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

  • Degradation of biological macromolecules supports uncultured microbial populations in Guaymas Basin hydrothermal sediments 

    Pérez Castro, Sherlynette; Borton, Mikayla A.; Regan, Kathleen M.; Hrabe de Angelis, Isabella; Wrighton, Kelly C.; Teske, Andreas P.; Strous, Marc; Ruff, S. Emil (Springer Nature, 2021-06-10)
    Hydrothermal sediments contain large numbers of uncultured heterotrophic microbial lineages. Here, we amended Guaymas Basin sediments with proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids or lipids under different redox conditions ...
  • Fungal community response to long-term soil warming with potential implications for soil carbon dynamics 

    Pec, Gregory J.; van Diepen, Linda T. A.; Knorr, Melissa; Grandy, A. Stuart; Melillo, Jerry M.; DeAngelis, Kristen M.; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.; Frey, Serita D. (Ecological Society of America, 2021-05-11)
    The direction and magnitude of climate warming effects on ecosystem processes such as carbon cycling remain uncertain. Soil fungi are central to these processes due to their roles as decomposers of soil organic matter, as ...
  • Time lags: insights from the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research Network 

    Rastetter, Edward B.; Ohman, Mark D.; Elliott, Katherine J.; Rehage, Jennifer S.; Rivera-Monroy, Victor H.; Boucek, Ross E.; Castaneda-Moya, Edward; Danielson, Tess M.; Gough, Laura; Groffman, Peter M.; Jackson, C. Rhett; Ford Miniat, Chelcy (Ecological Society of America, 2021-05-17)
    Ecosystems across the United States are changing in complex ways that are difficult to predict. Coordinated long-term research and analysis are required to assess how these changes will affect a diverse array of ecosystem ...
  • Global ocean sediment composition and burial flux in the deep sea 

    Hayes, Christopher T.; Costa, Kassandra M.; Anderson, Robert F.; Calvo, Eva; Chase, Zanna; Demina, Ludmila L.; Dutay, Jean-Claude; German, Christopher R.; Heimbürger, Lars-Eric; Jaccard, Samuel L.; Jacobel, Allison W.; Kohfeld, Karen E.; Kravchishina, Marina; Lippold, Jörg; Mekik, Figen; Missiaen, Lise; Pavia, Frank; Paytan, Adina; Pedrosa-Pamies, Rut; Petrova, Mariia V.; Rahman, Shaily; Robinson, Laura F.; Roy-Barman, Matthieu; Sanchez-Vidal, Anna; Shiller, Alan M.; Tagliabue, Alessandro; Tessin, Allyson C.; van Hulten, Marco; Zhang, Jing (American Geophysical Union, 2021-03-21)
    Quantitative knowledge about the burial of sedimentary components at the seafloor has wide-ranging implications in ocean science, from global climate to continental weathering. The use of 230Th-normalized fluxes reduces ...
  • Representativeness of eddy-covariance flux footprints for areas surrounding AmeriFlux sites 

    Chu, Housen; Luo, Xiangzhong; Ouyang, Zutao; Chan, W. Stephen; Dengel, Sigrid; Biraud, Sebastien; Torn, Margaret S.; Metzger, Stefan; Kumar, Jitendra; Arain, M. Altaf; Arkebauer, Tim J.; Baldocchi, Dennis D.; Bernacchi, Carl; Billesbach, Dave; Black, T. Andrew; Blanken, Peter D.; Bohrer, Gil; Bracho, Rosvel; Brown, Shannon; Brunsell, Nathaniel A.; Chen, Jiquan; Chen, Xingyuan; Clark, Kenneth; Desai, Ankur R.; Duman, Tomer; Durden, David J.; Fares, Silvano; Forbrich, Inke; Gamon, John; Gough, Christopher M.; Griffis, Timothy; Helbig, Manuel; Hollinger, David; Humphreys, Elyn; Ikawa, Hiroki; Iwata, Hiroki; Ju, Yang; Knowles, John F.; Knox, Sara H.; Kobayashi, Hideki; Kolb, Thomas; Law, Beverly; Lee, Xuhui; Litvak, Marcy; Liu, Heping; Munger, J. William; Noormets, Asko; Novick, Kim; Oberbauer, Steven F.; Oechel, Walter; Oikawa, Patty; Papuga, Shirley A.; Pendall, Elise; Prajapati, Prajaya; Prueger, John; Quinton, William L.; Richardson, Andrew D.; Russell, Eric S.; Scott, Russell L.; Starr, Gregory; Staebler, Ralf; Stoy, Paul C.; Stuart-Haëntjens, Ellen; Sonnentag, Oliver; Sullivan, Ryan C.; Suyker, Andy; Ueyama, Masahito; Vargas, Rodrigo; Wood, Jeffrey D.; Zona, Donatella (Elsevier, 2021-02-14)
    Large datasets of greenhouse gas and energy surface-atmosphere fluxes measured with the eddy-covariance technique (e.g., FLUXNET2015, AmeriFlux BASE) are widely used to benchmark models and remote-sensing products. This ...
  • Atmospheric and oceanographic forcing impact particle flux composition and carbon sequestration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea: a three-year time-series study in the deep Ierapetra Basin 

    Pedrosa-Pamies, Rut; Parinos, Constantine; Sanchez-Vidal, Anna; Calafat, Antoni; Canals, Miquel; Velaoras, Dimitris; Mihalopoulos, Nikolaos; Kanakidou, Maria; Lampadariou, Nikolaos; Gogou, Alexandra (Frontiers Media, 2021-02-25)
    Sinking particles are a critical conduit for the export of organic material from surface waters to the deep ocean. Despite their importance in oceanic carbon cycling, little is known about the biotic composition and seasonal ...
  • Identifying and assessing effectiveness of alternative low-effort nitrogen footprint reductions in small research institutions 

    Messenger, Sarah; Lloret, Javier; Galloway, James; Giblin, Anne E. (IOP Publishing, 2021-02-25)
    Concern over the ecological damage of excess nitrogen has brought increased attention to the role of research institutions and universities in contributing to this problem. Institutions often utilize the concept of the ...
  • Microbial communities under distinct thermal and geochemical regimes in axial and off-axis sediments of Guaymas Basin 

    Teske, Andreas P.; Wegener, Gunter; Chanton, Jeffrey P.; White, Dylan; MacGregor, Barbara J.; Hoer, Daniel; de Beer, Dirk; Zhuang, Guangchao; Saxton, Matthew A.; Joye, Samantha B.; Lizarralde, Daniel; Soule, S. Adam; Ruff, S. Emil (Frontiers Media, 2021-02-12)
    Cold seeps and hydrothermal vents are seafloor habitats fueled by subsurface energy sources. Both habitat types coexist in Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California, providing an opportunity to compare microbial communities ...
  • Water quality measurements in Buzzards Bay by the Buzzards Bay Coalition Baywatchers Program from 1992 to 2018 

    Jakuba, Rachel W.; Williams, Tony; Neill, Christopher; Costa, Joseph E.; McHorney, Richard; Scott, Lindsay; Howes, Brian L.; Ducklow, Hugh W.; Erickson, Matthew; Rasmussen, Mark (Nature Research, 2021-03-05)
    The Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Baywatchers Monitoring Program (Baywatchers) collected summertime water quality information at more than 150 stations around Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts from 1992 to 2018. Baywatchers documents ...
  • Role of external inputs of nutrients to aquatic ecosystems in determining prevalence of nitrogen vs. phosphorus limitation of net primary productivity 

    Howarth, Robert W.; Chan, Francis; Swaney, Dennis P.; Marino, Roxanne; Hayn, Melanie (Springer, 2021-02-17)
    Whether net primary productivity in an aquatic ecosystem is limited by nitrogen (N), limited by phosphorus (P), or co-limited by N & P is determined by the relative supply of N and P to phytoplankton compared to their ...
  • Herbivore absence can shift dry heath tundra from carbon source to sink during peak growing season 

    Min, Elizabeth; Wilcots, Megan E.; Naeem, Shahid; Gough, Laura; McLaren, Jennie; Rowe, Rebecca J.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Boelman, Natalie; Griffin, Kevin L. (IOP Publishing, 2021-02-01)
    In arctic tundra, large and small mammalian herbivores have substantial impacts on the vegetation community and consequently can affect the magnitude of carbon cycling. However, herbivores are often absent from modern ...
  • Seafloor incubation experiment with deep-sea hydrothermal vent fluid reveals effect of pressure and lag time on autotrophic microbial communities 

    Fortunato, Caroline S.; Butterfield, David A.; Larson, Benjamin I.; Lawrence-Slavas, Noah; Algar, Christopher K.; Zeigler Allen, Lisa; Holden, James F.; Proskurowski, Giora; Reddington, Emily; Stewart, Lucy C.; Topçuoğlu, Begüm D; Vallino, Joseph J.; Huber, Julie A. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-04-13)
    Depressurization and sample processing delays may impact the outcome of shipboard microbial incubations of samples collected from the deep sea. To address this knowledge gap, we developed a remotely operated vehicle ...
  • Stochastic dispersal rather than deterministic selection explains the spatio-temporal distribution of soil bacteria in a temperate grassland 

    Richter-Heitmann, Tim; Hofner, Benjamin; Krah, Franz-Sebastia; Sikorski, Johannes; Wüst, Pia K.; Bunk, Boyke; Huang, Sixing; Regan, Kathleen M.; Berner, Doreen; Boeddinghaus, Runa S.; Marhan, Sven; Prati, Daniel; Kandeler, Ellen; Overmann, Jorg; Friedrich, Michael W. (Frontiers Media, 2020-06-30)
    Spatial and temporal processes shaping microbial communities are inseparably linked but rarely studied together. By Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing, we monitored soil bacteria in 360 stations on a 100 square meter plot ...
  • Shallow soils are warmer under trees and tall shrubs across arctic and boreal ecosystems 

    Kropp, Heather; Loranty, Michael M.; Natali, Susan M.; Kholodov, Alexander L.; Rocha, Adrian V.; Myers-Smith, Isla H.; Abbott, Benjamin W.; Abermann, Jakob; Blanc-Betes, Elena; Blok, Daan; Blume-Werry, Gesche; Boike, Julia; Breen, Amy L.; Cahoon, Sean M. P.; Christiansen, Casper T.; Douglas, Thomas A.; Epstein, Howard E.; Frost, Gerald V.; Goeckede, Mathias; Høye, Toke T.; Mamet, Steven D.; O’Donnell, Jonathan A.; Olefeldt, David; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Salmon, Verity G.; Sannel, A. Britta K.; Smith, Sharon L.; Sonnentag, Oliver; Smith Vaughn, Lydia; Williams, Mathew; Elberling, Bo; Gough, Laura; Hjort, Jan; Lafleur, Peter M.; Euskirchen, Eugenie; Heijmans, Monique M. P. D.; Humphreys, Elyn; Iwata, Hiroki; Jones, Benjamin M.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Grünberg, Inge; Kim, Yongwon; Laundre, James A.; Mauritz, Marguerite; Michelsen, Anders; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Tape, Ken D.; Ueyama, Masahito; Lee, Bang-Yong; Langley, Kirsty; Lund, Magnus (IOP Publishing, 2020-12-18)
    Soils are warming as air temperatures rise across the Arctic and Boreal region concurrent with the expansion of tall-statured shrubs and trees in the tundra. Changes in vegetation structure and function are expected to ...
  • Not all nitrogen is created equal: differential effects of nitrate and ammonium enrichment in coastal wetlands 

    Bowen, Jennifer L.; Giblin, Anne E.; Murphy, Anna E.; Bulseco, Ashley N.; Deegan, Linda A.; Johnson, David S.; Nelson, James A.; Mozdzer, Thomas J.; Sullivan, Hillary L. (Oxford University Press, 2020-12-09)
    Excess reactive nitrogen (N) flows from agricultural, suburban, and urban systems to coasts, where it causes eutrophication. Coastal wetlands take up some of this N, thereby ameliorating the impacts on nearshore waters. ...
  • Phytoplankton temporal strategies increase entropy production in a marine food web model 

    Vallino, Joseph J.; Tsakalakis, Ioannis (MDPI, 2020-11-03)
    We develop a trait-based model founded on the hypothesis that biological systems evolve and organize to maximize entropy production by dissipating chemical and electromagnetic free energy over longer time scales than abiotic ...
  • Interannual, summer, and diel variability of CH4 and CO2 effluxes from Toolik Lake, Alaska, during the ice-free periods 2010-2015 

    Eugster, Werner; DelSontro, Tonya; Shaver, Gaius R.; Kling, George W. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020-07-09)
    Accelerated warming in the Arctic has led to concern regarding the amount of carbon emission potential from Arctic water bodies. Yet, aquatic carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) flux measurements remain scarce, particularly ...
  • Role of C4 carbon fixation in Ulva prolifera, the macroalga responsible for the world's largest green tides 

    Liu, Dongyan; Ma, Qian; Valiela, Ivan; Anderson, Donald M.; Keesing, John K.; Gao, Kunshan; Zhen, Yu; Sun, Xiyan; Wang, Yujue (Nature Research, 2020-09-07)
    Most marine algae preferentially assimilate CO2 via the Calvin-Benson Cycle (C3) and catalyze HCO3− dehydration via carbonic anhydrase (CA) as a CO2-compensatory mechanism, but certain species utilize the Hatch-Slack Cycle ...
  • Cover crops and chicken grazing in a winter fallow field improve soil carbon and nitrogen contents and decrease methane emissions 

    Zheng, Huabin; Zhou, Linhong; Wei, Jiabing; Tang, Qiyuan; Zou, Yingbin; Tang, Jianwu; Xu, Huaqin (Nature Research, 2020-07-28)
    Using symbiotic farming methods [cover crops and chicken grazing (+ C)] in a winter fallow field, we found that the soil organic matter and total nitrogen of the + C treatment were 5.2% and 26.6% higher, respectively, than ...
  • Microbial diversity drives carbon use efficiency in a model soil 

    Domeignoz-Horta, Luiz A.; Pold, Grace; Liu, Xiao-Jun Allen; Frey, Serita D.; Melillo, Jerry M.; DeAngelis, Kristen M. (Nature Research, 2020-07-23)
    Empirical evidence for the response of soil carbon cycling to the combined effects of warming, drought and diversity loss is scarce. Microbial carbon use efficiency (CUE) plays a central role in regulating the flow of ...

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