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We investigated experimental warming and simulated grazing (clipping) effects on rangeland quality, as indicated by vegetation production and nutritive quality, in winter-grazed meadows and summer-grazed shrublands on the Tibetan Plateau, a rangeland system experiencing climatic and pastoral land use changes. Warming decreased total aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) by 40 g.m?�.yr?� at the meadow habitats and decreased palatable ANPP (total ANPP minus non-palatable forb ANPP) by 10 g.m?�.yr?� at both habitats. The decreased production of the medicinal forb Gentiana straminea and the increased production of the non-palatable forb Stellera chamaejasme with warming also reduced rangeland quality. At the shrubland...
Abstract (from http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/11-2296.1): Physiological tolerance of environmental conditions can influence species-level responses to climate change. Here, we used species-specific thermal tolerances to predict the community responses of ant species to experimental forest-floor warming at the northern and southern boundaries of temperate hardwood forests in eastern North America. We then compared the predictive ability of thermal tolerance vs. correlative species distribution models (SDMs) which are popular forecasting tools for modeling the effects of climate change. Thermal tolerances predicted the responses of 19 ant species to experimental climate warming at the southern site,...
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National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) along the East Coast of the United States protect habitat for a host of wildlife species, while also offering storm surge protection, improving water quality, supporting nurseries for commercially important fish and shellfish, and providing recreation opportunities for coastal communities. Yet in the last century, coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development activities as well as sea-level rise and more frequent extreme events related to climate change. These influences threaten the ability of NWRs to protect our nation’s natural resources and to sustain their many beneficial services. Through this project, researchers are collaborating with...
Abstract (from MDPI ) Sleeper species are innocuous native or naturalized species that exhibit invasive characteristics and become pests in response to environmental change. Climate warming is expected to increase arthropod damage in forests, in part, by transforming innocuous herbivores into severe pests: awakening sleeper species. Urban areas are warmer than natural areas due to the urban heat island effect and so the trees and pests in cities already experience temperatures predicted to occur in 50–100 years. We posit that arthropod species that become pests of urban trees are those that benefit from warming and thus should be monitored as potential sleeper species in forests. We illustrate this with two case...
The biodiversity convention aims at conserving biodiversity and guaranteeing fair and sustainable human use of biodiversity. The convention further requires that the causes of biodiversity decline are identified and evaluated, and that effective conservation and monitoring strategies are developed. Resolving these needs requires a different approach than those described in the last Global Biodiversity Assessment. This assessment tended to be descriptive and did not comprehensively attempt to describe future trends in biodiversity in relation to the major threats: habitat destruction, overexploitation, alien species, pollution and climate change. Integrated assessment modelling and scenario development have therefore...
Global change and habitat fragmentation are critical issues in our society. While considerable progress has been made in these issues worldwide, the unique features of the agroecosystems in the Great Plains have not been given enough attention. In this region, croplands occupy the majority of the landscape, forming the mosaics with linear riparian zones and shelterbelts. These three elements play different roles in the maintenance of biodiversity, and their continued effectiveness under a changing climate is critical to maintaining a healthy and productive agricultural ecosystem. This article evaluates current research and discusses future directions. The goal is to provide a scientific base for future conservation...
This study investigated how CO2and temperature affect dry weight (d.wt) accumulation, total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) concentration, and partitioning of C and N among organs of two important grasses of the shortgrass steppe,Pascopyrum smithii Rydb. (C3) andBouteloua gracilis(H.B.K.) Lag. ex Steud. (C4). Treatment combinations comprised two temperatures (20 and 35�C) at two concentrations of CO2(380 and 750 ?mol mol-1), and two additional temperatures of 25 and 30�C at 750 ?mol mol-1CO2. Plants were maintained under favourable nutrient and soil moisture and harvested following 21, 35, and 49d of treatment. CO2-induced growth enhancements were greatest at temperatures considered favourable for growth of these...
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The USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) comprises a dispersed science community collocated with DOI agencies, academic institutions, or proximal to critical ecosystems. WERC scientists conduct peer-reviewed research using innovative tools to provide natural resource managers with the knowledge to address challenges to ecosystem function and service in Pacific West landscapes. Four Scientific Themes define the research of WERC scientists: Species and Landscape Response to Human Activity Renewable energy development, urbanization, water abatement, prescribed fires, barriers to movement, and invasive species are among key factors that impact Pacific western US natural resources. To identify potential impacts...
Although climate change is an important factor affecting inland fishes globally, a comprehensive review of how climate change has impacted and will continue to impact inland fishes worldwide does not currently exist. We conducted an extensive, systematic primary literature review to identify peer-reviewed publications with projected and documented examples of climate change impacts on inland fishes globally. Since the mid-1980s, scientists have projected the effects of climate change on inland fishes, and more recently, documentation of climate change impacts on inland fishes has increased. Of the thousands of title and abstracts reviewed, we selected 624 publications for a full text review: 63 of these publications...
Humans have exerted large-scale changes on the terrestrial biosphere, primarily through agriculture; however, the impacts of such changes on the hydrologic cycle are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that the conversion of natural rangeland ecosystems to agricultural ecosystems impacts the subsurface portion of the hydrologic cycle by changing groundwater recharge and flushing salts to underlying aquifers. The hypothesis was examined through point and areal studies investigating the effects of land use/land cover (LU/LC) changes on groundwater recharge and solute transport in the Amargosa Desert (AD) in Nevada and in the High Plains (HP) in Texas, US. Studies use the fact that...
The Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment (PHACE) experiment has been initiated at a site in southern Wyoming (USA) to simulate the impact of warming and elevated atmospheric CO2 on ecosystem dynamics for semiarid grassland ecosystems. The DAYCENT ecosystem model was parametrized to simulate the impact of elevated CO2 at the open-top chamber (OTC) experiment in north-eastern Colorado (1996-2001), and was also used to simulate the projected ecosystem impact of the PHACE experiments during the next 10 yr. Model results suggest that soil water content, plant production, soil respiration, and nutrient mineralization will increase for the high-CO2 treatment. Soil water content will decrease for all years, while nitrogen...
Compiled 1086 datasets of plant seed production spanning 1900-2013 and from around the world were binned into 2-decade periods for which CV (coefficient of variation) of seed set was calculated. Skewness, dip test, mean, and kurtosis were calculated for the same periods.
Desert soil surfaces are generally covered with biological soil crusts, a group of organisms dominated by cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses. Despite their unassuming appearance, these tiny organisms are surprisingly critical to many processes in past and present desert ecosystems and are vital in creating and maintaining fertility of desert soils. They fix both carbon and nitrogen, much of which is leaked to the soils below. They stabilize soils, capture nutrient-rich dust, and can stimulate plant growth. These organisms must tolerate extreme temperatures, drought, and solar radiation, despite having relatively few wet hours for metabolic activity. Under most circumstances, they are extremely vulnerable to climate...
Analyses of carbon isotope ratios (?13C) in soil organic matter (SOM) and soil respired CO2 provide insights into dynamics of the carbon cycle. ?13C analyses do not provide direct measures of soil CO2 efflux rates but are useful as a constraint in carbon cycle models. In many cases, ?13C analyses allow the identification of components of soil CO2 efflux as well as the relative contribution of soil to overall ecosystem CO2 fluxes. ?13C values provide a unique tool for quantifying historical shifts between C3 and C4 ecosystems over decadal to millennial time scales, which are relevant to climate change and land-use change issues. We identify the need to distinguish between ?13C analyses of SOM and those of soil CO2...
Biological soil crusts (BSC) are a dominant feature in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. BSC stabilize soils, contribute nitrogen and carbon, enhance vascular plant nutrition, and influence local hydrologic cycles. However, these ecological roles are determined by the species composition, morphology, and physiological functioning of the BSC. These factors, in turn, can be strongly affected by land use, invasive plants, and climate change. Soil surface disturbance and/or dominance by invasive plants both result in loss of lichens and mosses, leaving cyanobacteria dominating the soil surface. This loss reduces soil stability, carbon and nitrogen contributions, surface temperatures, and soil water retention times. Climate...
Changes in the concentration and stable isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 can be used to study variations in the net exchange of carbon dioxide in terrestrial ecosystems (net difference between total photosynthesis and respiration). Changes in the timing of seasonal fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 concentration have suggested that net uptake of carbon dioxide has been increasing in northern latitude ecosystems in association with warmer temperatures and a lengthening of the growing season. Stable isotope techniques allow a more detailed separation of differences between ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration because these two processes have contrasting effects on both the carbon and oxygen isotope ratio of atmospheric...


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