306 research outputs found

    Divergent Changes in Plant Community Composition under 3-Decade Grazing Exclusion in Continental Steppe

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    An understanding of the factors controlling plant community composition will allow improved prediction of the responses of plant communities to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Using monitoring data from 1980 to 2009, we quantified the changes in community composition in Leymus chinensis and Stipa grandis dominated grasslands in Inner Mongolia under long-term grazing-exclusion and free-grazing conditions, respectively. We demonstrated that the practice of long-term grazing exclusion has significant effects on the heterogeneity, the dominant species, and the community composition in the two grasslands. The community composition of L. chinensis and S. grandis grasslands exhibited directional changes with time under long-term grazing exclusion. Under free grazing, the L. chinensis community changed directionally with time, but the pattern of change was stochastic in the S. grandis community. We attributed the divergent responses to long-term grazing exclusion in the S. grandis and L. chinensis grasslands to litter accumulation and changes in the microenvironment after grazing exclusion, which collectively altered the growth and regeneration of the dominant species. The changes in the grazed grasslands were primarily determined by the selective feeding of sheep during long-term heavy grazing. Overall, the responses of the community composition of the Inner Mongolian grasslands to long-term grazing exclusion and heavy grazing were divergent, and depended primarily on the grassland type. Our findings provide new insights into the role of grazing in the maintenance of community structure and function and therefore have important implications for grassland management

    Estimation of Vegetation Latent Heat Flux over Three Forest Sites in ChinaFLUX using Satellite Microwave Vegetation Water Content Index

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    Latent heat flux (LE) and the corresponding water vapor lost from the Earth's surface to the atmosphere, which is called Evapotranspiration (ET), is one of the key processes in the water cycle and energy balance of the global climate system. Satellite remote sensing is the only feasible technique to estimate LE over a large-scale region. While most of the previous satellite LE methods are based on the optical vegetation index (VI), here we propose a microwave-VI (EDVI) based LE algorithm which can work for both day and night time, and under clear or non-raining conditions. This algorithm is totally driven by multiple-sensor satellite products of vegetation water content index, solar radiation, and cloud properties, with some aid from a reanalysis dataset. The satellite inputs and the performance of this algorithm are validated with in situ measurements at three ChinaFLUX forest sites. Our results show that the selected satellite observations can indeed serve as the inputs for the purpose of estimating ET. The instantaneous estimations of LE (LEcal) from this algorithm show strong positive temporal correlations with the in situ measured LE (LEobs) with the correlation coefficients (R) of 0.56-0.88 in the study years. The mean bias is kept within 16.0% (23.0W/m2) across the three sites. At the monthly scale, the correlations between the retrieval and the in situ measurements are further improved to an R of 0.84-0.95 and the bias is less than 14.3%. The validation results also indicate that EDVI-based LE method can produce stable LEcal under different cloudy skies with good accuracy. Being independent of any in situ measurements as inputs, this algorithm shows great potential for estimating ET under both clear and cloudy skies on a global scale for climate study

    The “Regulator” Function of Viruses on Ecosystem Carbon Cycling in the Anthropocene

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    Viruses act as “regulators” of the global carbon cycle because they impact the material cycles and energy flows of food webs and the microbial loop. The average contribution of viruses to the Earth ecosystem carbon cycle is 8.6‰, of which its contribution to marine ecosystems (1.4‰) is less than its contribution to terrestrial (6.7‰) and freshwater (17.8‰) ecosystems. Over the past 2,000 years, anthropogenic activities and climate change have gradually altered the regulatory role of viruses in ecosystem carbon cycling processes. This has been particularly conspicuous over the past 200 years due to rapid industrialization and attendant population growth. The progressive acceleration of the spread and reproduction of viruses may subsequently accelerate the global C cycle

    Aboveground and Belowground Plant Traits Explain Latitudinal Patterns in Topsoil Fungal Communities From Tropical to Cold Temperate Forests

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    Soil fungi predominate the forest topsoil microbial biomass and participate in biogeochemical cycling as decomposers, symbionts, and pathogens. They are intimately associated with plants but their interactions with aboveground and belowground plant traits are unclear. Here, we evaluated soil fungal communities and their relationships with leaf and root traits in nine forest ecosystems ranging from tropical to cold temperate along a 3,700-km transect in eastern China. Basidiomycota was the most abundant phylum, followed by Ascomycota, Zygomycota, Glomeromycota, and Chytridiomycota. There was no latitudinal trend in total, saprotrophic, and pathotrophic fungal richness. However, ectomycorrhizal fungal abundance and richness increased with latitude significantly and reached maxima in temperate forests. Saprotrophic and pathotrophic fungi were most abundant in tropical and subtropical forests and their abundance decreased with latitude. Spatial and climatic factors, soil properties, and plant traits collectively explained 45% of the variance in soil fungal richness. Specific root length and root biomass had the greatest direct effects on total fungal richness. Specific root length was the key determinant of saprotrophic and pathotrophic fungal richness while root phosphorus content was the main biotic factor determining ectomycorrhizal fungal richness. In contrast, spatial and climatic features, soil properties, total leaf nitrogen and phosphorus, specific root length, and root biomass collectively explained >60% of the variance in fungal community composition. Soil fungal richness and composition are strongly controlled by both aboveground and belowground plant traits. The findings of this study provide new evidence that plant traits predict soil fungal diversity distribution at the continental scale

    Diurnal Temperature Variation and Plants Drive Latitudinal Patterns in Seasonal Dynamics of Soil Microbial Community

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    Seasonality, an exogenous driver, motivates the biological and ecological temporal dynamics of animal and plant communities. Underexplored microbial temporal endogenous dynamics hinders the prediction of microbial response to climate change. To elucidate temporal dynamics of microbial communities, temporal turnover rates, phylogenetic relatedness, and species interactions were integrated to compare those of a series of forest ecosystems along latitudinal gradients. The seasonal turnover rhythm of microbial communities, estimated by the slope (w value) of similarity-time decay relationship, was spatially structured across the latitudinal gradient, which may be caused by a mixture of both diurnal temperature variation and seasonal patterns of plants. Statistical analyses revealed that diurnal temperature variation instead of average temperature imposed a positive and considerable effect alone and also jointly with plants. Due to higher diurnal temperature variation with more climatic niches, microbial communities might evolutionarily adapt into more dispersed phylogenetic assembly based on the standardized effect size of MNTD metric, and ecologically form higher community resistance and resiliency with stronger network interactions among species. Archaea and the bacterial groups of Chloroflexi, Alphaproteobacteria, and Deltaproteobacteria were sensitive to diurnal temperature variation with greater turnover rates at higher latitudes, indicating that greater diurnal temperature fluctuation imposes stronger selective pressure on thermal specialists, because bacteria and archaea, single-celled organisms, have extreme short generation period compared to animal and plant. Our findings thus illustrate that the dynamics of microbial community and species interactions are crucial to assess ecosystem stability to climate variations in an increased climatic variability era

    Global pattern and controls of soil microbial metabolic quotient

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    imbalanceThe microbial metabolic quotient (MMQ), microbial respiration per unit of biomass, is a fundamental factor controlling heterotrophic respiration, the largest carbon flux in soils. The magnitude and controls of MMQ at regional scale remain uncertain. We compiled a comprehensive data set of MMQ to investigate the global patterns and controls of MMQ in top 30 cm soils. Published MMQ values, generally measured in laboratory microcosms, were adjusted on ambient soil temperature using long-term (30 yr) average site soil temperature and a Q₁₀ = 2. The area-weighted global average of MMQ_Soil is estimated as 1.8 (1.5-2.2) (95% confidence interval) μmol C·h⁻¹·mmol⁻¹ microbial biomass carbon (MBC) with substantial variations across biomes and between cropland and natural ecosystems. Variation was most closely associated with biological factors, followed by edaphic and meteorological parameters. MMQ_Soil was greatest in sandy clay and sandy clay loam and showed a pH maximum of 6.7 ± 0.1 (mean ± se). At large scale, MMQ_Soil varied with latitude and mean annual temperature (MAT), and was negatively correlated with microbial N:P ratio, supporting growth rate theory. These trends led to large differences in MMQ_Soil between natural ecosystems and cropland. When MMQ was adjusted to 11°C (MMQ_Ref), the global MAT in the top 30 cm of soils, the area-weighted global averages of MMQ_Ref was 1.5 (1.3-1.8) μmol C·mmol MBC⁻¹·h⁻¹. The values, trends, and controls of MMQ_Soil add to our understanding of soil microbial influences on soil carbon cycling and could be used to represent microbial activity in global carbon models