Urban aquatic ecosystems: a synthesis working group proposal

Background and Rationale

Aquatic ecosystems in urban environments are highly modified by human activity, engineering, and design. These systems are critical in delivering ecosystem services to urban residents, who comprise over 80% of the US population. This synthesis working group builds upon two impromptu meetings of interested persons held at the 2012 ASM[1].

Beyond the Numbers: Supporting an increasingly diverse LTER community

Mention “diversity” to most ecologists, and they start talking about species richness. Indeed, LTER leads the way investigating how biodiversity enhances ecosystem productivity, efficiency, and stability. The LTER Network has an opportunity to likewise take a prominent leadership role fostering a diverse scientific community and supporting the full inclusion and participation of all its members.

Soil Biogeochemistry: Synthesis of Past Data and Development of Protocols for a New Long-Term, Network-Wide Data Stream


We request funds for a working group to synthesize existing data within the LTER network on nitrogen mineralization and nitrification, soil respiration and soil moisture and to develop protocols for a new tightly coordinated, network-wide effort to develop a long-term data stream on these variables. The primary activity would be a workshop to be held at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Linking aquatic and soil organic matter across ecosystems through characterization of optical properties

Background: The range of sites within the LTER network provides an excellent
opportunity to understand aquatic and soil OM (organic matter) dynamics in diverse
ecosystems in order to develop overarching hypotheses about OM dynamics on a larger
scale in the context of the global carbon cycle. Dissolved organic material (DOM) is a major pool of organic carbon in all aquatic ecosystems, has high concentrations in soil interstitial water, and can be transported from soils into aquatic ecosystems.

Identifying Alternative Indicators for the Detection of Abrupt Transitions in Ecosystems: a Consideration of Time Scale and Community Parameters

Background: The potential for abrupt transitions in ecosystem processes may increase as climate change continues to accelerate1,2. While this trend is of great concern, our understanding of how to identify when and why abrupt transitions occur has been informed almost exclusively by theory. In order to enhance the prediction and management of these changes for different ecosystems, Bestelmeyer et al.3 developed a systematic approach for identifying the occurrence of transitions, the leading indicators, and the underlying mechanisms.

Coastal Wetland Ecology and Geomorphology

Goals. I propose a working group on coastal wetland ecology and geomorphology that will meet four times before April 2013 to develop and submit a Macrosystems Biology proposal to NSF. This working group proposal grew out of a working group (Modeling Wetland Processes) organized by S. Pennings and A. Burd at the 2012 LTER ASM, and contributes to the LTER Network Synthesis Theme of Coastal Zone Climate Change: Understanding and Adaptation.

Veg-DB Phase 2: Developing a cross-site system to improve development and access to synthetic vegetation databases

This working group will support the next stage of development for a LTER network-based system called Veg-DB that would provide improved access to vegetation data. LTER sites have become significant reservoirs of long-term data on changes in vegetation populations, structure, composition, and productivity. This information is essential to detect long-term trends, test hypotheses, and to evaluate simulation models; yet is extremely difficult to process on a site by site basis.

Exploring the Seasonal Synchrony of Catchment Nitrogen Dynamics: The Search for a Unifying Theoretical Framework

Contrary to the predictions stemming from the nitrogen saturation hypothesis (Stoddard, 1994), some forested long-term research sites in Eastern North America exhibit peak streamwater nitrate exports during the growing season. Some initial hypotheses about climatic controls (Mullholland and Hill, 1997) have recently been questioned (Goodale et al., 2009). This is a proposal to fund a working group to advance a synthesis on the seasonal patterns of inputs, processing, and output of Nitrogen to watersheds across Eastern North America.

Synthesis of stream ecosystem responses to nutrient enrichment at multiple trophic levels

The goals of this proposed LTER Synthesis Working Group are (1) to initiate and coordinate the integration of data from multiple sites on stream ecosystem responses to nutrient amendment, (2) to synthesize these data with a quantitative evaluation of functional responses at the microbial, primary producer, consumer and whole-stream levels, (3) to produce an NSF Research Coordination Network proposal that will expand data integration and synthesis efforts to members of the broader national and international stream ecology communities and (4) to promote interaction between LTER and the NEON expe

Sensitivity of ecosystem properties to winter climate anomalies

Climate change alters ecosystem and community properties and although inter-annual variation occurs year-round (Dominguez et al. 2012), most research on the response of ecosystems to climate change occurs during the primary growing season (e.g. Knapp et al. 2002) or uses annual averages that homogenize across seasons (e.g. Knapp & Smith 2001, Hsu et al. 2012).