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

  • Belowground competition among invading detritivores 

    Chang, Chih-Han; Szlavecz, Katalin; Filley, Timothy; Buyer, Jeffrey S.; Bernard, Michael J.; Pitz, Scott L. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-01-29)
    The factors regulating soil animal communities are poorly understood. Current theory favors niche complementarity and facilitation over competition as the primary forms of non-trophic interspecific interaction in soil ...
  • Global evaluation of gap-filling approaches for seasonal NDVI with considering vegetation growth trajectory, protection of key point, noise resistance and curve stability 

    Liu, Ronggao; Shang, Rong; Liu, Yang; Lu, Xiaoliang (2016-11)
    A variety of approaches are available to fill the gaps in the time series of vegetation parameters estimated from satellite observations. In this paper, a scheme considering vegetation growth trajectory, protection of ...
  • Carbon dioxide fluxes reflect plant zonation and belowground biomass in a coastal marsh 

    Moseman-Valtierra, Serena M.; Abdul-Aziz, Omar I.; Tang, Jianwu; Ishtiaq, Khandker S.; Morkeski, Kate; Mora, Jordan; Quinn, Ryan K.; Martin, Rose M.; Egan, Katherine E.; Brannon, Elizabeth Q.; Carey, Joanna C.; Kroeger, Kevin D. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-11-15)
    Coastal wetlands are major global carbon sinks; however, they are heterogeneous and dynamic ecosystems. To characterize spatial and temporal variability in a New England salt marsh, greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes were compared ...
  • Ecosystem responses to climate change at a Low Arctic and a High Arctic long-term research site 

    Hobbie, John E.; Shaver, Gaius R.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Cherry, Jessica E.; Goetz, Scott J.; Guay, Kevin C.; Gould, William A.; Kling, George W. (Springer, 2017-01-23)
    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 ...
  • Extreme rainfall and snowfall alter responses of soil respiration to nitrogen fertilization : a 3-year field experiment 

    Chen, Zengming; Xu, Yehong; Zhou, Xuhui; Tang, Jianwu; Kuzyakov, Yakov; Yu, Hongyan; Fan, Jianling; Ding, Weixin (2016-12)
    Extreme precipitation is predicted to be more frequent and intense accompanying global warming, and may have profound impacts on soil respiration (Rs) and its components, i.e., autotrophic (Ra) and heterotrophic (Rh) ...
  • Solute and sediment export from Amazon forest and soybean headwater streams 

    Riskin, Shelby H.; Neill, Christopher; Jankowski, KathiJo; Krusche, Alex V.; McHorney, Richard; Elsenbeer, Helmut; Macedo, Marcia N.; Nunes, Darlisson; Porder, Stephen (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-01-04)
    Intensive cropland agriculture commonly increases streamwater solute concentrations and export from small watersheds. In recent decades, the lowland tropics have become the world's largest and most important region of ...
  • Aspirations and common tensions : larger lessons from the third US national climate assessment 

    Moser, Susanne C.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Jacobs, Katharine L.; Moss, Richard H.; Buizer, James L. (2015-10)
    The Third US National Climate Assessment (NCA3) was produced by experts in response to the US Global Change Research Act of 1990. Based on lessons learned from previous domestic and international assessments, the NCA3 was ...
  • TraitBank : practical semantics for organism attribute data 

    Parr, Cynthia Sims; Schulz, Katja S.; Hammock, Jennifer; Wilson, Nathan; Leary, Patrick R.; Rice, Jeremy J.; Corrigan, Robert J. (IOS Press, 2016-10-11)
    Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) has developed TraitBank (http://eol.org/traitbank), a new repository for organism attribute (trait) data. TraitBank aggregates, manages and serves attribute data for organisms across the tree of ...
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence tracks seasonal variations of photosynthesis from leaf to canopy in a temperate forest 

    Yang, Hualei; Yang, Xi; Zhang, Yongguang; Heskel, Mary; Lu, Xiaoliang; Munger, J. William; Sun, Shucun; Tang, Jianwu (2016-11)
    Accurate estimation of terrestrial gross primary productivity (GPP) remains a challenge despite its importance in the global carbon cycle. Chlorophyll fluorescence (ChlF) has been recently adopted to understand photosynthesis ...
  • Long-term warming alters carbohydrate degradation potential in temperate forest soils 

    Pold, Grace; Billings, Andrew F.; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.; Burkhardt, Daniel B.; Frey, Serita D.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Schnabel, Julia; van Diepen, Linda T. A.; DeAngelis, Kristen M. (American Society for Microbiology, 2016-09-02)
    As Earth's climate warms, soil carbon pools and the microbial communities that process them may change, altering the way in which carbon is recycled in soil. In this study, we used a combination of metagenomics and bacterial ...
  • Saltmarsh plant responses to eutrophication 

    Johnson, David S.; Warren, R. Scott; Deegan, Linda A.; Mozdzer, Thomas J. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-10-20)
    In saltmarsh plant communities, bottom-up pressure from nutrient enrichment is predicted to increase productivity, alter community structure, decrease biodiversity, and alter ecosystem functioning. Previous work supporting ...
  • Emerging opportunities and challenges in phenology : a review 

    Tang, Jianwu; Körner, Christian; muraoka, hiroyuki; Piao, Shilong; Shen, Miaogen; Thackeray, Stephen; Yang, Xi (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-08-18)
    Plant phenology research has gained increasing attention because of the sensitivity of phenology to climate change and its consequences for ecosystem function. Recent technological development has made it possible to gather ...
  • Effects of fertilizer on inorganic soil N in East Africa maize systems : vertical distributions and temporal dynamics 

    Tully, Katherine L.; Hickman, Jonathan; McKenna, Madeline; Neill, Christopher; Palm, Cheryl A. (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-09-02)
    Fertilizer applications are poised to increase across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but the fate of added nitrogen (N) is largely unknown. We measured vertical distributions and temporal variations of soil inorganic N following ...
  • Toward a predictive understanding of Earth’s microbiomes to address 21st century challenges 

    Blaser, Martin J.; Cardon, Zoe G.; Cho, Mildred K.; Dangl, Jeffery; Donohue, Timothy J.; Green, Jessica L.; Knight, Rob; Maxon, Mary E.; Northen, Trent R.; Pollard, Katherine; Brodie, Eoin L. (American Society for Microbiology, 2016-05-13)
    Microorganisms have shaped our planet and its inhabitants for over 3.5 billion years. Humankind has had a profound influence on the biosphere, manifested as global climate and land use changes, and extensive urbanization ...
  • Nutrient enrichment induces dormancy and decreases diversity of active bacteria in salt marsh sediments 

    Kearns, Patrick J.; Angell, John H.; Howard, Evan M.; Deegan, Linda A.; Stanley, Rachel H. R.; Bowen, Jennifer L. (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-09-26)
    Microorganisms control key biogeochemical pathways, thus changes in microbial diversity, community structure and activity can affect ecosystem response to environmental drivers. Understanding factors that control the ...
  • 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 ...

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