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Changing climate will impact species’ ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using >500,000 time-series observations for 81 species across 86 North American study areas. The effect of climate on local colonization and persistence probabilities varies among eco-regions and depends on local climate, species life-histories, and taxonomic classification. We found that local species richness is most sensitive to changes in water availability during breeding and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Whole-genome sequencing has provided fundamental insights into infectious disease epidemiology, but has rarely been used for examining transmission dynamics of a bacterial pathogen in wildlife. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), outbreaks of brucellosis have increased in cattle along with rising seroprevalence in elk. Here we use a genomic approach to examine Brucella abortus evolution, cross-species transmission and spatial spread in the GYE. We find that brucellosis was introduced into wildlife in this region at least five times. The diffusion rate varies among Brucella lineages (B3 to 8 km per year) and over time. We also estimate 12 host transitions from bison to elk, and 5 from elk to bison. Our results...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Thermokarst is the process whereby the thawing of ice-rich permafrost ground causes land subsidence, resulting in development of distinctive landforms. Accelerated thermokarst due to climate change will damage infrastructure, but also impact hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry. Here, we present a circumpolar assessment of the distribution of thermokarst landscapes, defined as landscapes comprised of current thermokarst landforms and areas susceptible to future thermokarst development. At 3.6 × 106 km2, thermokarst landscapes are estimated to cover ∼20% of the northern permafrost region, with approximately equal contributions from three landscape types where characteristic wetland, lake and hillslope thermokarst...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Anthropogenic changes in climate and land use are driving changes in migration patterns of birds worldwide. Spatial changes in migration have been related to long-term temperature trends, but the intrinsic mechanisms by which migratory species adapt to environmental change remain largely unexplored. We show that, for a long-lived social species, older birds with more experience are critical for innovating new migration behaviours. Groups containing older, more experienced individuals establish new overwintering sites closer to the breeding grounds, leading to a rapid population-level shift in migration patterns. Furthermore, these new overwintering sites are in areas where changes in climate have increased temperatures...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Historically, it is believed that crystalline uraninite, produced via the abiotic reduction of hexavalent uranium (U(VI)) is the dominant reduced U species formed in low-temperature uranium roll-front ore deposits. Here we show that non-crystalline U(IV) generated through biologically mediated U(VI) reduction is the predominant U(IV) species in an undisturbed U roll-front ore deposit in Wyoming, USA. Characterization of U species revealed that the majority (∼58-89%) of U is bound as U(IV)to C-containing organic functional groups or inorganic carbonate, while uraninite and U(VI) represent only minor components. The uranium deposit exhibited mostly 238U-enriched isotope signatures, consistent with largely biotic reduction...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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A declining rate of recovery following disturbance has been proposed as an important early warning for impending tipping points in complex systems. Despite extensive theoretical and laboratory studies, this ‘critical slowing down’ remains largely untested in the complex settings of real-world ecosystems. Here, we provide both observational and experimental support of critical slowing down along natural stress gradients in tidal marsh ecosystems. Time series of aerial images of European marsh development reveal a consistent lengthening of recovery time as inundation stress increases. We corroborate this finding with transplantation experiments in European and North American tidal marshes. In particular, our results...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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In November 2013, a series of earthquakes began along a mapped ancient fault system near Azle, Texas. Here we assess whether it is plausible that human activity caused these earthquakes. Analysis of both lake and groundwater variations near Azle shows that no significant stress changes were associated with the shallow water table before or during the earthquake sequence. In contrast, pore-pressure models demonstrate that a combination of brine production and wastewater injection near the fault generated subsurface pressures sufficient to induce earthquakes on near-critically stressed faults. On the basis of modelling results and the absence of historical earthquakes near Azle, brine production combined with wastewater...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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During explosive eruptions, airborne particles collide and stick together, accelerating the fallout of volcanic ash and climate-forcing aerosols. This aggregation process remains a major source of uncertainty both in ash dispersal forecasting and interpretation of eruptions from the geological record. Here we illuminate the mechanisms and timescales of particle aggregation from a well-characterized ‘wet’ eruption. The 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano in Alaska incorporated water from the surface (in this case, a glacier), which is a common occurrence during explosive volcanism worldwide. Observations from C-band weather radar, fall deposits, and numerical modeling demonstrate that volcanic hail formed rapidly in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Species richness is regulated by a complex network of scale-dependent processes. This complexity can obscure the influence of limiting species interactions, making it difficult to determine if abiotic or biotic drivers are more predominant regulators of richness. Using integrative modeling of freshwater fish richness from 721 lakes along an 11olatitudinal gradient, we find negative interactions to be a relatively minor independent predictor of species richness in lakes despite the widespread presence of predators. Instead, interaction effects, when detectable among major functional groups and 231 species pairs, were strong, often positive, but contextually dependent on environment. These results are consistent with...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Surface-ocean circulation in the northern Atlantic Ocean influences Northern Hemisphere climate. Century-scale circulation variability in the Atlantic Ocean, however, is poorly constrained due to insufficiently-resolved paleoceanographic records. Here we present a replicated reconstruction of sea-surface temperature and salinity from a site sensitive to North Atlantic circulation in the Gulf of Mexico which reveals pronounced centennial-scale variability over the late Holocene. We find significant correlations on these timescales between salinity changes in the Atlantic, a diagnostic parameter of circulation, and widespread precipitation anomalies using three approaches: multiproxy synthesis, observational datasets,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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A revolution in seismic detection technology is underway, capturing unprecedented observations of earthquakes and their impacts. These sensor innovations provide real-time ground shaking observations that could improve emergency response following damaging earthquakes and may advance our understanding of the physics of earthquake ruptures.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Earthquakes far from tectonic plate boundaries generally exploit ancient faults, but not all intraplate faults are equally active. The North American Great Plains exemplify such intraplate earthquake localization, with both natural and induced seismicity generally clustered in discrete zones. Here we use seismic velocity, gravity and topography to generate a 3D lithospheric density model of the region; subsequent finite-element modelling shows that seismicity focuses in regions of high-gravity-derived deviatoric stress. Furthermore, predicted principal stress directions generally align with those observed independently in earthquake moment tensors and borehole breakouts. Body forces therefore appear to control the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Under climate warming, migratory birds should align reproduction dates with advancing plant and arthropod phenology. To arrive on the breeding grounds earlier, migrants may speed up spring migration by curtailing the time spent en route, possibly at the cost of decreased survival rates. Based on a decades-long series of observations along an entire flyway, we show that when refuelling time is limited, variation in food abundance in the spring staging area affects fitness. Bar-tailed godwits migrating from West Africa to the Siberian Arctic reduce refuelling time at their European staging site and thus maintain a close match between breeding and tundra phenology. Annual survival probability decreases with shorter...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Arctic amplification is a consequence of surface albedo, cloud, and temperature feedbacks, as well as poleward oceanic and atmospheric heat transport. However, the relative impact of changes in sea surface temperature (SST) patterns and ocean heat flux sourced from different regions on Arctic temperatures are not well constrained. We modify ocean-to-atmosphere heat fluxes in the North Pacific and North Atlantic in a climate model to determine the sensitivity of Arctic temperatures to zonal heterogeneities in northern hemisphere SST patterns. Both positive and negative ocean heat flux perturbations from the North Pacific result in greater global and Arctic surface air temperature anomalies than equivalent magnitude...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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The ongoing human H7N9 influenza infections highlight the threat of emerging avian influenza viruses. In 2011, an avian H3N8 influenza virus isolated from moribund New England harbour seals was shown to have naturally acquired mutations known to increase the transmissibility of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses. To elucidate the potential human health threat, here we evaluate a panel of avian H3N8 viruses and find that the harbour seal virus displays increased affinity for mammalian receptors, transmits via respiratory droplets in ferrets and replicates in human lung cells. Analysis of a panel of human sera for H3N8 neutralizing antibodies suggests that there is no population-wide immunity to these viruses....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Complex ecological networks appear robust to primary extinctions, possibly due to consumers’ tendency to specialize on dependable (available and persistent) resources. However, modifications to the conditions under which the network has evolved might alter resource dependability. Here, we ask whether adaptation to historical conditions can increase community robustness, and whether such robustness can protect communities from collapse when conditions change. Using artificial life simulations, we first evolved digital consumer-resource networks that we subsequently subjected to rapid environmental change. We then investigated how empirical host–parasite networks would respond to historical, random and expected extinction...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is the dominant mode of interannual climate variability across the Pacific Ocean basin, with influence on the global climate. The two end members of the cycle, El Niño and La Niña, force anomalous oceanographic conditions and coastal response along the Pacific margin, exposing many heavily populated regions to increased coastal flooding and erosion hazards. However, a quantitative record of coastal impacts is spatially limited and temporally restricted to only the most recent events. Here we report on the oceanographic forcing and coastal response of the 2015–2016 El Niño, one of the strongest of the last 145 years. We show that winter wave energy equalled or exceeded measured historical...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Burial in sediments removes organic carbon (OC) from the short-term biosphere-atmosphere carbon (C) cycle, and therefore prevents greenhouse gas production in natural systems. Although OC burial in lakes and reservoirs is faster than in the ocean, the magnitude of inland water OC burial is not well constrained. Here we generate the first global-scale and regionally resolved estimate of modern OC burial in lakes and reservoirs, deriving from a comprehensive compilation of literature data. We coupled statistical models to inland water area inventories to estimate a yearly OC burial of 0.15 (range, 0.06–0.25) Pg C, of which ~40% is stored in reservoirs. Relatively higher OC burial rates are predicted for warm and dry...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Rock domes, with their onion-skin layers of exfoliation sheets, are among the most captivating landforms on Earth. Long recognized as integral in shaping domes, the exact mechanism(s) by which exfoliation occurs remains enigmatic, mainly due to the lack of direct observations of natural events. In August 2014, during the hottest days of summer, a granitic dome in California, USA, spontaneously exfoliated; witnesses observed extensive cracking, including a ~8000 kg sheet popping into the air. Subsequent exfoliation episodes during the following two summers were recorded by instrumentation that captured—for the first time—exfoliation deformation and stress conditions. Here we show that thermal cycling and cumulative...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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Several studies document lengthening of the frost-free season within the conterminous United States (U.S.) over the past century, and report trends in spring and fall frost timing that could stem from hemispheric warming. In the absence of warming, theory and case studies link anomalous frost timing to atmospheric circulation anomalies. However, recent efforts to relate a century of observed changes in U.S. frost timing to various atmospheric circulations yielded only modest correlations, leaving the relative importance of circulation and warming unclear. Here, we objectively partition the U.S. into four regions and uncover atmospheric circulations that account for 25–48% of spring and fall-frost timing. These circulations...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications