Presence of clouds in the understory of a TMCF in the Atlantic Forest domain, in Southeastern Brazil. The presence of clouds are common in this forest, reducing the light availability and increasing the water input in the system.

Clouds covering a Tropical Cloud Montane Forest in Brazil

Fernanda de V. Barros, Paulo L. Bittencourt, Cleiton B. Eller, Caroline SignoriMüller, Leonardo D. Meireles and Rafael S. Oliveira This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here. Some tropical montane forests are associated with high cloud frequency, creating a very singular cold and wet environment in the tropics, which allows the coexistence of groups of … Continue reading Clouds covering a Tropical Cloud Montane Forest in Brazil

View of the precipitation manipulation facility in the semiarid grassland, Inner Mongolia, China. Photo credit: Jingyi Ru

Enhanced carbon sink under intensified precipitation variability in a semiarid grassland

Jingyi Ru, Shiqiang Wan, Dafeng Hui, Jian Song, Jing Wang This Plan Language Summary is published ahead of the article discussed. Check back soon for a link to the article Earth System Models predict greater between-year precipitation variability, with more frequent extreme precipitation years both above (wet years) and below (dry years) the long-term average. This augmented interannual precipitation variability is likely to have profound … Continue reading Enhanced carbon sink under intensified precipitation variability in a semiarid grassland

Caption: Rainout shelters in place at the Loma Ridge Global Change Experiment in Irvine, California, US to simulate drought. This experiment is in place since 2007 to study the impact of long-term drought on Mediterranean ecosystems consisting of a mosaic of grasses and shrubs. Seen in the image is Dr. Ashish Malik collecting plant litter bags that were installed to study microbial functions and decomposition rates. Such long-term field experiments are crucial in improving our understanding of ecosystem-level changes and feedbacks in response to climate change factors. Image credit: Ashish Malik

How will drought impact soil microbes and ecosystem carbon balance?

Malik, Ashish; Bouskill, Nicholas This Plan Language Summary is published ahead of the article discussed. Check back soon for a link to the article Climate change is causing increased occurrences of droughts that impact the cycling of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. How droughts impact microbial processes in soil and its consequences for ecosystem carbon balance is hard to measure. To do so, we must better … Continue reading How will drought impact soil microbes and ecosystem carbon balance?

Subtropical surgeon fishes feeding on algal turf in the Solitary Islands. Photocredit: Adriana Vergés

Algal turfs shape trophic pathways in tropicalized reefs

Albert Pessarrodona, Adriana Vergés, Néstor E. Bosch, Sahira Bell, Shannen Smith, M. Paula Sgarlatta, Thomas Wernberg This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here. Temperate marine environments are rapidly changing as they become warmer due to climate change. This is leading to a phenomenon known as “tropicalization”, where tropical species increase in relative abundance compared … Continue reading Algal turfs shape trophic pathways in tropicalized reefs

Semi-dry grassland in the Pannonian region of Southern Moravia, Czech Republic. Author: Josep Padullés Cubino

Why do grasslands contain many rare but few common plant species?

Josep Padullés Cubino, Irena Axmanová, Zdeňka Lososová, Martin Večeřa, Ariel Bergamini, Helge Bruelheide, Jürgen Dengler, Ute Jandt, Florian Jansen, Ricarda Pätsch, Milan Chytrý This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the article in full here. For many decades, ecologists have tried to understand why only a few species are common within a specific location while the vast majority are … Continue reading Why do grasslands contain many rare but few common plant species?

Rainfall Manipulation facility in the Santa Rita Experimental Range (RainMan SR; 31.79° N, 110.90° W, 1075 m a.s.l.) of Southern Arizona, US.

Fewer, larger storms delayed the seasonal timing of maximum photosynthetic production in a semi-arid grassland

Fangyue Zhang, Joel A. Biederman, Nathan A. Pierce, Daniel L. Potts, Charles John Devine1 , Yanbin Hao, William K. Smith Read the research in full here Large portions of the western United States are experiencing fewer, larger, and less frequent rainfall events. These fewer and larger events interspersed by longer intervals without rainfall have far-reaching consequences for grassland systems. Grassland production across the western US … Continue reading Fewer, larger storms delayed the seasonal timing of maximum photosynthetic production in a semi-arid grassland

View of the study site with deep winter snow in a semi-arid grassland in Inner Mongolia. Photo taken by Yuntao Wu.

Deep winter snow – a protective blanket for soil carbon?

Ping Li, Emma J. Sayer, Zhou Jia, Yuntao Wu, Meifeng Deng, Xin Wang, Chao Liu, Bin Wang, Yang Wang, Yongfei Bai, Lingli Liu Read the full research here Strong winds can erode the soil surface in arid and semi-arid ecosystems by blowing away fine soil particles. As these particles contain carbon, wind erosion inevitably causes large loss of soil carbon. Plants help stem erosion by … Continue reading Deep winter snow – a protective blanket for soil carbon?

Stipa capillata communities (A) in Gansu Province and Nitraria tangutorum communities (B) in Inner Mongolia, Northern China. Photo credit: X. Wang

Patterns of plant carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus along aridity and soil trait gradients in drylands of China

Junlan Xiong, Longwei Dong, Jingli Lu, Weigang Hu, Haiyang­ Gong, Shubin Xie, Dongmin Zhao, Yahui Zhang, Xiaoting Wang, Yan Deng, Jinzhi Ran, Karl J. Niklas, Allan Degen, Jianming Deng Read the full research here Carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations in plant organs play important roles in plant metabolism and growth, and in nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Drylands cover approximately 45% of … Continue reading Patterns of plant carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus along aridity and soil trait gradients in drylands of China

Agricultural pasture in Ireland – image credit Dr Jon Yearsley

The ability of plants in agricultural fields to maintain growth or recover following dips in their growth depends on climate dynamics they have experienced historically

Hannah J. White, Willson Gaul, Lupe León-Sánchez, Dinara Sadykova, Mark C. Emmerson Paul Caplat and Jon M. Yearsley Read the full research here Plant growth, i.e. plant productivity, is vital for food security. Without grass production in agriculture, for example, there would not be enough food for livestock. This production, however, is dependent on a number of different factors and can vary over time. In … Continue reading The ability of plants in agricultural fields to maintain growth or recover following dips in their growth depends on climate dynamics they have experienced historically

Nutrient cycling and mortality due to intraspecific interactions determine food web stability in response to perturbations

Kevin Theis, Pierre Quévreux, and Michel Loreau Read the full article here Ecosystems consist of organisms living in an environment. These organisms are linked to each other by interactions such as predation or self-regulation (mortality due to negative interactions between individuals of the same species). In addition, organisms are linked to their environment by flows of nutrients: plants take up mineral nutrients to grow, then … Continue reading Nutrient cycling and mortality due to intraspecific interactions determine food web stability in response to perturbations