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  1. Abstract Aim Understanding the considerable variability and drivers of global leaf photosynthetic capacity [indicated by the maximum carboxylation rate standardized to 25°C ( V c,max25 )] is an essential step for accurate modelling of terrestrial plant photosynthesis and carbon uptake under climate change. Although current environmental conditions have often been connected with empirical and theoretical models to explain global V c,max25 variability through acclimatization and adaptation, long‐term evolutionary history has largely been neglected, but might also explicitly play a role in shaping the V c,max25 variability. Location Global. Time period Contemporary. Major taxa studied Terrestrial plants. Methods We compiled a geographically comprehensive global dataset of V c,max25 for C 3 plants ( n  = 6917 observations from 2157 species and 425 sites covering all major biomes world‐wide), explored the biogeographical and phylogenetic patterns of V c,max25 , and quantified the relative importance of current environmental factors and evolutionary history in driving global V c,max25 variability. Results We found that V c,max25 differed across different biomes, with higher mean values in relatively drier regions, and across different life‐forms, with higher mean values in non‐woody relative to woody plants and in legumes relative to non‐leguminous plants. The values of V c,max25 displayed amore »significant phylogenetic signal and diverged in a contrasting manner across phylogenetic groups, with a significant trend along the evolutionary axis towards a higher V c,max25 in more modern clades. A Bayesian phylogenetic linear mixed model revealed that evolutionary history (indicated by phylogeny and species) explained nearly 3‐fold more of the variation in global V c,max25 than present‐day environment (53 vs. 18%). Main conclusions These findings contribute to a comprehensive assessment of the patterns and drivers of global V c,max25 variability, highlighting the importance of evolutionary history in driving global V c,max25 variability, hence terrestrial plant photosynthesis.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Trends and ecological consequences of phosphorus (P) decline and increasing nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (N:P) ratios in rivers and estuaries are reviewed and discussed. Results suggest that re‐oligotrophication is a dominant trend in rivers and estuaries of high‐income countries in the last two–three decades, while in low‐income countries widespread eutrophication occurs. The decline in P is well documented in hundreds of rivers of United States and the European Union, but the biotic response of rivers and estuaries besides phytoplankton decline such as trends in phytoplankton composition, changes in primary production, ecosystem shifts, cascading effects, changes in ecosystem metabolism, etc., have not been sufficiently monitored and investigated, neither the effects of N:P imbalance. N:P imbalance has significant ecological effects that need to be further investigated. There is a growing number of cases in which phytoplankton biomass have been shown to decrease due to re‐oligotrophication, but the potential regime shift from phytoplankton to macrophyte dominance described in shallow lakes has been documented only in a few rivers and estuaries yet. The main reasons why regime shifts are rarely described in rivers and estuaries are, from one hand the scarcity of data on macrophyte cover trends, and from the other hand physicalmore »factors such as peak flows or high turbidity that could prevent a general spread of submerged macrophytes as observed in shallow lakes. Moreover, re‐oligotrophication effects on rivers may be different compared to lakes (e.g., lower dominance of macrophytes) or estuaries (e.g., limitation of primary production by N instead of P) or may be dependent on river/estuary type. We conclude that river and estuary re‐oligotrophication effects are complex, diverse and still little known, and in some cases are equivalent to those described in shallow lakes, but the regime shift is more likely to occur in mid to high‐order rivers and shallow estuaries.

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  3. Large-scale and rapid improvement in wastewater treatment is common practice in developing countries, yet this influence on nutrient regimes in receiving waterbodies is rarely examined at broad spatial and temporal scales. Here, we present a study linking decadal nutrient monitoring data in lakes with the corresponding estimates of five major anthropogenic nutrient discharges in their surrounding watersheds over time. Within a continuous monitoring dataset covering the period 2008 to 2017, we find that due to different rates of change in TN and TP concentrations, 24 of 46 lakes, mostly located in China’s populated regions, showed increasing TN/TP mass ratios; only 3 lakes showed a decrease. Quantitative relationships between in-lake nutrient concentrations (and their ratios) and anthropogenic nutrient discharges in the surrounding watersheds indicate that increase of lake TN/TP ratios is associated with the rapid improvement in municipal wastewater treatment. Due to the higher removal efficiency of TP compared with TN, TN/TP mass ratios in total municipal wastewater discharge have continued to increase from a median of 10.7 (95% confidence interval, 7.6 to 15.1) in 2008 to 17.7 (95% confidence interval, 13.2 to 27.2) in 2017. Improving municipal wastewater collection and treatment worldwide is an important target within the 17 sustainablemore »development goals set by the United Nations. Given potential ecological impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function of altered nutrient ratios in wastewater discharge, our results suggest that long-term strategies for domestic wastewater management should not merely focus on total reductions of nutrient discharges but also consider their stoichiometric balance.

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  4. Abstract Here we provide the ‘Global Spectrum of Plant Form and Function Dataset’, containing species mean values for six vascular plant traits. Together, these traits –plant height, stem specific density, leaf area, leaf mass per area, leaf nitrogen content per dry mass, and diaspore (seed or spore) mass – define the primary axes of variation in plant form and function. The dataset is based on ca. 1 million trait records received via the TRY database (representing ca. 2,500 original publications) and additional unpublished data. It provides 92,159 species mean values for the six traits, covering 46,047 species. The data are complemented by higher-level taxonomic classification and six categorical traits (woodiness, growth form, succulence, adaptation to terrestrial or aquatic habitats, nutrition type and leaf type). Data quality management is based on a probabilistic approach combined with comprehensive validation against expert knowledge and external information. Intense data acquisition and thorough quality control produced the largest and, to our knowledge, most accurate compilation of empirically observed vascular plant species mean traits to date.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  5. A wide range of research shows that nutrient availability strongly influences terrestrial carbon (C) cycling and shapes ecosystem responses to environmental changes and hence terrestrial feedbacks to climate. Nonetheless, our understanding of nutrient controls remains far from complete and poorly quantified, at least partly due to a lack of informative, comparable, and accessible datasets at regional-to-global scales. A growing research infrastructure of multi-site networks are providing valuable data on C fluxes and stocks and are monitoring their responses to global environmental change and measuring responses to experimental treatments. These networks thus provide an opportunity for improving our understanding of C-nutrient cycle interactions and our ability to model them. However, coherent information on how nutrient cycling interacts with observed C cycle patterns is still generally lacking. Here, we argue that complementing available C-cycle measurements from monitoring and experimental sites with data characterizing nutrient availability will greatly enhance their power and will improve our capacity to forecast future trajectories of terrestrial C cycling and climate. Therefore, we propose a set of complementary measurements that are relatively easy to conduct routinely at any site or experiment and that, in combination with C cycle observations, can provide a robust characterization of the effects ofmore »nutrient availability across sites. In addition, we discuss the power of different observable variables for informing the formulation of models and constraining their predictions. Most widely available measurements of nutrient availability often do not align well with current modelling needs. This highlights the importance to foster the interaction between the empirical and modelling communities for setting future research priorities.« less
  6. Freckleton, Robert (Ed.)
  7. The enhanced vegetation productivity driven by increased concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) [i.e., the CO2fertilization effect (CFE)] sustains an important negative feedback on climate warming, but the temporal dynamics of CFE remain unclear. Using multiple long-term satellite- and ground-based datasets, we showed that global CFE has declined across most terrestrial regions of the globe from 1982 to 2015, correlating well with changing nutrient concentrations and availability of soil water. Current carbon cycle models also demonstrate a declining CFE trend, albeit one substantially weaker than that from the global observations. This declining trend in the forcing of terrestrial carbon sinks by increasing amounts of atmospheric CO2implies a weakening negative feedback on the climatic system and increased societal dependence on future strategies to mitigate climate warming.