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  1. Phytoplankton assembly dynamics in lakes are highly sensitive to variability in climate drivers and resulting physicochemical changes in lake water columns. As climate change increases the frequency of major precipitation events and droughts, many lakes experience increased inputs of colored dissolved organic carbon (CDOC) and nutrients. How these CDOC-related changes in resources, transparency, and thermal stability affect phytoplankton assemblages, succession, and resilience is understudied, particularly in subtropical lakes. Here, we used time series, multivariate, and trait-based functional redundancy analyses to elucidate the roles of phytoplankton in ecosystem resilience and determine potential drivers of assemblage shifts in a subtropical monomictic lake with fluctuating CDOC inputs (Lake Annie, Highlands County, Florida, USA). We found that phytoplankton assemblages and successional patterns differed between two dark-water states (late 2005–mid-2007, late 2012–2019) bracketing a clear-water state (mid-2007–late 2012), caused by shifting CDOC and nutrient concentrations associated with oscillating groundwater levels. Diatoms (Bacillariophyta), which were dominant during the two dark-water states, nearly disappeared and were replaced by synurophytes during the clear-water state. Assemblages had greater interannual consistency in the dark-water states, while mean functional redundancy decreased in the clear-water state. Seasonal phytoplankton successional changes were also more pronounced and synchronized with seasonal hydrologic shifts in themore »dark-water states. Multiyear assemblage shifts occurred more quickly in clear-to-dark than dark-to-clear state transitions, suggesting phytoplankton in dark-water states may be more resistant to state transitions or even contribute to dark-water state resilience via feedback loops.« less
  2. Planktonic microbial communities mediate many vital biogeochemical processes in wetland ecosystems, yet compared to other aquatic ecosystems, like oceans, lakes, rivers or estuaries, they remain relatively underexplored. Our study site, the Florida Everglades (USA)—a vast iconic wetland consisting of a slow-moving system of shallow rivers connecting freshwater marshes with coastal mangrove forests and seagrass meadows—is a highly threatened model ecosystem for studying salinity and nutrient gradients, as well as the effects of sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. This study provides the first high-resolution phylogenetic profiles of planktonic bacterial and eukaryotic microbial communities (using 16S and 18S rRNA gene amplicons) together with nutrient concentrations and environmental parameters at 14 sites along two transects covering two distinctly different drainages: the peat-based Shark River Slough (SRS) and marl-based Taylor Slough/Panhandle (TS/Ph). Both bacterial as well as eukaryotic community structures varied significantly along the salinity gradient. Although freshwater communities were relatively similar in both transects, bacterioplankton community composition at the ecotone (where freshwater and marine water mix) differed significantly. The most abundant taxa in the freshwater marshes include heterotrophic Polynucleobacter sp. and potentially phagotrophic cryptomonads of the genus Chilomonas, both of which could be key players in the transfer of detritus-based biomass tomore »higher trophic levels.« less
  3. Abstract

    Mangroves are the most blue-carbon rich coastal wetlands contributing to the reduction of atmospheric CO2through photosynthesis (sequestration) and high soil organic carbon (C) storage. Globally, mangroves are increasingly impacted by human and natural disturbances under climate warming, including pervasive pulsing tropical cyclones. However, there is limited information assessing cyclone’s functional role in regulating wetlands carbon cycling from annual to decadal scales. Here we show how cyclones with a wide range of integrated kinetic energy (IKE) impact C fluxes in the Everglades, a neotropical region with high cyclone landing frequency. Using long-term mangrove Net Primary Productivity (Litterfall, NPPL) data (2001–2018), we estimated cyclone-induced litterfall particulate organic C (litter-POC) export from mangroves to estuarine waters. Our analysis revealed that this lateral litter-POC flux (71–205 g C m−2 year−1)—currently unaccounted in global C budgets—is similar to C burial rates (69–157 g C m−2 year−1) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC, 61–229 g C m−2 year−1) export. We proposed a statistical model (PULITER) between IKE-based pulse index and NPPLto determine cyclone’s impact on mangrove role as C sink or source. Including the cyclone’s functional role in regulating mangrove C fluxes is critical to developing local and regional climate change mitigation plans.

  4. Abstract. Outgassing of carbon dioxide (CO2) from freshwater ecosystems comprises 12 %–25 % of the total carbon flux from soils and bedrock. This CO2 is largely derived from both biodegradation and photodegradation of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (DOC) entering lakes from wetlands and soils in the watersheds of lakes. In spite of the significance of these two processes in regulating rates of CO2 outgassing, their relative importance remains poorly understood in lake ecosystems. In this study, we used groundwater from the watersheds of one subtropical and three temperate lakes of differing trophic status to simulate the effects of increases in terrestrial DOC from storm events. We assessed the relative importance of biodegradation and photodegradation in oxidizing DOC to CO2. We measured changes in DOC concentration, colored dissolved organic carbon (specificultraviolet absorbance – SUVA320; spectral slope ratio – Sr), dissolved oxygen, and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in short-term experiments from May–August 2016. In all lakes, photodegradationled to larger changes in DOC and DIC concentrations and opticalcharacteristics than biodegradation. A descriptive discriminant analysisshowed that, in brown-water lakes, photodegradation led to the largestdeclines in DOC concentration. In these brown-water systems, ∼ 30 % of the DOC was processed by sunlight, and a minimum of 1 % was photomineralized. Inmore »addition to documenting the importance of photodegradation in lakes, these results also highlight how lakes in the future may respond to changes in DOC inputs.« less
  5. Abstract Detecting and understanding disturbance is a challenge in ecology that has grown more critical with global environmental change and the emergence of research on social–ecological systems. We identify three areas of research need: developing a flexible framework that incorporates feedback loops between social and ecological systems, anticipating whether a disturbance will change vulnerability to other environmental drivers, and incorporating changes in system sensitivity to disturbance in the face of global changes in environmental drivers. In the present article, we review how discoveries from the US Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network have influenced theoretical paradigms in disturbance ecology, and we refine a framework for describing social–ecological disturbance that addresses these three challenges. By operationalizing this framework for seven LTER sites spanning distinct biomes, we show how disturbance can maintain or alter ecosystem state, drive spatial patterns at landscape scales, influence social–ecological interactions, and cause divergent outcomes depending on other environmental changes.