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Title: Predator contributions to belowground responses to warming

Identifying the factors that control soil CO 2 emissions will improve our ability to predict the magnitude of climate change–soil ecosystem feedbacks. Despite the integral role of invertebrates in belowground systems, they are excluded from climate change models. Soil invertebrates have consumptive and nonconsumptive effects on microbes, whose respiration accounts for nearly half of soil CO 2 emissions. By altering the behavior and abundance of invertebrates that interact with microbes, invertebrate predators may have indirect effects on soil respiration. We examined the effects of a generalist arthropod predator on belowground respiration under different warming scenarios. Based on research suggesting invertebrates may mediate soil CO 2 emission responses to warming, we predicted that predator presence would result in increased emissions by negatively affecting these invertebrates. We altered the presence of wolf spiders ( Pardosa spp.) in mesocosms containing a forest floor community. To simulate warming, we placed mesocosms of each treatment in ten open-top warming chambers ranging from 1.5° to 5.5°C above ambient at Harvard Forest, Massachusetts, USA. As expected, CO 2 emissions increased under warming and we found an interactive effect of predator presence and warming, although the effect was not consistent through time. The interaction between predator presence andmore » warming was the inverse of our predictions: Mesocosms with predators had lower respiration at higher levels of warming than those without predators. Carbon dioxide emissions were not significantly associated with microbial biomass. Here, we did not find evidence of consumptive effects of predators on the invertebrate community, suggesting that predator presence mediates response of microbial respiration to warming through nonconsumptive means. In our system, we found a significant interaction between warming and predator presence that warrants further research into mechanism and generality of this pattern to other systems.« less
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  1. Bowling Green State Univ., Bowling Green, OH (United States)
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Published Article
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Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2150-8925
Ecological Society of America
Research Org:
North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; brown food web; carbon; climate change; invertebrate; predator; soil respiration; warming
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Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1332768; OSTI ID: 1361683