Stef Bokhorst

Stef Bokhorst
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | VU · DES- Institute of Ecological Science

PhD

About

70
Publications
25,194
Reads
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3,217
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2015 - September 2015
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • plant soil interactions
November 2014 - present
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Impacts of marine vertebrates on Antarctic terrestrial food webs and nutrients cycling in an era of climate change
April 2013 - March 2016
NINA
Position
  • Winter disturbance and nitrogen deposition: Unraveling the mechanisms behind ecosystem response to combined effects of climate and pollution

Publications

Publications (70)
Article
Full-text available
Foundation species provide habitat and modify the availability of resources to other species. In nature, multiple foundation species may occur in mixture, but little is known on how their interactions shape the community assembly of associated species. Lichens provide both structural habitat and resources to a variety of associated organisms and th...
Article
Full-text available
Research in global change ecology relies heavily on global climatic grids derived from estimates of air temperature in open areas at around 2 m above the ground. These climatic grids do not reflect conditions below vegetation canopies and near the ground surface, where critical ecosystem functions occur and most terrestrial species reside. Here, we...
Article
Full-text available
Snow is an important driver of ecosystem processes in cold biomes. Snow accumulation determines ground temperature, light conditions, and moisture availability during winter. It also affects the growing season’s start and end, and plant access to moisture and nutrients. Here, we review the current knowledge of the snow cover’s role for vegetation,...
Article
Full-text available
Snow is an important driver of ecosystem processes in cold biomes. Snow accumulation determines ground temperature, light conditions and moisture availability during winter. It also affects the growing season’s start and end, and plant access to moisture and nutrients. Here, we review the current knowledge of the snow cover’s role for vegetation, p...
Article
Full-text available
Climate extremes may occur throughout the year with large consequences for ecosystem functioning and feedbacks. Early snowmelt and drought often precede arctic fires, which in turn may degrade permafrost and thereby influence ecosystem functioning for many years post-fire. Overwintering “zombie fires” in the Arctic, which smolder from one fire seas...
Preprint
Full-text available
Soil life supports the functioning and biodiversity of terrestrial ecosystems. Springtails (Collembola) are among the most abundant soil animals regulating soil fertility and flow of energy through above- and belowground food webs. However, the global distribution of springtail diversity and density, and how these relate to energy fluxes remains un...
Article
Full-text available
Human activity and climate change are increasing the spread of species across the planet, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Invasion engineers, such as birds, facilitate plant growth through manuring of soil, while native vegetation influences plant germination by creating suitable microhabitats which are especially valuable in cold...
Article
The regional variability in tundra and boreal carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes can be high, complicating efforts to quantify sink‐source patterns across the entire region. Statistical models are increasingly used to predict (i.e., upscale) CO2 fluxes across large spatial domains, but the reliability of different modeling techniques, each with different...
Article
Full-text available
Lichens produce various carbon-based secondary compounds (CBSCs) in response to abiotic conditions and herbivory. Although lichen CBSCs have received considerable attention with regard to responses to UV-B exposure, very little is known about intra-specific variation across environmental gradients and their role in protection against herbivory in t...
Article
Full-text available
The Antarctic Peninsula is under pressure from non-native plants and this risk is expected to increase under climate warming. Establishment and subsequent range expansion of non-native plants depend in part on germination ability under Antarctic conditions, but quantifying these processes has yet to receive detailed study. Viability testing and pla...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research in environmental science relies heavily on global climatic grids derived from estimates of air temperature at around 2 meter above ground1-3. These climatic grids however fail to reflect conditions near and below the soil surface, where critical ecosystem functions such as soil carbon storage are controlled and most biodiversity resides4-8...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation near bird and seal rookeries typically has high δ15N signatures and these high values are linked to the enriched δ15N values of rookery soils. However, Antarctic cryptogams are mostly dependent on atmospheric ammonia (NH3) and volatized NH3 from rookeries is severely depleted in δ15N-NH3. So there is an apparent discrepancy between the i...
Article
Full-text available
Across environmental gradients, community‐level functional traits of plants can change due to species turnover, intraspecific variation and their covariation. Studies on vascular plants suggest that species turnover is the main driver of trait variation across gradients, although intraspecific variation can also be important. However, there is limi...
Article
Biodiversity is threatenedby climatechange andother human activities [1], but to assess impacts, we also need to identify the current distribution of species on Earth. Predicting abundance and richness patterns is difficult in many regions and especially so on the remote Antarctic continent, due to periods of snow cover, which limit remote sensing,...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is one of many ongoing human-induced environmental changes, but few studies consider interactive effects between multiple anthropogenic disturbances. In coastal sub-arctic heathland, we quantified the impact of a factorial design simulating extreme winter warming (WW) events (7 days at 6–7°C) combined with episodic summer nitrogen (+...
Article
Nutrient optimization has been proposed as a way to increase boreal forest production, and involves chronic additions of liquid fertilizer with amounts of micro- and macro-nutrients adjusted annually to match tree nutritional requirements. We used a short-term (maintained since 2007) and a long-term (maintained since 1987) fertilization experiment...
Article
The ericoid shrub Vaccinium myrtillus is one of several deciduous boreal plants that respond to larval defoliation by compensatory production of a new set of leaves within the same growing season soon after defoliation. This new set is termed as ‘secondary leaves’. The physiological performance and longevity of secondary leaves is poorly understood...
Article
Full-text available
Main conclusion: Evergreen plants are more vulnerable than grasses and birch to snow and temperature variability in the sub-Arctic. Most Arctic climate impact studies focus on single factors, such as summer warming, while ecosystems are exposed to changes in all seasons. Through a combination of field and laboratory manipulations, we compared phys...
Article
Climate change is affecting the species composition and functioning of Arctic and sub-Arctic plant and soil communities. Here we studied patterns in soil microarthropod (springtails and mites) communities across a gradient of increasing elevation that spanned 450 m, across which mean temperature declined by approximately 2.5 °C, in sub-Arctic Swede...
Article
Full-text available
The home-field advantage hypothesis (HFA) predicts that plant litter decomposes faster than expected underneath the plant from which it originates. We tested this hypothesis in a decomposition experiment where litters were incubated reciprocally in neighbouring European beech and Norway spruce forests. We analysed fungal communities in the litter t...
Article
Dwarf shrubs are a dominant plant type across many regions of the Earth and have hence a large impact on carbon and nutrient cycling rates. Climate change impacts on dwarf shrubs have been extensively studied in the Northern Hemisphere, and there appears to be large variability in response between ecosystem types and regions. In the Southern Hemisp...
Article
Explaining the variation in communities of soil organisms across plant communities or ecosystems remains a major challenge for ecologists. Several studies have explored how soil communities are affected along ecosystem successional gradients but most of these are based on relatively short term chronosequences. To address the impact of ecosystem age...
Article
Soil fertility and vegetation are major drivers of soil communities. Soil community responses to vegetation development and associated changes in soil fertility have been mostly reported for chronosequences that span time scales from decades to centuries. Here we evaluated soil communities for two contrasting chronosequences, the Franz Josef chrono...
Article
Winter is a period of dormancy for plants of cold environments. However, winter climate is changing, leading to an increasing frequency of stochastic warm periods (winter warming events) and concomitant reductions in snow cover. These conditions can break dormancy for some plants and expose them to freeze-and-thaw stress. Mosses are a major compone...
Article
Full-text available
Snow is a critically important and rapidly changing feature of the Arctic. However, snow-cover and snowpack conditions change through time pose challenges for measuring and prediction of snow. Plausible scenarios of how Arctic snow cover will respond to changing Arctic climate are important for impact assessments and adaptation strategies. Although...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of cryptogam responses to climate change in the polar regions are scarce because these slow-growing organisms require long-term monitoring studies. Here, we analyse the response of a lichen and moss community to 10 years of passive environmental manipulation using open-top chambers (OTCs) in the maritime Antarctic region. Cover of the domin...
Article
Traits of primary producers associated with tissue quality are commonly assumed to have strong control over higher trophic levels. However, this view is largely based on studies of vascular plants, and cryptogamic vegetation has received far less attention. In this study natural gradients in nutrient concentrations in cryptogams associated with the...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated how lichen carbon-based secondary compounds (CBSCs) affect abundance of invertebrates in five lichen species growing on the forest floor (. Cladonia rangiferina, Cladonia stellaris) or on tree trunks (. Evernia prunastri, Hypogymnia physodes, Pseudevernia furfuracea). To do this, CBSCs were removed by rinsing lichen thalli in aceton...
Article
Climate change impacts are not uniform across the Arctic region because interacting factors causes large variations in local ecosystem change. Extreme climatic events and population cycles of herbivores occur simultaneously against a background of gradual climate warming trends and can redirect ecosystem change along routes that are difficult to pr...
Article
While there has been much interest in the relationships between traits of primary producers and composition of associated invertebrate consumer communities, our knowledge is largely based on studies from vascular plants, while other types of functionally important producers, such as lichens, have rarely been considered. To address how physiological...
Article
Aims Plant species and functional groups are known to drive the community of belowground invertebrates but whether their effects are consistent across environmental gradients is less well understood. We aimed to determine if plant effects on belowground communities are consistent across a successional gradient in boreal forests of northern Sweden....
Article
Patterns of environmental spatial structure lie at the heart of the most fundamental and familiar patterns of diversity on Earth. Antarctica contains some of the strongest environmental gradients on the planet and therefore provides an ideal study ground to test hypotheses on the relevance of environmental variability for biodiversity. To answer th...
Article
Background: Arctic lichens and mosses are covered by snow for more than half the year and are generally considered as being dormant for most of this period. However, enhanced frequency of winter warming events due to climate change can cause increased disturbance of their protective subnivean environment. Aim: To further understand cryptogamic resp...
Article
Phenolic compounds have been shown in several studies to have important 'carryover effects' on litter decomposition, microbial nutrient immobilization and nutrient availability. These effects arise in part because of the adverse effect they have on the feeding activities of litter-feeding invertebrates such as micro-arthropods that drive decomposit...
Article
Full-text available
The subarctic environment of northernmost Sweden has changed over the past century, particularly elements of climate and cryosphere. This paper presents a unique geo-referenced record of environmental and ecosystem observations from the area since 1913. Abiotic changes have been substantial. Vegetation changes include not only increases in growth a...
Article
Decomposition of organic matter in high latitude biomes makes a significant contribution to global fluxes of nutrients and carbon and is expected to accelerate due to climate change. The majority of studies have focused on decomposition during the growing season, but winter climate is expected to change dramatically. Furthermore, knowledge of the d...
Article
Environmental manipulation studies are integral to determining biological consequences of climate warming. Open Top Chambers (OTCs) have been widely used to assess summer warming effects on terrestrial biota, with their effects during other seasons normally being given less attention even though chambers are often deployed year-round. In addition,...
Article
Litter bags are often used to determine the impact of soil animals on litter decomposition rates through the use of varied mesh sizes that exclude soil animals on the basis of body size. However, concerns have been raised regarding confounding factors that can co-vary with mesh size (e.g., microclimatic differences and leaching losses) and that mig...
Article
Snow fungi are often visibly abundant on tundra and forest understory vegetation immediately after snow melt in Nordic regions. Fungal hyphae are a common food source for many terrestrial arthropods and snow fungi could therefore be a potentially important component of an as of yet unexplored winter food web. We compared the abundance of soil arthr...
Article
Extreme winter warming events in the sub-Arctic have caused considerable vegetation damage due to rapid changes in temperature and loss of snow cover. The frequency of extreme weather is expected to increase due to climate change thereby increasing the potential for recurring vegetation damage in Arctic regions. Here we present data on vegetation r...
Article
Full-text available
Winter climate and snow cover are the important drivers of plant community development in polar regions. However, the impacts of changing winter climate and associated changes in snow regime have received much less attention than changes during summer. Here, we synthesize the results from studies on the impacts of extreme winter weather events on p...
Article
Extreme weather events can have negative impacts on species survival and community structure when surpassing lethal thresholds. Extreme winter warming events in the Arctic rapidly melt snow and expose ecosystems to unsea- sonably warm air (2–10 °C for 2–14 days), but returning to cold winter climate exposes the ecosystem to lower temperatures by th...
Data
Extreme weather events can have negative impacts on species survival and community structure when surpassing lethal thresholds. Extreme winter warming events in the Arctic rapidly melt snow and expose ecosystems to unseasonably warm air (2-10 °C for 2-14 days), but returning to cold winter climate exposes the ecosystem to lower temperatures by the...
Data
Extreme winter warming events in the sub-Arctic have caused considerable vegetation damage due to rapid changes in temperature and loss of snow cover. The frequency of extreme weather is expected to increase due to climate change thereby increasing the potential for recurring vegetation damage in Arctic regions. Here we present data on vegetation r...
Article
1. Climate change in northern high latitudes is predicted to be greater in winter rather than summer, yet little is known about the effects of winter climate change on northern ecosystems. Among the unknowns are the effects of an increasing frequency of acute, short-lasting winter warming events. Such events can damage higher plants exposed to warm...
Article
Passive chambers are used to examine the impacts of summer warming in Antarctica but, so far, impacts occurring outside the growing season, or related to extreme temperatures, have not been reported, despite their potentially large biological significance. In this review, we synthesise and discuss the microclimate impacts of passive warming chamber...
Article
Full-text available
Because of severe abiotic limitations, Antarctic soils represent simplified systems, where microorganisms are the principal drivers of nutrient cycling. This relative simplicity makes these ecosystems particularly vulnerable to perturbations, like global warming, and the Antarctic Peninsula is among the most rapidly warming regions on the planet. H...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Polar Regions are expected to experience dramatic effects from global climate change. How ecosystems in the Arctic and Antarctic are affected does not always coincide. The magnitude of climate change effects may be uncertain, but the cascading processes that occur in polar ecosystems are very similar. Increased soil tem...
Article
Extreme weather events can have strong negative impacts on species survival and community structure when surpassing lethal thresholds. Extreme, short-lived, winter warming events in the Arctic rapidly melt snow and expose ecosystems to unseasonably warm air (for instance, 2–10 °C for 2–14 days) but upon return to normal winter climate exposes the e...
Data
Passive chambers are used to examine the impacts of summer warming in Antarctica but, so far, impacts occurring outside the growing season, or related to extreme temperatures, have not been reported, despite their potentially large biological significance. In this review, we synthesise and discuss the microclimate impacts of passive warming chamber...
Data
Extreme weather events can have strong negative impacts on species survival and community structure when surpassing lethal thresholds. Extreme, short-lived, winter warming events in the Arctic rapidly melt snow and expose ecosystems to unseasonably warm air (for instance, 2-10 °C for 2-14 days) but upon return to normal winter climate exposes the e...
Article
Insulation provided by snow cover and tolerance of freezing by physiological acclimation allows Arctic plants to survive cold winter temperatures. However, both the protection mechanisms may be lost with winter climate change, especially during extreme winter warming events where loss of snow cover from snow melt results in exposure of plants to wa...
Article
Arctic climate change is expected to lead to a greater frequency of extreme winter warming events. During these events, temperatures rapidly increase to well above 0 °C for a number of days, which can lead to snow melt at the landscape scale, loss of insulating snow cover and warming of soils. However, upon return of cold ambient temperatures, soil...
Article
1. The Arctic is experiencing considerable change in climate, particularly in winter, and a greater frequency of extreme climatic events is expected. However, the impacts of winter climate change and extreme events have received far less attention than the impacts of season-long summer warming. Here we report findings from observations following a...
Article
Climate change scenarios predict an increased frequency of extreme climatic events. In Arctic regions, one of the most profound of these are extreme and sudden winter warming events in which temperatures increase rapidly to above freezing, often causing snow melt across whole landscapes and exposure of ecosystems to warm temperatures. Following war...
Article
Over a 2-year study, we investigated the effect of environmental change on the diversity and abundance of soil arthropod communities (Acari and Collembola) in the Maritime Antarctic and the Falkland Islands. Open Top Chambers (OTCs), as used extensively in the framework of the northern boreal International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), were used to inc...
Data
Over a 2-year study, we investigated the effect of environmental change on the diversity and abundance of soil arthropod communities (Acari and Collembola) in the Maritime Antarctic and the Falkland Islands. Open Top Chambers (OTCs), as used extensively in the framework of the northern boreal International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), were used to inc...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic terrestrial vegetation is subject to one of the most extreme climates on Earth. Currently, parts of Antarctica are one of the fastest warming regions on the planet. During 3 growing seasons, we investigated the effect of experimental warming on the diversity and abundance of coastal plant communities in the Maritime Antarctic region (cryp...
Article
Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems have poorly developed soils and currently experience one of the greatest rates of climate warming on the globe. We investigated the responsiveness of organic matter decomposition in Maritime Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems to climate change, using two study sites in the Antarctic Peninsula region (Anchorage Island,...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic soil ecosystems are amongst the most simplified on Earth and include only few soil arthropod species, generally believed to be opportunistic omnivorous feeders. Using stable isotopic analyses, we investigated the food choice of two common and widely distributed Antarctic soil arthropod species using natural abundances of 13C and 15N and a...
Article
The unusually harsh environmental conditions of terrestrial Antarctic habitats result in ecosystems with simplified trophic structures, where microbial processes are especially dominant as drivers of soil-borne nutrient cycling. We examined soil-borne Antarctic communities (bacteria, fungi and nematodes) at five locations along a southern latitudin...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems are nutrient-poor and depend for their functioning in part on external nutrients. However, little is known about the relative importance of various sources. We measured external mineral nutrient sources (wind blown material, precipitation and guano) at three locations, the cold temperate oceanic Falkland Islands (51...
Data
Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems have poorly developed soils and currently experience one of the greatest rates of climate warming on the globe. We investigated the responsiveness of organic matter decomposition in Maritime Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems to climate change, using two study sites in the Antarctic Peninsula region (Anchorage Island,...

Projects

Projects (3)
Archived project
To understand nutrient optimization effects on soil microbiota and mesofauna, and to explore the relationships between plant litter and microbial elemental stoichiometry.
Project
We are specifically interested in how functional traits, at the community level, of vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes respond in similar matters to climate. We also aim to test whether relative importance of within and across species trait variation are consistent across vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens. We intend to investigate whether community level traits of all these groups of primary producers affect community assembly, food-web structure and traits of associated invertebrates. Finally, we aim to increase the understanding of the role traits play in decomposition and whether there is a link between functional traits and the role micro-arthropods play in litter decomposition
Archived project
The aim of this study is to investigate how concentrations of marine vertebrates (e.g. penguin rookeries, elephant and fur seal haul outs and resting areas) affect nitrogen dynamics and the structure and functioning of the terrestrial food web, and how this may interact with the direct effects of climate warming.