxima to cause activity suppression and, until physiological limits are reached, future conditions may continue to increase activity. Our model is the first comprehensive field-based study to assess current and future surface activity probability. Our study provides insights into how a key behavior driving fitness may be affected by climate change.

RevDate: 2020-09-10

Margiotta F, Balestra C, Buondonno A, et al (2020)

Do plankton reflect the environmental quality status? The case of a post-industrial Mediterranean Bay.

Marine environmental research, 160:104980.

While the effects of industrial contamination in coastal areas may persist for years in benthos communities, plankton should not show permanent impairments because of their high spatial dynamics, fast turnover times and pronounced seasonality. To test this hypothesis, in 2019 we conducted five surveys in the Bay of Pozzuoli (Gulf of Naples, Mediterranean Sea), in front of a dismissed steel factory and in the adjacent inshore coastal waters. High seasonal variability was observed for bacteria, phytoplankton and mesozooplankton, whereas plankton spatial gradients were relatively smooth during each survey. Plankton biomass and diversity did not reveal any effects of past industrial activities not even at the innermost stations of the Bay, which however showed some signals of present anthropogenic pressure. Hydrodynamic and morphological features likely play a prominent role in maintaining a relatively good status of the plankton of the Bay, which hints at the relevance of coastal circulation and meteorological dynamics to revitalize areas impacted by human activities.

RevDate: 2020-08-18

Albrecht M, Kleijn D, Williams NM, et al (2020)

The effectiveness of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control, pollination services and crop yield: a quantitative synthesis.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

Floral plantings are promoted to foster ecological intensification of agriculture through provisioning of ecosystem services. However, a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of different floral plantings, their characteristics and consequences for crop yield is lacking. Here we quantified the impacts of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control (18 studies) and pollination services (17 studies) in adjacent crops in North America, Europe and New Zealand. Flower strips, but not hedgerows, enhanced pest control services in adjacent fields by 16% on average. However, effects on crop pollination and yield were more variable. Our synthesis identifies several important drivers of variability in effectiveness of plantings: pollination services declined exponentially with distance from plantings, and perennial and older flower strips with higher flowering plant diversity enhanced pollination more effectively. These findings provide promising pathways to optimise floral plantings to more effectively contribute to ecosystem service delivery and ecological intensification of agriculture in the future.

RevDate: 2020-08-11

Crossley MS, Meier AR, Baldwin EM, et al (2020)

No net insect abundance and diversity declines across US Long Term Ecological Research sites.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-020-1269-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Recent reports of dramatic declines in insect abundance suggest grave consequences for global ecosystems and human society. Most evidence comes from Europe, however, leaving uncertainty about insect population trends worldwide. We used >5,300 time series for insects and other arthropods, collected over 4-36 years at monitoring sites representing 68 different natural and managed areas, to search for evidence of declines across the United States. Some taxa and sites showed decreases in abundance and diversity while others increased or were unchanged, yielding net abundance and biodiversity trends generally indistinguishable from zero. This lack of overall increase or decline was consistent across arthropod feeding groups and was similar for heavily disturbed versus relatively natural sites. The apparent robustness of US arthropod populations is reassuring. Yet, this result does not diminish the need for continued monitoring and could mask subtler changes in species composition that nonetheless endanger insect-provided ecosystem services.

RevDate: 2020-08-03

Goldberg L, Lagomasino D, Thomas N, et al (2020)

Global declines in human-driven mangrove loss.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Global mangrove loss has been attributed primarily to human activity. Anthropogenic loss hotspots across Southeast Asia and around the world have characterized the ecosystem as highly threatened, though natural processes such as erosion can also play a significant role in forest vulnerability. However, the extent of human and natural threats has not been fully quantified at the global scale. Here, using a Random Forest-based analysis of over one million Landsat images, we present the first 30 m resolution global maps of the drivers of mangrove loss from 2000 to 2016, capturing both human-driven and natural stressors. We estimate that 62% of global losses between 2000 and 2016 resulted from land-use change, primarily through conversion to aquaculture and agriculture. Up to 80% of these human-driven losses occurred within six Southeast Asian nations, reflecting the regional emphasis on enhancing aquaculture for export to support economic development. Both anthropogenic and natural losses declined between 2000 and 2016, though slower declines in natural loss caused an increase in their relative contribution to total global loss area. We attribute the decline in anthropogenic losses to the regionally dependent combination of increased emphasis on conservation efforts and a lack of remaining mangroves viable for conversion. While efforts to restore and protect mangroves appear to be effective over decadal timescales, the emergence of natural drivers of loss presents an immediate challenge for coastal adaptation. We anticipate that our results will inform decision-making within conservation and restoration initiatives by providing a locally relevant understanding of the causes of mangrove loss.

RevDate: 2020-07-29

Schoenrock KM, Chan KM, O'Callaghan T, et al (2020)

A review of subtidal kelp forests in Ireland: From first descriptions to new habitat monitoring techniques.

Ecology and evolution, 10(13):6819-6832 pii:ECE36345.

Aim: Kelp forests worldwide are important marine ecosystems that foster high primary to secondary productivity and multiple ecosystem services. These ecosystems are increasingly under threat from extreme storms, changing ocean temperatures, harvesting, and greater herbivore pressure at regional and global scales, necessitating urgent documentation of their historical to present-day distributions. Species range shifts to higher latitudes have already been documented in some species that dominate subtidal habitats within Europe. Very little is known about kelp forest ecosystems in Ireland, where rocky coastlines are dominated by Laminaria hyperborea. In order to rectify this substantial knowledge gap, we compiled historical records from an array of sources to present historical distribution, kelp and kelp forest recording effort over time, and present rational for the monitoring of kelp habitats to better understand ecosystem resilience.

Location: Ireland (Northern Ireland and Éire).

Methods: Herbaria, literature from the Linnaean society dating back to late 1700s, journal articles, government reports, and online databases were scoured for information on L. hyperborea. Information about kelp ecosystems was solicited from dive clubs and citizen science groups that are active along Ireland's coastlines.

Results: Data were used to create distribution maps and analyze methodology and technology used to record L. hyperborea presence and kelp ecosystems within Ireland. We discuss the recent surge in studies on Irish kelp ecosystems, fauna associated with kelp ecosystems that may be used as indicators of ecosystem health and suggest methodologies for continued monitoring.

Main Conclusions: While there has been a steady increase in recording effort of the dominant subtidal kelp forest species, L. hyperborea, only recently have studies begun to address other important eco-evolutionary processes at work in kelp forests including connectivity among kelp populations in Ireland. Further monitoring, using suggested methodologies, is required to better understand the resilience of kelp ecosystems in Ireland.

RevDate: 2020-07-27

Serra AA, Bittebière AK, Mony C, et al (2020)

Local-scale dynamics of plant-pesticide interactions in a northern Brittany agricultural landscape.

The Science of the total environment, 744:140772 pii:S0048-9697(20)34296-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Soil pollution by anthropogenic chemicals is a major concern for sustainability of crop production and of ecosystem functions mediated by natural plant biodiversity. Understanding the complex effects of soil pollution requires multi-level and multi-scale approaches. Non-target and agri-environmental plant communities of field margins and vegetative filter strips are confronted with agricultural xenobiotics through soil contamination, drift, run-off and leaching events that result from chemical applications. Plant-pesticide dynamics in vegetative filter strips was studied at field scale in the agricultural landscape of a long-term ecological research network in northern Brittany (France). Vegetative filter strips effected significant pesticide abatement between the field and riparian compartments. However, comparison of pesticide usage modalities and soil chemical analysis revealed the extent and complexity of pesticide persistence in fields and vegetative filter strips, and suggested the contribution of multiple sources (yearly carry-over, interannual persistence, landscape-scale contamination). In order to determine the impact of such persistence, plant dynamics was followed in experimentally-designed vegetative filter strips of identical initial composition (Agrostis stolonifera, Anthemis tinctoria/Cota tinctoria, Centaurea cyanus, Fagopyrum esculentum, Festuca rubra, Lolium perenne, Lotus corniculatus, Phleum pratense, Trifolium pratense). After homogeneous vegetation establishment, experimental vegetative filter strips underwent rapid changes within the following two years, with Agrostis stolonifera, Festuca rubra, Lolium perenne and Phleum pratense becoming dominant and with the establishment of spontaneous vegetation. Co-inertia analysis showed that plant dynamics and soil residual pesticides could be significantly correlated, with the triazole fungicide epoxiconazole, the imidazole fungicide prochloraz and the neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam as strong drivers of the correlation. However, the correlation was vegetative-filter-strip-specific, thus showing that correlation between plant dynamics and soil pesticides likely involved additional factors, such as threshold levels of residual pesticides. This situation of complex interactions between plants and soil contamination is further discussed in terms of agronomical, environmental and health issues.

RevDate: 2020-07-17

Smith RM, Kaushal SS, Beaulieu JJ, et al (2017)

Influence of infrastructure on water quality and greenhouse gas dynamics in urban streams.

Biogeosciences (Online), 14(11):.

Streams and rivers are significant sources of nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) globally, and watershed management can alter greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from streams. We hypothesized that urban infrastructure significantly alters downstream water quality and contributes to variability in GHG saturation and emissions. We measured gas saturation and estimated emission rates in headwaters of two urban stream networks (Red Run and Dead Run) of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Long-Term Ecological Research project. We identified four combinations of stormwater and sanitary infrastructure present in these watersheds, including: (1) stream burial, (2) inline stormwater wetlands, (3) riparian/floodplain preservation, and (4) septic systems. We selected two first order catchments in each of these categories and measured GHG concentrations, emissions, and dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC) and nutrient concentrations biweekly for 1 year. From a water quality perspective, the DOC : NO3- ratio of streamwater was significantly different across infrastructure categories. Multiple linear regressions including DOC : NO3- and other variables (dissolved oxygen, DO; total dissolved nitrogen, TDN; and temperature) explained much of the statistical variation in nitrous oxide (N2O, r2 = 0.78), carbon dioxide (CO2, r2 = 0.78) and methane (CH4, r 2 = 0.50) saturation in stream water. We measured N2O saturation ratios, which were among the highest reported in the literature for streams, ranging from 1.1 to 47 across all sites and dates. N2O saturation ratios were highest in streams draining watersheds with septic systems and strongly correlated with TDN. The CO2 saturation ratio was highly correlated with the N2O saturation ratio across all sites and dates, and the CO2 saturation ratio ranged from 1.1 to 73. CH4 was always supersaturated, with saturation ratios ranging from 3.0 to 2157. Longitudinal surveys extending form headwaters to third-order outlets of Red Run and Dead Run took place in spring and fall. Linear regressions of these data yielded significant negative relationships between each gas with increasing watershed size as well as consistent relationships between solutes (TDN or DOC, and DOC : TDN ratio) and gas saturation. Despite a decline in gas saturation between the headwaters and stream outlet, streams remained saturated with GHGs throughout the drainage network, suggesting that urban streams are continuous sources of CO2, CH4, and N2O. Our results suggest that infrastructure decisions can have significant effects on downstream water quality and greenhouse gases, and watershed management strategies may need to consider coupled impacts on urban water and air quality.

RevDate: 2020-06-26

Metfies K, Hessel J, Klenk R, et al (2020)

Uncovering the intricacies of microbial community dynamics at Helgoland Roads at the end of a spring bloom using automated sampling and 18S meta-barcoding.

PloS one, 15(6):e0233921.

In May 2016, the remote-controlled Automated Filtration System for Marine Microbes (AUTOFIM) was implemented in parallel to the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) observatory Helgoland Roads in the German Bight. We collected samples for characterization of dynamics within the eukaryotic microbial communities at the end of a phytoplankton bloom via 18S meta-barcoding. Understanding consequences of environmental change for key marine ecosystem processes, such as phytoplankton bloom dynamics requires information on biodiversity and species occurrences with adequate temporal and taxonomic resolution via time series observations. Sampling automation and molecular high throughput methods can serve these needs by improving the resolution of current conventional marine time series observations. A technical evaluation based on an investigation of eukaryotic microbes using the partial 18S rRNA gene suggests that automated filtration with the AUTOFIM device and preservation of the plankton samples leads to highly similar 18S community profiles, compared to manual filtration and snap freezing. The molecular data were correlated with conventional microscopic counts. Overall, we observed substantial change in the eukaryotic microbial community structure during the observation period. A simultaneous decline of diatom and ciliate sequences succeeded a peak of Miracula helgolandica, suggesting a potential impact of these oomycete parasites on diatom bloom dynamics and phenology in the North Sea. As oomycetes are not routinely counted at Helgoland Roads LTER, our findings illustrate the benefits of combining automated filtration with metabarcodingto augment classical time series observations, particularly for taxa currently neglected due to methodological constraints.

RevDate: 2020-06-30

Käse L, Kraberg AC, Metfies K, et al (2020)

Rapid succession drives spring community dynamics of small protists at Helgoland Roads, North Sea.

Journal of plankton research, 42(3):305-319.

The dynamics of diatoms and dinoflagellates have been monitored for many decades at the Helgoland Roads Long-Term Ecological Research site and are relatively well understood. In contrast, small-sized eukaryotic microbes and their community changes are still much more elusive, mainly due to their small size and uniform morphology, which makes them difficult to identify microscopically. By using next-generation sequencing, we wanted to shed light on the Helgoland planktonic community dynamics, including nano- and picoplankton, during a spring bloom. We took samples from March to May 2016 and sequenced the V4 region of the 18S rDNA. Our results showed that mixotrophic and heterotrophic taxa were more abundant than autotrophic diatoms. Dinoflagellates dominated the sequence assemblage, and several small-sized eukaryotic microbes like Haptophyta, Choanoflagellata, Marine Stramenopiles and Syndiniales were identified. A diverse background community including taxa from all size classes was present during the whole sampling period. Five phases with several communities were distinguished. The fastest changes in community composition took place in phase 3, while the communities from phases 1 to 5 were more similar to each other despite contrasting environmental conditions. Synergy effects of next-generation sequencing and traditional methods may be exploited in future long-term observations.

RevDate: 2020-07-10
CmpDate: 2020-07-10

Battisti C, Fanelli G, Filpa A, et al (2020)

Giant Reed (Arundo donax) wrack as sink for plastic beach litter: First evidence and implication.

Marine pollution bulletin, 155:111179.

In order to maintain the hydraulic outflow in land reclaimed canalizations, the competent agencies provide to mechanically mow the Giant Reed (Arundo donax, L. 1753) along the aquatic ecosystem banks. Nevertheless, the reeds mowed can be transported away from the waters following storm surges and can be deposited in large quantities along the sandy beaches. We carried out a stratified study in a Mediterranean sandy beach to test the hypothesis that Giant Reed wrack may act as a sink and barrier for plastic beach litter. We observed a large amount of plastic litter entrapped in the Arundo donax wrack (density of 0.868 items/m2), with a higher density when compared to both the inner and the shoreline belts. Density of litter is significantly higher considering the categories of meso- and micro-plastics. Organic macrophyte wrack is useful for dunal macrodetritivorous invertebrates and generally for fauna communities, which use this litter as refuge and trophic pabulum. Significant accumulations of organic wrack can mitigate coastal erosion; nevertheless, for its structural characteristics, Arundo wrack can also act as a barrier for litter towards the inner vegetated dunes, so entrapping a large amount of anthropogenic litter. In this regard, Arundo wrack can represent a sink habitat, first attracting (due to large availability of detritus with a relative high rate of decomposition) and then, entrapping many organisms in anthropogenic litter. We suggest that, once mechanically mowed, the land reclaimed agencies should periodically remove from the channel banks the Arundo donax reeds, impeding the accumulation of incoherent vegetated matter along the aquatic ecosystem banks.

RevDate: 2020-06-19

Fanelli E, Aguzzi J, Marini S, et al (2020)

Towards Naples Ecological REsearch for Augmented Observatories (NEREA): The NEREA-Fix Module, a Stand-Alone Platform for Long-Term Deep-Sea Ecosystem Monitoring.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 20(10):.

Deep-sea ecological monitoring is increasingly recognized as indispensable for the comprehension of the largest biome on Earth, but at the same time it is subjected to growing human impacts for the exploitation of biotic and abiotic resources. Here, we present the Naples Ecological REsearch (NEREA) stand-alone observatory concept (NEREA-fix), an integrated observatory with a modular, adaptive structure, characterized by a multiparametric video-platform to be deployed in the Dohrn canyon (Gulf of Naples, Tyrrhenian Sea) at ca. 650 m depth. The observatory integrates a seabed platform with optoacoustic and oceanographic/geochemical sensors connected to a surface transmission buoy, plus a mooring line (also equipped with depth-staged environmental sensors). This reinforced high-frequency and long-lasting ecological monitoring will integrate the historical data conducted over 40 years for the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) at the station "Mare Chiara", and ongoing vessel-assisted plankton (and future environmental DNA-eDNA) sampling. NEREA aims at expanding the observational capacity in a key area of the Mediterranean Sea, representing a first step towards the establishment of a bentho-pelagic network to enforce an end-to-end transdisciplinary approach for the monitoring of marine ecosystems across a wide range of animal sizes (from bacteria to megafauna).

RevDate: 2020-05-30

Wood LK, Hays S, JC Zinnert (2020)

Decreased temperature variance associated with biotic composition enhances coastal shrub encroachment.

Scientific reports, 10(1):8210.

Regime shift from grasslands to shrub-dominated landscapes occur worldwide driven by altered land-use and climate change, affecting landscape function, biodiversity, and productivity. Warming winter temperatures are a main driver of expansion of the native, evergreen shrub, Morella cerifera, in coastal landscapes. Shrub establishment in these habitats alters microclimate, but little is known about seasonal differences and microclimate variance. We assessed influence of shrubs on microclimate variance, community composition, and community physiological functioning across three vegetation zones: grass, transitional, and shrub in a coastal grassland. Using a novel application of a time-series analysis, we interpret microclimatic variance modification and elucidate mechanisms of shrub encroachment at the Virginia Coast Reserve, Long-Term Ecological Research site. As shrub thickets form, diversity is reduced with little grass/forb cover, while transpiration and annual productivity increase. Shrub thickets significantly reduced temperature variance with a positive influence of one day on the next in maximum air, minimum air, and maximum ground temperature. We also show that microclimatic temperature moderation reduces summer extreme temperatures in transition areas, even before coalescence into full thickets. Encroachment of Morella cerifera on the Virginia barrier islands is driven by reduced local exposure to cold temperatures and enhanced by abiotic microclimatic modification and biotic physiological functioning. This shift in plant community composition from grassland to shrub thicket alters the role of barrier islands in productivity and can have impacts on the natural resilience of the islands.

RevDate: 2020-04-27

Bush ER, Jeffery K, Bunnefeld N, et al (2020)

Rare ground data confirm significant warming and drying in western equatorial Africa.

PeerJ, 8:e8732.

Background: The humid tropical forests of Central Africa influence weather worldwide and play a major role in the global carbon cycle. However, they are also an ecological anomaly, with evergreen forests dominating the western equatorial region despite less than 2,000 mm total annual rainfall. Meteorological data for Central Africa are notoriously sparse and incomplete and there are substantial issues with satellite-derived data because of persistent cloudiness and inability to ground-truth estimates. Long-term climate observations are urgently needed to verify regional climate and vegetation models, shed light on the mechanisms that drive climatic variability and assess the viability of evergreen forests under future climate scenarios.

Methods: We have the rare opportunity to analyse a 34 year dataset of rainfall and temperature (and shorter periods of absolute humidity, wind speed, solar radiation and aerosol optical depth) from Lopé National Park, a long-term ecological research site in Gabon, western equatorial Africa. We used (generalized) linear mixed models and spectral analyses to assess seasonal and inter-annual variation, long-term trends and oceanic influences on local weather patterns.

Results: Lopé's weather is characterised by a cool, light-deficient, long dry season. Long-term climatic means have changed significantly over the last 34 years, with warming occurring at a rate of +0.25 °C per decade (minimum daily temperature) and drying at a rate of -75 mm per decade (total annual rainfall). Inter-annual climatic variability at Lopé is highly influenced by global weather patterns. Sea surface temperatures of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans have strong coherence with Lopé temperature and rainfall on multi-annual scales.

Conclusions: The Lopé long-term weather record has not previously been made public and is of high value in such a data poor region. Our results support regional analyses of climatic seasonality, long-term warming and the influences of the oceans on temperature and rainfall variability. However, warming has occurred more rapidly than the regional products suggest and while there remains much uncertainty in the wider region, rainfall has declined over the last three decades at Lopé. The association between rainfall and the Atlantic cold tongue at Lopé lends some support for the 'dry' models of climate change for the region. In the context of a rapidly warming and drying climate, urgent research is needed into the sensitivity of dry season clouds to ocean temperatures and the viability of humid evergreen forests in this dry region should the clouds disappear.

RevDate: 2020-04-20

Turk Dermastia T, Cerino F, Stanković D, et al (2020)

Ecological time series and integrative taxonomy unveil seasonality and diversity of the toxic diatom Pseudo-nitzschia H. Peragallo in the northern Adriatic Sea.

Harmful algae, 93:101773.

Pseudo-nitzschia H. Peragallo (1900) is a globally distributed genus of pennate diatoms that are important components of phytoplankton communities worldwide. Some members of the genus produce the neurotoxin domoic acid, so regular monitoring is in place. However, the identification of toxic members in routine samplings remains problematic. In this study, the diversity and seasonal occurrence of Pseudo-nitzschia species were investigated in the Gulf of Trieste, a shallow gulf in the northern Adriatic Sea. We used time series data from 2005 to 2018 to describe the seasonal and inter-annual occurrence of the genus in the area and its contribution to the phytoplankton community. On average, the genus accounted for about 15 % of total diatom abundance and peaked in spring and autumn, with occasional outbreaks during summer and large inter-annual fluctuations. Increased water temperature and decreased salinity positively affected the presence of some members of the genus, while strong effects could be masked by an unsuitable definition of the species complexes used for monitoring purposes. Therefore, combining morphological (TEM) and molecular analyses by sequencing the ITS, 28S and rbcL markers, eight species were identified from 83 isolated monoclonal strains: P. calliantha, P. fraudulenta, P. delicatissima, P. galaxiae, P. mannii, P. multistriata, P. pungens and P. subfraudulenta. A genetic comparison between the isolated strains and other strains in the Mediterranean was carried out and rbcL was inspected as a potential barcode marker in respect to our results. This is the first study in the Gulf of Trieste on Pseudo-nitzschia time series from a long-term ecological research (LTER) site coupled with molecular data. We show that meaningful ecological conclusions can be drawn by applying integrative methodology, as opposed to the approach that only considers species complexes. The results of this work will provide guidance for further monitoring efforts as well as research activities, including population genetics and genomics, associated with seasonal distribution and toxicity profiles.

RevDate: 2020-07-10

Peters DPC, Okin GS, Herrick JE, et al (2020)

Modifying connectivity to promote state change reversal: the importance of geomorphic context and plant-soil feedbacks.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Alternative states maintained by feedbacks are notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to reverse. Although positive interactions that modify soil conditions may have the greatest potential to alter self-reinforcing feedbacks, the conditions leading to these state change reversals have not been resolved. In a 9-yr study, we modified horizontal connectivity of resources by wind or water on different geomorphic surfaces in an attempt to alter plant-soil feedbacks and shift woody-plant-dominated states back toward perennial grass dominance. Modifying connectivity resulted in an increase in litter cover regardless of the vector of transport (wind, water) followed by an increase in perennial grass cover 2 yr later. Modifying connectivity was most effective on sandy soils where wind is the dominant vector, and least effective on gravelly soils on stable surfaces with low sediment movement by water. We found that grass cover was related to precipitation in the first 5 yr of our study, and plant-soil feedbacks developed following 6 yr of modified connectivity to overwhelm effects of precipitation on sandy, wind-blown soils. These feedbacks persisted through time under variable annual rainfall. On alluvial soils, either plant-soil feedbacks developed after 7 yr that were not persistent (active soils) or did not develop (stable soils). This novel approach has application to drylands globally where desertified lands have suffered losses in ecosystem services, and to other ecosystems where connectivity-mediated feedbacks modified at fine scales can be expected to impact plant recovery and state change reversals at larger scales, in particular for wind-impacted sites.

RevDate: 2020-04-08
CmpDate: 2020-04-08

Leitner S, Dirnböck T, Kobler J, et al (2020)

Legacy effects of drought on nitrate leaching in a temperate mixed forest on karst.

Journal of environmental management, 262:110338.

With climate change the occurrence of summer droughts is expected to increase in Central Europe. This could lead to increased nitrate (NO3-) leaching when water scarcity affects the N-uptake capacity of trees and increases soil N availability due to early leaf senescence and higher litter input. In the present study, we used 16 years of ecological monitoring data from the LTER research site "Zöbelboden" in Austria. The monitoring site is a mixed Spruce-Sycamore-Ash-Beech forest on karst, which is representative for many watersheds that supply drinking water in Austria. We found that in the year after a summer drought, NO3- leaching via soil water seepage was significantly elevated compared to the long-term mean. While in normal years, NO3- leaching was primarily affected by soil water seepage volume, after a summer drought these controls changed and NO3- leaching was controlled by NO3- input via precipitation, tree N uptake, and vapor-pressure deficit. Furthermore, higher aboveground litter input during dry years was correlated with increased NO3- leaching in the following year. Our findings show that NO3- leaching from temperate mountain forests on karst is susceptible to summer drought, which could affect drinking water quality in the Central European Alps in the future, especially in combination with forest disturbances like bark beetle outbreaks, which are often a direct consequence of drought damage to trees.

RevDate: 2020-04-09

Plum C, Hillebrand H, S Moorthi (2020)

Krill vs salps: dominance shift from krill to salps is associated with higher dissolved N:P ratios.

Scientific reports, 10(1):5911.

Pronounced atmospheric and oceanic warming along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has resulted in abundance shifts in populations of Antarctic krill and Salpa thompsoni determined by changes in the timing of sea-ice advance, the duration of sea-ice cover and food availability. Krill and salps represent the most important macrozooplankton grazers at the WAP, but differ profoundly in their feeding biology, population dynamics and stoichiometry of excretion products with potential consequences for the relative availability of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus. Alternation of the dissolved nutrient pool due to shifts in krill and salp densities have been hypothesized but never explicitly tested by using observational data. We therefore used the Palmer LTER dataset in order to investigate whether the dominance of either grazer is related with the observed dissolved nitrogen:phosphorus (N:P) ratios at the WAP. Across the whole sampling grid, the dominance of salps over krill was significantly correlated to higher concentrations of both N and P as well as a higher N:P ratios. Using actual long-term data, our study shows for the first time that changes in key grazer dominance may have consequences for the dynamics of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus at the WAP.

RevDate: 2020-05-21

Cusser S, Bahlai C, Swinton SM, et al (2020)

Long-term research avoids spurious and misleading trends in sustainability attributes of no-till.

Global change biology, 26(6):3715-3725.

Agricultural management recommendations based on short-term studies can produce findings inconsistent with long-term reality. Here, we test the long-term environmental sustainability and profitability of continuous no-till agriculture on yield, soil water availability, and N2 O fluxes. Using a moving window approach, we investigate the development and stability of several attributes of continuous no-till as compared to conventional till agriculture over a 29-year period at a site in the upper Midwest, US. Over a decade is needed to detect the consistent effects of no-till. Both crop yield and soil water availability required 15 years or longer to generate patterns consistent with 29-year trends. Only marginal trends for N2 O fluxes appeared in this period. Relative profitability analysis suggests that after initial implementation, 86% of periods between 10 and 29 years recuperated the initial expense of no-till implementation, with the probability of higher relative profit increasing with longevity. Importantly, statistically significant but misleading short-term trends appeared in more than 20% of the periods examined. Results underscore the importance of decadal and longer studies for revealing consistent dynamics and emergent outcomes of no-till agriculture, shown to be beneficial in the long term.

RevDate: 2020-06-09

Caruso T, Melecis V, Kagainis U, et al (2020)

Population asynchrony alone does not explain stability in species-rich soil animal assemblages: The stabilizing role of forest age on oribatid mite communities.

The Journal of animal ecology, 89(6):1520-1531.

The importance of microbial and plant communities in the control of the diversity and structure of soil animal communities has been clarified over the last decade. Previous research focused on abiotic factors, niche separation and spatial patterns. Significant gaps still exist in our knowledge of the factors that control the stability of these communities over time. We analysed a 9-year dataset from the national Long-term Ecological Research Network of Latvia. We focused on 117 oribatid species from three Scots pine forests of different age (<40, 65 and >150 years) and structure. For each forest type, 100 samples were collected each year, providing very high replication and long time series for a soil community. We assessed different aspects of stability: we used a dynamic null model, parameterized on observed growth rates, to test the hypothesis that asynchrony in species populations stabilizes total community size; we also analysed alpha and beta diversity over time to test the hypothesis that temporal variation in species composition and relative abundances is controlled by forest attributes. Real communities can be more stable than their stochastic counterparts if species are asynchronous, confirming for the first time the role of asynchrony in stabilizing soil communities. Yet, while some real communities were more stable and had higher abundance and growth rates than others, they were not necessarily more asynchronous than the less stable communities. Species composition and relative abundances were also less variable in the more stable communities. Species asynchrony generally stabilizes species-rich communities but is not sufficient to explain the different levels of stability between forests. Forest age is a key factor explaining the different levels of overyielding and so stability. Data suggest that both asynchrony and high diversity of microhabitat structure of Scots pine forests promote the stability of soil animal communities.

RevDate: 2020-05-04

Trout-Haney JV, Heindel RC, RA Virginia (2020)

Picocyanobacterial cells in near-surface air above terrestrial and freshwater substrates in Greenland and Antarctica.

Environmental microbiology reports, 12(3):296-305.

Bioaerosols are an important component of the total atmospheric aerosol load, with implications for human health, climate feedbacks and the distribution and dispersal of microbial taxa. Bioaerosols are sourced from marine, freshwater and terrestrial surfaces, with different mechanisms potentially responsible for releasing biological particles from these substrates. Little is known about the production of freshwater and terrestrial bioaerosols in polar regions. We used portable collection devices to test for the presence of picocyanobacterial aerosols above freshwater and soil substrates in the southwestern Greenland tundra and the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. We show that picocyanobacterial cells are present in the near-surface air at concentrations ranging from 2,431 to 28,355 cells m-3 of air, with no significant differences among substrates or between polar regions. Our concentrations are lower than those measured using the same methods in temperate ecosystems. We suggest that aerosolization is an important process linking terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in these polar environments, and that future work is needed to explore aerosolization mechanisms and taxon-specific aerosolization rates. Our study is a first step toward understanding the production of bioaerosols in extreme environments dominated by microbial life.

RevDate: 2020-03-09
CmpDate: 2020-03-09

Prager CM, Boelman NT, Eitel JUH, et al (2020)

A mechanism of expansion: Arctic deciduous shrubs capitalize on warming-induced nutrient availability.

Oecologia, 192(3):671-685.

Warming-induced nutrient enrichment in the Arctic may lead to shifts in leaf-level physiological properties and processes with potential consequences for plant community dynamics and ecosystem function. To explore the physiological responses of Arctic tundra vegetation to increasing nutrient availability, we examined how a set of leaf nutrient and physiological characteristics of eight plant species (representing four plant functional groups) respond to a gradient of experimental nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) enrichment. Specifically, we examined a set of chlorophyll fluorescence measures related to photosynthetic efficiency, performance and stress, and two leaf nutrient traits (leaf %C and %N), across an experimental nutrient gradient at the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research site, located in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, Alaska. In addition, we explicitly assessed the direct relationships between chlorophyll fluorescence and leaf %N. We found significant differences in physiological and nutrient traits between species and plant functional groups, and we found that species within one functional group (deciduous shrubs) have significantly greater leaf %N at high levels of nutrient addition. In addition, we found positive, saturating relationships between leaf %N and chlorophyll fluorescence measures across all species. Our results highlight species-specific differences in leaf nutrient traits and physiology in this ecosystem. In particular, the effects of a gradient of nutrient enrichment were most prominent in deciduous plant species, the plant functional group known to be increasing in relative abundance with warming in this ecosystem.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

PLOS ONE Staff (2020)

Correction: Long-term ecological research in southern Brazil grasslands: Effects of grazing exclusion and deferred grazing on plant and arthropod communities.

PloS one, 15(2):e0229219.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227706.].

RevDate: 2020-02-14

Armeli Minicante S, Piredda R, Quero GM, et al (2019)

Habitat Heterogeneity and Connectivity: Effects on the Planktonic Protist Community Structure at Two Adjacent Coastal Sites (the Lagoon and the Gulf of Venice, Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) Revealed by Metabarcoding.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:2736.

The Lagoon of Venice (LoV) and the Gulf of Venice (GoV), two adjacent coastal Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites in the northern Adriatic Sea, represent a transitional/marine coupled ecosystem under the influence of regional and local factors. In this study, these sites were sampled on four dates from April 2016 to February 2017 for environmental DNA and relevant abiotic variables, aiming to assess the relative importance of habitat heterogeneity and connectivity in structuring the protist community. High Throughput Sequencing of V4-18S rRNA gene from 56 samples collected at seven stations produced ca 6 million reads, grouped into 7,336 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) at 97% similarity, which were affiliated to protists belonging to 34 taxonomic groups. The whole community was dominated by Bacillariophyta, especially in spring-summer in the LoV, and by Dinophyta, mainly in the GoV. Ciliophora, Syndiniales, and Cryptophyceae were the next more abundant groups. The community structure varied across the seasons and was different in the two ecosystems, which shared 96% of the reads but showed a high proportion of OTUs distributed preferentially in one of the two sites (specialists) and a different partitioning of trophic categories. GoV specialists were mainly Dinophyceae (>56%), followed by Syndiniales and Bacillariophyta, while the LoV specialists were distributed among several groups, including Bacillariophyta, Syndiniales, Ciliophora, Cryptophyceae, and Trebouxiophyceae. The main abiotic drivers of the differences between protist communities were salinity and temperature, which however explained a minor part of the variance (17%), pointing at a higher relevance of biotic factors and inter-taxa relationships. This was more evident in the LoV, where the network analysis highlighted a higher number of OTUs' connections than in the GoV. Overall, the metabarcoding approach allowed to depict the composition of the whole protist community in the lagoon and adjacent coastal waters with high resolution, revealing many taxa so far not reported in the area. In addition, despite no clear barrier to dispersal processes, differences in the relative abundance and temporal variability of local protist communities indicate that environmental heterogeneity, in these adjacent and connected ecosystems, can be strong enough to allow for ecological segregation.

RevDate: 2020-03-25
CmpDate: 2020-03-25

Alejandre-Colomo C, Harder J, Fuchs BM, et al (2020)

High-throughput cultivation of heterotrophic bacteria during a spring phytoplankton bloom in the North Sea.

Systematic and applied microbiology, 43(2):126066.

On-going studies of phytoplankton-bacterioplankton interactions at the long-term ecological research site Helgoland Roads have indicated that many of the heterotrophic bacterial taxa have not yet been cultivated. A high-throughput approach combining whole cell matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization - time of flight mass spectroscopy with 16S rRNA gene sequencing was applied to the spring bloom of 2016. Aiming at an assessment of cultivability during a spring bloom, cultivation on solid marine media had to be used since dilution to extinction would not have been feasible for a high-throughput approach, as performed in this study. A total of 5023 isolates were obtained from nine weekly samples on eight different solid media between the early-bloom and post-bloom periods. Most of the 4136 strains identified affiliated with Bacteroidetes (13.3%), Gammaproteobacteria (26.9%), Alphaproteobacteria (40.6%) and Actinobacteria (6.7%). Of the 271 operational phylogenetic units (OPUs) identified, 13 are likely to represent novel genera and 143 novel species. A comparison with 16S rRNA gene tag data indicated that most of the isolates were rather rare in surface waters, with the exception of five OPUs affiliating with Rhodobacteraceae, Polaribacter, Psychromonas and Pseudoalteromonas. The effort yielded many novel isolates, yet most of the abundant heterotrophic bacteria still remained elusive. The large strain collection obtained will not only provide insights into the succession of the cultivable fraction of the bacterioplankton, but also enable fine-tuned taxonomic and physiological follow-up studies for improving our knowledge on heterotrophic bacteria in North Sea waters.

RevDate: 2020-02-21

PLOS ONE Staff (2020)

Correction: Long-term ecological research in southern Brazil grasslands: Effects of grazing exclusion and deferred grazing on plant and arthropod communities.

PloS one, 15(2):e0228886.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227706.].

RevDate: 2020-06-30

Kominoski JS, Gaiser EE, Castañeda-Moya E, et al (2020)

Disturbance legacies increase and synchronize nutrient concentrations and bacterial productivity in coastal ecosystems.

Ecology, 101(5):e02988.

Long-term ecological research can resolve effects of disturbance on ecosystem dynamics by capturing the scale of disturbance and interactions with environmental changes. To quantify how disturbances interact with long-term directional changes (sea-level rise, freshwater restoration), we studied 17 yr of monthly dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total nitrogen (TN), and phosphorus (TP) concentrations and bacterioplankton productivity across freshwater-to-marine estuary gradients exposed to multiple disturbance events (e.g., droughts, fire, hurricanes, and low-temperature anomalies) and long-term increases in water levels. By studying two neighboring drainages that differ in hydrologic connectivity, we additionally tested how disturbance legacies are shaped by hydrologic connectivity. We predicted that disturbance events would interact with long-term increases in water levels in freshwater and marine ecosystems to increase spatiotemporal similarity (i.e., synchrony) of organic matter, nutrients, and microbial activities. Wetlands along the larger, deeper, and tidally influenced Shark River Slough (SRS) drainage had higher and more variable DOC, TN, and TP concentrations than wetlands along the smaller, shallower, tidally restricted Taylor River Slough/Panhandle (TS/Ph) drainage. Along SRS, DOC concentrations declined with proximity to coast, and increased in magnitude and variability following drought and flooding in 2015 and a hurricane in 2017. Along TS/Ph, DOC concentrations varied by site (higher in marine than freshwater wetlands) but not year. In both drainages, increases in TN from upstream freshwater marshes occurred following fire in 2008 and droughts in 2010 and 2015, whereas downstream increases in TP occurred with coastal storm surge from hurricanes in 2005 and 2017. Decreases in DOC:TN and DOC:TP were explained by increased TN and TP. Increases in bacterioplankton productivity occurred throughout both drainages following low-temperature events (2010 and 2011) and a hurricane (2017). Long-term TN and TP concentrations and bacterioplankton productivity were correlated (r > 0.5) across a range of sampling distances (1-50 km), indicating spatiotemporal synchrony. DOC concentrations were not synchronized across space or time. Our study advances disturbance ecology theory by illustrating how disturbance events interact with long-term environmental changes and hydrologic connectivity to determine the magnitude and extent of disturbance legacies. Understanding disturbance legacies will enhance prediction and enable more effective management of rapidly changing ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-04-15

Batavia C, Nelson MP, AD Wallach (2020)

The moral residue of conservation.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology [Epub ahead of print].

Should conservationists use lethal management to control introduced wildlife populations? Should they kill individual animals to protect endangered species? Are trade-offs that prioritize some values at the expense of others morally appropriate? These sorts of ethical questions are common in conservation. In debating such questions, conservationists often seem to presume 1 of 2 possible answers: the act in question is right or it is wrong. But morality in conservation is considerably more complex than this simple binary suggests. A robust conservation ethic requires a vocabulary that gives voice to the uncertainty and unease that arise when what seems to be the best available course of action also seems to involve a measure of wrongdoing. The philosophical literature on moral residue and moral dilemmas supplies this vocabulary. Moral dilemmas arise when one must neglect certain moral requirements to fulfill others. Under such circumstances, even the best possible decision leaves a moral residue, which is experienced emotionally as some form of grief. Examples of conservation scenarios that leave a moral residue include management of introduced rabbits in Australia, trophy hunting in Africa, and forest management trade-offs in the Pacific Northwest. Moral residue is integral to the moral experience of conservationists today, and grief is an appropriate response to many decisions conservationists must make. Article impact statement: Defensible conservation decisions may neglect moral requirements, leaving a moral residue; conservationists should respond with grief.

RevDate: 2020-04-15
CmpDate: 2020-04-15

Ferreira PMA, Andrade BO, Podgaiski LR, et al (2020)

Long-term ecological research in southern Brazil grasslands: Effects of grazing exclusion and deferred grazing on plant and arthropod communities.

PloS one, 15(1):e0227706.

Grazing exclusion may lead to biodiversity loss and homogenization of naturally heterogeneous and species-rich grassland ecosystems, and these effects may cascade to higher trophic levels and ecosystem properties. Although grazing exclusion has been studied elsewhere, the consequences of alleviating the disturbance regime in grassland ecosystems remain unclear. In this paper, we present results of the first five years of an experiment in native grasslands of southern Brazil. Using a randomized block experimental design, we examined the effects of three grazing treatments on plant and arthropod communities: (i) deferred grazing (i.e., intermittent grazing), (ii) grazing exclusion and (iii) a control under traditional continuous grazing, which were applied to 70 x 70 m experimental plots, in six regionally distributed blocks. We evaluated plant community responses regarding taxonomic and functional diversity (life-forms) in separate spatial components: alpha (1 x 1 m subplots), beta, and gamma (70 x 70 m plots), as well as the cascading effects on arthropod high-taxa. By estimating effect sizes (treatments vs. control) by bootstrap resampling, both deferred grazing and grazing exclusion mostly increased vegetation height, plant biomass and standing dead biomass. The effect of grazing exclusion on plant taxonomic diversity was negative. Conversely, deferred grazing increased plant taxonomic diversity, but both treatments reduced plant functional diversity. Reduced grazing pressure in both treatments promoted the break of dominance by prostrate species, followed by fast homogenization of vegetation structure towards dominance of ligneous and erect species. These changes in the plant community led to increases in high-taxa richness and abundance of vegetation-dwelling arthropod groups under both treatments, but had no detectable effects on epigeic arthropods. Our results indicate that decision-making regarding the conservation of southern Brazil grasslands should include both intensive and alleviated levels of grazing management, but not complete grazing exclusion, to maximize conservation results when considering plant and arthropod communities.

RevDate: 2020-04-02

Mazzei V, Wilson BJ, Servais S, et al (2020)

Periphyton as an indicator of saltwater intrusion into freshwater wetlands: insights from experimental manipulations.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 30(3):e02067.

Saltwater intrusion has particularly large impacts on karstic wetlands of the Caribbean Basin due to their porous, carbonate bedrock and low elevation. Increases in salinity and phosphorus (P) accompanying saltwater intrusion into these freshwater, P-limited wetlands are expected to alter biogeochemical cycles along with the structure and function of plant and algal communities. Calcareous periphyton is a characteristic feature of karstic wetlands and plays a central role in trophic dynamics, carbon storage, and nutrient cycling. Periphyton is extremely sensitive to water quality and quantity, but the effects of saltwater intrusion on these microbial mats remain to be understood. We conducted an ex situ mesocosm experiment to test the independent and combined effects of elevated salinity and P on the productivity, nutrient content, and diatom composition of calcareous periphyton from the Florida Everglades. We measured periphyton total carbon, nitrogen, and P concentrations and used settlement plates to measure periphyton accumulation rates and diatom species composition. The light and dark bottle method was used to measure periphyton productivity and respiration. We found that exposure to ~1 g P·m-2 ·yr-1 significantly increased periphyton mat total P concentrations, but had no effect on any other response variable. Mats exposed to elevated salinity (~22 kg salt·m-2 ·yr-1) had significantly lower total carbon and tended to have lower biomass and reduced productivity and respiration rates; however, mats exposed to salinity and P simultaneously had greater gross and net productivity. We found strong diatom species dissimilarity between fresh- and saltwater-treated periphyton, while P additions only elicited compositional changes in periphyton also treated with saltwater. This study contributes to our understanding of how the ecologically important calcareous periphyton mats unique to karstic, freshwater wetlands respond to increased salinity and P caused saltwater intrusion and provides a guide to diatom indicator taxa for these two important environmental drivers.

RevDate: 2020-05-24
CmpDate: 2020-05-07

Battisti C, Dodaro G, G Fanelli (2020)

Polystyrene seedling trays used as substrate by native plants.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 27(6):6690-6694.

Among polymers, expanded polystyrene (EPS) is increasingly abundant as a form of anthropogenic litter in natural environments, particularly along waterways. Nevertheless, there is still no research focusing on the interaction between this type of litter and biodiversity components. In this note, we reported the first evidence of an interaction between EPS and living native plants along an artificial drainage channel in a land reclaimed area of Tyrrhenian central Italy. We sampled a number of EPS seedling trays, deriving from agricultural activities, obtaining evidence for an interaction between this polymer and plants: on a total of 231 available seedling holes, 16.88% have been occupied from six species (Lycopus europaeus, Poa cfr. trivialis, Stachys palustris, Silene sp., Phragmites australis, Parietariajudaica). The set of species occurring on floating polystyrene trays appears comparable to that occurring on the sides of the land reclaimed channels (locally, L. europaeus and S. palustris are among the most common species of the riverine vegetation). Therefore, it is very probable that floating trays are a random sample of the seed rain of the vegetation of the sides of the channels. However, more research is needed to assess if the plant assemblage growing on EPS is random process or if peculiar substrate exerts some sort of selection on the plant community.

RevDate: 2019-12-18

Suari Y, Dadon-Pilosof A, Sade T, et al (2019)

A long term physical and biogeochemical database of a hyper-eutrophicated Mediterranean micro-estuary.

Data in brief, 27:104809.

Ruppin's Estuarine and Coastal Observatory (RECO) is a Long-Term Ecological Research station positioned on the East Mediterranean shoreline between Tel-Aviv and Haifa, Israel. We present a comprehensive online database and an accompanying website that provides direct access to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the local coastal marine ecosystem and the Alexander micro estuary. It includes three databases that are updated continuously since 2014: a) In situ stationary sensors data (10 min intervals) of surface and bottom temperature, salinity, oxygen and water level measured at three stations along the estuary. b) Monthly profiles and discrete biogeochemical samples (surface and bottom water) of multiple parameters at four stations located at the inland part of the estuary. Measured parameters include concentrations of chlorophyll-a, microalgae and bacteria (counted with a flow cytometer), Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonium, Phosphate, total N, total P, particulate organic matter (POM), total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), as well as Secchi depth in each station c) Bi-weekly profiles, chlorophyll-a concentrations and cell counts at two marine stations adjacent to the estuary, (1, and 7 Km from the estuary mouth, at bottom depths of 8 and 48 m). The database also includes historical data for the Taninim micro-estuary (2014-2016). The RECO observatory provides a unique data set documenting the interaction of highly eutrophicated estuarine water with the ultra-oligotrophic seawater of the Eastern Mediterranean. This combination results in sharp gradients of salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients over very small scales (centimeters to meters) and therefore offers an important data set for the coastal shelf research community. The data set also provide a long-term baseline of the estuary hydrography and geochemistry with the hope to foster effective science-based management and environmental planning of this and similar systems.

RevDate: 2020-05-15
CmpDate: 2020-05-15

Pimentel CR, Andrades R, Ferreira CEL, et al (2020)

BRUVS reveal locally extinct shark and the way for shark monitoring in Brazilian oceanic islands.

Journal of fish biology, 96(2):539-542.

Here we present records of sharks obtained using baited remote underwater stereo-video systems (stereo-BRUVS) at two Brazilian oceanic islands. Fourteen of the 60 deployments recorded 19 sharks in Trindade Island. In Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago (SPSPA), two pelagic and two demersal deployments recorded two and one shark, respectively, including the locally extinct Galapagos shark Carcharhinus galapagensis. Stereo-BRUVS should be considered as adjuncts to other non-invasive methods to monitor shark populations.

RevDate: 2020-01-22
CmpDate: 2020-01-22

Virdis SGP, Soodcharoen N, Lugliè A, et al (2020)

Estimation of satellite-derived lake water surface temperatures in the western Mediterranean: Integrating multi-source, multi-resolution imagery and a long-term field dataset using a time series approach.

The Science of the total environment, 707:135567.

Lake surface water temperature (LSWT) is a key parameter to help study the environmental and ecological impacts of climate change. In this work, we measured the LSWT of 1 natural and 23 artificial lakes located on the island of Sardinia in the western Mediterranean, which is a region where changes in climate are projected to have significant impacts. By integrating multi-source and multi-resolution datasets of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat and long-term in situ temperature observations, we detected, measured, and analysed the LSWT trends during the period of 2000-2018 across all the investigated lakes. Methodologically, we demonstrated that a simplified approached based on Planck's equation for Landsat thermal infrared (TIR) data could be a valid alternative to radiative transfer equation retrieval methods for the retrieval of LSWT without loss of accuracy. Moreover, we demonstrated that rescaled and independently validated MOD112A-derived LSWT showed good accuracy, efficiently filled the spatial and temporal gaps in long-term in situ LSWT, and could be used for long-term LSWT trend detection and measurement. All 24 lakes showed an annual warming trend of +0.010 °C/y, warming winter trend of +0.013 °C/y, and cooling summer trend of -0.038 °C/y during the period of 2000-2018. This study demonstrated that the measured trend rates could be explained by and were strongly correlated with the climatology of Italy for the 2000-2018 period. Finally, we demonstrated the key role and the importance of the availability of long-term in situ temperature datasets. The approach used in this study is up-scalable to other medium to low-resolution TIR sensors as well as to other long-term monitoring sites, such as LTER-Italy, LTER-Europe, or ILTER sites.

RevDate: 2020-04-08
CmpDate: 2020-04-06

Kang JY, Kwon YS, Jeong G, et al (2019)

Characteristics of Microbial Communities of Pachygrontha antennata (Hemiptera: Pachygronthidae) in Relation to Habitat Variables.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(23):.

The microbial community interacts with the environment and the health and immune function of its host both directly and indirectly. However, very few studies about microbial communities have considered habitat and external environmental variables. This study examined environmental influences on the microbial community of Pachygrontha antennata, which is found in various habitats (e.g., urban, forested, and agricultural areas). The results demonstrated that the composition of the microbial community differed according to land use, while the bacterial diversity did not. In urban areas with high environmental heterogeneity, microbial community diversity tended to be high. Furthermore, bacteria in forests and agricultural areas (e.g., Paraburkholderia, Burkholderia) have been found to be highly correlated with habitat variables. Therefore, we suggest that habitat variables should be considered in future symbiotic studies.

RevDate: 2020-02-11

O'Connor RC, Taylor JH, JB Nippert (2020)

Browsing and fire decreases dominance of a resprouting shrub in woody encroached grassland.

Ecology, 101(2):e02935.

North American grasslands have experienced increased relative abundance of shrubs and trees over the last 150 yr. Alterations in herbivore composition, abundance, and grazing pressure along with changes in fire frequency are drivers that can regulate the transition from grassland to shrubland or woodland (a process known as woody encroachment). Historically, North American grasslands had a suite of large herbivores that grazed and/or browsed (i.e., bison, elk, pronghorn, deer), as well as frequent and intense fires. In the tallgrass prairie, many large native ungulates were extirpated by the 1860s, corresponding with increased homesteading (which led to decreased fire frequencies and intensities). Changes in the frequency and intensity of these two drivers (browsing and fire) have coincided with woody encroachment in tallgrass prairie. Within tallgrass prairie, woody encroachment can be categorized in to two groups: non-resprouting species that can be killed with fire and resprouting species that cannot be killed with fire. Resprouting species require additional active management strategies to decrease abundance and eventually be removed from the ecosystem. In this study, we investigated plant cover, ramet density, and physiological effects of continuous simulated browsing and prescribed fire on Cornus drummondii C.A. Mey, a resprouting clonal native shrub species. Browsing reduced C. drummondii canopy cover and increased grass cover. We also observed decreased ramet density, which allowed for more infilling of grasses. Photosynthetic rates between browsed and unbrowsed control shrubs did not increase in 2015 or 2016. In 2017, photosynthetic rates for browsed shrubs were higher in the unburned site than the unbrowsed control shrubs at the end of the growing season. Additionally, after the prescribed fire, browsed shrubs had ~90% decreased cover, ~50% reduced ramet density, and grass cover increased by ~80%. In the roots of browsed shrubs after the prescribed fire, nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) experienced a twofold reduction in glucose and a threefold reduction in both sucrose and starch. The combined effects of browsing and fire show strong potential as a successful management tool to decrease the abundance of clonal-resprouting woody plants in mesic grasslands and illustrate the potential significance of browsers as a key driver in this ecosystem.

RevDate: 2020-02-11

Gross A, Lin Y, Weber PK, et al (2020)

The role of soil redox conditions in microbial phosphorus cycling in humid tropical forests.

Ecology, 101(2):e02928.

Humid tropical forests are among the most productive ecosystems globally, yet they often occur on soils with high phosphorus (P) sorption capacity, lowering P availability to biota. Short-term anoxic events are thought to release sorbed P and enhance its acquisition by soil microbes. However, the actual effects of anoxic conditions on microbial P acquisition in humid tropical forest soils are surprisingly poorly studied. We used laboratory incubations of bulk soils, NanoSIMS analysis of single microbial cells, and landscape-scale measurements in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), Puerto Rico to test the hypothesis that anoxic conditions increase microbial P acquisition in humid tropical forests. In laboratory and field experiments, we found that microbial P uptake generally decreased under anoxic conditions, leading to high microbial carbon (C) to P ratios in anoxic soils. The decreased P acquisition under anoxic conditions was correlated with lower microbial C use efficiency (CUE), an index of microbial energy transfer in ecosystems. Phosphorus amendments to anoxic soils led to increased microbial P uptake and higher CUE suggesting that microbes were less able to access and utilize P under natural low redox conditions. Under oxic conditions, microbial C:P ratios and CUE did not respond to changes in substrate stoichiometry. These results challenge the existing paradigm by showing that anoxic conditions can decrease microbial P uptake and ultimately constrain microbial CUE. Our findings indicate that soil redox conditions tightly couple soil P and C cycles and advance our understanding of controls on P cycling in humid tropical forest ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-03-16
CmpDate: 2020-03-16

Battisti C (2020)

Heterogeneous composition of anthropogenic litter recorded in nests of Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) from a small Mediterranean island.

Marine pollution bulletin, 150:110682.

This note reports data about a heterogeneous assemblage of anthropogenic litter recorded in 307 nesting and roosting sites of Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) from a small Mediterranean island. I obtained items of anthropogenic litter on > 30% on the total, with plastic, glass and paper the significantly more abundant litter categories. Litter items were found in the nests mainly as a dry remnant in the regurgitated pellets. Fragments of expanded polystyrene (EPS) with peck marks were also recorded, these last transported to the nests because of their resemblance to the cuttlebones of the Sepia cuttlefish. Ingestion of this litter and the pecking on EPS can negatively impact on seabirds. Moreover, the presence of this litter highlights a transport of polluting material even at considerable distance from anthropized areas. Finally, the presence of scavenger species (an endemic lizard and terrestrial molluscs) feeding on food remains could suggest an assimilation of litter into the trophic webs.

RevDate: 2020-06-15
CmpDate: 2020-06-15

Obertegger U, Pindo M, G Flaim (2019)

Multifaceted aspects of synchrony between freshwater prokaryotes and protists.

Molecular ecology, 28(19):4500-4512.

Community composition of freshwater prokaryotes and protists varies through time. Few studies contemporarily investigate temporal variation of these freshwater communities for more than 1 year. We compared the temporal patterns of prokaryotes and protists in three distinct habitats for 4 years (2014-2017) in Lake Tovel, a cold-water lake. This lake showed a marked temperature increase in 2017 linked to altered precipitation patterns. We investigated whether microbial communities reflected this change across habitats and whether changes occurred at the same time and to the same extent. Furthermore, we tested the concept of hydrological year emphasizing the ecological effect of water renewal on communities for its explanatory power of community changes. Microbe diversity was assessed by Illumina sequencing of the V3-V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene and 18S rRNA gene, and we applied co-inertia analysis and asymmetric eigenvector maps modelling to infer synchrony and temporal patterns of prokaryotes and protists. When considering community composition, microbes were invariable in synchrony across habitats and indicated a temporal gradient linked to decreasing precipitation; however, when looking at temporal patterns, the extent of synchrony was reduced. Small-scale patterns were similar across habitats and microbes and linked to seasonally varying environmental variables, while large-scale patterns were different and partially linked to an ecosystem change as indicated by increasing water transparency and temperature and decreasing dissolved oxygen. Our advanced statistical approach outlined the multifaceted aspect of synchrony when linked to community composition and temporal patterns.

RevDate: 2020-03-30
CmpDate: 2020-03-30

Komatsu KJ, Avolio ML, Lemoine NP, et al (2019)

Global change effects on plant communities are magnified by time and the number of global change factors imposed.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(36):17867-17873.

Global change drivers (GCDs) are expected to alter community structure and consequently, the services that ecosystems provide. Yet, few experimental investigations have examined effects of GCDs on plant community structure across multiple ecosystem types, and those that do exist present conflicting patterns. In an unprecedented global synthesis of over 100 experiments that manipulated factors linked to GCDs, we show that herbaceous plant community responses depend on experimental manipulation length and number of factors manipulated. We found that plant communities are fairly resistant to experimentally manipulated GCDs in the short term (<10 y). In contrast, long-term (≥10 y) experiments show increasing community divergence of treatments from control conditions. Surprisingly, these community responses occurred with similar frequency across the GCD types manipulated in our database. However, community responses were more common when 3 or more GCDs were simultaneously manipulated, suggesting the emergence of additive or synergistic effects of multiple drivers, particularly over long time periods. In half of the cases, GCD manipulations caused a difference in community composition without a corresponding species richness difference, indicating that species reordering or replacement is an important mechanism of community responses to GCDs and should be given greater consideration when examining consequences of GCDs for the biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship. Human activities are currently driving unparalleled global changes worldwide. Our analyses provide the most comprehensive evidence to date that these human activities may have widespread impacts on plant community composition globally, which will increase in frequency over time and be greater in areas where communities face multiple GCDs simultaneously.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Smith AL, Kujala H, Lahoz-Monfort JJ, et al (2019)

Managing uncertainty in movement knowledge for environmental decisions.

Conservation letters, 12(3):e12620.

Species' movements affect their response to environmental change but movement knowledge is often highly uncertain. We now have well-established methods to integrate movement knowledge into conservation practice but still lack a framework to deal with uncertainty in movement knowledge for environmental decisions. We provide a framework that distinguishes two dimensions of species' movement that are heavily influenced by uncertainty: knowledge about movement and relevance of movement to environmental decisions. Management decisions can be informed by their position in this knowledge-relevance space. We then outline a framework to support decisions around (1) increasing understanding of the relevance of movement knowledge, (2) increasing robustness of decisions to uncertainties and (3) improving knowledge on species' movement. Our decision-support framework provides guidance for managing movement-related uncertainty in systematic conservation planning, agri-environment schemes, habitat restoration and international biodiversity policy. It caters to different resource levels (time and funding) so that species' movement knowledge can be more effectively integrated into environmental decisions.

RevDate: 2020-03-16
CmpDate: 2020-03-16

Mai ACG, Albuquerque CQ, Lemos VM, et al (2019)

Coastal zone use and migratory behaviour of the southern population of Mugil liza in Brazil.

Journal of fish biology, 95(5):1207-1214.

We analysed the ratios Sr:Ca and Ba:Ca in the otoliths of 55 adults of the southern population of Mugil liza in Brazil (Paraná to Rio Grande do Sul) to investigate its coastal zone use and migratory behaviour. All individual M. liza analysed had Sr:Ca and Ba:Ca values indicating that their birth was in the marine environment, which is consistent with the southern population migration to spawn in the ocean,. Juveniles exhibited at least three coastal use and recruitment strategies (contingents): the majority (89%) of M. liza juveniles migrated toward brackish water. They entered the estuary before completing the first year of life (64%) or after (25%) their first year of life. The remaining 11% did not appear to enter brackish or freshwater water as a nursery or at any point in their life cycle. Some adults returned to the estuary after spawning in the ocean but others (of both sexes) never returned to the estuary after spawning, remaining in the marine environment. The pattern of juvenile habitat use in the Brazilian southern population of M. liza seems to be recurrent throughout the extent of its distribution as a consequence of the reproductive spawning aggregation behaviour, which mixes all contingents (with marine or estuarine preferences).

RevDate: 2020-03-16
CmpDate: 2020-03-16

Felton AJ, Slette IJ, Smith MD, et al (2020)

Precipitation amount and event size interact to reduce ecosystem functioning during dry years in a mesic grassland.

Global change biology, 26(2):658-668.

Ongoing intensification of the hydrological cycle is altering rainfall regimes by increasing the frequency of extreme wet and dry years and the size of individual rainfall events. Despite long-standing recognition of the importance of precipitation amount and variability for most terrestrial ecosystem processes, we lack understanding of their interactive effects on ecosystem functioning. We quantified this interaction in native grassland by experimentally eliminating temporal variability in growing season rainfall over a wide range of precipitation amounts, from extreme wet to dry conditions. We contrasted the rain use efficiency (RUE) of above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) under conditions of experimentally reduced versus naturally high rainfall variability using a 32-year precipitation-ANPP dataset from the same site as our experiment. We found that increased growing season rainfall variability can reduce RUE and thus ecosystem functioning by as much as 42% during dry years, but that such impacts weaken as years become wetter. During low precipitation years, RUE is lowest when rainfall event sizes are relatively large, and when a larger proportion of total rainfall is derived from large events. Thus, a shift towards precipitation regimes dominated by fewer but larger rainfall events, already documented over much of the globe, can be expected to reduce the functioning of mesic ecosystems primarily during drought, when ecosystem processes are already compromised by low water availability.

RevDate: 2020-04-16
CmpDate: 2020-03-12

da Silva LP, Mata VA, Lopes PB, et al (2019)

Advancing the integration of multi-marker metabarcoding data in dietary analysis of trophic generalists.

Molecular ecology resources, 19(6):1420-1432.

The application of DNA metabarcoding to dietary analysis of trophic generalists requires using multiple markers in order to overcome problems of primer specificity and bias. However, limited attention has been given to the integration of information from multiple markers, particularly when they partly overlap in the taxa amplified, and vary in taxonomic resolution and biases. Here, we test the use of a mix of universal and specific markers, provide criteria to integrate multi-marker metabarcoding data and a python script to implement such criteria and produce a single list of taxa ingested per sample. We then compare the results of dietary analysis based on morphological methods, single markers, and the proposed combination of multiple markers. The study was based on the analysis of 115 faeces from a small passerine, the Black Wheatears (Oenanthe leucura). Morphological analysis detected far fewer plant taxa (12) than either a universal 18S marker (57) or the plant trnL marker (124). This may partly reflect the detection of secondary ingestion by molecular methods. Morphological identification also detected far fewer taxa (23) than when using 18S (91) or the arthropod markers IN16STK (244) and ZBJ (231), though each method missed or underestimated some prey items. Integration of multi-marker data provided far more detailed dietary information than any single marker and estimated higher frequencies of occurrence of all taxa. Overall, our results show the value of integrating data from multiple, taxonomically overlapping markers in an example dietary data set.

RevDate: 2019-08-06

Colombo N, Salerno F, Martin M, et al (2019)

Influence of permafrost, rock and ice glaciers on chemistry of high-elevation ponds (NW Italian Alps).

The Science of the total environment, 685:886-901.

Permafrost degradation, rock-glacier thawing, and glacier retreat are influencing surface water quality at high elevations. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the dominant geochemical reactions occurring in different cryospheric conditions and how these reactions change during the ice-free season. In the Col d'Olen area (LTER site, NW Italian Alps), four ponds with similar sizes, located in basins with different cryospheric features (glacier, permafrost, rock glacier, none of these), are present in a geographically limited area. All ponds were sampled weekly in 2015 and partially in 2014. Major ions, selected trace elements, and biotic parameters (dissolved organic carbon-DOC, fluorescence index-FI, and nitrate) are examined to evidence the effect of different cryospheric features on water characteristics. Where cryospheric conditions occur chemical weathering is more intensive, with strong seasonal increase of major ions. Sulphide oxidation dominates in glacier and permafrost lying on acid rocks, probably driven by enhanced weathering of freshly exposed rocks in subglacial environment and recently deglaciated areas, and active layer thickness increase. Differently, carbonation dominates for the rock glacier lying on ultramafic rocks. There, high Ni concentrations originate from dissolution of Mg-bearing rocks in the landform. In all settings, pH neutralisation occurs because of the presence of secondary carbonate lithology and ultramafic rocks. Nitrate highest concentrations and changes occur in cryospheric settings while DOC and FI do not show strong differences and seasonal variations. The establishment of more frequent monitoring for water quality in high-elevated surface waters is necessary to provide greater statistical power to detect changes on longer time scales.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Roy Chowdhury T, Lee JY, Bottos EM, et al (2019)

Metaphenomic Responses of a Native Prairie Soil Microbiome to Moisture Perturbations.

mSystems, 4(4):.

Climate change is causing shifts in precipitation patterns in the central grasslands of the United States, with largely unknown consequences on the collective physiological responses of the soil microbial community, i.e., the metaphenome. Here, we used an untargeted omics approach to determine the soil microbial community's metaphenomic response to soil moisture and to define specific metabolic signatures of the response. Specifically, we aimed to develop the technical approaches and metabolic mapping framework necessary for future systematic ecological studies. We collected soil from three locations at the Konza Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) field station in Kansas, and the soils were incubated for 15 days under dry or wet conditions and compared to field-moist controls. The microbiome response to wetting or drying was determined by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, metatranscriptomics, and metabolomics, and the resulting shifts in taxa, gene expression, and metabolites were assessed. Soil drying resulted in significant shifts in both the composition and function of the soil microbiome. In contrast, there were few changes following wetting. The combined metabolic and metatranscriptomic data were used to generate reaction networks to determine the metaphenomic response to soil moisture transitions. Site location was a strong determinant of the response of the soil microbiome to moisture perturbations. However, some specific metabolic pathways changed consistently across sites, including an increase in pathways and metabolites for production of sugars and other osmolytes as a response to drying. Using this approach, we demonstrate that despite the high complexity of the soil habitat, it is possible to generate insight into the effect of environmental change on the soil microbiome and its physiology and functions, thus laying the groundwork for future, targeted studies.IMPORTANCE Climate change is predicted to result in increased drought extent and intensity in the highly productive, former tallgrass prairie region of the continental United States. These soils store large reserves of carbon. The decrease in soil moisture due to drought has largely unknown consequences on soil carbon cycling and other key biogeochemical cycles carried out by soil microbiomes. In this study, we found that soil drying had a significant impact on the structure and function of soil microbial communities, including shifts in expression of specific metabolic pathways, such as those leading toward production of osmoprotectant compounds. This study demonstrates the application of an untargeted multi-omics approach to decipher details of the soil microbial community's metaphenotypic response to environmental perturbations and should be applicable to studies of other complex microbial systems as well.

RevDate: 2020-01-08
CmpDate: 2019-10-25

Petrie MD, Peters DPC, Burruss ND, et al (2019)

Differing climate and landscape effects on regional dryland vegetation responses during wet periods allude to future patterns.

Global change biology, 25(10):3305-3318.

Dryland vegetation is influenced by biotic and abiotic land surface template (LST) conditions and precipitation (PPT), such that enhanced vegetation responses to periods of high PPT may be shaped by multiple factors. High PPT stochasticity in the Chihuahuan Desert suggests that enhanced responses across broad geographic areas are improbable. Yet, multiyear wet periods may homogenize PPT patterns, interact with favorable LST conditions, and in this way produce enhanced responses. In contrast, periods containing multiple extreme high PPT pulse events could overwhelm LST influences, suggesting a divergence in how climate change could influence vegetation by altering PPT periods. Using a suite of stacked remote sensing and LST datasets from the 1980s to the present, we evaluated PPT-LST-Vegetation relationships across this region and tested the hypothesis that enhanced vegetation responses would be initiated by high PPT, but that LST favorability would underlie response magnitude, producing geographic differences between wet periods. We focused on two multiyear wet periods; one of above average, regionally distributed PPT (1990-1993) and a second with locally distributed PPT that contained two extreme wet pulses (2006-2008). 1990-1993 had regional vegetation responses that were correlated with soil properties. 2006-2008 had higher vegetation responses over a smaller area that were correlated primarily with PPT and secondarily to soil properties. Within the overlapping PPT area of both periods, enhanced vegetation responses occurred in similar locations. Thus, LST favorability underlied the geographic pattern of vegetation responses, whereas PPT initiated the response and controlled response area and maximum response magnitude. Multiyear periods provide foresight on the differing impacts that directional changes in mean climate and changes in extreme PPT pulses could have in drylands. Our study shows that future vegetation responses during wet periods will be tied to LST favorability, yet will be shaped by the pattern and magnitude of multiyear PPT events.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Ilyashuk EA, Heiri O, Ilyashuk BP, et al (2019)

The Little Ice Age signature in a 700-year high-resolution chironomid record of summer temperatures in the Central Eastern Alps.

Climate dynamics, 52(11):6953-6967.

Despite the fact that the Little Ice Age (LIA) is well documented for the European Alps, substantial uncertainties concerning the regional spatio-temporal patterns of temperature changes associated with the LIA still exist, especially for their eastern sector. Here we present a high-resolution (4-10 years) 700-year long mean July air temperature reconstruction based on subfossil chironomid assemblages from a remote lake in the Austrian Eastern Alps to gain further insights into the LIA climatic deterioration in the region. The record provides evidence for a prolonged period of predominantly cooler conditions during AD 1530-1920, broadly equivalent to the climatically defined LIA in Europe. The main LIA phase appears to have consisted of two cold time intervals divided by slightly warmer episodes in the second half of the 1600s. The most severe cooling occurred during the eighteenth century. The LIA temperature minimum about 1.5 °C below the long-term mean recorded in the mid-1780 s coincides with the strongest volcanic signal found in the Greenland ice cores over the past 700 years and may be, at least in part, a manifestation of cooling that followed the long-lasting AD 1783-1784 Laki eruption. A continuous warming trend is evident since ca AD 1890 (1.1 °C in 120 years). The chironomid-inferred temperatures show a clear correlation with the instrumental data and reveal a close agreement with paleotemperature evidence from regional high-elevation tree-ring chronologies. A considerable amount of the variability in the temperature record may be linked to changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation.

RevDate: 2019-08-07
CmpDate: 2019-08-07

Zettlemoyer MA, Schultheis EH, JA Lau (2019)

Phenology in a warming world: differences between native and non-native plant species.

Ecology letters, 22(8):1253-1263.

Phenology is a harbinger of climate change, with many species advancing flowering in response to rising temperatures. However, there is tremendous variation among species in phenological response to warming, and any phenological differences between native and non-native species may influence invasion outcomes under global warming. We simulated global warming in the field and found that non-native species flowered earlier and were more phenologically plastic to temperature than natives, which did not accelerate flowering in response to warming. Non-native species' flowering also became more synchronous with other community members under warming. Earlier flowering was associated with greater geographic spread of non-native species, implicating phenology as a potential trait associated with the successful establishment of non-native species across large geographic regions. Such phenological differences in both timing and plasticity between native and non-natives are hypothesised to promote invasion success and population persistence, potentially benefiting non-native over native species under climate change.

RevDate: 2019-08-07
CmpDate: 2019-08-07

Borer ET, Lind EM, Firn J, et al (2019)

More salt, please: global patterns, responses and impacts of foliar sodium in grasslands.

Ecology letters, 22(7):1136-1144.

Sodium is unique among abundant elemental nutrients, because most plant species do not require it for growth or development, whereas animals physiologically require sodium. Foliar sodium influences consumption rates by animals and can structure herbivores across landscapes. We quantified foliar sodium in 201 locally abundant, herbaceous species representing 32 families and, at 26 sites on four continents, experimentally manipulated vertebrate herbivores and elemental nutrients to determine their effect on foliar sodium. Foliar sodium varied taxonomically and geographically, spanning five orders of magnitude. Site-level foliar sodium increased most strongly with site aridity and soil sodium; nutrient addition weakened the relationship between aridity and mean foliar sodium. Within sites, high sodium plants declined in abundance with fertilisation, whereas low sodium plants increased. Herbivory provided an explanation: herbivores selectively reduced high nutrient, high sodium plants. Thus, interactions among climate, nutrients and the resulting nutritional value for herbivores determine foliar sodium biogeography in herbaceous-dominated systems.

RevDate: 2020-03-09
CmpDate: 2020-01-14

Hofman MPG, Hayward MW, Heim M, et al (2019)

Right on track? Performance of satellite telemetry in terrestrial wildlife research.

PloS one, 14(5):e0216223.

Satellite telemetry is an increasingly utilized technology in wildlife research, and current devices can track individual animal movements at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. However, as we enter the golden age of satellite telemetry, we need an in-depth understanding of the main technological, species-specific and environmental factors that determine the success and failure of satellite tracking devices across species and habitats. Here, we assess the relative influence of such factors on the ability of satellite telemetry units to provide the expected amount and quality of data by analyzing data from over 3,000 devices deployed on 62 terrestrial species in 167 projects worldwide. We evaluate the success rate in obtaining GPS fixes as well as in transferring these fixes to the user and we evaluate failure rates. Average fix success and data transfer rates were high and were generally better predicted by species and unit characteristics, while environmental characteristics influenced the variability of performance. However, 48% of the unit deployments ended prematurely, half of them due to technical failure. Nonetheless, this study shows that the performance of satellite telemetry applications has shown improvements over time, and based on our findings, we provide further recommendations for both users and manufacturers.

RevDate: 2020-04-08

Mortelmans J, Deneudt K, Cattrijsse A, et al (2019)

Nutrient, pigment, suspended matter and turbidity measurements in the Belgian part of the North Sea.

Scientific data, 6(1):22 pii:10.1038/s41597-019-0032-7.

Through regular sampling surveys, the Flanders Marine Institute is generating long term data series for the Belgian coastal water and sand bank systems, a designated site in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. The data series is built on sampling activities initiated in 2002, but gradually upgraded and extended in the framework of the LifeWatch marine observatory and the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) participation. Nine nearshore stations are sampled monthly, with additional seasonal sampling of eight offshore stations. This paper presents the generated data series for nutrients, pigments, suspended matter and turbidity. The collection, methodology and processing of the 2002-2018 dataset is described, along with its data curation, integration and quality control. Yearly versions of the data are published online in a standardized format, accompanied with extensive metadata description and labelled with digital identifiers for traceability. Data is published under a CC-BY license, allowing use of the data under the condition of providing reference to the original source.

RevDate: 2020-03-09
CmpDate: 2019-09-17

Yeung LY, Haslun JA, Ostrom NE, et al (2019)

In Situ Quantification of Biological N2 Production Using Naturally Occurring 15N15N.

Environmental science & technology, 53(9):5168-5175.

We describe an approach for determining biological N2 production in soils based on the proportions of naturally occurring 15N15N in N2. Laboratory incubation experiments reveal that biological N2 production, whether by denitrification or anaerobic ammonia oxidation, yields proportions of 15N15N in N2 that are within 1‰ of that predicted for a random distribution of 15N and 14N atoms. This relatively invariant isotopic signature contrasts with that of the atmosphere, which has 15N15N proportions in excess of the random distribution by 19.1 ± 0.1‰. Depth profiles of gases in agricultural soils from the Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research site show biological N2 accumulation that accounts for up to 1.6% of the soil N2. One-dimensional reaction-diffusion modeling of these soil profiles suggests that subsurface N2 pulses leading to surface emission rates as low as 0.3 mmol N2 m-2 d-1 can be detected with current analytical precision, decoupled from N2O production.

RevDate: 2019-12-17
CmpDate: 2019-12-11

Wilson BJ, Servais S, Charles SP, et al (2019)

Phosphorus alleviation of salinity stress: effects of saltwater intrusion on an Everglades freshwater peat marsh.

Ecology, 100(5):e02672.

Saltwater intrusion and salinization of coastal wetlands around the world are becoming a pressing issue due to sea level rise. Here, we assessed how a freshwater coastal wetland ecosystem responds to saltwater intrusion. In wetland mesocosms, we continuously exposed Cladium jamaicense Crantz (sawgrass) plants and their peat soil collected from a freshwater marsh to two factors associated with saltwater intrusion in karstic ecosystems: elevated loading of salinity and phosphorus (P) inputs. We took repeated measures using a 2 × 2 factorial experimental design (n = 6) with treatments composed of elevated salinity (~9 ppt), P loading (14.66 μmol P/d), or a combination of both. We measured changes in water physicochemistry, ecosystem productivity, and plant biomass change over two years to assess monthly and two-year responses to saltwater intrusion. In the short-term, plants exhibited positive growth responses with simulated saltwater intrusion (salinity + P), driven by increased P availability. Despite relatively high salinity levels for a freshwater marsh (~9 ppt), gross ecosystem productivity (GEP), net ecosystem productivity (NEP), and aboveground biomass were significantly higher in the elevated salinity + P treated monoliths compared to the freshwater controls. Salinity stress became evident after extended exposure. Although still higher than freshwater controls, GEP and NEP were significantly lower in the elevated salinity + P treatment than the +P treatment after two years. However, elevated salinity decreased live root biomass regardless of whether P was added. Our results suggest that saltwater intrusion into karstic freshwater wetlands may initially act as a subsidy by stimulating aboveground primary productivity of marsh plants. However, chronic exposure to elevated salinity results in plant stress, negatively impacting belowground peat soil structure and stability through a reduction in plant roots.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Chun JH, CB Lee (2019)

Temporal Changes in Species, Phylogenetic, and Functional Diversity of Temperate Tree Communities: Insights From Assembly Patterns.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:294.

Species-based approaches to the analysis of changes in successional community assemblages are limited in the ability to reflect long-term evolutionary and functional trait responses of organisms to environment change. Recent advances in concepts and analyses of community phylogenetics and functional traits have improved the interpretation and understanding of community assembly processes. Here, we examined phylogenetic signals of four functional traits such as maximum height, leaf size, seed mass and wood density in woody plant species and temporal changes in species, phylogenetic, and functional diversity among forest strata (i.e., whole, overstory, and understory strata) at four forest long term ecological research sites in South Korea. A census of woody plant species was implemented in a 1-ha permanent plot of each study site every 5 years. We analyzed community structure and compositional turnover using twenty-five 20 × 20 m2 quadrat data converted from 1-ha plot data of each site. We found that phylogenetic signals for four functional traits were low but significant, indicating that phylogenetic diversity may be used as a crude surrogate measure of functional diversity. Temporal changes in alpha and beta components of the three diversity differed among forest strata and four study sites over time. This study also revealed that the temporal changes of phylogenetic and functional diversity for understory strata in a forest, which were consecutively damaged by typhoon, were more extreme and larger than those of understory strata in the other sites. Therefore, our study supports recent studies that plant community structures differ among forest strata and such differences of community structure among sites can be accelerated by disturbance. Although the role and relative importance of niche-based deterministic and neutral processes for the patterns of successional community structure differed among the study sites, we found niche-based deterministic processes are the dominant drivers in structuring plant community assembly regardless of forest age and disturbance in this study. From these results, our study suggests that contemporary forest ecosystems are composed of mosaics of plant communities that are formed by interactions among various processes.

RevDate: 2019-12-10
CmpDate: 2019-04-29

Crowther TW, Riggs C, Lind EM, et al (2019)

Sensitivity of global soil carbon stocks to combined nutrient enrichment.

Ecology letters, 22(6):936-945.

Soil stores approximately twice as much carbon as the atmosphere and fluctuations in the size of the soil carbon pool directly influence climate conditions. We used the Nutrient Network global change experiment to examine how anthropogenic nutrient enrichment might influence grassland soil carbon storage at a global scale. In isolation, enrichment of nitrogen and phosphorous had minimal impacts on soil carbon storage. However, when these nutrients were added in combination with potassium and micronutrients, soil carbon stocks changed considerably, with an average increase of 0.04 KgCm-2 year-1 (standard deviation 0.18 KgCm-2 year-1). These effects did not correlate with changes in primary productivity, suggesting that soil carbon decomposition may have been restricted. Although nutrient enrichment caused soil carbon gains most dry, sandy regions, considerable absolute losses of soil carbon may occur in high-latitude regions that store the majority of the world's soil carbon. These mechanistic insights into the sensitivity of grassland carbon stocks to nutrient enrichment can facilitate biochemical modelling efforts to project carbon cycling under future climate scenarios.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Scotti A, Tappeiner U, R Bottarin (2019)

Stream benthic macroinvertebrates abundances over a 6-year monitoring period of an Italian glacier-fed stream.

Biodiversity data journal, 7:e33576.

Background: Aquatic macroinvertebrates are widely used as bioindicators for water quality assessments involving different kinds of disruptive factors, such as hydrological regime variations or pollutant spills. Recently, they demonstrated to be effective in monitoring effects of climate change in alpine stream and rivers. Indeed, since the distribution of macroinvertebrates in glacier-fed streams has been succesfully investigated and described by several authors, the discrepancy in presence/absence and quantity of specific taxa from the established models may represent an early warning of the effects of climatic changes occurring in alpine riverine ecosystems.

New information: Together with the present paper, we provide a dataset covering a period of 6 years (2010-2015) sampling of aquatic macroinvertebrates along a longitudinal transect of a glacier-fed stream located in the Italian Alps, inside the International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) macrosite of Matsch|Mazia (IT-25). Data were collected during the glacial melt period (April - September), with monthly resolution. Owing to the unique temporal resolution of the dataset, we aim to produce a reliable tool (i.e. reference point) for future ecological assessment on the same stream, but also to similar streams worldwide.

RevDate: 2019-12-17
CmpDate: 2019-12-11

Zhang Y, Pennings SC, Li B, et al (2019)

Biotic homogenization of wetland nematode communities by exotic Spartina alterniflora in China.

Ecology, 100(4):e02596.

Introduced species may homogenize biotic communities. Whether this homogenization can erase latitudinal patterns of species diversity and composition has not been well studied. We examined this by comparing nematode and microbial communities in stands of native Phragmites australis and exotic Spartina alterniflora in coastal wetlands across 18° of latitude in China. We found clear latitudinal clines in nematode diversity and functional composition, and in microbial composition, for soils collected from native P. australis. These latitudinal patterns were weak or absent for soils collected from nearby stands of the exotic S. alterniflora. Climatic and edaphic variables varied across latitude in similar ways in both community types. In P. australis there were strong correlations between community structure and environmental variables, whereas in S. alterniflora these correlations were weak. These results suggest that the invasion of S. alterniflora into the Chinese coastal wetlands has caused profound biotic homogenization of soil communities across latitude. We speculate that the variation in P. australis nematode and microbial communities across latitude is primarily driven by geographic variation in plant traits, but that such variation in plant traits is largely lacking for the recently introduced exotic S. alterniflora. These results indicate that widespread exotic species can homogenize nematode communities at large spatial scales.

RevDate: 2020-04-01
CmpDate: 2019-09-23

Whitney KD, Mudge J, Natvig DO, et al (2019)

Experimental drought reduces genetic diversity in the grassland foundation species Bouteloua eriopoda.

Oecologia, 189(4):1107-1120.

Understanding the resistance and resilience of foundation plant species to climate change is a critical issue because the loss of these species would fundamentally reshape communities and ecosystem processes. High levels of population genetic diversity may buffer foundation species against climate disruptions, but the strong selective pressures associated with climatic shifts may also rapidly reduce such diversity. We characterized genetic diversity and its responsiveness to experimental drought in the foundation plant, black grama grass (Bouteloua eriopoda), which dominates many western North American grasslands and shrublands. Previous studies suggested that in arid ecosystems, black grama reproduces largely asexually via stolons, and thus is likely to have low genetic variability, which might limit its potential to respond to climate disruptions. Using genotyping-by-sequencing, we demonstrated unexpectedly high genetic variability among black grama plants in a 1 ha site within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, suggesting some level of sexual reproduction. Three years of experimental, growing season drought reduced black grama survival and biomass (the latter by 96%), with clear genetic differentiation (higher FST) between plants succumbing to drought and those remaining alive. Reduced genetic variability in the surviving plants in drought plots indicated that the experimental drought had forced black grama populations through selection bottlenecks. These results suggest that foundation grass species, such as black grama, may experience rapid evolutionary change if future climates include more severe droughts.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Wentz KF, Neff JC, KN Suding (2019)

Leaf temperatures mediate alpine plant communities' response to a simulated extended summer.

Ecology and evolution, 9(3):1227-1243.

We use a quantitative model of photosynthesis to explore leaf-level limitations to plant growth in an alpine tundra ecosystem that is expected to have longer, warmer, and drier growing seasons. The model is parameterized with abiotic and leaf trait data that is characteristic of two dominant plant communities in the alpine tundra and specifically at the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research Site: the dry and wet meadows. Model results produce realistic estimates of photosynthesis, nitrogen-use efficiency, water-use efficiency, and other gas exchange processes in the alpine tundra. Model simulations suggest that dry and wet meadow plant species do not significantly respond to changes in the volumetric soil moisture content but are sensitive to variation in foliar nitrogen content. In addition, model simulations indicate that dry and wet meadow species have different maximum rates of assimilation (normalized for leaf nitrogen content) because of differences in leaf temperature. These differences arise from the interaction of plant height and the abiotic environment characteristic of each plant community. The leaf temperature of dry meadow species is higher than wet meadow species and close to the optimal temperature for photosynthesis under current conditions. As a result, 2°C higher air temperatures in the future will likely lead to declines in dry meadow species' carbon assimilation. On the other hand, a longer and warmer growing season could increase nitrogen availability and assimilation rates in both plant communities. Nonetheless, a temperature increase of 4°C may lower rates of assimilation in both dry and wet meadow plant communities because of higher, and suboptimal, leaf temperatures.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Kazemi M, Kavehvash Z, M Shabany (2019)

K-Space Aware Multi-Static Millimeter-Wave Imaging.

IEEE transactions on image processing : a publication of the IEEE Signal Processing Society [Epub ahead of print].

This paper focuses on an ef?cient approach of designing multi-static arrays for millimeter-wave imaging, based on the k-space or Fourier-spatial domain characteristic of imaging systems. Our goal is to decrease the redundancy of the data measured by each antenna, and to improve the resolution of the reconstructed image. The proposed technique is based on determining the role of each transmitter and receiver, in collecting the data from each voxel of the target in k-space domain and then rotating transmitters' beams to measure the desirable information. The effect of non-uniform redundant k-space domain frequency samples that act as an undesirable ?lter, is compensated using a modi?ed SAR back-projection algorithm. Experimental and simulation results are presented and compared with that of a sparse multi-static array with the same number of transmitters and receivers. Our simulations and measurements show signi?cant improvement in terms of overall quality and edge preservation in the reconstructed images. Also, the obtained results demonstrate that using the proposed structure and algorithm, the average improvement in peak-signalto-noise ratio (PSNR), structural similarity index measure (SSIM) and digital image correlation (DIC) metrics of 3.03 dB, 0.22 and 0.173, are achieved, respectively.

RevDate: 2019-02-19
CmpDate: 2019-02-18

Liang D, Harris LA, Testa JM, et al (2019)

Detection of the effects of stormwater control measure in streams using a Bayesian BACI power analysis.

The Science of the total environment, 661:386-392.

The unpredictable timing and magnitude of precipitation events and the spatiotemporal variability of constituent concentrations are major complications to effective monitoring of watershed nutrient and sediment loads. Furthermore, detecting small changes in constituent loads in response to implementation of Stormwater control measures (SCMs) against natural variability is a challenge. Nevertheless, regulatory frameworks that direct reductions of pollutants to streams frequently depend on the ability to quantify changes in loads after management interventions. The before-after-control impact (BACI) sampling design is often used to assess the effects of an environmental change made at a known point in time. However, this approach may be complicated to apply to nutrient and sediment loads in streams as the relative impact of SCMs on nutrient concentration conditional on the long term variability of discharges has not been evaluated. Multi-scale monitoring studies that provide estimates of the natural temporal and spatial variability of discharge and concentrations could provide useful information in designing a BACI study. Here we use data from the Baltimore Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites and urban restoration sites to develop multiple statistical measures of the effectiveness of a given monitoring scheme in revealing the hypothesized restoration effects in terms of hydrology and nutrient loads. Stratified sampling over baseflow and stormflow and the use of multiple control streams were useful tools to detect long term cumulative reductions in concentrations due to SCMs. Moderate reductions in concentration (20%), however, were not detectable with the design options considered. We emphasize that appropriate pre-planning of monitoring schemes and sampling frequency is essential to determine if the effects on constituent loads resulting from a given watershed restoration activity are measurable.

RevDate: 2019-03-11
CmpDate: 2019-03-11

Battisti C, Staffieri E, Poeta G, et al (2019)

Interactions between anthropogenic litter and birds: A global review with a 'black-list' of species.

Marine pollution bulletin, 138:93-114.

The interaction of anthropogenic litter (by incorporation litter in nests, ingestion, and entanglement) with birds was systematically reviewed using Google Scholar database. A 'black-list' of 258 species was compiled. Among them 206 (79.8%) were seabirds. Four seabird orders (Gaviiformes, Phaetontiformes, Procellariformes, Sphenisciformes) showed the highest percentage of interacting species. At family level, >70% of species of Gaviidae, Diomedeidae, Sulidae, Stercoraridae and Alcidae were involved in interactions with litter. We observed (i) a significant correlation between Scholar recurrences and species citations about anthropogenic litter only when considering seabirds; (ii) a low number of references before 1981 with a bimodal pattern showing a first peak in 1986-90 and a progressively increasing trend in the 2000s. Regarding the type of interaction, there was a significantly higher percentage of species involved in ingestion when compared to the percentage involved in entanglement. We suggest the use of consolidated standardized litter nomenclature and characterization and the adoption of a logical causal chain helping researchers in defining suitable frameworks.

RevDate: 2020-02-25
CmpDate: 2019-02-28

Murphy AE, Kolkmeyer R, Song B, et al (2019)

Bioreactivity and Microbiome of Biodeposits from Filter-Feeding Bivalves.

Microbial ecology, 77(2):343-357.

Bivalves serve an important ecosystem function in delivering organic matter from pelagic to benthic zones and are important in mediating eutrophication. However, the fate of this organic matter (i.e., biodeposits) is an important consideration when assessing the ecological roles of these organisms in coastal ecosystems. In addition to environmental conditions, the processing of biodeposits is dependent on its composition and the metabolic capacity of the associated microbial community. The objectives of this study were to compare the biological reactivity, potential denitrification rates, and microbial communities of biodeposits sourced from different bivalve species: hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria), eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), and ribbed mussel (Geukensia demissa). To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate and compare the microbiome of bivalve biodeposits using high-throughput sequencing and provide important insight into the mechanisms by which bivalves may alter sediment microbial communities and benthic biogeochemical cycles. We show that clam biodeposits had significantly higher bioreactivity compared to mussel and oyster biodeposits, as reflected in higher dissolved inorganic carbon and ammonium production rates in controlled incubations. Potential denitrification rates were also significantly higher for clam biodeposits compared to oyster and mussel biodeposits. The microbial communities associated with the biodeposits were significantly different across bivalve species, with significantly greater abundances of Alteromonadales, Chitinophagales, Rhodobacterales, and Thiotrichales associated with the clam biodeposits. These bioreactivity and microbial differences across bivalve species are likely due to differences in bivalve physiology and feeding behavior and should be considered when evaluating the effects of bivalves on water quality and ecosystem function.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Fujiwara M, Kawamura N, T Okuno (2018)

Preoperative inferior vena cava filter implantation to prevent pulmonary fat embolism in a patient showing renal angiomyolipoma extension into the renal vein: A case report and literature review.

Journal of rural medicine : JRM, 13(2):181-184.

Renal angiomyolipoma without local invasion is usually considered benign entity, however, it may extend into the renal vein or the inferior vena cava. Renal angiomyolipoma with venous extension should be treated; however, surgical complications such as iatrogenic pulmonary fat embolism remain a serious concern. We present a case of a 66-year-old Japanese woman without tuberous sclerosis in whom a right-sided renal tumor was incidentally detected on ultrasonography during a health check-up. Further evaluation showed that the tumor extended into the renal vein, and she was successfully treated using preoperative inferior vena cava filter placement and radical nephrectomy. An inferior vena cava filter can prevent catastrophic pulmonary fat embolism during nephrectomy.

RevDate: 2019-09-02
CmpDate: 2019-09-02

Taylor SD, Meiners JM, Riemer K, et al (2019)

Comparison of large-scale citizen science data and long-term study data for phenology modeling.

Ecology, 100(2):e02568.

Large-scale observational data from citizen science efforts are becoming increasingly common in ecology, and researchers often choose between these and data from intensive local-scale studies for their analyses. This choice has potential trade-offs related to spatial scale, observer variance, and interannual variability. Here we explored this issue with phenology by comparing models built using data from the large-scale, citizen science USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) effort with models built using data from more intensive studies at Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. We built statistical and process based phenology models for species common to each data set. From these models, we compared parameter estimates, estimates of phenological events, and out-of-sample errors between models derived from both USA-NPN and LTER data. We found that model parameter estimates for the same species were most similar between the two data sets when using simple models, but parameter estimates varied widely as model complexity increased. Despite this, estimates for the date of phenological events and out-of-sample errors were similar, regardless of the model chosen. Predictions for USA-NPN data had the lowest error when using models built from the USA-NPN data, while LTER predictions were best made using LTER-derived models, confirming that models perform best when applied at the same scale they were built. This difference in the cross-scale model comparison is likely due to variation in phenological requirements within species. Models using the USA-NPN data set can integrate parameters over a large spatial scale while those using an LTER data set can only estimate parameters for a single location. Accordingly, the choice of data set depends on the research question. Inferences about species-specific phenological requirements are best made with LTER data, and if USA-NPN or similar data are all that is available, then analyses should be limited to simple models. Large-scale predictive modeling is best done with the larger-scale USA-NPN data, which has high spatial representation and a large regional species pool. LTER data sets, on the other hand, have high site fidelity and thus characterize inter-annual variability extremely well. Future research aimed at forecasting phenology events for particular species over larger scales should develop models that integrate the strengths of both data sets.

RevDate: 2019-07-18
CmpDate: 2019-07-18

Ricono A, Dixon R, Eaton I, et al (2018)

Long- and short-term responses of Asclepias species differ in respect to fire, grazing, and nutrient addition.

American journal of botany, 105(12):2008-2017.

PREMISE OF THE STUDY: The tallgrass prairie ecosystem has experienced a dramatic reduction over the past 150 yr. This reduction has impacted the abundance of native grassland species, including milkweeds (Asclepias).

METHODS: We used two long-term (27 yr) data sets to examine how fire, grazing, and nutrient addition shape milkweed abundance in tallgrass prairie. We compared these results to those of a greenhouse experiment that varied nutrient levels in the absence of competition, herbivory, and mutualistic relationships.

KEY RESULTS: Asclepias species exhibited broad patterns in response to burning regimes that did not include grazing, but experienced more species-specific patterns in other combinations. Asclepias syriaca was the only species to increase in abundance in plots that included burning and nutrient addition. In the greenhouse we found that nitrogen significantly increased biomass, while no effect of phosphorus was detected.

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that A. syriaca will do best in settings with high nutrient loads, low competition, and no grazers. These characteristics define a small portion of the tallgrass prairie but exemplify modern agricultural settings, which have replaced prairies. However, other milkweeds examined did not share this pattern, which indicates that milkweed species will respond differently when exposed to agricultural settings, with some less able to cope with land conversion to pasture or row-crop agriculture.

RevDate: 2020-02-25
CmpDate: 2019-02-01

Battisti C, Kroha S, Kozhuharova E, et al (2019)

Fishing lines and fish hooks as neglected marine litter: first data on chemical composition, densities, and biological entrapment from a Mediterranean beach.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 26(1):1000-1007.

We reported first data on the densities and chemical composition of fishing lines and fish hooks deposited on a Mediterranean beach. On a sampling area of 1.5 ha, we removed a total of 185,028 cm of fishing lines (density 12.34 cm/m2) and 33 hooks (density 22 units/ha). Totally, 637.62 g (42.5 mg/m2) of fishing lines were collected. We sampled 120 items entangled belongings to 7 animal taxa (density 6.49 items/100 m of fishing lines). We also observed a not quantifiable number of egagropiles (Posidonia oceanica spheroids), Rhodophyceae (Halymenia sp.) and segments of reeds of Phragmites communis, trapped in the fishing lines. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used in order to identify the chemical composition of the fishing lines: 92% was made of nylon while 8.0% was determined as fluorocarbon based polymers (polyvinylidene fluoride). Because of their subtlety and reduced size, sandy beach cleaning operations should include at least two consecutive removal samplings: indeed, a part of this litter (12.14%) is not removed in the first sampling. The unexpected high density of fishing lines suggests specific management actions aimed to periodically remove this neglected anthropogenic litter.

RevDate: 2019-06-10
CmpDate: 2019-04-22

Cáliz J, Triadó-Margarit X, Camarero L, et al (2018)

A long-term survey unveils strong seasonal patterns in the airborne microbiome coupled to general and regional atmospheric circulations.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(48):12229-12234.

Airborne microbes (bacteria, archaea, protists, and fungi) were surveyed over a 7-y period via high-throughput massive sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes in rain and snow samples collected fortnightly at a high-elevation mountain Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network site (LTER-Aigüestortes, Central Pyrenees, Spain). This survey constitutes the most comprehensive mountain-top aerobiology study reported to date. The air mass origins were tracked through modeled back-trajectories and analysis of rain water chemical composition. Consistent microbial seasonal patterns were observed with highly divergent summer and winter communities recurrent in time. Indicative microbial taxa were unveiled as a forensic signature, and ubiquitous taxa were observed as common atmosphere inhabitants, highlighting aerosols as a potentially successful mechanism for global microbial dispersal. Source-tracking analyses identified freshwater, cropland, and urban biomes as the most important sources for airborne bacteria in summer, while marine and forest biomes prevailed in winter, in agreement with air mass retrotrajectories and the prevailing general and regional atmospheric circulation.

RevDate: 2020-02-25
CmpDate: 2019-02-22

Staffieri E, de Lucia GA, Camedda A, et al (2019)

Pressure and impact of anthropogenic litter on marine and estuarine reptiles: an updated "blacklist" highlighting gaps of evidence.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 26(2):1238-1249.

We report an arrangement on the effect of anthropogenic litter on marine and estuarine reptiles, checking for evidence about different types of impact (ingestion vs. entanglement) and pressure (three size-based categories). From 1976 to 2018, we obtained a "blacklist" of 11 species impacted by marine litter (about 13% of 85 species of marine and estuarine reptiles), belonging to three orders (Testudines, Squamata, and Crocodilia). We obtained only occasional evidence of an impact for Squamata (Hidrophis elegans, Disteira major) and Crocodilia (Crocodylus porosus). Regarding the different types of pressure, the highest number of evidence has been obtained for macro-litter (10 species) and the lowest for micro-litter (4 species, all Chelonidae). Among Testudines, Lepidochelys kempii and Natator depressus evidenced a lack of data for micro-plastic. In Squamata, information is lacking for micro-plastic with only occasional references for meso-plastic (in Hydrophis elegans) and macro-plastic (Disteira major and Crocodylus porosus). We obtained a direct correlation between the research effort and the number of citations regarding different types of pressure and impact of marine litter: therefore, our blacklist of impacted species could be increased, carrying out further research focused on other poorly studied marine and estuarine reptiles. We suggest the use of a standardized nomenclature to reduce the amount of lost information.

RevDate: 2019-09-13
CmpDate: 2019-09-13

Wilson BJ, Servais S, Mazzei V, et al (2018)

Salinity pulses interact with seasonal dry-down to increase ecosystem carbon loss in marshes of the Florida Everglades.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 28(8):2092-2108.

Coastal wetlands are globally important sinks of organic carbon (C). However, to what extent wetland C cycling will be affected by accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) and saltwater intrusion is unknown, especially in coastal peat marshes where water flow is highly managed. Our objective was to determine how the ecosystem C balance in coastal peat marshes is influenced by elevated salinity. For two years, we made monthly in situ manipulations of elevated salinity in freshwater (FW) and brackish water (BW) sites within Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Salinity pulses interacted with marsh-specific variability in seasonal hydroperiods whereby effects of elevated pulsed salinity on gross ecosystem productivity (GEP), ecosystem respiration (ER), and net ecosystem productivity (NEP) were dependent on marsh inundation level. We found little effect of elevated salinity on C cycling when both marsh sites were inundated, but when water levels receded below the soil surface, the BW marsh shifted from a C sink to a C source. During these exposed periods, we observed an approximately threefold increase in CO2 efflux from the marsh as a result of elevated salinity. Initially, elevated salinity pulses did not affect Cladium jamaicense biomass, but aboveground biomass began to be significantly decreased in the saltwater amended plots after two years of exposure at the BW site. We found a 65% (FW) and 72% (BW) reduction in live root biomass in the soil after two years of exposure to elevated salinity pulses. Regardless of salinity treatment, the FW site was C neutral while the BW site was a strong C source (-334 to -454 g C·m-2 ·yr-1), particularly during dry-down events. A loss of live roots coupled with annual net CO2 losses as marshes transition from FW to BW likely contributes to the collapse of peat soils observed in the coastal Everglades. As SLR increases the rate of saltwater intrusion into coastal wetlands globally, understanding how water management influences C gains and losses from these systems is crucial. Under current Everglades' water management, drought lengthens marsh dry-down periods, which, coupled with saltwater intrusion, accelerates CO2 loss from the marsh.

RevDate: 2019-07-12
CmpDate: 2019-07-12

Rudgers JA, Dettweiler-Robinson E, Belnap J, et al (2018)

Are fungal networks key to dryland primary production?.

American journal of botany, 105(11):1783-1787.

RevDate: 2019-09-02
CmpDate: 2019-09-02

Castorani MCN, Reed DC, RJ Miller (2018)

Loss of foundation species: disturbance frequency outweighs severity in structuring kelp forest communities.

Ecology, 99(11):2442-2454.

Disturbances often cause the disproportionate loss of foundation species but understanding how the frequency and severity of disturbance to such organisms influence biological communities remains unresolved. This gap in knowledge exists in part because of the rarity of ecologically meaningful studies capable of disentangling different elements of disturbance. Hence, we carried out a long-term (9 yr), large-scale (2,000 m2 plots), spatially replicated (4 sites) field experiment in which we manipulated disturbance to a globally distributed marine foundation species, the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera, and tracked community responses over time. To distinguish the effects of disturbance frequency and severity on the biodiversity and composition of temperate rocky reef communities, we simulated the repeated loss of giant kelp from destructive winter waves across a background of natural variation in disturbance. By following the response of over 200 taxa from the surrounding community, we discovered that the frequency of disturbance to giant kelp changed the biomass, diversity, and composition of community guilds in a manner commensurate with their dependence on the physical (i.e., benthic light and space), trophic (i.e., living and detrital biomass), and habitat (i.e., biogenic structure) resources mediated by this foundation species. Annual winter disturbance to giant kelp reduced living and detrital giant kelp biomass by 57% and 40%, respectively, enhanced bottom light by 22%, and halved the seafloor area covered by giant kelp holdfasts. Concomitantly, the biomass of understory algae and epilithic sessile invertebrates more than doubled, while the biomass of rock-boring clams, mobile invertebrates, and fishes decreased 30-61%. Frequent loss of giant kelp boosted understory algal richness by 82% and lowered sessile invertebrate richness by 13% but did not affect the biodiversity of mobile fauna. In contrast to changes driven by disturbance frequency, interannual variation in the severity of disturbance to giant kelp had weaker, less consistent effects, causing only modest changes in assemblages of sessile invertebrates, mobile invertebrate herbivores, and fishes. Our results broaden the foundation species concept by demonstrating that repeated disturbance to a dominant habitat-forming species can outweigh the influence of less frequent but severe disturbances for the surrounding community.

RevDate: 2019-10-05
CmpDate: 2019-05-09

Koerner SE, Smith MD, Burkepile DE, et al (2018)

Change in dominance determines herbivore effects on plant biodiversity.

Nature ecology & evolution, 2(12):1925-1932.

Herbivores alter plant biodiversity (species richness) in many of the world's ecosystems, but the magnitude and the direction of herbivore effects on biodiversity vary widely within and among ecosystems. One current theory predicts that herbivores enhance plant biodiversity at high productivity but have the opposite effect at low productivity. Yet, empirical support for the importance of site productivity as a mediator of these herbivore impacts is equivocal. Here, we synthesize data from 252 large-herbivore exclusion studies, spanning a 20-fold range in site productivity, to test an alternative hypothesis-that herbivore-induced changes in the competitive environment determine the response of plant biodiversity to herbivory irrespective of productivity. Under this hypothesis, when herbivores reduce the abundance (biomass, cover) of dominant species (for example, because the dominant plant is palatable), additional resources become available to support new species, thereby increasing biodiversity. By contrast, if herbivores promote high dominance by increasing the abundance of herbivory-resistant, unpalatable species, then resource availability for other species decreases reducing biodiversity. We show that herbivore-induced change in dominance, independent of site productivity or precipitation (a proxy for productivity), is the best predictor of herbivore effects on biodiversity in grassland and savannah sites. Given that most herbaceous ecosystems are dominated by one or a few species, altering the competitive environment via herbivores or by other means may be an effective strategy for conserving biodiversity in grasslands and savannahs globally.

RevDate: 2020-03-09
CmpDate: 2020-01-14

Furze ME, Huggett BA, Aubrecht DM, et al (2019)

Whole-tree nonstructural carbohydrate storage and seasonal dynamics in five temperate species.

The New phytologist, 221(3):1466-1477.

Despite the importance of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) for growth and survival in woody plants, we know little about whole-tree NSC storage. The conventional theory suggests that NSC reserves will increase over the growing season and decrease over the dormant season. Here, we compare storage in five temperate tree species to determine the size and seasonal fluctuation of whole-tree total NSC pools as well as the contribution of individual organs. NSC concentrations in the branches, stemwood, and roots of 24 trees were measured across 12 months. We then scaled up concentrations to the whole-tree and ecosystem levels using allometric equations and forest stand inventory data. While whole-tree total NSC pools followed the conventional theory, sugar pools peaked in the dormant season and starch pools in the growing season. Seasonal depletion of total NSCs was minimal at the whole-tree level, but substantial at the organ level, particularly in branches. Surprisingly, roots were not the major storage organ as branches stored comparable amounts of starch throughout the year, and root reserves were not used to support springtime growth. Scaling up NSC concentrations to the ecosystem level, we find that commonly used, process-based ecosystem and land surface models all overpredict NSC storage.

RevDate: 2019-09-02
CmpDate: 2019-09-02

Sullivan LL, Clark AT, Tilman D, et al (2018)

Mechanistically derived dispersal kernels explain species-level patterns of recruitment and succession.

Ecology, 99(11):2415-2420.

Species-level dispersal information can give mechanistic insights into how spatial processes impact plant communities. Unfortunately, field-based estimates of the dispersal abilities of multiple members of a community are often lacking for many plant systems. Here, we provide a simple method for measuring dispersal ability for large numbers of grassland plant species based on functional traits. Using this method, we estimated the dispersal ability of 50 co-occurring grassland species using the Wald Analytical Long-distance Dispersal (WALD) model. Grassland plants species are often used for developing community theory, yet species-level estimates of their dispersal abilities are comparatively rare. We use these dispersal measurements to examine the relationship between species dispersal abilities and successional dynamics using data from a 90-yr old field chronosequence. We find that our estimated dispersal measurements matched field-based establishment observations well, and estimated species colonization, competitive, and establishment abilities. We hope that this method for measuring dispersal ability of multiple species within a community, and its demonstrated ability to generate predictions for spatial ecology, will encourage more studies of the explicit role of dispersal in plant community ecology.

RevDate: 2018-12-12
CmpDate: 2018-12-12

Lister BC, A Garcia (2018)

Climate-driven declines in arthropod abundance restructure a rainforest food web.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(44):E10397-E10406.

A number of studies indicate that tropical arthropods should be particularly vulnerable to climate warming. If these predictions are realized, climate warming may have a more profound impact on the functioning and diversity of tropical forests than currently anticipated. Although arthropods comprise over two-thirds of terrestrial species, information on their abundance and extinction rates in tropical habitats is severely limited. Here we analyze data on arthropod and insectivore abundances taken between 1976 and 2012 at two midelevation habitats in Puerto Rico's Luquillo rainforest. During this time, mean maximum temperatures have risen by 2.0 °C. Using the same study area and methods employed by Lister in the 1970s, we discovered that the dry weight biomass of arthropods captured in sweep samples had declined 4 to 8 times, and 30 to 60 times in sticky traps. Analysis of long-term data on canopy arthropods and walking sticks taken as part of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research program revealed sustained declines in abundance over two decades, as well as negative regressions of abundance on mean maximum temperatures. We also document parallel decreases in Luquillo's insectivorous lizards, frogs, and birds. While El Niño/Southern Oscillation influences the abundance of forest arthropods, climate warming is the major driver of reductions in arthropod abundance, indirectly precipitating a bottom-up trophic cascade and consequent collapse of the forest food web.

RevDate: 2019-10-11
CmpDate: 2019-10-11

Baker CM, Bode M, Dexter N, et al (2019)

A novel approach to assessing the ecosystem-wide impacts of reintroductions.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 29(1):e01811.

Reintroducing a species to an ecosystem can have significant impacts on the recipient ecological community. Although reintroductions can have striking and positive outcomes, they also carry risks; many well-intentioned conservation actions have had surprising and unsatisfactory outcomes. A range of network-based mathematical methods has been developed to make quantitative predictions of how communities will respond to management interventions. These methods are based on the limited knowledge of which species interact with each other and in what way. However, expert knowledge isn't perfect and can only take models so far. Fortunately, other types of data, such as abundance time series, is often available, but, to date, no quantitative method exists to integrate these various data types into these models, allowing more precise ecosystem-wide predictions. In this paper, we develop mathematical methods that combine time-series data of multiple species with knowledge of species interactions and we apply it to proposed reintroductions at Booderee National Park in Australia. There have been large fluctuations in species abundances at Booderee National Park in recent history, following intense feral fox (Vulpes vulpes) control, including the local extinction of the greater glider (Petauroides volans). These fluctuations can provide information about the system isn't readily obtained from a stable system, and we use them to inform models that we then use to predict potential outcomes of eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) and long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) reintroductions. One of the key species of conservation concern in the park is the Eastern Bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus), and we find that long-nosed potoroo introduction would have very little impact on the Eastern Bristlebird population, while the eastern quoll introduction increased the likelihood of Eastern Bristlebird decline, although that depends on the strength and form of any possible interaction.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Kallenbach CM, Frey SD, AS Grandy (2018)

Author Correction: Direct evidence for microbial-derived soil organic matter formation and its ecophysiological controls.

Nature communications, 9(1):3929 pii:10.1038/s41467-018-06427-3.

In the originally published version of this Article, financial support was not fully acknowledged. The PDF and HTML versions of the Article have now been corrected to include support from the NSF Long-term Ecological Research Program (DEB 1637653) at the Kellogg Biological Station and from Michigan State University AgBioResearch.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Kaushal SS, Duan S, Doody TR, et al (2017)

Human-accelerated weathering increases salinization, major ions, and alkalinization in fresh water across land use.

Applied geochemistry : journal of the International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, 83:121-135.

Human-dominated land uses can increase transport of major ions in streams due to the combination of human-accelerated weathering and anthropogenic salts. Calcium, magnesium, sodium, alkalinity, and hardness significantly increased in the drinking water supply for Baltimore, Maryland over almost 50 years (p<0.05) coinciding with regional urbanization. Across a nearby land use gradient at the Baltimore Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, there were significant increases in concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, and Si and pH with increasing impervious surfaces in 9 streams monitored bi-weekly over a 3-4 year period (p<0.05). Base cations in urban streams were up to 60 times greater than forest and agricultural streams, and elemental ratios suggested road salt and carbonate weathering from impervious surfaces as potential sources. Laboratory weathering experiments with concrete also indicated that impervious surfaces increased pH and DIC with potential to alkalinize urban waters. Ratios of Na+ and Cl- suggested that there was enhanced ion exchange in the watersheds from road salts, which could mobilize other base cations from soils to streams. There were significant relationships between Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, and K+ concentrations and Cl-, SO42-, NO3- and DIC across land use (p<0.05), which suggested tight coupling of geochemical cycles. Finally, concentrations of Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and pH significantly increased with distance downstream (p<0.05) along a stream network draining 170 km2 of the Baltimore LTER site contributing to river alkalinization. Our results suggest that urbanization may dramatically increase major ions, ionic strength, and pH over decades from headwaters to coastal zones, which can impact integrity of aquatic life, infrastructure, drinking water, and coastal ocean alkalinization.

RevDate: 2019-03-04
CmpDate: 2019-03-04

Kendrick MR, Huryn AD, Bowden WB, et al (2018)

Linking permafrost thaw to shifting biogeochemistry and food web resources in an arctic river.

Global change biology, 24(12):5738-5750.

Rapidly, increasing air temperatures across the Arctic are thawing permafrost and exposing vast quantities of organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus to microbial processing. Shifts in the absolute and relative supplies of these elements will likely alter patterns of ecosystem productivity and change the way carbon and nutrients are delivered from upland areas to surface waters such as rivers and lakes. The ultra-oligotrophic nature of surface waters across the Arctic renders these ecosystems particularly susceptible to changes in productivity and food web dynamics as permafrost thaw alters terrestrial-aquatic linkages. The objectives of this study were to evaluate decadal-scale patterns in surface water chemistry and assess potential implications of changing water chemistry to benthic organic matter and aquatic food webs. Data were collected from the upper Kuparuk River on the North Slope of Alaska by the U.S. National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research program during 1978-2014. Analyses of these data show increases in stream water alkalinity and cation concentrations consistent with signatures of permafrost thaw. Changes are also documented for discharge-corrected nitrate concentrations (+), discharge-corrected dissolved organic carbon concentrations (-), total phosphorus concentrations (-), and δ13 C isotope values of aquatic invertebrate consumers (-). These changes show that warming temperatures and thawing permafrost in the upland environment are leading to shifts in the supply of carbon and nutrients available to surface waters and consequently changing resources that support aquatic food webs. This demonstrates that physical, geochemical, and biological changes associated with warming permafrost are fundamentally altering linkages between upland and aquatic ecosystems in rapidly changing arctic environments.

RevDate: 2019-09-13
CmpDate: 2019-09-13

Bowman WD, Ayyad A, Bueno de Mesquita CP, et al (2018)

Limited ecosystem recovery from simulated chronic nitrogen deposition.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 28(7):1762-1772.

The realization that anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition is causing significant environmental change in many ecosystems has led to lower emissions of reactive N and deposition rates in many regions. However, the impacts of N deposition on terrestrial ecosystems can be long lasting, with significant inertia in the return of the biota and biogeochemical processes to baseline levels. To better understand patterns of recovery and the factors that may contribute to slow or no responses following declines in N deposition, we followed plant species composition, microbial abundance, N cycling rates, soil pH, and pools of NO3- and extractable cations in an impacted alpine ecosystem following cessation of 12-yr experiment increasing N deposition rates by 0, 20, 40, and 60 kg N·ha-1 ·yr-1 . Simulated N deposition had resulted in a tripling in the cover of the nitrophilic species Carex rupestris, while the dominant sedge Kobresia myosuroides had decreased by more than half at the highest N input level. In addition, nitrification rates were elevated, soil extractable magnesium (Mg2+) and pH decreased, and aluminum (Al3+) and manganese (Mn2+) were elevated at the highest N treatment inputs. Over the nine years following cessation of N additions to the impacted plots, only the cover of the nitrophilic C. rupestris showed any recovery to prior levels. Abundances of both bacteria and fungi were lower with N addition in both treatment and recovery plots. Rates of nitrification and pools of NO3- remained elevated in the recovery plots, likely contributing to the lack of biotic response to the cessation of N inputs. In addition, nutrient base cations (Ca2+ and Mg2+) and soil pH remained depressed, and the toxic metal cations (Al3+ and Mn2+) remained elevated in recovery plots, also potentially influencing biotic recovery. These results emphasize the importance of considering long-term environmental impacts of N deposition associated with legacy effects, such as elevated N cycling and losses of base cations, in determining environmental standards such as the metrics used for critical loads.

RevDate: 2019-07-01
CmpDate: 2019-07-01

Obertegger U, Bertilsson S, Pindo M, et al (2018)

Temporal variability of bacterioplankton is habitat driven.

Molecular ecology, 27(21):4322-4335.

Temporal dynamics of bacterioplankton are rarely investigated for multiple habitats and years within individual lakes, limiting our understanding of the variability of bacterioplankton community (BC) composition with respect to environmental factors. We assessed the BC composition of a littoral and two pelagic habitats (euphotic zone and hypolimnion) of Lake Tovel monthly from April 2014 to May 2017 by high-throughput sequencing of the V3-V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene. The three habitats differed in temperature, light, oxygen and hydrology. In particular, the littoral was the most hydrologically unstable because it receives most of the lake inflow, the hypolimnion was the most stable because of its hydrologically sheltered position, and the pelagic euphotic habitat was intermediate. Consequently, we hypothesized different temporal patterns of BC composition for all three habitats according to their environmental differences. We applied PERMANOVA, nonmetric multidimensional scaling and source-sink analysis to characterize BC composition. Overall, BCs were different among habitats with the littoral showing the highest variability and the hypolimnion the highest stability. The BC of rainy 2014 was distinct from the BCs of other years irrespective of the habitats considered. Seasonal differences in BCs were limited to spring, probably linked to meltwater inflow and mixing. Thus, temporal effects related to year and season were linked to the hydrological gradient of habitats. We suggest that despite potential within-lake dispersal of bacterioplankton by water flow and mixing, local environmental conditions played a major role in Lake Tovel, fostering distinct BCs in the three habitats.

RevDate: 2019-09-02
CmpDate: 2019-09-02

Berdanier AB, JS Clark (2018)

Tree water balance drives temperate forest responses to drought.

Ecology, 99(11):2506-2514.

Intensifying drought is increasingly linked to global forest diebacks. Improved understanding of drought impacts on individual trees has provided limited insight into drought vulnerability in part because tree moisture access and depletion is difficult to quantify. In forests, moisture reservoir depletion occurs through water use by the trees themselves. Here, we show that drought impacts on tree fitness and demographic performance can be predicted by tracking the moisture reservoir available to trees as a mass balance, estimated in a hierarchical state-space framework. We apply this model to multiple seasonal droughts with tree transpiration measurements to demonstrate how species and size differences modulate moisture availability across landscapes. The depletion of individual moisture reservoirs can be tracked over the course of droughts and linked to biomass growth and reproductive output. This mass balance approach can predict individual moisture deficit, tree demographic performance, and drought vulnerability throughout forest stands based on measurements from a sample of trees.

RevDate: 2020-02-25
CmpDate: 2019-04-19

Iannilli V, Di Gennaro A, Lecce F, et al (2018)

Microplastics in Talitrus saltator (Crustacea, Amphipoda): new evidence of ingestion from natural contexts.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 25(28):28725-28729.

Using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) measurements and comparing the spectrum peaks (range 4000-600 cm-1) with reference spectra database and instrument libraries, we observed new evidence of the ingestion of microplastic particles analyzing the digestive tracts of Talitrus saltator. Specimens, sampled in central Italy, probably ingested the particles with natural detritus. Since worldwide many species of invertebrates and vertebrates (e.g., birds) feed on Amphipoda along coastal ecosystems, we hypothesized that microplastic in these crustaceans can be accumulated along the food chain.

RevDate: 2019-01-23
CmpDate: 2019-01-23

Potter TI, Stannard HJ, Greenville AC, et al (2018)

Understanding selective predation: Are energy and nutrients important?.

PloS one, 13(8):e0201300.

For generalist predators, a mixed diet can be advantageous as it allows individuals to exploit a potentially broad range of profitable food types. Despite this, some generalist predators show preferences for certain types of food and may forage selectively in places or at times when these foods are available. One such species is the lesser hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni). Usually considered to be a generalist insectivore, in the Simpson Desert, Australia, this small marsupial predator has been found to selectively consume wolf spiders (Family Lycosidae), for reasons yet unknown. Here, we tested whether lycosids have relatively high energy or nutrient contents compared to other invertebrates, and hence whether these aspects of food quality can explain selective predation of lycosids by S. youngsoni. Energy, lipid and protein composition of representatives of 9 arthropod families that are eaten by S. youngsoni in the Simpson Desert were ascertained using microbomb calorimetry, chloroform-methanol extraction and Dumas combustion, respectively. Although lycosids contained a high proportion of energy and nutrients, they were not found to yield statistically greater amounts of these food components than many other available arthropod prey that are not selected by S. youngsoni. Our results therefore suggest that alternative factors may be more influential in shaping dietary selection in this marsupial predator, such as high rates of encounter between lycosids and S. youngsoni.

RevDate: 2019-02-22
CmpDate: 2018-10-02

Ni X, PM Groffman (2018)

Declines in methane uptake in forest soils.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(34):8587-8590.

Forest soils are a sink for atmospheric methane (CH4) and play an important role in modulating the global CH4 budget. However, whether CH4 uptake by forest soils is affected by global environmental change is unknown. We measured soil to atmosphere net CH4 fluxes in temperate forests at two long-term ecological research sites in the northeastern United States from the late 1990s to the mid-2010s. We found that annual soil CH4 uptake decreased by 62% and 53% in urban and rural forests in Baltimore, Maryland and by 74% and 89% in calcium-fertilized and reference forests at Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire over this period. This decrease occurred despite marked declines in nitrogen deposition and increases in atmospheric CH4 concentration and temperature, which should lead to increases in CH4 uptake. This decrease in soil CH4 uptake appears to be driven by increases in precipitation and soil hydrological flux. Furthermore, an analysis of CH4 uptake around the globe showed that CH4 uptake in forest soils has decreased by an average of 77% from 1988 to 2015, particularly in forests located from 0 to 60 °N latitude where precipitation has been increasing. We conclude that the soil CH4 sink may be declining and overestimated in several regions across the globe.

RevDate: 2018-07-17
CmpDate: 2018-07-17

Vuorenmaa J, Augustaitis A, Beudert B, et al (2018)

Long-term changes (1990-2015) in the atmospheric deposition and runoff water chemistry of sulphate, inorganic nitrogen and acidity for forested catchments in Europe in relation to changes in emissions and hydrometeorological conditions.

The Science of the total environment, 625:1129-1145.

The international Long-Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER) encompasses hundreds of long-term research/monitoring sites located in a wide array of ecosystems that can help us understand environmental change across the globe. We evaluated long-term trends (1990-2015) for bulk deposition, throughfall and runoff water chemistry and fluxes, and climatic variables in 25 forested catchments in Europe belonging to the UNECE International Cooperative Programme on Integrated Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystems (ICP IM). Many of the IM sites form part of the monitoring infrastructures of this larger ILTER network. Trends were evaluated for monthly concentrations of non-marine (anthropogenic fraction, denoted as x) sulphate (xSO4) and base cations x(Ca+Mg), hydrogen ion (H+), inorganic N (NO3 and NH4) and ANC (Acid Neutralising Capacity) and their respective fluxes into and out of the catchments and for monthly precipitation, runoff and air temperature. A significant decrease of xSO4 deposition resulted in decreases in concentrations and fluxes of xSO4 in runoff, being significant at 90% and 60% of the sites, respectively. Bulk deposition of NO3 and NH4 decreased significantly at 60-80% (concentrations) and 40-60% (fluxes) of the sites. Concentrations and fluxes of NO3 in runoff decreased at 73% and 63% of the sites, respectively, and NO3 concentrations decreased significantly at 50% of the sites. Thus, the LTER/ICP IM network confirms the positive effects of the emission reductions in Europe. Air temperature increased significantly at 61% of the sites, while trends for precipitation and runoff were rarely significant. The site-specific variation of xSO4 concentrations in runoff was most strongly explained by deposition. Climatic variables and deposition explained the variation of inorganic N concentrations in runoff at single sites poorly, and as yet there are no clear signs of a consistent deposition-driven or climate-driven increase in inorganic N exports in the catchments.

RevDate: 2019-11-12
CmpDate: 2019-11-12

Mata VA, Rebelo H, Amorim F, et al (2019)

How much is enough? Effects of technical and biological replication on metabarcoding dietary analysis.

Molecular ecology, 28(2):165-175.

DNA metabarcoding is increasingly used in dietary studies to estimate diversity, composition and frequency of occurrence of prey items. However, few studies have assessed how technical and biological replication affect the accuracy of diet estimates. This study addresses these issues using the European free-tailed bat Tadarida teniotis, involving high-throughput sequencing of a small fragment of the COI gene in 15 separate faecal pellets and a 15-pellet pool per each of 20 bats. We investigated how diet descriptors were affected by variability among (a) individuals, (b) pellets of each individual and (c) PCRs of each pellet. In addition, we investigated the impact of (d) analysing separate pellets vs. pellet pools. We found that diet diversity estimates increased steadily with the number of pellets analysed per individual, with seven pellets required to detect ~80% of prey species. Most variation in diet composition was associated with differences among individual bats, followed by pellets per individual and PCRs per pellet. The accuracy of frequency of occurrence estimates increased with the number of pellets analysed per bat, with the highest error rates recorded for prey consumed infrequently by many individuals. Pools provided poor estimates of diet diversity and frequency of occurrence, which were comparable to analysing a single pellet per individual, and consistently missed the less common prey items. Overall, our results stress that maximizing biological replication is critical in dietary metabarcoding studies and emphasize that analysing several samples per individual rather than pooled samples produce more accurate results.

RevDate: 2018-07-17
CmpDate: 2018-07-17

Rogora M, Frate L, Carranza ML, et al (2018)

Assessment of climate change effects on mountain ecosystems through a cross-site analysis in the Alps and Apennines.

The Science of the total environment, 624:1429-1442.

Mountain ecosystems are sensitive and reliable indicators of climate change. Long-term studies may be extremely useful in assessing the responses of high-elevation ecosystems to climate change and other anthropogenic drivers from a broad ecological perspective. Mountain research sites within the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) network are representative of various types of ecosystems and span a wide bioclimatic and elevational range. Here, we present a synthesis and a review of the main results from ecological studies in mountain ecosystems at 20 LTER sites in Italy, Switzerland and Austria covering in most cases more than two decades of observations. We analyzed a set of key climate parameters, such as temperature and snow cover duration, in relation to vascular plant species composition, plant traits, abundance patterns, pedoclimate, nutrient dynamics in soils and water, phenology and composition of freshwater biota. The overall results highlight the rapid response of mountain ecosystems to climate change, with site-specific characteristics and rates. As temperatures increased, vegetation cover in alpine and subalpine summits increased as well. Years with limited snow cover duration caused an increase in soil temperature and microbial biomass during the growing season. Effects on freshwater ecosystems were also observed, in terms of increases in solutes, decreases in nitrates and changes in plankton phenology and benthos communities. This work highlights the importance of comparing and integrating long-term ecological data collected in different ecosystems for a more comprehensive overview of the ecological effects of climate change. Nevertheless, there is a need for (i) adopting co-located monitoring site networks to improve our ability to obtain sound results from cross-site analysis, (ii) carrying out further studies, in particular short-term analyses with fine spatial and temporal resolutions to improve our understanding of responses to extreme events, and (iii) increasing comparability and standardizing protocols across networks to distinguish local patterns from global patterns.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Cibic T, Comici C, Falconi C, et al (2018)

Phytoplankton community and physical-chemical data measured in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea) over the period March 2006-February 2007.

Data in brief, 19:586-593.

Biological, hydrological and chemical data were acquired at monthly intervals from March 2006 to February 2007, at the Long-Term Ecological Research site C1 in the Gulf of Trieste, in the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea. The biological dataset comprises total chl a and phaeopigment concentrations, and the distinction of the total phytoplankton biomass into three photoautotrophic community fractions, i.e. cyanobacteria, nano- and microphytoplankton, collected at discrete depths. Hydrological data encompass the thermohaline properties of the water column (temperature and salinity profiles from CTD casts). Chemical data consist of silicate and phosphate concentrations obtained from discrete seawater samples collected with Niskin bottles at four depths (0.5-5-10-15 m). Data presented here are related to the paper "Structural and functional response of phytoplankton to reduced river inputs and anomalous physical-chemical conditions in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea) by Cibic et al. (2018) [1].

RevDate: 2018-09-19
CmpDate: 2018-09-19

Kogovšek T, Vodopivec M, Raicich F, et al (2018)

Comparative analysis of the ecosystems in the northern Adriatic Sea and the Inland Sea of Japan: Can anthropogenic pressures disclose jellyfish outbreaks?.

The Science of the total environment, 626:982-994.

A prominent increase in the moon jellyfish (genus Aurelia) populations has been observed since 1980 in two semi-enclosed temperate seas: the northern Adriatic Sea and the Inland Sea of Japan. Therefore, we reviewed long-term environmental and biotic data from the two Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites, along with the increase in the moon jellyfish occurrence to elucidate how these coastal seas shifted to the jellyfish-dominated ecosystems. The principal component analysis of atmospheric data revealed a simultaneous occurrence of similar climatic changes in the early 1980s; thereafter, air temperature increased steadily and precipitation decreased but became more extreme. Accordingly, the average seawater temperature from March to October, a period of polyps' asexual reproduction i.e. budding, increased, potentially leading to an increase in the reproductive rates of local polyp populations. Conspicuous eutrophication occurred due to the rise of anthropogenic activities in both areas from the 1960s onwards. This coincided with an increase of the stock size of forage fishes, such as anchovy and sardine, but not the population size of the jellyfish. However, by the end of the 1980s, when the eutrophication lessened due to the regulations of nutrients loads from the land, the productive fishing grounds of both systems turned into a state that may be described as 'jellyfish-permeated,' as manifested by a drastic decrease in fish landings and a prominent increase in the intensity and frequency of medusa blooms. A steady increase in artificial marine structures that provide substrate for newly settled polyps might further contribute to the enhancement of jellyfish population size. Elevated fishing pressure and/or predation by jellyfish on ichthyoplankton and zooplankton might jeopardize the recruitment of anchovy, so that the anchovy catch has never recovered fully. These semi-enclosed seas may represent many temperate coastal waters with increased anthropogenic stressors, which have degraded the ecosystem from fish-dominated to jellyfish-dominated.

RevDate: 2018-06-15
CmpDate: 2018-06-15

Mirtl M, T Borer E, Djukic I, et al (2018)

Genesis, goals and achievements of Long-Term Ecological Research at the global scale: A critical review of ILTER and future directions.

The Science of the total environment, 626:1439-1462.

Since its founding in 1993 the International Long-term Ecological Research Network (ILTER) has gone through pronounced development phases. The current network comprises 44 active member LTER networks representing 700 LTER Sites and ~80 LTSER Platforms across all continents, active in the fields of ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological research. The critical challenges and most important achievements of the initial phase have now become state-of-the-art in networking for excellent science. At the same time increasing integration, accelerating technology, networking of resources and a strong pull for more socially relevant scientific information have been modifying the mission and goals of ILTER. This article provides a critical review of ILTER's mission, goals, development and impacts. Major characteristics, tools, services, partnerships and selected examples of relative strengths relevant for advancing ILTER are presented. We elaborate on the tradeoffs between the needs of the scientific community and stakeholder expectations. The embedding of ILTER in an increasingly collaborative landscape of global environmental observation and ecological research networks and infrastructures is also reflected by developments of pioneering regional and national LTER networks such as SAEON in South Africa, CERN/CEOBEX in China, TERN in Australia or eLTER RI in Europe. The primary role of ILTER is currently seen as a mechanism to investigate ecosystem structure, function, and services in response to a wide range of environmental forcings using long-term, place-based research. We suggest four main fields of activities and advancements for the next decade through development/delivery of a: (1) Global multi-disciplinary community of researchers and research institutes; (2) Strategic global framework and strong partnerships in ecosystem observation and research; (3) Global Research Infrastructure (GRI); and (4) a scientific knowledge factory for societally relevant information on sustainable use of natural resources.

RevDate: 2018-06-29
CmpDate: 2018-06-29

Haase P, Tonkin JD, Stoll S, et al (2018)

The next generation of site-based long-term ecological monitoring: Linking essential biodiversity variables and ecosystem integrity.

The Science of the total environment, 613-614:1376-1384.

Global change effects on biodiversity and human wellbeing call for improved long-term environmental data as a basis for science, policy and decision making, including increased interoperability, multifunctionality, and harmonization. Based on the example of two global initiatives, the International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network and the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), we propose merging the frameworks behind these initiatives, namely ecosystem integrity and essential biodiversity variables, to serve as an improved guideline for future site-based long-term research and monitoring in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems. We derive a list of specific recommendations of what and how to measure at a monitoring site and call for an integration of sites into co-located site networks across individual monitoring initiatives, and centered on ecosystems. This facilitates the generation of linked comprehensive ecosystem monitoring data, supports synergies in the use of costly infrastructures, fosters cross-initiative research and provides a template for collaboration beyond the ILTER and GEO BON communities.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Potter TI, Greenville AC, CR Dickman (2018)

Assessing the potential for intraguild predation among taxonomically disparate micro-carnivores: marsupials and arthropods.

Royal Society open science, 5(5):171872.

Interspecific competition may occur when resources are limited, and is often most intense between animals in the same ecological guild. Intraguild predation (IGP) is a distinctive form of interference competition, where a dominant predator selectively kills subordinate rivals to gain increased access to resources. However, before IGP can be identified, organisms must be confirmed as members of the same guild and occur together in space and time. The lesser hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni, Dasyuridae) is a generalist marsupial insectivore in arid Australia, but consumes wolf spiders (Lycosa spp., Lycosidae) disproportionately often relative to their availability. Here, we test the hypothesis that this disproportionate predation is a product of frequent encounter rates between the interactants due to high overlap in their diets and use of space and time. Diet and prey availability were determined using direct observations and invertebrate pitfall trapping, microhabitat use by tracking individuals of both species-groups, and temporal activity using spotlighting and camera traps. Major overlap (greater than 75% similarity) was found in diet and temporal activity, and weaker overlap in microhabitat use. Taken together, these findings suggest reasonable potential, for the first time, for competition and intraguild predation to occur between taxa as disparate as marsupials and spiders.

RevDate: 2018-06-13
CmpDate: 2018-06-13

Dick J, Orenstein DE, Holzer JM, et al (2018)

What is socio-ecological research delivering? A literature survey across 25 international LTSER platforms.

The Science of the total environment, 622-623:1225-1240.

With an overarching goal of addressing global and regional sustainability challenges, Long Term Socio-Ecological Research Platforms (LTSER) aim to conduct place-based research, to collect and synthesize both environmental and socio-economic data, and to involve a broader stakeholder pool to set the research agenda. To date there have been few studies examining the output from LTSER platforms. In this study we enquire if the socio-ecological research from 25 self-selected LTSER platforms of the International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network has produced research products which fulfil the aims and ambitions of the paradigm shift from ecological to socio-ecological research envisaged at the turn of the century. In total we assessed 4983 publically available publications, of which 1112 were deemed relevant to the socio-ecological objectives of the platform. A series of 22 questions were scored for each publication, assessing relevance of responses in terms of the disciplinary focus of research, consideration of human health and well-being, degree of stakeholder engagement, and other relevant variables. The results reflected the diverse origins of the individual platforms and revealed a wide range in foci, temporal periods and quantity of output from participating platforms, supporting the premise that there is a growing trend in socio-ecological research at long-term monitoring platforms. Our review highlights the challenges of realizing the top-down goal to harmonize international network activities and objectives and the need for bottom-up, self-definition for research platforms. This provides support for increasing the consistency of LTSER research while preserving the diversity of regional experiences.

RevDate: 2018-07-18
CmpDate: 2018-07-18

Holmberg M, Aherne J, Austnes K, et al (2018)

Modelling study of soil C, N and pH response to air pollution and climate change using European LTER site observations.

The Science of the total environment, 640-641:387-399.

Current climate warming is expected to continue in coming decades, whereas high N deposition may stabilize, in contrast to the clear decrease in S deposition. These pressures have distinctive regional patterns and their resulting impact on soil conditions is modified by local site characteristics. We have applied the VSD+ soil dynamic model to study impacts of deposition and climate change on soil properties, using MetHyd and GrowUp as pre-processors to provide input to VSD+. The single-layer soil model VSD+ accounts for processes of organic C and N turnover, as well as charge and mass balances of elements, cation exchange and base cation weathering. We calibrated VSD+ at 26 ecosystem study sites throughout Europe using observed conditions, and simulated key soil properties: soil solution pH (pH), soil base saturation (BS) and soil organic carbon and nitrogen ratio (C:N) under projected deposition of N and S, and climate warming until 2100. The sites are forested, located in the Mediterranean, forested alpine, Atlantic, continental and boreal regions. They represent the long-term ecological research (LTER) Europe network, including sites of the ICP Forests and ICP Integrated Monitoring (IM) programmes under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), providing high quality long-term data on ecosystem response. Simulated future soil conditions improved under projected decrease in deposition and current climate conditions: higher pH, BS and C:N at 21, 16 and 12 of the sites, respectively. When climate change was included in the scenario analysis, the variability of the results increased. Climate warming resulted in higher simulated pH in most cases, and higher BS and C:N in roughly half of the cases. Especially the increase in C:N was more marked with climate warming. The study illustrates the value of LTER sites for applying models to predict soil responses to multiple environmental changes.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Schofield O, Brown M, Kohut J, et al (2018)

Changes in the upper ocean mixed layer and phytoplankton productivity along the West Antarctic Peninsula.

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences, 376(2122):.

The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has experienced significant change over the last 50 years. Using a 24 year spatial time series collected by the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research programme, we assessed long-term patterns in the sea ice, upper mixed layer depth (MLD) and phytoplankton productivity. The number of sea ice days steadily declined from the 1980s until a recent reversal that began in 2008. Results show regional differences between the northern and southern regions sampled during regional ship surveys conducted each austral summer. In the southern WAP, upper ocean MLD has shallowed by a factor of 2. Associated with the shallower mixed layer is enhanced phytoplankton carbon fixation. In the north, significant interannual variability resulted in the mixed layer showing no trended change over time and there was no significant increase in the phytoplankton productivity. Associated with the recent increases in sea ice there has been an increase in the photosynthetic efficiency (chlorophyll a-normalized carbon fixation) in the northern and southern regions of the WAP. We hypothesize the increase in sea ice results in increased micronutrient delivery to the continental shelf which in turn leads to enhanced photosynthetic performance.This article is part of the theme issue 'The marine system of the West Antarctic Peninsula: status and strategy for progress in a region of rapid change'.

RevDate: 2018-05-21
CmpDate: 2018-05-21

Xia S, Liu Y, Yu X, et al (2018)

Challenges in coupling LTER with environmental assessments: An insight from potential and reality of the Chinese Ecological Research Network in servicing environment assessments.

The Science of the total environment, 633:1302-1313.

Environmental assessments estimate, evaluate and predict the consequences of natural processes and human activities on the environment. Long-term ecosystem observation and research networks (LTERs) are potentially valuable infrastructure to support environmental assessments. However, very few environmental assessments have successfully incorporated them. In this study, we try to reveal the current status of coupling LTERs with environmental assessments and look at the challenges involved in improving this coupling through exploring the role that Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN), the LTER of China, currently plays in regional environment assessments. A review of official protocols and standards, regional assessments and CERN researches related to ecosystems and environment shows that there is great potential for coupling CERN with environment assessments. However in practice, CERN does not currently play the expected role. Remote sensing and irregular inventory data are still the main data sources currently used in regional assessments. Several causes led to the present situation: (1) insufficient cross-site research and failure to scale up site-level variables to the regional scale; (2) data barriers resulting from incompatible protocols and low data usability due to lack of data assimilation and scaling; and (3) absence of indicators relevant to human activities in existing monitoring protocols. For these reasons, enhancing cross-site monitoring and research, data assimilation and scaling up are critical steps required to improve coupling of LTER with environmental assessments. Site-focused long-term monitoring should be combined with wide-scale ground surveys and remote sensing to establish an effective connection between different environmental monitoring platforms for regional assessments. It is also necessary to revise the current monitoring protocols to include human activities and their impacts on the ecosystem, or change the LTERs into Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) networks.

RevDate: 2019-03-25
CmpDate: 2019-03-25

Carlson CJ, Getz WM, Kausrud KL, et al (2018)

Spores and soil from six sides: interdisciplinarity and the environmental biology of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis).

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 93(4):1813-1831.

Environmentally transmitted diseases are comparatively poorly understood and managed, and their ecology is particularly understudied. Here we identify challenges of studying environmental transmission and persistence with a six-sided interdisciplinary review of the biology of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis). Anthrax is a zoonotic disease capable of maintaining infectious spore banks in soil for decades (or even potentially centuries), and the mechanisms of its environmental persistence have been the topic of significant research and controversy. Where anthrax is endemic, it plays an important ecological role, shaping the dynamics of entire herbivore communities. The complex eco-epidemiology of anthrax, and the mysterious biology of Bacillus anthracis during its environmental stage, have necessitated an interdisciplinary approach to pathogen research. Here, we illustrate different disciplinary perspectives through key advances made by researchers working in Etosha National Park, a long-term ecological research site in Namibia that has exemplified the complexities of the enzootic process of anthrax over decades of surveillance. In Etosha, the role of scavengers and alternative routes (waterborne transmission and flies) has proved unimportant relative to the long-term persistence of anthrax spores in soil and their infection of herbivore hosts. Carcass deposition facilitates green-ups of vegetation to attract herbivores, potentially facilitated by the role of anthrax spores in the rhizosphere. The underlying seasonal pattern of vegetation, and herbivores' immune and behavioural responses to anthrax risk, interact to produce regular 'anthrax seasons' that appear to be a stable feature of the Etosha ecosystem. Through the lens of microbiologists, geneticists, immunologists, ecologists, epidemiologists, and clinicians, we discuss how anthrax dynamics are shaped at the smallest scale by population genetics and interactions within the bacterial communities up to the broadest scales of ecosystem structure. We illustrate the benefits and challenges of this interdisciplinary approach to disease ecology, and suggest ways anthrax might offer insights into the biology of other important pathogens. Bacillus anthracis, and the more recently emerged Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis, share key features with other environmentally transmitted pathogens, including several zoonoses and panzootics of special interest for global health and conservation efforts. Understanding the dynamics of anthrax, and developing interdisciplinary research programs that explore environmental persistence, is a critical step forward for understanding these emerging threats.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.


Order from Amazon

This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
961 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).


ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )