Peter B. Adler

Peter B. Adler
Utah State University | USU · Department of Wildland Resources

PhD

About

205
Publications
100,192
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15,546
Citations
Introduction
Peter B. Adler is a Professor in the Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University. Peter does research in Ecology.
Additional affiliations
July 2012 - July 2016
Utah State University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (205)
Article
The usual theoretical condition for coexistence is that each species in a community can increase when rare (mutual invasibility). Traditional coexistence theory implicitly assumes that the invading species is common enough that we can ignore demographic stochasticity, but rare enough that it does not compete with itself, even after it has reached a...
Article
Full-text available
Nutrient enrichment can simultaneously increase and destabilise plant biomass production, with co-limitation by multiple nutrients potentially intensifying these effects. Here, we test how factorial additions of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium with essential nutrients (K+) affect the stability (mean/standard deviation) of aboveground bio...
Article
Analysing temporal patterns in plant communities is extremely important to quantify the extent and the consequences of ecological changes, especially considering the current biodiversity crisis. Long‐term data collected through the regular sampling of permanent plots represent the most accurate resource to study ecological succession, analyse the s...
Article
1. To evaluate how increased anthropogenic nutrient inputs alter carbon cycling in grasslands, we conducted a litter decomposition study across 20 temperate grasslands on three continents within the Nutrient Network, a globally distributed nutrient enrichment experiment 2. We determined the effects of experimental nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and...
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The effects of altered nutrient supplies and herbivore density on species diversity vary with spatial scale, because coexistence mechanisms are scale dependent. This scale dependence may alter the shape of the species–area relationship (SAR), which can be described by changes in species richness (S) as a power function of the sample area (A): S = c...
Article
On the Ground •Public programs, strategies, and incentives to implement rangeland climate adaptation are more effective if they are tailored to local drought exposures, sensitivities, and adaptation opportunities. As such, local rangeland advisers who aid in climate adaptation are pivotal to the development of these resources. •We hosted a virtual...
Article
Plant damage by invertebrate herbivores and pathogens influences the dynamics of grassland ecosystems, but anthropogenic changes in nitrogen and phosphorus availability can modify these relationships. Using a globally‐distributed experiment, we describe leaf damage on 153 plant taxa from twenty‐seven grasslands worldwide, under ambient conditions a...
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To cope with uncertainty and variability in their environment, plants evolve distinct life history strategies by allocating different fractions of energy to growth, survival, and fecundity. These differences in life history strategies could potentially influence ecosystem‐level dynamics, such as the sensitivity of primary production to resource flu...
Article
The data set covers a 101‐year period (1915–2016) of quadrat‐based plant sampling at the Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico. At each sampling event, a pantograph was used to record the location and perimeter of living plants within permanent quadrats. Basal area was recorded for perennial grass species, canopy cover area was recorded...
Preprint
Full-text available
The potential for ecosystems to continue providing society with essential services may depend on their ability to acclimate to climate change through multiple processes operating from cells to landscapes. While models to predict climate change impacts on ecosystem services often consider uncertainty among greenhouse gas emission scenarios or global...
Article
Spatial rarity is often used to predict extinction risk, but rarity can also occur temporally. Perhaps more relevant in the context of global change is whether a species is core to a community (persistent) or transient (intermittently present), with transient species often susceptible to human activities that reduce niche space. Using 5‐12 years of...
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Dryland net primary productivity (NPP) is sensitive to temporal variation in precipitation (PPT), but the magnitude of this ‘temporal sensitivity’ varies spatially. Hypotheses for spatial variation in temporal sensitivity have often emphasized abiotic factors, such as moisture limitation, while overlooking biotic factors, such as vegetation structu...
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1. Plant‐soil feedbacks (PSF) and functional traits are two active but not well theoretically integrated areas of research. However, PSF and traits are both affected by life history evolution, so the two should theoretically be related. 2. We provide a conceptual framework to link plant functional traits to two types of PSF metrics, and hypothesize...
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Selecting among competing statistical models is a core challenge in science. However, the many possible approaches and techniques for model selection, and the conflicting recommendations for their use, can be confusing. We contend that much confusion surrounding statistical model selection results from failing to first clearly specify the purpose o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Interannual variability in grassland primary production is strongly driven by precipitation, nutrient availability and herbivory, but there is no general consensus on the mechanisms linking these variables. If grassland biomass is limited by the single most limiting resource at a given time, then we expect that nutrient addition will not affect bio...
Article
Ecologists have built numerous models to project how climate change will impact rangeland vegetation, but these projections of future changes are difficult to validate, making their utility for land management planning unclear. In the absence of direct validation, researchers can ask whether projections from different models are consistent. High co...
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20997-9.
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20985-z.
Article
An urgent challenge facing biologists is predicting the regional-scale population dynamics of species facing environmental change. Biologists suggest that we must move beyond predictions based on phenomenological models and instead base predictions on underlying processes. For example, population biologists, evolutionary biologists, community ecolo...
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Human activities are transforming grassland biomass via changing climate, elemental nutrients, and herbivory. Theory predicts that food-limited herbivores will consume any additional biomass stimulated by nutrient inputs (‘consumer-controlled’). Alternatively, nutrient supply is predicted to increase biomass where herbivores alter community composi...
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Pande et al. (2020) point out that persistence time can decrease even as invader growth rates (IGRs) increase, which potentially undermines modern coexistence theory. However, because persistence time increases rapidly with system size only when IGR > 0, to understand how any real community persists, we should first identify the mechanisms producin...
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Eutrophication is a widespread environmental change that usually reduces the stabilizing effect of plant diversity on productivity in local communities. Whether this effect is scale dependent remains to be elucidated. Here, we determine the relationship between plant diversity and temporal stability of productivity for 243 plant communities from 42...
Article
Human activities are enriching many of Earth’s ecosystems with biologically limiting mineral nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). In grasslands, this enrichment generally reduces plant diversity and increases productivity. The widely demonstrated positive effect of diversity on productivity suggests a potential negative feedback, wher...
Article
The stability of ecological communities is critical for the stable provisioning of ecosystem services, such as food and forage production, carbon sequestration, and soil fertility. Greater biodiversity is expected to enhance stability across years by decreasing synchrony among species, but the drivers of stability in nature remain poorly resolved....
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The stability of ecological communities is critical for the stable provisioning of ecosystem services, such as food and forage production, carbon sequestration, and soil fertility. Greater biodiversity is expected to enhance stability across years by decreasing synchrony among species, but the drivers of stability in nature remain poorly resolved....
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Soil nitrogen (N) availability is critical for grassland functioning. However, human activities have increased the supply of biologically‐limiting nutrients, and changed the density and identity of mammalian herbivores. These anthropogenic changes may alter net soil N mineralization (soil net Nmin), i.e., the net balance between N mineralization an...
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Most phenomenological, statistical models used to generate ecological forecasts take either a time‐series approach, based on long‐term data from one location, or a space‐for‐time approach, based on data describing spatial patterns across environmental gradients. However, the magnitude and even the sign of environment–response relationships detected...
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Generalizing the effect of traits on performance across species may be achievable if traits explain variation in population fitness. However, testing relationships between traits and vital rates to infer effects on fitness can be misleading. Demographic trade-offs can generate variation in vital rates that yield equal population growth rates, there...
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Although natural resource managers are concerned about climate change, many are unable to adequately incorporate climate change science into their adaptation strategies or management plans, and are not always aware of or do not always employ the most current scientific knowledge. One of the most prominent natural resource management agencies in the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecologists have built numerous models to project how climate change will impact rangeland vegetation, but these projections are difficult to validate, making their utility for land management planning unclear. In the absence of direct validation, researchers can ask whether projections from different models are consistent. High consistency across m...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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...
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Grasslands are subject to considerable alteration due to human activities globally, including widespread changes in populations and composition of large mammalian herbivores and elevated supply of nutrients. Grassland soils remain important reservoirs of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Herbivores may affect both C and N pools and these changes likely...
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Anthropogenic activities are increasing nutrient inputs to ecosystems worldwide, with consequences for global carbon and nutrient cycles. Recent meta-analyses show that aboveground primary production is often co-limited by multiple nutrients; however, little is known about how root production responds to changes in nutrient availability. At twenty-...
Article
Differences in vertical root distributions are often assumed to create resource uptake tradeoffs that determine plant growth and coexistence. Yet, most plant roots are in shallow soils, and data linking root distributions with resource uptake and plant abundances remain elusive. Here we used a tracer experiment to describe the vertical distribution...
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Soil nitrogen mineralisation (Nmin), the conversion of organic into inorganic N, is important for productivity and nutrient cycling. The balance between mineralisation and immobilisation (net Nmin) varies with soil properties and climate. However, because most global-scale assessments of net Nmin are laboratory-based, its regulation under field-con...
Preprint
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Most models used to generate ecological forecasts take either a time-series approach, based on long-term data from one location, or a space-for-time approach, based on data describing spatial patterns across environmental gradients. Here we consider how the forecast horizon determines whether the most accurate predictions come from the time-series...
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1.Seed‐based restoration is one of the most difficult challenges for dryland restoration. Identifying environmental conditions that drive variation in seed and seedling mortality across similar restoration efforts could increase understanding of when and where restoration outcomes are likely to be favorable and identify new tools and strategies to...
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Climate change is reducing the depth and duration of winter snowpack, leading to dramatic changes in the soil environment with potentially important ecological consequences. Previous experiments in the Intermountain West of North America indicated that loss of snowpack increases survival and population growth rates of the invasive annual grass Brom...
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Soil stores approximately twice as much carbon as the atmosphere and fluctuations in the size of the soil carbon pool directly influence climate conditions. We used the Nutrient Network global change experiment to examine how anthropogenic nutrient enrichment might influence grassland soil carbon storage at a global scale. In isolation, enrichment...
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Leaf traits are frequently measured in ecology to provide a ‘common currency’ for predicting how anthropogenic pressures impact ecosystem function. Here, we test whether leaf traits consistently respond to experimental treatments across 27 globally distributed grassland sites across 4 continents. We find that specific leaf area (leaf area per unit...
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To better match plant materials to ecological sites for the purpose of rangeland seedling establishment, we examined the relationship between seed size and growth and morphological traits in young seedlings of bluebunch wheatgrass (BBWG) (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh.] Á. Löve), a perennial Triticeae bunchgrass native to the Intermountain West. T...
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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...
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Understanding long‐term coexistence of numerous competing species is a longstanding challenge in ecology. Progress requires determining which processes and species differences are most important for coexistence when multiple processes operate and species differ in many ways. Modern coexistence theory (MCT), formalised by Chesson, holds out the prom...
Article
In both plant and animal systems, size can determine whether an individual survives and grows under different environmental conditions. However, it is unclear whether and when size‐dependent responses to exogenous environmental fluctuations affect population dynamics. Size‐by‐environment interactions create pathways for environmental fluctuations t...
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Environmental change can result in substantial shifts in community composition. The associated immigration and extinction events are likely constrained by the spatial distribution of species. Still, studies on environmental change typically quantify biotic responses at single spatial (time series within a single plot) or temporal (spatial beta dive...
Article
Theory predicts that intraspecific competition should be stronger than interspecific competition for any pair of stably coexisting species, yet previous literature reviews found little support for this pattern. We screened over 5400 publications and identified 39 studies that quantified phenomenological intraspecific and interspecific interactions...
Preprint
Full-text available
In both plant and animal systems, size can determine whether an individual survives and grows under different environmental conditions. However, it is less clear whether and when size-dependent responses to the environment affect population dynamics. Size-by-environment interactions create pathways for environmental fluctuations to influence popula...
Article
Understanding how annual climate variation affects population growth rates across a species' range may help us anticipate the effects of climate change on species distribution and abundance. We predict that populations in warmer or wetter parts of a species' range should respond negatively to periods of above average temperature or precipitation, r...
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Stable coexistence requires intraspecific limitations to be stronger than interspecific limitations. The greater the difference between intra‐ and interspecific limitations, the more stable the coexistence, and the weaker the competitive release any species should experience following removal of competitors. We conducted a removal experiment to tes...
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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...
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Background Precipitation is predicted to become more variable in the western United States, meaning years of above and below average precipitation will become more common. Periods of extreme precipitation are major drivers of interannual variability in ecosystem functioning in water limited communities, but how ecosystems respond to these extremes...
Data
Conducting our analysis with NDVI: additional results
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Both the direct effects of warming on a species’ vital rates and indirect effects of warming caused by interactions with neighboring species can influence plant populations. Furthermore, herbivory mediates the effects of warming on plant community composition in many systems. Thus, determining the importance of direct and indirect effects of warmin...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Precipitation is predicted to become more variable in the western United States, meaning years of above and below average precipitation will become more common. Periods of extreme precipitation are major drivers of interannual variability in ecosystem functioning in water limited communities, but how ecosystems respond to these extremes...
Article
Full-text available
Correlations between community-weighted mean (CWM) traits and environmental gradients are often assumed to quantify the adaptive value of traits. We tested this assumption by comparing these correlations with models of survival probability using 46 perennial species from long-term permanent plots in pine forests of Arizona. Survival was modelled as...
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Biodiversity is declining in many local communities while also becoming increasingly homogenized across space. Experiments show that local plant species loss reduces ecosystem functioning and services, but the role of spatial homogenization of community composition and the potential interaction between diversity at different scales in maintaining e...