Chelsea Jean Little

Chelsea Jean Little
Simon Fraser University · School of Environmental Science

PhD

About

69
Publications
26,805
Reads
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1,407
Citations
Citations since 2016
57 Research Items
1378 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
Additional affiliations
May 2019 - June 2019
Eawag: Das Wasserforschungs-Institut des ETH-Bereichs
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2016 - December 2016
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Position
  • Contract Data Analysis & Writing
November 2014 - April 2019
Eawag: Das Wasserforschungs-Institut des ETH-Bereichs
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
November 2014 - January 2019
University of Zurich
Field of study
  • Ecology
September 2012 - September 2014
September 2005 - June 2009
Dartmouth College
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (69)
Article
Abiotic conditions have long been considered essential in structuring freshwater macroinvertebrate communities. Ecological drift, dispersal and biotic interactions also structure communities, and although these mechanisms are more difficult to detect, they may be of equal importance in natural communities. Here, we hypothesized that in 10 naturally...
Article
Full-text available
The tundra is warming more rapidly than any other biome on Earth, and the potential ramifications are far-reaching because of global feedback effects between vegetation and climate. A better understanding of how environmental factors shape plant structure and function is crucial for predicting the consequences of environmental change for ecosystem...
Article
Full-text available
Ecology and evolution unfold in spatially structured communities, where dispersal links dynamics across scales. Because dispersal is multicausal, identifying general drivers remains challenging. In a coordinated distributed experiment spanning organisms from protozoa to vertebrates, we tested whether two fundamental determinants of local dynamics,...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystems are widely interconnected by spatial flows of material, but the overall importance of these flows relative to local ecosystem functioning remains unclear. Here we provide a quantitative synthesis on spatial flows of carbon connecting ecosystems worldwide. Cross-ecosystem flows range over eight orders of magnitude, bringing between 10−3 a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dispersal can strongly influence ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Besides the direct contribution of dispersal to population dynamics, dispersers often differ in their phenotypic attributes from non-dispersers, which leads to dispersal syndromes. The consequences of such dispersal syndromes have been widely explored at the population and commu...
Article
Full-text available
Dispersal is a central biological process tightly integrated into life‐histories, morphology, physiology and behaviour. Such associations, or syndromes, are anticipated to impact the eco‐evolutionary dynamics of spatially structured populations, and cascade into ecosystem processes. As for dispersal on its own, these syndromes are likely neither fi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals couple habitats by three types of movement: dispersal, migration, and foraging, which dynamically link populations, communities, and ecosystems. Spatial distances of movement tend to correlate with each other, reflecting shared allometric scaling with body size, but may diverge due to biomechanical, phylogenetic, and ecological constraints....
Article
Fluxes of matter, energy and information over space and time contribute to ecosystems' functioning and stability. The meta‐ecosystem framework addresses the dynamics of ecosystems linked by these fluxes but, to date, has focused solely on energy and matter. Here, we synthesize existing knowledge of information's effects on local and connected ecosy...
Article
Full-text available
Background Herbivores modify the structure and function of tundra ecosystems. Understanding their impacts is necessary to assess the responses of these ecosystems to ongoing environmental changes. However, the effects of herbivores on plants and ecosystem structure and function vary across the Arctic. Strong spatial variation in herbivore effects i...
Article
Full-text available
Global warming leads to drastic changes in the diversity and structure of Arctic plant communities. Studies of functional diversity within the Arctic tundra biome have improved our understanding of plant responses to warming. However, these studies still show substantial unexplained variation in diversity responses. Complementary to functional dive...
Article
ContextMovement of individuals and resources among habitat patches are key processes at the landscape scale. While these subsidies are primarily studied separately, coupled movement of species and resources, for example by animal vectors, may reinforce or dilute natural landscape heterogeneity, with consequences for the spatial distribution of biod...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of variation in six traits critical to the growth, survival and reproduction of plant species is thought to be organised along just two dimensions, corresponding to strategies of plant size and resource acquisition. However, it is unknown whether global plant trait rela- tionships extend to climatic extremes, and if these interspecific...
Preprint
Fluxes of matter, energy, and information over space and time contribute to ecosystems’ functioning. The meta-ecosystem framework addresses the dynamics of ecosystems linked by these fluxes, however, to date, meta-ecosystem research focused solely on fluxes of energy and matter, neglecting information. This is problematic due to organisms’ varied r...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Providing a quantitative overview of ecosystem functioning in a three‐dimensional space defined by ecosystem stocks, fluxes and rates, across major ecosystem types and climatic zones. Location Global. Time period 1966–2019. Major taxa studied Ecosystem‐level measurements (all organism types). Methods We conducted a global quantitative synth...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of variation in six traits critical to the growth, survival and reproduction of plant species is thought to be organised along just two dimensions, corresponding to strategies of plant size and resource acquisition. However, it is unknown whether global plant trait relationships extend to climatic extremes, and if these interspecific r...
Article
Uncovering biodiversity as an inherent feature of ecosystems and understanding its effects on ecosystem processes is one of the most central goals of ecology. Studying organisms’ occurrence and biodiversity patterns in natural ecosystems has spurred the discovery of foundational ecological rules, such as the species–area relationship, and is of gen...
Article
A major focus of ecology is to understand and predict ecosystem function across scales. Many ecosystem functions are measured only at local scales, while their effects occur at a landscape level. Here we investigate how landscape-scale predictions of ecosystem function depend on intraspecific competition, a fine-scale process, by manipulating intra...
Article
Full-text available
Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) may represent over half the global stream network, but their contribution to respiration and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is largely undetermined. In particular, little is known about the variability and drivers of respiration in IRES sediments upon rewetting, which could result in large pulses of...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing individual components of biodiversity, such as local or regional taxon richness, and differences in community composition is a long‐standing challenge in ecology. It is especially relevant in spatially structured and diverse ecosystems. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been suggested as a novel technique to detect taxa and therefore may allow...
Article
Full-text available
Question How does increased snow depth affect plant community composition of High Arctic tundra, and can the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) detect induced changes? Location Adventdalen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard (78°10′ N, 16°04′ E). Methods We manipulated snow depth on the tundra using fences, resulting in Deep, Medium, and Ambient...
Article
Full-text available
Leaf litter processing is an essential ecosystem function in freshwater systems, since much of the carbon and nutrients moving through freshwater food webs come from the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems. Thus, it is important to understand how the species performing this function differ, especially because many native species are being replaced b...
Article
Climate change and human pressures are changing the global distribution and the extent of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES), which comprise half of the global river network area. IRES are characterized by periods of flow cessation, during which channel substrates accumulate and undergo physico‐chemical changes (preconditioning), and...
Article
Dispersal can strongly influence ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Besides the direct contribution of dispersal to population dynamics, disper-sers often differ in their phenotypic attributes from non-dispersers, which leads to dispersal syndromes. The consequences of such dispersal syndromes have been widely explored at the population and comm...
Preprint
Full-text available
Assessing individual components of biodiversity, such as local or regional taxon richness, and differences in community composition is a long-standing challenge in ecology. It is especially relevant in spatially structured and diverse ecosystems. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been suggested as a novel technique to accurately measure biodiversity. Ho...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Plant functional groups are widely used in community ecology and earth system modelling to describe trait variation within and across plant communities. However, this approach rests on the assumption that functional groups explain a large proportion of trait variation among species. We test whether four commonly used plant functional groups rep...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change and human pressures are changing the global distribution and extent of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES), which comprise half of the global river network area. IRES are characterized by periods of flow cessation, during which channel substrates accumulate and undergo physico‐chemical changes (preconditioning), and peri...
Article
Full-text available
Motivation: The Tundra Trait Team (TTT) database includes field‐based measurements of key traits related to plant form and function at multiple sites across the tundra biome. This dataset can be used to address theoretical questions about plant strategy and trade‐offs, trait–environment relationships and environmental filtering, and trait variation...
Preprint
Full-text available
A major focus of ecology is to understand and predict ecosystem function across scales. Many ecosystem functions are only measured at local scales, while their effects occur at a landscape level. Here, we investigate how landscape-scale predictions of ecosystem function depend on intraspecific competition, a fine-scale process. Specifically, we exp...
Article
Full-text available
Context Freshwater ecosystems depend on surrounding terrestrial landscape for resources. Most important are terrestrial leaf litter subsidies, which differ depending on land use. We lack a good understanding of the variation of these inputs across spatial scales. Objectives We sought to determine: (1) the relative importance of local versus catchm...
Article
Full-text available
Perennial rivers and streams make a disproportionate contribution to global carbon (C) cycling. However, the contribution of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES),which sometimes cease to flow and can dry completely, is largely ignored although theymay represent over half the global river network. Substantial amounts of terrestrialplant...
Article
Full-text available
In the version of this Article originally published, the affiliation for M. I. Arce was incorrect; it should have been: ⁵Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin, Germany. This has now been corrected in the online versions of the Article.
Article
Freshwater ecosystems rely on allochthonous resources. Integration of these subsidies depends on diversity of both terrestrial resources and aquatic shredder and decomposer communities, but the diversity effects on leaf litter breakdown and decomposition are less clear in aquatic than terrestrial ecosystems. We need a better understanding of this r...
Preprint
Ecosystems are widely inter-connected by spatial flows of resources 1,2 , yet primarily studied in a local context. Meta-ecosystem models suggest that cross-ecosystem subsidies can play an essential role in ecosystem functioning, notably by controlling local availability of resources for biological communities 3–6 . The general contribution of thes...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abiotic conditions have long been considered essential in structuring freshwater macroinvertebrate communities. Ecological drift, dispersal, and biotic interactions also structure communities, and although these mechanisms are more difficult to detect, they may be of equal importance in natural communities. Here, we conducted repeated surveys of lo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Organisms rarely experience a homogeneous environment. Rather, ecological and evolutionary dynamics unfold in spatially structured and fragmented landscapes, with dispersal as the central process linking these dynamics across spatial scales. Because dispersal is a multi-causal and highly plastic life-history trait, finding general drivers that are...
Article
The meta-ecosystem framework demonstrates the significance of among-ecosystem spatial flows for ecosystem dynamics and has fostered a rich body of theory. The high level of abstraction of the models, however, impedes applications to empirical systems. We argue that further understanding of spatial dynamics in natural systems strongly depends on den...
Article
Full-text available
Tychoparthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction in which a small proportion of unfertilized eggs can hatch spontaneously, could be an intermediate evolutionary link in the transition from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction. The lower fitness of tychoparthenogenetic offspring could be due to either developmental constraints or to inbreeding...
Article
Full-text available
In many natural systems, the physical structure of the landscape dictates the flow of resources. Despite mounting evidence that communities' dynamics can be indirectly coupled by reciprocal among ecosystem resource flows, our understanding of how directional resource flows might indirectly link biological communities is limited. We here propose tha...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is occurring across the world, with effects varying by ecosystem and region but already occurring quickly in high-latitude and high-altitude regions. Biotic interactions are important in determining ecosystem response to such changes, but few studies have been long- term in nature, especially in the High Arctic. Mesic tundra plots on...
Preprint
Full-text available
In many natural systems, the physical structure of the landscape dictates the flow of resources. Despite mounting evidence that communities’ dynamics can be indirectly coupled by reciprocal among-ecosystem resource flows, our understanding of how directional resource flows might indirectly link biological communities is limited. We here propose tha...
Article
Full-text available
Citation: Little, C. J., A. K. Jägerbrand, U. Molau, and J. M. Alatalo. 2015. Community and species-specific responses to simulated global change in two subarctic-alpine plant communities. Ecosphere 6(11):227. http://dx. Abstract. Long-term observational studies have detected greening and shrub encroachment in the subarctic attributed to current cl...
Poster
Full-text available
We compared the frequency of leaf damage by invertebrates during summer 2014 in plots subjected or not, to long-term passive warming at 6 sites participating in the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) using a standardized protocol. Presence of leaf damage was assessed at the plant community level using a modified point-intercept method. Herbivor...
Article
Full-text available
Alpine plant communities are predicted to face range shifts and possibly extinctions with climate change. Fine-scale environmental variation such as nutrient availability or snowmelt timing may contribute to the ability of plant species to persist locally; however, variation in nutrient availability in alpine landscapes is largely unmeasured. On th...
Article
Projected changes in climate are expected to have widespread effects on plant community composition and diversity in coming decades. However, multi-site, multi-factor climate manipulation studies that have examined whether observed responses are regionally consistent and whether multiple climate perturbations are interdependent are rare. Using such...
Article
Full-text available
Global change is predicted to cause shifts in species distributions and biodiversity in arctic tundra. We applied factorial warming and nutrient manipulation to a nutrient and species poor alpine/arctic heath community for seven years. Vascular plant abundance in control plots increased by 31%. There were also notable changes in cover in the nutrie...
Article
Full-text available
We studied the impact of simulated global change on a high alpine meadow plant community. Specifically, we examined whether short-term (5 years) responses are good predictors for medium-term (7 years) changes in the system by applying a factorial warming and nutrient manipulation to 20 plots in Latnjajaure, subarctic Sweden. Seven years of experime...