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

  • Short term changes in moisture content drive strong changes in Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and gross primary productivity in four Arctic moss communities 

    May, Jeremy L.; Parker, Thomas C.; Unger, Steven; Oberbauer, Steven F. (2018-04)
    Climate change is currently altering temperature and precipitation totals and timing in Arctic regions. Moss communities constitute much of the understory in Arctic vegetation, and as poikilohydric plants moss are highly ...
  • Performance of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence in estimating water-use efficiency in a temperate forest 

    Lu, Xiaoliang; Liu, Zhunqiao; Zhou, Yuyu; Liu, Yaling; Tang, Jianwu (MDPI AG, 2018-05-20)
    Water-use efficiency (WUE) is a critical variable describing the interrelationship between carbon uptake and water loss in land ecosystems. Different WUE formulations (WUEs) including intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi), ...
  • Long‐term nutrient addition increases respiration and nitrous oxide emissions in a New England salt marsh 

    Martin, Rose M.; Wigand, Cathleen; Elmstrom, Elizabeth; Lloret, Javier; Valiela, Ivan (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-04-20)
    Salt marshes may act either as greenhouse gas (GHG) sources or sinks depending on hydrological conditions, vegetation communities, and nutrient availability. In recent decades, eutrophication has emerged as a major driver ...
  • Steering operational synergies in terrestrial observation networks : opportunity for advancing Earth system dynamics modelling 

    Baatz, Roland; Sullivan, Pamela L.; Li, Li; Weintraub, Samantha R.; Loescher, Henry W.; Mirtl, Michael; Groffman, Peter M.; Wall, Diana H.; Young, Michael; White, Tim; Wen, Hang; Zacharias, Steffen; Kühn, Ingolf; Tang, Jianwu; Gaillardet, Jerome; Braud, Isabelle; Flores, Alejandro N.; Kumar, Praveen; Lin, Henry; Ghezzehei, Teamrat; Jones, Julia; Gholz, Henry L.; Vereecken, Harry; Van Looy, Kris (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2018-05-23)
    Advancing our understanding of Earth system dynamics (ESD) depends on the development of models and other analytical tools that apply physical, biological, and chemical data. This ambition to increase understanding and ...
  • Changes in species abundance after seven years of elevated atmospheric CO2 and warming in a Subarctic birch forest understorey, as modified by rodent and moth outbreaks 

    Svensson, Brita M.; Carlsson, Bengt Å.; Melillo, Jerry M. (PeerJ, 2018-05-29)
    A seven-year long, two-factorial experiment using elevated temperatures (5 °C) and CO2 (concentration doubled compared to ambient conditions) designed to test the effects of global climate change on plant community composition ...
  • Constraining marsh carbon budgets using long‐term C burial and contemporary atmospheric CO2 fluxes 

    Forbrich, Inke; Giblin, Anne E.; Hopkinson, Charles S. (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-02-06)
    Salt marshes are sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide that respond to environmental changes related to sea level rise and climate. Here we assess how climatic variations affect marsh‐atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide ...
  • Effect of growth temperature on photosynthetic capacity and respiration in three ecotypes of Eriophorum vaginatum 

    Schedlbauer, Jessica L.; Fetcher, Ned; Hood, Katherine; Moody, Michael M.; Tang, Jianwu (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-03-06)
    Ecotypic differentiation in the tussock‐forming sedge Eriophorum vaginatum has led to the development of populations that are locally adapted to climate in Alaska's moist tussock tundra. As a foundation species, E. vaginatum ...
  • 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 ...

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