Rastetter Edward B.

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Edward B.

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  • Article
    Warming effects on arctic tundra biogeochemistry are limited but habitat-dependent: a meta-analysis
    (Ecological Society of America, 2021-10-12) Pold, Grace ; Baillargeon, Natalie ; Lepe, Adan ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Sistla, Seeta A.
    Arctic tundra consists of diverse habitats that differ in dominant vegetation, soil moisture regimes, and relative importance of organic vs. inorganic nutrient cycling. The Arctic is also the most rapidly warming global area, with winter warming dominating. This warming is expected to have dramatic effects on tundra carbon and nutrient dynamics. We completed a meta-analysis of 166 experimental warming study papers to evaluate the hypotheses that warming changes tundra biogeochemical cycles in a habitat- and seasonally specific manner and that the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycles will be differentially accelerated, leading to decoupling of elemental cycles. We found that nutrient availability and plant leaf stoichiometry responses to experimental warming were variable and overall weak, but that both gross primary productivity and the plant C pool tended to increase with growing season warming. The effects of winter warming on C fluxes did not extend into the growing season. Overall, although warming led to more consistent increases in C fluxes compared to N or P fluxes, evidence for decoupling of biogeochemical cycles is weak and any effect appears limited to heath habitats. However, data on many habitats are too sparse to be able to generalize how warming might decouple biogeochemical cycles, and too few year-round warming studies exist to ascertain whether the season under which warming occurs alters how ecosystems respond to warming. Coordinated field campaigns are necessary to more robustly document tundra habitat-specific responses to realistic climate warming scenarios in order to better understand the mechanisms driving this heterogeneity and identify the tundra habitats, communities, and soil pools most susceptible to warming.
  • Preprint
    A framework to assess biogeochemical response to ecosystem disturbance using nutrient partitioning ratios
    ( 2015-11) Kranabetter, J. Marty ; McLauchlan, Kendra K. ; Enders, Sara K. ; Fraterrigo, Jennifer M. ; Higuera, Philip E. ; Morris, Jesse L. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Barnes, Rebecca T. ; Buma, Brian ; Gavin, Daniel ; Gerhart, Laci M. ; Gillson, Lindsey ; Hietz, Peter ; Mack, Michelle C. ; McNeil, Brenden ; Perakis, Steven S.
    Disturbances affect almost all terrestrial ecosystems, but it has been difficult to identify general principles regarding these influences. To improve our understanding of the long-term consequences of disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems, we present a conceptual framework that analyzes disturbances by their biogeochemical impacts. We posit that the ratio of soil and plant nutrient stocks in mature ecosystems represents a characteristic site property. Focusing on nitrogen (N), we hypothesize that this partitioning ratio (soil N: plant N) will undergo a predictable trajectory after disturbance. We investigate the nature of this partitioning ratio with three approaches: (1) nutrient stock data from forested ecosystems in North America, (2) a process-based ecosystem model, and (3) conceptual shifts in site nutrient availability with altered disturbance frequency. Partitioning ratios could be applied to a variety of ecosystems and successional states, allowing for improved temporal scaling of disturbance events. The generally short-term empirical evidence for recovery trajectories of nutrient stocks and partitioning ratios suggests two areas for future research. First, we need to recognize and quantify how disturbance effects can be accreting or depleting, depending on whether their net effect is to increase or decrease ecosystem nutrient stocks. Second, we need to test how altered disturbance frequencies from the present state may be constructive or destructive in their effects on biogeochemical cycling and nutrient availability. Long-term studies, with repeated sampling of soils and vegetation, will be essential in further developing this framework of biogeochemical response to disturbance.
  • Article
    Contrasting soil thermal responses to fire in Alaskan tundra and boreal forest
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-02-24) Jiang, Yueyang ; Rocha, Adrian V. ; O’Donnell, Jonathan A. ; Drysdale, Jessica A. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Zhuang, Qianlai
    Recent fire activity throughout Alaska has increased the need to understand postfire impacts on soils and permafrost vulnerability. Our study utilized data and modeling from a permafrost and ecosystem gradient to develop a mechanistic understanding of the short- and long-term impacts of tundra and boreal forest fires on soil thermal dynamics. Fires influenced a variety of factors that altered the surface energy budget, soil moisture, and the organic-layer thickness with the overall effect of increasing soil temperatures and thaw depth. The postfire thickness of the soil organic layer and its impact on soil thermal conductivity was the most important factor determining postfire soil temperatures and thaw depth. Boreal and tundra ecosystems underlain by permafrost experienced smaller postfire soil temperature increases than the nonpermafrost boreal forest from the direct and indirect effects of permafrost on drainage, soil moisture, and vegetation flammability. Permafrost decreased the loss of the insulating soil organic layer, decreased soil drying, increased surface water pooling, and created a significant heat sink to buffer postfire soil temperature and thaw depth changes. Ecosystem factors also played a role in determining postfire thaw depth with boreal forests taking several decades longer to recover their soil thermal properties than tundra. These factors resulted in tundra being less sensitive to postfire soil thermal changes than the nonpermafrost boreal forest. These results suggest that permafrost and soil organic carbon will be more vulnerable to fire as climate warms.
  • Article
    N budgets and aquatic uptake in the Ipswich River basin, northeastern Massachusetts
    (American Geophysical Union, 2004-11-05) Williams, Michael ; Hopkinson, Charles S. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Vallino, Joseph J.
    We calculated N budgets and conducted nutrient uptake experiments to evaluate the fate of N in the aquatic environment of the Ipswich River basin, northeastern Massachusetts. A mass balance indicates that the basin retains about 50% of gross N inputs, mostly in terrestrial components of the landscape, and the loss and retention of total nitrogen (TN) in the aquatic environment was about 9% of stream loading. Uptake lengths of PO4 and NH4 were measurable in headwater streams, but NO3 uptake was below detection (minimum detection limit = 0.05 μM). Retention or loss of NO3 was observed in a main stem reach bordered by wetland habitat. Nitrate removal in urban headwater tributaries was because of water withdrawals and denitrification during hypoxic events and in ponded wetlands with long water residence times. A mass balance using an entire river network indicates that basin-wide losses due to aquatic denitrification are considerably lower than estimates from several recent studies and range from 4 to 16% of TDN in stream loading. Withdrawals for domestic use restrict the runoff of headwater catchments from reaching the main stem during low base flow periods, thereby contributing to the spatial and temporal regulation of N export from headwater tributaries.
  • Article
    Nitrate is an important nitrogen source for Arctic tundra plants
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2018-03-27) Liu, Xue-Yan ; Koba, Keisuke ; Koyama, Lina A. ; Hobbie, Sarah E. ; Weiss, Marissa S. ; Inagaki, Yoshiyuki ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Giblin, Anne E. ; Hobara, Satoru ; Nadelhoffer, Knute J. ; Sommerkorn, Martin ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Kling, George W. ; Laundre, James A. ; Yano, Yuriko ; Makabe, Akiko ; Yano, Midori ; Liu, Cong-Qiang
    Plant nitrogen (N) use is a key component of the N cycle in terrestrial ecosystems. The supply of N to plants affects community species composition and ecosystem processes such as photosynthesis and carbon (C) accumulation. However, the availabilities and relative importance of different N forms to plants are not well understood. While nitrate (NO3−) is a major N form used by plants worldwide, it is discounted as a N source for Arctic tundra plants because of extremely low NO3− concentrations in Arctic tundra soils, undetectable soil nitrification, and plant-tissue NO3− that is typically below detection limits. Here we reexamine NO3− use by tundra plants using a sensitive denitrifier method to analyze plant-tissue NO3−. Soil-derived NO3− was detected in tundra plant tissues, and tundra plants took up soil NO3− at comparable rates to plants from relatively NO3−-rich ecosystems in other biomes. Nitrate assimilation determined by 15N enrichments of leaf NO3− relative to soil NO3− accounted for 4 to 52% (as estimated by a Bayesian isotope-mixing model) of species-specific total leaf N of Alaskan tundra plants. Our finding that in situ soil NO3− availability for tundra plants is high has important implications for Arctic ecosystems, not only in determining species compositions, but also in determining the loss of N from soils via leaching and denitrification. Plant N uptake and soil N losses can strongly influence C uptake and accumulation in tundra soils. Accordingly, this evidence of NO3− availability in tundra soils is crucial for predicting C storage in tundra.
  • Preprint
    Nitrogen dynamics in arctic tundra soils of varying age : differential responses to fertilization and warming
    ( 2013-03) Yano, Yuriko ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Giblin, Anne E. ; Laundre, James A.
    In the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, Alaska, a series of glacial retreats has created a landscape that varies widely in time since deglaciation (= soil age), from ~10k years to more than 2M years. Productivity of the moist tundra that covers most of this landscape is generally N-limited, but varies widely, as do plant-species composition and key soil properties such as pH. These differences might be altered in the future because of the projected increase in N availability under a warmer climate. We hypothesized that future changes in productivity and vegetation composition across soil ages might be mediated through changes in N availability. To test this hypothesis, we compared readily available-N (water-soluble ammonium, nitrate, and amino acids), moderately-available N (soluble proteins), hydrolysable-N, and total-N pools across three tussock-tundra landscapes with soil ages ranging from 11.5k to 300k years. We also compared the effects of long-term fertilization and warming on these N pools for the two younger sites, in order to assess whether the impacts of warming and increased N availability differ by soil age. Readily available N was largest at the oldest site, and amino acids (AA) accounted for 80-89 % of this N. At the youngest site, however, inorganic N constituted the majority (80-97%) of total readily-available N. This variation reflected the large differences in plant functional-group composition and soil chemical properties. Long-term (8-16 years) fertilization increased soluble inorganic N by 20-100 fold at the intermediate-age site, but only by 2-3 fold at the youngest-soil site. Warming caused small and inconsistent changes in the soil C:N ratio and soluble AA, but only in soils beneath Eriophorum vaginatum, the dominant tussock-forming sedge. These differential responses suggest that the impacts of warmer climates on these tundra ecosystems are more complex than simply elevated N mineralization, and that the response of the N cycling might differ strongly depending on the ecosystem’s soil age, initial soil properties, and plant-community composition.
  • Article
    Recovery from disturbance requires resynchronization of ecosystem nutrient cycles
    (Ecological Society of America, 2013-04) Rastetter, Edward B. ; Yanai, Ruth D. ; Thomas, R. Q. ; Vadeboncoeur, Matthew A. ; Fahey, Timothy J. ; Fisk, M. C. ; Kwiatkowski, Bonnie L. ; Hamburg, S. P.
    Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are tightly cycled in most terrestrial ecosystems, with plant uptake more than 10 times higher than the rate of supply from deposition and weathering. This near-total dependence on recycled nutrients and the stoichiometric constraints on resource use by plants and microbes mean that the two cycles have to be synchronized such that the ratio of N:P in plant uptake, litterfall, and net mineralization are nearly the same. Disturbance can disrupt this synchronization if there is a disproportionate loss of one nutrient relative to the other. We model the resynchronization of N and P cycles following harvest of a northern hardwood forest. In our simulations, nutrient loss in the harvest is small relative to postharvest losses. The low N:P ratio of harvest residue results in a preferential release of P and retention of N. The P release is in excess of plant requirements and P is lost from the active ecosystem cycle through secondary mineral formation and leaching early in succession. Because external P inputs are small, the resynchronization of the N and P cycles later in succession is achieved by a commensurate loss of N. Through succession, the ecosystem undergoes alternating periods of N limitation, then P limitation, and eventually co-limitation as the two cycles resynchronize. However, our simulations indicate that the overall rate and extent of recovery is limited by P unless a mechanism exists either to prevent the P loss early in succession (e.g., P sequestration not stoichiometrically constrained by N) or to increase the P supply to the ecosystem later in succession (e.g., biologically enhanced weathering). Our model provides a heuristic perspective from which to assess the resynchronization among tightly cycled nutrients and the effect of that resynchronization on recovery of ecosystems from disturbance.
  • Preprint
    Terrestrial C sequestration at elevated CO2 and temperature : the role of dissolved organic N loss
    ( 2004-06-07) Rastetter, Edward B. ; Perakis, Steven S. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Agren, Goran I.
    We used a simple model of carbon–nitrogen (C–N) interactions in terrestrial ecosystems to examine the responses to elevated CO2 and to elevated CO2 plus warming in ecosystems that had the same total nitrogen loss but that differed in the ratio of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) to dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) loss. We postulate that DIN losses can be curtailed by higher N demand in response to elevated CO2, but that DON losses cannot. We also examined simulations in which DON losses were held constant, were proportional to the amount of soil organic matter, were proportional to the soil C:N ratio, or were proportional to the rate of decomposition. We found that the mode of N loss made little difference to the short-term (<60 years) rate of carbon sequestration by the ecosystem, but high DON losses resulted in much lower carbon sequestration in the long term than did low DON losses. In the short term, C sequestration was fueled by an internal redistribution of N from soils to vegetation and by increases in the C:N ratio of soils and vegetation. This sequestration was about three times larger with elevated CO2 and warming than with elevated CO2 alone. After year 60, C sequestration was fueled by a net accumulation of N in the ecosystem, and the rate of sequestration was about the same with elevated CO2 and warming as with elevated CO2 alone. With high DON losses, the ecosystem either sequestered C slowly after year 60 (when DON losses were constant or proportional to soil organic matter) or lost C (when DON losses were proportional to the soil C:N ratio or to decomposition). We conclude that changes in long-term C sequestration depend not only on the magnitude of N losses, but also on the form of those losses.
  • Article
    Controls on nitrogen cycling in terrestrial ecosystems : a synthetic analysis of literature data
    (Ecological Society of America, 2005-05) Booth, Mary S. ; Stark, John M. ; Rastetter, Edward B.
    Isotope pool dilution studies are increasingly reported in the soils and ecology literature as a means of measuring gross rates of nitrogen (N) mineralization, nitrification, and inorganic N assimilation in soils. We assembled data on soil characteristics and gross rates from 100 studies conducted in forest, shrubland, grassland, and agricultural systems to answer the following questions: What factors appear to be the major drivers for production and consumption of inorganic N as measured by isotope dilution studies? Do rates or the relationships between drivers and rates differ among ecosystem types? Across a wide range of ecosystems, gross N mineralization is positively correlated with microbial biomass and soil C and N concentrations, while soil C:N ratio exerts a negative effect on N mineralization only after adjusting for differences in soil C. Nitrification is a log-linear function of N mineralization, increasing rapidly at low mineralization rates but changing only slightly at high mineralization rates. In contrast, NH4+ assimilation by soil microbes increases nearly linearly over the full range of mineralization rates. As a result, nitrification is proportionately more important as a fate for NH4+ at low mineralization rates than at high mineralization rates. Gross nitrification rates show no relationship to soil pH, with some of the fastest nitrification rates occurring below pH 5 in soils with high N mineralization rates. Differences in soil organic matter (SOM) composition and concentration among ecosystem types influence the production and fate of mineralized N. Soil organic matter from grasslands appears to be inherently more productive of ammonium than SOM from wooded sites, and SOM from deciduous forests is more so than SOM in coniferous forests, but differences appear to result primarily from differing C:N ratios of organic matter. Because of the central importance of SOM characteristics and concentrations in regulating rates, soil organic matter depletion in agricultural systems appears to be an important determinant of gross process rates and the proportion of NH4+ that is nitrified. Addition of 15N appears to stimulate NH4+ consumption more than NO3− consumption processes; however, the magnitude of the stimulation may provide useful information regarding the factors limiting microbial N transformations.
  • Article
    Model responses to CO(2) and warming are underestimated without explicit representation of Arctic small-mammal grazing
    (Ecological Society of America, 2021-10-17) Rastetter, Edward B. ; Griffin, Kevin L. ; Rowe, Rebecca J. ; Gough, Laura ; McLaren, Jennie ; Boelman, Natalie
    We use a simple model of coupled carbon and nitrogen cycles in terrestrial ecosystems to examine how “explicitly representing grazers” vs. “having grazer effects implicitly aggregated in with other biogeochemical processes in the model” alters predicted responses to elevated carbon dioxide and warming. The aggregated approach can affect model predictions because grazer-mediated processes can respond differently to changes in climate compared with the processes with which they are typically aggregated. We use small-mammal grazers in a tundra as an example and find that the typical three-to-four-year cycling frequency is too fast for the effects of cycle peaks and troughs to be fully manifested in the ecosystem biogeochemistry. We conclude that implicitly aggregating the effects of small-mammal grazers with other processes results in an underestimation of ecosystem response to climate change, relative to estimations in which the grazer effects are explicitly represented. The magnitude of this underestimation increases with grazer density. We therefore recommend that grazing effects be incorporated explicitly when applying models of ecosystem response to global change.
  • Preprint
    Modeling for understanding v. modeling for numbers
    ( 2016-11) Rastetter, Edward B.
    I draw a distinction between Modeling for Numbers, which aims to address how much, when, and where questions, and Modeling for Understanding, which aims to address how and why questions. For-numbers models are often empirical, which can be more accurate than their mechanistic analogues as long as they are well calibrated and predictions are made within the domain of the calibration data. To extrapolate beyond the domain of available system-level data, for-numbers models should be mechanistic, relying on the ability to calibrate to the system components even if it is not possible to calibrate to the system itself. However, development of a mechanistic model that is reliable depends on an adequate understanding of the system. This understanding is best advanced using a for-understanding modeling approach. To address how and why questions, for-understanding models have to be mechanistic. The best of these for-understanding models are focused on specific questions, stripped of extraneous detail, and elegantly simple. Once the mechanisms are well understood, one can then decide if the benefits of incorporating the mechanism in a for-numbers model is worth the added complexity and the uncertainty associated with estimating the additional model parameters.
  • Preprint
    Depleted 15N in hydrolysable-N of arctic soils and its implication for mycorrhizal fungi–plant interaction
    ( 2009-08) Yano, Yuriko ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Giblin, Anne E. ; Rastetter, Edward B.
    Uptake of nitrogen (N) via root-mycorrhizal associations accounts for a significant portion of total N supply to many vascular plants. Using stable isotope ratios (δ15N) and the mass balance among N pools of plants, fungal tissues, and soils, a number of efforts have been made in recent years to quantify the flux of N from mycorrhizal fungi to host plants. Current estimates of this flux for arctic tundra ecosystems rely on the untested assumption that the δ15N of labile organic N taken up by the fungi is approximately the same as the δ15N of bulk soil. We report here hydrolysable amino acids are more depleted in 15N relative to hydrolysable ammonium and amino sugars in arctic tundra soils near Toolik Lake, Alaska, USA. We demonstrate, using a case study, that recognizing the depletion in 15N for hydrolysable amino acids (δ15N = -5.6 ‰ on average) would alter recent estimates of N flux between mycorrhizal fungi and host plants in an arctic tundra ecosystem.
  • Article
    Responses of a tundra system to warming using SCAMPS : a stoichiometrically coupled, acclimating microbe–plant–soil model
    (Ecological Society of America, 2014-02) Sistla, Seeta A. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Schimel, Joshua P.
    Soils, plants, and microbial communities respond to global change perturbations through coupled, nonlinear interactions. Dynamic ecological responses complicate projecting how global change disturbances will influence ecosystem processes, such as carbon (C) storage. We developed an ecosystem-scale model (Stoichiometrically Coupled, Acclimating Microbe–Plant–Soil model, SCAMPS) that simulates the dynamic feedbacks between aboveground and belowground communities that affect their shared soil environment. The belowground component of the model includes three classes of soil organic matter (SOM), three microbially synthesized extracellular enzyme classes specific to these SOM pools, and a microbial biomass pool with a variable C-to-N ratio (C:N). The plant biomass, which contributes to the SOM pools, flexibly allocates growth toward wood, root, and leaf biomass, based on nitrogen (N) uptake and shoot-to-root ratio. Unlike traditional ecosystem models, the microbial community can acclimate to changing soil resources by shifting its C:N between a lower C:N, faster turnover (bacteria-like) community, and a higher C:N, slower turnover (fungal-like) community. This stoichiometric flexibility allows for the microbial C and N use efficiency to vary, feeding back into system decomposition and productivity dynamics. These feedbacks regulate changes in extracellular enzyme synthesis, soil pool turnover rates, plant growth, and ecosystem C storage. We used SCAMPS to test the interactive effects of winter, summer, and year-round soil warming, in combination with microbial acclimation ability, on decomposition dynamics and plant growth in a tundra system. Over 50-year simulations, both the seasonality of warming and the ability of the microbial community to acclimate had strong effects on ecosystem C dynamics. Across all scenarios, warming increased plant biomass (and therefore litter inputs to the SOM), while the ability of the microbial community to acclimate increased soil C loss. Winter warming drove the largest ecosystem C losses when the microbial community could acclimate, and the largest ecosystem C gains when it could not acclimate. Similar to empirical studies of tundra warming, modeled summer warming had relatively negligible effects on soil C loss, regardless of acclimation ability. In contrast, winter and year-round warming drove marked soil C loss when decomposers could acclimate, despite also increasing plant biomass. These results suggest that incorporating dynamically interacting microbial and plant communities into ecosystem models might increase the ability to link ongoing global change field observations with macro-scale projections of ecosystem biogeochemical cycling in systems under change.
  • Article
    Processing arctic eddy-flux data using a simple carbon-exchange model embedded in the ensemble Kalman filter
    (Ecological Society of America, 2010-07) Rastetter, Edward B. ; Williams, Mathew ; Griffin, Kevin L. ; Kwiatkowski, Bonnie L. ; Tomasky, Gabrielle ; Potosnak, Mark J. ; Stoy, Paul C. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Stieglitz, Marc ; Hobbie, John E. ; Kling, George W.
    Continuous time-series estimates of net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE) are routinely made using eddy covariance techniques. Identifying and compensating for errors in the NEE time series can be automated using a signal processing filter like the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). The EnKF compares each measurement in the time series to a model prediction and updates the NEE estimate by weighting the measurement and model prediction relative to a specified measurement error estimate and an estimate of the model-prediction error that is continuously updated based on model predictions of earlier measurements in the time series. Because of the covariance among model variables, the EnKF can also update estimates of variables for which there is no direct measurement. The resulting estimates evolve through time, enabling the EnKF to be used to estimate dynamic variables like changes in leaf phenology. The evolving estimates can also serve as a means to test the embedded model and reconcile persistent deviations between observations and model predictions. We embedded a simple arctic NEE model into the EnKF and filtered data from an eddy covariance tower located in tussock tundra on the northern foothills of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska, USA. The model predicts NEE based only on leaf area, irradiance, and temperature and has been well corroborated for all the major vegetation types in the Low Arctic using chamber-based data. This is the first application of the model to eddy covariance data. We modified the EnKF by adding an adaptive noise estimator that provides a feedback between persistent model data deviations and the noise added to the ensemble of Monte Carlo simulations in the EnKF. We also ran the EnKF with both a specified leaf-area trajectory and with the EnKF sequentially recalibrating leaf-area estimates to compensate for persistent model-data deviations. When used together, adaptive noise estimation and sequential recalibration substantially improved filter performance, but it did not improve performance when used individually. The EnKF estimates of leaf area followed the expected springtime canopy phenology. However, there were also diel fluctuations in the leaf-area estimates; these are a clear indication of a model deficiency possibly related to vapor pressure effects on canopy conductance.
  • Article
    Estimating uncertainty in ecosystem budget calculations
    (Springer, 2010-02-25) Yanai, Ruth D. ; Battles, John J. ; Richardson, Andrew D. ; Blodgett, Corrie A. ; Wood, Dustin M. ; Rastetter, Edward B.
    Ecosystem nutrient budgets often report values for pools and fluxes without any indication of uncertainty, which makes it difficult to evaluate the significance of findings or make comparisons across systems. We present an example, implemented in Excel, of a Monte Carlo approach to estimating error in calculating the N content of vegetation at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. The total N content of trees was estimated at 847 kg ha−1 with an uncertainty of 8%, expressed as the standard deviation divided by the mean (the coefficient of variation). The individual sources of uncertainty were as follows: uncertainty in allometric equations (5%), uncertainty in tissue N concentrations (3%), uncertainty due to plot variability (6%, based on a sample of 15 plots of 0.05 ha), and uncertainty due to tree diameter measurement error (0.02%). In addition to allowing estimation of uncertainty in budget estimates, this approach can be used to assess which measurements should be improved to reduce uncertainty in the calculated values. This exercise was possible because the uncertainty in the parameters and equations that we used was made available by previous researchers. It is important to provide the error statistics with regression results if they are to be used in later calculations; archiving the data makes resampling analyses possible for future researchers. When conducted using a Monte Carlo framework, the analysis of uncertainty in complex calculations does not have to be difficult and should be standard practice when constructing ecosystem budgets.
  • Article
    Sporadic P limitation constrains microbial growth and facilitates SOM accumulation in the stoichiometrically coupled, acclimating microbe-plant-soil model
    (Elsevier, 2021-11-29) Pold, Grace ; Kwiatkowski, Bonnie L. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Sistla, Seeta A.
    Requirements for biomass carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) constrain organism growth and are important agents for structuring ecosystems. Arctic tundra habitats are strongly nutrient limited as decomposition and recycling of nutrients are slowed by low temperature. Modeling interactions among these elemental cycles affords an opportunity to explore how disturbances such as climate change might differentially affect these nutrient cycles. Here we introduce a C–N–P-coupled version of the Stoichiometrically Coupled Acclimating Microbe-Plant-Soil (SCAMPS) model, “SCAMPS-CNP”, and a corresponding modified CN-only model, “SCAMPS-CN”. We compared how SCAMPS-CNP and the modified SCAMPS-CN models project a moderate (RCP 6.0) air warming scenario will impact tussock tundra nutrient availability and ecosystem C stocks. SCAMPS-CNP was characterized by larger SOM and smaller organism C stocks compared to SCAMPS-CN, and a greater reduction in ecosystem C stocks under warming. This difference can largely be attributed to a smaller microbial biomass in the CNP model, which, instead of being driven by direct costs of P acquisition, was driven by variable resource limitation due to asynchronous C, N, and P availability and demand. Warming facilitated a greater relative increase in plant and microbial biomass in SCAMPS-CNP, however, facilitated by increased extracellular enzyme pools and activity, which more than offset the metabolic costs associated with their production. Although the microbial community was able to flexibly adapt its stoichiometry and become more bacteria-like (N-rich) in both models, its stoichiometry deviated further from its target value in the CNP model because of the need to balance cellular NP ratio. Our results indicate that seasonality and asynchrony in resources affect predicted changes in ecosystem C storage under warming in these models, and therefore build on a growing body of literature indicating stoichiometry should be considered in carbon cycling projections.
  • Article
    Ecosystem responses to climate change at a Low Arctic and a High Arctic long-term research site
    (Springer, 2017-01-23) Hobbie, John E. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Cherry, Jessica E. ; Goetz, Scott J. ; Guay, Kevin C. ; Gould, William A. ; Kling, George W.
    Long-term measurements of ecological effects of warming are often not statistically significant because of annual variability or signal noise. These are reduced in indicators that filter or reduce the noise around the signal and allow effects of climate warming to emerge. In this way, certain indicators act as medium pass filters integrating the signal over years-to-decades. In the Alaskan Arctic, the 25-year record of warming of air temperature revealed no significant trend, yet environmental and ecological changes prove that warming is affecting the ecosystem. The useful indicators are deep permafrost temperatures, vegetation and shrub biomass, satellite measures of canopy reflectance (NDVI), and chemical measures of soil weathering. In contrast, the 18-year record in the Greenland Arctic revealed an extremely high summer air-warming of 1.3°C/decade; the cover of some plant species increased while the cover of others decreased. Useful indicators of change are NDVI and the active layer thickness.
  • Article
    Modeling coupled biogeochemical cycles
    (Ecological Society of America, 2011-02) Rastetter, Edward B.
    Organisms require about 30 essential elements to sustain life. The cycles of these elements are coupled to one another through the specific physiological requirements of the organisms. Here, I contrast several approaches to modeling coupled biogeochemical cycles using an example of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus accumulation in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest ecosystem and the response of that forest to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global warming. Which of these approaches is most appropriate is subject to debate and probably depends on context; nevertheless, this question must be answered if scientists are to understand ecosystems and how they might respond to a changing global environment.
  • Article
    N and P constrain C in ecosystems under climate change: role of nutrient redistribution, accumulation, and stoichiometry
    (Ecological Society of America, 2022-05-28) Rastetter, Edward B. ; Kwiatkowski, Bonnie L. ; Kicklighter, David W. ; Barker Plotkin, Audrey ; Genet, Helene ; Nippert, Jesse B. ; O'Keefe, Kimberly ; Perakis, Steven S. ; Porder, Stephen ; Roley, Sarah S. ; Ruess, Roger W. ; Thompson, Jonathan R. ; Wieder, William R. ; Wilcox, Kevin R. ; Yanai, Ruth D.
    We use the Multiple Element Limitation (MEL) model to examine responses of 12 ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2), warming, and 20% decreases or increases in precipitation. Ecosystems respond synergistically to elevated CO2, warming, and decreased precipitation combined because higher water-use efficiency with elevated CO2 and higher fertility with warming compensate for responses to drought. Response to elevated CO2, warming, and increased precipitation combined is additive. We analyze changes in ecosystem carbon (C) based on four nitrogen (N) and four phosphorus (P) attribution factors: (1) changes in total ecosystem N and P, (2) changes in N and P distribution between vegetation and soil, (3) changes in vegetation C:N and C:P ratios, and (4) changes in soil C:N and C:P ratios. In the combined CO2 and climate change simulations, all ecosystems gain C. The contributions of these four attribution factors to changes in ecosystem C storage varies among ecosystems because of differences in the initial distributions of N and P between vegetation and soil and the openness of the ecosystem N and P cycles. The net transfer of N and P from soil to vegetation dominates the C response of forests. For tundra and grasslands, the C gain is also associated with increased soil C:N and C:P. In ecosystems with symbiotic N fixation, C gains resulted from N accumulation. Because of differences in N versus P cycle openness and the distribution of organic matter between vegetation and soil, changes in the N and P attribution factors do not always parallel one another. Differences among ecosystems in C-nutrient interactions and the amount of woody biomass interact to shape ecosystem C sequestration under simulated global change. We suggest that future studies quantify the openness of the N and P cycles and changes in the distribution of C, N, and P among ecosystem components, which currently limit understanding of nutrient effects on C sequestration and responses to elevated CO2 and climate change.
  • Preprint
    Incident radiation and the allocation of nitrogen within Arctic plant canopies : implications for predicting gross primary productivity
    ( 2012-01) Street, Lorna E. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; van Wijk, Mark T. ; Kaye, Brooke A. ; Williams, Mathew
    Arctic vegetation is characterized by high spatial variability in plant functional type (PFT) composition and gross primary productivity (P). Despite this variability, the two main drivers of P in sub-Arctic tundra are leaf area index (LT) and total foliar nitrogen (NT). LT and NT have been shown to be tightly coupled across PFTs in sub-Arctic tundra vegetation, which simplifies up-scaling by allowing quantification of the main drivers of P from remotely sensed LT. Our objective was to test the LT–NT relationship across multiple Arctic latitudes and to assess LT as a predictor of P for the pan-Arctic. Including PFT-specific parameters in models of LT–NT coupling provided only incremental improvements in model fit, but significant improvements were gained from including site-specific parameters. The degree of curvature in the LT–NT relationship, controlled by a fitted canopy nitrogen extinction co-efficient, was negatively related to average levels of diffuse radiation at a site. This is consistent with theoretical predictions of more uniform vertical canopy N distributions under diffuse light conditions. Higher latitude sites had higher average leaf N content by mass (NM), and we show for the first time that LT–NT coupling is achieved across latitudes via canopy-scale trade-offs between NM and leaf mass per unit leaf area (LM). Site-specific parameters provided small but significant improvements in models of P based on LT and moss cover. Our results suggest that differences in LT–NT coupling between sites could be used to improve pan-Arctic models of P and we provide unique evidence that prevailing radiation conditions can significantly affect N allocation over regional scales.