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

  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...

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