Browsing by Subject "ecosystems (ecology)"

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  • Kleemola, Sirpa; Forsius, Martin (Finnish Environment Institute, 2016)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 29/2016
    The Integrated Monitoring Programme (ICP IM) is part of the effect-oriented activities under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, which covers the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The main aim of ICP IM is to provide a framework to observe and understand the complex changes occurring in natural/semi natural ecosystems. This report summarizes the work carried out by the ICP IM Programme Centre and several collaborating institutes. The emphasis of the report is in the work done during the programme year 2015/2016 including: - A short summary of previous data assessments - A status report of the ICP IM activities, content of the IM database, and geographical coverage of the monitoring network - A report on dynamic vegetation modelling at ecosystem monitoring and research sites - An interim report on trend assessment for deposition and runoff water chemistry and climatic variables at ICP IM sites in 1990–2013 - National Reports on ICP IM activities are presented as annexes.
  • Kleemola, Sirpa; Forsius, Martin (Finnish Environment Institute, 2017)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 24/2017
    The Integrated Monitoring Programme (ICP IM) is part of the effect-oriented activities under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, which covers the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The main aim of ICP IM is to provide a framework to observe and understand the complex changes occurring in natural/semi natural ecosystems. This report summarizes the work carried out by the ICP IM Programme Centre and several collaborating institutes. The emphasis of the report is in the work done during the programme year 2016/2017 including: - A short summary of previous data assessments - A status report of the ICP IM activities, content of the IM database, and geographical coverage of the monitoring network - A report on connections between calculated Critical Load exceedances and observed fluxes and concentrations of nitrogen in runoff - A report on concentrations of heavy metals in important forest ecosystem compartments - National Reports on ICP IM activities are presented as annexes.
  • Kleemola, Sirpa; Forsius, Martin (Finnish Environment Institute, 2018)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 20 /2018
    The Integrated Monitoring Programme (ICP IM) is part of the effect-oriented activities under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, which covers the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The main aim of ICP IM is to provide a framework to observe and understand the complex changes occurring in natural/semi natural ecosystems. This report summarizes the work carried out by the ICP IM Programme Centre and several collaborating institutes. The emphasis of the report is in the work done during the programme year 2017/2018 including: - A short summary of previous data assessments - A status report of the ICP IM activities, content of the IM data base, and geographical coverage of the monitoring network - A report on long-term changes in the inorganic nitrogen output fluxes in European ICP Integrated Monitoring catchments and an assessment of the role of internal nitrogen parameters - A progress report on dynamic soil-vegetation modelling - A literature review: Post disturbance vegetation succession and resilience in forest ecosystems - National Reports on ICP IM activities are presented as annexes.
  • Kleemola, Sirpa; Forsius, Martin (Finnish Environment Institute, 2019)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 33/2019
    The Integrated Monitoring Programme (ICP IM) is part of the effect-oriented activities under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, which covers the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The main aim of ICP IM is to provide a framework to observe and understand the complex changes occurring in natural/semi natural ecosystems. This report summarizes the work carried out by the ICP IM Programme Centre and several collaborating institutes. The emphasis of the report is in the work done during the programme year 2018/2019 including: - A short summary of previous data assessments - A status report of the ICP IM activities, content of the IM database, and geographical coverage of the monitoring network - An interim report on aluminium fractions in surface waters draining catchments of ICP Integrated Monitoring network - National Reports on ICP IM activities are presented as annexes.
  • Myllyviita, Tanja; Sironen, Susanna; Saikku, Laura; Holma, Anne; Leskinen, Pekka; Palme, Ulrika (2019)
    Journal of Cleaner Production 236: 117641
    Impacts of bioeconomy on climate have been much discussed, but less attention has been given to biodiversity deterioration. One approach to assess biodiversity impacts is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Finland is a forested country with intensive forest industries, but only coarse biodiversity LCA methods are available. The aim of this study was to further develop and apply approaches to assess the biodiversity impacts of wood use in Finland. With the species richness approach (all taxons included), biodiversity impacts were higher in Southern than in Northern Finland but impacts in Southern and Northern Finland were lower when mammals, birds and molluscs were included. With the ecosystem indicators approach, if the reference situation were forest in its natural state, biodiversity impacts were higher than in the case where the initial state of forest before final felling was used to derive biodiversity loss. In both cases, the biodiversity impacts were higher in Northern Finland. These results were not coherent as the model applying species richness data assesses biodiversity loss based on all species, whereas the ecosystem indicators approach considers vulnerable species. One limitation of the species richness approach was that there were no reliable datasets available. In the ecosystem indicators approach, it was noticed that the biodiversity of managed Finnish forests is substantially lower than in natural forests. Biodiversity LCA approaches are highly sensitive to reference states, applied model and data. It is essential to develop approaches capable of comparing biodiversity impacts of forest management practices, or when looking at multiple environmental impacts simultaneously with the LCA framework.
  • Ärje, Johanna; Melvad, Claus; Jeppesen, Mads Rosenhoj; Madsen, Sigurd Agerskov; Raitoharju, Jenni; Rasmussen, Maria Strandgård; Iosifidis, Alexandros; Tirronen, Ville; Gabbouj, Moncef; Meissner, Kristian; Hoye, Toke Thomas (British Ecological Society, 2020)
    Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11 8 (2020)
    1. Understanding how biological communities respond to environmental changes is a key challenge in ecology and ecosystem management. The apparent decline of insect populations necessitates more biomonitoring but the time-consuming sorting and expert-based identification of taxa pose strong limitations on how many insect samples can be processed. In turn, this affects the scale of efforts to map and monitor invertebrate diversity altogether. Given recent advances in computer vision, we propose to enhance the standard human expert-based identification approach involving manual sorting and identification with an automatic image-based technology. 2. We describe a robot-enabled image-based identification machine, which can automate the process of invertebrate sample sorting, specimen identification and biomass estimation. We use the imaging device to generate a comprehensive image database of terrestrial arthropod species which is then used to test classification accuracy, that is, how well the species identity of a specimen can be predicted from images taken by the machine. We also test sensitivity of the classification accuracy to the camera settings (aperture and exposure time) to move forward with the best possible image quality. We use state-of-the-art Resnet-50 and InceptionV3 convolutional neural networks for the classification task. 3. The results for the initial dataset are very promising as we achieved an average classification accuracy of 0.980. While classification accuracy is high for most species, it is lower for species represented by less than 50 specimens. We found significant positive relationships between mean area of specimens derived from images and their dry weight for three species of Diptera. 4. The system is general and can easily be used for other groups of invertebrates as well. As such, our results pave the way for generating more data on spatial and temporal variation in invertebrate abundance, diversity and biomass.
  • Vihervaara, Petteri; Kullberg, Peter; Hurskainen, Pekka (2019)
    Futura 3/2019
    Our planet is undergoing massive global change. We are increasingly aware of the biodiversity crisis, which raises concerns about the future of nature and humankind. Targets and goals set at several multilateral environmental agreements to stop the crisis have been agreed upon, but their effective follow-up and implementation require relevant and timely biodiversity data. For this purpose, a set of policy-relevant Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), describing the biological state and capturing the major dimensions of biodiversity change, have been proposed. Generating EBVs requires integration of in situ and Earth observation data. The former is collected in the field by experts, citizens, or automatic sensor networks, assisted by new technologies such as eDNA and machine learning, while the latter is measured from space or air, enabled by analysis-ready multi-sensor data and cloud computing services. As a case example for better biodiversity monitoring, the Finnish Ecosystem Observatory (FEO) is proposed. FEO will combine and standardize environmental information from different data sources, making the data, metadata and models openly available and easily accessible to users and policy makers.
  • García-Girón, Jorge; Heino, Jani; García-Criado, Francisco; Fernández-Aláez, Camino; Alahuhta, Janne (Wiley Online Library, 2020)
    Ecography 43 8 (2020)
    Biotic interactions are fundamental drivers governing biodiversity locally, yet their effects on geographical variation in community composition (i.e. incidence-based) and community structure (i.e. abundance-based) at regional scales remain controversial. Ecologists have only recently started to integrate different types of biotic interactions into community assembly in a spatial context, a theme that merits further empirical quantification. Here, we applied partial correlation networks to infer the strength of spatial dependencies between pairs of organismal groups and mapped the imprints of biotic interactions on the assembly of pond metacommunities. To do this, we used a comprehensive empirical dataset from Mediterranean landscapes and adopted the perspective that community assembly is best represented as a network of interacting organismal groups. Our results revealed that the co-variation among the beta diversities of multiple organismal groups is primarily driven by biotic interactions and, to a lesser extent, by the abiotic environment. These results suggest that ignoring biotic interactions may undermine our understanding of assembly mechanisms in spatially extensive areas and decrease the accuracy and performance of predictive models. We further found strong spatial dependencies in our analyses which can be interpreted as functional relationships among several pairs of organismal groups (e.g. macrophytes–macroinvertebrates, fish–zooplankton). Perhaps more importantly, our results support the notion that biotic interactions make crucial contributions to the species sorting paradigm of metacommunity theory and raise the question of whether these biologically-driven signals have been equally underappreciated in other aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Although more research is still required to empirically capture the importance of biotic interactions across ecosystems and at different spatial resolutions and extents, our findings may allow decision makers to better foresee the main consequences of human-driven impacts on inland waters, particularly those associated with the addition or removal of key species.
  • Korpinen, Samuli; Laamanen, Leena; Bergström, Lena; Nurmi, Marco; Andersen, Jesper H.; Haapaniemi, Juuso; Harvey, E. Therese; Murray, Ciaran J.; Peterlin, Monika; Kallenbach, Emilie; Klančnik, Katja; Stein, Ulf; Tunesi, Leonardo; Vaughan, David; Reker, Johnny (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2021)
    Ambio 50 (2021), 1325–1336
    Marine ecosystems are under high demand for human use, giving concerns about how pressures from human activities may affect their structure, function, and status. In Europe, recent developments in mapping of marine habitats and human activities now enable a coherent spatial evaluation of potential combined effects of human activities. Results indicate that combined effects from multiple human pressures are spread to 96% of the European marine area, and more specifically that combined effects from physical disturbance are spread to 86% of the coastal area and 46% of the shelf area. We compare our approach with corresponding assessments at other spatial scales and validate our results with European-scale status assessments for coastal waters. Uncertainties and development points are identified. Still, the results suggest that Europe’s seas are widely disturbed, indicating potential discrepancy between ambitions for Blue Growth and the objective of achieving good environmental status within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
  • Vuorio, Kristiina; Mäki, Anita; Salmi, Pauliina; Aalto, Sanni L.; Tiirola, Marja (Frontiers Media S.A., 2020)
    Frontiers in Microbiology 11 (2020) 96
    The composition of phytoplankton community is the basis for environmental monitoring and assessment of the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems. Community composition studies of phytoplankton have been based on time-consuming and expertise-demanding light microscopy analyses. Molecular methods have the potential to replace microscopy, but the high copy number variation of ribosomal genes and the lack of universal primers for simultaneous amplification of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genes complicate data interpretation. In this study, we used our previously developed directional primer-independent high-throughput sequencing (HTS) approach to analyze 16S and 18S rRNA community structures. Comparison of 83 boreal lake samples showed that the relative abundances of eukaryotic phytoplankton at class level and prokaryotic cyanobacteria at order level were consistent between HTS and microscopy results. At the genus level, the results had low correspondence, mainly due to lack of sequences in the reference library. HTS was superior to identify genera that are extensively represented in the reference databases but lack specific morphological characteristics. Targeted metatranscriptomics proved to be a feasible method to complement the microscopy analysis. The metatranscriptomics can also be applied without linking the sequences to taxonomy. However, direct indexing of the sequences to their environmental indicator values needs collections of more comprehensive sample sets, as long as the coverage of molecular barcodes of eukaryotic species remains insufficient.
  • Hyvärinen, Heini; Skyttä, Annaliina; Jernberg, Susanna; Meissner, Kristian; Kuosa, Harri; Uusitalo, Laura (Springer, 2021)
    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 193: 400
    Global deterioration of marine ecosystems, together with increasing pressure to use them, has created a demand for new, more efficient and cost-efficient monitoring tools that enable assessing changes in the status of marine ecosystems. However, demonstrating the cost-efficiency of a monitoring method is not straightforward as there are no generally applicable guidelines. Our study provides a systematic literature mapping of methods and criteria that have been proposed or used since the year 2000 to evaluate the cost-efficiency of marine monitoring methods. We aimed to investigate these methods but discovered that examples of actual cost-efficiency assessments in literature were rare, contradicting the prevalent use of the term “cost-efficiency.” We identified five different ways to compare the cost-efficiency of a marine monitoring method: (1) the cost–benefit ratio, (2) comparative studies based on an experiment, (3) comparative studies based on a literature review, (4) comparisons with other methods based on literature, and (5) subjective comparisons with other methods based on experience or intuition. Because of the observed high frequency of insufficient cost–benefit assessments, we strongly advise that more attention is paid to the coverage of both cost and efficiency parameters when evaluating the actual cost-efficiency of novel methods. Our results emphasize the need to improve the reliability and comparability of cost-efficiency assessments. We provide guidelines for future initiatives to develop a cost-efficiency assessment framework and suggestions for more unified cost-efficiency criteria.
  • Nygård, Henrik; van Beest, Floris M.; Bergqvist, Lisa; Carstensen, Jacob; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Hasler, Berit; Schumacher, Johanna; Schernewski, Gerald; Sokolov, Alexander; Zandersen, Marianne; Fleming, Vivi (Springer Link, 2020)
    Environmental Management 66(6) (2020)
    Decision-support tools (DSTs) synthesize complex information to assist environmental managers in the decision-making process. Here, we review DSTs applied in the Baltic Sea area, to investigate how well the ecosystem approach is reflected in them, how different environmental problems are covered, and how well the tools meet the needs of the end users. The DSTs were evaluated based on (i) a set of performance criteria, (ii) information on end user preferences, (iii) how end users had been involved in tool development, and (iv) what experiences developers/hosts had on the use of the tools. We found that DSTs frequently addressed management needs related to eutrophication, biodiversity loss, or contaminant pollution. The majority of the DSTs addressed human activities, their pressures, or environmental status changes, but they seldom provided solutions for a complete ecosystem approach. In general, the DSTs were scientifically documented and transparent, but confidence in the outputs was poorly communicated. End user preferences were, apart from the shortcomings in communicating uncertainty, well accounted for in the DSTs. Although end users were commonly consulted during the DST development phase, they were not usually part of the development team. Answers from developers/hosts indicate that DSTs are not applied to their full potential. Deeper involvement of end users in the development phase could potentially increase the value and impact of DSTs. As a way forward, we propose streamlining the outputs of specific DSTs, so that they can be combined to a holistic insight of the consequences of management actions and serve the ecosystem approach in a better manner.
  • Li, Zhengfei; Wang, Jun; Liu, Zhenyuan; Meng, Xingliang; Heino, Jani; Jiang, Xuankong; Xiong, Xiong; Jiang, Xiaoming; Xie, Zhicai (2019)
    Science of the Total Environment 655:1288-1300
    Examining the relative contribution of local environmental stressors and regional factors in structuring biological communities is essential for biodiversity conservation and environmental assessment, yet their relative roles for different community characterizations remain elusive. Here, we examined the responses of taxonomic and functional structures of stream macroinvertebrate communities to local and regional factors across a human-induced environmental gradient in the Han River Basin, one subtropical biodiversity hotspot in China. Our objectives were: 1) to examine the responses of traditional taxonomic measures and functional traits to anthropogenic disturbances; 2) to compare the relative importance of environmental versus spatial variables and catchment-scale versus reach-scale variables for the two community characterizations. We found that both species and trait compositions performed well in differentiating anthropogenic disturbances, indicating that both taxonomic and functional structures of macroinvertebrate communities were strongly altered by human activities. Particularly, some traits related to life history (e.g., voltinism), resilience and resistance (e.g., adult flying ability) are well suited for predicting changes of communities towards anthropogenic disturbances owing to their mechanistic relationship with environmental gradients. We found that environmental variables played more important roles than spatial effects in structuring both taxonomic and functional facets of macroinvertebrate communities. Environmental filtering was more important in determining functional than taxonomic structure, and the opposite was true for spatial effects. In terms of environmental variables, catchment land-uses played the primary role in determining taxonomic composition, whereas reach-scale variables related to local habitat heterogeneity were more influential for functional structure. Our study highlights the importance of employing metacommunity perspectives and different community characterizations in both theoretical and applied research. For stream bioassessment and management, we argue that the combination of taxonomic and functional characterizations of community should be implemented, as different facets of biological communities responded to different types of anthropogenic disturbances.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari (Routledge, 2017)
    Routledge Handbook of Urban Forestry
    Ecosystem services provided by urban green areas have been recognised to an increasing degree following the turn of the millennium (MEA, 2003; Gómez-Baggethun and Barton, 2013). Urban trees in particular provide urban dwellers with a variety of ecosystem services (see Chapter 4 of this volume). However, urban trees are also the source of various types of harm, nuisance and costs. These ‘bad’ aspects may be labelled as ecosystem disservices. The concept of ecosystem disservice is a recent one and there is no widely agreed definition for it. On a general level, ecosystem disservices can be defined as the functions, processes and attributes generated by the ecosystem that result in perceived or actual negative impacts on human wellbeing (Shackleton et al., 2016). Both ecosystem services and disservices are inherently anthropogenic concepts, putting emphasis on the human valuation of ecosystem properties and functions. What is perceived as beautiful and beneficial by one person may be considered ugly, useless, unpleasant or unsafe by another. For example, biodiversity-rich, semi-natural areas inside city limits are often experienced as suffering from a lack of maintenance, as opposed to intensively maintained but biodiversity-poor urban parks.
  • da Silva, Pedro Giovâni; Cañedo-Argüelles, Miguel; Bogoni, Juliano André; Heino, Jani (Frontiers Media S.A., 2021)
    Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9: 670212
    According to metacommunity theory (Leibold et al., 2004), the structure of local communities results from the interplay between local factors (e.g., environmental filtering, species interactions) and regional factors (e.g., dispersal rates, landscape configuration). The relative importance of these factors is highly dependent on the organisms’ biological traits, landscape connectivity, and the spatial and temporal scales considered (Heino et al., 2015; Tonkin et al., 2018; Viana and Chase, 2019; Almeida-Gomes et al., 2020; Cañedo-Argüelles et al., 2020; Lansac-Tôha et al., 2021). However, the differences in metacommunity assembly mechanisms found among studies are far from being fully understood. The evaluation of temporal dynamics of metacommunities has only emerged recently (Cañedo-Argüelles et al., 2020; Jabot et al., 2020; Li et al., 2020; Lindholm et al., 2021) and the application of the metacommunity theory in other fields, such as biomonitoring, conservation biology or ecosystem restoration, is yet to be fully explored (Bengtsson, 2010; Heino, 2013; Leibold and Chase, 2018; Chase et al., 2020; Cid et al., 2020; Heino et al., 2021). In this Research Topic, our aim was to invite researchers working in different biogeographic regions and ecological systems (Figure 1) to publish a number of innovative papers on metacommunity spatio-temporal dynamics. We expect to obtain a better understanding of how the factors and processes that structure metacommunities vary in space and time, as well as the implications of such dynamics for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.
  • Wang, Huan; García Molinos, Jorge; Heino, Jani; Zhang, Huan; Zhang, Peiyu; Xu, Jun (Pergamon, 2021)
    Environment International 153 (2021), 106494
    Eutrophication is a major problem currently impacting many surface water ecosystems. Impacts of increased nutrient concentrations on biodiversity may differ between different scales, different organism groups, and different trophic states. Surveys at different spatial scales have suggested that biodiversity of different taxa may exhibit significant cross-taxon congruence. In our study, we examined the diversity of zooplankton and zoobenthos across 261 lakes in the Lake Taihu watershed, an area that is undergoing a severe eutrophication process. We tested the cross-taxon congruence in species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity between zooplankton and zoobenthos along a nutrient gradient across the lakes. Our findings were consistent with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, considering nutrient input as the disturbance. Also, we found significant cross-taxon congruence between zooplankton and zoobenthos diversities. Our results confirmed that excess nutrient levels resulted in diversity loss and community simplification. Zoobenthos were more sensitive to nutrient increases compared with zooplankton, which decreased cross-taxon congruence because these organism groups did not respond similarly to the anthropogenic disturbance.
  • Jyväsjärvi, Jussi; Lehosmaa, Kaisa; Aroviita, Jukka; Turunen, Jarno; Rajakallio, Maria; Marttila, Hannu; Tolkkinen, Mikko; Mykrä, Heikki; Muotka, Timo (Elsevier, 2021)
    Ecological Indicators 121 (2021), 106986
    Degradation of freshwater ecosystems requires efficient tools for assessing the ecological status of freshwater biota and identifying potential cause(s) for their biological degradation. While diatoms and macroinvertebrates are widely used in stream bioassessment, the potential utility of microbial communities has not been fully harnessed. Using data from 113 Finnish streams, we assessed the performance of aquatic leaf-associated fungal decomposers, relative to benthic macroinvertebrates and diatoms, in modelling-based bioassessment. We built multi-taxon niche -type predictive models for fungal assemblages by using genus-based and sequence-based identification levels. We then compared the models’ precision and accuracy in the prediction of reference conditions (number of native taxa) to corresponding models for macroinvertebrates and diatoms. Genus-based fungal model nearly equalled the accuracy and precision of our best model (macroinvertebrates), whereas the sequence-based model was less accurate and tended to overestimate the number of taxa. However, when the models were applied to streams disturbed by anthropogenic stressors (nutrient enrichment, sedimentation and acidification), alone or in combination, the sequence-based fungal assemblages were more sensitive than other taxonomic groups, especially when multiple stressors were present. Microbial leaf decomposition rates were elevated in sediment-stressed streams whereas decomposition attributable to leaf-shredding macroinvertebrates was accelerated by nutrients and decelerated by sedimentation. Comparison of leaf decomposition results to model output suggested that leaf decomposition rates do not detect effectively the presence of multiple simultaneous disturbances. The rapid development of global microbial database may soon enable species-level identification of leaf-associated fungi, facilitating a more precise and accurate modelling of reference conditions in streams using fungal communities. This development, combined with the sensitivity of aquatic fungi in detecting the presence of multiple human disturbances, makes leaf-associated fungal assemblages an indispensable addition in a stream ecologist’s toolbox.
  • Truchy, Amélie; Sarremejane, Romain; Muotka, Timo; Mykrä, Heikki; Angeler, David G.; Lehosmaa, Kaisa; Huusko, Ari; Johnson, Richard K.; Sponseller, Ryan A.; McKie, Brendan G. (Wiley, 2020)
    Global Change Biology 26 6 (2020)
    Ongoing climate change is increasing the occurrence and intensity of drought episodes worldwide, including in boreal regions not previously regarded as drought prone, and where the impacts of drought remain poorly understood. Ecological connectivity is one factor that might influence community structure and ecosystem functioning post-drought, by facilitating the recovery of sensitive species via dispersal at both local (e.g. a nearby habitat patch) and regional (from other systems within the same region) scales. In an outdoor mesocosm experiment, we investigated how impacts of drought on boreal stream ecosystems are altered by the spatial arrangement of local habitat patches within stream channels, and variation in ecological connectivity with a regional species pool. We measured basal ecosystem processes underlying carbon and nutrient cycling: (a) algal biomass accrual; (b) microbial respiration; and (c) decomposition of organic matter, and sampled communities of aquatic fungi and benthic invertebrates. An 8-day drought event had strong impacts on both community structure and ecosystem functioning, including algal accrual, leaf decomposition and microbial respiration, with many of these impacts persisting even after water levels had been restored for 3.5 weeks. Enhanced connectivity with the regional species pool and increased aggregation of habitat patches also affected multiple response variables, especially those associated with microbes, and in some cases reduced the effects of drought to a small extent. This indicates that spatial processes might play a role in the resilience of communities and ecosystem functioning, given enough time. These effects were however insufficient to facilitate significant recovery in algal growth before seasonal dieback began in autumn. The limited resilience of ecosystem functioning in our experiment suggests that even short-term droughts can have extended consequences for stream ecosystems in the world's vast boreal region, and especially on the ecosystem processes and services mediated by algal biofilms.
  • Bland, Lucie M.; Nicholson, Emily; Miller, Rebecca M.; Andrade, Angela; Carré, Aurélien; Etter, Andres; Herrera, Bernar; Kontula, Tytti; Lindgaard, Arild; Pliscoff, Patricio; Skowno, Andrew; Valderrábano, Marcos; Zager, Irene; Keith, David A. (The Society for Conservation Biology, 2019)
    Conservation Letters 2019; 12: e12666
    In 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature adopted the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) criteria as the global standard for assessing risks to terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. Five years on, it is timely to ask what impact this new initiative has had on ecosystem management and conservation. In this policy perspective, we use an impact evaluation framework to distinguish the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of the RLE since its inception. To date, 2,821 ecosystems in 100 countries have been assessed following the RLE protocol. Systematic assessments are complete or underway in 21 countries and two continental regions (the Americas and Europe). Countries with established ecosystem policy infrastructure have already used the RLE to inform legislation, land-use planning, protected area management, monitoring and reporting, and ecosystem management. Impacts are still emerging due to varying pace and commitment to implementation across different countries. In the future, RLE indices based on systematic assessments have high potential to inform global biodiversity reporting. Expanding the coverage of RLE assessments, building capacity and political will to undertake them, and establishing stronger policy instruments to manage red-listed ecosystems will be key to maximizing conservation impacts over the coming decades.
  • Benito, Xavier; Vilmi, Annika; Luethje, Melina; Carrevedo, Maria Laura; Lindholm, Marja; Fritz, Sherilyn C. (Frontiers Media S.A., 2020)
    Frontiers Ecology Evolution 8 (2020)
    High-elevation tropical lakes are excellent sentinels of global change impacts, such as climate warming, land-use change, and atmospheric deposition. These effects are often correlated with temporal and spatial beta diversity patterns, with some local communities contributing more than others, a phenomenon known as local contribution to beta diversity (LCBD) or ecological uniqueness. Microorganisms, such as diatoms, are considered whole-ecosystem indicators, but little is known about their sensitivity and specificity in beta diversity studies mostly because of the lack of large spatial and temporal datasets. To fill this gap, we used a tropical South American diatom database comprising modern (144 lakes) and paleolimnological (6 sediment cores) observations to quantify drivers of spatial and temporal beta diversity and evaluated implications for environmental change and regional biodiversity. We used methods of beta diversity partitioning (replacement and richness components) by determining contributions of local sites to these components (LCBDrepl and LCBDrich), and studied how they are related to environmental, geological, and historical human variables using Generalized Additive Models (GAM). Beta replacement time series were also analyzed with GAM to test whether there is widespread biotic homogenization across the tropical Andes. Modern lake ecological uniqueness was jointly explained by limnological (pH), climatic (mean annual precipitation), and historical human density. Local lake (conductivity) and regional geodiversity variables (terrain ruggedness, soil variability) were inversely correlated to replacement and richness components of LCBD, suggesting that not all lakes contributing to broad-scale diversity are targets for conservation actions. Over millennial time scales, decomposing temporal trends of beta diversity components showed different trajectories of lake diatom diversity as response of environmental change: i) increased hydroclimatic variability (as inferred by decreased temperature seasonality) mediating higher contribution of richness to local beta diversity patterns ca. 1000 years ago in Ecuador Andean lakes and ii) lake-specific temporal beta diversity trends for the last ca. 200 years, indicating that biotic homogenization is not widespread across the tropical Andes. Our approach for unifying diatom ecology, metacommunity, and paleolimnology can facilitate the understanding of future responses of tropical Andean lakes to global change impacts.