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Title: Responses of arctic tundra to experimental and observed changes in climate

Abstract

The authors manipulated light, temperature, and nutrients in moist tussock tundra in Alaska to determine how global changes might affect community and ecosystem processes. Some of these manipulations altered nutrient availability, growth-form composition, net primary production, and species richness in less than a decade, indicating arctic vegetation at this site is sensitive to climatic change. In general, short-term (3-yr) responses were poor predictors of longer term (9-yr) changes in community composition. The longer term responses showed closer correspondence to patterns of vegetation distribution along environmental gradients. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability tended to increase with elevated temperature and in response to light attenuation. Nutrient addition increased biomass and production of deciduous shrubs but reduced growth of evergreen shrubs and nonvascular plants. Light attenuation reduced biomass of all growth forms. Elevated temperature enhanced shrub production but reduced production of nonvascular plants. The contrasting responses to temperature increase and to nutrient addition by different growth forms {open_quotes}canceled out{close_quotes} at the ecosystem level, buffering changes in ecosystem characteristics such as biomass, production, and nutrient uptake. The major effect of elevated temperature was to speed plant response to changes in soil resources and, in long term (9 yr), to increase nutrient availability. Species richness wasmore » reduced 30-50% by temperature and nutrient treatments. Declines in diversity occurred disproportionately in forbs and in mosses. During our 9-yr study (the warmest decade on record in the region), biomass of one dominant tundra species unexpectedly changed in control plots in the direction predicted by our experiments and by Holocene pollen records. This suggests that regional climatic warming may already be altering the species composition of Alaskan arctic tundra. 73 refs., 9 figs., 4 tabs.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ; ; ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Ecosystem Center, Woods Hole, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
75828
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Ecology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 76; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: PBD: Apr 1995
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
56 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, APPLIED STUDIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; CLIMATIC CHANGE; GLOBAL ASPECTS; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; TUNDRA; POPULATION DYNAMICS; SOLAR RADIATION; AMBIENT TEMPERATURE; NUTRIENTS

Citation Formats

Chapin, III, F S, Shaver, G R, Giblin, A E, Nadelhoffer, K J, and Laundre, J A. Responses of arctic tundra to experimental and observed changes in climate. United States: N. p., 1995. Web.
Chapin, III, F S, Shaver, G R, Giblin, A E, Nadelhoffer, K J, & Laundre, J A. Responses of arctic tundra to experimental and observed changes in climate. United States.
Chapin, III, F S, Shaver, G R, Giblin, A E, Nadelhoffer, K J, and Laundre, J A. Sat . "Responses of arctic tundra to experimental and observed changes in climate". United States.
@article{osti_75828,
title = {Responses of arctic tundra to experimental and observed changes in climate},
author = {Chapin, III, F S and Shaver, G R and Giblin, A E and Nadelhoffer, K J and Laundre, J A},
abstractNote = {The authors manipulated light, temperature, and nutrients in moist tussock tundra in Alaska to determine how global changes might affect community and ecosystem processes. Some of these manipulations altered nutrient availability, growth-form composition, net primary production, and species richness in less than a decade, indicating arctic vegetation at this site is sensitive to climatic change. In general, short-term (3-yr) responses were poor predictors of longer term (9-yr) changes in community composition. The longer term responses showed closer correspondence to patterns of vegetation distribution along environmental gradients. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability tended to increase with elevated temperature and in response to light attenuation. Nutrient addition increased biomass and production of deciduous shrubs but reduced growth of evergreen shrubs and nonvascular plants. Light attenuation reduced biomass of all growth forms. Elevated temperature enhanced shrub production but reduced production of nonvascular plants. The contrasting responses to temperature increase and to nutrient addition by different growth forms {open_quotes}canceled out{close_quotes} at the ecosystem level, buffering changes in ecosystem characteristics such as biomass, production, and nutrient uptake. The major effect of elevated temperature was to speed plant response to changes in soil resources and, in long term (9 yr), to increase nutrient availability. Species richness was reduced 30-50% by temperature and nutrient treatments. Declines in diversity occurred disproportionately in forbs and in mosses. During our 9-yr study (the warmest decade on record in the region), biomass of one dominant tundra species unexpectedly changed in control plots in the direction predicted by our experiments and by Holocene pollen records. This suggests that regional climatic warming may already be altering the species composition of Alaskan arctic tundra. 73 refs., 9 figs., 4 tabs.},
doi = {},
journal = {Ecology},
number = 3,
volume = 76,
place = {United States},
year = {1995},
month = {4}
}