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.

  • Impact factor
    Show impact factor history
    Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Ecological Applications website
  • Other titles
    Ecological applications
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • 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

  • Source
    [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.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Wild pollinators, bees in particular, may greatly contribute to crop pollination and provide a safety-net against declines in commercial pollinators. However, the identity, life history traits and environmental sensitivities of main crop pollinator species have received limited attention. These are crucial for predicting pollination services of different communities and for developing management practices that enhance crop pollinators. We sampled wild bees in three crop systems (almond, confection sunflower and seed watermelon) in a mosaic Israeli Mediterranean landscape. Bees were sampled in field/orchard edges and interiors, and in semi-natural scrub surrounding the fields/orchards. We also analysed land cover at 50-2500 m radii around fields/orchards. We used this data to distinguish crop- from non-crop pollinators based on a set of life history traits (nesting, lecty, sociality, body size) linked to habitat preference and crop visitation. Bee abundance and species richness decreased from the surrounding semi-natural habitat to the field/orchard interior, especially across the semi-natural-field edge ecotone. Thus, although rich bee communities were found near fields, only small fractions crossed the ecotone and visited crop flowers in substantial numbers. The bee assemblage in agricultural fields/orchards and on crop flowers was dominated by ground-nesting bees of the tribe Halictini, which tend to nest within fields. Bees' habitat preferences were determined mainly by nesting guild, whereas crop visitation was determined mainly by sociality. Lecty and body size also affected both measures. The percentage of surrounding semi-natural habitat at 250-2500 m radii had a positive effect on wild bee diversity in field edges, for all bee guilds, while at 50-100 m radii, only above-ground nesters were positively affected. In sum, we found that crop- and non-crop pollinators are distinguished by behavioral and morphological traits. Hence, analysis of life-history traits of bee communities can help assess the pollination services they are likely to provide (when taking into account single-visit pollination efficiency). The ecotone between agricultural fields and surrounding habitats is a major barrier that filters many bee species, particularly with regard to their nesting requirements. Thus greater attention should be given to management practices that encourage pollinators to live and nest, and not only forage, within fields.
    Ecological Applications 10/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pathogen invasions pose a growing threat to ecosystem stability and public health. Guidelines for the timing and spatial extent of control measures for pathogen invasions are currently limited, however. We conducted a field experiment using wheat (Triticum aestivum) stripe rust, caused by the wind-dispersed fungus Puccinia striiformis, to study the extent to which host heterogeneity in an initial outbreak focus influences subsequent disease spread. We varied the frequency of susceptible host plants in an initial outbreak focus and in the non-focus of experimental plots, and observed the progress of epidemics produced by artificial inoculation. The frequency of susceptible hosts in the initial outbreak focus increased the spread of stripe rust in the experimental plots, while frequency of susceptible hosts outside the initial outbreak focus did not. This suggests that factors influencing pathogen reproduction in the initial outbreak focus are key to the control of epidemics of stripe rust. Two mechanisms may underlie the field results. The first is the continuing, direct infection of susceptible hosts in areas outside the initial outbreak focus by disease propagules arriving from the initial outbreak focus. The second is highly local proliferation of disease caused by direct descendants of colonizing individuals originating from the initial outbreak focus. We considered these two alternatives in simulations of a generalized pathogen exhibiting fat-tailed dispersal, similar to P. striiformis. Simulations showed a dominant effect of conditions in the initial outbreak focus, in agreement with the field experiment, but indicated that, over time, this dominance may erode. Analysis of the duration of focal dominance led to the conclusion that both mechanisms contribute to the phenomenon of focal dominance, and that the frequency of susceptible hosts in the initial outbreak focus had a stronger influence when the proportion of propagules that remained local during dispersal was higher. Overall, our results suggest that targeting pathogen reproduction in the initial outbreak focus will have a disproportionately large impact on subsequent epidemic spread
    Ecological Applications 10/2014; 24(7):1854-1862.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Particulate organic matter (POM) processing is an important driver of aquatic ecosystem productivity that is sensitive to nutrient enrichment and drives ecosystem carbon (C) loss. Although studies of single concentrations of nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P) have shown effects at relatively low concentrations, responses of litter breakdown rates along gradients of low-to-moderate N and P concentrations are needed to establish likely interdependent effects of dual N and P enrichment on baseline activity in stream ecosystems. We established 25 combinations of dissolved inorganic N (DIN; 55-545 µg L-1) and soluble reactive P (SRP; 4-86 µg L-1) concentrations with corresponding N:P molar ratios of 2-127 in experimental stream channels. We excluded macroinvertebrates, focusing on microbially driven breakdown of maple (Acer rubrum L.) and rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum L.) leaf litter. Breakdown rates (k d-1 and k dd-1) increased by up to 6× for maple and 12× for rhododendron over our N and P enrichment gradient compared to rates at low ambient N and P concentrations. The best models of k (d-1 and dd-1) included litter species identity and N and P concentrations; there was evidence for both additive and interactive effects of N and P. Models explaining variation in k dd-1 were supported by N and P for both maple and rhododendron (R2adj = 0.67 and 0.33, respectively). Residuals in the relationship between k dd-1 and N concentration were largely explained by P, but residuals for k dd-1 and P concentration were less adequately explained by N. Breakdown rates were more closely related to nutrient concentrations than variables associated with measurements of two mechanistic parameters associated with C loss (fungal biomass and microbial respiration rate). We also determined the effects of nutrient addition on litter C:nutrient stoichiometry and found reductions in litter C:N and C:P along our experimental nutrient gradient. Our results indicate that microbially driven litter processing rates increase across low-to-moderate nutrient gradients that are now common throughout human-modified landscapes.
    Ecological Applications 09/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Vegetation-type conversions between grasslands and shrublands have occurred worldwide in semiarid regions over the last 150 years. Areas once covered by drought-deciduous shrubs in Southern California (coastal sage scrub) are converting to grasslands dominated by nonnative species. Increasing fire frequency, drought, and nitrogen deposition have all been hypothesized as causes of this conversion, though there is little direct evidence. We constructed rain-out shelters in a coastal sage scrub community following a wildfire, manipulated water and nitrogen input in a split-plot design, and collected annual data on community composition for four years. While shrub cover increased through time in all plots during the postfire succession, both drought and nitrogen significantly slowed recovery. Four years after the fire, average native shrub cover ranged from over 80% in water addition, ambient-nitrogen plots to 20% in water reduction, nitrogen addition plots. Nonnative grass cover was high following the fire and remained high in the water reduction plots through the third spring after the fire, before decreasing in the fourth year of the study. Adding nitrogen decreased the cover of native plants and increased the cover of nonnative grasses, but also increased the growth of one crown-sprouting shrub species. Our results suggest that extreme drought during postfire succession may slow or alter succession, possibly facilitating vegetation-type conversion of coastal sage scrub to grassland. Nitrogen addition slowed succession and, when combined with drought, significantly decreased native cover and increased grass cover. Fire, drought, and atmospheric N deposition are widespread aspects of environmental change that occur simultaneously in this system. Our results imply these drivers of change may reinforce each other, leading to a continued decline of native shrubs and conversion to annual grassland.
    Ecological Applications 09/2014; 24(6):1390-1404.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Climate change is predicted to impact river systems in the southeastern USA through alterations of temperature, patterns of precipitation and hydrology. Future climate scenarios for the southeastern USA predict (1) surface water temperatures will warm in concert with air temperature, (2) storm flows will increase and base flows will decrease, and (3) the annual pattern of synchronization between hydroperiod and water temperature will be altered. These alterations are expected to disturb floodplain plant communities making them more vulnerable to establishment of invasive species. The primary objectives of this study are to evaluate whether native and invasive riparian plant assemblages respond differently to alterations of climate and land use. To study the response of riparian wetlands to watershed and climate alterations, we utilized an existing natural experiment imbedded in gradients of temperature and hydrology found among dammed and undammed rivers. We evaluated a suite of environmental variables related to water temperature, hydrology, watershed disturbance, and edaphic conditions to identify the strongest predictors of native and invasive species abundances. We found that native species abundance is strongly influenced by climate-driven variables such as temperature and hydrology, while invasive species abundance is more strongly influenced by site-specific factors such as land use and soil nutrient availability. The patterns of synchronization between plant phenology, annual hydrographs, and annual water temperature cycles may be key factors sustaining the viability of native riparian plant communities. Our results demonstrate the need to understand the interactions between climate, land use, and nutrient management in maintaining the diversity of riparian plant communities. Future climate change is likely to result in diminished competitiveness of native plant species, while the competitiveness of invasive species will increase due to anthropogenic watershed disturbance and accelerated nutrient and sediment export.
    Ecological Applications 08/2014;