Five Years of Experimental Warming Increases the Biodiversity and Productivity of Phytoplankton

Yvon-Durocher G., Allen A.P., Cellamare M., Dossena M., Gaston K.J., Leitao M., Montoya J.M., Reuman D.C., Woodward G., Trimmer M. (2015) Five Years of Experimental Warming Increases the Biodiversity and Productivity of Phytoplankton. PLoS Biology. 13: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002324

Abstract:

Phytoplankton are key components of aquatic ecosystems, fixing CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and supporting secondary production, yet relatively little is known about how future global warming might alter their biodiversity and associated ecosystem functioning. Here, we explore how the structure, function, and biodiversity of a planktonic metacommunity was altered after five years of experimental warming. Our outdoor mesocosm experiment was open to natural dispersal from the regional species pool, allowing us to explore the effects of experimental warming in the context of metacommunity dynamics. Warming of 4°C led to a 67% increase in the species richness of the phytoplankton, more evenly-distributed abundance, and higher rates of gross primary productivity. Warming elevated productivity indirectly, by increasing the biodiversity and biomass of the local phytoplankton communities. Warming also systematically shifted the taxonomic and functional trait composition of the phytoplankton, favoring large, colonial, inedible phytoplankton taxa, suggesting stronger top-down control, mediated by zooplankton grazing played an important role. Overall, our findings suggest that temperature can modulate species coexistence, and through such mechanisms, global warming could, in some cases, increase the species richness and productivity of phytoplankton communities. © 2015 Yvon-Durocher et al.

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The application of ecological stoichiometry to plant-microbial-soil organic matter transformations

Zechmeister-Boltenstern S., Keiblinger K.M., Mooshammer M., Peñuelas J., Richter A., Sardans J., Wanek W. (2015) The application of ecological stoichiometry to plant-microbial-soil organic matter transformations. Ecological Monographs. 85: 133-155.
Link
Doi: 10.1890/14-0777.1

Abstract:

Elemental stoichiometry constitutes an inherent link between biogeochemistry and the structure and processes within food webs, and thus is at the core of ecosystem functioning. Stoichiometry allows for spanning different levels of biological organization, from cellular metabolism to ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling, and is therefore particularly useful for establishing links between different ecosystem compartments. We review elemental carbon : nitrogen : phosphorus (C:N:P) ratios in terrestrial ecosystems (from vegetation, leaf litter, woody debris, and dead roots, to soil microbes and organic matter). While the stoichiometry of the plant, litter, and soil compartments of ecosystems is well understood, heterotrophic microbial communities, which dominate the soil food web and drive nutrient cycling, have received increasing interest in recent years. This review highlights the effects of resource stoichiometry on soil microorganisms and decomposition, specifically on the structure and function of heterotrophic microbial communities and suggests several general patterns. First, latitudinal gradients of soil and litter stoichiometry are reflected in microbial community structure and function. Second, resource stoichiometry may cause changes in microbial interactions and community dynamics that lead to feedbacks in nutrient availability. Third, global change alters the C:N, C:P, and N:P ratios of primary producers, with repercussions for microbial decomposer communities and critical ecosystem services such as soil fertility. We argue that ecological stoichiometry provides a framework to analyze and predict such global change effects at various scales. © 2015 by the Ecological Society of America.

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Environmental factors prevail over dispersal constraints in determining the distribution and assembly of Trichoptera species in mountain lakes

de Mendoza G., Ventura M., Catalan J. (2015) Environmental factors prevail over dispersal constraints in determining the distribution and assembly of Trichoptera species in mountain lakes. Ecology and Evolution. 5: 2518-2532.
Link
Doi: 10.1002/ece3.1522

Abstract:

Aiming to elucidate whether large-scale dispersal factors or environmental species sorting prevail in determining patterns of Trichoptera species composition in mountain lakes, we analyzed the distribution and assembly of the most common Trichoptera (Plectrocnemia laetabilis, Polycentropus flavomaculatus, Drusus rectus, Annitella pyrenaea, and Mystacides azurea) in the mountain lakes of the Pyrenees (Spain, France, Andorra) based on a survey of 82 lakes covering the geographical and environmental extremes of the lake district. Spatial autocorrelation in species composition was determined using Moran's eigenvector maps (MEM). Redundancy analysis (RDA) was applied to explore the influence of MEM variables and in-lake, and catchment environmental variables on Trichoptera assemblages. Variance partitioning analysis (partial RDA) revealed the fraction of species composition variation that could be attributed uniquely to either environmental variability or MEM variables. Finally, the distribution of individual species was analyzed in relation to specific environmental factors using binomial generalized linear models (GLM). Trichoptera assemblages showed spatial structure. However, the most relevant environmental variables in the RDA (i.e., temperature and woody vegetation in-lake catchments) were also related with spatial variables (i.e., altitude and longitude). Partial RDA revealed that the fraction of variation in species composition that was uniquely explained by environmental variability was larger than that uniquely explained by MEM variables. GLM results showed that the distribution of species with longitudinal bias is related to specific environmental factors with geographical trend. The environmental dependence found agrees with the particular traits of each species. We conclude that Trichoptera species distribution and composition in the lakes of the Pyrenees are governed predominantly by local environmental factors, rather than by dispersal constraints. For boreal lakes, with similar environmental conditions, a strong role of dispersal capacity has been suggested. Further investigation should address the role of spatial scaling, namely absolute geographical distances constraining dispersal and steepness of environmental gradients at short distances. © 2015 The Authors.

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