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We explore the potential for applying broad ecological theories to interactions between soil animals and micro-organisms to generate a predictive framework within which more hypothesis led research can be undertaken. The paper stems from discussions during a workshop at the XIVth International Symposium on Soil Zoology. The possible linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem functions forms a good example of how soil zoology research can be productively stimulated by addressing a broader ecological concept but also how the concept can be tested below ground at fundamentally different scales to those commonly used above ground. Other areas of theory rapidly developing above ground, which are yet to be fully tested...
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Natural cave passages penetrating a coastal aquifer in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) were accessed to test the hypothesis that chemoclines associated with salinity gradients (haloclines) within the flooded cave networks of the karst subterranean estuary are sites of methane oxidation. Two field trips were carried out to the fully-submerged cave system located 6.6 km inland from the coastline in January 2015 and January 2016. Vertical chemical profiles across the water column haloclines were obtained using the OctoPiPi (OPP), a high-resolution water sampler built by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The sampling efforts resulted in cm-scale profiles of major ions (e.g., chloride and sulfate), as well as concentrations...
1. At the heart of the body of research on biodiversity effects on ecosystem function is the debate over whether different species tend to be functionally singular or redundant. When we consider ecosystem multi-function, the provision of multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously, we may find that seemingly redundant species may in fact play unique roles in ecosystems. 2. Over the last few decades, the significance of biological soil crusts (BSCs) as ecological boundaries and ecosystem engineers, and their multi-functional nature, has become increasingly well documented. We compiled ‘functional profiles’ of the organisms in this understudied community, to determine whether functional singularity emerges when...
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Synopsis: Recensuses of 54 Wisconsin prairie remnants showed that 8 to 60 percent of the original plant species were lost from individual remnants over a 32- to 52-year period. The pattern of species loss was consistent with the proposed effects of fire suppression caused by landscape fragmentation. Short, small-seeded, or nitrogen-fixing plants showed the heaviest losses, as did species growing in the wettest, most productive environments. The interruption of landscape-scale processes (such as wildfire) by fragmentation is an often overlooked mechanism that may be eroding biodiversity in many habitats around the world. Conclusions: Fragmentation may interrupt landscape-scale processes, such as fire, that are key...
In some arid regions, rehabilitation of whole system N-fixation may be strongly facilitated by the recovery of populations of the lichen genus Collema. Identification of the limits to recovery of Collema in apparently suitable habitat should inform selection of rehabilitation techniques. We simultaneously tested the relative importance of three hypothetical limits to Collema recovery: active erosion, resource limitation, and propagule scarcity. We found that in our experimental system, active erosion had no effect on short-term establishment of Collema, whereas propagule addition did enhance recovery and microhabitat (a resource availability gradient) also exerted a strong influence. It is possible that attempts...
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These data were compiled for a restoration experiment testing the regenerative and functional response of biocrust inoculum reintroduced to a field setting. Regenerative traits measured included measurements of biocrust cover, chlorophyll content, and the roughness of the soil surface. Functional traits measured included nutrient cycling and soil stability. Additionally, these data were compiled for an experiment testing how much soil is lost from different types of ground cover. The data collected was related to ground cover and the amount of soil lost from plots through time. These data were used to inform the conclusions drawn in the accompanying manuscript.
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Conservation prioritization usually focuses on conservation of rare species or biodiversity, rather than ecological processes. This is partially due to a lack of informative indicators of ecosystem function. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) trap and retain soil and water resources in arid ecosystems and function as major carbon and nitrogen fixers; thus, they may be informative indicators of ecosystem function. We created spatial models of multiple indicators of the diversity and function of BSCs (species richness, evenness, functional diversity, functional redundancy, number of rare species, number of habitat specialists, nitrogen and carbon fixation indices, soil stabilization, and surface roughening) for the 800,000-ha...
Organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) are essential for heterotrophic soil microorganisms, and their bioavailability strongly influences ecosystem C and N cycling. We show here that the natural (15)N abundance of the soil microbial biomass is affected by both the availability of C and N and ecosystem N processing. Microbial (15)N enrichment correlated negatively with the C : N ratio of the soil soluble fraction and positively with net N mineralization for ecosystems spanning semiarid, temperate and tropical climates, grassland and forests, and over four million years of ecosystem development. In addition, during soil incubation, large increases in microbial (15)N enrichment corresponded to high net N mineralization...
Allochthonous nutrients and carbon are recognized as dominant controls on biogeochemistry of low-order streams. In some systems, potamodromous fish may provide a complementary source of material as they deliver lake-derived materials to spawning streams. This study examines nutrient and carbon inputs from terrestrial ecosystems and migratory fishes to streams in undeveloped watersheds in northern Michigan, USA. We compared watershed and riparian area, slope, and landcover to nutrient concentrations at 26 sites, as well as whole-stream metabolism at 5 sites. Despite low levels of agricultural land use (0–3%), agriculture had the largest influence on stream chemistry as indicated by higher dissolved organic carbon...
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Conclusions: Prescribed burns did not supply the stream ecosystem with potentially important nutrient pulses that are often observed after wildfires. Prescribing higher severity burns to more closely mimic wildfires would enhance N cycling in productivity in N-limited headwater watersheds. Thresholds/Learnings: Synopsis: This study aimed to compare the short-term effects of spring prescribed burns and wildfires on Nitrogen cycling dynamics in headwater watersheds of central Idaho. Fire affected N dynamics in both terrestrial and aquatic components of the watershed ecosystem after wildfires but were limited to the terrestrial ecosystem after prescribed burns. Streamwater NO3 concentrations were affected significantly...
We compared the water balance among the earth's major terrestrial ecosystems. Potential evapotranspiration, actual evapotranspiration (AET) and deficit were derived for each month and year from 19-25-yr climate records at ninety-four sites around the world representing eleven biomes. For each variable, we determined mean annual values. Our focus, however, was to examine temporal variation in AET, which previously has been correlated with large-scale patterns of ecosystem structure and function. Standard deviation of annual AET, an absolute measure of interannual variability, was highest for grasslands and lowest for tundra and taiga. Coefficient of variation of annual AET, a relative measure of variability, was...
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Natural cave passages penetrating a coastal aquifer in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) were accessed to investigate how regional meteorology and hydrology control methane dynamics in karst subterranean estuaries. Three field trips were carried out in January 2015, June 2015, and January 2016 to obtain year-long high-resolution temporal records of water chemistry and environmental parameters below and above the surface at a site (Cenote Bang) within the Ox Bel Ha cave network. These efforts resulted in chemical records of dissolved methane concentrations and its stable carbon isotopic content and major ion concentrations (i.e., chloride and sulfate) in approximately 2.5-day resolution from January 2015 to January...
Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) have been labeled as keystone species because of their influence on biological diversity and ecosystem function. However, the validity of several assumptions used to support keystone status is questionable. We review the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the prairie dog's effects on ecosystem structure and function. We use this review to reevaluate the keystone role for prairie dogs. Our goal is to encourage sound management of the prairie dog ecosystem by improving the ecological foundation of their keystone status. Our review confirms that prairie dogs affect a number of ecosystem-level functions but that their influence on prairie vertebrates may be less than previously...
Conclusions: Book provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles and theories in landscape ecology. Early chapters introduce basic concepts and terminology that build a foundation for understanding more complex issues such as landscape disturbance dynamics, formulas and metrics for quantifying landscape patterns, and predictive models of landscape change. Thresholds/Learnings:
We explore the potential for applying broad ecological theories to interactions between soil animals and micro-organisms to generate a predictive framework within which more hypothesis led research can be undertaken. The paper stems from discussions during a workshop at the XIVth International Symposium on Soil Zoology. The possible linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem functions forms a good example of how soil zoology research can be productively stimulated by addressing a broader ecological concept but also how the concept can be tested below ground at fundamentally different scales to those commonly used above ground. Other areas of theory rapidly developing above ground, which are yet to be fully tested...


    map background search result map search result map Prioritizing Conservation Effort through the Use of Biological Soil Crusts as Ecosystem Function Indicators in an Arid Region Effects of spring prescribed burning and wildfires on watershed nitrogen dynamics of central Idaho headwater areas Ecological determinants of species loss in remnant prairies. Erosion and Rehabilitation Data, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, USA Temporal hydrologic and chemical records from the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, from January 2015 to January 2016 Vertical chemical profiles collected across haloclines in the water column of the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula in January 2015 and January 2016 Vertical chemical profiles collected across haloclines in the water column of the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula in January 2015 and January 2016 Temporal hydrologic and chemical records from the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, from January 2015 to January 2016 Erosion and Rehabilitation Data, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, USA Effects of spring prescribed burning and wildfires on watershed nitrogen dynamics of central Idaho headwater areas Prioritizing Conservation Effort through the Use of Biological Soil Crusts as Ecosystem Function Indicators in an Arid Region Ecological determinants of species loss in remnant prairies.