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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Lake ecosystems, as integrators of watershed and climate stressors, are sentinels of change. However, there is an inherent time-lag between stressors and whole-lake response. Aquatic metabolism, including gross primary production (GPP) and respiration (R), of stream–lake transitional zones may bridge the time-lag of lake response to allochthonous inputs. In this study, we used high-frequency dissolved oxygen data and inverse modeling to estimate daily rates of summer epilimnetic GPP and R in a nutrient-limited oligotrophic lake at two littoral sites located near different major inflows and at a pelagic site. We examined the relative importance of stream variables in comparison to meteorological and in-lake predictors of GPP and R. One of the inflow streams was substantially warmer than the other and primarily entered the lake’s epilimnion, whereas the colder stream primarily mixed into the metalimnion or hypolimnion. Maximum GPP and R rates were 0.2–2.5 mg O 2 L −1  day −1 (9–670%) higher at littoral sites than the pelagic site. Ensemble machine learning analyses revealed that > 30% of variability in daily littoral zone GPP and R was attributable to stream depth and stream–lake transitional zone mixing metrics. The warm-stream inflow likely stimulated littoral GPP and R, while the cold-stream inflow only stimulatedmore »littoral zone GPP and R when mixing with the epilimnion. The higher GPP and R observed near inflows in our study may provide a sentinel-of-the-sentinel signal, bridging the time-lag between stream inputs and in-lake processing, enabling an earlier indication of whole-lake response to upstream stressors.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 2, 2023
  5. Near-term, ecological forecasting with iterative model refitting and uncertainty partitioning has great promise for improving our understanding of ecological processes and the predictive skill of ecological models, but to date has been infrequently applied to predict biogeochemical fluxes. Bubble fluxes of methane (CH 4 ) from aquatic sediments to the atmosphere (ebullition) dominate freshwater greenhouse gas emissions, but it remains unknown how best to make robust near-term CH 4 ebullition predictions using models. Near-term forecasting workflows have the potential to address several current challenges in predicting CH 4 ebullition rates, including: development of models that can be applied across time horizons and ecosystems, identification of the timescales for which predictions can provide useful information, and quantification of uncertainty in predictions. To assess the capacity of near-term, iterative forecasting workflows to improve ebullition rate predictions, we developed and tested a near-term, iterative forecasting workflow of CH 4 ebullition rates in a small eutrophic reservoir throughout one open-water period. The workflow included the repeated updating of a CH 4 ebullition forecast model over time with newly-collected data via iterative model refitting. We compared the CH 4 forecasts from our workflow to both alternative forecasts generated without iterative model refitting and a persistencemore »null model. Our forecasts with iterative model refitting estimated CH 4 ebullition rates up to 2 weeks into the future [RMSE at 1-week ahead = 0.53 and 0.48 log e (mg CH 4 m −2 d −1 ) at 2-week ahead horizons]. Forecasts with iterative model refitting outperformed forecasts without refitting and the persistence null model at both 1- and 2-week forecast horizons. Driver uncertainty and model process uncertainty contributed the most to total forecast uncertainty, suggesting that future workflow improvements should focus on improved mechanistic understanding of CH 4 models and drivers. Altogether, our study suggests that iterative forecasting improves week-to-week CH 4 ebullition predictions, provides insight into predictability of ebullition rates into the future, and identifies which sources of uncertainty are the most important contributors to the total uncertainty in CH 4 ebullition predictions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  6. Ecologists are increasingly using macrosystems approaches to understand population, community, and ecosystem dynamics across interconnected spatial and temporal scales. Consequently, integrating macrosystems skills, including simulation modeling and sensor data analysis, into undergraduate and graduate curricula is needed to train future environmental biologists. Through the Macrosystems EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration) program, we developed four teaching modules to introduce macrosystems ecology to ecology and biology students. Modules combine high-frequency sensor data from GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network) and NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) sites with ecosystem simulation models. Pre- and post-module assessments of 319 students across 24 classrooms indicate that hands-on, inquiry-based modules increase students’ understanding of macrosystems ecology, including complex processes that occur across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Following module use, students were more likely to correctly define macrosystems concepts, interpret complex data visualizations and apply macrosystems approaches in new contexts. In addition, there was an increase in student’s self-perceived proficiency and confidence using both long-term and high-frequency data; key macrosystems ecology techniques. Our results suggest that integrating short (1–3 h) macrosystems activities into ecology courses can improve students’ ability to interpret complex and non-linear ecological processes. In addition, our study serves as one of the firstmore »documented instances for directly incorporating concepts in macrosystems ecology into undergraduate and graduate ecology and biology curricula.« less
  7. Estuaries function as important transporters, transformers, and producers of organic matter (OM). Along the freshwater to saltwater gradient, the composition of OM is influenced by physical and biogeochemical processes that change spatially and temporally, making it difficult to constrain OM in these ecosystems. In addition, many of the environmental parameters (temperature, precipitation, riverine discharge) controlling OM are expected to change due to climate change. To better understand the environmental drivers of OM quantity (concentration) and quality (absorbance, fluorescence), we assessed both dissolved OM (DOM) and particulate OM (POM) spatially, along the freshwater to saltwater gradient and temporally, for a full year. We found seasonal differences in salinity throughout the estuary due to elevated riverine discharge during the late fall to early spring, with corresponding changes to OM quantity and quality. Using redundancy analysis, we found DOM covaried with salinity (adjusted r2 = 0.35, 0.41 for surface and bottom), indicating terrestrial sources of DOM in riverine discharge were the dominant DOM sources throughout the estuary, while POM covaried with environmental indictors of terrestrial sources (turbidity, adjusted r2 = 0.16, 0.23 for surface and bottom) as well as phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll-a, adjusted r2 = 0.25, 0.14 for surface and bottom). Responses inmore »OM quantity and quality observed during the period of elevated discharge were similar to studies assessing OM quality following extreme storm events suggesting that regional changes in precipitation, as predicted by climate change, will be as important in changing the estuarine OM pool as episodic storm events in the future.« less