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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 18, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Forest and freshwater ecosystems are tightly linked and together provide important ecosystem services, but climate change is affecting their species composition, structure, and function. Research at nine US Long Term Ecological Research sites reveals complex interactions and cascading effects of climate change, some of which feed back into the climate system. Air temperature has increased at all sites, and those in the Northeast have become wetter, whereas sites in the Northwest and Alaska have become slightly drier. These changes have altered streamflow and affected ecosystem processes, including primary production, carbon storage, water and nutrient cycling, and community dynamics. At some sites, the direct effects of climate change are the dominant driver altering ecosystems, whereas at other sites indirect effects or disturbances and stressors unrelated to climate change are more important. Long-term studies are critical for understanding the impacts of climate change on forest and freshwater ecosystems.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 16, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 23, 2023
  6. Predicting drought responses of individual trees in tropical forests remains challenging, in part because trees experience drought differently depending on their position in spatially heterogeneous environments. Specifically, topography and the competitive environment can influence the severity of water stress experienced by individual trees, leading to individual-level variation in drought impacts. A drought in 2015 in Puerto Rico provided the opportunity to assess how drought response varies with topography and neighborhood crowding in a tropical forest. In this study, we integrated 3 years of annual census data from the El Yunque Chronosequence plots with measurements of functional traits and LiDAR-derived metrics of microsite topography. We fit hierarchical Bayesian models to examine how drought, microtopography, and neighborhood crowding influence individual tree growth and survival, and the role functional traits play in mediating species’ responses to these drivers. We found that while growth was lower during the drought year, drought had no effect on survival, suggesting that these forests are fairly resilient to a single-year drought. However, growth response to drought, as well as average growth and survival, varied with topography: tree growth in valley-like microsites was more negatively affected by drought, and survival was lower on steeper slopes while growth was highermore »in valleys. Neighborhood crowding reduced growth and increased survival, but these effects did not vary between drought/non-drought years. Functional traits provided some insight into mechanisms by which drought and topography affected growth and survival. For example, trees with high specific leaf area grew more slowly on steeper slopes, and high wood density trees were less sensitive to drought. However, the relationships between functional traits and response to drought and topography were weak overall. Species sorting across microtopography may drive observed relationships between average performance, drought response, and topography. Our results suggest that understanding species’ responses to drought requires consideration of the microenvironments in which they grow. Complex interactions between regional climate, topography, and traits underlie individual and species variation in drought response.« less
  7. A number of recent studies have documented long-term declines in abundances of important arthropod groups, primarily in Europe and North America. These declines are generally attributed to habitat loss, but a recent study [B.C. Lister, A. Garcia,Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA115, E10397–E10406 (2018)] from the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) in Puerto Rico attributed declines to global warming. We analyze arthropod data from the LEF to evaluate long-term trends within the context of hurricane-induced disturbance, secondary succession, and temporal variation in temperature. Our analyses demonstrate that responses to hurricane-induced disturbance and ensuing succession were the primary factors that affected total canopy arthropod abundances on host trees, as well as walkingstick abundance on understory shrubs. Ambient and understory temperatures played secondary roles for particular arthropod species, but populations were just as likely to increase as they were to decrease in abundance with increasing temperature. The LEF is a hurricane-mediated system, with major hurricanes effecting changes in temperature that are larger than those induced thus far by global climate change. To persist, arthropods in the LEF must contend with the considerable variation in abiotic conditions associated with repeated, large-scale, and increasingly frequent pulse disturbances. Consequently, they are likely to be well-adapted to themore »effects of climate change, at least over the short term. Total abundance of canopy arthropods after Hurricane Maria has risen to levels comparable to the peak after Hurricane Hugo. Although the abundances of some taxa have declined over the 29-y period, others have increased, reflecting species turnover in response to disturbance and secondary succession.

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