skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Wisnoski, Nathan I."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Dispersal and dormancy are two common strategies allowing for species persistence and the maintenance of biodiversity in variable environments. However, theory and empirical tests of spatial diversity patterns tend to examine either mechanism in isolation. Here, we developed a stochastic, spatially explicit metacommunity model incorporating seed banks with varying germination and survival rates. We found that dormancy and dispersal had interactive, nonlinear effects on the maintenance and distribution of metacommunity diversity. Seed banks promoted local diversity when seed survival was high and maintained regional diversity through interactions with dispersal. The benefits of seed banks for regional diversity were largest when dispersal was high or intermediate, depending on whether local competition was equal or stabilising. Our study shows that classic predictions for how dispersal affects metacommunity diversity can be strongly influenced by dormancy. Together, these results emphasise the need to consider both temporal and spatial processes when predicting multi‐scale patterns of diversity.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Coexisting species often exhibit negative frequency dependence due to mechanisms that promote population growth and persistence when rare. These stabilising mechanisms can maintain diversity through interspecific niche differences, but also through life‐history strategies like dormancy that buffer populations in fluctuating environments. However, there are few tests demonstrating how seed banks contribute to long‐term community dynamics and the maintenance of diversity. Using a multi‐year, high‐frequency time series of bacterial community data from a north temperate lake, we documented patterns consistent with stabilising coexistence. Bacterial taxa exhibited differential responses to seasonal environmental conditions, while seed bank dynamics helped maintain diversity over less‐favourable winter periods. Strong negative frequency dependence in rare, but metabolically active, taxa suggested a role for biotic interactions in promoting coexistence. Together, our results provide field‐based evidence that niche differences and seed banks contribute to recurring community dynamics and the long‐term maintenance of diversity in nature.

    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
  4. null (Ed.)
    Global loss of biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services is occurring at an alarming rate and is predicted to accelerate in the future. Metacommunity theory provides a framework to investigate multi-scale processes that drive change in biodiversity across space and time. Short-term ecological studies across space have progressed our understanding of biodiversity through a metacommunity lens, however, such snapshots in time have been limited in their ability to explain which processes, at which scales, generate observed spatial patterns. Temporal dynamics of metacommunities have been understudied, and large gaps in theory and empirical data have hindered progress in our understanding of underlying metacommunity processes that give rise to biodiversity patterns. Fortunately, we are at an important point in the history of ecology, where long-term studies with cross-scale spatial replication provide a means to gain a deeper understanding of the multiscale processes driving biodiversity patterns in time and space to inform metacommunity theory. The maturation of coordinated research and observation networks, such as the United States Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, provides an opportunity to advance explanation and prediction of biodiversity change with observational and experimental data at spatial and temporal scales greater than any single research group could accomplish. Synthesis of LTER network community datasets illustrates that long-term studies with spatial replication present an under-utilized resource for advancing spatio-temporal metacommunity research. We identify challenges towards synthesizing these data and present recommendations for addressing these challenges. We conclude with insights about how future monitoring efforts by coordinated research and observation networks could further the development of metacommunity theory and its applications aimed at improving conservation efforts. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The relationship between biodiversity and stability, or its inverse, temporal variability, is multidimensional and complex. Temporal variability in aggregate properties, like total biomass or abundance, is typically lower in communities with higher species diversity (i.e., the diversity–stability relationship [DSR]). At broader spatial extents, regional‐scale aggregate variability is also lower with higher regional diversity (in plant systems) and with lower spatial synchrony. However, focusing exclusively on aggregate properties of communities may overlook potentially destabilizing compositional shifts. It is not yet clear how diversity is related to different components of variability across spatial scales, nor whether regional DSRs emerge across a broad range of organisms and ecosystem types. To test these questions, we compiled a large collection of long‐term metacommunity data spanning a wide range of taxonomic groups (e.g., birds, fish, plants, invertebrates) and ecosystem types (e.g., deserts, forests, oceans). We applied a newly developed quantitative framework for jointly analyzing aggregate and compositional variability across scales. We quantified DSRs for composition and aggregate variability in local communities and metacommunities. At the local scale, more diverse communities were less variable, but this effect was stronger for aggregate than compositional properties. We found no stabilizing effect of γ‐diversity on metacommunity variability, but β‐diversity played a strong role in reducing compositional spatial synchrony, which reduced regional variability. Spatial synchrony differed among taxa, suggesting differences in stabilization by spatial processes. However, metacommunity variability was more strongly driven by local variability than by spatial synchrony. Across a broader range of taxa, our results suggest that high γ‐diversity does not consistently stabilize aggregate properties at regional scales without sufficient spatial β‐diversity to reduce spatial synchrony.

    more » « less
  6. null (Ed.)
    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 to 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. 
    more » « less
  7. Abstract

    Tidal freshwater marshes (TFMs) are threatened by seawater intrusion, which can affect microbial communities and alter biogeochemical processes. Here, we report on a long‐term, large‐scale manipulative field experiment that investigated continuous (press) and episodic (pulse, 2 months/yr) inputs of brackish water on microbial communities in a TFM. After 2.5 yr, microbial diversity was lower in press treatments than in control (untreated) plots whereas diversity in pulse plots was unaffected by brackish water additions. Sulfate reducer abundance increased in response to both press and pulse treatments whereas methanogens did not differ among treatments. Our results, along with other lab and field measurements that show reduced soil respiration and extracellular enzyme activity suggest that continuous seawater intrusion will decrease macrophyte C inputs that reduce bacterial diversity in ways that also diminish ecosystem carbon cycling.

    more » « less