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Ecological science has contributed greatly to our understanding of the natural world and the impact of humans on that world. Now, we need to refocus the discipline towards research that ensures a future in which natural systems and the humans they include coexist on a more sustainable planet. Acknowledging that managed ecosystems and intensive exploitation of resources define our future, ecologists must play a greatly expanded role in communicating their research and influencing policy and decisions that affect the environment. To accomplish this, they will have to forge partnerships at scales and in forms they have not traditionally used. These alliances must act within three visionary areas: enhancing the extent...
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Harvesting is the leading cause of adult tree mortality in forests of the northeastern United States. While current rates of timber harvest are generally sustainable, there is considerable pressure to increase the contribution of forest biomass to meet renewable energy goals. We estimated current harvest regimes for different forest types and regions across the U.S. states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine using data from the U.S. Forest Inventory and Analysis Program. We implemented the harvest regimes in SORTIE‐ND, an individual‐based model of forest dynamics, and simulated the effects of current harvest regimes and five additional harvest scenarios that varied by harvest frequency and intensity over...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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The Prairie Pothole Region, situated in the northern Great Plains, provides important stopover habitat for migratory shorebirds. During spring migration in the U.S. Prairie Potholes, 7.3 million shorebirds refuel in the region's myriad small, freshwater wetlands. Shorebirds use mudflats, shorelines, and ephemeral wetlands that are far more abundant in wet years than dry years. Generally, climate change is expected to bring warmer temperatures, seasonality shifts, more extreme events, and changes to precipitation. The impacts to wetland habitats are uncertain. In the Prairie Potholes, earlier spring onset and warmer temperatures may advance drying of wetlands or, alternately, increased spring precipitation may produce...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Conservation and management of spatially structured populations is challenging because solutions must consider where individuals are located, but also differential individual space use as a result of landscape heterogeneity. A recent extension of spatial capture–recapture (SCR) models, the ecological distance model, uses spatial encounter histories of individuals (e.g., a record of where individuals are detected across space, often sequenced over multiple sampling occasions), to estimate the relationship between space use and characteristics of a landscape, allowing simultaneous estimation of both local densities of individuals across space and connectivity at the scale of individual movement. We developed two model-based...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Complex surveys often are necessary to estimate occurrence (or distribution), density, and abundance of plants and animals for purposes of re-search and conservation. Most scientists are familiar with simple random sampling, where sample units are selected from a population of interest (sampling frame) with equal probability. However, the goal of ecological surveys often is to make inferences about populations over large or complex spatial areas where organisms are not homogeneously distributed or sampling frames are in-convenient or impossible to construct. Candidate sampling strategies for such complex surveys include stratified,multistage, and adaptive sampling (Thompson 1992, Buckland 1994).
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Microbial interactions could play an important role in plant invasions. If invasive plants associate with relatively more mutualists or fewer pathogens than their native counterparts, then microbial communities could foster plant invasiveness. Studies examining the effects of microbes on invasive plants commonly focus on a single microbial group (e.g., bacteria) or measure only plant response to microbes, not documenting the specific taxa associating with invaders. We surveyed root microbial communities associated with co‐occurring native and non‐native lineages of Phragmites australis, across Michigan, USA. Our aim was to determine whether (1) plant lineage was a stronger predictor of root microbial community composition...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Large mammalian herbivores introduced to islands without predators are predicted to undergo irruptive population and spatial dynamics, but only a few well-documented case studies support this paradigm. We used the Riney-Caughley model as a framework to test predictions of irruptive population growth and spatial expansion of caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) introduced to Adak Island in the Aleutian archipelago of Alaska in 1958 and 1959. We utilized a time series of spatially explicit counts conducted on this population intermittently over a 54-year period. Population size increased from 23 released animals to approximately 2900 animals in 2012. Population dynamics were characterized by two distinct periods of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Ecologists are increasingly discovering that ecological processes are made up of components that are multi-scaled in space and time. Some of the most complex of these processes are cross-scale interactions (CSIs), which occur when components interact across scales. When undetected, such interactions may cause errors in extrapolation from one region to another. CSIs, particularly those that include a regional scaled component, have not been systematically investigated or even reported because of the challenges of acquiring data at sufficiently broad spatial extents. We present an approach for quantifying CSIs and apply it to a case study investigating one such interaction, between local and regional scaled land-use...
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In tallgrass prairie, belowground processes are even more important than in forested systems because aboveground biomass and standing dead litter are periodically removed by frequent fires or grazers. Thus, studies that address factors regulating belowground processes are especially relevant for tallgrass prairie. We predicted that effects of grazing and burning differ belowground and that changes in root productivity caused by burning or grazing provide feedback that affects ecosystem fluxes of C and N. These differences in belowground response should be driven largely by changes in N dynamics and the degree to which burning and grazing affect the pathway and magnitude of N loss and the degree of N limitation in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Migratory bird populations and survival are affected by conditions experienced during migration. While many studies and conservation and management efforts focus on terrestrial stoppage and staging areas, the aerial environment through which migrants move also is subjected to anthropogenic impacts with potential consequences to migratory movement and survival. During autumn migration, the northern coastline of Lake Superior acts as an ecological barrier for many landbirds migrating out of the boreal forests of North America. From 24 observation points, we assessed the diurnal movements of birds throughout autumn migration, 2008-2010, within a 210 km by 10 km coastal region along the northern coast of Lake Superior....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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This paper provides a synthesis of the recent literature describing how global biodiversity is being affected by climate change and is projected to respond in the future. Current studies reinforce earlier findings of major climate-change-related impacts on biological systems and document new, more subtle after-effects. For example, many species are shifting their distributions and phenologies at faster rates than were recorded just a few years ago; however, responses are not uniform across species. Shifts have been idiosyncratic and in some cases counterintuitive, promoting new community compositions and altering biotic interactions. Although genetic diversity enhances species' potential to respond to variable conditions,...


map background search result map search result map Irruptive dynamics of introduced caribou on Adak Island, Alaska: an evaluation of Riney-Caughley model predictions Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier Irruptive dynamics of introduced caribou on Adak Island, Alaska: an evaluation of Riney-Caughley model predictions Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier