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Filters: Tags: {"type":"Publication"} (X) > partyWithName: Craig A. Stow (X) > Categories: Publication (X)

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Compiling data from disparate sources to address pressing ecological issues is increasingly common. Many ecological datasets contain left-censored data – observations below an analytical detection limit. Studies from single and typically small datasets show that common approaches for handling censored data — e.g., deletion or substituting fixed values — result in systematic biases. However, no studies have explored the degree to which the documentation and presence of censored data influence outcomes from large, multi-sourced datasets. We describe left-censored data in a lake water quality database assembled from 74 sources and illustrate the challenges of dealing with small values in big data, including detection...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Informatics
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Ecologists are increasingly discovering that ecological processes are made up of components that are multi-scaled in space and time. Some of the most complex of these processes are cross-scale interactions (CSIs), which occur when components interact across scales. When undetected, such interactions may cause errors in extrapolation from one region to another. CSIs, particularly those that include a regional scaled component, have not been systematically investigated or even reported because of the challenges of acquiring data at sufficiently broad spatial extents. We present an approach for quantifying CSIs and apply it to a case study investigating one such interaction, between local and regional scaled land-use...
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Governmental entities are responsible for managing and conserving large numbers of lake, river, and wetland ecosystems that can be addressed only rarely on a case-by-case basis. We present a system for predictive classification modeling, grounded in the theoretical foundation of landscape limnology, that creates a tractable number of ecosystem classes to which management actions may be tailored. We demonstrate our system by applying two types of predictive classification modeling approaches to develop nutrient criteria for eutrophication management in 1998 north temperate lakes. Our predictive classification system promotes the effective management of multiple ecosystems across broad geographic scales by explicitly...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: BioScience
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Ecological structures and processes occur at specific spatiotemporal scales, and interactions that occur across multiple scales mediate scale-specific (e.g., individual, community, local, or regional) responses to disturbance. Despite the importance of scale, explicitly incorporating a multi-scale perspective into research and management actions remains a challenge. The discontinuity hypothesis provides a fertile avenue for addressing this problem by linking measureable proxies to inherent scales of structure within ecosystems. Here we outline the conceptual framework underlying discontinuities and review the evidence supporting the discontinuity hypothesis in ecological systems. Next we explore the utility of this...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) commonly stimulate phytoplankton production in lakes, but recent observations from lakes from an agricultural region suggest that nitrate may have a subsidy‐stress effect on chlorophyll a (Chl a). It is unclear, however, how generalizable this effect might be. Here, we analyzed a large water quality dataset of 2385 lakes spanning 60 regions across 17 states in the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. to determine if N subsidy‐stress effects on phytoplankton are common and to identify regional landscape characteristics promoting N stress effects in lakes. We used a Bayesian hierarchical modeling framework to test our hypothesis that Chl a–total N (TN) threshold relationships would be common...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Limnology and Oceanography
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In a world of increasing interconnections in global trade as well as rapid change in climate and land cover, the accelerating introduction and spread of invasive species is a critical concern due to associated negative social and ecological impacts, both real and perceived. Much of the societal response to invasive species to date has been associated with negative economic consequences of invasions. This response has shaped a war-like approach to addressing invasions, one with an agenda of eradications and intense ecological restoration efforts towards prior or more desirable ecological regimes. This trajectory often ignores the concept of ecological resilience and associated approaches of resilience-based governance....
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This paper concludes that contaminants in Lake Michigan fishes are likely to remain above detectable levels for some time. Some interest groups have called for measures ranging from additional effluent controls to a ban on the industrial use of chlorine. Such measures, however well intended, are likely to have little impact on many of the contaminants of primary concern. PCBs, in particular, are largely the legacy of past activities and are not likely to be substantially affected by additional regulation. The authors review several options for reducing human exposure to PCBs, using relatively simple fisheries manipulations, although they do not propose that these measures are the ultimate solution to the contaminant...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: BioScience
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Although there are considerable site-based data for individual or groups of ecosystems, these datasets are widely scattered, have different data formats and conventions, and often have limited accessibility. At the broader scale, national datasets exist for a large number of geospatial features of land, water, and air that are needed to fully understand variation among these ecosystems. However, such datasets originate from different sources and have different spatial and temporal resolutions. By taking an open-science perspective and by combining site-based ecosystem datasets and national geospatial datasets, science gains the ability to ask important research questions related to grand environmental challenges...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: GigaScience
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The United States (U.S.) has faced major environmental changes in recent decades, including agricultural intensification and urban expansion, as well as changes in atmospheric deposition and climate—all of which may influence eutrophication of freshwaters. However, it is unclear whether or how water quality in lakes across diverse ecological settings has responded to environmental change. We quantified water quality trends in 2913 lakes using nutrient and chlorophyll (Chl) observations from the Lake Multi-Scaled Geospatial and Temporal Database of the Northeast U.S. (LAGOS-NE), a collection of preexisting lake data mostly from state agencies. LAGOS-NE was used to quantify whether lake water quality has changed from...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Global Change Biology
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The relationship between chlorophyll a (Chl a) and total phosphorus (TP) is a fundamental relationship in lakes that reflects multiple aspects of ecosystem function and is also used in the regulation and management of inland waters. The exact form of this relationship has substantial implications on its meaning and its use. We assembled a spatially extensive data set to examine whether nonlinear models are a better fit for Chl a—TP relationships than traditional log-linear models, whether there were regional differences in the form of the relationships, and, if so, which regional factors were related to these differences. We analyzed a data set from 2105 temperate lakes across 35 ecoregions by fitting and comparing...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Limnology and Oceanography
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Jerald Schnoor’s editorial describes the recent changes in Lake Huron’s aquatic ecosystem as a trophic collapse and attributes this collapse to invasive species dominating energy and nutrient flows in the food web. As state and federal scientists who are closely monitoring Lake Huron’s food web, we believe that the ongoing changes are more accurately characterized as a trophic shift in which benthic pathways have become more prominent. While decreases in abundance have occurred for some species, others are experiencing improved reproduction resulting in the restoration of several important native species.
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Understanding the factors that affect water quality and the ecological services provided by freshwater ecosystems is an urgent global environmental issue. Predicting how water quality will respond to global changes not only requires water quality data, but also information about the ecological context of individual water bodies across broad spatial extents. Because lake water quality is usually sampled in limited geographic regions, often for limited time periods, assessing the environmental controls of water quality requires compilation of many data sets across broad regions and across time into an integrated database. LAGOS-NE accomplishes this goal for lakes in the northeastern-most 17 US states.LAGOS-NE contains...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: GigaScience
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Macroscale studies of ecological phenomena are increasingly common because stressors such as climate and land-use change operate at large spatial and temporal scales. Cross-scale interactions (CSIs), where ecological processes operating at one spatial or temporal scale interact with processes operating at another scale, have been documented in a variety of ecosystems and contribute to complex system dynamics. However, studies investigating CSIs are often dependent on compiling multiple data sets from different sources to create multithematic, multiscaled data sets, which results in structurally complex, and sometimes incomplete data sets. The statistical power to detect CSIs needs to be evaluated because of their...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Interaction between habitat and species is central in ecology. Habitat structure may be conceived as being hierarchical, where larger, more diverse, portions or categories contain smaller, more homogeneous portions. When this conceptualization is combined with the observation that species have different abilities to relate to portions of the habitat that differ in their characteristics, a number of known patterns can be derived and new patterns hypothesized. We propose a quantitative form of this habitat–species relationship by considering species abundance to be a function of habitat specialization, habitat fragmentation, amount of habitat, and adult body mass. The model reproduces and explains patterns such as...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Modelling
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We examined PCB concentration data for seven species of Lake Michigan fishes to determine what trends were apparent °20 yr after PCB restrictions became effective. Total PCB concentrations in all seven species, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), brown trout (Salmo trutta), chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), and bloater chub (Coregonus hoyi) declined and appeared to stabilize in the mid-to-late 1980s. Concentrations in two species, chinook and coho salmon, appear to have increased slightly since the late 1980s. All species are currently well below the high PCB levels that existed when PCB use was curtailed...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Communities of organisms, from mammals to microorganisms, have discontinuous distributions of body size. This pattern of size structuring is a conservative trait of community organization and is a product of processes that occur at multiple spatial and temporal scales. In this study, we assessed whether body size patterns serve as an indicator of a threshold between alternative regimes. Over the past 7000 years, the biological communities of Foy Lake (Montana, USA) have undergone a major regime shift owing to climate change. We used a palaeoecological record of diatom communities to estimate diatom sizes, and then analysed the discontinuous distribution of organism sizes over time. We used Bayesian classification...
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Research on early warning indicators has generally focused on assessing temporal transitions with limited application of these methods to detecting spatial regimes. Traditional spatial boundary detection procedures that result in ecoregion maps are typically based on ecological potential (i.e. potential vegetation), and often fail to account for ongoing changes due to stressors such as land use change and climate change and their effects on plant and animal communities. We use Fisher information, an information theory-based method, on both terrestrial and aquatic animal data (U.S. Breeding Bird Survey and marine zooplankton) to identify ecological boundaries, and compare our results to traditional early warning...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology Letters
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We compiled a lake-water clarity database using publically available, citizen volunteer observations made between 1938 and 2012 across eight states in the Upper Midwest, USA. Our objectives were to determine (1) whether temporal trends in lake-water clarity existed across this large geographic area and (2) whether trends were related to the lake-specific characteristics of latitude, lake size, or time period the lake was monitored. Our database consisted of >140,000 individual Secchi observations from 3,251 lakes that we summarized per lake-year, resulting in 21,020 summer averages. Using Bayesian hierarchical modeling, we found approximately a 1% per year increase in water clarity (quantified as Secchi depth) for...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: PLoS ONE
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Compiling data from disparate sources to address pressing ecological issues is increasingly common. Many ecological datasets contain left-censored data – observations below an analytical detection limit. Studies from single and typically small datasets show that common approaches for handling censored data — e.g., deletion or substituting fixed values — result in systematic biases. However, no studies have explored the degree to which the documentation and presence of censored data influence outcomes from large, multi-sourced datasets. We describe left-censored data in a lake water quality database assembled from 74 sources and illustrate the challenges of dealing with small values in big data, including detection...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Informatics
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Ecology has a rich history of studying ecosystem dynamics across time and space that has been motivated by both practical management needs and the need to develop basic ideas about pattern and process in nature. In situations in which both spatial and temporal observations are available, similarities in temporal behavior among sites (i.e., synchrony) provide a means of understanding underlying processes that create patterns over space and time. We used pattern analysis algorithms and data spanning 22–25 yr from 601 lakes to ask three questions: What are the temporal patterns of lake water clarity at sub‐continental scales? What are the spatial patterns (i.e., geography) of synchrony for lake water clarity? And,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere