Ecosystems

http://link.springer.com/journal/10021

List of Papers (Total 123)

Blue Carbon Storage in Tropical Seagrass Meadows Relates to Carbonate Stock Dynamics, Plant–Sediment Processes, and Landscape Context: Insights from the Western Indian Ocean

Globally, seagrass ecosystems are considered major blue carbon sinks and thus indirect contributors to climate change mitigation. Quantitative estimates and multi-scale appraisals of sources that underlie long-term storage of sedimentary carbon are vital for understanding coastal carbon dynamics. Across a tropical–subtropical coastal continuum in the Western Indian Ocean, we ...

Fine Root Morphology, Biochemistry and Litter Quality Indices of Fast- and Slow-growing Woody Species in Ethiopian Highland Forest

Fine root turnover of trees is a major C input to soil. However, the quality of litter input is influenced by root morphological traits and tissue chemical composition. In this study, fine roots of ten tropical woody species were collected from an Afromontane forest in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. The fine roots were analysed for root morphological traits and tissue ...

From Bacteria to Fish: Ecological Consequences of Seasonal Hypoxia in a Great Lakes Estuary

The occurrence of bottom-water hypoxia is increasing in bodies of water around the world. Hypoxia is of concern due to the way it negatively impacts lakes and estuaries at the whole ecosystem level. During 2015, we examined the influence of hypoxia on the Muskegon Lake ecosystem by collecting surface- and bottom-water nutrient samples, bacterial abundance counts, benthic fish ...

Slow Recovery from Local Disturbances as an Indicator for Loss of Ecosystem Resilience

A range of indicators have been proposed for identifying the elevated risk of critical transitions in ecosystems. Most indicators are based on the idea that critical slowing down can be inferred from changes in statistical properties of natural fluctuations and spatial patterns. However, identifying these signals in nature has remained challenging. An alternative approach is to ...

Shellfish Reefs Increase Water Storage Capacity on Intertidal Flats Over Extensive Spatial Scales

Ecosystem engineering species can affect their environment at multiple spatial scales, from the local scale up to a significant distance, by indirectly affecting the surrounding habitats. Structural changes in the landscape can have important consequences for ecosystem functioning, for example, by increasing retention of limiting resources in the system. Yet, it remains poorly ...

Climate-Induced Changes in Spring Snowmelt Impact Ecosystem Metabolism and Carbon Fluxes in an Alpine Stream Network

Although stream ecosystems are recognized as an important component of the global carbon cycle, the impacts of climate-induced hydrological extremes on carbon fluxes in stream networks remain unclear. Using continuous measurements of ecosystem metabolism, we report on the effects of changes in snowmelt hydrology during the anomalously warm winter 2013/2014 on gross primary ...

Mineral-Associated Soil Carbon is Resistant to Drought but Sensitive to Legumes and Microbial Biomass in an Australian Grassland

Drought is predicted to increase in many areas of the world with consequences for soil carbon (C) dynamics. Plant litter, root exudates and microbial biomass can be used as C substrates to form organo-mineral complexes. Drought effects on plants and microbes could potentially compromise these relative stable soil C pools, by reducing plant C inputs and/or microbial activity. We ...

Towards an Improved Conceptualization of Riparian Zones in Boreal Forest Headwaters

The boreal ecoregion supports about one-third of the world’s forest. Over 90% of boreal forest streams are found in headwaters, where terrestrial–aquatic interfaces are dominated by organic matter (OM)-rich riparian zones (RZs). Because these transition zones are key features controlling catchment biogeochemistry, appropriate RZ conceptualizations are needed to sustainably manage ...

Long-Term Simulated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Alters Leaf and Fine Root Decomposition

Atmospheric nitrogen deposition increases forest carbon sequestration across broad parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Slower organic matter decomposition and greater soil carbon accumulation could contribute to this increase in carbon sequestration. We investigated the effects of chronic simulated nitrogen deposition on leaf litter and fine root decomposition at four sugar maple ...

Headwater Mires Constitute a Major Source of Nitrogen (N) to Surface Waters in the Boreal Landscape

Nutrient exports from soils have important implications for long-term patterns of nutrient limitation on land and resource delivery to aquatic environments. While plant–soil systems are notably efficient at retaining limiting nutrients, spatial and temporal mismatches in resource supply and demand may create opportunities for hydrologic losses to occur. Spatial mismatches may be ...

Exploring the Ecological History of a Tropical Agroforestry Landscape Using Fossil Pollen and Charcoal Analysis from Four Sites in Western Ghats, India

Contrary to expectations, some human-modified landscapes are considered to sustain both human activities and biodiversity over the long-term. Agroforestry systems are among these landscapes where crops are planted under native shade trees. In this context, ancient agroforestry systems can provide insight into how farmers managed the landscape over time. Such insight can help to ...

Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre: New Views of an Old Ocean

The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) is one of the largest biomes on Earth. It has a semi-enclosed surface area of about 2 × 107 km2 and mean depth of nearly 5 km and includes a broad range of habitats from warm, light-saturated, nutrient-starved surface waters to the cold, nutrient-rich abyss. Microorganisms are found throughout the water column and are vertically stratified ...

Influence of Land-Use Intensification on Vegetation C-Stocks in an Alpine Valley from 1865 to 2003

The role of ecosystems as carbon (C) sinks or sources is intrinsically related to land-use intensity, which determines the land required for biomass production. Here, we systematically investigate the role of different land-use types including their land-use intensities on vegetation C-stocks (SCact) in the Stubai valley, located in the Austrian central Alps. After a period of high ...

Interactive Effects Between Reindeer and Habitat Fertility Drive Soil Nutrient Availabilities in Arctic Tundra

Herbivores impact nutrient availability and cycling, and the net effect of herbivory on soil nutrients is generally assumed to be positive in nutrient-rich environments and negative in nutrient-poor ones. This is, however, far from a uniform pattern, and there is a recognized need to investigate any interactive effects of herbivory and habitat fertility (i.e., plant C/N ratios) on ...

Invasive N-fixer Impacts on Litter Decomposition Driven by Changes to Soil Properties Not Litter Quality

Invasive nitrogen (N)-fixing plants often fundamentally change key ecosystem functions, particularly N-cycling. However, the consequences of this for litter decomposition, and the mechanisms that underpin ecosystem responses, remain poorly understood. Moreover, few studies have determined how nutrient pools and fluxes shift as invader density increases and whether these effects ...

Nationally Representative Plot Network Reveals Contrasting Drivers of Net Biomass Change in Secondary and Old-Growth Forests

Uncertainty about the mechanisms driving biomass change at broad spatial scales limits our ability to predict the response of forest biomass storage to global change. Here we use a spatially representative network of 874 forest plots in New Zealand to examine whether commonly hypothesised drivers of forest biomass and biomass change (diversity, disturbance, nutrients and climate) ...

The Next Decade of Big Data in Ecosystem Science

Ecosystem scientists will increasingly be called on to inform forecasts and define uncertainty about how changing planet conditions affect human well-being. We should be prepared to leverage the best tools available, including big data. Use of the term ‘big data’ implies an approach that includes capacity to aggregate, search, cross-reference, and mine large volumes of data to ...

Abundance, Activity and Community Structure of Denitrifiers in Drainage Ditches in Relation to Sediment Characteristics, Vegetation and Land-Use

Drainage ditches are ubiquitous yet understudied features of the agricultural landscape. Nitrogen pollution disrupts the nutrient balance of drainage ditch ecosystems, as well as the waterbodies in which they drain. Denitrification can help ameliorate the impact of N-fertilization by converting reactive nitrogen into dinitrogen gas. However, factors affecting denitrification in ...

Reduced Snow Cover Increases Wintertime Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions from an Agricultural Soil in the Upper U.S. Midwest

Throughout most of the northern hemisphere, snow cover decreased in almost every winter month from 1967 to 2012. Because snow is an effective insulator, snow cover loss has likely enhanced soil freezing and the frequency of soil freeze–thaw cycles, which can disrupt soil nitrogen dynamics including the production of nitrous oxide (N2O). We used replicated automated gas flux ...

To Model or not to Model, That is no Longer the Question for Ecologists

Here, I argue that we should abandon the division between “field ecologists” and “modelers,” and embrace modeling and empirical research as two powerful and often complementary approaches in the toolbox of 21st century ecologists, to be deployed alone or in combination depending on the task at hand. As empirical research has the longer tradition in ecology, and modeling is the more ...

How Regime Shifts in Connected Aquatic Ecosystems Are Affected by the Typical Downstream Increase of Water Flow

All over the world freshwater ecosystems like ponds, ditches and lakes suffer from nutrient-driven regime shifts from submerged plants to dominance by algae or free-floating plants. Although freshwaters are often connected and part of a network, most of our current knowledge on regime shifts comes from studies of isolated ecosystems. The few studies that have assessed the spatial ...

To Tree or Not to Tree: Cultural Views from Ancient Romans to Modern Ecologists

Few things are more defining in a landscape compared to the absence or presence of trees, both in aesthetic and in functional terms. At the same time, tree cover has been profoundly affected by humans since ancient times. It is therefore not surprising that opinions about deforestation and colonization of landscapes by trees have always been strong. Although loss of forests is ...

Legacy Effects of Human Land Use: Ecosystems as Time-Lagged Systems

Today, most ecosystems show some degree of human modification, ranging from subtle influences to complete remodeling and reshaping into anthropogenic ecosystems. In the first issue of the journal Ecosystems, the field of historical ecology, which focuses on the historical development of ecosystems, was prominently positioned with the papers of Foster and others (Ecosystems ...

Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Invasive Freshwater Shrimp (Mysis diluviana): Long-Term Effects on Ecosystem Properties in a Large Oligotrophic Lake

Invasion of Mysis diluviana from upstream stockings drastically altered the food web of 480 km2 Flathead Lake, Montana (USA). Mysis increased exponentially after establishment in 1982, preying upon large zooplankters, thereby substantially altering zooplankton community composition, favoring small-sized species. In consequence, primary production increased by 21% owing to changes ...