Ecological Applications (ECOL APPL )

Publisher: Ecological Society of America, Ecological Society of America


Ecological Applications, published eight times per year, contains ecological research and discussion papers that have specific relevance to environmental management and policy.

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  • 5-year impact
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  • Website
    Ecological Applications website
  • Other titles
    Ecological applications
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  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Ecological Society of America

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged (first page must state "Copyright by the Ecological Society of America," along with the full citation)
    • On author or institutional server
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigated the roles of local environmental conditions and dispersal limitation in zooplankton recovery from acidification in Swan Lake, Ontario, a historically acidified, metal-contaminated lake. We hypothesized that local environmental conditions (pH and the presence of resident, acid-tolerant zooplankton) would limit the establishment of several zooplankton colonist species. We tested this in a factorial mesocosm experiment that ran for 32 days during the mid summer. Ambient pH (5.6) reduced the abundance of two acid-sensitive cladoceran taxa, Daphnia spp. and Ceriodaphnia lacustris compared to elevated pH (6.5) but increased the abundance of cyclopoid copepod juveniles. The resident community suppressed Skistodiaptomus oregonensis and Diacyclops bicuspidatus thomasi, and to a lesser extent Mesocyclops edax, but slightly enhanced Daphnia spp. We also hypothesized that conditions in the sediments of acidified Swan Lake would limit zoo-plankton recruitment from diapausing eggs. We tested this by reciprocally transferring sediments containing eggs between Swan Lake and a nearby recovered lake, and incubating them for 15 weeks in 20-L emergence traps. Most zooplankton emerged from diapause in both lakes indicating that this mechanism contributes to the recolonization of acidified lakes once pH returns to normal. Some species, however, emerged in only one lake or the other, indicating that hatching cues such as light, temperature, oxygen, or appropriate pH may have been missing. Our experiments demonstrate that both local lake conditions and dia-pausing eggs can influence zooplankton recovery. Continued recovery may require addi-tional management efforts to reduce and control regional acid emissions and active inter-vention in the form of food web manipulations.
    Ecological Applications 01/2025; 15:2025-2036.
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    ABSTRACT: Explicitly including cost in marine conservation planning is essential for achieving feasible and efficient conservation outcomes. Yet, spatial priorities for marine conservation are still often based solely on biodiversity hotspots, species richness, and/or cumulative threat maps. This study aims to provide an approach for including cost when planning large-scale Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks that span multiple countries. Here, we explore the incorporation of cost in the complex setting of the Mediterranean Sea. In order to include cost in conservation prioritization, we developed surrogates that account for revenue from multiple marine sectors: commercial fishing, noncommercial fishing, and aquaculture. Such revenue can translate into an opportunity cost for the implementation of an MPA network. Using the software Marxan, we set conservation targets to protect 10% of the distribution of 77 threatened marine species in the Mediterranean Sea. We compared nine scenarios of opportunity cost by calculating the area and cost required to meet our targets. We further compared our spatial priorities with those that are considered consensus areas by several proposed prioritization schemes in the Mediterranean Sea, none of which explicitly considers cost. We found that for less than 10% of the Sea's area, our conservation targets can be achieved while incurring opportunity costs of less than 1%. In marine systems, we reveal that area is a poor cost surrogate and that the most effective surrogates are those that account for multiple sectors or stakeholders. Furthermore, our results indicate that including cost can greatly influence the selection of spatial priorities for marine conservation of threatened species. Although there are known limitations in multinational large-scale planning, attempting to devise more systematic and rigorous planning methods is especially critical given that collaborative conservation action is on the rise and global financial crisis restricts conservation investments.
    Ecological Applications 07/2014; 24:1115-1130.
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    ABSTRACT: Increasingly, landscapes are managed for multiple objectives to balance social, economic, and environmental goals. The Ex-Mega Rice Project (EMRP) peatland in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, provides a timely example with globally significant development, carbon, and biodiversity concerns. To inform future policy, planning, and management in the ERMP, we quantified and mapped ecosystem service values, assessed their spatial interactions, and evaluated the potential provision of ecosystem services under future land use scenarios. We focus on key policy-relevant regulating (carbon stocks and the potential for emissions reduction), provisioning (timber, crops from smallholder agriculture, palm oil), and supporting (biodiversity) services. We found that implementation of existing land use plans has the potential to improve total ecosystem service provision. We identify a number of significant inefficiencies, trade-offs, and unintended outcomes that may arise. For example, the presence of oil palm concessions over a third of the region may shift smallholder agriculture into low productivity regions and substantially impact carbon and biodiversity outcomes. While improved management of conservation zones may enhance the protection of carbon stocks, not all biodiversity features will be represented and there will be a reduction in timber harvesting and agricultural production. This study highlights how ecosystem service analyses can be structured to better inform policy, planning, and management in globally significant but data poor regions
    Ecological Applications 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Recent changes in sanitary policies within the European Union (EU) concerning disposal of carcasses of domestic animals and the increase of non-natural mortality factors, such as illegal poisoning, are threatening European vultures. However, the effects of anthropogenic activities on demographic parameters are poorly studied. Using a long-term study (1994-2011) of the threatened Pyrenean Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus population, we assess the variation in the proportion of breeding pairs, egg-laying dates, clutch size, breeding success, and survival following a sharp reduction in food availability in 2005 due to the application of restrictive sanitary policies decreasing livestock carcass availability. We found a delay in laying dates and a regressive trend in clutch size, breeding success, and survival following policy change. The maintenance of specific supplementary feeding stations for Bearded Vultures probably reduced the negative effects of illegal poisoning and food shortages, which mainly affected subadult survival. A drop in food availability may have produced changes in demographic parameters and an increase in mortality due to an increased exposure to contaminated food. As a result, supplementary feeding as a precautionary measure can be a useful tool to reduce illegal poisoning and declines in demographic parameters until previous food availability scenarios are achieved. This study shows how anthropogenic activities through human health regulations that affect habitat quality can suddenly modify demographic parameters in long-lived species, including those, such as survival, with high sensitivity to population growth rate.
    Ecological Applications 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Grazing represents one of the most common disturbances in drylands worldwide, affecting both ecosystem structure and functioning. Despite the efforts to understand the nature and magnitude of grazing effects on ecosystem components and processes, contrasting results continue to arise. This is particularly remarkable for the biological soil crust (BSC) communities (i.e. cyanobacteria, lichens and bryophytes), which play an important role in soil dynamics. Here we evaluated simultaneously the effect of grazing impact on BSC communities (resistance) and recovery after livestock exclusion (resilience) in a semiarid grassland of Central Mexico. In particular, we examined BSC species distribution, species richness, taxonomical group cover (i.e., cyanobacteria, lichen, bryophyte) and composition along a disturbance gradient with different grazing regimes (low, medium, high impact) and along a recovery gradient with differently-aged livestock exclosures (short-, medium-, long-term exclusion). Differences in grazing impact and time of recovery from grazing both resulted in slight changes in species richness; however, there were pronounced shifts in species composition and group cover. We found we could distinguish four highly diverse and dynamic BSC species groups: 1) species with high resistance and resilience to grazing, 2) species with high resistance but low resilience, 3) species with low resistance but high resilience, and 4) species with low resistance and resilience. While disturbance resulted in a novel diversity configuration, which may profoundly affect ecosystem functioning, we observed that 10 years of disturbance removal did not lead to the ecosystem structure found after 27 years of recovery. These findings are an important contribution to our understanding of BCS dynamics from a species and community perspective placed in a land use change context. Read More:
    Ecological Applications 03/2014;

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