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Clark J.S.,Duke University | Melillo J.,The Ecosystems Center | Mohan J.,University of Georgia | Salk C.,Duke University | And 2 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Forecasting how global warming will affect onset of the growing season is essential for predicting terrestrial productivity, but suffers from conflicting evidence. We show that accurate estimates require ways to connect discrete observations of changing tree status (e.g., pre- vs. post budbreak) with continuous responses to fluctuating temperatures. By coherently synthesizing discrete observations with continuous responses to temperature variation, we accurately quantify how increasing temperature variation accelerates onset of growth. Application to warming experiments at two latitudes demonstrates that maximum responses to warming are concentrated in late winter, weeks ahead of the main budbreak period. Given that warming will not occur uniformly over the year, knowledge of when temperature variation has the most impact can guide prediction. Responses are large and heterogeneous, yet predictable. The approach has immediate application to forecasting effects of warming on growing season length, requiring only information that is readily available from weather stations and generated in climate models. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Neumann R.B.,University of Washington | Cardon Z.G.,The Ecosystems Center
New Phytologist | Year: 2012

Hydraulic redistribution (HR) - the movement of water from moist to dry soil through plant roots - occurs worldwide within a range of different ecosystems and plant species. The proposed ecological and hydrologic impacts of HR include increasing dry-season transpiration and photosynthetic rates, prolonging the life span of fine roots and maintaining root-soil contact in dry soils, and moving rainwater down into deeper soil layers where it does not evaporate. In this review, we compile estimates of the magnitude of HR from ecosystems around the world, using representative empirical and modeling studies from which we could extract amounts of water redistributed by plant root systems. The reported average magnitude of HR varies by nearly two orders of magnitude across ecosystems, from 0.04 to 1.3mm H 2O d -1 in the empirical literature, and from 0.1 to 3.23mm H 2O d -1 in the modeling literature. Using these synthesized data, along with other published studies, we examine this variation in the magnitude of upward and downward HR, considering effects of plant, soil and ecosystem characteristics, as well as effects of methodological details (in both empirical and modeling studies) on estimates of HR. We take both ecological and hydrologic perspectives. © 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

Cahoon S.M.P.,Pennsylvania State University | Sullivan P.F.,University of Alaska Anchorage | Shaver G.R.,The Ecosystems Center | Welker J.M.,University of Alaska Anchorage | Post E.,Pennsylvania State University
Ecology Letters | Year: 2012

Arctic and Boreal terrestrial ecosystems are important components of the climate system because they contain vast amounts of soil carbon (C). Evidence suggests that deciduous shrubs are increasing in abundance, but the implications for ecosystem C budgets remain uncertain. Using midsummer CO2 flux data from 21 sites spanning 16° of latitude in the Arctic and Boreal biomes, we show that air temperature explains c. one-half of the variation in ecosystem respiration (ER) and that ER drives the pattern in net ecosystem CO2 exchange across ecosystems. Woody sites were slightly stronger C sinks compared with herbaceous communities. However, woody sites with warm soils (> 10 °C) were net sources of CO2, whereas woody sites with cold soils (< 10 °C) were strong sinks. Our results indicate that transition to a shrub-dominated Arctic will increase the rate of C cycling, and may lead to net C loss if soil temperatures rise. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

Moran X.A.G.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Moran X.A.G.,The Ecosystems Center | Lopez-Urrutia T.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Calvo-Diaz A.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | LI W.K.W.,Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Global Change Biology | Year: 2010

The macroecological relationships among marine phytoplankton total cell density, community size structure and temperature have lacked a theoretical explanation. The tiniest members of this planktonic group comprise cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae smaller than 2 μm in diameter, collectively known as picophytoplankton. We combine here two ecological rules, the temperature-size relationship with the allometric size-scaling of population abundance to explain a remarkably consistent pattern of increasing picophytoplankton biomass with temperature over the -0.6 to 22 °C range in a merged dataset obtained in the eastern and western temperate North Atlantic Ocean across a diverse range of environmental conditions. Our results show that temperature alone was able to explain 73% of the variance in the relative contribution of small cells to total phytoplankton biomass regardless of differences in trophic status or inorganic nutrient loading. Our analysis predicts a gradual shift toward smaller primary producers in a warmer ocean. Because the fate of photosynthesized organic carbon largely depends on phytoplankton size, we anticipate future alterations in the functioning of oceanic ecosystems. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Hobbie J.E.,The Ecosystems Center | Hobbie E.A.,University of New Hampshire
Frontiers in Microbiology | Year: 2013

Understanding microbial transformations in soils is important for predicting future carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling. This review questions some methods of assessing one key microbial process, the uptake of labile organic compounds. First, soil microbes have a starving-survival life style of dormancy, arrested activity, and low activity. Yet they are very abundant and remain poised to completely take up all substrates that become available. As a result, dilution assays with the addition of labeled substrates cannot be used. When labeled substrates are transformed into 14CO2, the first part of the biphasic release follows metabolic rules and is not affected by the environment. As a consequence, when identical amounts of isotopically substrates are added to soils from different climate zones, the same percentage of the substrate is respired and the same half-life of the respired 14CO2 from the labeled substrate is estimated. Second, when soils are sampled by a variety of methods from taking 10 cm diameter cores to millimeter-scale dialysis chambers, amino acids (and other organic compounds) appear to be released by the severing of fine roots and mycorrhizal networks as well as from pressing or centrifuging treatments. As a result of disturbance as well as of natural root release, concentrations of individual amino acids of ~10 μM are measured. This contrasts with concentrations of a few nanomolar found in aquatic systems and raises questions about possible differences in the bacterial strategy between aquatic and soil ecosystems. The small size of the hyphae (2-10 μm diameter) and of the fine roots (0.2-2 mm diameter), make it very difficult to sample any volume of soil without introducing artifacts. Third, when micromolar amounts of labeled amino acids are added to soil, some of the isotope enters plant roots. This may be an artifact of the high micromolar concentrations applied. © 2013 Hobbie and Hobbie.

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