Biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks in grassland responses to warming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant growth often responds rapidly to experimentally simulated climate change. Feedbacks can modulate the initial responses, but these feedbacks are difficult to detect when they operate on long timescales. We transplanted intact plant-soil mesocosms down an elevation gradient to expose them to a warmer climate and used collectors and interceptors to simulate changes in precipitation. Here, we show that warming initially increased aboveground net primary productivity in four grassland ecosystems, but the response diminished progressively over nine years. Warming altered the plant community, causing encroachment by species typical of warmer environments and loss of species from the native environment-trends associated with the declining response of plant productivity. Warming stimulated soil nitrogen turnover, which dampened but did not reverse the temporal decline in the productivity response. Warming also enhanced N losses, which may have weakened the expected biogeochemical feedback where warming stimulates N mineralization and plant growth. Our results, describing the responses of four ecosystems to nearly a decade of simulated climate change, indicate that short-term experiments are insufficient to capture the temporal variability and trend of ecosystem responses to environmental change and their modulation through biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-461
Number of pages4
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume2
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Fingerprint

warming
grassland
productivity
climate change
trend
turnover
ecosystem response
soil nitrogen
climate
plant community
environmental change
experiment
mineralization
timescale
ecosystem
community
soil
loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks in grassland responses to warming. / Wu, Zhuoting; Dijkstra, Paul; Koch, George W; Hungate, Bruce A.

In: Nature Climate Change, Vol. 2, No. 6, 06.2012, p. 458-461.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{734b3906ce954e82add3b311d3b215c7,
title = "Biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks in grassland responses to warming",
abstract = "Plant growth often responds rapidly to experimentally simulated climate change. Feedbacks can modulate the initial responses, but these feedbacks are difficult to detect when they operate on long timescales. We transplanted intact plant-soil mesocosms down an elevation gradient to expose them to a warmer climate and used collectors and interceptors to simulate changes in precipitation. Here, we show that warming initially increased aboveground net primary productivity in four grassland ecosystems, but the response diminished progressively over nine years. Warming altered the plant community, causing encroachment by species typical of warmer environments and loss of species from the native environment-trends associated with the declining response of plant productivity. Warming stimulated soil nitrogen turnover, which dampened but did not reverse the temporal decline in the productivity response. Warming also enhanced N losses, which may have weakened the expected biogeochemical feedback where warming stimulates N mineralization and plant growth. Our results, describing the responses of four ecosystems to nearly a decade of simulated climate change, indicate that short-term experiments are insufficient to capture the temporal variability and trend of ecosystem responses to environmental change and their modulation through biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks.",
author = "Zhuoting Wu and Paul Dijkstra and Koch, {George W} and Hungate, {Bruce A}",
year = "2012",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1038/nclimate1486",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "2",
pages = "458--461",
journal = "Nature Climate Change",
issn = "1758-678X",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks in grassland responses to warming

AU - Wu, Zhuoting

AU - Dijkstra, Paul

AU - Koch, George W

AU - Hungate, Bruce A

PY - 2012/6

Y1 - 2012/6

N2 - Plant growth often responds rapidly to experimentally simulated climate change. Feedbacks can modulate the initial responses, but these feedbacks are difficult to detect when they operate on long timescales. We transplanted intact plant-soil mesocosms down an elevation gradient to expose them to a warmer climate and used collectors and interceptors to simulate changes in precipitation. Here, we show that warming initially increased aboveground net primary productivity in four grassland ecosystems, but the response diminished progressively over nine years. Warming altered the plant community, causing encroachment by species typical of warmer environments and loss of species from the native environment-trends associated with the declining response of plant productivity. Warming stimulated soil nitrogen turnover, which dampened but did not reverse the temporal decline in the productivity response. Warming also enhanced N losses, which may have weakened the expected biogeochemical feedback where warming stimulates N mineralization and plant growth. Our results, describing the responses of four ecosystems to nearly a decade of simulated climate change, indicate that short-term experiments are insufficient to capture the temporal variability and trend of ecosystem responses to environmental change and their modulation through biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks.

AB - Plant growth often responds rapidly to experimentally simulated climate change. Feedbacks can modulate the initial responses, but these feedbacks are difficult to detect when they operate on long timescales. We transplanted intact plant-soil mesocosms down an elevation gradient to expose them to a warmer climate and used collectors and interceptors to simulate changes in precipitation. Here, we show that warming initially increased aboveground net primary productivity in four grassland ecosystems, but the response diminished progressively over nine years. Warming altered the plant community, causing encroachment by species typical of warmer environments and loss of species from the native environment-trends associated with the declining response of plant productivity. Warming stimulated soil nitrogen turnover, which dampened but did not reverse the temporal decline in the productivity response. Warming also enhanced N losses, which may have weakened the expected biogeochemical feedback where warming stimulates N mineralization and plant growth. Our results, describing the responses of four ecosystems to nearly a decade of simulated climate change, indicate that short-term experiments are insufficient to capture the temporal variability and trend of ecosystem responses to environmental change and their modulation through biogeochemical and ecological feedbacks.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84861648402&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84861648402&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/nclimate1486

DO - 10.1038/nclimate1486

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84861648402

VL - 2

SP - 458

EP - 461

JO - Nature Climate Change

JF - Nature Climate Change

SN - 1758-678X

IS - 6

ER -