Increased sensitivity to climate change in disturbed ecosystems

Kroel-Dulay G., Ransijn J., Schmidt I.K., Beier C., De Angelis P., De Dato G., Dukes J.S., Emmett B., Estiarte M., Garadnai J., Kongstad J., Kovacs-Lang E., Larsen K.S., Liberati D., Ogaya R., Riis-Nielsen T., Smith A.R., Sowerby A., Tietema A., Penuelas J. (2015) Increased sensitivity to climate change in disturbed ecosystems. Nature Communications. 6: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1038/ncomms7682

Abstract:

Human domination of the biosphere includes changes to disturbance regimes, which push many ecosystems towards early-successional states. Ecological theory predicts that early-successional ecosystems are more sensitive to perturbations than mature systems, but little evidence supports this relationship for the perturbation of climate change. Here we show that vegetation (abundance, species richness and species composition) across seven European shrublands is quite resistant to moderate experimental warming and drought, and responsiveness is associated with the dynamic state of the ecosystem, with recently disturbed sites responding to treatments. Furthermore, most of these responses are not rapid (2-5 years) but emerge over a longer term (7-14 years). These results suggest that successional state influences the sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change, and that ecosystems recovering from disturbances may be sensitive to even modest climatic changes. A research bias towards undisturbed ecosystems might thus lead to an underestimation of the impacts of climate change. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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Contrasting impacts of continuous moderate drought and episodic severe droughts on the aboveground-biomass increment and litterfall of three coexisting Mediterranean woody species

Liu D., Ogaya R., Barbeta A., Yang X., Peñuelas J. (2015) Contrasting impacts of continuous moderate drought and episodic severe droughts on the aboveground-biomass increment and litterfall of three coexisting Mediterranean woody species. Global Change Biology. 21: 4196-4209.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/gcb.13029

Abstract:

Climate change is predicted to increase the aridity in the Mediterranean Basin and severely affect forest productivity and composition. The responses of forests to different timescales of drought, however, are still poorly understood because extreme and persistent moderate droughts can produce nonlinear responses in plants. We conducted a rainfall-manipulation experiment in a Mediterranean forest dominated by Quercus ilex, Phillyrea latifolia, and Arbutus unedo in the Prades Mountains in southern Catalonia from 1999 to 2014. The experimental drought significantly decreased forest aboveground-biomass increment (ABI), tended to increase the litterfall, and decreased aboveground net primary production throughout the 15 years of the study. The responses to the experimental drought were highly species-specific. A. unedo suffered a significant reduction in ABI, Q. ilex experienced a decrease during the early experiment (1999-2003) and in the extreme droughts of 2005-2006 and 2011-2012, and P. latifolia was unaffected by the treatment. The drought treatment significantly increased branch litterfall, especially in the extremely dry year of 2011, and also increased overall leaf litterfall. The drought treatment reduced the fruit production of Q. ilex, which affected seedling recruitment. The ABIs of all species were highly correlated with SPEI in early spring, whereas the branch litterfalls were better correlated with summer SPEIs and the leaf and fruit litterfalls were better correlated with autumn SPEIs. These species-specific responses indicated that the dominant species (Q. ilex) could be partially replaced by the drought-resistant species (P. latifolia). However, the results of this long-term study also suggest that the effect of drought treatment has been dampened over time, probably due to a combination of demographic compensation, morphological and physiological acclimation, and epigenetic changes. However, the structure of community (e.g., species composition, dominance, and stand density) may be reordered when a certain drought threshold is reached. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and terpene emission response to water availability in dry and mesic Mediterranean forests

Llusia J., Roahtyn S., Yakir D., Rotenberg E., Seco R., Guenther A., Peñuelas J. (2015) Photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and terpene emission response to water availability in dry and mesic Mediterranean forests. Trees - Structure and Function. : 1-11.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s00468-015-1317-x

Abstract:

Key message: Warmer summer conditions result in increased terpene emissions except under severe drought, in which case they strongly decrease.Abstract: Water stress results in a reduction of the metabolism of plants and in a reorganization of their use of resources geared to survival. In the Mediterranean region, periods of drought accompanied by high temperatures and high irradiance occur in summer. Plants have developed various mechanisms to survive in these conditions by resisting, tolerating or preventing stress. We used three typical Mediterranean tree species in Israel, Pinus halepensis L., Quercus calliprinos and Quercus ithaburensis Webb, as models for studying some of these adaptive mechanisms. We measured their photosynthetic rates (A), stomatal conductance (gs), and terpene emission rates during spring and summer in a geophysical gradient from extremely dry to mesic from Yatir (south, arid) to Birya (north, moist) with intermediate conditions in Solelim. A and gs of P. halepensis were threefold higher in Birya than in Yatir where they remained very low both seasons. Quercus species presented 2–3-fold higher A and gs but with much more variability between seasons, especially for Q. ithaburensis with A and gs that decreased 10–30-fold from spring to summer. Terpene emission rates for pine were not different regionally in spring but they were 5–8-fold higher in Birya than in Yatir in summer (P < 0.05). Higher emissions were also observed in Solelim for the drought resistant Q. ithaburensis (P < 0.001) but not for Q. calliprinos. α-Pinene followed by limonene and 3-carene were the dominant terpenes. Warmer summer conditions result in increased Terpene emission rates except under severe drought, in which case they strongly decrease. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Isotope-ratio infrared spectroscopy: A reliable tool for the investigation of plant-water sources?

Martin-Gomez P., Barbeta A., Voltas J., Penuelas J., Dennis K., Palacio S., Dawson T.E., Ferrio J.P. (2015) Isotope-ratio infrared spectroscopy: A reliable tool for the investigation of plant-water sources?. New Phytologist. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/nph.13376

Abstract:

Summary: Stable isotopes are extensively used as tracers for the study of plant-water sources. Isotope-ratio infrared spectroscopy (IRIS) offers a cheaper alternative to isotope-ratio mass spectroscopy (IRMS), but its use in studying plant and soil water is limited by the spectral interference caused by organic contaminants. Here, we examine two approaches to cope with contaminated samples in IRIS: on-line oxidation of organic compounds (MCM) and post-processing correction. We assessed these methods compared to IRMS across 136 samples of xylem and soil water, and a set of ethanol- and methanol-water mixtures. A post-processing correction significantly improved IRIS accuracy in both natural samples and alcohol dilutions, being effective with concentrations up to 8% of ethanol and 0.4% of methanol. MCM outperformed the post-processing correction in removing methanol interference, but did not effectively remove interference for high concentrations of ethanol. By using both approaches, IRIS can overcome with reasonable accuracy the analytical uncertainties associated with most organic contaminants found in soil and xylem water. We recommend the post-processing correction as the first choice for analysis of samples of unknown contamination. Nevertheless, MCM can be more effective for evaluating samples containing contaminants responsible for strong spectral interferences at low concentrations, such as methanol. © 2015 New Phytologist Trust.

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10 Years Later: Revisiting Priorities for Science and Society a Decade After the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Mulder C., Bennett E.M., Bohan D.A., Bonkowski M., Carpenter S.R., Chalmers R., Cramer W., Durance I., Eisenhauer N., Fontaine C., Haughton A.J., Hettelingh J.-P., Hines J., Ibanez S., Jeppesen E., Krumins J.A., Ma A., Mancinelli G., Massol F., McLaughlin Ó., Naeem S., Pascual U., Peñuelas J., Pettorelli N., Pocock M.J.O., Raffaelli D., Rasmussen J.J., Rusch G.M., Scherber C., Setälä H., Sutherland W.J., Vacher C., Voigt W., Arie Vonk J., Wood S.A., Woodward G. (2015) 10 Years Later: Revisiting Priorities for Science and Society a Decade After the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Advances in Ecological Research. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/bs.aecr.2015.10.005

Abstract:

The study of ecological services (ESs) is fast becoming a cornerstone of mainstream ecology, largely because they provide a useful means of linking functioning to societal benefits in complex systems by connecting different organizational levels. In order to identify the main challenges facing current and future ES research, we analyzed the effects of the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA, 2005) on different disciplines. Within a set of topics framed around concepts embedded within the MEA, each co-author identified five key research challenges and, where feasible, suggested possible solutions. Concepts included those related to specific service types (i.e. provisioning, supporting, regulating, cultural, aesthetic services) as well as more synthetic issues spanning the natural and social sciences, which often linked a wide range of disciplines, as was the case for the application of network theory. By merging similar responses, and removing some of the narrower suggestions from our sample pool, we distilled the key challenges into a smaller subset. We review some of the historical context to the MEA and identify some of the broader scientific and philosophical issues that still permeate discourse in this field. Finally, we consider where the greatest advances are most likely to be made in the next decade and beyond. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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A vertically discretised canopy description for ORCHIDEE (SVN r2290) and the modifications to the energy, water and carbon fluxes

Naudts K., Ryder J., McGrath M.J., Otto J., Chen Y., Valade A., Bellasen V., Berhongaray G., Bonisch G., Campioli M., Ghattas J., De Groote T., Haverd V., Kattge J., MacBean N., Maignan F., Merila P., Penuelas J., Peylin P., Pinty B., Pretzsch H., Schulze E.D., Solyga D., Vuichard N., Yan Y., Luyssaert S. (2015) A vertically discretised canopy description for ORCHIDEE (SVN r2290) and the modifications to the energy, water and carbon fluxes. Geoscientific Model Development. 8: 2035-2065.
Link
Doi: 10.5194/gmd-8-2035-2015

Abstract:

Since 70% of global forests are managed and forests impact the global carbon cycle and the energy exchange with the overlying atmosphere, forest management has the potential to mitigate climate change. Yet, none of the land-surface models used in Earth system models, and therefore none of today's predictions of future climate, accounts for the interactions between climate and forest management. We addressed this gap in modelling capability by developing and parametrising a version of the ORCHIDEE land-surface model to simulate the biogeochemical and biophysical effects of forest management. The most significant changes between the new branch called ORCHIDEE-CAN (SVN r2290) and the trunk version of ORCHIDEE (SVN r2243) are the allometric-based allocation of carbon to leaf, root, wood, fruit and reserve pools; the transmittance, absorbance and reflectance of radiation within the canopy; and the vertical discretisation of the energy budget calculations. In addition, conceptual changes were introduced towards a better process representation for the interaction of radiation with snow, the hydraulic architecture of plants, the representation of forest management and a numerical solution for the photosynthesis formalism of Farquhar, von Caemmerer and Berry. For consistency reasons, these changes were extensively linked throughout the code. Parametrisation was revisited after introducing 12 new parameter sets that represent specific tree species or genera rather than a group of often distantly related or even unrelated species, as is the case in widely used plant functional types. Performance of the new model was compared against the trunk and validated against independent spatially explicit data for basal area, tree height, canopy structure, gross primary production (GPP), albedo and evapotranspiration over Europe. For all tested variables, ORCHIDEE-CAN outperformed the trunk regarding its ability to reproduce large-scale spatial patterns as well as their inter-annual variability over Europe. Depending on the data stream, ORCHIDEE-CAN had a 67 to 92% chance to reproduce the spatial and temporal variability of the validation data. © Author(s) 2015.

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Satellite data as indicators of tree biomass growth and forest dieback in a Mediterranean holm oak forest

Ogaya R., Barbeta A., Basnou C., Penuelas J. (2015) Satellite data as indicators of tree biomass growth and forest dieback in a Mediterranean holm oak forest. Annals of Forest Science. 72: 135-144.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s13595-014-0408-y

Abstract:

• Context: In the framework of climate change, decreased tree growth and enhanced mortality induced by hot and dry conditions are increasing in many forests around the world, and particularly in Mediterranean forests.• Aims: Our aim was to estimate tree growth and mortality in a Mediterranean holm oak forest, using remote sensing data from MODIS.• Methods: We monitored annual increases of aboveground biomass by measuring tree basal area, and we determined tree mortality by counting dead stems. We analyzed the relationships between forest growth and mortality with mean annual values of some MODIS products and meteorological data.• Results: Mortality and increases of aboveground biomass correlated well with precipitation, September standardized precipitation/evapotranspiration indices (SPEI), and some MODIS products such as NDVI and enhanced vegetation index EVI. Other MODIS products such as gross primary production (GPP) and net photosynthesis, however, showed no clear relationship with tree mortality or measured increases of biomass.• Conclusion: The MODIS products as proxies of ecosystemic productivity (gross primary productivity, net photosynthesis) were weakly correlated with biomass increase, and did not reflect the mortality following the drought of autumn 2011. Nevertheless, NDVI and EVI were efficient indicators of forest productivity and dieback. © 2014, INRA and Springer-Verlag France.

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Sensing the energetic status of plants and ecosystems

Penuelas J., Bartrons M., Llusia J., Filella I. (2015) Sensing the energetic status of plants and ecosystems. Trends in Plant Science. 20: 528-530.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.07.002

Abstract:

The emerging consistency of the relationship between biochemical, optical, and odorous signals emitted by plants and ecosystems offers promising prospects for continuous local and global monitoring of the energetic status of plants and ecosystems, and therefore of their processing of energy and matter. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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Leaf onset in the northern hemisphere triggered by daytime temperature

Piao S., Tan J., Chen A., Fu Y.H., Ciais P., Liu Q., Janssens I.A., Vicca S., Zeng Z., Jeong S.-J., Li Y., Myneni R.B., Peng S., Shen M., Penuelas J. (2015) Leaf onset in the northern hemisphere triggered by daytime temperature. Nature Communications. 6: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1038/ncomms7911

Abstract:

Recent warming significantly advanced leaf onset in the northern hemisphere. This signal cannot be accurately reproduced by current models parameterized by daily mean temperature (Tmean). Here using in situ observations of leaf unfolding dates (LUDs) in Europe and the United States, we show that the interannual anomalies of LUD during 1982-2011 are triggered by daytime (Tmax) more than by nighttime temperature (Tmin). Furthermore, an increase of 1°C in Tmax would advance LUD by 4.7 days in Europe and 4.3 days in the United States, more than the conventional temperature sensitivity estimated from Tmean. The triggering role of Tmax, rather than the Tmin or Tmean variable, is also supported by analysis of the large-scale patterns of satellite-derived vegetation green-up in spring in the northern hemisphere (>30°N). Our results suggest a new conceptual framework of leaf onset using daytime temperature to improve the performance of phenology modules in current Earth system models. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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Morphological, biochemical and physiological traits of upper and lower canopy leaves of European beech tend to converge with increasing altitude

Rajsnerova P., Klem K., Holub P., Novotna K., Vecerova K., Kozacikova M., Rivas-Ubach A., Sardans J., Marek M.V., Penuelas J., Urban O. (2015) Morphological, biochemical and physiological traits of upper and lower canopy leaves of European beech tend to converge with increasing altitude. Tree Physiology. 35: 47-60.
Link
Doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpu104

Abstract:

The present work has explored for the first time acclimation of upper versus lower canopy leaves along an altitudinal gradient. We tested the hypothesis that restrictive climatic conditions associated with high altitudes reduce within-canopy variations of leaf traits. The investigated beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forest is located on the southern slope of the Hrubý Jeseník Mountains (Czech Republic). All measurements were taken on leaves from upper and lower parts of the canopy of mature trees (>85 years old) growing at low (400 m above sea level, a.s.l.), middle (720 m a.s.l.) and high (1100 m a.s.l.) altitudes. Compared with trees at higher altitudes, those growing at low altitudes had lower stomatal conductance, slightly lower CO2 assimilation rate (A max) and leaf mass per area (LMA), and higher photochemical reflectance index, water-use efficiency and Rubisco content. Given similar stand densities at all altitudes, the different growth conditions result in a more open canopy and higher penetration of light into lower canopy with increasing altitude. Even though strong vertical gradients in light intensity occurred across the canopy at all altitudes, lower canopy leaves at high altitudes tended to acquire the same morphological, biochemical and physiological traits as did upper leaves. While elevation had no significant effect on nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) contents per unit leaf area, LMA, or total content of chlorophylls and epidermal flavonoids in upper leaves, these increased significantly in lower leaves at higher altitudes. The increases in N content of lower leaves were coupled with similar changes in A max. Moreover, a high N content coincided with high Rubisco concentrations in lower but not in upper canopy leaves. Our results show that the limiting role of light in lower parts of the canopy is reduced at high altitudes. A great capacity of trees to adjust the entire canopy is thus demonstrated. © © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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