Publications by authors named "Josep Peñuelas"

309 Publications

The human dimension of biodiversity changes on islands.

Science 2021 Apr;372(6541):488-491

Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER) and Department of Sport Science, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany.

Islands are among the last regions on Earth settled and transformed by human activities, and they provide replicated model systems for analysis of how people affect ecological functions. By analyzing 27 representative fossil pollen sequences encompassing the past 5000 years from islands globally, we quantified the rates of vegetation compositional change before and after human arrival. After human arrival, rates of turnover accelerate by a median factor of 11, with faster rates on islands colonized in the past 1500 years than for those colonized earlier. This global anthropogenic acceleration in turnover suggests that islands are on trajectories of continuing change. Strategies for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration must acknowledge the long duration of human impacts and the degree to which ecological changes today differ from prehuman dynamics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abd6706DOI Listing
April 2021

Human absorption of monoterpenes after a 2-h forest exposure: A field experiment in a Mediterranean holm oak forest.

J Pharm Biomed Anal 2021 Apr 18;200:114080. Epub 2021 Apr 18.

CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès 08193, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Barcelona Catalonia, Spain.

The current body of literature points monoterpenes as one of the determinant factors of the interaction between forests and human health. The present study aims at analyzing the monoterpene absorption by humans during a 2 -hs forest exposure in a Mediterranean holm oak forest focusing on the four most abundant monoterpene compounds: alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, alpha-phellandrene and limonene. Participants' blood samples were collected before and after exposure to forest or urban environment (control). We conducted air and blood sampling using cartridges and head space method and determined the monoterpene compounds through CGMS. We identified the four compounds in forest air during the experimental study being alpha-pinene the monoterpene with the greatest concentration. Results show no significant changes in monoterpene blood concentrations for the forest and control group. However, a negative significant relationship between absorption and baseline blood concentration of the most abundant forest air monoterpenes, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, was found in individuals visiting the forest, i.e. higher absorption was found the lower the baseline blood concentration was. Although no significant lineal correlation could be spotted between the vital variables and the monoterpene absorption, we found significant correlations between the absorption of the monoterpene compounds. This attempt, first in a Mediterranean holm oak forest, can serve as a starting point and constitute a valuable contribution for further research in regard to experimental design and laboratory analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpba.2021.114080DOI Listing
April 2021

Bryophyte C:N:P stoichiometry, biogeochemical niches and elementome plasticity driven by environment and coexistence.

Ecol Lett 2021 Apr 24. Epub 2021 Apr 24.

CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Ecological stoichiometry and studies of biogeochemical niches have mainly focused on plankton and vascular plants, but the phenotypically closest modern relatives of early plants, bryophytes, have been largely neglected. We analysed C:N:P stoichiometries and elemental compositions (K, Na, Mg, Ca, S, Fe) of 35 widely distributed bryophyte species inhabiting springs. We estimated bryophyte C:N:P ratios and their biogeochemical niches, investigated how elementomes respond to the environment and determined whether they tend to diverge more for coexisting than non-coexisting individuals and species. The median C:N:P was 145:8:1, intermediate between Redfield's ratio for marine plankton and those for vascular plants. Biogeochemical niches were differentiated amongst species and were phylogenetically conserved. Differences in individual and species-specific elementomes increased with coexistence between species. Our results provide an evolutionary bridge between the ecological stoichiometries of algae and vascular plants and suggest that differences in elementomes could be used to understand community assemblages and functional diversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13752DOI Listing
April 2021

Global patterns and drivers of rainfall partitioning by trees and shrubs.

Glob Chang Biol 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Spatiotemporal redistribution of incident rainfall in vegetated ecosystems results from the partitioning by plants into intercepted, stemflow, and throughfall fractions. However, variation in patterns and drivers of rainfall partitioning across global biomes remains poorly understood, which limited the ability of climate models to improve the predictions of biome hydrological cycle under global climate change scenario. Here, we synthesized and analyzed the partitioning of incident rainfall into interception, stemflow, and throughfall by trees and shrubs at the global scale using 2430 observations from 236 independent publications. We found that (1) globally, median levels of relative interception, stemflow, and throughfall accounted for 21.8%, 3.2%, and 73.0% of total incident rainfall, respectively; (2) rainfall partitioning varied among different biomes, due to variation in plant composition, canopy structure, and macroclimate; (3) relative stemflow tended to be driven by plant traits, such as crown height:width ratio, basal area, and height, while relative interception and throughfall tended to be driven by plant traits as well as meteorological variables. Our global assessment of patterns and drivers of rainfall partitioning underpins the role of meteorological factors and plant traits in biome-specific ecohydrological cycles. We suggest to include these factors in climate models to improve the predictions of local hydrological cycles and associated biodiversity and function responses to changing climate conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15644DOI Listing
April 2021

Widespread decline in winds delayed autumn foliar senescence over high latitudes.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Apr;118(16)

The Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;

The high northern latitudes (>50°) experienced a pronounced surface stilling (i.e., decline in winds) with climate change. As a drying factor, the influences of changes in winds on the date of autumn foliar senescence (DFS) remain largely unknown and are potentially important as a mechanism explaining the interannual variability of autumn phenology. Using 183,448 phenological observations at 2,405 sites, long-term site-scale water vapor and carbon dioxide flux measurements, and 34 y of satellite greenness data, here we show that the decline in winds is significantly associated with extended DFS and could have a relative importance comparable with temperature and precipitation effects in contributing to the DFS trends. We further demonstrate that decline in winds reduces evapotranspiration, which results in less soil water losses and consequently more favorable growth conditions in late autumn. In addition, declining winds also lead to less leaf abscission damage which could delay leaf senescence and to a decreased cooling effect and therefore less frost damage. Our results are potentially useful for carbon flux modeling because an improved algorithm based on these findings projected overall widespread earlier DFS than currently expected by the end of this century, contributing potentially to a positive feedback to climate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2015821118DOI Listing
April 2021

Measuring temporal patterns in ecology: The case of mast seeding.

Ecol Evol 2021 Apr 11;11(7):2990-2996. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

CSIC Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB Bellaterra Barcelona Spain.

Properly assessing temporal patterns is a central issue in ecology in order to understand ecosystem processes and their mechanisms. Mast seeding has traditionally been described as a reproductive behavior consisting of highly variable and synchronized reproductive events. The most common metric used to measure temporal variability and thus infer masting behavior, the coefficient of variation (CV), however, has been repeatedly suggested to improperly estimate temporal variability. Biases of CV estimates are especially problematic for non-normally distributed data and/or data sets with a high number of zeros.Some recent studies have already adopted new metrics to measure temporal variability, but most continue to use CV. This controversy has started a strong debate about what metrics to use.We here summarize the problems of CV when assessing temporal variability, particularly across data sets containing a large number of zeros, and highlight the benefits of using other metrics of temporal variability, such as proportional variability (PV) and consecutive disparity (). We also suggest a new way to look at reproductive behavior, by separating temporal variability from frequency of reproduction, to allow better comparison of data sets with different characteristics.We suggest future studies to properly describe the temporal patterns in fully scientific and measurable terms that do not lead to confusion, such as variability and frequency of reproduction, using robust and fully comparable metrics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019024PMC
April 2021

Functional leaf traits indicate phylogenetic signals in forests across an elevational gradient in the central Himalaya.

J Plant Res 2021 Apr 9. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Global Ecology Unit, CSIC, CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra, Catalonia, 08913, Spain.

Traits are the primary attributes that distinguish a species niche. Species and higher taxa are part of a structured phylogeny, and variation in plant traits depends on lineage as well as on environmental conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to investigate linkages between taxonomic identity, shared ancestry, and environment for understanding the variation in leaf traits. We investigated the evolutionary relationships, based on multiple gene sequences among 26 plant species sampled along an elevational gradient from 650 to 3600 m a.s.l. in the central Himalaya. We tested for the phylogenetic signal based on three different measures in 10 leaf traits having a significant association with the resource acquisition-conservation trade-offs axis and influencing plant growth, development, and ecological performance. We further assessed the role of elevation and growth forms as the potential drivers of leaf traits variation while controlling for phylogeny. 5 out of 10 leaf traits showed significant phylogenetic signal. Plant species clustered more often by growth forms at the tips of the phylogeny indicating multiple instances of independent evolution. Evergreen taxa showed niche separation with deciduous and incorporated larger trait variation. Trait variations were guided by both growth forms and elevation when accounted for phylogeny. Growth form has a higher contribution to trait variation compared to elevation. Trade-offs were detected between resource conservation and resource acquisition machinery traits (that would maximise carbon gain), differing between growth forms and along elevation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10265-021-01289-1DOI Listing
April 2021

Reply to: Disentangling biology from mathematical necessity in twentieth-century gymnosperm resilience trends.

Nat Ecol Evol 2021 Apr 5. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01412-4DOI Listing
April 2021

Metabolome-Wide, Phylogenetically Controlled Comparison Indicates Higher Phenolic Diversity in Tropical Tree Species.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Mar 16;10(3). Epub 2021 Mar 16.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, E-08913 Bellaterra, Spain.

Tropical plants are expected to have a higher variety of defensive traits, such as a more diverse array of secondary metabolic compounds in response to greater pressures of antagonistic interactions, than their temperate counterparts. We test this hypothesis using advanced metabolomics linked to a novel stoichiometric compound classification to analyze the complete foliar metabolomes of four tropical and four temperate tree species, which were selected so that each subset contained the same amount of phylogenetic diversity and evenness. We then built Bayesian phylogenetic multilevel models to test for tropical-temperate differences in metabolite diversity for the entire metabolome and for four major families of secondary compounds. We found strong evidence supporting that the leaves of tropical tree species have a higher phenolic diversity. The functionally closer group of polyphenolics also showed moderate evidence of higher diversity in tropical species, but there were no differences either for the entire metabolome or for the other major families of compounds analyzed. This supports the interpretation that this tropical-temperate contrast must be related to the functional role of phenolics and polyphenolics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10030554DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998528PMC
March 2021

Natural abundance of C and N provides evidence for plant-soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics in a N-fertilized meadow.

Ecology 2021 Mar 23:e03348. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Erguna Forest-Steppe Ecotone Ecosystem Research Station, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, 110016, China.

Natural abundance of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stable isotope ratios (δ C and δ N) has been used to indicate ecosystem C and N status and cycling; however, use of this approach to infer plant and microbial N preference under projected ecosystem N enrichment is limited. Here, we investigated natural abundance δ C and δ N of five dominant plant species, and soil δ N of microbial biomass and available N forms under N addition in a meadow steppe. Additional N, applied as urea, led to decreases in δ N of soil NO (δ N , from 3.0 to 0.4‰) and increases in δ N of soil (δ N , from -1.3 to 11‰) and dissolved organic N (δ N , from 8.5 to 15‰) that reflected increased net nitrification rates, a possible increase in NH volatilization, and greater availability of the three N forms. An overall increase in δ N of soil total N (δ N ) from 7.1 to 7.9‰ indicated accelerated and greater openness of soil N cycling that was also partially revealed by enhanced net N mineralization rates. Plant δ N, which ranged from -1.8 to 2.1‰, generally decreased with N addition, indicating a greater reliance on soil NO under N-enrichment conditions. Nitrogen addition decreased δ N of microbial biomass N (from 14 to 2.8‰), possibly because of a shift in preferential N form (DON to ), that indicated a convergence of plant and microbial preferential N forms and an increase in plant-microbial N competition. Microbes were thus more flexible than plants in the use of different forms of N. Addition of N decreased plant litter δ C, whereas plant species δ C remained unaffected, likely because of a shift in the abundance of dominant species with a greater proportion of biomass coming from δ C-depleted species. Enrichment factor (the difference in plant δ N relative to δ N ) of four nonlegume species was negatively related to soil inorganic N availability, net nitrification rate, and net N mineralization rate, and was proven to be a good indicator of ecosystem N status. Our study highlights the importance of natural abundance of N as an indicator of plant-microbial N competition and ecosystem N cycling in meadow steppe grasslands under projected ecosystem N enrichment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3348DOI Listing
March 2021

Divergent responses of phenology and growth to summer and autumnal warming.

Glob Chang Biol 2021 Mar 8. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Sino-French Institute for Earth System Science, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China.

Plant phenology is highly sensitive to climate change, and shifts in autumnal foliar senescence are critical for plant productivity and nutrient cycling. Global warming has delayed the timing of foliar senescence, but the response of autumnal foliar senescence to nonuniform seasonal warming remains poorly understood, with experimental evidence in trees especially scarce. We therefore conducted a field experiment on seasonally asymmetric warming on 2-year-old larch (Larix principis-rupprechtii) seedlings in two hydrologically contrasting years (wet 2018 and dry 2019). Autumnal and year-round warming significantly delayed the timing of foliar senescence by 6 and 7 d in 2018, the wet year, with corresponding temperature sensitivities of 6.73 ± 1.47 and 8.26 ± 1.00 d/°C, respectively. Interestingly, the dates of senescence did not change across the warming treatments in 2019, the dry year. However, there was no significant effect of summer warming on the timing of foliar senescence neither in the wet nor dry year. The delayed autumnal foliar senescence was responsible for an increase in biomass only in the wet year, 2018. In contrast, summer warming, but not autumnal warming, increased the mortality of the seedlings in both 2018 and 2019. These results suggest that the hydrological conditions substantially modify the response of autumnal phenology and growth to seasonal warming. Autumnal warming increases growth, whereas summer warming could cause carbon starvation/hydraulic failure, reduce growth, and lead to higher mortality. Our results suggest that the functioning, ecosystem services, and sustainability of forests in the future depend on the strength and pattern of nonuniform seasonal warming. This study can inspire new research in phenology and tree growth in experiments with asymmetric warming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15586DOI Listing
March 2021

Potassium Control of Plant Functions: Ecological and Agricultural Implications.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Feb 23;10(2). Epub 2021 Feb 23.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, 08913 Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain.

Potassium, mostly as a cation (K), together with calcium (Ca) are the most abundant inorganic chemicals in plant cellular media, but they are rarely discussed. K is not a component of molecular or macromolecular plant structures, thus it is more difficult to link it to concrete metabolic pathways than nitrogen or phosphorus. Over the last two decades, many studies have reported on the role of K in several physiological functions, including controlling cellular growth and wood formation, xylem-phloem water content and movement, nutrient and metabolite transport, and stress responses. In this paper, we present an overview of contemporary findings associating K with various plant functions, emphasizing plant-mediated responses to environmental abiotic and biotic shifts and stresses by controlling transmembrane potentials and water, nutrient, and metabolite transport. These essential roles of K account for its high concentrations in the most active plant organs, such as leaves, and are consistent with the increasing number of ecological and agricultural studies that report K as a key element in the function and structure of terrestrial ecosystems, crop production, and global food security. We synthesized these roles from an integrated perspective, considering the metabolic and physiological functions of individual plants and their complex roles in terrestrial ecosystem functions and food security within the current context of ongoing global change. Thus, we provide a bridge between studies of K at the plant and ecological levels to ultimately claim that K should be considered at least at a level similar to N and P in terrestrial ecological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10020419DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7927068PMC
February 2021

Photoperiod decelerates the advance of spring phenology of six deciduous tree species under climate warming.

Glob Chang Biol 2021 Mar 2. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA.

Vegetation phenology in spring has substantially advanced under climate warming, consequently shifting the seasonality of ecosystem process and altering biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks. However, whether and to what extent photoperiod (i.e., daylength) affects the phenological advancement is unclear, leading to large uncertainties in projecting future phenological changes. Here we examined the photoperiod effect on spring phenology at a regional scale using in situ observation of six deciduous tree species from the Pan European Phenological Network during 1980-2016. We disentangled the photoperiod effect from the temperature effect (i.e., forcing and chilling) by utilizing the unique topography of the northern Alps of Europe (i.e., varying daylength but uniform temperature distribution across latitudes) and examining phenological changes across latitudes. We found prominent photoperiod-induced shifts in spring leaf-out across latitudes (up to 1.7 days per latitudinal degree). Photoperiod regulates spring phenology by delaying early leaf-out and advancing late leaf-out caused by temperature variations. Based on these findings, we proposed two phenological models that consider the photoperiod effect through different mechanisms and compared them with a chilling model. We found that photoperiod regulation would slow down the advance in spring leaf-out under projected climate warming and thus mitigate the increasing frost risk in spring that deciduous forests will face in the future. Our findings identify photoperiod as a critical but understudied factor influencing spring phenology, suggesting that the responses of terrestrial ecosystem processes to climate warming are likely to be overestimated without adequately considering the photoperiod effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15575DOI Listing
March 2021

Climatic and evolutionary contexts are required to infer plant life history strategies from functional traits at a global scale.

Ecol Lett 2021 May 27;24(5):970-983. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Department of Zoology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Life history strategies are fundamental to the ecology and evolution of organisms and are important for understanding extinction risk and responses to global change. Using global datasets and a multiple response modelling framework we show that trait-climate interactions are associated with life history strategies for a diverse range of plant species at the global scale. Our modelling framework informs our understanding of trade-offs and positive correlations between elements of life history after accounting for environmental context and evolutionary and trait-based constraints. Interactions between plant traits and climatic context were needed to explain variation in age at maturity, distribution of mortality across the lifespan and generation times of species. Mean age at maturity and the distribution of mortality across plants' lifespan were under evolutionary constraints. These findings provide empirical support for the theoretical expectation that climatic context is key to understanding trait to life history relationships globally.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13704DOI Listing
May 2021

Seasonal biological carryover dominates northern vegetation growth.

Nat Commun 2021 02 12;12(1):983. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.

The state of ecosystems is influenced strongly by their past, and describing this carryover effect is important to accurately forecast their future behaviors. However, the strength and persistence of this carryover effect on ecosystem dynamics in comparison to that of simultaneous environmental drivers are still poorly understood. Here, we show that vegetation growth carryover (VGC), defined as the effect of present states of vegetation on subsequent growth, exerts strong positive impacts on seasonal vegetation growth over the Northern Hemisphere. In particular, this VGC of early growing-season vegetation growth is even stronger than past and co-occurring climate on determining peak-to-late season vegetation growth, and is the primary contributor to the recently observed annual greening trend. The effect of seasonal VGC persists into the subsequent year but not further. Current process-based ecosystem models greatly underestimate the VGC effect, and may therefore underestimate the CO sequestration potential of northern vegetation under future warming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21223-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7881040PMC
February 2021

Increasing climatic sensitivity of global grassland vegetation biomass and species diversity correlates with water availability.

New Phytol 2021 06 19;230(5):1761-1771. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit, CREAF-CSIC-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Catalonia), 08193, Spain.

Grasslands are key repositories of biodiversity and carbon storage and are heavily impacted by effects of global warming and changes in precipitation regimes. Patterns of grassland dynamics associated with variability in future climate conditions across spatiotemporal scales are yet to be adequately quantified. Here, we performed a global meta-analysis of year and growing season sensitivities of vegetation aboveground biomass (AGB), aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), and species richness (SR) and diversity (Shannon index, H) to experimental climate warming and precipitation shifts. All four variables were sensitive to climate change. Their sensitivities to shifts in precipitation were correlated with local background water availability, such as mean annual precipitation (MAP) and aridity, and AGB and ANPP sensitivities were greater in dry habitats than in nonwater-limited habitats. There was no effect of duration of experiment (short vs long term) on sensitivities. Temporal trends in ANPP and SR sensitivity depended on local water availability; ANPP sensitivity to warming increased over time and SR sensitivity to irrigation decreased over time. Our results provide a global overview of the sensitivities of grassland function and diversity to climate change that will improve the understanding of ecological responses across spatiotemporal scales and inform policies for conservation in dry climates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.17269DOI Listing
June 2021

Data-driven estimates of global litter production imply slower vegetation carbon turnover.

Glob Chang Biol 2021 04 1;27(8):1678-1688. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Sino-French Institute for Earth System Science, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China.

Accurate quantification of vegetation carbon turnover time (τ ) is critical for reducing uncertainties in terrestrial vegetation response to future climate change. However, in the absence of global information of litter production, τ could only be estimated based on net primary productivity under the steady-state assumption. Here, we applied a machine-learning approach to derive a global dataset of litter production by linking 2401 field observations and global environmental drivers. Results suggested that the observation-based estimate of global natural ecosystem litter production was 44.3 ± 0.4 Pg C year . By contrast, land-surface models (LSMs) overestimated the global litter production by about 27%. With this new global litter production dataset, we estimated global τ (mean value 10.3 ± 1.4 years) and its spatial distribution. Compared to our observation-based τ , modelled τ tended to underestimate τ at high latitudes. Our empirically derived gridded datasets of litter production and τ will help constrain global vegetation models and improve the prediction of global carbon cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15515DOI Listing
April 2021

Empirical support for the biogeochemical niche hypothesis in forest trees.

Nat Ecol Evol 2021 02 4;5(2):184-194. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CEAB-UAB, Bellaterra, Spain.

The possibility of using the elemental compositions of species as a tool to identify species/genotype niche remains to be tested at a global scale. We investigated relationships between the foliar elemental compositions (elementomes) of trees at a global scale with phylogeny, climate, N deposition and soil traits. We analysed foliar N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S concentrations in 23,962 trees of 227 species. Shared ancestry explained 60-94% of the total variance in foliar nutrient concentrations and ratios whereas current climate, atmospheric N deposition and soil type together explained 1-7%, consistent with the biogeochemical niche hypothesis which predicts that each species will have a specific need for and use of each bio-element. The remaining variance was explained by the avoidance of nutritional competition with other species and natural variability within species. The biogeochemical niche hypothesis is thus able to quantify species-specific tree niches and their shifts in response to environmental changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01348-1DOI Listing
February 2021

Recent global decline of CO fertilization effects on vegetation photosynthesis.

Science 2020 12;370(6522):1295-1300

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA CNRS UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

The enhanced vegetation productivity driven by increased concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO) [i.e., the CO fertilization effect (CFE)] sustains an important negative feedback on climate warming, but the temporal dynamics of CFE remain unclear. Using multiple long-term satellite- and ground-based datasets, we showed that global CFE has declined across most terrestrial regions of the globe from 1982 to 2015, correlating well with changing nutrient concentrations and availability of soil water. Current carbon cycle models also demonstrate a declining CFE trend, albeit one substantially weaker than that from the global observations. This declining trend in the forcing of terrestrial carbon sinks by increasing amounts of atmospheric CO implies a weakening negative feedback on the climatic system and increased societal dependence on future strategies to mitigate climate warming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abb7772DOI Listing
December 2020

Cyanobacterial blooms contribute to the diversity of antibiotic-resistance genes in aquatic ecosystems.

Commun Biol 2020 Dec 4;3(1):737. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

College of Environment, Zhejiang University of Technology, 310032, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.

Cyanobacterial blooms are a global ecological problem that directly threatens human health and crop safety. Cyanobacteria have toxic effects on aquatic microorganisms, which could drive the selection for resistance genes. The effect of cyanobacterial blooms on the dispersal and abundance of antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) of concern to human health remains poorly known. We herein investigated the effect of cyanobacterial blooms on ARG composition in Lake Taihu, China. The numbers and relative abundances of total ARGs increased obviously during a Planktothrix bloom. More pathogenic microorganisms were present during this bloom than during a Planktothrix bloom or during the non-bloom period. Microcosmic experiments using additional aquatic ecosystems (an urban river and Lake West) found that a coculture of Microcystis aeruginosa and Planktothrix agardhii increased the richness of the bacterial community, because its phycosphere provided a richer microniche for bacterial colonization and growth. Antibiotic-resistance bacteria were naturally in a rich position, successfully increasing the momentum for the emergence and spread of ARGs. These results demonstrate that cyanobacterial blooms are a crucial driver of ARG diffusion and enrichment in freshwater, thus providing a reference for the ecology and evolution of ARGs and ARBs and for better assessing and managing water quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01468-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718256PMC
December 2020

Comparable canopy and soil free-living nitrogen fixation rates in a lowland tropical forest.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Feb 3;754:142202. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Research group Plants and Ecosystem (PLECO), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a fundamental part of nitrogen cycling in tropical forests, yet little is known about the contribution made by free-living nitrogen fixers inhabiting the often-extensive forest canopy. We used the acetylene reduction assay, calibrated with N, to measure free-living BNF on forest canopy leaves, vascular epiphytes, bryophytes and canopy soil, as well as on the forest floor in leaf litter and soil. We used a combination of calculated and published component densities to upscale free-living BNF rates to the forest level. We found that bryophytes and leaves situated in the canopy in particular displayed high mass-based rates of free-living BNF. Additionally, we calculated that nearly 2 kg of nitrogen enters the forest ecosystem through free-living BNF every year, 40% of which was fixed by the various canopy components. Our results reveal that in the studied tropical lowland forest a large part of the nitrogen input through free-living BNF stems from the canopy, but also that the total nitrogen inputs by free-living BNF are lower than previously thought and comparable to the inputs of reactive nitrogen by atmospheric deposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142202DOI Listing
February 2021

Daily CO Emission Reduction Indicates the Control of Activities to Contain COVID-19 in China.

Innovation (N Y) 2020 Nov 4;1(3):100062. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, P.R. China.

Lockdown measures are essential to containing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but they will slow down economic growth by reducing industrial and commercial activities. However, the benefits of activity control from containing the pandemic have not been examined and assessed. Here we use daily carbon dioxide (CO) emission reduction in China estimated from statistical data for energy consumption and satellite data for nitrogen dioxide (NO) measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) as an indicator for reduced activities consecutive to a lockdown. We perform a correlation analysis to show that a 1% day decrease in the rate of COVID-19 cases is associated with a reduction in daily CO emissions of 0.22% ± 0.02% using statistical data for energy consumption relative to emissions without COVID-19, or 0.20% ± 0.02% using satellite data for atmospheric column NO. We estimate that swift action in China is effective in limiting the number of COVID-19 cases <100,000 with a reduction in CO emissions of up to 23% by the end of February 2020, whereas a 1-week delay would have required greater containment and a doubling of the emission reduction to meet the same goal. By analyzing the costs of health care and fatalities, we find that the benefits on public health due to reduced activities in China are 10-fold larger than the loss of gross domestic product. Our findings suggest an unprecedentedly high cost of maintaining activities and CO emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic and stress substantial benefits of containment in public health by taking early actions to reduce activities during the outbreak of COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xinn.2020.100062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7609232PMC
November 2020

Could Global Intensification of Nitrogen Fertilisation Increase Immunogenic Proteins and Favour the Spread of Coeliac Pathology?

Foods 2020 Nov 4;9(11). Epub 2020 Nov 4.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra, 08193 Catalonia, Spain.

Fertilisation of cereal crops with nitrogen (N) has increased in the last five decades. In particular, the fertilisation of wheat crops increased by nearly one order of magnitude from 1961 to 2010, from 9.84 to 93.8 kg N ha y. We hypothesized that this intensification of N fertilisation would increase the content of allergenic proteins in wheat which could likely be associated with the increased pathology of coeliac disease in human populations. An increase in the per capita intake of gliadin proteins, the group of gluten proteins principally responsible for the development of coeliac disease, would be the responsible factor. We conducted a global meta-analysis of available reports that supported our hypothesis: wheat plants growing in soils receiving higher doses of N fertilizer have higher total gluten, total gliadin, α/β-gliadin, γ-gliadin and ω-gliadin contents and higher gliadin transcription in their grain. We thereafter calculated the per capita annual average intake of gliadins from wheat and derived foods and found that it increased from 1961 to 2010 from approximately 2.4 to 3.8 kg y per capita (+1.4 ± 0.18 kg y per capita, mean ± SE), i.e., increased by 58 ± 7.5%. Finally, we found that this increase was positively correlated with the increase in the rates of coeliac disease in all the available studies with temporal series of coeliac disease. The impacts and damage of over-fertilisation have been observed at an environmental scale (e.g., eutrophication and acid rain), but a potential direct effect of over-fertilisation is thus also possible on human health (coeliac disease).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/foods9111602DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7694225PMC
November 2020

Large Spatial Variations in Diffusive CH Fluxes from a Subtropical Coastal Reservoir Affected by Sewage Discharge in Southeast China.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 11 29;54(22):14192-14203. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

Coastal reservoirs are potentially CH emission hotspots owing to their biogeochemical role as the sinks of anthropogenic carbon and nutrients. Yet, the fine-scale spatial variations in CH concentrations and fluxes in coastal reservoirs remain poorly understood, hampering an accurate determination of reservoir CH budgets. In this study, we examined the spatial variability of diffusive CH fluxes and their drivers at a subtropical coastal reservoir in southeast China using high spatial resolution measurements of dissolved CH concentrations and physicochemical properties of the surface water. Overall, this reservoir acted as a consistent source of atmospheric CH, with a mean diffusive flux of 16.1 μmol m h. The diffusive CH flux at the reservoir demonstrated considerable spatial variations, with the coefficients of variation ranging between 199 and 426% over the three seasons. The shallow water zone (comprising 23% of the reservoir area) had a disproportionately high contribution (56%) to the whole-reservoir diffusive CH emissions. Moreover, the mean CH flux in the sewage-affected sectors was significantly higher than that in the nonsewage-affected sectors. The results of bootstrap analysis further showed that increasing the sample size from 10 to 100 significantly reduced the relative standard deviation of mean diffusive CH flux from 73.7 to 3.4%. Our findings highlighted the role of sewage in governing the spatial variations in reservoir CH emissions and the importance of high spatial resolution data to improve the reliability of flux estimates for assessing the contribution of reservoirs to the regional and global CH budgets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c03431DOI Listing
November 2020

The role of climate, foliar stoichiometry and plant diversity on ecosystem carbon balance.

Glob Chang Biol 2020 Dec 25;26(12):7067-7078. Epub 2020 Oct 25.

PLECO (Plants and Ecosystems), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.

Global change is affecting terrestrial carbon (C) balances. The effect of climate on ecosystem C balance has been largely explored, but the roles of other concurrently changing factors, such as diversity and nutrient availability, remain elusive. We used eddy-covariance C-flux measurements from 62 ecosystems from which we compiled information on climate, ecosystem type, stand age, species abundance and foliar concentrations of N and P of the main species, to assess their importance in the ecosystem C balance. Climate and productivity were the main determinants of ecosystem C balance and its stability. In P-rich sites, increasing N was related to increased gross primary production and respiration and vice versa, but reduced net C uptake. Our analyses did not provide evidence for a strong relation between ecosystem diversity and their productivity and stability. Nonetheless, these results suggest that nutrient imbalances and, potentially, diversity loss may alter future global C balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15385DOI Listing
December 2020

Phosphorus addition decreases microbial residual contribution to soil organic carbon pool in a tropical coastal forest.

Glob Chang Biol 2021 Jan 4;27(2):454-466. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems & CAS Engineering Laboratory for Vegetation Ecosystem Restoration on Islands and Coastal Zones, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.

The soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability often constrains soil carbon (C) pool, and elevated N deposition could further intensify soil P limitation, which may affect soil C cycling in these N-rich and P-poor ecosystems. Soil microbial residues may not only affect soil organic carbon (SOC) pool but also impact SOC stability through soil aggregation. However, how soil nutrient availability and aggregate fractions affect microbial residues and the microbial residue contribution to SOC is still not well understood. We took advantage of a 10-year field fertilization experiment to investigate the effects of nutrient additions, soil aggregate fractions, and their interactions on the concentrations of soil microbial residues and their contribution to SOC accumulation in a tropical coastal forest. We found that continuous P addition greatly decreased the concentrations of microbial residues and their contribution to SOC, whereas N addition had no significant effect. The P-stimulated decreases in microbial residues and their contribution to SOC were presumably due to enhanced recycling of microbial residues via increased activity of residue-decomposing enzymes. The interactive effects between soil aggregate fraction and nutrient addition were not significant, suggesting a weak role of physical protection by soil aggregates in mediating microbial responses to altered soil nutrient availability. Our data suggest that the mechanisms driving microbial residue responses to increased N and P availability might be different, and the P-induced decrease in the contribution of microbial residues might be unfavorable for the stability of SOC in N-rich and P-poor tropical forests. Such information is critical for understanding the role of tropical forests in the global carbon cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15407DOI Listing
January 2021

Country-Level Relationships of the Human Intake of N and P, Animal and Vegetable Food, and Alcoholic Beverages with Cancer and Life Expectancy.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 10 3;17(19). Epub 2020 Oct 3.

CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Background: The quantity, quality, and type (e.g., animal and vegetable) of human food have been correlated with human health, although with some contradictory or neutral results. We aimed to shed light on this association by using the integrated data at country level.

Methods: We correlated elemental (nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)) compositions and stoichiometries (N:P ratios), molecular (proteins) and energetic traits (kilocalories) of food of animal (terrestrial or aquatic) and vegetable origin, and alcoholic beverages with cancer prevalence and mortality and life expectancy (LE) at birth at the country level. We used the official databases of United Nations (UN), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health, and Eurobarometer, while also considering other possibly involved variables such as income, mean age, or human development index of each country.

Results: The per capita intakes of N, P, protein, and total intake from terrestrial animals, and especially alcohol were significantly and positively associated with prevalence and mortality from total, colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers. In contrast, high per capita intakes of vegetable N, P, N:P, protein, and total plant intake exhibited negative relationships with cancer prevalence and mortality. However, a high LE at birth, especially in underdeveloped countries was more strongly correlated with a higher intake of food, independent of its animal or vegetable origin, than with other variables, such as higher income or the human development index.

Conclusions: Our analyses, thus, yielded four generally consistent conclusions. First, the excessive intake of terrestrial animal food, especially the levels of protein, N, and P, is associated with higher prevalence of cancer, whereas equivalent intake from vegetables is associated with lower prevalence. Second, no consistent relationship was found for food N:P ratio and cancer prevalence. Third, the consumption of alcoholic beverages correlates with prevalence and mortality by malignant neoplasms. Fourth, in underdeveloped countries, reducing famine has a greater positive impact on health and LE than a healthier diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197240DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7579602PMC
October 2020

Overestimation of the effect of climatic warming on spring phenology due to misrepresentation of chilling.

Nat Commun 2020 10 2;11(1):4945. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China.

Spring warming substantially advances leaf unfolding and flowering time for perennials. Winter warming, however, decreases chilling accumulation (CA), which increases the heat requirement (HR) and acts to delay spring phenology. Whether or not this negative CA-HR relationship is correctly interpreted in ecosystem models remains unknown. Using leaf unfolding and flowering data for 30 perennials in Europe, here we show that more than half (7 of 12) of current chilling models are invalid since they show a positive CA-HR relationship. The possible reason is that they overlook the effect of freezing temperature on dormancy release. Overestimation of the advance in spring phenology by the end of this century by these invalid chilling models could be as large as 7.6 and 20.0 days under RCPs 4.5 and 8.5, respectively. Our results highlight the need for a better representation of chilling for the correct understanding of spring phenological responses to future climate change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18743-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7532433PMC
October 2020

Global Socioeconomic Risk of Precipitation Extremes Under Climate Change.

Earths Future 2020 Sep 30;8(9):e2019EF001331. Epub 2020 Aug 30.

CSIC, Global Ecology CREAF-CSIC-UAB Barcelona Catalonia Spain.

Precipitation extremes are among the most serious consequences of climate change around the world. The observed and projected frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation in some regions will greatly influence the social economy. The frequency of extreme precipitation and the population and economic exposure were quantified for a base period (1986-2005) and future periods (2016-2035 and 2046-2065) based on bias corrected projections of daily precipitation from five global climatic models forced with three representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and projections of population and gross domestic product (GDP) in the shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). The RCP8.5-SSP3 scenario produces the highest global population exposure for 2046-2065, with nearly 30% of the global population (2.97 × 10 persons) exposed to precipitation extremes >10 days/a. The RCP2.6-SSP1 scenario produces the highest global GDP exposure for 2046-2065, with a 5.56-fold increase relative to the base period, of up to (2.29 ± 0.20) × 10 purchasing power parity $-days. Socioeconomic effects are the primary contributor to the exposure changes at the global and continental scales. Population and GDP effects account for 64-77% and 78-91% of the total exposure change, respectively. The inequality of exposure indicates that more attention should be given to Asia and Africa due to their rapid increases in population and GDP. However, due to their dense populations and high GDPs, European countries, that is, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands, should also commit to effective adaptation measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2019EF001331DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7507788PMC
September 2020

Steel slag and biochar amendments decreased CO emissions by altering soil chemical properties and bacterial community structure over two-year in a subtropical paddy field.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Oct 20;740:140403. Epub 2020 Jun 20.

Key Laboratory of Humid Sub-tropical Eco-geographical Process of Ministry of Education, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China. Electronic address:

Waste amendments, such as steel slag and biochar, have been reported as a strategy for improving soil fertility, crop productivity, and carbon (C) sequestration in agricultural lands. However, information regarding the subsequent effects of steel slag and biochar on C cycling and the underlying microbial mechanisms in paddy soils remains limited. Hence, this study aimed to examine the effect of these waste amendments (applied in 2015-2017) on total soil CO emissions, total and active soil organic C (SOC) contents, and microbial communities in the early and late seasons in a subtropical paddy field. The results showed that despite the exogenous C input from these waste amendments (steel slag, biochar and slag + biochar), they significantly (P < 0.05) decreased total CO emissions (e.g., by 41.9-59.6% at the early season), compared to the control soil. These amendments also significantly (P < 0.001) increased soil salinity and pH. The increased soil pH had a negative effect (r = -0.37, P < 0.05) on microbial biomass C (MBC). The biochar and slag + biochar treatments (cf. control) significantly (P < 0.001) increased SOC contents in the both seasons. The amendments altered the soil microbial community structure that associated with soil C cycling: (1) all three amendments increased the relative abundance of Agromyces and Streptomyces, which was associated with higher soil pH (cf. control); and (2) biochar and slag + biochar treatments caused a higher relative abundance of Sphingomonas, which was supported by high SOC contents under those amendments. Overall, this study demonstrated that the steel slag and biochar amendments altered microbial community composition due to changes in key soil properties, such as salinity, pH and SOC contents, with implications for increasing soil C stocks while mitigating CO emissions in the paddy field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140403DOI Listing
October 2020