OOS 20 - Quantifying Responses of Functional Community Assemblages to Disturbance: A Predictive Tool in a Changing World

Wednesday, August 10, 2016: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Grand Floridian Blrm H, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Wendy Leuenberger, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Ross E. Boucek, Florida International University; and Ashley L. Asmus, University of Texas Arlington
Ross E. Boucek, Florida International University
Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function is a critical challenge in ecology, particularly where humans have altered the disturbance regime via changes to climate, nutrient cycling and land use. Ecologists could inform proactive conservation practices by forecasting the consequences of disturbances; however, developing generalized predictions at the community level has shown to be quite difficult. One promising avenue is an analysis of functional traits: decomposing taxonomic communities into ecologically meaningful characteristics (Webb et al. 2010, Mouillot et al 2013). A handful of studies have shown that, relative to analyses of taxonomic community structure, functional trait-based analysis can provide more robust, universal predictions of ecosystem function following a disturbance. For instance, extreme weather events predictably restructure pelagic plankton communities according to motility (├ľzkundakci et al. 2015) and tropical fish communities according to temperature and salinity tolerance (Boucek et al. 2014). Despite the hypothesized benefit of using trait-based approaches to explain and predict community changes from disturbance, few studies adopt this approach relative to more traditional taxonomic community analyses. System-specific caveats can pose significant hurdles; for example, problems of scale in terrestrial ecology (Ames et al. 2014) or dynamic genetic processes in microbial ecology (Boon et al. 2014). In this session, we use case studies from diverse systems to answer: (1) are there universal functional trait responses to disturbance? (2) when does a functional trait response framework fail to predict ecosystem responses to disturbance? In this session, we provide case studies describing the functional response of communities following disturbance in a variety of communities and biomes. Many studies in this session leverage site-based Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) data for historical context for the disturbance regime and community response in question.
8:20 AM
 Will pulses of elevated salinity lead to a salt-tolerant plant community?
Fan Li, University of Houston; Steven C. Pennings, University of Houston
8:40 AM
 Responses of functional community assemblages to experimental ice storms in a northeastern forest
Wendy Leuenberger, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Kimberly F. Wallin, University of Vermont; Dylan Parry, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
9:00 AM
 Climate extremes drive changes in functional community structure
Jennifer S. Rehage, Florida International University; Ross E. Boucek, Florida International University
9:40 AM
9:50 AM
 Functional trait responses of urban plants to different soils
Dorothy Borowy, University of Maryland Baltimore County
10:10 AM
 Ephemeral metacommunity reassembly: How do functional traits influence assembly?
Jesse R. Blanchard, Florida International University; Jennifer S. Rehage, Florida International University; Alec B. Loases, Florida International University
10:30 AM
 Plant community functional trait shifts and convergence/divergence under global change scenarios
Kaitlin Kimmel, University of Minnesota; Mark A. Anthony, University of New Hampshire; Forest Isbell, University of Minnesota; Peter B. Reich, University of Minnesota; David Tilman, University of Minnesota; Kimberly J. La Pierre, UC Berkeley; Meghan L. Avolio, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center; Corre Data Consortium, Multiple Institutions
10:50 AM
 Successional patterns in beach sand microbial communities during and after the Macondo oil spill: Testing the specialization-disturbance hypothesis
Luis M. Rodriguez-R, Georgia Institute of Technology; Will A. Overholt, Georgia Institute of Technology; Markus Huettel, Florida State University; Joel E. Kostka, Georgia Institute of Technology; Konstantinos T. Konstantinidis, Georgia Institute of Technology