Daniel E. Winkler

Daniel E. Winkler
United States Geological Survey | USGS · Southwest Biological Science Center, Canyonlands Research Station

PhD, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; MS, Environmental Systems

About

52
Publications
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Introduction
Daniel is a plant evolutionary ecologist studying how populations respond to global climate change. He is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey where he studies adaptive traits and stress responses in dryland plants. He conducts research throughout the desert southwest and in alpine areas of Colorado, México, and Japan.
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - present
University of California, Irvine
Position
  • PhD Student
August 2011 - May 2013
University of California, Merced
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (52)
Article
Full-text available
Restoration of degraded drylands is urgently needed to mitigate climate change, reverse desertification and secure livelihoods for the two billion people who live in these areas. Bold global targets have been set for dryland restoration to restore millions of hectares of degraded land. These targets have been questioned as overly ambitious, but wit...
Article
Full-text available
Droughts in the Southwest U.S. have led to major forest and grassland die‐off events in recent decades, suggesting plant community and ecosystem shifts are imminent as native perennial grass populations are replaced by shrub‐ and invasive plant‐dominated systems. These patterns are similar to those observed in arid and semiarid systems around the g...
Article
Full-text available
1.Drylands play a dominant role in global carbon cycling and are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures, but our understanding of how dryland ecosystems will respond to climatic change remains notably poor. Considering that the area of drylands is projected to increase 11–23% by 2100, understanding the impacts of warming on the function...
Article
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Native plant materials (NPMs) are increasingly utilized during the restoration of disturbed plant communities. Here, we analyze next‐generation genetic sequencing data for Hilaria jamesii, a dominant graminoid across drylands of the southwestern United States, and document that the species' only commercially‐available NPM, ‘Viva’, is a hybrid betwe...
Article
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Drought, wildfires, and invasive species are among the many challenges practitioners face in achieving restoration goals in drylands. In this article, we highlight relevant restoration research and programs that pursue actionable information and resource management goals for the Intermountain West. In the context of international restoration target...
Article
1. Ecological restoration and conservation efforts are increasing worldwide and the management of intraspecific genetic variation in plants and animals, an important component of biodiversity, is increasingly valued. As a result, tailorable, spatially explicit approaches to map genetic variation are needed to support decision‐making and management...
Article
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Abstract The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to provide the means and incentives for upscaling restoration efforts worldwide. Although ecosystem restoration is a broad, interdisciplinary concept, effective ecological restoration requires sound ecological knowledge to successfully restore biodiversity and ecosystem services in degraded landscap...
Article
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Functional connectivity (i.e., the movement of individuals across a landscape) is essential for the maintenance of genetic variation and persistence of rare species. However, illuminating the processes influencing functional connectivity and ultimately translating this knowledge into management practice remains a fundamental challenge. Here, we com...
Article
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Abstract The saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea [Engelm.] Britton & Rose) is a keystone species endemic to the Sonoran Desert of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. The saguaro produces large white flowers near its stem apex (crown) during April–June, which bloom at night and close the following day. In 1924, Duncan Johnson reported...
Article
Global change threatens plant diversity and disrupts its interrelationship with ecosystem structure and function. This disruption in turn undermines confidence in the knowledge ecologists produce, and whether it will translate into multidisciplinary research settings or guide the effective management of natural lands. To address this challenge, eco...
Article
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With the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, restoration of damaged ecosystems is turning into a global movement. Restoration actions that are not based on science and an understanding of ecosystem function can thwart desired restoration outcomes at best and cause further damage to ecosystems at worst. Restoration often includes reveget...
Article
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Microbiome engineering is increasingly being employed as a solution to challenges in health, agriculture, and climate. Often manipulation involves inoculation of new microbes designed to improve function into a preexisting microbial community. Despite, increased efforts in microbiome engineering inoculants frequently fail to establish and/or confer...
Article
A full list of affiliations appears at the end of the paper. R estoration ecology is rapidly advancing in response to the ever-expanding global decline in ecosystem integrity and its associated socioeconomic repercussions 1-4. Nowhere are these dynamics more evident than in drylands, which help sustain 39% of the world's human population 5 but rema...
Article
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Aim Evolutionary radiations are central to the origin and maintenance of biodiversity, yet we rarely understand how they are jointly shaped by demography and ecological opportunity. Astragalus is the largest plant genus in the world and is disproportionately comprised of rare species restricted to narrow geographic and ecological regions. Here, we...
Article
Dryland degradation is a persistent and accelerating global problem. Although the mechanisms initiating and maintaining dryland degradation are largely understood, returning productivity and function through ecological restoration remains difficult. Water limitation commonly drives slow recovery rates within drylands; however, the altered biogeoche...
Article
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Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition is significantly altering both community structure and ecosystem processes in terrestrial ecosystems across the globe. However, our understanding of the consequences of N deposition in dryland systems remains relatively poor, despite evidence that drylands may be particularly vulnerable to increasing N inputs....
Article
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A foundational goal of trait‐based ecology, including trait‐based restoration, is to link specific traits to community assembly, biodiversity, and ecosystem function. Despite a growing awareness of the importance of belowground traits for ecological processes, a synthesis of how root traits can inform restoration of terrestrial plant communities is...
Article
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Climate warming is expected to stimulate plant growth in high-elevation and high-latitude ecosystems, significantly increasing aboveground net primary production (ANPP). However, the effects of simultaneous changes in temperature, snowmelt timing, and summer water availability on total net primary production (NPP)-and elucidation of both above-and...
Article
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Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) has successfully invaded and established throughout the western United States. Bromus tectorum grows early in the season and this early growth allows B. tectorum to outcompete native species, which has led to dramatic shifts in ecosystem function and plant community composition after B. tectorum invades. If the phenolog...
Article
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Differentiation in physiological activity is a critical component of resource partitioning in resource-limited environments. For example, it is crucial to understand how plant physiological performance varies through time for different functional groups to forecast how terrestrial ecosystems will respond to change. Here, we tracked the seasonal pro...
Article
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Large‐scale warming will alter multiple local climate factors in alpine tundra, yet very few experimental studies examine the combined yet distinct influences of earlier snowmelt, higher temperatures and altered soil moisture on alpine ecosystems. This limits our ability to predict responses to climate change by plant species and communities. To ad...
Article
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California’s remote Anza-Borrego Desert, like other desert landscapes across the southwest of the United States, is valued by scientists, resource managers, and tourists alike for its perceived exceptional extremity. We analyze how climate extremes shape biological, socioeconomic, and cultural life through one of the desert’s most iconic ecological...
Article
Full-text available
Restoration guidelines increasingly recognize the importance of genetic attributes in translocating native plant materials (NPMs). However, when species‐specific genetic information is unavailable, seed transfer guidelines use climate‐informed seed transfer zones (CSTZs) as an approximation. While CSTZs may improve how NPMs are developed and/or mat...
Article
Full-text available
Plant traits—the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants—determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research sp...
Article
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Changes in species ranges are anticipated with climate change, where in alpine settings, fragmentation and contraction are likely. This is especially true in high altitude biodiversity hotspots, where warmer growing seasons and increased drought events may negatively impact populations by limiting regeneration. Here, we test for high-altitude speci...
Article
Full-text available
Population demography is typically assumed to be strongly influenced by climatic factors, particularly with succulent plants and cacti. The saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is a long-lived columnar cactus of the Sonoran Desert that experiences episodic recruitment and mortality. Previous studies have attributed long-term changes in saguaro popul...
Article
Full-text available
The specific mechanisms that result in the success of any species invasion case are difficult to document. Reproductive strategies are often cited as a primary driver of invasive success, with human activities further facilitating invasions by, for example, acting as seed vectors for dispersal via road, train, air, and marine traffic, and by produc...
Chapter
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Mountain ecosystems provide water resources to nearly half of the world’s human population, with approximately 20% of humans living in or near mountain areas (Viviroli et al., 2011; Korner, 2009; Korner et al., 2017). As a result of their high biological diversity, uniquely adapted species, and the ease with which water and solid material can move...
Chapter
Alpine ecosystems account for c. 3% of terrestrial habitats yet, along with adjacent mountain systems, provide water resources to nearly half of the world's human population. Approximately 20% of humans live in or near mountain areas, making it inherently important to understand contemporary impacts on these systems. Here, I review literature regar...
Article
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The Colorado Plateau is one of North America's five major deserts, encompassing 340,000 km² of the western U.S., and offering many opportunities for restoration relevant to researchers and land managers in drylands around the globe. The Colorado Plateau is comprised of vast tracts of public land managed by local, state, and federal agencies that ov...
Article
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The spatial patterning of alpine plant communities is strongly influenced by the variation in physical factors such as temperature and moisture, which are strongly affected by snow depth and snowmelt patterns. Earlier snowmelt timing and greater soil-moisture limitations may favor wide-ranging species adapted to a broader set of ecohydrological con...
Article
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Premise of Study Mechanisms by which invasive species succeed across multiple novel environmental contexts are poorly understood. Functional traits show promise for identifying such mechanisms, yet we lack knowledge of which functional traits are critical for success and how they vary across invaded ranges and with environmental features. We evalua...
Article
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Aim The biogeography of terrestrial organisms across the Florida Keys archipelago is poorly understood. We used population genetics and spatioecological modeling of the Amblypygi Phrynus marginemaculatus to understand the genetic structure and metapopulation dynamics of Keys populations that are otherwise isolated by human development and ocean. L...
Article
Full-text available
The saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is a long-lived columnar cactus that is among the most well-studied plants in the world. Long-term research indicates that saguaro establishment is generally episodic and strongly influenced by precipitation and temperature. Drought conditions can reduce survivorship of recently germinated saguaros up to 100%...
Article
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Dwarf bamboos are evergreen woody grasses that produce large clonal patches and dominate the understories of the montane to subalpine zones of northern Japan. Recently, dwarf bamboos have expanded their distribution to above the treeline and into alpine meadows. To clarify the mechanism of rapid invasion into the alpine, we compared the morphologic...
Article
Full-text available
The long-lived columnar saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is among the most studied plants in the world. Long-term studies have shown saguaro establishment to be generally episodic and strongly influenced by precipitation and temperature. Water limitation through lower-than-average seasonal rainfall and elevated temperatures increasing evaporativ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Saguaro National Park has been rated as one of America's most imperiled national parks. Establishment of new saguaros has been relatively low since the early 1990s, a period when temperatures in the Sonoran Desert began rising dramatically and the area entered a long-term drought. We explored the relationship between climate and saguaros through a...
Article
Full-text available
The dwarf bamboo Sasa kurilensis has responded to recent climate change by expanding its distribution into alpine snow meadows in Japan. Tall, dense clonal patches of bamboo suppress alpine plant growth, alter ecosystem functioning, and reduce diversity. We aim to assess the ecological impacts of bamboo expansion and the effectiveness of bamboo con...
Article
Full-text available
We studied changes in a population of saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) cacti on a 259 ha plot in the northern Sonoran Desert (Saguaro National Park) that was first surveyed in 1941. With the help of citizen scientists, we mapped and measured the height of all detected individual saguaros. The total number of detected saguaros was 13,304 in 1941 and 902...
Article
Full-text available
How species invasions impact ecosystem structure and function at important ecotones or boundaries is unknown, but may provide insight into the impacts of climate change and the mechanisms underlying community change. The dwarf bamboo, Sasa kurilensis, may be a good system to understand these issues, as the species impacts ecosystem features as it e...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is expected to alter primary production and community composition in alpine ecosystems, but the direction and magnitude of change is debated. Warmer, wetter growing seasons may increase productivity; however, in the absence of additional precipitation, increased temperatures may decrease soil moisture, thereby diminishing any positiv...
Conference Paper
Elucidating the mechanisms underlying invasive species success is a challenge in ecology. Treeline ecotones are eminently suited to address this challenge given their sensitivity to climate change and the different abiotic filters in place over short distances. The invasive dwarf bamboo Sasa kurilensis has had pronounced effects on Japanese alpine...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons are expected to increase overall plant productivity in alpine ecosystems. Yet, increased temperatures may be coupled with a decrease in growing season soil moisture resulting in distinct effects at different levels of biological organization, from individual species, to li...
Thesis
Full-text available
Future, warmer temperatures are predicted to increase alpine productivity, but few studies have addressed the role of water in constraining such responses. We tested the hypothesis that, in the absence of additional water during the growing season, warming may not increase community-level productivity by warming plots March–November and providing s...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods A future upward migration of subalpine and alpine plant species has been predicted in response to climate change. Previous warming experiments have focused on temperature as the factor limiting plant range shifts. However, water stress on alpine plants in areas where precipitation during growing seasons is low may be a...

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Project (1)
Project
The iconic saguaro is a keystone species of the Sonoran Desert, and oer 100 species of birds, mammals, insects and reptiles depend upon the saguaro for food, shelter, and reproduction. We are studying the effects of climate change on saguaro phenology.