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John A. Downing

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Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) commonly stimulate phytoplankton production in lakes, but recent observations from lakes from an agricultural region suggest that nitrate may have a subsidy‐stress effect on chlorophyll a (Chl a). It is unclear, however, how generalizable this effect might be. Here, we analyzed a large water quality dataset of 2385 lakes spanning 60 regions across 17 states in the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. to determine if N subsidy‐stress effects on phytoplankton are common and to identify regional landscape characteristics promoting N stress effects in lakes. We used a Bayesian hierarchical modeling framework to test our hypothesis that Chl a–total N (TN) threshold relationships would be common...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Limnology and Oceanography
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Ecologists are increasingly discovering that ecological processes are made up of components that are multi-scaled in space and time. Some of the most complex of these processes are cross-scale interactions (CSIs), which occur when components interact across scales. When undetected, such interactions may cause errors in extrapolation from one region to another. CSIs, particularly those that include a regional scaled component, have not been systematically investigated or even reported because of the challenges of acquiring data at sufficiently broad spatial extents. We present an approach for quantifying CSIs and apply it to a case study investigating one such interaction, between local and regional scaled land-use...
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Although there are considerable site-based data for individual or groups of ecosystems, these datasets are widely scattered, have different data formats and conventions, and often have limited accessibility. At the broader scale, national datasets exist for a large number of geospatial features of land, water, and air that are needed to fully understand variation among these ecosystems. However, such datasets originate from different sources and have different spatial and temporal resolutions. By taking an open-science perspective and by combining site-based ecosystem datasets and national geospatial datasets, science gains the ability to ask important research questions related to grand environmental challenges...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: GigaScience
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The relationship between chlorophyll a (Chl a) and total phosphorus (TP) is a fundamental relationship in lakes that reflects multiple aspects of ecosystem function and is also used in the regulation and management of inland waters. The exact form of this relationship has substantial implications on its meaning and its use. We assembled a spatially extensive data set to examine whether nonlinear models are a better fit for Chl a—TP relationships than traditional log-linear models, whether there were regional differences in the form of the relationships, and, if so, which regional factors were related to these differences. We analyzed a data set from 2105 temperate lakes across 35 ecoregions by fitting and comparing...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Limnology and Oceanography
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Understanding the factors that affect water quality and the ecological services provided by freshwater ecosystems is an urgent global environmental issue. Predicting how water quality will respond to global changes not only requires water quality data, but also information about the ecological context of individual water bodies across broad spatial extents. Because lake water quality is usually sampled in limited geographic regions, often for limited time periods, assessing the environmental controls of water quality requires compilation of many data sets across broad regions and across time into an integrated database. LAGOS-NE accomplishes this goal for lakes in the northeastern-most 17 US states.LAGOS-NE contains...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: GigaScience
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