Skip to main content
USGS - science for a changing world
Advanced Search

Filters: Tags: Biogeochemistry (X) > Types: Journal Citation (X)

42 results (77ms)   

View Results as: JSON ATOM CSV
Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) has the potential to stimulate ecosystem productivity and sink strength, reducing the effects of carbon (C) emissions on climate. In terrestrial ecosystems, increasing [CO2] can reduce soil nitrogen (N) availability to plants, preventing the stimulation of ecosystem C assimilation; a process known as progressive N limitation. Using ion exchange membranes to assess the availability of dissolved organic N, ammonium and nitrate, we found that CO2 enrichment in an Australian, temperate, perennial grassland did not increase plant productivity, but did reduce soil N availability, mostly by reducing nitrate availability. Importantly, the addition of 2 °C warming...
Soil microbial respiration is a critical component of the global carbon cycle, but it is uncertain how properties of microbes affect this process. Previous studies have noted a thermodynamic trade-off between the rate and efficiency of growth in heterotrophic organisms. Growth rate and yield determine the biomass-specific respiration rate of growing microbial populations, but these traits have not previously been used to scale from microbial communities to ecosystems. Here we report seasonal variation in microbial growth kinetics and temperature responses (Q10) in a coniferous forest soil, relate these properties to cultured and uncultured soil microbes, and model the effects of shifting growth kinetics on soil...
Within the past few decades, humans have dramatically altered the earth?s nitrogen (N) cycle. Introduction of reactive nitrogen (N) into the biosphere by humans now exceeds the rate of biological N2-fixation in native terrestrial ecosystems (Galloway et al. 2004). This increased reactive N is due primarily to N fertilizer production and fossil fuel combustion used to support the food and energy demands of a rapidly expanding human population. The negative human and environment health effects of this increased N are many (Galloway et al. 2008; Howarth et al. 2005; UNEP and WHRC 2007). Denitrification is the main process that permanently removes fixed N from the environment. Denitrification, the microbial production...
An experimental system for sampling trace gas fluxes through seasonal snowpack was deployed at a subalpine site near treeline at Niwot Ridge, Colorado. The sampling manifold was in place throughout the entire snow-covered season for continuous air sampling with minimal disturbance to the snowpack. A series of gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds) was determined in interstitial air withdrawn at eight heights in and above the snowpack at ~hourly intervals. In this paper, carbon dioxide data from 2007 were used for evaluation of this technique. Ancillary data recorded inlcuded snow physical properties, i.e., temperature, pressure, and density. Various vertical...
To determine the dominant processes controlling nitrogen (N) dynamics in soils and increase insights into soil N cycling from nitrogen isotope (?15N) data, patterns of 15N enrichment in soil profiles were compiled from studies on tropical, temperate, and boreal systems. The maximum 15N enrichment between litter and deeper soil layers varied strongly with mycorrhizal fungal association, averaging 9.6 � 0.4? in ectomycorrhizal systems and 4.6 � 0.5? in arbuscular mycorrhizal systems. The 15N enrichment varied little with mean annual temperature, precipitation, or nitrification rates. One main factor controlling 15N in soil profiles, fractionation against 15N during N transfer by mycorrhizal fungi to host plants, leads...
Drainages are important features of semiarid landscapes because they are areas where surface water, groundwater, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems converge. Management of these critical ecohydrological systems requires a sound understanding of surface water?groundwater interactions. At the basin- to landscape-scale, drainage density, location, and channel characteristics are formed upon a geomorphic and geologic template that limit where and how surface water?groundwater interactions occur. At smaller scales, semiarid surface water?groundwater interactions exhibit a high degree of temporal and spatial variability that links directly to biogeochemical characteristics and ecosystem dynamics. In this paper, we...
N limitation to primary production and other ecosystem processes is widespread. To understand the causes and distribution of N limitation, we must understand the controls of biological N fixation. The physiology of this process is reasonably well characterized, but our understanding of ecological controls is sparse, except in a few cultivated ecosystems. We review information on the ecological controls of N fixation in free-living cyanobacteria, vascular plant symbioses, and heterotrophic bacteria, with a view toward developing improved conceptual and simulation models of ecological controls of biological N fixation. A model (Howarth et al. 1999) of cyanobacterial fixation in lakes (where N fixation generally increases...
thumbnail
In this study, we examined N gas loss as nitric oxide (NO) from N-fixing biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We hypothesized that NO gas loss would increase with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically crusted soil. NO fluxes were measured from biologically crusted soils with three levels of N fixation potential (Scytonema-Nostoc-Collema spp. (dark)>Scytonema-Nostoc-Microcoleus spp. (medium)>Microcoleus spp. (light)) from soil cores and field chambers. In both cores and field chambers there was a significant effect of crust type on NO fluxes, but this was highly dependent on season. NO fluxes from field chambers increased with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically...
A quantitative understanding of the factors controlling the variation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in headwater streams is of scientific concern for at least two reasons. First, quantifying the overall carbon budgets of lotic systems is needed for a fundamental understanding of these systems. Second, DOC interacts strongly with other dissolved substances (heavy metals in particular) and plays an important role in the transport of contaminants. In the Snake River near Montezuma, Colorado, measurements of DOC from 1980 to 1986 show rapid decreases in concentration from a peak very early in the snowmelt period. Peak DOC concentrations occur approximately one month prior to peak discharge in the stream. The decline...
Effects of the northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides) on surface soilcharacteristics were examined at the alpinesite of Niwot Ridge, CO. We measured erosionof soil from gopher mounds and compared thecharacteristics of gopher mound (disturbed) andundisturbed soils in two major plant communitytypes. Our measurements of erosion indicatelong-term susceptibility of gopher-disturbedsoils to redistribution by water and/or wind inthis ecosystem. Ecosystem heterogeneityintroduced by the gopher is reflected insignificantly lower SOM in gopher mounds thanin surrounding undisturbed soils, acharacteristic which appears to be causallyassociated with other effects of gopherdisturbance including changes in soil textureand...
Abstract The importance of snow and related cryospheric processes as an ecological factor has been recognized since at least the beginning of the twentieth century. Even today, however, many observations remain anecdotal. The research to date on cold-lands ecosystems results in scientists being unable to evaluate to what extent changes in the cryosphere will be characterized by abrupt changes in local and global biogeochemical cycles, and how these changes in seasonality may affect the rates and timing of key ecological processes. Studies of gas exchanges through snow have revealed that snow plays an important role in modulating wintertime soil biogeochemical processes, and that these can be the driving processes...
This paper contrasts the natural and anthropogenic controls on the conversion of unreactive N2 to more reactive forms of nitrogen (Nr). A variety of data sets are used to construct global N budgets for 1860 and the early 1990s and to make projections for the global N budget in 2050. Regional N budgets for Asia, North America, and other major regions for the early 1990s, as well as the marine N budget, are presented to Highlight the dominant fluxes of nitrogen in each region. Important findings are that human activities increasingly dominate the N budget at the global and at most regional scales, the terrestrial and open ocean N budgets are essentially disconnected, and the fixed forms of N are accumulating in most...
Geostatistical analyses show that the distribution of soil N, P and K is strongly associated with the presence of shrubs in desert habitats. Shrubs concentrate the biogeochemical cycle of these elements in ?islands of fertility? that are localized beneath their canopies, while adjacent barren, intershrub spaces are comparatively devoid of biotic activity. Both physical and biological processes are involved in the formation of shrub islands. Losses of semiarid grassland in favor of invading shrubs initiate these changes in the distribution of soil nutrients, which may promote the further invasion and persistence of shrubs and cause potential feedbacks between desertification and the Earth's climate system. Published...
Drainages are important features of semiarid landscapes because they are areas where surface water, groundwater, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems converge. Management of these critical ecohydrological systems requires a sound understanding of surface water?groundwater interactions. At the basin- to landscape-scale, drainage density, location, and channel characteristics are formed upon a geomorphic and geologic template that limit where and how surface water?groundwater interactions occur. At smaller scales, semiarid surface water?groundwater interactions exhibit a high degree of temporal and spatial variability that links directly to biogeochemical characteristics and ecosystem dynamics. In this paper, we...
thumbnail
Abstract Decomposition is central to understanding ecosystem carbon exchange and nutrient-release processes. Unlike mesic ecosystems, which have been extensively studied, xeric landscapes have received little attention; as a result, abiotic soil-respiration regulatory processes are poorly understood in xeric environments. To provide a more complete and quantitative understanding about how abiotic factors influence soil respiration in xeric ecosystems, we conducted soil- respiration and decomposition-cloth measurements in the cold desert of southeast Utah. Our study evaluated when and to what extent soil texture, moisture, temperature, organic carbon, and nitrogen influence soil respiration and examined whether...
thumbnail
We investigated several forms of phosphorus (P) in dryland soils to examine the chemical and textural controls on P stabilization on a diverse set of substrates. We examined three P fractions including labile, moderately labile, and occluded as determined by a modified Hedley fractionation technique. The P fractions were compared to texture measurements and total elemental concentrations determined by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Labile P related to the absence of materials involved in P sorption. Moderately labile P was most strongly associated with high total Al & Fe content that we interpret to represent oxides and 1:1 clay minerals. The occluded P fraction was strongly associated...
In this study, we examined N gas loss as nitric oxide (NO) from N-fixing biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We hypothesized that NO gas loss would increase with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically crusted soil. NO fluxes were measured from biologically crusted soils with three levels of N fixation potential (Scytonema-Nostoc-Collema spp. (dark)>Scytonema-Nostoc-Microcoleus spp. (medium)>Microcoleus spp. (light)) from soil cores and field chambers. In both cores and field chambers there was a significant effect of crust type on NO fluxes, but this was highly dependent on season. NO fluxes from field chambers increased with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically...
Although the variation in natural 15N abundance in plants and soils is well characterized, mechanisms controlling N isotopic composition of organic matter are still poorly understood. The primary goal of this study was to examine the role of NH3 volatilization from ungulate urine patches in determining 15N abundance in grassland plants and soil in Yellowstone National Park. We additionally used isotopic measurements to explore the pathways that plants in urine patches take up N. Plant, soil, and volatilized NH3d15N were measured on grassland plots for 10 days following the addition of simulated urine. Simulated urine increased 15N of roots and soil and reduced 15N of shoots. Soil enrichment was due to the volatilization...
thumbnail
Drainages are important features of semiarid landscapes because they are areas where surface water, groundwater, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems converge. Management of these critical ecohydrological systems requires a sound understanding of surface water-groundwater interactions. At the basin- to landscape-scale, drainage density, location, and channel characteristics are formed upon a geomorphic and geologic template that limit where and how surface water-groundwater interactions occur. At smaller scales, semiarid surface water-groundwater interactions exhibit a high degree of temporal and spatial variability that links directly to biogeochemical characteristics and ecosystem dynamics. In this paper, we...
thumbnail
In this study, we conducted rainfall simulation experiments in a cool desert ecosystem to examine the role of biological soil crust disturbance and composition on dissolved and sediment C and N losses. We compared runoff and sediment C and N losses from intact late-successional dark cyanolichen crusts (intact) to both trampled dark crusts (trampled) and dark crusts where the top 1 cm of the soil surface was removed (scraped). In a second experiment, we compared C and N losses in runoff and sediments in early-successional light cyanobacterial crusts (light) to that of intact late-successional dark cyanolichen crusts (dark). A relatively high rainfall intensity of approximately 38 mm per 10-min period was used to...


map background search result map search result map Surface water-groundwater interactions in semiarid drainages of the American southwest Soil Respiration in the Cold Desert Environment of the Colorado Plateau (USA): Abiotic Regulators and Thresholds Chemical and textural controls on phosphorus mobility in drylands of southeastern Utah Impacts of Biological Soil Crust Disturbance and Composition on C and N Loss from Water Erosion NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah Soil Respiration in the Cold Desert Environment of the Colorado Plateau (USA): Abiotic Regulators and Thresholds Chemical and textural controls on phosphorus mobility in drylands of southeastern Utah Impacts of Biological Soil Crust Disturbance and Composition on C and N Loss from Water Erosion NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah Surface water-groundwater interactions in semiarid drainages of the American southwest