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J Environ Manage ; 362: 121168, 2024 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38823302


Targeted grazing to control undesirable plant species is increasingly of interest across a diversity of ecosystems, particularly as an alternative or complement to widely used herbicides. However, there are limited comprehensive evaluations of targeted grazing that evaluate both invasive species management effectiveness and potential negative effects on the ecosystem. Phragmites australis, a tall-statured, dense perennial invasive grass from Eurasia, is a pervasive problem in wetlands across the North American continent. As with many invasive species where management has historically relied on herbicides and resistance is a growing concern, land managers seek viable alternatives that have minimal negative ecosystem impacts. Grazing has been used for millennia to manage native Phragmites in Europe. Similarly, in its invasive range within North America, small-scale studies suggest Phragmites may be suppressed by grazers. Yet, the effectiveness of grazing at large scales and its effects on broader ecosystem properties remain largely unknown. We evaluated the influence of targeted grazing on vegetation, soil nutrients, and water nutrients over two years in large plots (∼300x the size of previous studies). We also tested the effects of mowing, a treatment that can be used to facilitate grazer access to large, dense Phragmites stands. In line with our predictions, we found that cattle grazing effectively suppressed invasive Phragmites over two years. Mowing reduced litter, and moderately reduced standing dead Phragmites, both of which suppress native plant germination in this system. However, these reductions in Phragmites were not accompanied by indications of native plant community recovery, as we had optimistically predicted. Despite the potential for grazing to reduce nutrient sequestration by plants and fertilize soils, we were surprised to find no clear negative effects of grazing on nutrient mobilization to groundwater or floodwater. Taken together, our findings indicate that targeted grazing, when implemented at broad scales over short time frames, is effective at achieving invasive plant management goals without sizable nutrient impacts. However, additional steps will be needed to achieve the restoration of diverse, robust native plant communities.

Espécies Introduzidas , Áreas Alagadas , Animais , Poaceae , Ecossistema , Solo , Herbivoria , Nutrientes
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33350055


Anthropogenic increases in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations can strongly influence the structure and function of ecosystems. Even though lotic ecosystems receive cumulative inputs of nutrients applied to and deposited on land, no comprehensive assessment has quantified nutrient-enrichment effects within streams and rivers. We conducted a meta-analysis of published studies that experimentally increased concentrations of N and/or P in streams and rivers to examine how enrichment alters ecosystem structure (state: primary producer and consumer biomass and abundance) and function (rate: primary production, leaf breakdown rates, metabolism) at multiple trophic levels (primary producer, microbial heterotroph, primary and secondary consumers, and integrated ecosystem). Our synthesis included 184 studies, 885 experiments, and 3497 biotic responses to nutrient enrichment. We documented widespread increases in organismal biomass and abundance (mean response = +48%) and rates of ecosystem processes (+54%) to enrichment across multiple trophic levels, with no large differences in responses among trophic levels or between autotrophic or heterotrophic food-web pathways. Responses to nutrient enrichment varied with the nutrient added (N, P, or both) depending on rate versus state variable and experiment type, and were greater in flume and whole-stream experiments than in experiments using nutrient-diffusing substrata. Generally, nutrient-enrichment effects also increased with water temperature and light, and decreased under elevated ambient concentrations of inorganic N and/or P. Overall, increased concentrations of N and/or P altered multiple food-web pathways and trophic levels in lotic ecosystems. Our results indicate that preservation or restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem functions of streams and rivers requires management of nutrient inputs and consideration of multiple trophic pathways.

Glob Chang Biol ; 23(8): 3064-3075, 2017 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28039909


Streams and rivers are important conduits of terrestrially derived carbon (C) to atmospheric and marine reservoirs. Leaf litter breakdown rates are expected to increase as water temperatures rise in response to climate change. The magnitude of increase in breakdown rates is uncertain, given differences in litter quality and microbial and detritivore community responses to temperature, factors that can influence the apparent temperature sensitivity of breakdown and the relative proportion of C lost to the atmosphere vs. stored or transported downstream. Here, we synthesized 1025 records of litter breakdown in streams and rivers to quantify its temperature sensitivity, as measured by the activation energy (Ea , in eV). Temperature sensitivity of litter breakdown varied among twelve plant genera for which Ea could be calculated. Higher values of Ea were correlated with lower-quality litter, but these correlations were influenced by a single, N-fixing genus (Alnus). Ea values converged when genera were classified into three breakdown rate categories, potentially due to continual water availability in streams and rivers modulating the influence of leaf chemistry on breakdown. Across all data representing 85 plant genera, the Ea was 0.34 ± 0.04 eV, or approximately half the value (0.65 eV) predicted by metabolic theory. Our results indicate that average breakdown rates may increase by 5-21% with a 1-4 °C rise in water temperature, rather than a 10-45% increase expected, according to metabolic theory. Differential warming of tropical and temperate biomes could result in a similar proportional increase in breakdown rates, despite variation in Ea values for these regions (0.75 ± 0.13 eV and 0.27 ± 0.05 eV, respectively). The relative proportions of gaseous C loss and organic matter transport downstream should not change with rising temperature given that Ea values for breakdown mediated by microbes alone and microbes plus detritivores were similar at the global scale.

Carbono/química , Folhas de Planta , Temperatura , Alnus , Mudança Climática , Ecossistema , Rios
Nature ; 462(7274): 795-8, 2009 Dec 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20010687


Biota can be described in terms of elemental composition, expressed as an atomic ratio of carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (refs 1-3). The elemental stoichiometry of microoorganisms is fundamental for understanding the production dynamics and biogeochemical cycles of ecosystems because microbial biomass is the trophic base of detrital food webs. Here we show that heterotrophic microbial communities of diverse composition from terrestrial soils and freshwater sediments share a common functional stoichiometry in relation to organic nutrient acquisition. The activities of four enzymes that catalyse the hydrolysis of assimilable products from the principal environmental sources of C, N and P show similar scaling relationships over several orders of magnitude, with a mean ratio for C:N:P activities near 1:1:1 in all habitats. We suggest that these ecoenzymatic ratios reflect the equilibria between the elemental composition of microbial biomass and detrital organic matter and the efficiencies of microbial nutrient assimilation and growth. Because ecoenzymatic activities intersect the stoichiometric and metabolic theories of ecology, they provide a functional measure of the threshold at which control of community metabolism shifts from nutrient to energy flow.

Carbono/metabolismo , Ecossistema , Enzimas/metabolismo , Sedimentos Geológicos/química , Nitrogênio/metabolismo , Fósforo/metabolismo , Microbiologia do Solo , Biomassa , Ensaios Enzimáticos , Cadeia Alimentar , Sedimentos Geológicos/microbiologia , Plantas/metabolismo , Rios , Estados Unidos , Áreas Alagadas