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In drylands, climate change is predicted to cause chronic reductions in water availability (press-droughts) through reduced precipitation and increased temperatures as well as increase the frequency and intensity of short-term extreme droughts (pulse-droughts). These changes in precipitation patterns may have profound ecosystem effects, depending on the sensitivities of the dominant plant functional types (PFTs). Here we present the responses of four Colorado Plateau PFTs to an experimentally imposed, 4-year, press-drought during which a natural pulse-drought occurred. Our objectives were to (1) identify the drought sensitivities of the PFTs, (2) assess the additive effects of the press- and pulse-drought, and (3)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Connecting seasonal ranges of migratory birds is important for understanding the annual template of stressors that influence their populations. Brewer’s sparrows (Spizella breweri) and sagebrush sparrows (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) share similar sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats for breeding but have different population trends that might be related to winter location. To link breeding and winter ranges, we created isoscapes of deuterium [stable isotope ratio (δ) of deuterium; δ2H] and nitrogen (δ15N) for each species modeled from isotope ratios measured in feathers of 264 Brewer’s and 82 sagebrush sparrows and environmental characteristics at capture locations across their breeding range. We then used feather...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Predation, competition, and their interaction are known to be important factors that influence the structure of ecological communities. In particular, in those cases where a competitive hierarchy exists among prey species, the presence of certain keystone predators can result in enhanced diversity in the prey community. However, little is known regarding the influence of keystone predator presence on invaded prey communities. Given the widespread occurrence of invasive species and substantial concern regarding their ecological impacts, studies on this topic are needed. In this study I used naturalistic replications of an experimental tadpole assemblage to assess the influence of predatory eastern newts, Notophthalmus...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Although trophic cascades - the effect of apex predators on progressively lower trophic level species through top-down forcing - have been demonstrated in diverse ecosystems, the broader potential influences of trophic cascades on other species and ecosystem processes are not well studied. We used the overexploitation, recovery and subsequent collapse of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations in the Aleutian archipelago to explore if and how the abundance and diet of kelp forest fishes are influenced by a trophic cascade linking sea otters with sea urchins and fleshy macroalgae. We measured the abundance of sea urchins (biomass density), kelp (numerical density) and fish (Catch per unit effort) at four islands in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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The time course of morphometric variation among life histories for stream-dwelling Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) parr (age-0+ to age-2+) was analyzed. Possible life histories were combinations of parr maturity status in the autumn (mature or immature) and age at outmigration (smolt at age-2+ or later age). Actual life histories expressed with enough fish for analysis in the 1997 cohort were immature/age-2+ smolt, mature/age-2 +smolt, and mature/age-2+ non-smolt. Tagged fish were assigned to one of the three life histories and digital pictures from the field were analyzed using landmark-based geometric morphometrics. Results indicated that successful grouping of fish according to life history varied with fish...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Although there is a great deal of information concerning responses to increases in atmospheric CO2 at the tissue and plant levels, there are substantially fewer studies that have investigated ecosystem-level responses in the context of integrated carbon, water, and nutrient cycles. Because our understanding of ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 is incomplete, modeling is a tool that can be used to investigate the role of plant and soil interactions in the response of terrestrial ecosystems to elevated CO2. In this study, we analyze the responses of net primary production (NPP) to doubled CO2 from 355 to 710 ppmv among three biogeochemistry models in the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP):...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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We documented patterns of age-structured biotic interactions in four mesocosm experiments with an assemblage of three species of co-occurring fishes from the Florida Everglades, the eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna), and bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei). These species were chosen based on their high abundance and overlapping diets. Juvenile mosquitofish and sailfin mollies, at a range of densities matching field estimates, were maintained in the presence of adult mosquitofish, sailfin mollies, and bluefin killifish to test for effects of competition and predation on juvenile survival and growth. The mesocosms held 1,200 1 of water and all conditions were set to simulate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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The effects of competitive suppression by vines on the non-vine plant community have received little attention in temperate habitats. This study investigated the impact vines have on their herbaceous hosts in a wetland community at two soil fertility levels. Plots in an oligohaline marsh were treated in a 2 x 2 factorial design with vine removal and fertilization over two growing seasons. There was no significant interaction between removal and fertilization treatments on any of the measured variables. Vine removal initially caused an increase in light penetration through the canopy, but by the end of the study, plots with vines removed had less light due to a 25% increase in biomass by the plants released from...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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We examined the content and isotopic composition of nitrogen within soils of a juniper woodland and found that a cryptobiotic crust composed of cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses was the predominant source of nitrogen for this ecosystem. Disturbance of the crust has resulted in considerable spatial variability in soil nitrogen content and isotopic composition; intercanopy soils were significantly depleted in nitrogen and had greater abundance of 15N compared to intra-canopy soils. Variations in the 15N\14N ratio for inter- and intracanopy locations followed similar Rayleigh distillation curves, indicating that the greater 15N/14N ratios for inter-canopy soils were due to relatively greater net nitrogen loss. Coverage...
Arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the southwestern US are undergoing changes in vegetation composition and are predicted to experience shifts in climate. To understand implications of these current and predicted changes, we conducted a precipitation manipulation experiment on the Santa Rita Experimental Range in southeastern Arizona. The objectives of our study were to determine how soil surface and seasonal timing of rainfall events mediate the dynamics of leaf-level photosynthesis and plant water status of a native and non-native grass species in response to precipitation pulse events. We followed a simulated precipitation event (pulse) that occurred prior to the onset of the North American monsoon (in June) and...
Interspecific interactions of herbivores sharing a host plant may be important in structuring herbivore communities. We investigated host plant-mediated interactions of root (Hylobius transversovittatus) and leaf herbivores (Galerucella calmariensis), released to control purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in North America, in field and potted plant experiments. In the potted plant experiments, leaf herbivory by G. calmariensis reduced H. transversovittatus larval survival (but not larval development) but did not affect oviposition preference. Root herbivory by H. transversovittatus did not affect either G. calmariensis fitness or oviposition preference. In field cage experiments, we found no evidence of interspecific...
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We used the doubly labeled water method to measure the field metabolic rates (FMRs, in kJ kg-1 day-1) and water flux rates (WIRs, in ml H2O kg-1 day-1) of adult desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in three parts of the Mojave Desert in California over a 3.5-year period, in order to develop insights into the physiological responses of this threatened species to climate variation among sites and years. FMR, WIR, and the water economy index (WEI, in ml H2O kJ-1, an indicator of drinking of free water) differed extensively among seasons, among study sites, between sexes, and among years. In high-rainfall years, males had higher FMRs than females. Average daily rates of energy and water use by desert tortoises were...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Biogeochemical theory emphasizes nitrogen (N) limitation and the many factors that can restrict N accumulation in temperate forests, yet lacks a working model of conditions that can promote naturally high N accumulation. We used a dynamic simulation model of ecosystem N and δ15N to evaluate which combination of N input and loss pathways could produce a range of high ecosystem N contents characteristic of forests in the Oregon Coast Range. Total ecosystem N at nine study sites ranged from 8,788 to 22,667 kg ha−1 and carbon (C) ranged from 188 to 460 Mg ha−1, with highest values near the coast. Ecosystem δ15N displayed a curvilinear relationship with ecosystem N content, and largely reflected mineral soil, which accounted...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
In dryland ecosystems, the timing and magnitude of precipitation pulses drive many key ecological processes, notably soil water availability for plants and soil microbiota. Plant available water has frequently been viewed simply as incoming precipitation, yet processes at larger scales drive precipitation pulses, and the subsequent transformation of precipitation pulses to plant available water are complex. We provide an overview of the factors that influence the spatial and temporal availability of water to plants and soil biota using examples from western USA drylands. Large spatial- and temporal-scale drivers of regional precipitation patterns include the position of the jet streams and frontal boundaries, the...
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We contrasted the seasonal use of simulated large rain events (24 mm) by three native species of the arid Colorado Plateau: the perennial grass Hilaria jamesii and two shrubs Artemesia filifolia and Coleogyne ramosissima. Deuterium-enriched water was used to distinguish shallow "pulse" water from water in deeper soil layers that were unaffected by the water input. We also measured the leaf gas exchange rates of watered and unwatered control plants for 5 days after the rain event. H. jamesii had twice the pulse water proportion in its xylem than the two shrubs in spring (approx. 70% vs 35%). In summer, the pulse water proportions of all species were around 70%. The increase in the relative pulse water uptake of the...
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When nest predation levels are very high or very low, the absolute range of observable nest success is constrained (a floor/ceiling effect), and it may be more difficult to detect density-dependent nest predation. Density-dependent nest predation may be more detectable in years with moderate predation rates, simply because there can be a greater absolute difference in nest success between sites. To test this, we replicated a predation experiment 10 years after the original study, using both natural and artificial nests, comparing a year when overall rates of nest predation were high (2000) to a year with moderate nest predation (2010). We found no evidence for density-dependent predation on artificial nests in either...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Mutualistic interactions almost always produce both costs and benefits for each of the interacting species. It is the difference between gross benefits and costs that determines the net benefit and the per-capita effect on each of the interacting populations. For example, the net benefit of obligate pollinators, such as yucca and senita moths, to plants is determined by the difference between the number of ovules fertilized from moth pollination and the number of ovules eaten by the pollinator's larvae. It is clear that if pollinator populations are large, then, because many eggs are laid, costs to plants are large, whereas, if pollinator populations are small, gross benefits are low due to lack of pollination....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Human activities are fragmenting forests and woodlands worldwide, but the impact of reduced tree population densities on pollen transfer in wind-pollinated trees is poorly understood. In a 4-year study, we evaluated relationships among stand density, pollen availability, and seed production in a thinned and fragmented population of blue oak (Quercus douglasii). Geographic coordinates were established and flowering interval determined for 100 contiguous trees. The number of neighboring trees within 60 m that released pollen during each tree's flowering period was calculated and relationships with acorn production explored using multiple regression. We evaluated the effects of female flower production, average temperature,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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The accumulation of total carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in soils, available soil nutrients, and foliar nutrients in the native dominant Metrosideros polymorpha were determined across a wide elevational range on 9 lava flows on Mauna Loa, Hawai'i. The flows included a young (<140 y) and an old (>2800 y) a??a?? (rough surface texture) and pa??hoehoe (smooth) flow on the wet east and dry northwest side of the mountain. Soil element pools and nutrient availability increased with flow age independent of climate. The dry sites accumulated organic matter and nutrients more slowly than comparable wet sites, but relative nutrient availability to plants (as indicated by soil assays and foliar nutrients) was greater in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia


map background search result map search result map Deuterium enriched irrigation indicates different forms of rain use in shrub/grass species of the Colorado Plateau A Break in the Nitrogen Cycle in Aridlands? Evidence from δ 15N of Soils Diffuse migratory connectivity in two species of shrubland birds: evidence from stable isotopes Deuterium enriched irrigation indicates different forms of rain use in shrub/grass species of the Colorado Plateau A Break in the Nitrogen Cycle in Aridlands? Evidence from δ 15N of Soils Diffuse migratory connectivity in two species of shrubland birds: evidence from stable isotopes