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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ARID RANGELANDS Title: Cross-site comparisons of state-change dynamics

Authors
item Peters, Debra
item Fraser, William -
item Kratz, Timothy -
item Ohman, Mark -
item Rassweiler, Andrew -
item Holbrook, Sally -
item Schmitt, Russell -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2011
Publication Date: November 20, 2013
Citation: Peters, D.C., Fraser, W.R., Kratz, T.K., Ohman, M.D., Rassweiler, A., Holbrook, S.J., Schmitt, R.J. 2013. Cross-site comparisons of state-change dynamics. In: Peters, D.P.C., Laney, C.M., Lugo, A.E., et al., editors. Long-Term Trends in Ecological Systems: A Basis for Understanding Responses to Global Change. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Technical Bulletin Number 1931. p. 36-41.

Interpretive Summary: This chapter describes six examples of state changes in various ecosystems: vegetation state changes in deserts, penguin dynamics in Antarctica, fish dynamics in Wisconsin lakes, plankton dynamics in the Pacific Ocean, subtidal dynamics off Pacific Coast, and shifts in coastal fish assemblages in the Pacific Ocean. These examples clearly show the impact of global environmental change (warming, invasive species, altered trophic structure) on the abundance and distribution of dominant and subordinate species in aquatic, marine, and terrestrial systems. In many cases, environmental drivers have shifted to the point that current conditions are leading to threshold changes in species abundances within communities and altering species range distributions both regionally and globally. However, this era of rapid environmental change is only beginning to be manifest in species responses. Thus, long-term data will continue to be needed to quantify and predict the non-linear system responses that are likely to occur in the future.

Technical Abstract: Changes in the state of a system, for example from grasslands to shrublands or from dominance by one fish species to another species, with associated changes in other parts of the system, are often irreversible. Most of these state changes bring forth negative impacts on ecosystem, resulting in altered levels of biodiversity, rates of nutrient cycling, changes in air and water quality, and increased losses of soil and nutrients by wind and water erosion. This chapter illustrated six examples of state changes in various types of ecosystems: vegetation state changes in deserts, penguin dynamics in Antarctica, fish dynamics in Wisconsin lakes, plankton dynamics in the Pacific Ocean, subtidal dynamics off Pacific Coast, and shifts in coastal fish assemblages in the Pacific Ocean. These examples clearly show the impact of global environmental change (warming, invasive species, altered trophic structure) on the abundance and distribution of dominant and subordinate species in aquatic, marine, and terrestrial systems. Because this era of rapid environmental change is only beginning to be manifest in species responses, long-term data will continue to be needed to quantify and predict the non-linear system responses that are likely to occur in the future.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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