Ecosphere, is the newest addition to the ESA family of journal.

Description

The scope of Ecosphere is as broad as the science of ecology itself. The journal welcomes submissions from all sub-disciplines of ecological science, as well as interdisciplinary studies relating to ecology. The journal's goal is to provide a rapid-publication, online-only, open-access alternative to ESA's other journals, while maintaining the rigorous standards of peer review for which ESA publications are renowned.

latest article added on February 2014

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
Temporal and hierarchical spatial components of animal occurrence: conserving seasonal habitat for greater sage-grouseDzialak, M.R.2012

Temporal and hierarchical spatial components of animal occurrence: conserving seasonal habitat for greater sage-grouse

Keywords

diel cycle; energy development; GPS; greater sage-grouse, hierarchical process, individual variation;random effects; resource selection function; spatial modeling; sustainable landscape management; winter.

Abstract

Developing strategies for sustainable management of landscapes requires research that bridges regionally important ecological and socioeconomic issues, and that aims to provide solutions to sustainability problems.We integrated Global Positioning Systems (GPS) telemetry and statistical modeling to quantify hierarchical spatial and temporal components of occurrence among greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; n ¼ 87), a species of conservation concern, with the larger goal of developing spatially-explicit guidance for conservation of important winter habitat in a Wyoming, USA landscape undergoing development for energy resources. The pattern of occurrence at the landscape level (secondorder) and within seasonal use areas (third-order) included selection for shrub vegetation with a prominent sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) component, and avoidance of rough terrain, mesic areas, and human activity. A change in resource selection behavior across the diel cycle was not an apparent component of the higherorder selection process; however, at the finer scale of investigation sage-grouse shifted behavior across the diel cycle in ways likely related to risk aversion or maintaining a favorable thermal environment (i.e., daytime- only avoidance of natural gas wells and night-time-only selection for taller shrubs). At both spatial scales there was considerably more variation among individuals in the sign of their association with anthropogenic features than with vegetation and terrain. The final spatially-explicit model, which depicted lower-order selection (local, patch-level, and seasonal use area) across the diel cycle constrained by selection processes at a higher order (second-order), validated well, offering specific guidance for managing human activity and sage-grouse conservation in the study area, and general guidance in developing sustainable landscape management strategies when animal occurrence reflects multiple spatial and temporal processes.

Authors

Dzialak, M. R., C. V. Olson, S. M. Harju, S. L. Webb, and J. B. Winstead

Year Published

2012

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES11-00315.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

A regime shift from macrophyte to phytoplankton dominance enhances carbon burial in a shallow, eutrophic lakeBrothers, Soren M.2013

A regime shift from macrophyte to phytoplankton dominance enhances carbon burial in a shallow, eutrophic lake

Keywords

calcite precipitation, CO2 emissions, global carbon cycle, metabolism, regime shift, sedimentation, submerged macrophytes, temperate zone, trophic status

Abstract

Ecological regime shifts and carbon cycling in aquatic systems have both been subject to increasing attention in recent years, yet the direct connection between these topics has remained poorly understood. A four-fold increase in sedimentation rates was observed within the past 50 years in a shallow eutrophic lake with no surface in- or outflows. This change coincided with an ecological regime shift involving the complete loss of submerged macrophytes, leading to a more turbid, phytoplankton-dominated state. To determine whether the increase in carbon (C) burial resulted from a comprehensive transformation of C cycling pathways in parallel to this regime shift, we compared the annual C balances (mass balance and ecosystem budget) of this turbid lake to a similar nearby lake with submerged macrophytes, a higher transparency, and similar nutrient concentrations. C balances indicated that roughly 80% of the C input was permanently buried in the turbid lake sediments, compared to 40% in the clearer macrophyte-dominated lake. This was due to a higher measured C burial efficiency in the turbid lake, which could be explained by lower benthic C mineralization rates. These lower mineralization rates were associated with a decrease in benthic oxygen availability coinciding with the loss of submerged macrophytes. In contrast to previous assumptions that a regime shift to phytoplankton dominance decreases lake heterotrophy by boosting whole-lake primary production, our results suggest that an equivalent net metabolic shift may also result from lower C mineralization rates in a shallow, turbid lake. The widespread occurrence of such shifts may thus fundamentally alter the role of shallow lakes in the global C cycle, away from channeling terrestrial C to the atmosphere and towards burying an increasing amount of C.

Authors

Brothers, Soren M., Hilt, Sabine, Attermeyer, Katrin, Grossart, Hans Peter, Kosten, Sarian, Lischke, Betty, Mehner, Thomas, Meyer, Nils, Scharnweber, Kristin and Köhler, Jan

Year Published

2013

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES13-00247.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Effects of farm and landscape management on bird and butterfly conservation in western HondurasMILDER, JEFFREY C.2010

Effects of farm and landscape management on bird and butterfly conservation in western Honduras

Keywords

agriculture, agroforestry, biodiversity conservation, birds, butterflies, ecoagriculture, Honduras, land cover, landscape ecology, silvopasture

Abstract

Previous research has indicated that a substantial portion of native flora and fauna may persist in agricultural mosaics in the Neotropics. However, understanding the relative importance of different habitat factors and management practices at different scales for sustaining this biodiversity has proven somewhat elusive. In addition, most such research has taken place in only a few fairly well-studied landscapes, thus limiting our ability to infer broader patterns that might be transferred to unstudied locales. This study expands the geographic breadth of prior research by evaluating bird and butterfly assemblages in an agricultural landscape in the Río Copán watershed of western Honduras. The study also provides a systematic assessment of the relative influence of categorical and continuous habitat variables across a range of scales likely to be significant for birds and butterflies. Overall, we recorded 145 tree species, 139 bird species, and 119 butterfly species. Birds and butterflies displayed contrasting responses to land cover: birds were most strongly associated with dense vegetation in broadleaf forests, forest fallows, shade-grown coffee farms, and live fences, while butterflies were most abundant in live fences, pastures, and riparian forests. Bird assemblages were heavily skewed toward common and non-forest-dependent species, likely due to the young age and high disturbance level of forest plots. In contrast, butterfly assemblages contained a substantial proportion of forest-dependent species, which were observed in forests as well as pastures and live fences. Contrary to expectations, categorical land cover descriptors were more effective at explaining faunal assemblage patterns than continuous habitat descriptors related to vegetation and landscape context. In addition, plot scale (25–100 m) habitat features had a greater influence on faunal assemblages than did neighborhood scale (200–3000 m) landscape composition or structure, although differences in management intensity at the scale of the entire watershed (5–20 km) also exerted a strong influence on conservation outcomes.

Authors

MILDER, JEFFREY C., DeCLERCK, FABRICE A. J., SANFIORENZO, ANDRE, SÁNCHEZ, DALIA MERLO, TOBAR, DIEGO E. and ZUCKERBERG, BENJAMIN

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00003.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Recovery of native zooplankton associated with increased mortality of an invasive musselPACE, M. L.2010

Recovery of native zooplankton associated with increased mortality of an invasive mussel

Keywords

alien species, Dreissena polymorpha, Hudson River, invasion, long-term studies, population size structure, zebra mussels, zooplankton

Abstract

Impacts of alien species may change with time but there are few long-term studies of invasions. Here, we present an example of a substantial change in the impact of an alien species that appeared more than a decade after initial invasion. We studied an invasion of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) into the Hudson River (New York, USA) over a 22 year period (1987–2008) including five years of pre-invasion observations. Zebra mussels caused a substantial and sustained decline in phytoplankton, and until recently, zooplankton. However from 2005–2008, the abundance of copepods, copepod nauplii, and rotifers recovered while tintinnid ciliates partially recovered. These changes are consistent with an increased mortality of larger (> 20 mm) zebra mussels that has altered the filter-feeding impact of the population. Large mussels had a threshold relationship with the abundance of nauplii, rotifers, and zebra mussel veligers suppressing these microzooplankton when filtration by large mussels was > 0.5 m3 m−2 d−1. Zooplankton biomass declined approximately 50% after the zebra mussel invasion but has recovered to pre-invasion levels. Overall, while zebra mussels are still present and abundant in the Hudson River, their impact on zooplankton has significantly diminished.

Authors

PACE, M. L., STRAYER, D. L., FISCHER, D. and MALCOM, H. M.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00002.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Interfacing models of wildlife habitat and human development to predict the future distribution of puma habitatBURDETT, CHRISTOPHER L.2010

Interfacing models of wildlife habitat and human development to predict the future distribution of puma habitat

Keywords

California, carnivore, exurban, generalized-linear-mixed model, habitat loss, human development, human-wildlife conflict, Puma concolor

Abstract

The impact of human land uses on ecological systems typically differ relative to how extensively natural conditions are modified. Exurban development is intermediate-intensity residential development that often occurs in natural landscapes. Most species-habitat models do not evaluate the effects of such intermediate levels of human development and even fewer predict how future development patterns might affect the amount and configuration of habitat. We addressed these deficiencies by interfacing a habitat model with a spatially-explicit housing-density model to study the effect of human land uses on the habitat of pumas (Puma concolor) in southern California. We studied the response of pumas to natural and anthropogenic features within their home ranges and how mortality risk varied across a gradient of human development. We also used our housing-density model to estimate past and future housing densities and model the distribution of puma habitat in 1970, 2000, and 2030. The natural landscape for pumas in our study area consisted of riparian areas, oak woodlands, and open, conifer forests embedded in a chaparral matrix. Pumas rarely incorporated suburban or urban development into their home ranges, which is consistent with the hypothesis that the behavioral decisions of individuals can be collectively manifested as population-limiting factors at broader spatial scales. Pumas incorporated rural and exurban development into their home ranges, apparently perceiving these areas as modified, rather than non-habitat. Overall, pumas used exurban areas less than expected and showed a neutral response to rural areas. However, individual pumas that selected for or showed a neutral response to exurban areas had a higher risk of mortality than pumas that selected against exurban habitat. Exurban areas are likely hotspots for puma-human conflict in southern California. Approximately 10% of our study area will transform from exurban, rural, or undeveloped areas to suburban or urban by 2030, and 35% of suitable puma habitat on private land in 1970 will have been lost by 2030. These land-use changes will further isolate puma populations in southern California, but the ability to visualize these changes had provided a new tool for developing proactive conservation solutions.

Authors

BURDETT, CHRISTOPHER L., Crooks, Kevin R., THEOBALD, DAVID M., WILSON, KENNETH R., BOYDSTON, ERIN E., LYREN, LISA M., FISHER, ROBERT N., VICKERS, T. WINSTON, Morrison, Scott A. and BOYCE, WALTER M.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00005.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Contrasting ecosystem recovery on two soil textures: implications for carbon mitigation and grassland conservationBAER, S. G.2010

Contrasting ecosystem recovery on two soil textures: implications for carbon mitigation and grassland conservation

Keywords

aggregates, Conservation Reserve Program, microbial biomass, mineralization, nitrogen, restoration, roots, tallgrass prairie

Abstract

Understanding processes that promote or constrain ecosystem recovery from disturbance is needed to predict the restorative potential of degraded systems. We quantified a suite of ecosystem properties and processes across two chronosequences of restored grasslands on contrasting soil textures to test the hypothesis that restorations on silty clay loam soil would exhibit greater recovery of soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools and fluxes than on loamy fine sand because soil with higher clay content possesses a greater capacity to physico-chemically protect organic matter. Warm-season grass aboveground net primary productivity was similar between the two soil textures. Root biomass increased and root quality (as indexed by C:N ratio) decreased across both chronosequences. An asymptote in the accumulation of N in roots in the silty clay loam chronosequence resulted in wider C:N ratios of roots than in the loamy fine sand chronosequence. Total soil C (TC) and microbial biomass C (MBC) increased across the silty clay loam chronosequence at 21.2 and 5.7 g C·m−2·yr−1, respectively, and contained >6 times the amount of C in large macroaggregates and nearly 3 times the aggregate mean weighted diameter (MWD) relative to cultivated soil following 15 yrs of restoration. In contrast, there were no changes in TC, MBC, or MWD in the loamy fine sand chronosequence. Total and microbial biomass N increased at 2.0 and 0.27 g N·m−2·yr−1, respectively, across the silty clay loam chronosequence, and restored soil contained nearly 6 times large macroaggregate N than cultivated soil following 15 yrs of restoration. Potential net N mineralization rates declined with years of grass establishment in both soil textures, but overall rates were lower in the silty clay loam soil relative to the loamy fine sand, which was attributed to lower quality root systems, more improved soil structure, and larger microbial biomass. Thus, the potential for restored agricultural lands to mitigate CO2 emissions over the short term cannot be generalized across all soils. Lastly, the low restorative potential of cultivated loamy fine sand soil through grassland restoration within two decades (relevant to many conservation programs) underscores the need to prioritize preservation of remnant sand prairies.

Authors

BAER, S. G., MEYER, C. K., BACH, E. M., KLOPF, R. P. and SIX, J.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00004.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

A dynamic species distribution model of Glossina subgenus Morsitans : The identification of tsetse reservoirs and refugia DeVISSER, MARK H.2010

A dynamic species distribution model of Glossina subgenus Morsitans : The identification of tsetse reservoirs and refugia

Keywords

African trypanosomiasis, niche model, species distribution model, tsetse fly, tsetse reservoirs

Abstract

Tsetse flies are the primary vector for African trypanosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease that affects both humans and livestock across the continent of Africa. In 1973 tsetse were estimated to inhabit 22% of Kenya; by 1996 that number had risen to roughly 34%. Efforts to control the disease are hampered by a lack of information and costs associated with the identification of infested areas. To aid control efforts we have constructed the Tsetse Ecological Distribution Model (TED Model). The TED Model is a raster based dynamic species distribution model that predicts tsetse distributions at 250 m spatial resolution, based on habitat suitability and fly movement rates, at 16-day intervals. Although the TED Model can be parameterized to any tsetse subgenus/species requirements, for the purpose of this study the TED Model was parameterized to identify suitable habitat for Glossina subgenus Morsitans. Using the TED Model we have identified where and when Glossina subgenus Morsitans populations should be constrained by unfavorable ecological conditions to particular parcels of suitable habitat. It is our hope that by utilizing the predicted locations of tsetse reservoirs and refugia, control efforts will be better able to target tsetse populations when they are spatially constrained, thus maximizing limited available resources.

Authors

DeVISSER, MARK H., MESSINA, JOSEPH P., MOORE, NATHAN J., LUSCH, DAVID P. and MAITIMA, JOSEPH

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00006.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

The spatial influence of aboveground diversity on belowground communitiesBliss, T.2010

The spatial influence of aboveground diversity on belowground communities

Keywords

above-belowground interactions, biodiversity, community ecology, community structure, dominant species, Nebraska, USA, nematodes, Panicum virgatum, prairie ecology, switchgrass

Abstract

Little is known about the effect of diversity surrounding a focal plant species on the belowground community under that species. At least two alternative hypotheses exist. First, studies involving a range of ecosystems and taxonomic groups have shown that changes in diversity in one group of species can promote diversity in other groups. Alternatively, many studies in soil ecology have shown that belowground communities are strongly determined by the dominant aboveground species. To better understand the role of aboveground diversity on belowground communities, we examined soil nematode communities directly under Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) in areas of high and low surrounding plant diversity. We found that soil nematode diversity under switchgrass in areas of high plant diversity (native prairies) was not significantly different from soil nematode diversity under switchgrass in areas of extremely low plant diversity (switchgrass monocultures), indicating that an agricultural monoculture can maintain high levels of belowground diversity on a plant scale. However, reduced plant diversity surrounding focal switchgrass plants resulted in a compositional shift in the belowground community toward fewer herbivorous nematodes. This evidence for the influence of surrounding diversity on belowground communities under a focal plant species is a major shift in perspective from the conventional view on belowground community ecology. Furthermore, the work has broad implications for ecological perspectives on agricultural systems.

Authors

Bliss, T., Powers, Thomas O. and Brassil, Chad E.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00040.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Dispersal movements of subadult cougars from the Black Hills: the notions of range expansion and recolonizationThompson, D. J.2010

Dispersal movements of subadult cougars from the Black Hills: the notions of range expansion and recolonization

Keywords

Black Hills, cougar, dispersal, long-distance dispersal, Puma concolor, range expansion, recolonization, South Dakota, Wyoming

Abstract

Dispersal plays a vital role in cougar (Puma concolor) population ecology, creating genetic viability and maintaining gene flow between populations. The naturally recolonized cougar population in the Black Hills is at the edge of the species' range in North America and completely surrounded by the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains. Our objective was to document dispersal movements and possible range expansion of subadult cougars captured within the Black Hills ecosystem of southwestern South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Twenty-four (n = 14 males, n = 10 females) subadult cougars were captured in the Black Hills. Independence of cougars from females averaged 13.5 months (range = 10–16 months) from parturition; dispersal occurred 1–3 months post independence. Males dispersed (mean = 274.7 km SE 88.3) farther than females (mean = 48.0 km SE 10.9), with females exhibiting 40% philopatry. We documented several (n = 6) long-distance dispersal movements (>250 km) of male cougars and hypothesize that males making long-distance movements were in search of available mates. The long-distance cougar dispersal movements documented by our study indicate that range expansion and habitat recolonization are occurring and further suggest proactive efforts to increase public knowledge of cougar ecology in areas where cougars are recolonizing previously occupied range.

Authors

Thompson, D. J. and Jenks, J. A.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00028.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

Long-term vegetation responses to reintroduction and repeated use of fire in mixed-conifer forests of the Sierra NevadaWebster, Karen M.2010

Long-term vegetation responses to reintroduction and repeated use of fire in mixed-conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada

Keywords

diversity, fire effects, fire frequency, heterogeneity, mixed-conifer forest, plant dispersal, prescribed fire, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, severity, understory

Abstract

Nearly a century of fire suppression has changed fundamental aspects of the structure and functioning of fire-adapted forests throughout the western U.S. Prescribed fire is increasingly used to restore forest structure and reduce surface fuels with limited consideration of its consequences for biological diversity. In this study, we used more than two decades of data from permanent plots in mixed-conifer forests of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California, to explore changes in plant diversity and abundance following reintroduction and repeated use of fire. Data on stand structure, fuel loading, fire severity and heterogeneity, and the richness and abundance of major growth forms were collected on 51 plots representing one of three treatments: control, first-entry burn, and second-entry burn. Understories showed distinct compositional changes over time in first- and second-entry burns. Burned plots supported more than twice as many species as controls 10 yr after treatment; first-entry plots showed a nearly threefold increase in richness by year 20. Burned plots supported four to five times as many shrub species as controls 5–10 yr after burning. Total plant cover (dominated by perennial forbs and shrubs) increased in first-entry plots, but did not differ from controls until 20 yr after treatment. Following second-entry, cover did not change through final sampling (year 10). Nonnative species were rare, occurring in only three plots at low abundance. Higher severity fires led to greater numbers of species and to greater plant cover. Species richness was not correlated with burn heterogeneity. Long-term observations suggest that reintroduction of fire in previously unmanaged forests can gradually enhance the diversity and abundance of understory species. Repeated burning—necessary to achieve structural and fuel-reduction objectives—does not appear to have a detrimental effect on plant diversity and may enhance the distributions of species that are adversely affected by fire exclusion. If fire is to play an important role in restoration, however, it will need to be maintained as a frequent and spatially dynamic process on the landscape.

Authors

Webster, Karen M. and Halpern, Charles B.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Ecosphere

Locations
DOI

10.1890/ES10-00018.1

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

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