Post-fire regeneration of Mediterranean plant communities at a regional scale is dependent on vegetation type and dryness

Arnan X., Rodrigo A., Retana J. (2007) Post-fire regeneration of Mediterranean plant communities at a regional scale is dependent on vegetation type and dryness. Journal of Vegetation Science. 18: 111-122.
Link
Doi: 10.1658/1100-9233(2007)18[111:PROMPC]2.0.CO;2

Abstract:

Question: We tested whether (1) the change in composition and structure of whole plant communities after fire is directly related to regeneration of the dominant tree species in the canopy; (2) the change in structure and composition of plant communities several years after fire decreases with the proportion of obligate seeders and (3) the proportion of obligate seeders in plant communities increases with the dryness gradient. Location: Catalonia (NE Spain). Methods: We measured floristic differences between burned and long-since burned sites in eight vegetation types across a climate gradient. We compared 22 sites burnt in 1994 in paired plots with 22 sites that had not been burnt since the 1940s. In each site we placed plots in burned and long-since burned areas, where we identified the presence and abundance of all plant species. Results: When the tree canopy recovers, structure and composition of the vegetation also return to the long-since burned community; when tree canopy does not recover, composition of the post-fire community varies compared to the long-since burned one. A higher proportion of obligate seeders in the pre-fire community promotes quicker regeneration of the original community. The proportion of obligate seeders increased along the dryness gradient. Conclusions: Regeneration of plant communities after fire depends on the vegetation type before the fire. Regeneration increases when the dominant tree or shrub species persists after fire and with a higher proportion of obligate seeders in the pre-fire community. The proportion of obligate seeders varies along the dryness gradient, which suggests that vegetation in drier areas (when seeders are more abundant) recovers earlier than in moister areas. © IAVS; Opulus Press.

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On-line screening of soil VOCs exchange responses to moisture, temperature and root presence

Asensio D., Peñuelas J., Filella I., Llusià J. (2007) On-line screening of soil VOCs exchange responses to moisture, temperature and root presence. Plant and Soil. 291: 249-261.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s11104-006-9190-4

Abstract:

The exchanges of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) between soils and the atmosphere are poorly known. We investigated VOC exchange rates and how they were influenced by soil moisture, temperature and the presence of plant roots in a Mediterranean forest soil. We measured VOC exchange rates along a soil moisture gradient (5%-12.5%-20%-27.5% v/v) and a temperature gradient (10°C-15°C-25°C-35°C) using PTR-MS. Monoterpenes were identified with GC-MS. Soils were a sink rather than a source of VOCs in both soil moisture and temperature treatments (-2.16 ± 0.35 nmol m-2 s-1 and -4.90 ± 1.24 nmol m-2 s-1 respectively). Most compounds observed were oxygenated VOCs like alcohols, aldehydes and ketones and aromatic hydrocarbons. Other volatiles such as acetic acid and ethyl acetate were also observed. All those compounds had very low exchange rates (maximum uptake rates from -0.8 nmol m-2 s -1 to -0.6 nmol m-2 s-1 for methanol and acetic acid). Monoterpene exchange ranged only from -0.004 nmol m-2 s -1 to 0.004 nmol m-2 s-1 and limonene and α-pinene were the most abundant compounds. Increasing soil moisture resulted in higher soil sink activity possibly due to increases in microbial VOCs uptake activity. No general pattern of response was found in the temperature gradient for total VOCs. Roots decreased the emission of many compounds under increasing soil moisture and under increasing soil temperature. While our results showed that emission of some soil VOCs might be enhanced by the increases in soil temperature and that the uptake of most soil VOCs uptake might be reduced by the decreases of soil water availability, the low exchange rates measured indicated that soil-atmosphere VOC exchange in this system are unlikely to play an important role in atmospheric chemistry. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Interannual and interseasonal soil CO2 efflux and VOC exchange rates in a Mediterranean holm oak forest in response to experimental drought

Asensio D., Peñuelas J., Llusià J., Ogaya R., Filella I. (2007) Interannual and interseasonal soil CO2 efflux and VOC exchange rates in a Mediterranean holm oak forest in response to experimental drought. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 39: 2471-2484.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.04.019

Abstract:

Climate models predict drier conditions in the next decades in the Mediterranean basin. Given the importance of soil CO2 efflux in the global carbon balance and the important role of soil monoterpene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in soil ecology, we aimed to study the effects of the predicted drought on soil CO2, monoterpenes and other VOC exchange rates and their seasonal and interannual variations. We decreased soil water availability in a Mediterranean holm oak forest soil by means of an experimental drought system performed since 1999 to the present. Measurements of soil gas exchange were carried out with IRGA, GC and PTR-MS techniques during two annual campaigns of contrasting precipitation. Soil respiration was twice higher the wet year than the dry year (2.27±0.26 and 1.05±0.15, respectively), and varied seasonally from 3.76±0.85 μmol m-2 s-1 in spring, to 0.13±0.01 μmol m-2 s-1 in summer. These results highlight the strong interannual and interseasonal variation in CO2 efflux in Mediterranean ecosystems. The drought treatment produced a significant soil respiration reduction in drought plots in the wet sampling period. This reduction was even higher in wet springs (43% average reduction). These results show (1) that soil moisture is the main factor driving seasonal and interannual variations in soil respiration and (2) that the response of soil respiration to increased temperature is constrained by soil moisture. The results also show an additional control of soil CO2 efflux by physiology and phenology of trees and animals. Soil monoterpene exchange rates ranged from -0.01 to 0.004 nmol m-2 s-1, thus the contribution of this Mediterranean holm oak forest soil to the total monoterpenes atmospheric budget seems to be very low. Responses of individual monoterpenes and VOCs to the drought treatment were different depending on the compound. This suggests that the effect of soil moisture reduction in the monoterpenes and VOC exchange rates seems to be dependent on monoterpene and VOC type. In general, soil monoterpene and other VOC exchange rates were not correlated with soil CO2 efflux. In all cases, only a low proportion of variance was explained by the soil moisture changes, since almost all VOCs increased their emission rates in summer 2005, probably due to the effect of high soil temperature. Results indicate thus that physical and biological processes in soil are controlling soil VOC exchange but further research is needed on how these factors interact to produce the observed VOCs exchange responses. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Seasonal soil VOC exchange rates in a Mediterranean holm oak forest and their responses to drought conditions

Asensio D., Peñuelas J., Ogaya R., Llusià J. (2007) Seasonal soil VOC exchange rates in a Mediterranean holm oak forest and their responses to drought conditions. Atmospheric Environment. 41: 2456-2466.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.05.007

Abstract:

Available information on soil volatile organic compound (VOC) exchange, emissions and uptake, is very scarce. We here describe the amounts and seasonality of soil VOC exchange during a year in a natural Mediterranean holm oak forest growing in Southern Catalonia. We investigated changes in soil VOC dynamics in drought conditions by decreasing the soil moisture to 30% of ambient conditions by artificially excluding rainfall and water runoff, and predicted the response of VOC exchange to the drought forecasted in the Mediterranean region for the next decades by GCM and ecophysiological models. The annual average of the total (detected) soil VOC and total monoterpene exchange rates were 3.2±3.2 and -0.4±0.3 μg m-2 h-1, respectively, in control plots. These values represent 0.003% of the total C emitted by soil at the study site as CO2 whereas the annual mean of soil monoterpene exchange represents 0.0004% of total C. Total soil VOC exchange rates in control plots showed seasonal variations following changes in soil moisture and phenology. Maximum values were found in spring (17±8 μg m-2 h-1). Although there was no significant global effect of drought treatment on the total soil VOC exchange rates, annual average of total VOC exchange rates in drought plots resulted in an uptake rate (-0.5±1.8 μg m-2 h-1) instead of positive net emission rates. Larger soil VOC and monoterpene exchanges were measured in drought plots than in control plots in summer, which might be mostly attributable to autotrophic (roots) metabolism. The results show that the diversity and magnitude of monoterpene and VOC soil emissions are low compared with plant emissions, that they are driven by soil moisture, that they represent a very small part of the soil-released carbon and that they may be strongly reduced or even reversed into net uptakes by the predicted decreases of soil water availability in the next decades. In all cases, it seems that VOC fluxes in soil might have greater impact on soil ecology than on atmospheric chemistry. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Sensitivity of terpene emissions to drought and fertilization in terpene-storing Pinus halepensis and non-storing Quercus ilex

Blanch J.-S., Peñuelas J., Llusià J. (2007) Sensitivity of terpene emissions to drought and fertilization in terpene-storing Pinus halepensis and non-storing Quercus ilex. Physiologia Plantarum. 131: 211-225.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2007.00944.x

Abstract:

We studied the effects of water stress, fertilization and time course on foliar volatile terpene emission rates by Quercus ilex and Pinus halepensis in a garden experiment. The terpenes mostly emitted by both species were α-pinene, β-pinene, β-myrcene and Δ 3-carene. P. halepensis emission rates (average 31.45 μg g -1 DM h -1) were similar to those of Q. ilex (average 31.71 μg g -1 DM h -1). The effects of drought (reduction to one-third of full watering) and fertilization (250 kg N ha -1, 250 kg P ha -1, or both) were different depending on the species: the drought treatment significantly increased the terpene emissions from Q. ilex by 33%, and the fertilization treatments reduced the terpene emissions from P. halepensis by 38%. Terpene emission rates increased with time course in parallel to raising summer temperatures in P. halepensis and Q. ilex, whose emission rates were temperature related (r = 0.42 and r = 0.68, respectively) and light related (r = 0.32 and r = 0.57, respectively). There was a positive relationship for P. halepensis, and a negative relationship for Q. ilex, between emission rates and relative water contents. No relationship was found between emission rates and N or P foliar concentrations. The results of this study show complex species-specific responses with stronger and faster short-term responses in terpene-non-storing than in storing species and indicate that terpene emissions may significantly change in the warmer, drier and more fertilized conditions predicted for the next decades in the Mediterranean region. © Physiologia Plantarum 2007.

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A human and scientific perspective of Ramón Margalef (1919-2004). En: Unity in Diversity: Reflections on Ecology after de legacy of Ramón Margalef.

Gracia C (2007) A human and scientific perspective of Ramón Margalef (1919-2004). En: Unity in Diversity: Reflections on Ecology after de legacy of Ramón Margalef. Fundación BBVA

Els boscos ibèrics davant del Canvi Climàtic.

Gracia C (2007) Els boscos ibèrics davant del Canvi Climàtic. L'Atzavara. 16 pp: 39-52

Unity in Diversity: Reflections on Ecology after de legacy of Ramón Margalef. (C.Gracia et al. Editores).

Gracia C (2007) Unity in Diversity: Reflections on Ecology after de legacy of Ramón Margalef. (C.Gracia et al. Editores). Fundación BBVA.

Carbon pools in Mediterranean forests: comparing eddy covariance and GOTILWA+ model results.

Gracia C (2007) Carbon pools in Mediterranean forests: comparing eddy covariance and GOTILWA+ model results. Slovenian Forestry Institute (SFI), Ljubljana, Slovenia.Slovenian Research Agency

Community-based processes behind species richness gradients: Contrasting abundance-extinction dynamics and sampling effects in areas of low and high productivity

Carnicer J., Brotons L., Sol D., Jordano P. (2007) Community-based processes behind species richness gradients: Contrasting abundance-extinction dynamics and sampling effects in areas of low and high productivity. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 16: 709-719.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00324.x

Abstract:

Aim: To consider the role of local colonization and extinction rates in explaining the generation and maintenance of species richness gradients at the regional scale. Location: A Mediterranean biome (oak forests, deciduous forests, shrublands, pinewoods, firwoods, alpine heathlands, crops) in Catalonia, Spain. Methods: We analysed the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of community size in explaining species richness gradients. Direct sampling effects of community size on species richness are predicted by Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography. The greater the number of individuals in a locality, the greater the number of species expected by random direct sampling effects. Indirect effects are predicted by the abundance-extinction hypothesis, which states that in more productive sites increased population densities and reduced extinction rates may lead to high species richness. The study system was an altitudinal gradient of forest bird species richness. Results: We found significant support for the existence of both direct and indirect effects of community size in species richness. Thus, both the neutral and the abundance-extinction hypotheses were supported for the altitudinal species richness gradient of forest birds in Catalonia. However, these mechanisms seem to drive variation in species richness only in low-productivity areas; in high-productivity areas, species richness was uncorrelated with community size and productivity measures. Main conclusions: Our results support the existence of a geographical mosaic of community-based processes behind species richness gradients, with contrasting abundance-extinction dynamics and sampling effects in areas of low and high productivity. © 2007 The Authors © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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