The co-authors of this paper hereby state their intention to work together to launch the Genomic Observatories Network (GOs Network) for which this document will serve as its Founding Charter. We define a Genomic Observatory as an ecosystem and/or site subject to long-term scientific research, including (but not limited to) the sustained study of genomic biodiversity from single-celled microbes to multicellular organisms.An international group of 64 scientists first published the call for a global network of Genomic Observatories in January 2012. The vision for such a network was expanded in a subsequent paper and developed over a series of meetings in Bremen (Germany), Shenzhen (China), Moorea (French Polynesia), Oxford (UK), Pacific Grove (California, USA), Washington (DC, USA), and London (UK). While this community-building process continues, here we express our mutual intent to establish the GOs Network formally, and to describe our shared vision for its future. The views expressed here are ours alone as individual scientists, and do not necessarily represent those of the institutions with which we are affiliated.
Aquatic insects are a common and important subsidy to terrestrial systems, yet little is known about how these inputs affect terrestrial food webs, especially around lakes. Mývatn, a lake in northern Iceland, has extraordinary midge (Chironomidae) emergences that result in large inputs of biomass and nutrients to terrestrial arthropod communities. We simulated this lake-to-land resource pulse by collecting midges from Mývatn and spreading their dried carcasses on 1-m2 plots at a nearby site that receives very little midge deposition. We hypothesized a positive bottom-up response of detritivores that would be transmitted to their predators and would persist into the following year. We sampled the arthropod community once per month for two consecutive summers. Midge addition resulted in significantly different arthropod communities and increased densities of some taxa in both years. Detritivores, specifically Diptera larvae, Collembola, and Acari increased in midge-addition plots, and so did some predators and parasitoids. Arthropod densities were still elevated a year after midge addition, and two years of midge addition further increased the density of higher-order consumers (e.g., Coleoptera and Hymenoptera). Midge addition increased arthropod biomass by 68% after one year and 108% after two years. By manipulating the nutrient pulse delivered by midges we were able to elucidate food web consequences of midge deposition and spatial and temporal dynamics that are difficult to determine based on comparative approaches alone. Resources cross ecosystem boundaries and are assimilated over time because of life-history strategies that connect aquatic and terrestrial food webs and these systems cannot be fully understood in isolation from each other.
Understanding how communities respond to changes in temperature is a major challenge for community ecology. Temperature influences the relative degree to which top-down and bottom-up forces structure ecological communities. In greenhouse experiments using the aquatic community found in pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea), I tested how temperature affected the relative importance of top-down (mosquito predation) and bottom-up (ant carcasses) forces on protozoa and bacteria populations. While bottom-up effects did not vary consistently with temperature, the top-down effects of predators on protozoa increased at higher temperatures. These results suggest that temperature could change the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up effects in ecological communities. Specifically, higher temperature may increase the strength of top-down effects by raising predator metabolic rate and concomitant processes (e.g., activity, foraging, digestion, growth) relative to cooler temperatures. These findings apply broadly to an understanding of trophic interactions in a variable environment and are especially relevant in the context of ongoing climate change.
The relative importance of resources (bottom-up forces) and natural enemies (top-down forces) for regulating food web dynamics has been debated, and both forces have been found to be critical for determining food web structure. How the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up forces varies between sites with different abiotic conditions is not well understood. Using the pitcher plant inquiline community as a model system, I examine how the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up effects differs between two disparate sites. Resources (ant carcasses) and top predators (mosquito larvae) were manipulated in two identical 4 × 4 factorial press experiments, conducted at two geographically distant sites (Michigan and Florida) within the range of the purple pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea, and the aquatic community that resides in its leaves. Overall, top predators reduced the density of prey populations while additional resources bolstered them, and the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up forces varied between sites and for different trophic levels. Specifically, top-down effects on protozoa were stronger in Florida than in Michigan, while the opposite pattern was found for rotifers. These findings experimentally demonstrate that the strength of predator-prey interactions, even those involving the same species, vary across space. While only two sites are compared in this study, I hypothesize that site differences in temperature, which influences metabolic rate, may be responsible for variation in consumer-resource interactions. These findings warrant further investigation into the specific factors that modify the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up effects.
Cross-ecosystem movement of nutrients and biomass can have important effects on recipient systems. Emerging aquatic insects are subsidies to terrestrial ecosystems and can influence foodweb interactions in riparian systems. In a 2-year field experiment, we simulated aquatic insect deposition by adding adult midge carcasses (150 g dry mass m(-2) year(-1)) to 1-m(2) heathland plots at a site with low natural midge deposition. We established four levels of midge-addition treatments and measured stable isotopes (?(13)C and ?(15)N) in plants and arthropods within each treatment. We used a multiple-source isotope Bayesian mixing model to estimate the terrestrial versus aquatic contribution to the diets of arthropods. Aquatic resources were incorporated into plant, detritivore, and predator biomass. Detritivorous Collembola showed the greatest difference in isotope values (+3 ‰ ?(15)N and +4 ‰ ?(13)C) between midge-addition and reference treatments. Isotope values of small spiders followed the same trend of enrichment as Collembola while other arthropods (mites and large spiders) were only enriched after 2 years of midge addition. Although predator diets did not change, they became isotopically enriched via their likely prey (Collembola). Plants also had elevated ?(15)N (+1 ‰) in midge-addition treatments. The time required and amount of midge-derived C and N detected varied and depended on trophic position. Midge-derived nutrients were no longer present in arthropod biomass in the year following midge addition. Aquatic insect carcasses can be rapidly incorporated into terrestrial food webs in nearshore habitats, and repeated inputs can be detected at multiple trophic levels, thus highlighting the importance of the detrital pathway for aquatic to terrestrial cross-ecosystem subsidies.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.