Profiles

Stefano Manzoni

Stefano Manzoni

Universitetslektor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Physical Geography
Telephone 08-674 78 02
Email stefano.manzoni@natgeo.su.se
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 8
Room T326
Postal address Inst för naturgeografi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a senior lecturer in Ecohydrology, with research interests spanning soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions, hydro-climatic impacts on carbon and nutrient cycling, sustainable resource use and management, and ecological stoichiometry. My approach is based on process-based, conceptual, and stochastic models of water, carbon, and nutrient fluxes, which are tested using global datasets.

Our team

Teaching

Courses in the MSc Program in Hydrology, Hydrogeology and Water Resources:

  • Local to global water vulnerability and resilience (GE7025)
  • Ecohydrology – a Mediterranean perspective (GE7049)
  • Information and Modelling Systems for Land and Water Methods (GE7006, co-instructor)

Research

Ongoing projects

Awards (most recent)

2018 Highly Cited Researcher (category: cross-field), Clarivate Analytics

2017 Junior Marchi Lecturer, Gruppo Italiano di Idraulica

2014 Early Career Hydrologic Sciences Award, American Geophysical Union

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. P. T. Capek (et al.). Nature Ecology & Evolution 2 (10), 1588-1596

    In most terrestrial ecosystems, plant growth is limited by nitrogen and phosphorus. Adding either nutrient to soil usually affects primary production, but their effects can be positive or negative. Here we provide a general stoichiometric framework for interpreting these contrasting effects. First, we identify nitrogen and phosphorus limitations on plants and soil microorganisms using their respective nitrogen to phosphorus critical ratios. Second, we use these ratios to show how soil microorganisms mediate the response of primary production to limiting and non-limiting nutrient addition along a wide gradient of soil nutrient availability. Using a meta-analysis of 51 factorial nitrogen-phosphorus fertilization experiments conducted across multiple ecosystems, we demonstrate that the response of primary production to nitrogen and phosphorus additions is accurately predicted by our stoichiometric framework. The only pattern that could not be predicted by our original framework suggests that nitrogen has not only a structural function in growing organisms, but also a key role in promoting plant and microbial nutrient acquisition. We conclude that this stoichiometric framework offers the most parsimonious way to interpret contrasting and, until now, unresolved responses of primary production to nutrient addition in terrestrial ecosystems.

  • 2018. Quan Zhang (et al.). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 259, 184-195

    In nearly all large-scale terrestrial ecosystem models, soil respiration is represented as a function of soil temperature. However, the relationship between soil respiration and soil temperature is highly variable across sites and there is often a pronounced hysteresis in the soil respiration-temperature relationship over the course of the growing season. This phenomenon indicates the importance of biophysical factors beyond just temperature in controlling soil respiration. To identify the potential mechanisms of the seasonal soil respiration-temperature hysteresis, we developed a set of numerical models to demonstrate how photosynthesis, soil moisture, and soil temperature, alone and in combination, affect the hysteresis relationship. Then, we used a variant of the model informed by observations of soil respiration, soil temperature, photosynthesis, and soil moisture from multiple mesic and semi-arid ecosystems to quantify the frequency of hysteresis and identify its potential controls. We show that the hysteresis can result from the seasonal cycle of photosynthesis (which supplies carbon to rhizosphere respiration), and soil moisture (which limits heterotrophic respiration when too low or too high). Using field observations of soil respiration, we found evidence of seasonal hysteresis in 9 out of 15 site-years across 8 diverse biomes. Specifically, clockwise hysteresis occurred when photosynthesis preceded seasonal soil temperature and counterclockwise hysteresis occurred when photosynthesis lagged soil temperature. We found that across all sites, much of the respiration-temperature lag was explained by the decoupling of photosynthesis and temperature, highlighting the importance of recently assimilated carbon to soil respiration. An analysis of observations from 129 FLUXNET sites revealed that time lags between gross primary productivity (a proxy for canopy photosynthesis) and soil temperature were common phenomena, which would tend to drive counterclockwise hysteresis at low-latitude sites and clockwise hysteresis at high-latitude sites. Collectively, our results show that incorporating photosynthesis and soil moisture in the standard exponential soil respiration-temperature model (i.e., Q(10) model) improves the explanatory power of models at local scales.

  • 2018. Loic D'Orangeville (et al.). Global Change Biology 24 (6), 2339-2351

    Projected changes in temperature and drought regime are likely to reduce carbon (C) storage in forests, thereby amplifying rates of climate change. While such reductions are often presumed to be greatest in semi-arid forests that experience widespread tree mortality, the consequences of drought may also be important in temperate mesic forests of Eastern North America (ENA) if tree growth is significantly curtailed by drought. Investigations of the environmental conditions that determine drought sensitivity are critically needed to accurately predict ecosystem feedbacks to climate change. We matched site factors with the growth responses to drought of 10,753 trees across mesic forests of ENA, representing 24 species and 346 stands, to determine the broad-scale drivers of drought sensitivity for the dominant trees in ENA. Here we show that two factors-the timing of drought, and the atmospheric demand for water (i.e., local potential evapotranspiration; PET)-are stronger drivers of drought sensitivity than soil and stand characteristics. Droughtinduced reductions in tree growth were greatest when the droughts occurred during early-season peaks in radial growth, especially for trees growing in the warmest, driest regions (i.e., highest PET). Further, mean species trait values (rooting depth and psi(50)) were poor predictors of drought sensitivity, as intraspecific variation in sensitivity was equal to or greater than interspecific variation in 17 of 24 species. From a general circulation model ensemble, we find that future increases in earlyseason PET may exacerbate these effects, and potentially offset gains in C uptake and storage in ENA owing to other global change factors.

  • 2018. Albert C. Brangari (et al.). Advances in Water Resources 116, 178-194

    A better understanding of microbial dynamics in porous media may lead to improvements in the design and management of a number of technological applications, ranging from the degradation of contaminants to the optimization of agricultural systems. To this aim, there is a recognized need for predicting the proliferation of soil microbial biomass (often organized in biofilms) under different environments and stresses. We present a general multi-compartment model to account for physiological responses that have been extensively reported in the literature. The model is used as an explorative tool to elucidate the ecological and soil hydraulic consequences of microbial responses, including the production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), the induction of cells into dormancy, and the allocation and reuse of resources between biofilm compartments. The mechanistic model is equipped with indicators allowing the microorganisms to monitor environmental and biological factors and react according to the current stress pressures. The feedbacks of biofilm accumulation on the soil water retention are also described. Model runs simulating different degrees of substrate and water shortage show that adaptive responses to the intensity and type of stress provide a clear benefit to microbial colonies. Results also demonstrate that the model may effectively predict qualitative patterns in microbial dynamics supported by empirical evidence, thereby improving our understanding of the effects of pore-scale physiological mechanisms on the soil macroscale phenomena.

  • 2018. Fernando Jaramillo (et al.). Wetlands (Wilmington, N.C.) 38 (4), 755-767

    The Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta (CGSM), Colombia is possibly the wetland that has experienced the largest mangrove mortality on record due to modification of hydrologic connectivity and consequent hypersaline conditions. We used hydroclimatic, salinity and mangrove basal area data collected in five stations from 1993 to 2015 to study the relation between ongoing mangrove recovery, changes in salinity in the wetland and hydroclimatic changes in precipitation, potential evapotranspiration and freshwater inputs. We found that until 2015, the mangrove ecosystems in CGSM are in general terms in a path of recovery due to the combined effect of favorable hydroclimatic conditions and management operations to increase freshwater inputs into the wetland. We observed in three stations that the annual growth of mangrove basal area increased as pore water salinity decreased. Regarding surface water salinity, El Nino/Southern Oscillation explained most of the inter-annual variability in the wet season by regulating freshwater and in the dry season by regulating potential evaporation from the wetland. However, persistent channel reopening appeared to be the cause for the largest salinity decreases, whereas lack of persistent dredging slowed recovery in other areas. The monitoring of the mangrove-salinity-hydroclimate system must continue in order to increase its understanding and to avoid more recurring episodes of mangrove mortality.

  • 2018. P. M. Homyak (et al.). Ecology 99 (10), 2348-2362

    Soil moisture controls microbial activity and soil carbon cycling. Because microbial activity decreases as soils dry, decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) is thought to decrease with increasing drought length. Yet, microbial biomass and a pool of water‐extractable organic carbon (WEOC) can increase as soils dry, perhaps implying microbes may continue to break down SOM even if drought stressed. Here, we test the hypothesis that WEOC increases as soils dry because exoenzymes continue to break down litter, while their products accumulate because they cannot diffuse to microbes. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated field plots by cutting off litter inputs and by irrigating and excluding precipitation inputs to extend or shorten the length of the dry season. We expected that the longer the soils would remain dry, the more WEOC would accumulate in the presence of litter, whereas shortening the length of the dry season, or cutting off litter inputs, would reduce WEOC accumulation. Lastly, we incubated grass roots in the laboratory and measured the concentration of reducing sugars and potential hydrolytic enzyme activities, strictly to understand the mechanisms whereby exoenzymes break down litter over the dry season. As expected, extending dry season length increased WEOC concentrations by 30% above the 108 μg C/g measured in untreated plots, whereas keeping soils moist prevented WEOC from accumulating. Contrary to our hypothesis, excluding plant litter inputs actually increased WEOC concentrations by 40% above the 105 μg C/g measured in plots with plants. Reducing sugars did not accumulate in dry senesced roots in our laboratory incubation. Potential rates of reducing sugar production by hydrolytic enzymes ranged from 0.7 to 10 μmol·g−1·h−1 and far exceeded the rates of reducing sugar accumulation (~0.001 μmol·g−1·h−1). Our observations do not support the hypothesis that exoenzymes continue to break down litter to produce WEOC in dry soils. Instead, we develop the argument that physical processes are more likely to govern short‐term WEOC dynamics via slaking of microaggregates that stabilize SOM and through WEOC redistribution when soils wet up, as well as through less understood effects of drought on the soil mineral matrix.

  • 2018. Corina Buendía (et al.). Biogeosciences 15 (1), 279-295

    Phosphorus (P) availability decreases with soil age and potentially limits the productivity of ecosystems growing on old and weathered soils. Despite growing on ancient soils, ecosystems of lowland Amazonia are highly productive and are among the most biodiverse on Earth. P eroded and weathered in the Andes is transported by the rivers and deposited in floodplains of the lowland Amazon basin creating hotspots of P fertility. We hypothesize that animals feeding on vegetation and detritus in these hotspots may redistribute P to P-depleted areas, thus contributing to dissipate the P gradient across the landscape. Using a mathematical model, we show that animal-driven spatial redistribution of P from rivers to land and from seasonally flooded to terra firme (upland) ecosystems may sustain the P cycle of Amazonian lowlands. Our results show how P imported to land by terrestrial piscivores in combination with spatial redistribution of herbivores and detritivores can significantly enhance the P content in terra firme ecosystems, thereby highlighting the importance of food webs for the biogeochemical cycling of Amazonia.

  • 2018. Friderike Beyer (et al.). Trees 32 (6), 1737-1750

    The relationship between leaf δ13C and plant size (represented by e.g. total leaf area) has been used to analyze different water use patterns of plants. However, the total leaf area (TLA) is difficult to assess in trees. Our aims were to (i) identify a feasible predictor for TLA; (ii) estimate the effects of TLA on leaf-level δ13C and δ18O values; and (iii) evaluate whether the relationship between leaf-level δ13C and a TLA proxy can be used to discriminate between different water use patterns. Various leaf and shoot traits of up to 236 Salix genotypes field-grown in Sweden and Italy were assessed and analyzed. Accumulated shoot diameter and sapwood area (SA) calculated from it were the best predictors for TLA. The SA was significantly correlated with foliar δ13C, but not δ18O values in some genotypes. The effects of SA on foliar δ13C values varied significantly among genotypes, and the foliar δ13C–SA relationship could be used to discriminate between different water use patterns across 236 Salix genotypes. Our results demonstrate a great variability of water use patterns across taxonomically closely related plants, and may also have implications for Salix pre-breeding and selection for different drought conditions.

  • 2018. Stefano Manzoni (et al.). Biogeosciences 15 (19), 5929-5949

    The cycling of carbon (C) between the Earth surface and the atmosphere is controlled by biological and abiotic processes that regulate C storage in biogeochemical compartments and release to the atmosphere. This partitioning is quantified using various forms of C-use efficiency (CUE) - the ratio of C remaining in a system to C entering that system. Biological CUE is the fraction of C taken up allocated to biosynthesis. In soils and sediments, C storage depends also on abiotic processes, so the term C-storage efficiency (CSE) can be used. Here we first review and reconcile CUE and CSE definitions proposed for autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms and communities, food webs, whole ecosystems and watersheds, and soils and sediments using a common mathematical framework. Second, we identify general CUE patterns; for example, the actual CUE increases with improving growth conditions, and apparent CUE decreases with increasing turnover. We then synthesize > 5000CUE estimates showing that CUE decreases with increasing biological and ecological organization - from uni-cellular to multicellular organisms and from individuals to ecosystems. We conclude that CUE is an emergent property of coupled biological-abiotic systems, and it should be regarded as a flexible and scale-dependent index of the capacity of a given system to effectively retain C.

  • 2018. Xue Feng (et al.). Ecology Letters 21 (11), 1723-1736

    Many recent studies on drought‐induced vegetation mortality have explored how plant functional traits, and classifications of such traits along axes of, for example, isohydry–anisohydry, might contribute to predicting drought survival and recovery. As these studies proliferate, the consistency and predictive value of such classifications need to be carefully examined. Here, we outline the basis for a systematic classification of plant drought responses that accounts for both environmental conditions and functional traits. We use non‐dimensional analysis to integrate plant traits and metrics of environmental variation into groups that can be associated with alternative drought stress pathways (hydraulic failure and carbon limitation), and demonstrate that these groupings predict physiological drought outcomes using both synthetic and measured data. In doing so, we aim to untangle some confounding effects of environment and trait variations that undermine current classification schemes, advocate for more careful treatment of the environmental context within which plants experience and respond to drought, and outline a pathway towards a general classification of drought vulnerability.

  • 2018. Valentin Couvreur (et al.). Plant, Cell and Environment 41 (8), 1821-1839

    Trees grow by vertically extending their stems, so accurate stem hydraulic models are fundamental to understanding the hydraulic challenges faced by tall trees. Using a literature survey, we showed that many tree species exhibit continuous vertical variation in hydraulic traits. To examine the effects of this variation on hydraulic function, we developed a spatially explicit, analytical water transport model for stems. Our model allows Huber ratio, stem-saturated conductivity, pressure at 50% loss of conductivity, leaf area, and transpiration rate to vary continuously along the hydraulic path. Predictions from our model differ from a matric flux potential model parameterized with uniform traits. Analyses show that cavitation is a whole-stem emergent property resulting from non-linear pressure-conductivity feedbacks that, with gravity, cause impaired water transport to accumulate along the path. Because of the compounding effects of vertical trait variation on hydraulic function, growing proportionally more sapwood and building tapered xylem with height, as well as reducing xylem vulnerability only at branch tips while maintaining transport capacity at the stem base, can compensate for these effects. We therefore conclude that the adaptive significance of vertical variation in stem hydraulic traits is to allow trees to grow tall and tolerate operating near their hydraulic limits.

  • 2017. Stefano Manzoni. Frontiers in Microbiology 8

    Mathematical models involving explicit representations of microbial processes have been developed to infer microbial community properties from laboratory and field measurements. While this approach has been used to estimate the kinetic constants related to microbial activity, it has not been fully exploited for inference of stoichiometric traits, such as carbon-use efficiency (CUE). Here, a hierarchy of analytically-solvable mass-balance models of litter carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics is developed, to infer decomposer CUE from measured C and N contents during litter decomposition. The models are solved in the phase space-expressing litter remaining N as a function of remaining C-rather than in time, thus focusing on the stoichiometric relations during decomposition rather than the kinetics of degradation. This approach leads to explicit formulas that depend on CUE and other microbial properties, which can then be treated as model parameters and retrieved via nonlinear regression. CUE is either assumed time-invariant or as a function of the fraction of remaining litter C as a substitute for time. In all models, CUE tends to increase with increasing litter N availability across a range of litter types. When temporal trends in CUE are considered, CUE increases during decomposition of N-poor litter cohorts, in which decomposers are initially N-limited, but decreases in N-rich litter possibly due to C-limitation. These patterns of flexible CUE that partly compensate stoichiometric imbalances are robust to moderate shifts in decomposer C: N ratio and hold across wide climatic gradients.

  • 2017. Giulia Vico (et al.). Environmental Research Letters 12 (6)

    Drought-deciduous and evergreen species are both common in tropical forests, where there is the need to cope with water shortages during periodic dry spells and over the course of the dry season. Which phenological strategy is favored depends on the long-term balance of carbon costs and gains that leaf phenology imposes as a result of the alternation of wet and dry seasons and the unpredictability of rainfall events. This study integrates a stochastic eco-hydrological framework with key plant economy traits to derive the long-term average annual net carbon gain of trees exhibiting different phenological strategies in tropical forests. The average net carbon gain is used as a measure of fitness to assess which phenological strategies are more productive and more evolutionarily stable (i.e. not prone to invasion by species with a different strategy). The evergreen strategy results in a higher net carbon gain and more evolutionarily stable communities with increasing wet season lengths. Reductions in the length of the wet season or the total rainfall, as predicted under climate change scenarios, should promote a shift towards more drought-deciduous communities, with ensuing implications for ecosystem functioning.

  • 2017. Preetisri Baskaran (et al.). New Phytologist 213 (3), 1452-1465

    Tree growth in boreal forests is limited by nitrogen (N) availability. Most boreal forest trees form symbiotic associations with ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, which improve the uptake of inorganic N and also have the capacity to decompose soil organic matter (SOM) and to mobilize organic N (ECM decomposition'). To study the effects of ECM decomposition' on ecosystem carbon (C) and N balances, we performed a sensitivity analysis on a model of C and N flows between plants, SOM, saprotrophs, ECM fungi, and inorganic N stores. The analysis indicates that C and N balances were sensitive to model parameters regulating ECM biomass and decomposition. Under low N availability, the optimal C allocation to ECM fungi, above which the symbiosis switches from mutualism to parasitism, increases with increasing relative involvement of ECM fungi in SOM decomposition. Under low N conditions, increased ECM organic N mining promotes tree growth but decreases soil C storage, leading to a negative correlation between C stores above- and below-ground. The interplay between plant production and soil C storage is sensitive to the partitioning of decomposition between ECM fungi and saprotrophs. Better understanding of interactions between functional guilds of soil fungi may significantly improve predictions of ecosystem responses to environmental change.

  • 2017. Stefano Manzoni (et al.). Ecology Letters 20 (9), 1182-1191

    Most heterotrophic organisms feed on substrates that are poor in nutrients compared to their demand, leading to elemental imbalances that may constrain their growth and function. Flexible carbon (C)-use efficiency (CUE, C used for growth over C taken up) can represent a strategy to reduce elemental imbalances. Here, we argue that metabolic regulation has evolved to maximise the organism growth rate along gradients of nutrient availability and translated this assumption into an optimality model that links CUE to substrate and organism stoichiometry. The optimal CUE is predicted to decrease with increasing substrate C-to-nutrient ratio, and increase with nutrient amendment. These predictions are generally confirmed by empirical evidence from a new database of c. 2200 CUE estimates, lending support to the hypothesis that CUE is optimised across levels of organisation (microorganisms and animals), in aquatic and terrestrial systems, and when considering nitrogen or phosphorus as limiting nutrients.

  • 2017. C. A. Sierra (et al.). Global Change Biology 23 (5), 1763-1773

    Comparisons among ecosystem models or ecosystem dynamics along environmental gradients commonly rely on metrics that integrate different processes into a useful diagnostic. Terms such as age, turnover, residence, and transit times are often used for this purpose; however, these terms are variably defined in the literature and in many cases, calculations ignore assumptions implicit in their formulas. The aim of this opinion piece was i) to make evident these discrepancies and the incorrect use of formulas, ii) highlight recent results that simplify calculations and may help to avoid confusion, and iii) propose the adoption of simple and less ambiguous terms.

  • 2017. Stefanie Hoeber (et al.). Frontiers in Plant Science 8

    Individual plant species or genotypes often differ in their demand for nutrients; to compete in a community they must be able to acquire more nutrients (i.e., uptake efficiency) and/or use them more efficiently for biomass production than their competitors. These two mechanisms are often complementary, as there are inherent trade-offs between them. In a mixed-stand, species with contrasting nutrient use patterns interact and may use their resources to increase productivity in different ways. Under contrasting nutrient availabilities, the competitive advantages conferred by either strategy may also shift, so that the interaction between resource use strategy and resource availability ultimately determines the performance of individual genotypes in mixtures. The aim was to investigate growth and nitrogen (N) use efficiency of two willow (Salix) genotypes grown in monoculture and mixture in a fertilizer contrast. We explored the hypotheses that (1) the biomass production of at least one of the involved genotypes should be greater when grown in mixture as compared to the corresponding monoculture when nutrients are the most growth-limiting factor; and (2) the N economy of individual genotypes differs when grown in mixture compared to the corresponding monoculture. The genotypes 'Tora' (Salix schwerinii x S. viminalis) and 'Loden' (S. dasyclados), with contrasting phenology and functional traits, were grown from cuttings in a growth container experiment under two nutrient fertilization treatments (high and low) in mono-and mixed-culture for 17 weeks. Under low nutrient level, 'Tora' showed a higher biomass production (aboveground biomass, leaf area productivity) and N uptake efficiency in mixture than in monoculture, whereas 'Loden' showed the opposite pattern. In addition, 'Loden' showed higher leaf N productivity but lower N uptake efficiency than 'Tora.' The results demonstrated that the specific functional trait combinations of individual genotypes affect their response to mixture as compared to monoculture. Plants grown in mixture as opposed to monoculture may thus increase biomass and vary in their response of N use efficiency traits. However, young plants were investigated here, and as we cannot predict mixture response in mature stands, our results need to be validated at field scale.

  • 2017. Josefin Thorslund (et al.). Ecological Engineering 108 (Part B), 489-497

    Wetlands are often considered as nature-based solutions that can provide a multitude of services of great social, economic and environmental value to humankind. Changes in land-use, water-use and climate can all impact wetland functions and services. These changes occur at scales extending well beyond the local scale of an individual wetland. However, in practical applications, engineering and management decisions usually focus on individual wetland projects and local site conditions. Here, we systematically investigate if and to what extent research has addressed the large-scale dynamics of landscape systems with multiple wetlands, hereafter referred to as wetlandscapes, which are likely to be relevant for understanding impacts of regional to global change. Although knowledge in many cases is still limited, evidence suggests that the aggregated effects of multiple wetlands in the landscape can differ considerably from the functions observed at individual wetland scales. This applies to provisioning of ecosystem services such as coastal protection, biodiversity support, groundwater level and soil moisture regulation, flood regulation and contaminant retention. We show that parallel and circular flow-paths, through which wetlands are interconnected in the landscape, may largely control such scale-function differences. We suggest ways forward for addressing the mismatch between the scales at which changes take place and the scale at which observations and implementation are currently made. These suggestions can help bridge gaps between researchers and engineers, which is critical for improving wetland function-effect predictability and management.

  • 2015. Allen G. Hunt, Manzoni Stefano.

    This book presents research into the physical rules that can underlie the behaviour of biota, as well as the geochemistry of soil development. It addresses both nutrient and water transport limitations of processes from chemical weathering to vascular plant growth. It attempts to bring order to the question of the extent to which soils can facilitate plant growth, and what limitations on plant sizes, metabolism, occurrence and correlations can be formulated thereby.

Show all publications by Stefano Manzoni at Stockholm University

Last updated: April 18, 2019

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