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Advancing our mechanistic understanding of ecosystem responses to climate change is critical to improve ecological theories, develop predictive models to simulate ecosystem processes, and inform sound policies to manage ecosystems and human activities. Manipulation of temperature in the field, or the “ecosystem warming experiment,” has proved to be a powerful tool to understand ecosystem responses to changes in temperature. No comprehensive synthesis has been conducted since the last one more than 10 years ago. A new synthetic analysis is critically needed to advance our understanding of ecosystem responses to warming, to highlight experimental artifacts and appropriate interpretations, and to guide development...
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Tropical forests contain > 50% of the world’s known species (Heywood 1995), 55% of global forest biomass (Pan et al. 2011), and exchange more carbon (C), water and energy with the atmosphere than any other ecosystem type (e.g., Saugier et al. 2001). Despite their importance, there is more uncertainty associated with predictions of how tropical forests will respond to warming than for any other biome (Randerson et al. 2009). This uncertainty is of global concern due to the large quantity of C cycled by these forests and the high potential for biodiversity loss. Given the importance of tropical forests, decision makers and land managers around the globe need increased predictive capacity regarding how tropical forests...
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The SRLCC provided funds to the states of Arizona and New Mexico to support development of the states Crucial Habitat Assessment Tools (CHATs) which provide a decision support system to better incorporate wildlife values, sensitive animals and plants, and important ecosystem features into land use decision-making to reduce conflicts and surprises.Several states have released wildlife mapping tools that are the foundation for displaying crucial wildlife and corridor information. The state and regional CHATs are non-regulatory, and give project planners and the general public access to credible scientific data on a broad scale for use in project analysis, siting and planning. This includes large-scale development...
Categories: Data, Project; Types: ArcGIS REST Map Service, ArcGIS Service Definition, Downloadable, Map Service, OGC WFS Layer, OGC WMS Layer, OGC WMS Service; Tags: AZ-01, AZ-02, AZ-03, AZ-04, AZ-05, All tags...
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Global biodiversity is rapidly declining, threatening humans, ecosystems, and the services that society relies upon. Monitoring and understanding the extent of biodiversity declines can support policy decisions. Genetic diversity is the foundation of biodiversity, determining the capacity of populations to adapt to environmental changes and to sustain function and structure in all ecosystems. While the availability of genetic diversity data has exponentially increased in the past decade, genetic data have been poorly mobilized to understand biodiversity change at large scales; consequently, there is limited integration into management and policy. To solve this challenge, large-scale synthesis of genetic diversity...
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Plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars for food during photosynthesis, and this provides food for all animal life. However, photosynthesis is inhibited when a plant’s enzymes use oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. To avoid this use of oxygen, some plants developed a photosynthetic adaptation – called C4 photosynthesis – to concentrate carbon dioxide around the enzymes. While less than 5% of plants use the C4 photosynthetic pathway, they make up ~20% of global terrestrial gross primary productivity. Due to their high productivity, C4 plants have a profound impact on ecosystems, economies, the carbon cycle, and our climate. Corn and sugarcane are both C4 plants, as are foundational western livestock and wildlife...
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Migratory species may provide more ecosystem goods and services to humans in certain parts of their range than others. These areas may or may not coincide with the locations of habitat on which the species is most dependent for its continued population viability. This situation can present significant policy challenges, as locations that most support a given species may be in effect subsidizing the provision of services in other locations, often in different political jurisdictions. The ability to quantify these spatial subsidies could be used to develop economic incentives that internalize the costs and benefits of protecting migratory species, enhancing cross-jurisdictional cooperative management. Targeted payments...
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Amphibian populations are declining globally at unprecedented rates but statistically rigorous identification of mechanisms is lacking. Identification of reasons underlying large-scale declines is imperative to plan and implement effective conservation efforts. Most research on amphibian population decline has focused on local populations and local factors. However, the ubiquity of declines across species and landscapes suggests that causal factors at a broader scale are also important. Elucidation of the mechanisms driving population change has lagged, mainly because data have been unavailable at continental scales. We propose to address this need by assembling data to answer questions about broad-scale drivers...
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Non-native insect invasions increasingly cause widespread ecological and economic damage in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Non-native insects specialized for feeding on specific plant groups are particularly problematic as they can potentially eliminate an entire genus of native plant species across a wide area. For example, emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America since its accidental introduction from Asia, including more than 99% of all trees in forests near the epicenter of the invasion. However, most introduced insects do not become high-impact pests. Our goal is to develop a framework that allows us to predict whether non-native herbivorous insects in natural ecosystems...
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Ecosystems are changing worldwide and critical decisions that affect ecosystem health and sustainability are being made every day. As ecologists, we have a responsibility to ensure that these decisions are made with access to the best available science. However, to bring this idea into practice, ecology needs to make a substantial leap forward towards becoming a more predictive science. Furthermore, even for basic, conceptual questions there is a lot to be gained by addressing problems from a forecasting perspective, with more frequent data-model comparisons helping to highlight misunderstandings and reframe long-standing questions. Ecological forecasting is occurring across a wide range of ecological sub-disciplines,...
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Understanding invasive plant impacts can provide insight into community assembly and inform the development of successful management strategies. The impacts of invasive species depend on how they alter patterns of abundance within recipient communities and on the characteristics of the invaders and the affected species. Research has suggested that common species may be more impacted by invasions, and that similarity between native and invasive species underlies impact. To assess large-scale patterns of invasive plant impact, we are bringing together plant community data from 75,000 plots across natural areas of the U.S. with information on plant functional traits and evolutionary history. Functional traits are characteristics...
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Increasing wildfire activity in much of North America is having severe impacts on society and ecosystems. Climate change is a key driver of changing fire regimes across North America, with varying expressions across the continent. Modern fire records, while useful, are too short to fully characterize the complex patterns and non-linear dynamics of fire-climate relationships that are required to understand future fire activity in a warmer climate. Tree-ring fire scars offer a unique perspective because they are spatially precise, direct evidence of fires with annual to sub-annual resolution spanning centuries. For the first time, we have compiled tree-ring fire scar records across North America (n = 2,593 sites,...
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In this proposal we investigate how tree selection at the local scale affects biodiversity and ecosystem services (Obj. 1). We then look regionally to determine the extent to which trees in cities can be used to predict heat-related threats to rural forests (Obj. 2). We will leverage ongoing investigations of heat-related stress and pest outbreaks in urban and rural forests to develop management recommendations for both systems. These ongoing projects provide a knowledge-base, infrastructure (e.g. study sites), equipment (e.g. Li-Cor Photosynthesis System), and outreach opportunities that will extend the impact of this project (see Synergistic and Future Funding section below). We will also convene a working group...
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Nitrogen deposition is altering forest dynamics, terrestrial carbon storage, and biodiversity. However, our ability to forecast how different tree species will respond to N deposition, especially key response thresholds, is limited by a lack of synthesis across spatial scales and research approaches. To develop our best understanding of N deposition impact on tree growth and survival, we will integrate plot-­‐ level studies describing plant growth and survival responses to N inputs and plant-­‐ available soil nutrients with a continental scale analysis across a N deposition gradient. Our primary outcome will be estimates of tree response to N deposition with explicit representation of uncertainty and the identification...
Wind energy is poised for rapid growth over the next 2-3 decades yet fatalities to birds and bats is a leading concern that may constrain wind energy development in the US. This working group will integrate wind energy forecasting models with bat ecological models and management policy considerations to transform our ability to understand and manage renewable energy development while minimizing unintended consequences to wildlife and habitat. The key activities include: 1. Simulate tiered wind energy deployment constraints representing impact mitigation to assess effects to both species’ habitat and wind energy development; 2. integrate wind energy forecast simulations and bat demographic models to elucidate the...
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Fresh water is arguably the most valuable resource on the planet, but human activities threaten freshwater ecosystems. For example, use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, road salts, and nutrients, has led to the ubiquitous contamination of aquatic systems, jeopardizing the integrity of ecological communities. Given the importance biodiversity plays in maintaining ecosystem health and function and the continued decline of freshwater species, it is vital to understand the direct, indirect, and lasting effects of synthetic contaminants on biota in freshwater systems. The majority of our knowledge regarding contaminant effects is comprised of short-term, single-contaminant laboratory toxicity tests that describe...
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Wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, water purification, flood protection, and carbon metabolism. Our ability to manage these services and predict the long-term health of wetlands is strongly linked to their carbon fluxes, of which methane (CH4) is a key component. Natural wetlands emit approximately 30% of global CH4 emissions, as their waterlogged soils create ideal conditions for CH4 production. They are also the largest, and potentially most uncertain, natural source of CH4 to the atmosphere. To understand and predict CH4 fluxes across wetlands globally, we propose the first synthesis of CH4 flux tower data accompanying a global database of CH4 emissions. By taking...
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Soils are a vast reservoir of organic carbon (C), rendering the fate of soil C an important control on the global climate system. Widespread changes in soil C storage capacity present a potentially strong feedback to global change. Yet, a comprehensive understanding of how soil C will respond to climate and/or land use disturbance remains illusive, resulting in major uncertainties in global climate models. Our working group will synthesize information on the processes controlling soil C storage across different spatial scales and develop new procedures to translate local measurements to the regional and global scale datasets used by models. These activities will improve our ability to map the vulnerability of soil...
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River ecosystems support a wide diversity of biota, including thousands of fish species, which are variously adapted to the dynamic environments provided by flowing-water habitats. One of the primary ways that human activities diminish the biological capacity of rivers is by altering the natural hydrologic variability of river systems through regulation and diversion of streamflow for other uses. Managers may be able to avoid some of the worst effects of flow management on aquatic biota if we understand the mechanisms by which streamflow components, such as unusually high and low flow events, affect populations (e.g., by influencing recruitment and mortality). Numerous past studies have described correlative associations...
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Geographically Isolated Wetlands (GIWs) occur along gradients of hydrologic and ecological connectivity and isolation, even within wetland types (e.g., forested, emergent marshes) and functional classes (e.g., ephemeral systems, permanent systems, etc.). Within a given watershed, the relative positions of wetlands and open-waters along these gradients influence the type and magnitude of their chemical, physical, and biological effects on downgradient waters. In addition, the ways in which GIWs connect to the broader hydrological landscape, and the effects of such connectivity on downgradient waters, depends largely upon climate, geology, and relief, the heterogeneity of which expands with increasing scale. Developing...


map background search result map search result map Animal Migration and Spatial Subsidies: Establishing a Framework for Conservation Markets Support to Western States Crucial Habitat Assessment Tools Consequences of Urbanization and Climate Change on Human and Ecosystem Health Animal Migration and Spatial Subsidies: Establishing a Framework for Conservation Markets Support to Western States Crucial Habitat Assessment Tools Consequences of Urbanization and Climate Change on Human and Ecosystem Health