[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Soil organic matter (SOM) is heterogeneous in structure and has been considered to consist of various pools with different intrinsic turnover rates. Although those pools have been conceptually expressed in models and analyzed according to soil physical and chemical properties, separation of SOM into component pools is still challenging. In this study, we conducted inverse analyses with data from a long-term (385 days) incubation experiment with two types of soil (from plant interspace and from underneath plants) to deconvolute soil carbon (C) efflux into different source pools. We analyzed the two datasets with one-, two- and three-pool models and used probability density functions as a criterion to judge the best model to fit the datasets. Our results indicated that soil C release trajectories over the 385 days of the incubation study were best modeled with a two-pool C model. For both soil types, released C within the first 10 days of the incubation study originated from the labile pool. Decomposition of C in the recalcitrant pool was modeled to contribute to the total CO(2) efflux by 9-11 % at the beginning of the incubation. At the end of the experiment, 75-85 % of the initial soil organic carbon (SOC) was modeled to be released over the incubation period. Our modeling analysis also indicated that the labile C-pool in the soil underneath plants was larger than that in soil from interspace. This deconvolution analysis was based on information contained in incubation data to separate carbon pools and can facilitate integration of results from incubation experiments into ecosystem models with improved parameterization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: • It is well established that individual organisms can acclimate and adapt to temperature to optimize their functioning. However, thermal optimization of ecosystems, as an assemblage of organisms, has not been examined at broad spatial and temporal scales. • Here, we compiled data from 169 globally distributed sites of eddy covariance and quantified the temperature response functions of net ecosystem exchange (NEE), an ecosystem-level property, to determine whether NEE shows thermal optimality and to explore the underlying mechanisms. • We found that the temperature response of NEE followed a peak curve, with the optimum temperature (corresponding to the maximum magnitude of NEE) being positively correlated with annual mean temperature over years and across sites. Shifts of the optimum temperature of NEE were mostly a result of temperature acclimation of gross primary productivity (upward shift of optimum temperature) rather than changes in the temperature sensitivity of ecosystem respiration. • Ecosystem-level thermal optimality is a newly revealed ecosystem property, presumably reflecting associated evolutionary adaptation of organisms within ecosystems, and has the potential to significantly regulate ecosystem-climate change feedbacks. The thermal optimality of NEE has implications for understanding fundamental properties of ecosystems in changing environments and benchmarking global models.
New Phytologist 03/2012; 194(3):775-83. · 6.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several forces are converging to transform ecological research and increase its emphasis on quantitative forecasting. These forces include (1) dramatically increased volumes of data from observational and experimental networks, (2) increases in computational power, (3) advances in ecological models and related statistical and optimization methodologies, and most importantly, (4) societal needs to develop better strategies for natural resource management in a world of ongoing global change. Traditionally, ecological forecasting has been based on process-oriented models, informed by data in largely ad hoc ways. Although most ecological models incorporate some representation of mechanistic processes, today's models are generally not adequate to quantify real-world dynamics and provide reliable forecasts with accompanying estimates of uncertainty. A key tool to improve ecological forecasting and estimates of uncertainty is data assimilation (DA), which uses data to inform initial conditions and model parameters, thereby constraining a model during simulation to yield results that approximate reality as closely as possible. This paper discusses the meaning and history of DA in ecological research and highlights its role in refining inference and generating forecasts. DA can advance ecological forecasting by (1) improving estimates of model parameters and state variables, (2) facilitating selection of alternative model structures, and (3) quantifying uncertainties arising from observations, models, and their interactions. However, DA may not improve forecasts when ecological processes are not well understood or never observed. Overall, we suggest that DA is a key technique for converting raw data into ecologically meaningful products, which is especially important in this era of dramatically increased availability of data from observational and experimental networks.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding how net ecosystem exchange (NEE) changes with temperature is central to the debate on climate change-carbon cycle feedbacks, but still remains unclear. Here, we used eddy covariance measurements of NEE from 20 FLUXNET sites (203 site-years of data) in mid- and high-latitude forests to investigate the temperature response of NEE. Years were divided into two half thermal years (increasing temperature in spring and decreasing temperature in autumn) using the maximum daily mean temperature. We observed a parabolic-like pattern of NEE in response to temperature change in both the spring and autumn half thermal years. However, at similar temperatures, NEE was considerably depressed during the decreasing temperature season as compared with the increasing temperature season, inducing a counter-clockwise hysteresis pattern in the NEE–temperature relation at most sites. The magnitude of this hysteresis was attributable mostly (68%) to gross primary production (GPP) differences but little (8%) to ecosystem respiration (ER) differences between the two half thermal years. The main environmental factors contributing to the hysteresis responses of NEE and GPP were daily accumulated radiation. Soil water content (SWC) also contributed to the hysteresis response of GPP but only at some sites. Shorter day length, lower light intensity, lower SWC and reduced photosynthetic capacity may all have contributed to the depressed GPP and net carbon uptake during the decreasing temperature seasons. The resultant hysteresis loop is an important indicator of the existence of limiting factors. As such, the role of radiation, LAI and SWC should be considered when modeling the dynamics of carbon cycling in response to temperature change.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human-induced climate change is expected to increase both the frequency and severity of extreme climate events, but their ecological impacts on root dynamics are poorly understood. We conducted a 1-year pulse warming and precipitation experiment in a tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma, USA to examine responses of root dynamics. We collected data in the pre-treatment year of 2002, imposed four treatments (control, 4°C warming, doubled precipitation, and warming plus doubled precipitation) in 2003, and observed post-treatment effects in 2004. Root biomass dynamics (for example, root growth and death) were measured using sequential coring and ingrowth coring methods. Treatment effects were not significant on standing root biomass in 2003, although root growth rate was significantly higher in the warmed than control plots. However, in the post-treatment year, the warmed plots had significantly lower standing root biomass than the controls, likely resulting from increased root death rate. Root death rate was significantly lower in the doubled precipitation and warmed plus doubled precipitation plots than that in the warmed plots in 2004. The root:shoot ratio showed similar responses to the post-treatments as standing root biomass, whereas aboveground biomass changed relatively little, indicating that roots were more sensitive to lagged effects than aboveground biomass. Our results demonstrate that root growth and death rates are highly sensitive to extreme climate events and lagged effects of extreme climate on root dynamics are important in assessing terrestrial carbon-cycle feedbacks to climate change.