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  • 1
    Article
    Article
    In: BioScience, 2016, Vol. 66(9), pp.711-711
    Keywords: Biology;
    ISSN: 0006-3568
    E-ISSN: 1525-3244
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Science (New York, N.Y.), 11 September 2015, Vol.349(6253), pp.1176-7
    Keywords: Ecology -- Economics
    ISSN: 00368075
    E-ISSN: 1095-9203
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  • 3
    In: Journal of Ecology, July 2015, Vol.103(4), pp.891-903
    Description: Tropical montane forests house unusual and diverse biota and are considered highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly near the trade wind inversion (TWI) – the upper end of the cloud belt that defines tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF). The upper cloud belt has two possible futures: one hypothesis postulates a ‘lifting cloud base’, raising both the upper and lower ends of the cloud belt; the other expects the upper end of the cloud belt will change independently, with a ‘shifting TWI’. We used a ˜5900‐year‐long palaeorecord of vegetation and fire from a small forest hollow at 2455 m in the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. The site sits near the upper limit of TMCF taxa and the TWI and allows us to evaluate the relationship between vegetation dynamics and two potential drivers of TWI elevation – the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Vegetation changed from cloud forest (˜5900–5500 cal. years BP) to alpine grassland (˜4300–1300 cal. years BP), to pine savanna (˜1300–600 cal. years BP) and finally to closed pine forest (after ˜600 cal. years BP). Habitat distribution models for TMCF and pine forest taxa show that these state changes were strongly associated with position of the ITCZ (cloud forest xR2 = 0.63; pine forest xR2 = 0.53), providing support for the shifting TWI hypothesis. We find a negative relationship between fire and TMCF and a hump‐shaped relationship between fire activity and pine. Synthesis. Shifts up‐ and downslope of the upper limit of the cloud belt over the last 5900 years produced major vegetation changes. Fire also played a significant role, in particular when pine occupied the site after ˜1300 years ago and from 1965 AD when fire suppression led to a rapid return of cloud forest taxa. Our results strongly suggest that latitudinal shifts in the ITCZ position have controlled the upper limit of cloud forest in the Caribbean and understanding how the ITCZ will respond to climate change will be critical for tropical montane conservation strategies. Shifts up‐ and downslope of the cloud belt's upper limit over the last 5900 years produced major vegetation changes on high mountains in the aribbean. Habitat distribution models show that vegetation state changes were strongly linked to latitudinal position of the , providing support for the shifting hypothesis over a lifting cloud base hypothesis for tropical high elevations.
    Keywords: Charcoal Analysis ; C Ordillera C Entral ; D Ominican R Epublic ; Ecotone ; I Ntertropical C Onvergence Z One ; Palaeoecology And Land‐Use History ; P Inus Occidentalis ; Pollen Analysis ; Shifting Twi Hypothesis ; Tropical Montane Cloud Forest
    ISSN: 0022-0477
    E-ISSN: 1365-2745
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: The Journal of Ecology, 2015, Vol.103(4), p.891(13)
    Description: To purchase or authenticate to the full-text of this article, please visit this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2745.12423/abstract Byline: Shelley D. Crausbay, Patrick H. Martin, Eugene F. Kelly, Matt McGlone Keywords: charcoal analysis; Cordillera Central; Dominican Republic; ecotone; Intertropical Convergence Zone; palaeoecology and land-use history; Pinus occidentalis ; pollen analysis; shifting TWI hypothesis; tropical montane cloud forest Summary Tropical montane forests house unusual and diverse biota and are considered highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly near the trade wind inversion (TWI) - the upper end of the cloud belt that defines tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF). The upper cloud belt has two possible futures: one hypothesis postulates a 'lifting cloud base', raising both the upper and lower ends of the cloud belt; the other expects the upper end of the cloud belt will change independently, with a 'shifting TWI'. We used a E5900-year-long palaeorecord of vegetation and fire from a small forest hollow at 2455 m in the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. The site sits near the upper limit of TMCF taxa and the TWI and allows us to evaluate the relationship between vegetation dynamics and two potential drivers of TWI elevation - the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Vegetation changed from cloud forest (E5900-5500 cal. years BP) to alpine grassland (E4300-1300 cal. years BP), to pine savanna (E1300-600 cal. years BP) and finally to closed pine forest (after E600 cal. years BP). Habitat distribution models for TMCF and pine forest taxa show that these state changes were strongly associated with position of the ITCZ (cloud forest xR.sub.2 = 0.63; pine forest xR.sub.2 = 0.53), providing support for the shifting TWI hypothesis. We find a negative relationship between fire and TMCF and a hump-shaped relationship between fire activity and pine. Synthesis. Shifts up- and downslope of the upper limit of the cloud belt over the last 5900 years produced major vegetation changes. Fire also played a significant role, in particular when pine occupied the site after E1300 years ago and from 1965 AD when fire suppression led to a rapid return of cloud forest taxa. Our results strongly suggest that latitudinal shifts in the ITCZ position have controlled the upper limit of cloud forest in the Caribbean and understanding how the ITCZ will respond to climate change will be critical for tropical montane conservation strategies.
    Keywords: Vegetation Dynamics – Analysis ; Clouds (Meteorology) – Analysis ; Global Temperature Changes – Analysis
    ISSN: 0022-0477
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 5
    In: Journal Of Plant Ecology, 2014, Vol. 7(3), pp.211-221
    Description: Aims The rate of climate change may exceed many plant species' migration rates, particularly for long-lived perennial species that dominate most ecosystems. If bioclimatic envelopes shift more rapidly than dominant species can migrate, individuals located peripheral to biomes or in adjacent biomes may become a significant source of traits for future dominant populations (DPs). Thus, traits of individuals from peripheral populations (PPs) may affect future ecosystem functioning more than those of today's DPs. Methods We assessed key traits of individuals collected from populations that currently dominate two central US grasslands, the shortgrass steppe (Bouteloua gracilis) and the tallgrass prairie (Andropogon gerardii). We compared these to individuals from PPs in a reciprocal-transplant common garden experiment with gardens at the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research site in Colorado and the Konza Prairie Biological Station Long Term Ecological Research site in Kansas. DPs and PPs were subjected to high and reduced water availability in common gardens located in each biome. Traits measured included the following: individual plant biomass, reproductive allocation, specific leaf area (SLA) and plant-water relations. We focused on the climate-change relevant comparisons of traits from PPs versus DPs expressed under the climate of DPs. Important Findings PPs of B. gracilis differed from DPs primarily in phenological traits. Under a semiarid shortgrass steppe climate, PPs initiated flowering later in the season, produced fewer reproductive tillers and were more sensitive to water stress. Biomass differences between populations were minimal. For A. gerardii, biomass in PPs was 50% lower than in DPs under the mesic tallgrass prairie climate and reproductive tillers were considerably smaller, despite higher SLA in PPs. Biomass of PPs was less sensitive to water stress, however. From these results, we conclude that key traits of PPs differed from DPs in both grassland types, but potential effects on reproductive phenology were greater for the bioclimatic shift in which a mesic biome becomes arid, whereas aboveground productivity may be affected more when a semiarid biome becomes more mesic. [PUBLICATION ]
    Keywords: Grassland ; Phenology ; Productivity ; Traits ; Water Stress
    ISSN: 1752-9921
    E-ISSN: 1752-993X
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Biogeochemistry, 1 April 2012, Vol.108(1/3), pp.317-334
    Description: The efficacy of higher plants at mining Si from primary and secondary minerals in terrestrial ecosystems is now recognized as an important weathering mechanism. Grassland ecosystems are a particularly large reservoir of biogenic silica and are thus likely to be a key regulator of Si mobilization. Herein, we examine the effects of parent material (basaltic and granitic rocks) on the range and variability of biogenic silica pools in grass-dominated ecosystems along two precipitation gradients of Kruger National Park, South Africa. Four soil pedons and adjacent dominant plant species were characterized for biogenic silica content. Our results indicate that although soils derived from basalt had less total Si and dissolved Si than soils derived from granite, a greater proportion of the total Si was made up of biogenically derived silica. In general, plants and soils overlying basaltic versus granitic parent material stored greater quantities of biogenic silica and had longer turnover times of the biogenic silica pool in soils. Additionally, the relative abundance of biogenic silica was greater at the drier sites along the precipitation gradient regardless of parent material. These results suggest that the biogeochemical cycling of Si is strongly influenced by parent material and the hydrologic controls parent material imparts on soils. While soils derived from both basalt and granite are strongly regulated by biologic uptake, the former is a "tighter" system with less loss of Si than the latter which, although more dependent on biogenic silica dissolution, has greater losses of total Si. Lithologic discontinuities span beyond grasslands and are predicted to also influence biogenic silica cycling in other ecosystems.
    Keywords: Precipitation (Meteorology) -- Environmental Aspects ; Grasslands -- Environmental Aspects ; Silicon Dioxide -- Environmental Aspects ; Ecosystems -- Environmental Aspects ; Terrestrial Ecosystems -- Environmental Aspects ; Basalt -- Environmental Aspects ; Reservoirs (Water) -- Environmental Aspects;
    ISSN: 01682563
    E-ISSN: 1573515X
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings. Biological sciences, 22 November 2014, Vol.281(1795)
    Description: Soil biota play key roles in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, however, compared to our knowledge of above-ground plant and animal diversity, the biodiversity found in soils remains largely uncharacterized. Here, we present an assessment of soil biodiversity and biogeographic patterns across Central Park in New York City that spanned all three domains of life, demonstrating that even an urban, managed system harbours large amounts of undescribed soil biodiversity. Despite high variability across the Park, below-ground diversity patterns were predictable based on soil characteristics, with prokaryotic and eukaryotic communities exhibiting overlapping biogeographic patterns. Further, Central Park soils harboured nearly as many distinct soil microbial phylotypes and types of soil communities as we found in biomes across the globe (including arctic, tropical and desert soils). This integrated cross-domain investigation highlights that the amount and patterning of novel and uncharacterized diversity at a single urban location matches that observed across natural ecosystems spanning multiple biomes and continents.
    Keywords: 16s Rrna Gene ; 18s Rrna Gene ; Archaea ; Bacteria ; Eukarya ; Soil Biodiversity ; Biodiversity ; Soil ; Soil Microbiology
    ISSN: 09628452
    E-ISSN: 1471-2954
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Forest Ecology and Management, 2004, Vol.195(3), pp.281-290
    Description: Plantations of radiata pine ( Pinus radiata ) cover more than 4,000,000 ha worldwide [P.B. Lavery, D.J. Mead, Pinus radiata : a narrow endemic from North America takes on the world, in: D.M. Richardson (Ed.), Ecology and Biogeography of Pinus, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998, pp. 432–449]. In many areas, including the Ecuadorian Andes, these plantations have been established on former grasslands. Although this land use has grown over the past four decades in Ecuador, little is known about the effect of the change in vegetation cover on nutrient cycling in the high-altitude grassland systems where the plantations are frequently established. We examined changes in soil nitrogen, phosphorus, and acidity with stand age, using a chronosequence of stands ranging from 0 to 25 years of age. The effects of planting the grasslands with pine were most notable near the soil surface (0–10 cm), although in some cases changes deeper in the A horizon were also large. Total nitrogen concentrations became increasingly depleted along the chronosequence at intermediate depth ( P =0.04), while N was gained in the litter ( P =0.02) and upper-A horizon ( P =0.001) until the plantations reached 20 years, at which point it again declined. In the top 10 cm, concentrations of NO 3 − increased dramatically under pine ( P 〈0.001), while NH 4 + was lower than in grasslands ( P =0.04). Unlike nitrogen, neither total nor available phosphorus was significantly altered by the change in vegetation. Soil pH was higher in the grassland soils (5.5) than under pine stands of any age ( P 〈0.01), all of which had a mean pH of 5.2. Acidification under pine occurred only in the top 10 cm, with no differences in pH at other depths, indicating that it is being driven by soil processes that predominate in the near-surface environment. These results demonstrate that the change of vegetation can affect soil properties on a decadal time scale, with implications for long-term site productivity.
    Keywords: Nitrogen ; Phosphorus ; Soil Acidity ; Nutrient Cycling ; Afforestation ; Pinus ; Páramo Grassland ; Forestry ; Biology
    ISSN: 0378-1127
    E-ISSN: 1872-7042
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Oecologia, 2008, Vol.158(1), pp.129-140
    Description: Water availability is the primary constraint to aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in many terrestrial biomes, and it is an ecosystem driver that will be strongly altered by future climate change. Global circulation models predict a shift in precipitation patterns to growing season rainfall events that are larger in size but fewer in number. This “repackaging” of rainfall into large events with long intervening dry intervals could be particularly important in semi-arid grasslands because it is in marked contrast to the frequent but small events that have historically defined this ecosystem. We investigated the effect of more extreme rainfall patterns on ANPP via the use of rainout shelters and paired this experimental manipulation with an investigation of long-term data for ANPP and precipitation. Experimental plots ( n  = 15) received the long-term (30-year) mean growing season precipitation quantity; however, this amount was distributed as 12, six, or four events applied manually according to seasonal patterns for May–September. The long-term mean (1940–2005) number of rain events in this shortgrass steppe was 14 events, with a minimum of nine events in years of average precipitation. Thus, our experimental treatments pushed this system beyond its recent historical range of variability. Plots receiving fewer, but larger rain events had the highest rates of ANPP (184 ± 38 g m −2 ), compared to plots receiving more frequent rainfall (105 ± 24 g m −2 ). ANPP in all experimental plots was greater than long-term mean ANPP for this system (97 g m −2 ), which may be explained in part by the more even distribution of applied rain events. Soil moisture data indicated that larger events led to greater soil water content and likely permitted moisture penetration to deeper in the soil profile. These results indicate that semi-arid grasslands are capable of responding immediately and substantially to forecast shifts to more extreme precipitation patterns.
    Keywords: Grasslands ; Climate change ; Precipitation variability ; Rain event size ; Pulse-reserve paradigm
    ISSN: 0029-8549
    E-ISSN: 1432-1939
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Biogeochemistry, 2010, Vol.97(2), pp.263-278
    Description: Grassland ecosystems are an important terrestrial component of the global biogeochemical silicon cycle. Although the structure and ecological functioning of grasslands are strongly influenced by fire and grazing, the role of these key ecological drivers in the production and storage of silicon represents a significant knowledge gap, particularly since they are being altered worldwide by human activities. We evaluated the effects of fire and grazing on the range and variability of plant derived biogenic silica stored in plant biomass and soils by sampling plants and soils from long-term experimental plots with known fire and grazing histories. Overall, plants and soils from grazed sites in the South African ecosystems had up to 76 and 54% greater biogenic silica totals (kg ha −1 ), respectively, than grazed North American sites. In North American soils, the combination of grazing and annual fire resulted in the greatest abundance of biogenic silica, whereas South African soils had the highest biogenic silica content where grazed regardless of burn frequency. These results as well as those that show greater Si concentrations in grazed South African plants indicate that South African plants and soils responded somewhat differently to fire and grazing with respect to silicon cycling, which may be linked to differences in the evolutionary history and in the grazer diversity and grazing intensity of these ecosystems. We conclude that although fire and grazing (as interactive and/or independent factors) do not affect the concentration of Si taken up by plants, they do promote increased silicon storage in aboveground biomass and soil as a result of directly affecting other site factors such as aboveground net primary productivity. Therefore, as management practices, fire and grazing have important implications for assessing global change impacts on the terrestrial biogeochemical cycling of silicon.
    Keywords: Biogenic silica ; North American grasslands ; Soil ; South African savannas ; Terrestrial plants
    ISSN: 0168-2563
    E-ISSN: 1573-515X
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