Global Change Biology

Cover image for Vol. 23 Issue 7

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)

Edited by: Steve Long

Impact Factor: 8.502

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2016: 1/53 (Biodiversity Conservation); 5/229 (Environmental Sciences); 6/153 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1365-2486

Associated Title(s): GCB Bioenergy


    1. Restless roosts: Light pollution affects behavior, sleep, and physiology in a free-living songbird

      Jenny Q. Ouyang, Maaike de Jong, Roy H. A. van Grunsven, Kevin D. Matson, Mark F. Haussmann, Peter Meerlo, Marcel E. Visser and Kamiel Spoelstra

      Version of Record online: 9 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13756

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      The nighttime environment is increasingly polluted by artificial light at night. We show that white light at night increases activity at night, making birds more restless. This increase in activity translates into increased sleep debt and decreases in immune function.

    2. Can animal habitat use patterns influence their vulnerability to extreme climate events? An estuarine sportfish case study

      Ross E. Boucek, Michael R. Heithaus, Rolando Santos, Philip Stevens and Jennifer S. Rehage

      Version of Record online: 8 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13761

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      Our study quantifies landscape variation in stressors caused by an extreme climate event, and the habitat use patterns of a highly mobile species to identify a mechanism that could drive population responses to extreme climate events. Using cold spells as our extreme event, and an estuarine sportfish, Snook, as our model mobile species, we found that extreme cold events result in temperatures lethal to Snook in some habitats, but not others. Likewise, we show that Snook distribution patterns when extreme cold disturbances are most likely to occur, vary across years. Thus, spatial heterogeneity in coldness and Snook habitat use creates temporally dynamic vulnerability to ECEs based on mechanisms that influence animal movement.

    3. Does climate variability influence the demography of wild primates? Evidence from long-term life-history data in seven species

      Fernando A. Campos, William F. Morris, Susan C. Alberts, Jeanne Altmann, Diane K. Brockman, Marina Cords, Anne Pusey, Tara S. Stoinski, Karen B. Strier and Linda M. Fedigan

      Version of Record online: 7 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13754

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      We use long-term life-history data for natural populations of seven primate species representing the four major radiations of primates to investigate associations between vital rate variation, local climate variability, and global climate oscillations. We ask whether primates are sensitive to global changes that are universal (e.g., higher temperature, large-scale climate oscillations) or whether they are more sensitive to global change effects that are local (e.g., more rain in some places), which would complicate predictions of how primates in general will respond to climate change. We found strong climate signals in the fertility rates of three species, but most survival rates were little affected by climate variability. These findings indicate demographic buffering of life histories and provide new insights into the implications of climate change for the fates of wild primates.

    4. Increased Arctic sea ice drift alters adult female polar bear movements and energetics

      George M. Durner, David C. Douglas, Shannon E. Albeke, John P. Whiteman, Steven C. Amstrup, Evan Richardson, Ryan R. Wilson and Merav Ben-David

      Version of Record online: 6 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13746

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      To compensate for greater westward and northward sea ice drift between 1987–1998 and 1999–2013, polar bears in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas increased their time active (8.1%–9.6%) or travel speeds (8.5%–8.9%). This increased their annual energy expenditures by 1.8%–3.6%, which could be met by capturing an additional 1–3 seals/year.


    1. Widespread production of nonmicrobial greenhouse gases in soils

      Bin Wang, Manuel Lerdau and Yongli He

      Version of Record online: 6 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13753

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      It is a widespread phenomenon for soils (plant residues) to produce GHGs through nonmicrobial pathways (NM-GHGs). Five categories of mechanistic process (photodegradation, thermal degradation, reactive oxidative species oxidation, extracellular oxidative metabolism, and inorganic chemical reactions) are currently identified. Preliminary estimates have suggested that these pathways could play key roles in regulating the regional budget of GHGs. Their global importance would be enhanced with accelerated global environmental changes.


    1. Continental impacts of water development on waterbirds, contrasting two Australian river basins: Global implications for sustainable water use

      Richard T. Kingsford, Gilad Bino and John L. Porter

      Version of Record online: 4 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13743

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      Long-term declining trends in waterbird numbers, at the total numbers, different species and functional response groups, were detected in the Murray–Darling Basin, with its rivers developed by dams. In comparison, there were few trends in the similarly sized but undeveloped Lake Eyre Basin. These two river basins cover near one-third of the Australian continent. These trends in waterbird numbers were consistent at the scale of the entire basin, the two main rivers in each basin and for ten of the most important wetlands in each river basin. These results were from surveys over more than three decades and indicate the long-term impacts of water resource developments on ecosystems, critical for rehabilitation and development of rivers around the world.

    2. Faster turnover of new soil carbon inputs under increased atmospheric CO2

      Kees Jan van Groenigen, Craig W. Osenberg, César Terrer, Yolima Carrillo, Feike A. Dijkstra, James Heath, Ming Nie, Elise Pendall, Richard P. Phillips and Bruce A. Hungate

      Version of Record online: 2 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13752

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      We present a meta-analysis on the effect of rising CO2 on new and old soil carbon stocks, synthesizing data from CO2 enrichment studies in which isotopic labeling allowed to distinguish between these two carbon pools. We found that in longer-term experiments (1-4 years), elevated CO2 does not increase the amount of new soil C, even though plant growth data indicate that soil C input is higher than under ambient conditions. Together, these findings suggest that new C decomposes faster under elevated CO2.

    3. Species’ traits as predictors of range shifts under contemporary climate change: A review and meta-analysis

      Sarah A. MacLean and Steven R. Beissinger

      Version of Record online: 2 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13736

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      We performed the first comprehensive review of species’ traits as predictors of contemporary range shifts and present a formal meta-analysis of the five most studied traits. While two traits (habitat breadth and historic range limit) were moderately successful in predicting range shifts, other traits either contradicted predictions or had no significant relationship with range shifts.

    4. Disentangling species and functional group richness effects on soil N cycling in a grassland ecosystem

      Xiaorong Wei, Peter B. Reich, Sarah E. Hobbie and Clare E. Kazanski

      Version of Record online: 2 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13757

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      Increasing SR or FGR (holding the other constant) enhanced total plant N pools and decreased soil nitrate pools, and increasing FGR strongly reduced mineralization rates. In contrast, increasing SR (holding FGR constant and despite increasing total plant C and N pools) did not alter root N concentrations or net N mineralization rates. Elevated CO2 had minimal effects on plant and soil N metrics and their responses to plant diversity, whereas enriched N increased plant and soil N pools, but not soil N fluxes. These results show that functional diversity had additional effects on both plant N pools and rates of soil N cycling that were independent of those of species richness.

    5. Ecological regime shift drives declining growth rates of sea turtles throughout the West Atlantic

      Karen A. Bjorndal, Alan B. Bolten, Milani Chaloupka, Vincent S. Saba, Cláudio Bellini, Maria A. G. Marcovaldi, Armando J. B. Santos, Luis Felipe Wurdig Bortolon, Anne B. Meylan, Peter A. Meylan, Jennifer Gray, Robert Hardy, Beth Brost, Michael Bresette, Jonathan C. Gorham, Stephen Connett, Barbara Van Sciver Crouchley, Mike Dawson, Deborah Hayes, Carlos E. Diez, Robert P. van Dam, Sue Willis, Mabel Nava, Kristen M. Hart, Michael S. Cherkiss, Andrew G. Crowder, Clayton Pollock, Zandy Hillis-Starr, Fernando A. Muñoz Tenería, Roberto Herrera-Pavón, Vanessa Labrada-Martagón, Armando Lorences, Ana Negrete-Philippe, Margaret M. Lamont, Allen M. Foley, Rhonda Bailey, Raymond R. Carthy, Russell Scarpino, Erin McMichael, Jane A. Provancha, Annabelle Brooks, Adriana Jardim, Milagros López-Mendilaharsu, Daniel González-Paredes, Andrés Estrades, Alejandro Fallabrino, Gustavo Martínez-Souza, Gabriela M. Vélez-Rubio, Ralf H. Boulon Jr, Jaime A. Collazo, Robert Wershoven, Vicente Guzmán Hernández, Thomas B. Stringell, Amdeep Sanghera, Peter B. Richardson, Annette C. Broderick, Quinton Phillips, Marta Calosso, John A. B. Claydon, Tasha L. Metz, Amanda L. Gordon, Andre M. Landry Jr, Donna J. Shaver, Janice Blumenthal, Lucy Collyer, Brendan J. Godley, Andrew McGowan, Matthew J. Witt, Cathi L. Campbell, Cynthia J. Lagueux, Thomas L. Bethel and Lory Kenyon

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13712

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      Somatic growth is an integrated, individual-based response to environmental conditions, especially in ectotherms. The authors compiled extensive growth data for green sea turtles throughout the West Atlantic from 30 sites from Bermuda to Uruguay from 1973 to 2015. Growth rates declined significantly from 1999 to the present. Synchronous declines in growth rates among three sea turtle species across a trophic spectrum provide strong evidence that the ecological regime shift (ERS) that occurred in the late 1990s in the Atlantic is driving growth dynamics. The ERS combined with an unprecedented warming rate over the last two to three decades and cumulative impacts of ongoing anthropogenic degradation of foraging habitats in the region slowed growth in these mega-consumers. The summary conclusion that productivity of sea turtles is lower at warmer temperatures is not good news in an age of warming seas.

    6. Phenological responses of Icelandic subarctic grasslands to short-term and long-term natural soil warming

      Niki I. W. Leblans, Bjarni D. Sigurdsson, Sara Vicca, Yongshuo Fu, Josep Penuelas and Ivan A. Janssens

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13749

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      The length of the growing season (LOS) is highly sensitive to climate change, and could in its turn induce powerful feedback mechanisms to the climate system. There are indications, however, that the temperature sensitivity of LOS has recently been declining. We found that Icelandic subarctic grasslands can still extend their growing season for more than one month under warming. This persistence of warming-induced LOS extension has important implications for the C-sink potential of subarctic grasslands under climate change.

    7. Global evaluation of a semiempirical model for yield anomalies and application to within-season yield forecasting

      Bernhard Schauberger, Christoph Gornott and Frank Wechsung

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13738

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      We applied a semiempirical model to quantify weather impacts on yields globally and to forecast yields within the growing season. Our model robustly explains weather-related yield variability and is able to forecast yields up to two months before harvest in several countries. Our study also underlines high-quality yield monitoring and statistics as critical prerequisites to guide adaptation under climate change.


    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Land use for animal production in global change studies: Defining and characterizing a framework

      Leanne N. Phelps and Jed O. Kaplan

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13732

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      Animal production is the single most extensive form of land use globally, and influences the earth system in a variety of ways, including local-scale modification to biodiversity, soils, and nutrient cycling; regional changes in albedo and hydrology; and global changes in greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations. Despite its importance, distinctions among different systems of animal production are effectively absent from studies of land use and cover change, and the most popular global land cover inventories present only a single, usually poorly defined category of “pasture” or “rangeland” with no characterization of land use. Given the marked lack of bottom-up, evidence-based methodology, we present a cross-disciplinary framework, rooted in socioeconomic and ecological contexts, that defines and characterizes the land usage pertaining to animal production, and is suitable for application in land use inventories and scenarios, land cover modeling, and studies on sustainable land use in the past, present, and future.


    1. Climate-driven geographic distribution of the desert locust during recession periods: Subspecies’ niche differentiation and relative risks under scenarios of climate change

      Christine N. Meynard, Pierre-Emmanuel Gay, Michel Lecoq, Antoine Foucart, Cyril Piou and Marie-Pierre Chapuis

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13739

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      Here, we study the climatic niche and recession range of the two subspecies of desert locust, a widespread agricultural pest that is widely known for its impressive large outbreaks in northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, but that is also present in southern Africa. We found that, although the two subspecies occupy different climates during recession periods, their environmental niches have been conserved. However, because of the differences in climate change projections between the two regions it occupies, the northern clade is likely to contract its recession range, at least at a global scale, while the southern clade is likely to expand its recession range in the face of climate change. In conclusion, monitoring and management practices should remain in place in northern Africa, and in Southern Africa, the potential for the subspecies to pose a threat in the future should be investigated more closely.

    2. Exploring uncertainty of Amazon dieback in a perturbed parameter Earth system ensemble

      Chris A. Boulton, Ben B. B. Booth and Peter Good

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13733

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      We explore the effect of uncertainties in climate and land surface processes on the future of the Amazon forest, using a perturbed physics ensemble. We measure the change in the forest coverage by 2100 and predict the long-term response of the forest, should the climate remain constant past 2100. We find that there is an increasing uncertainty in future forest coverage under stronger emissions and that reducing uncertainty in both climate and forest resiliency is important.

    3. Higher yields and lower methane emissions with new rice cultivars

      Yu Jiang, Kees Jan van Groenigen, Shan Huang, Bruce A. Hungate, Chris van Kessel, Shuijin Hu, Jun Zhang, Lianhai Wu, Xiaojun Yan, Lili Wang, Jin Chen, Xiaoning Hang, Yi Zhang, William R. Horwath, Rongzhong Ye, Bruce A. Linquist, Zhenwei Song, Chengyan Zheng, Aixing Deng and Weijian Zhang

      Version of Record online: 1 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13737

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      We present evidence from three independent but complementary experiments that high-yielding cultivars actually reduce CH4 emissions from typical rice paddies. Our results suggest that the larger and more porous root systems of high-yielding cultivars facilitate CH4 oxidation by promoting O2 transport to soils. Meta-analysis indicates that a 10% increase in biomass reduces CH4 emissions from Chinese rice agriculture by 7.1%, confirming that the use of high-yielding cultivars can substantially mitigate anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

    4. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Pan-Arctic sea ice-algal chl a biomass and suitable habitat are largely underestimated for multiyear ice

      Benjamin A. Lange, Hauke Flores, Christine Michel, Justin F. Beckers, Anne Bublitz, John Alec Casey, Giulia Castellani, Ido Hatam, Anke Reppchen, Svenja A. Rudolph and Christian Haas

      Version of Record online: 31 MAY 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13742

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      We sampled sea ice from the so-called Last Ice Area, an under-represented region home to the last remaining really thick, old Arctic sea ice. We measured ice algae biomass values among the highest ever reported for old Arctic sea ice. This was attributed to the typically low-snow cover of hummocks resulting from wind-induced snow redistribution, which allowed for continuously suitable light conditions for algal growth despite ice thicknesses over 4 m. Hummocks were identified as common suitable MYI habitat features with an average coverage of 33%. Accounting for the spatial variability of hummocks within a pan-Arctic habitat classification resulted in nearly 30 times more suitable habitat. This is likely a conservative estimate because we did not consider the potential of horizontal light scattering around hummocks, which would further increase the coverage of suitable habitat. Our findings indicate that losing “the Last Ice Area” will have profound ecological consequences far exceeding our current projections.

    5. Conventional tillage decreases the abundance and biomass of earthworms and alters their community structure in a global meta-analysis

      María Jesús I. Briones and Olaf Schmidt

      Version of Record online: 31 MAY 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13744

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      For the first time, we provide quantitative evidence showing that no-tillage and conservation agriculture significantly increase earthworm abundance and biomass. We also identified several explanatory variables (climatic and edaphic properties, agronomic practices including organic matter and herbicide applications) that modulated these responses. Additional meta-analyses confirmed that reduced tillage resulted in population increases in epigeic and anecic earthworms which will be critical to ensure soil ecosystem functions.

    6. Short-term acclimation to warmer temperatures accelerates leaf carbon exchange processes across plant types

      Nicholas G. Smith and Jeffrey S. Dukes

      Version of Record online: 31 MAY 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13735

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      We examined temperature acclimation of photosynthetic and leaf respiratory processes across 22 plant species from a variety of plant functional types. Acclimation to warmer temperatures was manifested in an increase in photosynthetic and respiratory processes. The photosynthetic allocation patterns tended to favor processes that limited photosynthesis, which differed by plant type.

    7. Optimal climate for large trees at high elevations drives patterns of biomass in remote forests of Papua New Guinea

      Michelle Venter, John Dwyer, Wouter Dieleman, Anurag Ramachandra, David Gillieson, Susan Laurance, Lucas A. Cernusak, Bruce Beehler, Rigel Jensen and Michael I. Bird

      Version of Record online: 31 MAY 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13741

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      Montane cloud forests are often thought to be squat and gnarly with little carbon benefit, a misconception we show in this study. Optimal climate conditionsfor large trees drive forest biomass patterns along a 3000m elevation gradient in Papua New Guinea. These optimal climate niches, similar to those also found in the temperate coastal climates that are home to the largest trees in the world, are also found at high elevations in remote tropical forests of Papua New Guinea.