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Title: Warming reverses top-down effects of predators on belowground ecosystem function in Arctic tundra

Abstract

Predators can disproportionately impact the structure and function of ecosystems relative to their biomass. These effects may be exacerbated under warming in ecosystems like the Arctic, where the number and diversity of predators are low and small shifts in community interactions can alter carbon cycle feedbacks. Here, we show that warming alters the effects of wolf spiders, a dominant tundra predator, on belowground litter decomposition. Specifically, while high densities of wolf spiders result in faster litter decomposition under ambient temperatures, they result, instead, in slower decomposition under warming. Higher spider densities are also associated with elevated levels of available soil nitrogen, potentially benefiting plant production. Changes in decomposition rates under increased wolf spider densities are accompanied by trends toward fewer fungivorous Collembola under ambient temperatures and more Collembola under warming, suggesting that Collembola mediate the indirect effects of wolf spiders on decomposition. The unexpected reversal of wolf spider effects on Collembola and decomposition suggest that in some cases, warming does not simply alter the strength of top-down effects but, instead, induces a different trophic cascade altogether. Our results indicate that climate change-induced effects on predators can cascade through other trophic levels, alter critical ecosystem functions, and potentially lead to climatemore » feedbacks with important global implications. Moreover, given the expected increase in wolf spider densities with climate change, our findings suggest that the observed cascading effects of this common predator on detrital processes could potentially buffer concurrent changes in decomposition rates.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1461247
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1501423
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0010562
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 115 Journal Issue: 32; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Koltz, Amanda M., Classen, Aimée T., and Wright, Justin P. Warming reverses top-down effects of predators on belowground ecosystem function in Arctic tundra. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1808754115.
Koltz, Amanda M., Classen, Aimée T., & Wright, Justin P. Warming reverses top-down effects of predators on belowground ecosystem function in Arctic tundra. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1808754115.
Koltz, Amanda M., Classen, Aimée T., and Wright, Justin P. Mon . "Warming reverses top-down effects of predators on belowground ecosystem function in Arctic tundra". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1808754115.
@article{osti_1461247,
title = {Warming reverses top-down effects of predators on belowground ecosystem function in Arctic tundra},
author = {Koltz, Amanda M. and Classen, Aimée T. and Wright, Justin P.},
abstractNote = {Predators can disproportionately impact the structure and function of ecosystems relative to their biomass. These effects may be exacerbated under warming in ecosystems like the Arctic, where the number and diversity of predators are low and small shifts in community interactions can alter carbon cycle feedbacks. Here, we show that warming alters the effects of wolf spiders, a dominant tundra predator, on belowground litter decomposition. Specifically, while high densities of wolf spiders result in faster litter decomposition under ambient temperatures, they result, instead, in slower decomposition under warming. Higher spider densities are also associated with elevated levels of available soil nitrogen, potentially benefiting plant production. Changes in decomposition rates under increased wolf spider densities are accompanied by trends toward fewer fungivorous Collembola under ambient temperatures and more Collembola under warming, suggesting that Collembola mediate the indirect effects of wolf spiders on decomposition. The unexpected reversal of wolf spider effects on Collembola and decomposition suggest that in some cases, warming does not simply alter the strength of top-down effects but, instead, induces a different trophic cascade altogether. Our results indicate that climate change-induced effects on predators can cascade through other trophic levels, alter critical ecosystem functions, and potentially lead to climate feedbacks with important global implications. Moreover, given the expected increase in wolf spider densities with climate change, our findings suggest that the observed cascading effects of this common predator on detrital processes could potentially buffer concurrent changes in decomposition rates.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1808754115},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 32,
volume = 115,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1808754115

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Cited by: 2 works
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