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  1. Soil nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions are an important driver of climate change and are a major mechanism of labile nitrogen (N) loss from terrestrial ecosystems. Evidence increasingly suggests that locations on the landscape that experience biogeochemical fluxes disproportionate to the surrounding matrix (hot spots) and time periods that show disproportionately high fluxes relative to the background (hot moments) strongly influence landscape-scale soil N 2 O emissions. However, substantial uncertainties remain regarding how to measure and model where and when these extreme soil N 2 O fluxes occur. High-frequency datasets of soil N 2 O fluxes are newly possiblemore »due to advancements in field-ready instrumentation that uses cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS). Here, we outline the opportunities and challenges that are provided by the deployment of this field-based instrumentation and the collection of high-frequency soil N 2 O flux datasets. While there are substantial challenges associated with automated CRDS systems, there are also opportunities to utilize these near-continuous data to constrain our understanding of dynamics of the terrestrial N cycle across space and time. Finally, we propose future research directions exploring the influence of hot moments of N 2 O emissions on the N cycle, particularly considering the gaps surrounding how global change forces are likely to alter N dynamics in the future.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 24, 2023
  2. Abstract. Tropical ecosystems contribute significantly to global emissionsof methane (CH4), and landscape topography influences the rate ofCH4 emissions from wet tropical forest soils. However, extreme eventssuch as drought can alter normal topographic patterns of emissions. Here weexplain the dynamics of CH4 emissions during normal and droughtconditions across a catena in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico.Valley soils served as the major source of CH4 emissions in a normalprecipitation year (2016), but drought recovery in 2015 resulted in dramaticpulses in CH4 emissions from all topographic positions. Geochemicalparameters including (i) dissolved organic carbon (C), acetate, and soil pH and (ii) hydrological parameters like soil moisturemore »and oxygen (O2)concentrations varied across the catena. During the drought, soil moisturedecreased in the slope and ridge, and O2 concentrations increased in thevalley. We simulated the dynamics of CH4 emissions with theMicrobial Model for Methane Dynamics-Dual Arrhenius and Michaelis–Menten (M3D-DAMM), which couples a microbialfunctional group CH4 model with a diffusivity module for solute and gastransport within soil microsites. Contrasting patterns of soil moisture,O2, acetate, and associated changes in soil pH with topographyregulated simulated CH4 emissions, but emissions were also altered byrate-limited diffusion in soil microsites. Changes in simulated availablesubstrate for CH4 production (acetate, CO2, and H2) andoxidation (O2 and CH4) increased the predicted biomass ofmethanotrophs during the drought event and methanogens during droughtrecovery, which in turn affected net emissions of CH4. A variance-basedsensitivity analysis suggested that parameters related to aceticlasticmethanogenesis and methanotrophy were most critical to simulate net CH4emissions. This study enhanced the predictive capability for CH4emissions associated with complex topography and drought in wet tropicalforest soils.« less
  3. Disturbances fundamentally alter ecosystem functions, yet predicting their impacts remains a key scientific challenge. While the study of disturbances is ubiquitous across many ecological disciplines, there is no agreed-upon, cross-disciplinary foundation for discussing or quantifying the complexity of disturbances, and no consistent terminology or methodologies exist. This inconsistency presents an increasingly urgent challenge due to accelerating global change and the threat of interacting disturbances that can destabilize ecosystem responses. By harvesting the expertise of an interdisciplinary cohort of contributors spanning 42 institutions across 15 countries, we identified an essential limitation in disturbance ecology: the word ‘disturbance’ is used interchangeably tomore »refer to both the events that cause, and the consequences of, ecological change, despite fundamental distinctions between the two meanings. In response, we developed a generalizable framework of ecosystem disturbances, providing a well-defined lexicon for understanding disturbances across perspectives and scales. The framework results from ideas that resonate across multiple scientific disciplines and provides a baseline standard to compare disturbances across fields. This framework can be supplemented by discipline-specific variables to provide maximum benefit to both inter- and intra-disciplinary research. To support future syntheses and meta-analyses of disturbance research, we also encourage researchers to be explicit in how they define disturbance drivers and impacts, and we recommend minimum reporting standards that are applicable regardless of scale. Finally, we discuss the primary factors we considered when developing a baseline framework and propose four future directions to advance our interdisciplinary understanding of disturbances and their social-ecological impacts: integrating across ecological scales, understanding disturbance interactions, establishing baselines and trajectories, and developing process-based models and ecological forecasting initiatives. Our experience through this process motivates us to encourage the wider scientific community to continue to explore new approaches for leveraging Open Science principles in generating creative and multidisciplinary ideas.« less
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022