Southwest Biological Science Center
Using research networks to create the comprehensive datasets needed to assess nutrient availability as a key determinant of terrestrial carbon cycling
A wide range of research shows that nutrient availability strongly influences terrestrial carbon (C) cycling, both directly and indirectly, and shapes ecosystem responses to environmental changes and hence terrestrial feedbacks to climate. Nonetheless, our understanding of these nutrient controls remains far from complete and poorly quantified, at...Vicca, Sara; Stocker, Benjamin D; Reed, Sasha C.; Wieder, William R.; Bahn, Michael; Fay, Philip A.; Janssens, Ivan; Lambers, Hans; Penuelas, Josep; Piao, Shilong; Rebel, Karin; Sardans, Jordi; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D.; Van Sundert, Kevin; Wang, Ying-Ping; Zaehle, Sonke; Ciais, Philippe
Chronic Physical Disturbance Substantially Alters the Response of Biological Soil Crusts to a Wetting Pulse, as Characterized by Metatranscriptomic Sequencing
Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are microbial communities that are a feature of arid surface soils worldwide. In drylands where precipitation is pulsed and ephemeral, the ability of biocrust microbiota to rapidly initiate metabolic activity is critical to their survival. Community gene expression was compared after a short duration (1 hour)...Steven, Blaire; Belnap, Jayne; Kuske, Cheryl R.
Are fungal networks key to dryland primary production?
In low-resource ecosystems, competition among primary producers can be reduced through the partitioning of limiting resources in space or time. Partitioning, coupled with species interactions, can be a source of ecosystem stability by retaining resources within a biotic “loop” and slowing losses due to physical processes, such as erosion, gaseous...Rudgers, Jennifer A.; Dettweiler-Robinson, Eva; Belnap, Jayne; Green, Laura E.; Sinsabaugh, Robert L.; Young, Kristina E.; Cort, Catherine E.; Darrouzet-Nardi, Anthony
Adapting management to a changing world: Warm temperatures, dry soil, and interannual variability limit restoration success of a dominant woody shrub in temperate drylands
Restoration and rehabilitation of native vegetation in dryland ecosystems, which encompass over 40% of terrestrial ecosystems, is a common challenge that continues to grow as wildfire and biological invasions transform dryland plant communities. The difficulty in part stems from low and variable precipitation, combined with limited understanding...Shriver, Robert K.; Andrews, Caitlin M.; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; Welty, Justin; Germino, Matthew J.; Duniway, Michael C.; Pyke, David A.; Bradford, John B.
On the development of a magnetic susceptibility‐based tracer for aeolian sediment transport research
Aeolian processes — the erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment by wind — play important geomorphological and ecological roles in drylands. These processes are known to impact the spatial patterns of soil, nutrients, plant‐available water, and vegetation in many dryland ecosystems. Tracers, such as rare earth elements and stable isotopes...Ravi, Sujith; Gonzales, Howell B.; Buynevich, Ilya V.; Li, Junran; Sankey, Joel B.; Dukes, David; Wang, Guan
Distribution, habitat, and population size of Island Night Lizards on San Nicolas Island, California
The Island Night Lizard (Xantusia riversiana) was removed from the federal list of threatened species in May 2014. This strongly differentiated species is endemic to 3 of the southern California Channel Islands—San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara. Suitable habitat for Island Night Lizards is extensive on San Clemente Island, and the...Drost, Charles A.; Fellers, Gary M.; Murphey, Thomas R.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Halstead, Brian J.; O'Donnell, Ryan P.
Comparison of estimators for monitoring long-term population trends in deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus, on the California Channel Islands
Capture-recapture methods are commonly used to estimate abundance and density of wild animal populations. Although a variety of sophisticated analytical techniques are available to evaluate capture-recapture data, vertebrate monitoring programs often lack the resources (e.g., time, personnel, and/or analytical expertise) to apply these methods. As...Schwemm, Catherin A.; Drost, Charles A.; Orrock, John L.; Coonan, Timothy J.; Stanley, Thomas R.
Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities
Changing climate will impact species’ ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using >...Miller, David A.W.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Muths, Erin L.; Amburgey, Staci M.; Adams, M.J.; Joseph, Maxwell B.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Ryan, Maureen E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Calhoun, Daniel L.; Davis, Courtney L.; Fisher, Robert N.; Green, David M.; Hossack, Blake R.; Rittenhouse, Tracy A.G.; Walls, Susan C.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Cruickshank, Sam S.; Fellers, Gary M.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Haas, Carola A.; Hughson, Ward; Pilliod, David S.; Price, Steven J.; Ray, Andrew M.; Sadinski, Walter; Saenz, Daniel; Barichivich, William J.; Brand, Adrianne B,; Brehme, Cheryl S.; Dagit, Rosi; Delaney, Katy S.; Glorioso, Brad M.; Kats, Lee B.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Pearl, Christopher; Rochester, Carlton J.; Riley, Seth P. D.; Roth, Mark F.; Sigafus, Brent
Plant production responses to precipitation differ along an elevation gradient and are enhanced under extremes
The sensitivity of plant production to precipitation underlies the functioning of ecosystems. Studies that relate long-term mean annual precipitation and production across multiple sites(spatial relationship) or examine interannual linkages within a site (temporal relationship) can reveal biophysical controls over ecosystem function...Munson, Seth M.; Bunting, Erin L.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.; Gremer, Jennifer R.
Genetic analyses of Astragalus sect. Humillimi (Fabaceae) resolve taxonomy and enable effective conservation
Premise of the StudyAstragalus sect. Humillimi is distributed across the southwestern United States and contains two endangered taxa, A. cremnophylax var. cremnophylax and A. humillimus. The former was originally described from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Analysis of individuals discovered on the...Massatti, Robert; Belus, Matthew; Dowlatshahi, Shahed; Allan, Gerard J.
Quantifying and forecasting changes in the areal extent of river valley sediment in response to altered hydrology and land cover
In river valleys, sediment moves between active river channels, near-channel deposits including bars and floodplains, and upland environments such as terraces and aeolian dunefields. Sediment availability is a prerequisite for the sustained transfer of material between these areas, and for the eco-geomorphic functioning of river networks in...Kasprak, Alan; Sankey, Joel B.; Buscombe, Daniel; Caster, Joshua; East, Amy; Grams, Paul E.
Population history provides foundational knowledge for utilizing and developing native plant restoration materials
A species’ population structure and history are critical pieces of information that can help guide the use of available native plant materials in restoration treatments and decide what new native plant materials should be developed to meet future restoration needs. In the western United States, Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch...Massatti, Robert; Prendeville, Holly R.; Larson, Steve; Richardson, Bryce A.; Waldron, Blair; Kilkenny, Francis F.