I have written the lay summary of our research about the effects of nitrogen deposition on reproduction in red oak (as a model species that mast). You can read what I wrote here. 🙂
I just would like to add that similar direct effects of global changes (not only increasing nitrogen deposition, but also others like e.g. rising CO2 concentrations) are happening all over the word. For example, increased seed production by masting trees is predicted by a lot of different models (e.g. Pearse et al. 2014, Koenig et al. 2015, Monks et al. 2016, but see Kelly et al. 2013), and recorded for a bunch of species that we have long-term datasets for (see graphs below). Our research shows that this positive direct effect can be offset by (not so easy to observe) indirect effects. However, this indirect effects do not have to work in the same direction in all species, and this might change the way forests will look like in the near future.
Graph below shows the trend of seed production for Picea engelmannii in US (Buechling et al. 2016, J Ecol).
This one shows similar stuff for Nothofagus in New Zealand, Y axis are years (from 1970s to 2000) (Richardson et al. 2005).
- Richardson, S. J., Allen, R. B., Whitehead, D., Carswell, F. E., Ruscoe, W. A., & Platt, K. H. (2005). Climate and net carbon availability determine temporal patterns of seed production by Nothofagus. Ecology, 86(4), 972-981.
- Kelly, D., Geldenhuis, A., James, A., Penelope Holland, E., Plank, M. J., Brockie, R. E., … & Mark, A. F. (2013). Of mast and mean: differential‐temperature cue makes mast seeding insensitive to climate change. Ecology Letters, 16(1), 90-98.
- Pearse, I. S., Koenig, W. D., & Knops, J. M. (2014). Cues versus proximate drivers: testing the mechanism behind masting behavior. Oikos, 123(2), 179-184.
- Koenig, W. D., Knops, J. M., Carmen, W. J., & Pearse, I. S. (2015). What drives masting? The phenological synchrony hypothesis. Ecology, 96(1), 184-192.
- Monks, A., Monks, J. M., & Tanentzap, A. J. (2016). Resource limitation underlying multiple masting models makes mast seeding sensitive to future climate change. New Phytologist.
- Buechling, A., Martin, P. H., Canham, C. D., Shepperd, W. D., & Battaglia, M. A. (2016). Climate drivers of seed production in Picea engelmannii and response to warming temperatures in the southern Rocky Mountains.Journal of Ecology.