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Mitigation activities designed to supplement nutrient and organic matter inputs to streams experiencing decline or loss of Pacific salmon typically presuppose that an important pathway by which salmon nutrients are moved to fish (anadromous and/or resident) is via nutrient incorporation by biofilms and subsequent bottom-up stimulation of biofilm production, which is nutrient-limited in many ecosystems where salmon returns have declined. Our objective was to quantify the magnitude of nutrient incorporation and biofilm dynamics that underpin this indirect pathway in response to experimental additions of salmon carcasses and pelletized fish meal (a.k.a., salmon carcass analogs) to 500-m reaches of central Idaho streams...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Predators can influence prey directly through consumption or indirectly through nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) by altering prey behavior, morphology, and life history. We investigated whether predator-avoidance behaviors by larval long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in lakes with nonnative trout result in NCEs on morphology and development. Field studies in lakes with and without trout were corroborated by experimental enclosures, where prey were exposed only to visual and chemical cues of predators. We found that salamanders in lakes with trout were consistently smaller than in lakes without trout: 38% lower weight, 24% shorter body length, and 29% shorter tail length. Similarly, salamanders in protective...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Non-native species are a prevalent ecosystem stressor that can interact with other stressors to confound resource management and restoration. We examine how interactions between physical habitat attributes and a particular category of non-native species (invasive bivalves) influence primary production in aquatic ecosystems. Using mathematical models, we show how intuitive relationships between phytoplankton productivity and controllable physical factors (water depth, hydraulic transport time) that hold in the absence of bivalves can be complicated—and even reversed—by rapid bivalve grazing. In light-limited environments without bivalves, shallow, hydrodynamically “slow” habitats should generally have greater phytoplankton...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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The combination of climate change and altered disturbance regimes is directly and indirectly affecting plant communities by mediating competitive interactions, resulting in shifts in species composition and abundance. Dryland plant communities, defined by low soil water availability and highly variable climatic regimes, are particularly vulnerable to climatic changes that exceed their historical range of variability. Individual‐based simulation models can be important tools to quantify the impacts of climate change, altered disturbance regimes, and their interaction on demographic and community‐level responses because they represent competitive interactions between individuals and individual responses to fluctuating...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Climate change in grassland ecosystems may lead to divergent shifts in the abundance and distribution of C3 and C4 grasses. Many studies relate mean climate conditions over relatively long time periods to plant cover, but there is still much uncertainty about how the balance of C3and C4 species will be affected by climate at a finer temporal scale than season (individual events to months). We monitored cover at five grassland sites with co-dominant C3 and C4 grass species or only dominant C3 grass species for 6 yr in national parks across the Colorado Plateau region to assess the influence of specific months of climate and water balance on changes in grass cover. C4 grass cover increased and decreased to a larger...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Quantifying the impact of anthropogenic development on local populations is important for conservation biology and wildlife management. However, these local populations are often subject to demographic stochasticity because of their small population size. Traditional modeling efforts such as population projection matrices do not consider this source of variation whereas individual-based models, which include demographic stochasticity, are computationally intense and lack analytical tractability. One compromise between approaches is branching process models because they accommodate demographic stochasticity and are easily calculated. These models are known within some sub-fields of probability and mathematical ecology...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Distributional limits of many tropical species in Florida are ultimately determined by tolerance to low temperature. An unprecedented cold spell during 2–11 January 2010, in South Florida provided an opportunity to compare the responses of tropical American crocodiles with warm-temperate American alligators and to compare the responses of nonnative Burmese pythons with native warm-temperate snakes exposed to prolonged cold temperatures. After the January 2010 cold spell, a record number of American crocodiles (n = 151) and Burmese pythons (n = 36) were found dead. In contrast, no American alligators and no native snakes were found dead. American alligators and American crocodiles behaved differently during the cold...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Macroscale studies of ecological phenomena are increasingly common because stressors such as climate and land-use change operate at large spatial and temporal scales. Cross-scale interactions (CSIs), where ecological processes operating at one spatial or temporal scale interact with processes operating at another scale, have been documented in a variety of ecosystems and contribute to complex system dynamics. However, studies investigating CSIs are often dependent on compiling multiple data sets from different sources to create multithematic, multiscaled data sets, which results in structurally complex, and sometimes incomplete data sets. The statistical power to detect CSIs needs to be evaluated because of their...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Plant population models are powerful tools for predicting climate change impacts in one location, but are difficult to apply at landscape scales. We overcome this limitation by taking advantage of two recent advances: remotely sensed, species-specific estimates of plant cover and statistical models developed for spatiotemporal dynamics of animal populations. Using computationally efficient model reparameterizations, we fit a spatiotemporal population model to a 28-year time series of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) percent cover over a 2.5 × 5 km landscape in southwestern Wyoming while formally accounting for spatial autocorrelation. We include interannual variation in precipitation and temperature as covariates in the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Large wetlands around the world face the possibility of degradation, not only from complete conversion, but also from subtle changes in their structure and function. While fragmentation and isolation of wetlands within heterogeneous landscapes has received much attention, the disruption of spatial patterns/processes within large wetland systems and the resulting fragmentation of community components are less well documented. A greater understanding of pattern/process relationships and landscape gradients, and what occurs when they are altered, could help avoid undesirable consequences of restoration actions. The objective of this study is to determine the amount of fragmentation of sawgrass ridges due to artificial...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Climate projections for the Midwestern United States predict southerly climates to shift northward. These shifts in climate could alter distributions of species across North America through changes in climate (i.e., temperature and precipitation), or through climate-induced changes on land cover. Our objective was to determine the relative impacts of land cover and climate on the abundance of five bird species in the Central United States that have habitat requirements ranging from grassland and shrubland to forest. We substituted space for time to examine potential impacts of a changing climate by assessing climate and land cover relationships over a broad latitudinal gradient. We found positive and negative relationships...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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The capacity to describe and quantify predation by large carnivores expanded considerably with the advent of GPS technology. Analyzing clusters of GPS locations formed by carnivores facilitates the detection of predation events by identifying characteristics which distinguish predation sites. We present a performance assessment of GPS cluster analysis as applied to the predation and scavenging of an omnivore, the American black bear (Ursus americanus), on ungulate prey and carrion. Through field investigations of 6854 GPS locations from 24 individual bears, we identified 54 sites where black bears formed a cluster of locations while predating or scavenging elk (Cervus elaphus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), or...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Habitat degradation and harvest have upset the natural buffering mechanism (i.e., portfolio effects) of many large-scale multi-stock fisheries by reducing spawning stock diversity that is vital for generating population stability and resilience. The application of portfolio theory offers a means to guide management activities by quantifying the importance of multi-stock dynamics and suggesting conservation and restoration strategies to improve naturally occurring portfolio effects. Our application of portfolio theory to Lake Erie Sander vitreus (walleye), a large population that is supported by riverine and open-lake reef spawning stocks, has shown that portfolio effects generated by annual inter-stock larval fish...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Patterns, mechanisms, projections, and consequences of tree mortality and associated broad-scale forest die-off due to drought accompanied by warmer temperatures—“hotter drought”, an emerging characteristic of the Anthropocene—are the focus of rapidly expanding literature. Despite recent observational, experimental, and modeling studies suggesting increased vulnerability of trees to hotter drought and associated pests and pathogens, substantial debate remains among research, management and policy-making communities regarding future tree mortality risks. We summarize key mortality-relevant findings, differentiating between those implying lesser versus greater levels of vulnerability. Evidence suggesting lesser vulnerability...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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High tissue nitrogen (N) accelerates decomposition of high-quality leaf litter in the early phases of mass loss, but the influence of initial tissue N variation on the decomposition of lignin-rich litter is less resolved. Because environmental changes such as atmospheric N deposition and elevated CO2 can alter tissue N levels within species more rapidly than they alter the species composition of ecosystems, it is important to consider how within-species variation in tissue N may shape litter decomposition and associated N dynamics. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ) is a widespread lignin-rich conifer that dominates forests of high carbon (C) storage across western North America, and displays wide variation in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Altered disturbance regimes and shifting climates have increased the need for large‐scale restoration treatments across the western United States. Seed‐sourcing remains a considerable challenge for revegetation efforts, particularly on public lands where policy favors the use of native, locally sourced plant material to avoid maladaptation. An important area of emphasis for public agencies has been the development of spatial tools to guide selection of genetically appropriate seed. When genetic information is not available, current seed transfer guidelines stipulate use of climate‐based or provisional seed transfer zones, which serve as a proxy for local adaptation by representing climate gradients to which plants...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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The need to protect biostructure is increasingly recognized, yet empirical studies of how human exploits affect ecological networks are rare. Studying the effects of variation in human disturbance intensity from decades past can help us understand and anticipate ecosystem change under alleviated or amplified disturbance over decades to come. Here, we use stable isotopes and an innovative analytical approach to compare the food webs of two akin lake ecosystems subject to disparate water use regimes, a pervasive, yet unappreciated stressor. We show that intensive water use (persistent, early season, rapid lake‐level drawdown) can compress trophic diversity by 46%, necessitating reorganization of biostructural elements...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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How isolation affects biological communities is a fundamental question in ecology and conservation biology. Local diversity (α) and regional diversity (γ) are consistently lower in insular areas. The pattern of species turnover (β diversity) and the influence of isolation on competitive interactions are less predictable. Differences in communities across microhabitats within an isolated patch could contribute to the variability in patterns related to isolation. Trees form characteristically dense and sparse patches (low vs. high isolation) in floating marshes in coastal Louisiana, and canopy and root areas around these trees could support distinct ant communities. Consequently, trees in floating marshes provide...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Uncontrolled wildfire in arid and semiarid ecosystems has become an increasing concern in recent decades. Active rehabilitation of fire-affected areas is often quickly initiated to minimize long-term ecosystem damage. However, the complex soil-geomorphic-vegetation patterns and low and variable moisture conditions in these regions makes restoration challenging. To further inform these post-fire management decisions, we present results from 5 years of vegetation and sediment flux monitoring following the Milford Flat Fire in west-central Utah, USA. Our sampling design includes monitoring plots in areas not burned, areas burned but where no rehabilitation was attempted, and burned areas where various rehabilitation...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Science is increasingly being conducted in large, interdisciplinary teams. As team size increases, challenges can arise during manuscript development, where achieving one team goal (e.g., inclusivity) may be in direct conflict with other goals (e.g., efficiency). Here, we present strategies for effective collaborative manuscript development that draw from our experiences in an interdisciplinary science team writing collaborative manuscripts for six years. These strategies are rooted in six guiding principles that were important to our team: to create a transparent, inclusive, and accountable research team that promotes and protects team members who have less power to influence decision‐making while fostering creativity...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere