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- G.B. Williamson (1)
Variation in home-field advantage and ability in leaf litter decomposition across successional gradients
Veen, G.F.C. ; Keiser, Ashley D. ; Putten, Wim H. van der; Wardle, David A. - \ 2018
Functional Ecology 32 (2018)6. - ISSN 0269-8463 - p. 1563 - 1574.
Decomposition - Functional breadth - Plant litter feedback - Plant-soil feedback - Soil - Succession
It is increasingly recognized that interactions between plants and soil (a)biotic conditions can influence local decomposition processes. For example, decomposer communities may become specialized in breaking down litter of plant species that they are associated with, resulting in accelerated decomposition, known as "home-field advantage" (HFA). Also, soils can vary inherently in their capacity to degrade organic compounds, known as "ability." However, we have a poor understanding how environmental conditions drive the occurrence of HFA and ability. Here, we studied how HFA and ability change across three types of successional gradients: coastal sand dunes (primary succession), inland drift sands (primary succession) and ex-arable fields (secondary succession). Across these gradients, litter quality (i.e. nutrient, carbon and lignin contents) increases with successional time for coastal dunes and decreases for the other two gradients. We performed a 12-months reciprocal litter transplant experiment under greenhouse conditions using soils and litters collected from early-, mid- and late-successional stages of each gradient. We found that HFA and ability did not consistently shift with successional stage for all gradients, but were instead specific for each type of successional gradient. In coastal dunes, HFA was positive for early-successional litter, in drift, sands it was negative for mid-successional litter, and for ex-arable fields, HFA increased with successional time. Ability of decomposer communities was highest in mid-successional stages for coastal dunes and drift sands, but for ex-arable fields, ability decreased throughout with successional time. High HFA was related to high litter C content and soil and organic matter content in soils and to low litter and soil nutrient concentrations. Ability did not consistently occur in successional stages with high or low litter quality. Synthesis. Our findings show that specific environmental conditions, such as changes in litter or soil quality, along environmental gradients can shape the influence of HFA and ability on decomposition. In sites with strong HFA or ability, interactions between plants, litter and decomposer communities will be important drivers of nutrient cycling and hence have the potential to feedback to plant growth. A plain language summary is available for this article.
Land use as a filter for species composition in Amazonian secondary forests
Conte Jakovac, Catarina ; Bongers, Frans ; Kuijper, Thomas ; Mesquita, Rita C.G. ; Peña-Claros, Marielos - \ 2016
Journal of Vegetation Science 27 (2016)6. - ISSN 1100-9233 - p. 1104 - 1116.
Brazil - Cecropia - Fire - Landscape composition - Phosphorus - Slash-and-burn - Soil - Sprouting - Succession - Vismia - α-Diversity - β-Diversity
Questions: Secondary succession in the tropics can follow alternative pathways. Land-use history is known to engender alternative successional communities, but the underlying mechanisms driving and sustaining divergence remain unclear. In this study we aim to answer the following questions: (1) does previous land use act as a filter for species composition in secondary forests; and (2) what are the relative roles of management practices, soil properties and landscape composition in determining species composition?. Location: Central Amazon, Brazil. Methods: We sampled trees, shrubs and palms (≥1cm diameter) in 38 early secondary forests (5 yr after abandonment) located along gradients of land-use intensity in five shifting cultivation landscapes. We measured the diameter and height of each sampled plant, identified it to species or morpho-species level and checked if it was resprouting or not. At each secondary forest we also collected soil samples for chemical and physical analyses and estimated the amount of old-growth forest surrounding it (landscape composition). Results: We found that previous land-use intensity determined species composition. With increasing land-use intensity, management practices of cut-and-burn and associated reduction in soil quality filtered out seed-dependent species and favoured strong sprouters and species that can cope with low nutrient availability. Landscape composition had a weak effect on species assemblages. We found specific species assemblages and indicator species associated with different levels of previous land-use intensity. As a consequence of these local filters, species α- and β-diversity decreased and therefore early successional communities became more similar to each other. Conclusion: Species composition of successional forests is strongly determined by different land-use intensities. Dispersal limitation has a limited effect on determining the composition of the dominant species. Filtering effects of management practices and soil quality determine the species dominating the canopy at early stages of succession and narrow down the range of species able to colonize and establish. This study highlights how land use shapes successional communities and suggests that alternative successional pathways are determined at early stages of succession. Therefore, accounting for land-use history is crucial to improve the understanding of tropical secondary succession. We present a list of indicator species for different levels of previous land-use intensity that can be used to support conservation and restoration decisions in the Amazon.
Patterns of natural fungal community assembly during initial decay of coniferous and broadleaf tree logs
Wal, Annemieke van der; Klein Gunnewiek, P.J.A. ; Cornelissen, J.H.C. ; Crowther, Thomas W. ; Boer, Wietse de - \ 2016
Ecosphere 7 (2016)7. - ISSN 2150-8925
454 pyrosequencing of ITS - Competitive strength - Endophytic fungi - Fungal interactions - LOGLIFE - Natural fungal community assembly - Priority effects - Succession - Wood decomposition - Wood traits
Community assembly processes do not only influence community structure, but can also affect ecosystem processes. To understand the effect of initial community development on ecosystem processes, we studied natural fungal community dynamics during initial wood decay. We hypothesize that fungal community assembly dynamics are driven by strong priority effects of early-arriving species, which lead to predictable successional patterns and wood decay rates. Alternatively, equivalent colonization success of randomly arriving spores has the potential to drive stochastic community composition and wood decay rates over time. To test these competing hypotheses, we explored the changes in fungal community composition in logs of two tree species (one coniferous and one broadleaf) during the early stages of wood decomposition in a common garden approach. Initial communities were characterized by endophytic fungi, which were highly diverse and variable among logs. Over the first year of decomposition, there was little evidence for priority effects, as early colonizers displaced the endophytic species, and diversity fell as logs were dominated by a few fungal species. During this period, the composition of colonizing fungi was related to the decomposition rates of sapwood. During the second year of decomposition, fungal community composition shifted drastically and the successional dynamics varied considerably between tree species. Variation in fungal community composition among coniferous (Larix kaempferi) logs increased, and there remained no evidence for any priority effects as community composition became stochastic. In contrast, early colonizers still dominated many of the deciduous (Quercus rubra) logs, with a temporally consistent impact on community composition. For both tree species, wood decay rates levelled off and the relationship with fungal community composition disappeared. Our results indicate that priority effects are relatively minimal in naturally occurring fungal community assembly processes. Instead, fungal successional dynamics are governed predominantly by combative abilities of colonizing fungi, and factors that shape fungal communities over time can differ considerably between tree species. Our results indicate that an increased focus of competitive strength among species, rather than priority effects, may be key to predict community assembly and the ecosystem process they provide.
Successional dynamics in Neotropical forests are as uncertain as they are predictable
Norden, Natalia ; Angarita, H.A. ; Bongers, Frans ; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel ; Cerda, I.G. De la; Breugel, Michiel Van; Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin ; Meave, J.A. ; Vandermeer, John ; Williamson, G.B. ; Finegan, Bryan ; Mesquita, Rita ; Chazdon, R.L. - \ 2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112 (2015)26. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 8013 - 8018.
Dynamical models - Predictability - Succession - Tropical secondary forests - Uncertainty
Although forest succession has traditionally been approached as a deterministic process, successional trajectories of vegetation change vary widely, even among nearby stands with similar environmental conditions and disturbance histories. Here, we provide the first attempt, to our knowledge, to quantify predictability and uncertainty during succession based on the most extensive long-term datasets ever assembled for Neotropical forests. We develop a novel approach that integrates deterministic and stochastic components into different candidate models describing the dynamical interactions among three widely used and interrelated forest attributes - stem density, basal area, and species density. Within each of the seven study sites, successional trajectories were highly idiosyncratic, even when controlling for prior land use, environment, and initial conditions in these attributes. Plot factors were far more important than stand age in explaining successional trajectories. For each site, the best-fit model was able to capture the complete set of time series in certain attributes only when both the deterministic and stochastic components were set to similar magnitudes. Surprisingly, predictability of stem density, basal area, and species density did not show consistent trends across attributes, study sites, or land use history, and was independent of plot size and time series length. The model developed here represents the best approach, to date, for characterizing autogenic successional dynamics and demonstrates the low predictability of successional trajectories. These high levels of uncertainty suggest that the impacts of allogenic factors on rates of change during tropical forest succession are far more pervasive than previously thought, challenging the way ecologists view and investigate forest regeneration.