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Title: CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON SPECIES COMPOSITION MEDIATES DECOMPOSITION IN AN OLD-FIELD ECOSYSTEM

Abstract

Decomposition of leaf litter collected from an old-fi eld community grown under a combination of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (+300ppm) and elevated surface temperature (+ 3.2°C) was examined in ambient conditions over 8 months in two separate experiments. In the fi rst experiment, we examined the main effects and interactions of CO2 and warming on litter quality and subsequent mass loss rates. Multi-species litter bags were constructed with litter collected from chambers with ambient CO2 and ambient temperatures (ACAT), elevated CO2 and elevated temperature (ECET), ambient CO2 and elevated temperature (ACET), and elevated CO2 and ambient temperature (ECAT). Litter collected from 6 species in each chamber was represented in decomposition bags in equal proportions. There were no differences in initial litter percent carbon (C) or nitrogen (N) among treatments. After 8 months, litter collected from ACET chambers lost over 20% more mass than litter collected from ECET or ACAT chambers, although biological differences were small. In the second experiment, we examined the indirect effect climate change may have on plant community composition, litter inputs, and subsequent mass loss rates. Litter bags were made from the same chambers mentioned above, but the amount of litter in the bag from each speciesmore » was proportional to peak standing biomass of that species within the treatment. Initial litter in ECAT bags had up to 4% less C and 29% less N than ECET and ACET bags. Mass loss from ACET bags was 48% higher than mass loss from ECAT bags and 37% higher than mass loss from ACAT bags after 8 months of decomposition. These differences may have been driven by the higher proportion of litter from Lespedeza, a N-fi xer, in the natural ACET bags. Taken together, these data suggest that climate change will have a larger effect on decomposition by causing shifts in plant communities than it will by altering litter quality.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
DOESC (USDOE Office of Science (SC) (United States))
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1052054
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Undergraduate Research; Journal Volume: 7
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Tyner, M.L., and Classen, A.T. CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON SPECIES COMPOSITION MEDIATES DECOMPOSITION IN AN OLD-FIELD ECOSYSTEM. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
Tyner, M.L., & Classen, A.T. CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON SPECIES COMPOSITION MEDIATES DECOMPOSITION IN AN OLD-FIELD ECOSYSTEM. United States.
Tyner, M.L., and Classen, A.T. Mon . "CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON SPECIES COMPOSITION MEDIATES DECOMPOSITION IN AN OLD-FIELD ECOSYSTEM". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1052054.
@article{osti_1052054,
title = {CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON SPECIES COMPOSITION MEDIATES DECOMPOSITION IN AN OLD-FIELD ECOSYSTEM},
author = {Tyner, M.L. and Classen, A.T.},
abstractNote = {Decomposition of leaf litter collected from an old-fi eld community grown under a combination of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (+300ppm) and elevated surface temperature (+ 3.2°C) was examined in ambient conditions over 8 months in two separate experiments. In the fi rst experiment, we examined the main effects and interactions of CO2 and warming on litter quality and subsequent mass loss rates. Multi-species litter bags were constructed with litter collected from chambers with ambient CO2 and ambient temperatures (ACAT), elevated CO2 and elevated temperature (ECET), ambient CO2 and elevated temperature (ACET), and elevated CO2 and ambient temperature (ECAT). Litter collected from 6 species in each chamber was represented in decomposition bags in equal proportions. There were no differences in initial litter percent carbon (C) or nitrogen (N) among treatments. After 8 months, litter collected from ACET chambers lost over 20% more mass than litter collected from ECET or ACAT chambers, although biological differences were small. In the second experiment, we examined the indirect effect climate change may have on plant community composition, litter inputs, and subsequent mass loss rates. Litter bags were made from the same chambers mentioned above, but the amount of litter in the bag from each species was proportional to peak standing biomass of that species within the treatment. Initial litter in ECAT bags had up to 4% less C and 29% less N than ECET and ACET bags. Mass loss from ACET bags was 48% higher than mass loss from ECAT bags and 37% higher than mass loss from ACAT bags after 8 months of decomposition. These differences may have been driven by the higher proportion of litter from Lespedeza, a N-fi xer, in the natural ACET bags. Taken together, these data suggest that climate change will have a larger effect on decomposition by causing shifts in plant communities than it will by altering litter quality.},
doi = {},
journal = {Journal of Undergraduate Research},
number = ,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}
  • Decomposition of leaf litter collected from an old-field community grown under a combination of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (+300 ppm) and elevated surface temperature (+ 3.2˚C) was examined in ambient conditions over 8 months in two separate experiments. In the first experiment, we examined the main effects and interactions of CO2 and warming on litter quality and subsequent mass loss rates. Multi-species litter bags were constructed with litter collected from chambers with ambient CO2 and ambient temperatures (ACAT), elevated CO2 and elevated temperature (ECET), ambient CO2 and elevated temperature (ACET), and elevated CO2 and ambient temperature (ECAT). Litter collected frommore » 6 species in each chamber was represented in decomposition bags in equal proportions. There were no differences in initial litter percent carbon (C) or nitrogen (N) among treatments. After 8 months, litter collected from ACET chambers lost over 20% more mass than litter collected from ECET or ACAT chambers, although biological differences were small. In the second experiment, we examined the indirect effect climate change may have on plant community composition, litter inputs, and subsequent mass loss rates. Litter bags were made from the same chambers mentioned above, but the amount of litter in the bag from each species was proportional to peak standing biomass of that species within the treatment. Initial litter in ECAT bags had up to 4% less C and 29% less N than ECET and ACET bags. Mass loss from ACET bags was 48% higher than mass loss from ECAT bags and 37% higher than mass loss from ACAT bags after 8 months of decomposition. These differences may have been driven by the higher proportion of litter from Lespedeza, a N-fixer, in the natural ACET bags. Taken together, these data suggest that climate change will have a larger effect on decomposition by causing shifts in plant communities than it will by altering litter quality.« less
  • Atmospheric and climatic change can alter plant biomass production and plant community composition. However, we know little about how climate change-induced alterations in biomass production affect plant community composition. To better understand how climate change will alter both individual plant species and community biomass we manipulated atmospheric [CO2], air temperature and precipitation in a constructed old-field ecosystem. Specifically, we compared the responses of dominant and subdominant species to our treatments, and explored how changes in plant dominance patterns alter community evenness over two years. Our study resulted in four major findings: 1) All treatments, elevated [CO2], warming and increased precipitation,more » increased plant biomass and the effects were additive rather than interactive, 2) Plant species differed in their response to the treatments, resulting in shifts in the proportional biomass of individual species, which altered the plant community composition; however, the plant community response was largely driven by the responses of the dominant species, 3) Precipitation explained most of the variation in plant community composition among treatments, and 4) Changes in precipitation caused a shift in the dominant species proportional biomass that resulted in higher community evenness in the dry relative to wet treatments. Interestingly, compositional and evenness responses of the subdominant community to the treatments did not always follow the responses of the whole plant community. Our data suggest that changes in plant dominance patterns and community evenness are an important part of community responses to climate change, and generally, that compositional shifts can have important consequences for the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.« less
  • Alterations to the Earth`s environment are projected to be of an amplitude not experienced in the recent biological history. How ecosystems will respond to these changes is a matter of great uncertainty. Using the ecosystem model CENTURY, we evaluated the responses of five grass species, common to the Central Grasslands Region to changing climates. The altered climates used in this simulation, based on CCC GCM outputs, were 2.5 - 4{degrees}C increase in mean annual temperature and a 1% increase in mean annual precipitation with significant variation in seasonal distribution. The species included Agrostis scabra (C{sub 3} grass), Agropyron repens (C{submore » 3} grass), Poa pratensis (C{sub 3} grass), Schizachyrium scoparium (C{sub 4} grass), and Andropogon gerardii (C{sub 4} grass). Soil carbon decreased for all five species under the modified climate scenario. Annual production varied among species. Agropyron repens showed a slight increase, A. scabra showed a slight decrease, while the two C{sub 4} species, S. scoparium and A. gerardii, and the C{sub 3} invasive grass Poa pratensis showed larger increases in annual production. The increased annual production of P. pratensis under the modified climate scenario may indicate the potential for this species to further expand its range. What impact a range expansion of P. pratensis will have on ecosystem function and overall species composition is unclear.« less
  • In shaping how ecosystems respond to climatic change, ecosystem structure can dominate over physiological responses of individuals, especially under conditions of multiple, simultaneous changes in environmental factors. Ecological succession drives large-scale changes in ecosystem structure over time, but the mechanisms whereby climatic change alters succession remain unresolved. Here, we investigate effects of atmospheric and climatic change on seedling establishment, recognizing that small shifts in seedling establishment of different species may have long-term repercussions on the transition of fields to forests in the future. Our 4-year experiment in an old-field ecosystem revealed that response of seedling emergence to different combinations ofmore » atmospheric CO2 concentration, air temperature, and soil moisture depends on seed phenology, the timing of seed arrival into an ecosystem. We conclude that seed phenology is an important plant trait that can shape, and help predict, the trajectories of ecosystems under climatic change.« less