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

  • Calcification and growth processes in planktonic foraminifera complicate the use of B/Ca and U/Ca as carbonate chemistry proxies 

    Salmon, Kate H.; Anand, Pallavi; Sexton, Philip F.; Conte, Maureen (Elsevier, 2016-06-08)
    Although boron and uranium to calcium ratios (B/Ca, U/Ca) in planktonic foraminifera have recently received much attention as potential proxies for ocean carbonate chemistry, the extent of a carbonate chemistry control on ...
  • Particulate organic carbon and nitrogen export from major Arctic rivers 

    McClelland, James W.; Holmes, Robert M.; Peterson, Bruce J.; Raymond, Peter A.; Striegl, Robert; Zhulidov, Alexander V.; Zimov, Sergey; Zimov, Nikita; Tank, Suzanne E.; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Staples, Robin; Gurtovaya, Tatiana Y.; Griffin, Claire G. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-05-11)
    Northern rivers connect a land area of approximately 20.5 million km2 to the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas. These rivers account for ~10% of global river discharge and transport massive quantities of dissolved and ...
  • A large-scale methane model by incorporating the surface water transport 

    Lu, Xiaoliang; Zhuang, Qianlai; Liu, Yaling; Zhou, Yuyu; AghaKouchak, Amir (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-06-28)
    The effect of surface water movement on methane emissions is not explicitly considered in most of the current methane models. In this study, a surface water routing was coupled into our previously developed large-scale ...
  • Evaluation of laser-based spectrometers for greenhouse gas flux measurements in coastal marshes 

    Brannon, Elizabeth; Moseman-Valtierra, Serena M.; Rella, Chris W.; Martin, Rose M.; Chen, Xuechu; Tang, Jianwu (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-04-18)
    Precise and rapid analyses of greenhouse gases (GHGs) will advance understanding of the net climatic forcing of coastal marsh ecosystems. We examined the ability of a cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRDS) analyzer (Model ...
  • Importance of soil thermal regime in terrestrial ecosystem carbon dynamics in the circumpolar north 

    Jiang, Yueyang; Zhuang, Qianlai; Sitch, Stephen; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Kicklighter, David W.; Sokolov, Andrei P.; Melillo, Jerry M. (2016-04-19)
    In the circumpolar north (45-90°N), permafrost plays an important role in vegetation and carbon (C) dynamics. Permafrost thawing has been accelerated by the warming climate and exerts a positive feedback to climate through ...
  • Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire : an expert assessment 

    Abbott, Benjamin W.; Jones, Jeremy B.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Chapin, F. Stuart; Bowden, William B.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Epstein, Howard E.; Flannigan, Michael; Harms, Tamara K.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Mack, Michelle C.; McGuire, A. David; Natali, Susan M.; Rocha, Adrian V.; Tank, Suzanne E.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Vonk, Jorien E.; Wickland, Kimberly; Aiken, George R.; Alexander, Heather D.; Amon, Rainer M. W.; Benscoter, Brian; Bergeron, Yves; Bishop, Kevin; Blarquez, Olivier; Bond-Lamberty, Benjamin; Breen, Amy L.; Buffam, Ishi; Cai, Yihua; Carcaillet, Christopher; Carey, Sean K.; Chen, Jing M.; Chen, Han Y. H.; Christensen, Torben R.; Cooper, Lee W.; Cornelissen, J. Hans C.; de Groot, William J.; DeLuca, Thomas Henry; Dorrepaal, Ellen; Fetcher, Ned; Finlay, Jacques C.; Forbes, Bruce C.; French, Nancy H. F.; Gauthier, Sylvie; Girardin, Martin; Goetz, Scott J.; Goldammer, Johann G.; Gough, Laura; Grogan, Paul; Guo, Laodong; Higuera, Philip E.; Hinzman, Larry; Hu, Feng Sheng; Hugelius, Gustaf; JAFAROV, ELCHIN; Jandt, Randi; Johnstone, Jill F.; Karlsson, Jan; Kasischke, Eric S.; Kattner, Gerhard; Kelly, Ryan; Keuper, Frida; Kling, George W.; Kortelainen, Pirkko; Kouki, Jari; Kuhry, Peter; Laudon, Hjalmar; Laurion, Isabelle; Macdonald, Robie W.; Mann, Paul J.; Martikainen, Pertti; McClelland, James W.; Molau, Ulf; Oberbauer, Steven F; Olefeldt, David; Paré, David; Parisien, Marc-André; Payette, Serge; Peng, Changhui; Pokrovsky, Oleg; Rastetter, Edward B.; Raymond, Peter A.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Rein, Guillermo; Reynolds, James F.; Robards, Martin; Rogers, Brendan; Schädel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schmidt, Inger K.; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Sky, Jasper; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Starr, Gregory; Striegl, Robert; Teisserenc, Roman; Tranvik, Lars J.; Virtanen, Tarmo; Welker, Jeffrey M.; Zimov, Sergey (IOPScience, 2016-03-07)
    As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased ...
  • Combined measurement and modeling of the hydrological impact of hydraulic redistribution using CLM4.5 at eight AmeriFlux sites 

    Fu, Congsheng; Wang, Guiling; Goulden, Michael L.; Scott, Russell L.; Bible, Kenneth; Cardon, Zoe (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2016-05-17)
    Effects of hydraulic redistribution (HR) on hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes have been demonstrated in the field, but the current generation of standard earth system models does not include a ...
  • Microbial associations with macrobiota in coastal ecosystems : patterns and implications for nitrogen cycling 

    Moulton, Orissa M.; Altabet, Mark; Beman, J. Michael; Deegan, Linda A.; Lloret, Javier; Lyons, Meaghan K.; Nelson, James A.; Pfister, Catherine (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-05-02)
    In addition to their important effects on nitrogen (N) cycling via excretion and assimilation (by macrofauna and macroflora, respectively), many macrobiota also host or facilitate microbial taxa responsible for N ...
  • Discontinuities concentrate mobile predators : quantifying organism–environment interactions at a seascape scale 

    Kennedy, Cristina G.; Mather, Martha E.; Smith, Joseph M.; Finn, John T.; Deegan, Linda A. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-02-26)
    Understanding environmental drivers of spatial patterns is an enduring ecological problem that is critical for effective biological conservation. Discontinuities (ecologically meaningful habitat breaks), both naturally ...
  • Climate change decreases nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in northern hardwood forests 

    Durán, Jorge; Morse, Jennifer L.; Groffman, Peter M.; Campbell, John L.; Christenson, Lynn M.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Fahey, Timothy J.; Fisk, Melany C.; Likens, Gene E.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Mitchell, Myron J.; Templer, Pamela H.; Vadeboncoeur, Matthew A. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-03-22)
    Nitrogen (N) supply often limits the productivity of temperate forests and is regulated by a complex mix of biological and climatic drivers. In excess, N is linked to a variety of soil, water, and air pollution issues. ...
  • Temporal dietary shift in jellyfish revealed by stable isotope analysis 

    Javidpour, Jamileh; Cipriano-Maack, Ashlie N.; Mittermayr, Agnes; Dierking, Jan (Springer, 2016-04-10)
    A temporal change in the stable isotope (SI) composition of jellyfish in the Kiel Fjord, Western Baltic Sea, was documented by analyzing δ13C, δ15N and δ34S of bell tissue of Aurelia aurita and Cyanea capillata in the ...
  • Effects of experimental warming and carbon addition on nitrate reduction and respiration in coastal sediments 

    Brin, Lindsay; Giblin, Anne E.; Rich, Jeremy J. (2015-04)
    Climate change may have differing effects on microbial processes that control coastal N availability. We conducted a microcosm experiment to explore effects of warming and carbon availability on nitrate reduction pathways ...
  • Similar temperature responses suggest future climate warming will not alter partitioning between denitrification and anammox in temperate marine sediments 

    Brin, Lindsay; Giblin, Anne E.; Rich, Jeremy J. (2016-05-09)
    Removal of biologically available nitrogen (N) by the microbially mediated processes denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) affects ecosystem N availability. Although few studies have examined temperature ...
  • 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 ...

View more