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

  • Long‐term nutrient addition alters arthropod community composition but does not increase total biomass or abundance 

    Asmus, Ashley; Koltz, Amanda; McLaren, Jennie; Shaver, Gaius R.; Gough, Laura (2017-09)
    A simple bottom–up hypothesis predicts that plant responses to nutrient addition should determine the response of consumers: more productive and less diverse plant communities, the usual result of long‐term nutrient addition, ...
  • A model suite of green algae within the Scenedesmaceae for investigating contrasting desiccation tolerance and morphology 

    Cardon, Zoe G.; Peredo, Elena L.; Dohnalkova, Alice C.; Gershone, Hannah L.; Bezanilla, Magdalena (The Company of Biologists, 2018-04-10)
    Microscopic green algae inhabiting desert microbiotic crusts are remarkably diverse phylogenetically, and many desert lineages have independently evolved from aquatic ancestors. Here we worked with five desert and aquatic ...
  • Nitrate is an important nitrogen source for Arctic tundra plants 

    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 (National Academy of Sciences, 2018-03-27)
    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. ...
  • Homogenization of plant diversity, composition, and structure in North American urban yards 

    Pearse, William D.; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Hobbie, Sarah E.; Avolio, Meghan L.; Bettez, Neil D.; Roy Chowdhury, Rinku; Darling, Lindsay; Groffman, Peter M.; Grove, J. Morgan; Hall, Sharon J.; Heffernan, James B.; Learned, Jennifer; Neill, Christopher; Nelson, Kristen; Pataki, Diane E.; Ruddell, Benjamin L.; Steele, Meredith K.; Trammell, Tara (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-02-15)
    Urban ecosystems are widely hypothesized to be more ecologically homogeneous than natural ecosystems. We argue that urban plant communities assemble from a complex mix of horticultural and regional species pools, and ...
  • Opportunities and challenges of high-resolution remote sensing of sun-induced fluorescence 

    Lu, Xinchen; Cheng, Xiao; Li, Xianglan; Tang, Jianwu (2017-08-17)
    Estimating plant photosynthesis and gross primary production (GPP) regionally and globally remains challenging despite its primary role in driving ecosystem productivity and carbon cycling. Recently, satellite-derived ...
  • Soil carbon dynamics in soybean cropland and forests in Mato Grosso, Brazil 

    Nagy, R. Chelsea; Porder, Stephen; Brando, Paulo; Davidson, Eric A.; Figueira, Adelaine Michela e Silva; Neill, Christopher; Riskin, Shelby H.; Trumbore, Susan E. (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-01-05)
    Climate and land use models predict that tropical deforestation and conversion to cropland will produce a large flux of soil carbon (C) to the atmosphere from accelerated decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM). However, ...
  • ORCHIDEE-PEAT (revision 4596), a model for northern peatland CO2, water, and energy fluxes on daily to annual scales 

    Qiu, Chunjing; Zhu, Dan; Ciais, Philippe; Guenet, Bertrand; Krinner, Gerhard; Peng, Shushi; Aurela, Mika; Bernhofer, Christian; Brümmer, Christian; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Chu, Housen; Chen, Jiquan; Desai, Ankur R.; Dušek, Jiˇrí; Euskirchen, Eugenie; Fortuniak, Krzysztof; Flanagan, Lawrence B.; Friborg, Thomas; Grygoruk, Mateusz; Gogo, Sébastien; Grünwald, Thomas; Hansen, Birger U.; Holl, David; Humphreys, Elyn; Hurkuck, Miriam; Kiely, Gerard; Klatt, Janina; Kutzbach, Lars; Largeron, Chloé; Laggoun-Défarg, Fatima; Lund, Magnus; Lafleur, Peter M.; Li, Xuefei; Mammarella, Ivan; Merbold, Lutz; Nilsson, Mats B.; Olejnik, Janusz; Ottosson-Löfvenius, Mikaell; Oechel, Walter; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W.; Peichl, Matthias; Pirk, Norbert; Peltola, Olli; Pawlak, Włodzimierz; Rasse, Daniel; Rinne, Janne; Shaver, Gaius R.; Schmid, Hans Peter; Sottocornola, Matteo; Steinbrecher, Rainer; Sachs, Torsten; Urbaniak, Marek; Zona, Donatella; Ziemblinska, Klaudia (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2018-02-05)
    Peatlands store substantial amounts of carbon and are vulnerable to climate change. We present a modified version of the Organising Carbon and Hydrology In Dynamic Ecosystems (ORCHIDEE) land surface model for simulating ...
  • Toward a consistent modeling framework to assess multi-sectoral climate impacts 

    Monier, Erwan; Paltsev, Sergey; Sokolov, Andrei P.; Chen, Y.-H. Henry; Gao, Xiang; Ejaz, Qudsia; Couzo, Evan; Schlosser, C. Adam; Dutkiewicz, Stephanie; Fant, Charles; Scott, Jeffery; Kicklighter, David W.; Morris, Jennifer; Jacoby, Henry D.; Prinn, Ronald G.; Haigh, Martin (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-02-13)
    Efforts to estimate the physical and economic impacts of future climate change face substantial challenges. To enrich the currently popular approaches to impact analysis—which involve evaluation of a damage function or ...
  • Optimization of terrestrial ecosystem model parameters using atmospheric CO2 concentration data with the Global Carbon Assimilation System (GCAS) 

    Chen, Zhuoqi; Chen, Jing M.; Zhang, Shupeng; Zheng, Xiaogu; Ju, Weiming; Mo, Gang; Lu, Xiaoliang (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-12-23)
    The Global Carbon Assimilation System that assimilates ground-based atmospheric CO2 data is used to estimate several key parameters in a terrestrial ecosystem model for the purpose of improving carbon cycle simulation. ...
  • Northern Eurasia Future Initiative (NEFI) : facing the challenges and pathways of global change in the twenty-first century 

    Groisman, Pavel Ya; Shugart, Herman; Kicklighter, David W.; Henebry, Geoffrey; Tchebakova, Nadezhda; Maksyutov, Shamil; Monier, Erwan; Gutman, Garik; Gulev, Sergey; Qi, Jiaguo; Prishchepov, Alexander; Kukavskaya, Elena; Porfiriev, Boris; Shiklomanov, Alexander; Loboda, Tatiana; Shiklomanov, Nikolay; Nghiem, Son; Bergen, Kathleen; Albrechtová, Jana; Chen, Jiquan; Shahgedanova, Maria; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Speranskaya, Nina; Soja, Amber; de Beurs, Kirsten; Bulygina, Olga N; McCarty, Jessica; Zhuang, Qianlai; Zolina, Olga (Springer, 2017-12-27)
    During the past several decades, the Earth system has changed significantly, especially across Northern Eurasia. Changes in the socio-economic conditions of the larger countries in the region have also resulted in a variety ...
  • Ecotypic differences in the phenology of the tundra species Eriophorum vaginatum reflect sites of origin 

    Parker, Thomas C.; Tang, Jianwu; Clark, Mahalia B.; Moody, Michael M.; Fetcher, Ned (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-10-19)
    Eriophorum vaginatum is a tussock-forming sedge that contributes significantly to the structure and primary productivity of moist acidic tussock tundra. Locally adapted populations (ecotypes) have been identified across ...
  • Implications of improved representations of plant respiration in a changing climate 

    Huntingford, Chris; Atkin, Owen K.; Martinez-de la Torre, Alberto; Mercado, Lina M.; Heskel, Mary; Harper, Anna B.; Bloomfield, Keith J.; O'Sullivan, Odhran S.; Reich, Peter B.; Wythers, Kirk R.; Butler, Ethan E.; Chen, Ming; Griffin, Kevin L.; Meir, Patrick; Tjoelker, Mark; Turnbull, Matthew H.; Sitch, Stephen; Wiltshire, Andrew J.; Malhi, Yadvinder (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-11-17)
    Land-atmosphere exchanges influence atmospheric CO2. Emphasis has been on describing photosynthetic CO2 uptake, but less on respiration losses. New global datasets describe upper canopy dark respiration (Rd) and temperature ...
  • Long-term pattern and magnitude of soil carbon feedback to the climate system in a warming world 

    Melillo, Jerry M.; Frey, Serita D.; DeAngelis, Kristen M.; Werner, William J.; Bernard, Michael J.; Bowles, F. P.; Pold, Grace; Grandy, A. Stuart (2017-03)
    In a 26-year soil warming experiment in a mid-latitude hardwood forest, we documented changes in soil carbon cycling to investigate the potential consequences for the climate system. We found that soil warming results in ...
  • Macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) provides a thermodynamics rationale to underpin the convergent temperature response in plant leaf respiration 

    Liang, Liyin L.; Arcus, Vickery; Heskel, Mary; O'Sullivan, Odhran S.; Weerasinghe, Lasantha K.; Creek, Danielle; Egerton, John J. G.; Tjoelker, Mark; Atkin, Owen K.; Schipper, Louis A. (2017-10)
    Temperature is a crucial factor in determining the rates of ecosystem processes, e.g. leaf respiration (R) − the flux of plant respired CO2 from leaves to the atmosphere. Generally, R increases exponentially with temperature ...
  • Aerial photography based census of Adélie Penguin and its application in CH4 and N2O budget estimation in Victoria Land, Antarctic 

    He, Hong; Cheng, Xiao; Li, Xianglan; Zhu, Renbin; Hui, Fengming; Wu, Wenhui; Zhao, Tiancheng; Kang, Jing; Tang, Jianwu (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-10-11)
    Penguin guano provides favorable conditions for production and emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Many studies have been conducted to determine the GHG fluxes from penguin colonies, however, at regional scale, there is ...
  • Surprisingly modest water quality impacts from expansion and intensification of large-scale commercial agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon-Cerrado region 

    Neill, Christopher; Jankowski, KathiJo; Brando, Paulo; Coe, Michael T.; Deegan, Linda A.; Macedo, Marcia N.; Riskin, Shelby H.; Porder, Stephen; Elsenbeer, Helmut; Krusche, Alex V. (Sage, 2017-08-30)
    Large-scale commercial cropping of soybeans expanded in the tropical Amazon and Cerrado biomes of Brazil after 1990. More recently, cropping intensified from single-cropping of soybeans to double-cropping of soybeans with ...
  • Restoring tides to reduce methane emissions in impounded wetlands : a new and potent Blue Carbon climate change intervention 

    Kroeger, Kevin D.; Crooks, Stephen; Moseman-Valtierra, Serena M.; Tang, Jianwu (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-09-20)
    Coastal wetlands are sites of rapid carbon (C) sequestration and contain large soil C stocks. Thus, there is increasing interest in those ecosystems as sites for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission offset projects ...
  • Long-term release of carbon dioxide from Arctic tundra ecosystems in Alaska 

    Euskirchen, Eugenie; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Shaver, Gaius R.; Edgar, Colin W.; Romanovsky, Vladimir (2016-11)
    Releases of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from thawing permafrost are expected to be among the largest feedbacks to climate from arctic ecosystems. However, the current net carbon (C) balance ...
  • A review of and perspectives on global change modeling for Northern Eurasia 

    Monier, Erwan; Kicklighter, David W.; Sokolov, Andrei P.; Zhuang, Qianlai; Sokolik, Irina; Lawford, Richard; Kappas, Martin; Paltsev, Sergey; Groisman, Pavel Ya (IOP Science, 2017-08-08)
    Northern Eurasia is made up of a complex and diverse set of physical, ecological, climatic and human systems, which provide important ecosystem services including the storage of substantial stocks of carbon in its terrestrial ...
  • Going beyond the green : senesced vegetation material predicts basal area and biomass in remote sensing of tree cover conditions in an African tropical dry forest (miombo woodland) landscape 

    Mayes, Marc; Mustard, John F.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Neill, Christopher; Nyadzi, Gerson (IOP Science, 2017-08-08)
    In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), tropical dry forests and savannas cover over 2.5 million km2 and support livelihoods for millions in fast-growing nations. Intensifying land use pressures have driven rapid changes in tree cover ...

View more