The Ecosystems Center carries out research in ecosystems that range from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Brazil to Martha’s Vineyard. In the Alaskan Arctic, scientists study the effect of warmer temperatures on tundra, stream and lake ecosystems. On the Arctic rivers of Eurasia, they measure how freshwater discharge is changing as the climate warms. On the western Antarctic peninsula, research focuses on the responses of the marine coastal ecosystem to rapid climate warming. In the western Amazon in Brazil, researchers assess how much the clearing of tropical forests will change the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere, while on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, scientists used controlled burns to restore coastal ecosystems. In central Massachusetts and in Abisko, Sweden, soil warming experiments are conducted to assess the forest’s response to climate warming. In northeastern Massachusetts, scientists study how changes in rural land use and urban development affect the flow of nutrients and organic matter into New England estuaries. In Boston Harbor, they measure the transfer of nitrogen from sediments to the water column as the harbor recovers from decades of sewage addition.

Recent Submissions

  • Satisfaction, water and fertilizer use in the American residential macrosystem 

    Groffman, Peter M.; Grove, J. Morgan; Polsky, Colin; Bettez, Neil D.; Morse, Jennifer L.; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Hall, Sharon J.; Heffernan, James B.; Hobbie, Sarah E.; Larson, Kelli L.; Neill, Christopher; Nelson, Kristen; Ogden, Laura; O'Neil-Dunne, Jarlath; Pataki, Diane; Roy Chowdhury, Rinku; Locke, Dexter H. (IOPScience, 2016-02-29)
    Residential yards across the US look remarkably similar despite marked variation in climate and soil, yet the drivers of this homogenization are unknown. Telephone surveys of fertilizer and irrigation use and satisfaction ...
  • A framework to assess biogeochemical response to ecosystem disturbance using nutrient partitioning ratios 

    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. (2015-11)
    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 ...
  • Seasonal variability of multiple leaf traits captured by leaf spectroscopy at two temperate deciduous forests 

    Yang, Xi; Tang, Jianwu; Mustard, John F.; Wu, Jin; Zhao, Kaiguang; Serbin, Shawn; Lee, Jung-Eun (2015-08)
    Understanding the temporal patterns of leaf traits is critical in determining the seasonality and magnitude of terrestrial carbon and water fluxes. However, robust and efficient ways to monitor the temporal dynamics of ...
  • Nutrient limitation of woody debris decomposition in a tropical forest : contrasting effects of N and P addition 

    Chen, Yao; Sayer, Emma J.; Li, Zhian; Mo, Qifeng; Li, Yingwen; Ding, Yongzhen; Wang, Jun; Lu, Xiankai; Tang, Jianwu; Wang, Faming (2015-04)
    Tropical forests represent a major terrestrial store of carbon (C), a large proportion of which is contained in the soil and decaying organic matter. Woody debris plays a key role in forest C dynamics because it contains ...
  • Najas flexilis (Hydrocharitaceae) in Alaska : a reassessment 

    Les, Donald H.; Les, Angela M.; King, Ursula M.; Peredo, Elena L. (New England Botanical Club, 2015-09-23)
    Fifteen Najas flexilis collections were made in Alaska during the summer of 2012, with 13 of the stations representing either new or formerly undocumented localities for this imperiled Alaskan species. These field collections ...
  • The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere 

    Tian, Hanqin; Lu, Chaoqun; Ciais, Philippe; Michalak, Anna M.; Canadell, Josep G.; Saikawa, Eri; Huntzinger, Deborah N.; Gurney, Kevin R.; Sitch, Stephen; Zhang, Bowen; Yang, Jia; Bousquet, Philippe; Bruhwiler, Lori; Chen, Guangsheng; Dlugokencky, Edward J.; Friedlingstein, Pierre; Melillo, Jerry M.; Pan, Shufen; Poulter, Benjamin; Prinn, Ronald G.; Saunois, Marielle; Schwalm, Christopher R.; Wofsy, Steven C. (2015-12-21)
    The terrestrial biosphere can release or absorb the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) and therefore plays an important role in regulating atmospheric composition and climate1. ...
  • Spatial and temporal trends in summertime climate and water quality indicators in the coastal embayments of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts 

    Rheuban, Jennie E.; Williamson, Shanna; Costa, Joe E.; Glover, David M.; Jakuba, Rachel W.; McCorkle, Daniel C.; Neill, Christopher; Williams, Tony; Doney, Scott C. (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2016-01-15)
    Degradation of coastal ecosystems by eutrophication is largely defined by nitrogen loading from land via surface water and groundwater flows. However, indicators of water quality are highly variable due to a myriad of other ...
  • Tools for the microbiome : nano and beyond 

    Biteen, Julie S.; Blainey, Paul C.; Cardon, Zoe G.; Chun, Miyoung; Church, George M.; Dorrestein, Pieter C.; Fraser, Scott E.; Gilbert, Jack A.; Jansson, Janet K.; Knight, Rob; Miller, Jeff F.; Ozcan, Aydogan; Prather, Kimberly A.; Quake, Stephen R.; Ruby, Edward G.; Silver, Pamela A.; Taha, Sharif; van den Engh, Ger; Weiss, Paul S.; Wong, Gerard C. L.; Wright, Aaron T.; Young, Thomas D. (American Chemical Society, 2015-12-22)
    The microbiome presents great opportunities for understanding and improving the world around us and elucidating the interactions that compose it. The microbiome also poses tremendous challenges for mapping and manipulating ...
  • Relationship between leaf physiologic traits and canopy color indices during the leaf expansion period in an oak forest 

    Liu, Zhunqiao; Hu, Haibo; Yu, Hua; Yang, Xi; Yang, Hualei; Ruan, Cunxin; Wang, Yan; Tang, Jianwu (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-12-11)
    Plant phenology has a significant impact on the forest ecosystem carbon balance. Detecting plant phenology by capturing the time-series canopy images through digital camera has become popular in recent years. However, the ...
  • A framework for quantifying the magnitude and variability of community responses to global change drivers 

    Avolio, Meghan L.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Houseman, Gregory R.; Koerner, Sally E.; Grman, Emily; Isbell, Forest; Johnson, David S.; Wilcox, Kevin R. (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-12-21)
    A major challenge in global change ecology is to predict the trajectory and magnitude of community change in response to global change drivers (GCDs). Here, we present a new framework that not only increases the predictive ...
  • Influence of changes in wetland inundation extent on net fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane in northern high latitudes from 1993 to 2004 

    Zhuang, Qianlai; Zhu, Xudong; He, Yujie; Prigent, Catherine; Melillo, Jerry M.; McGuire, A. David; Prinn, Ronald G.; Kicklighter, David W. (IOP Science, 2015-09-10)
    Estimates of the seasonal and interannual exchanges of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) between land ecosystems north of 45°N and the atmosphere are poorly constrained, in part, because of uncertainty in the temporal ...
  • An integrated Pan-European perspective on coastal Lagoons management through a mosaic-DPSIR approach 

    Dolbeth, Marina; Stalnacke, Per; Alves, Fstima L.; Sousa, Lisa P.; Gooch, Geoffrey D.; Khokhlov, Valeriy; Tuchkovenko, Yurii; Lloret, Javier; Bielecka, Małgorzata; Rozynski, Grzegorz; Soares, João A.; Baggett, Susan; Margonski, Piotr; Chubarenko, Boris V.; Lillebø, Ana I. (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-01-18)
    A decision support framework for the management of lagoon ecosystems was tested using four European Lagoons: Ria de Aveiro (Portugal), Mar Menor (Spain), Tyligulskyi Liman (Ukraine) and Vistula Lagoon (Poland/Russia). Our ...
  • Accelerated phosphorus accumulation and acidification of soils under plastic greenhouse condition in four representative organic vegetable cultivation sites 

    Wang, Yanling; Zhang, Hailin; Tang, Jianwu; Xu, Jiangbing; Kou, Taiji; Huang, Hongmei (2015-04)
    Organic vegetable cultivation under plastic greenhouse conditions is expanding rapidly in the suburb of big cities in China due to the increasing demand for organic, out-of-season green vegetables and the sustainable ...
  • Marsh-atmosphere CO2 exchange in a New England salt marsh 

    Forbrich, Inke; Giblin, Anne E. (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-09-29)
    We studied marsh-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in a high marsh dominated salt marsh during the months of May to October in 2012–2014. Tidal inundation at the site occurred only during biweekly spring tides, during ...
  • Benthic community metabolism in deep and shallow Arctic lakes during 13 years of whole–lake fertilization 

    Daniels, William C.; Kling, George W.; Giblin, Anne E. (2015-05)
    Benthic primary production and oxygen consumption are important components of lake biogeochemical cycling. We performed whole-lake nutrient manipulations in arctic Alaska to assess the controls of lake morphometry, ...
  • The effect of mineral and organic nutrient input on yields and nitrogen balances in western Kenya 

    Tully, Katherine L.; Wood, Stephen A.; Almaraz, Maya; Neill, Christopher; Palm, Cheryl A. (2015-07)
    Soil fertility declines constrain crop productivity on smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa. Government and non-government organizations promote the use of mineral fertilizer and improved seed varieties to redress ...
  • Response of plant nutrient stoichiometry to fertilization varied with plant tissues in a tropical forest 

    Mo, Qifeng; Zou, Bi; Li, Yingwen; Chen, Yao; Zhang, Weixin; Mao, Rong; Ding, Yongzhen; Wang, Jun; Lu, Xiankai; Li, Xiaobo; Tang, Jianwu; Li, Zhian; Wang, Faming (Nature Publishing Group, 2015-09-29)
    Plant N:P ratios are widely used as indices of nutrient limitation in terrestrial ecosystems, but the response of these metrics in different plant tissues to altered N and P availability and their interactions remains ...
  • Structure and composition of altered riparian forests in an agricultural Amazonian landscape 

    Nagy, R. Chelsea; Porder, Stephen; Neill, Christopher; Brando, Paulo; Quintino, Raimundo Mota; do Nascimento, Sebastiao Aviz (Ecological Society of America, 2015-09)
    Deforestation and fragmentation influence the microclimate, vegetation structure, and composition of remaining patches of tropical forest. In the southern Amazon, at the frontier of cropland expansion, forests are converted ...
  • Short-term drought response of N2O and CO2 emissions from mesic agricultural soils in the US Midwest 

    Gelfand, Ilya; Cui, Mengdi; Tang, Jianwu; Robertson, G. Philip (Elsevier, 2015-07-17)
    Climate change is causing the intensification of both rainfall and droughts in temperate climatic zones, which will affect soil drying and rewetting cycles and associated processes such as soil greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes. ...
  • ENVIRONMENTS and EOL : identification of Environment Ontology terms in text and the annotation of the Encyclopedia of Life 

    Pafilis, Evangelos; Frankild, Sune P.; Schnetzer, Julia; Fanini, Lucia; Faulwetter, Sarah; Pavloudi, Christina; Vasileiadou, Katerina; Leary, Patrick R.; Hammock, Jennifer; Schulz, Katja; Parr, Cynthia Sims; Arvanitidis, Christos; Jensen, Lars Juhl (Oxford University Press, 2015-01-24)
    The association of organisms to their environments is a key issue in exploring biodiversity patterns. This knowledge has traditionally been scattered, but textual descriptions of taxa and their habitats are now being ...

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