James B. Grace

James B. Grace
United States Geological Survey | USGS · Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

PhD

About

259
Publications
232,229
Reads
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36,116
Citations
Introduction
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
July 1994 - present
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 1992 - present
US Geological Survey
Position
  • Senior Researcher
August 1985 - July 1992
Louisiana State University
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (259)
Article
Full-text available
How ecosystem productivity and species richness are interrelated is one of the most debated subjects in the history of ecology. Decades of intensive study have yet to discern the actual mechanisms behind observed global patterns. Here, by integrating the predictions from multiple theories into a single model and using data from 1,126 grassland plot...
Article
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2018. Quantifying relative importance: computing standardized effects in models with binary outcomes. Ecosphere 9(6): Abstract. Scientists commonly ask questions about the relative importance of processes and then turn to statistical models for answers. Standardized coefficients are typically used in such situations, with the goal being to compare...
Article
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Recent discussions of model selection and multimodel inference highlight a general challenge for researchers, which is how to clearly convey the explanatory content of a hypothesized model or set of competing models. The advice from statisticians for scientists employing multimodel inference is to develop a well-thought-out set of candidate models...
Article
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It is possible that model selection has been the most researched and most discussed topic in the history of both statistics and structural equation modeling (SEM). The reason for this is because selecting one model for interpretive use from amongst many possible models is both essential and difficult. The published protocols and advice for model ev...
Article
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1. Instrumental variable regression (RegIV) provides a means for detecting and correcting parameter bias in causal models. Widely used in economics, recently several papers have highlighted its potential utility for ecological applications. Little attention has thus far been paid to the fact that IV methods can also be implemented within structural...
Article
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Coastal wetlands are not only among the world's most valued ecosystems but also among the most threatened by high greenhouse gas emissions that lead to accelerated sea level rise. There is intense debate regarding the extent to which landward migration of wetlands might compensate for seaward wetland losses. By integrating data from 166 estuaries a...
Article
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Accelerated sea-level rise and intensifying hurricanes highlight the need to better understand surface elevation change in coastal wetlands. We used the surface elevation table-marker horizon approach to measure surface elevation change in 14 coastal marshes along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, within five National Wildlife Refuges in Texas (USA)...
Article
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In this paper, we consider the problem of how to quantitatively characterise the degree to which a study object exhibits a generalised response. By generalised response, we mean a multivariate response where numerous individual properties change in concerted fashion due to some internal integration. In latent variable structural equation modelling...
Article
In a recent paper, Schoolmaster, Zirbel, and Cronin (2020) (SZC) claim "Formal causal analysis show[s] that biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) correlations are non-causal associations." If this conclusion is accepted as true, it suggests a reconsideration of much of our current understanding of how biodiversity relates to the functioning of ecos...
Article
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1. Interactions between plants can be beneficial, detrimental or neutral. In agricultural systems competition between crop and spontaneous vegetation is a major concern. We evaluated the relative support for three non-exclusive ecological hypotheses about interactions between crop and spontaneous plants based on competition, complementarity or faci...
Article
Full-text available
In a recent paper, Schoolmaster, Zirbel, and Cronin (2020) (SZC) claim "Formal causal analysis show[s] that biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) correlations are non-causal associations." If this conclusion is accepted as true, it suggests a reconsideration of much of our current understanding of how biodiversity relates to the functioning of ecos...
Article
Full-text available
Instrumental variable regression (RegIV) provides a means for detecting and correcting parameter bias in causal models. Widely used in economics, recently several papers have highlighted its potential utility for ecological applications. Little attention has thus far been paid to the fact that IV methods can also be implemented within structural eq...
Article
High-magnitude storm events such as Hurricane Sandy are powerful agents of geomorphic change in coastal marshes, potentially altering their surface elevation trajectories. But how do a storm’s impacts vary across a large region spanning a variety of wetland settings and storm exposures and intensities. We determined the short-term impacts of Hurric...
Article
Aim Climate variability threatens to destabilize production in many ecosystems. Asynchronous species dynamics may buffer against such variability when a decrease in performance by some species is offset by an increase in performance of others. However, high climatic variability can eliminate species through stochastic extinctions or cause similar s...
Article
Streams are influenced by watershed-scale factors, such as climate, geology, topography, hydrology, and soils, which mostly vary naturally among sites, as well as human factors, agriculture and urban development. Thus, natural factors could complicate assessment of human disturbance. In the present study, we use structural equation modeling and dat...
Article
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Foundation plant species play a critical role in coastal wetlands, often modifying abiotic conditions that are too stressful for most organisms and providing the primary habitat features that support entire ecological communities. Here, we consider the influence of climatic drivers on the distribution of foundation plant species within coastal wetl...
Article
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As we enter the era of data science (Lortie 2018), quantitative analysis methodologies are proliferating rapidly, leaving ecologists with the task of choosing among many alternatives. The use of structural equation modeling (SEM) by ecologists has increased in recent years, prompting us to ask users questions about their experience with the methodo...
Article
Reductions in sediment delivery to coastal marshes increase their vulnerability to relative sea-level rise. Sediment pulses from storm events and commercial dredge-spray operations (e.g., beneficial use) represent increasingly important sediment sources to otherwise sediment-deprived marshes. These sediments can stimulate plant growth by providing...
Technical Report
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This report describes the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the elevation dynamics of salt marshes in the northeast United States.
Article
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The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is designed to facilitate an understanding of the impact of environmental change on ecological systems. Observations of plant diversity—responsive to changes in climate, disturbance, and land use, and ecologically linked to soil, biogeochemistry, and organisms—result in NEON data products that cros...
Article
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Coastal wetlands are among the most productive and carbon‐rich ecosystems on Earth. Long‐term carbon storage in coastal wetlands occurs primarily belowground as soil organic matter (SOM). In addition to serving as a carbon sink, SOM influences wetland ecosystem structure, function, and stability. To anticipate and mitigate the effects of climate ch...
Article
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In recent years, the United States has had a relatively poor performance with respect to life expectancy compared to the other developed nations. Urban sprawl is one of the potential causes of the high rate of mortality in the United States. This study investigated cross-sectional associations between sprawl and life expectancy for metropolitan cou...
Article
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Plant stoichiometry, the relative concentration of elements, is a key regulator of ecosystem functioning and is also being altered by human activities. In this paper we sought to understand the global drivers of plant stoichiometry and compare the relative contribution of climatic vs. anthro-pogenic effects. We addressed this goal by measuring plan...
Article
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Species richness is regulated by a complex network of scale-dependent processes. This complexity can obscure the influence of limiting species interactions, making it difficult to determine if abiotic or biotic drivers are more predominant regulators of richness. Using integrative modeling of freshwater fish richness from 721 lakes along an 11olati...
Article
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2017. Linear and nonlinear effects of temperature and precipitation on ecosystem properties in tidal saline wetlands. Ecosphere 8(10): Abstract. Climate greatly influences the structure and functioning of tidal saline wetland ecosystems. However, there is a need to better quantify the effects of climatic drivers on ecosystem properties, particularl...
Article
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Competition and suppression are recognized as dominant forces that structure predator communities. Facilitation via carrion provisioning, however, is a ubiquitous interaction among predators that could offset the strength of suppression. Understanding the relative importance of these positive and negative interactions is necessary to anticipate com...
Article
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Piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands have been expanding their range across the intermountain western United States into landscapes dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) shrublands. Management actions using prescribed fire and mechanical cutting to reduce woodland cover and control expansion provided opportunities to understa...
Article
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Tools for assessing and communicating salt marsh condition are essential to guide decisions aimed at maintaining or restoring ecosystem integrity and services. Multimetric indices (MMIs) are increasingly used to provide integrated assessments of ecosystem condition. We employed a theory-based approach that considers the multivariate relationship of...
Article
Soil microbial communities control critical ecosystem processes such as decomposition, nutrient cycling, and soil organic matter formation. Continental scale patterns in the composition and functioning of microbial communities are related to climatic, biotic, and edaphic factors such as temperature and precipitation, plant community composition, an...
Article
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Earth's biodiversity and carbon uptake by plants, or primary productivity, are intricately interlinked, underlie many essential ecosystem processes, and depend on the interplay among environmental factors, many of which are being changed by human activities. While ecological theory generalizes across taxa and environments, most empirical tests of f...
Article
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Theories linking diversity to ecosystem function have been challenged by the widespread observation of more exotic species in more diverse native communities. Few studies have addressed the underlying processes by dissecting how biotic resistance to new invaders may be shaped by the same environmental influences that determine diversity and other c...
Article
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Coastal wetlands, existing at the interface between land and sea, are highly vulnerable to climate change. Macroclimate (for example, temperature and precipitation regimes) greatly influences coastal wetland ecosystem structure and function. However, research on climate change impacts in coastal wetlands has concentrated primarily on sea-level rise...
Article
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An analysis of arid lands around the world shows how patterns in vegetation may serve as harbingers of things to come.
Article
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The integrity of wetlands is of global concern. A common approach to evaluating ecological integrity involves bioassessment procedures that quantify the degree to which communities deviate from historical norms. While helpful, bioassessment provides little information about how altered conditions connect to community response. More detailed informa...
Article
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Mangrove forests are highly productive tidal saline wetland ecosystems found along sheltered tropical and subtropical coasts. Ecologists have long assumed that climatic drivers (i.e., temperature and rainfall regimes) govern the global distribution, structure, and function of mangrove forests. However, data constraints have hindered the quantificat...
Article
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Contrary to the general perception, the United States has a much more class-bound society than other wealthy countries. The chance of upward mobility for Americans is just half that of the citizens of the Denmark and many other European countries. In addition to other influences, the built environment may contribute to the low rate of upward mobili...
Data
Figure S1. Total species richness collected in 20 European regions analysed for testing the influence of surrogates of climate‐energy, habitat heterogeneity and vegetation diversity on six animal groups.
Article
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Broad-scale animal diversity patterns have been traditionally explained by hypotheses focused on climate–energy and habitat heterogeneity, without considering the direct influence of vegetation structure and composition. However, integrating these factors when considering plant–animal correlates still poses a major challenge because plant communiti...
Article
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Fraser et al. (Reports, 17 July 2015, p. 302) report a unimodal relationship between productivity and species richness at regional and global scales, which they contrast with the results of Adler et al. (Reports, 23 September 2011, p. 1750). However, both data sets, when analyzed correctly, show clearly and consistently that productivity is a poor...
Article
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Increasingly, there is interest in a systems-level understanding of ecological problems, which requires the evaluation of more complex, causal hypotheses. In this issue of the Journal of Vegetation Science, Soliveres et al. use structural equation modeling to test a causal network hypothesis about how tree canopies affect understorey communities. H...
Article
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Due to their position at the land-sea interface, coastal wetlands are vulnerable to many aspects of climate change. However, climate change vulnerability assessments for coastal wetlands generally focus solely on sea-level rise without considering the effects of other facets of climate change. Across the globe and in all ecosystems, macroclimatic d...
Article
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Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural landscapes become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches...
Article
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Increases in the density of woody plants is a global phenomenon in drylands, and large aggregations of shrubs, in particular, are regarded as being indicative of dysfunctional ecosystems. There is increasing evidence that overgrazing by livestock reduces ecosystem functions in shrublands, but that shrubs may buffer the negative effects of increasin...
Chapter
Full-text available
FOR COPY, SEND REQUEST TO GRACEJ@USGS.GOV. Scientists frequently wish to study hypotheses about causal relationships, rather than just statistical associations. This chapter addresses the question of how scientists might approach this ambitious task. Here we describe structural equation modeling (SEM), a general modeling framework for the study of...
Article
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A decade ago, compactness/sprawl indices were developed for metropolitan areas and counties which have been widely used in health and other research. In this study, we first update the original county index to 2010, then develop a refined index that accounts for more relevant factors, and finally seek to test the relationship between sprawl and tra...
Article
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Vehicle miles travelled (VMT) is a primary performance indicator for land use and transportation, bringing with it both positive and negative externalities. This study updates and refines previous work on VMT in urbanised areas, using recent data, additional metrics and structural equation modelling (SEM). In a cross-sectional model for 2010, popul...
Article
The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) is an integrated long-term study that evaluates ecological effects of alternative treatments designed to reduce woody fuels and to stimulate the herbaceous understory of sagebrush steppe communities of the Intermountain West. This synopsis summarizes results through 3 yr posttreatment. Wo...
Article
Full-text available
In sagebrush ecosystems invasion of annual exotics and expansion of pinon ( ˜ Pinus monophylla Torr. and Frem.) and juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook., J. osteosperma [Torr.] Little) are altering fire regimes and resulting in large-scale ecosystem transformations. Management treatments aim to increase resilience to disturbance and enhance resist...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The causal relationships between biomass production and species richness have been an issue at the center of community ecology for over twenty years. Initially, models focused on proposing mechanisms whereby high levels of production could lead to limits on richness. Beginning in the 1990s, models began to be developed...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The mechanisms that connect community productivity with species richness remain a major interest in ecology. After decades of emphasis on ways that productivity might act to limit richness, the past two decades have produced a large body of work demonstrating the ability of richness to promote productivity. Thus, exper...
Article
Full-text available
1. Perhaps no other pair of variables in ecology has generated as much discussion as species richness and ecosystem productivity, as illustrated by the reactions by Pierce (2013) and others to Adler et al.'s (2011) report that empirical patterns are weak and inconsistent. Adler et al. (2011) argued we need to move beyond a focus on simplistic bivar...