Located at University of Alaska Fairbanks, IAB supports faculty and post-doctoral research and graduate education in the life sciences of wildlife, physiology, genetics and evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystems, biomedicine, and bioinformatics and computational biology.
We investigated the deep-sea fossil record of benthic ostracodes during periods of rapid climate and oceanographic change over the past 20,000 years in a core from intermediate depth in the northwestern Atlantic. Results show that deep-sea benthic community "collapses" occur with faunal turnover of up to 50% during major climatically driven oceanographic changes. Species diversity as measured by the Shannon-Wiener index falls from 3 to as low as 1.6 during these events. Major disruptions in the benthic communities commenced with Heinrich Event 1, the Inter-Allerød Cold Period (IACP: 13.1 ka), the Younger Dryas (YD: 12.9-11.5 ka), and several Holocene Bond events when changes in deep-water circulation occurred. The largest collapse is associated with the YD/IACP and is characterized by an abrupt two-step decrease in both the upper North Atlantic Deep Water assemblage and species diversity at 13.1 ka and at 12.2 ka. The ostracode fauna at this site did not fully recover until approximately 8 ka, with the establishment of Labrador Sea Water ventilation. Ecologically opportunistic slope species prospered during this community collapse. Other abrupt community collapses during the past 20 ka generally correspond to millennial climate events. These results indicate that deep-sea ecosystems are not immune to the effects of rapid climate changes occurring over centuries or less.
The dynamics of organic matter accumulated in the soil and main vegetation elements was analyzed for post-logging forest ecosystem succession series in eastern Baikal region. The phytomass was found to allocate up 63 and 50% of carbon in undisturbed Scots pine and fir stands, respectively. The post-logging phytomass contribution to the total carbon pool appeared to decrease down to 16% in Scots pine and 6% in fir stands. In Scots pine stands, carbon storage was determined to account for almost 70% of the initial carbon 60 years after logging. In 50- to 55-year-old fir stands, carbon recovered its initial pool only by 10%. Soil carbon recorded in recently logged Scots pine and fir sites appeared to be 5 and 16 times that accumulated in the phytomass, respectively. The ratio between phytomass carbon and soil organic matter recovered back to the prelogging level in Scots pine stands by the age of 50-60 years. While phytomass carbon also increased in fir stand of the same age, it did not reach the level of the control stand.
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, Teknikringen 34, SE-133 31 Stockholm, Sweden; Anthesis Enveco AB, Barnhusgatan 4, bv, 111 23 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seaweed cultivation attracts growing interest and sustainability assessments from various perspectives are needed. The paper presents a holistic qualitative assessment of ecosystem services affected by seaweed cultivation on the Swedish west coast. Results suggest that supporting, regulating and provisioning services are mainly positively or non-affected while some of the cultural services are likely negatively affected. The analysis opens for a discussion on the framing of seaweed cultivation - is it a way of supplying ecosystem services and/or a way of generating valuable biomass? Exploring these framings further in local contexts may be valuable for identifying trade-offs and designing appropriate policies and development strategies. Many of the found impacts are likely generalizable in their character across sites and scales of cultivation, but for some services, including most of the supporting services, the character of impacts is likely to be site-specific and not generalizable.
Roughly half of the species of bryophytes have separate sexes (dioecious) and half are hermaphroditic (monoecious). This variation has major consequences for the ecology and evolution of the different species. In some sexually reproducing dioecious bryophytes, sex ratio has been shown to vary with environmental conditions. This study focuses on the dioecious wetland moss Drepanocladus trifarius, which rarely produces sexual branches or sporophytes and lacks apparent secondary sex characteristics, and examines whether genetic sexes exhibit different habitat preferences, i.e. whether sexual niche partitioning occurs.
A total of 277 shoots of D. trifarius were randomly sampled at 214 locations and 12 environmental factors were quantified at each site. Sex was assigned to the individual shoots collected in the natural environments, regardless of their reproductive status, using a specifically designed molecular marker associated with female sex.
Male and female shoots did not differ in shoot biomass, the sexes were randomly distributed with respect to each other, and environmental conditions at male and female sampling locations did not differ. Collectively, this demonstrates a lack of sexual niche segregation. Adult genetic sex ratio was female-biased, with 2?8 females for every male individual.
The results show that although the sexes of D. trifarius did not differ with regard to annual growth, spatial distribution or habitat requirements, the genetic sex ratio was nevertheless significantly female-biased. This supports the notion that factors other than sex-related differences in reproductive costs and sexual dimorphism can also drive the evolution of biased sex ratios in plants.
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The role of littoral habitats in lake metabolism has been underrated, especially in humic lakes, based on an assumption of low benthic primary production (PP) due to low light penetration into water. This assumption has been challenged by recent recognition of littoral epiphyton dominance of whole-lake PP in a small highly humic lake and of epiphyton as an important basal food source for humic lake biota. However, as these studies have mostly concerned single lakes, there is a need to test their wider generality. We studied the whole-lake PP and community respiration (CR) in eight small humic lakes in southern Finland during July 2015 using 14 C incorporation to measure pelagic PP and the changes in dissolved inorganic carbon in light and dark in situ incubations to measure CR and littoral PP by epiphyton. Changes in O2 concentration in both pelagic and littoral surface water were measured periodically from each lake and, additionally, continuously with a data logger from one lake during the study period. The results revealed that the littoral dominated whole-lake net primary production (NPP) in five of the eight lakes, which was supported by observed O2 supersaturation in the littoral surface water in most of the lakes. Calculated pelagic:littoral ratios by area correlated negatively with both littoral NPP and littoral contribution to whole-lake NPP. Moreover, there was a significant positive relationship between littoral proportion of whole-lake NPP and the fraction of lake surface area covered by littoral aquatic vegetation. This demonstrates that increased aquatic littoral vegetation cover increases the overall importance of the littoral to whole-lake PP in highly humic lakes. Littoral NPP also correlated strongly with littoral O2 saturation, and the continuously measured O2 revealed substantial temporal variation in O2 saturation, particularly in the littoral zone. Whole-lake gross primary production:community respiration (GPP:CR) ratios revealed that accounting for littoral metabolism produced a marked shift towards lake metabolic balance, although all the eight lakes remained net heterotrophic. This study emphasizes that littoral metabolism needs to be accounted for when estimating whole-lake C fluxes in all lakes, even in highly colored humic waters.
The little auk is the most numerous seabird in the North Atlantic and its most important breeding area is the eastern shores of the North Water polynya. Here, a population of an estimated 33 million pairs breeds in huge colonies and significantly shapes the ecosystem. Archaeological remains in the colonies document that the little auk has been harvested over millennia. Anthropological research discloses how the little auk has a role both as social engineer and as a significant resource for the Inughuit today. The hunting can be practiced without costly equipment, and has no gender and age discrimination in contrast to the dominant hunt for marine mammals. Little auks are ecological engineers in the sense that they transport vast amounts of nutrients from sea to land, where the nutrients are deposited as guano. Here, the fertilized vegetation provides important foraging opportunities for hares, geese, fox, reindeer, and the introduced muskox. We estimate that the relative muskox density is ten times higher within 1 km of little auk fertilized vegetation hotspots.
Plant functional types (PFT) are increasingly used to outline biome-scale plant-environment relationship and predict global change effects on community structure. However, the potentials and limitations of the PFT approach have to be tested as they can be less sensitive than trait-based or species-level approaches. Here, we compare the responses of deciduous-evergreen shrub PFTs and species to gradual snow-related environmental conditions by also considering effects of aboveground architectural traits and neighboring shrubs. Five deciduous species and four evergreen dwarf shrub species were transplanted to be exposed to four levels of winter snow cover across mesotopographic gradients in northern Fennoscandian tundra. The survival and growth of individually tagged shoots were monitored over one year, and the change in cover of shrubs was monitored over four years. Evergreen species showed higher resistance to environmental severity and generally benefitted from higher abundance of neighboring shrubs. Deciduous species exhibited negligible to drastic responses to snow thickness and neighboring shrubs tended to have a negative effect on their performance and survival. Tall shoots of deciduous shrubs survived poorly under the thinnest snow cover. Overall, deciduous and evergreen PFTs showed modest differences in their performances along the gradient. Our results show that deciduous-evergreen leaf phenology categories predict shrub responses to changing environmental conditions only to a limited extent. Our findings highlight strong species-specific responses especially among deciduous shrubs, and a differential role of plant-plant interactions for shrubs. Our results emphasize that distribution patterns of arctic-alpine shrubs and shrub community responses to altered snow regimes depend on species-level plant functional attributes, species interactions and species-specific sensitivities to environmental severity.