environmental gradients
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Geoderma ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 409 ◽  
pp. 115637
Pierre Roudier ◽  
Nathan Odgers ◽  
Sam Carrick ◽  
Andre Eger ◽  
Sharn Hainsworth ◽  

2022 ◽  
Vol 4 ◽  
Matthew J. Hecking ◽  
Jenna M. Zukswert ◽  
John E. Drake ◽  
Martin Dovciak ◽  
Julia I. Burton

Trait-based analyses provide powerful tools for developing a generalizable, physiologically grounded understanding of how forest communities are responding to ongoing environmental changes. Key challenges lie in (1) selecting traits that best characterize the ecological performance of species in the community and (2) determining the degree and importance of intraspecific variability in those traits. Recent studies suggest that globally evident trait correlations (trait dimensions), such as the leaf economic spectrum, may be weak or absent at local scales. Moreover, trait-based analyses that utilize a mean value to represent a species may be misleading. Mean trait values are particularly problematic if species trait value rankings change along environmental gradients, resulting in species trait crossover. To assess how plant traits (1) covary at local spatial scales, (2) vary across the dominant environmental gradients, and (3) can be partitioned within and across taxa, we collected data on 9 traits for 13 tree species spanning the montane temperate—boreal forest ecotones of New York and northern New England. The primary dimension of the trait ordination was the leaf economic spectrum, with trait variability among species largely driven by differences between deciduous angiosperms and evergreen gymnosperms. A second dimension was related to variability in nitrogen to phosphorous levels and stem specific density. Levels of intraspecific trait variability differed considerably among traits, and was related to variation in light, climate, and tree developmental stage. However, trait rankings across species were generally conserved across these gradients and there was little evidence of species crossover. The persistence of the leaf economics spectrum in both temperate and high-elevation conifer forests suggests that ecological strategies of tree species are associated with trade-offs between resource acquisition and tolerance, and may be quantified with relatively few traits. Furthermore, the assumption that species may be represented with a single trait value may be warranted for some trait-based analyses provided traits were measured under similar light levels and climate conditions.

2022 ◽  
Vol 9 ◽  
Xue Du ◽  
Dan Song ◽  
Kun Ming ◽  
Jingshuang Yang ◽  
Xing Jin ◽  

Watershed land-use changes have been identified as major threats to lake fauna, subsequently affecting ecosystem functioning. In this study, the functional-based approach was used to examine the effects of land use and environmental changes on phytoplankton communities in four selected lakes in Northeast China. We also identified the sensitive functional traits as indicators of environmental stressors. The integration of RLQ analysis with the fourth-corner approach significantly identified five of 18 functional trait categories, including flagella, filamentous, unicellular, mixotrophic, and chlorophyll c, as potential indicators to changes in watershed land-use intensity and environmental gradients. Significant relationships between traits and land use and water quality highlighted the consequential indirect impact of extensive agricultural and urban development on phytoplankton via allochthonous nutrient inputs and various contaminants. In addition, the functional richness of phytoplankton assemblages generally increased along with surface area and forests, but decreased along with intensive agricultural and urban land use, implying that functional homogenization may cause a reduction in ecosystem productivity and reliability to land-use intensity. Given the superior performance of the functional-based approach, our findings also highlighted the importance of the application of both the biological traits and functional diversity index in monitoring programs for lake ecosystems.

2022 ◽  
Chloé Schmidt ◽  
Gabriel Muñoz ◽  
Lesley T Lancaster ◽  
Jean-Philippe Lessard ◽  
Katharine A Marske ◽  

Global biodiversity is organized into biogeographic regions that comprise distinct biotas. The contemporary factors maintaining differences in species composition between biogeographic regions are poorly understood. Given the evidence that populations with sufficient genetic variation can adapt to fill new habitats, it is surprising that we do not see more homogenization of species assemblages among regions. Theory suggests that the expansion of populations across biogeographic transition zones could be limited by environmental gradients that affect population demography in ways that could limit adaptive capacity, but this has not been empirically explored. Using three independently curated data sets describing continental patterns of mammalian demography and population genetics, we show that populations closer to biogeographic transition zones have lower effective population sizes and genetic diversity, and are more genetically differentiated. These patterns are consistent with reduced adaptive capacity near biogeographic transition zones. The consistency of these patterns across mammalian species suggests they are stable, predictable, and generalizable in their contribution to long-term limits on expansion and homogenization of biodiversity across biogeographic transition zones. Understanding the contemporary processes acting on populations that maintain differences in the composition of regional biotas is crucial for our basic understanding of the current and future organization of global biodiversity. The importance of contemporary, population-level processes on the maintenance of global biogeographic regions suggests that biogeographic boundaries are susceptible to environmental perturbation associated with human-caused global change.

2022 ◽  
Vol 8 ◽  
Peter A. U. Staehr ◽  
Karsten Dahl ◽  
Helle Buur ◽  
Cordula Göke ◽  
Rumakanta Sapkota ◽  

We investigated the use of eDNA metabarcoding for supplementing traditional diver-based monitoring of biodiversity of marine boulder reefs within the photic zone. The applied sampling design made it possible to evaluate the usefulness of eDNA monitoring as a supplement for traditional monitoring. Specifically, this study aimed to (1) assess the local influence of boulder reefs on biodiversity across the North Sea to Baltic Sea transition zone and (2) investigate the importance of environmental gradients for patterns in community structure. On samples collected during August 2020, we compared the composition and abundance of species associated with nine reefs, representing an environmental gradient of salinity (16–33 psu), water temperature (16–21°C) and water depth (6–29 m). At each reef site, water was sampled near the bottom just above the reef and on average 2.6 km upstream and downstream (location) and sequenced with metabarcoding using COI, 18S and 12S rDNA primers. eDNA identified 400 species, diver-based observations identified 184 with an overlap of 70 species (12%) and 81 genera (18%). While eDNA identified many infaunal species, it did not detect several macroalgal species which dominated in the diver-based observations. Multivariate analysis of eDNA and diver-based community structure both distinguished between reef communities, with a significant match between patterns observed by the two methods (r = 0.37, p = 0.02). Furthermore, the eDNA approach made it possible to identify significant differences in species composition between upstream, above-reef and downstream locations, suggesting that eDNA leaves a local footprint in benthic habitats. Patterns in both eDNA and diver-based species composition and richness were significantly related to geographical distance, salinity, water temperature and water depth. Despite of low detection of macroalgae, the eDNA sampling provided a substantial supplement to traditional diver-based monitoring of biodiversity around benthic hotspots in the Danish marine waters and therefore we recommend to add eDNA methods to conventional monitoring programs in the future.

Sai Gong ◽  
Bang Feng ◽  
Si-Peng Jian ◽  
Geng Shen Wang ◽  
Zai-Wei Ge ◽  

Altitude and season represent two important environmental gradients that shape the structure of biome, including the heterogeneity of EcM fungi. Previous studies have separately considered the influences of altitude and season on EcM fungal communities, but the relative importance of altitude and season is still unknown.

2022 ◽  
Janne M. Heikkinen ◽  
Juha Aalto ◽  
Olli Rantamäki ◽  
Toni Ruikkala ◽  
Janne Soininen ◽  

Oecologia ◽  
2022 ◽  
Isaac R. Towers ◽  
David J. Merritt ◽  
Todd E. Erickson ◽  
Margaret M. Mayfield ◽  
John M. Dwyer

AbstractEnvironmentally cued germination may play an important role in promoting coexistence in Mediterranean annual plant systems if it causes niche differentiation across heterogeneous microsite conditions. In this study, we tested how microsite conditions experienced by seeds in the field and light conditions in the laboratory influenced germination in 12 common annual plant species occurring in the understorey of the York gum-jam woodlands in southwest Western Australia. Specifically, we hypothesized that if germination promotes spatial niche differentiation, then we should observe species-specific germination responses to light. In addition, we hypothesized that species’ laboratory germination response may depend on the microsite conditions experienced by seeds while buried. We tested the laboratory germination response of seeds under diurnally fluctuating light and complete darkness, which were collected from microsites spanning local-scale environmental gradients known to influence community structure in this system. We found that seeds of 6 out of the 12 focal species exhibited significant positive germination responses to light, but that the magnitude of these responses varied greatly with the relative light requirement for germination ranging from 0.51 to 0.86 for these species. In addition, germination increased significantly across a gradient of canopy cover for two species, but we found little evidence to suggest that species’ relative light requirement for germination varied depending on seed bank microsite conditions. Our results suggest that variability in light availability may promote coexistence in this system and that the microsite conditions seeds experience in the intra-growing season period can further nuance species germination behaviour.

Courtney Collins ◽  
Sarah Elmendorf ◽  
Jane Smith ◽  
Lauren Shoemaker ◽  
Megan Szojka ◽  

Global change is altering patterns of community assembly, with net outcomes dependent on species’ responses to the environment, both directly and mediated through biotic interactions. Here, we assess alpine plant community responses in a 15-year factorial nitrogen addition, warming and snow manipulation experiment. We used a dynamic competition model to estimate the density-dependent and independent processes underlying changes in species-group abundances over time. Density-dependent shifts in competitive interactions drove long-term changes in abundance of species-groups under global change. Density-independent processes were important when counteracting environmental drivers limited the growth response of the dominant species. Furthermore, competitive interactions shifted with environmental change, primarily with nitrogen, and drove non-linear abundance responses across environmental gradients. Our results highlight that global change can either reshuffle species hierarchies or further favor already dominant species; predicting which outcome will occur requires incorporating both density-dependent and independent mechanisms and how they interact across multiple global change factors.

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