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Arid and semiarid ecosystems (drylands) may dominate the trajectory of biosphere-to-atmosphere carbon (C) flux over the coming century. Accordingly, understanding dryland CO2 efflux controls is important for understanding C cycling at the global-scale: key unknowns regarding how temperature and moisture interact to regulate dryland C cycling remain. Further, the patchiness of dryland vegetation can create ‘islands of fertility’, with spatially heterogeneous rates of soil respiration (Rs). At our study site in southeastern Utah, USA we added or removed litter (0 to 650% of control) in paired plots that were either associated with a shrub or with interspaces between vascular plants. We measured Rs, soil temperature,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
I conduct research focused on understanding the role of microorganisms on both contaminated and pristine ecosystems. I carry out this work using a polyphasic approach that combines microbiology, molecular biology, and biogeochemistry to understand microbial processes. My work specifically aims to (1) assess the impact of microorganisms on the fate of organic and inorganic contaminants; (2) to investigate the microbial role in metal cycling, e.g., iron, uranium, and manganese cycling; (3) evaluate the potential of microbial populations to contribute to energy resources, either through coal bed methane production or mitigating contaminants due to nuclear energy production or unconventional oil and gas production;...
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...
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The relationships between the abundance and activity of planktonic, heterotrophic microorganisms and the quantity and characteristics of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in a Rocky Mountain stream were evaluated. Peak values of glucose uptake, 2.1 nmol L-1 hr-1, and glucose concentration, 333 nM, occurred during spring snowmelt when the water temperature was 4.0??C and the DOC concentration was greatest. The turnover time of the in situ glucose pool ranged seasonally from 40-1110 hours, with a mean of 272 hr. Seasonal uptake of3H-glucose, particulate ATP concentrations, and direct counts of microbial biomass were independent of temperature, but were positively correlated with DOC concentrations and negatively correlated...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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Major ion and mercury (Hg) inputs to terrestrial ecosystems include both wet and dry deposition (total deposition). Estimating total deposition to sensitive receptor sites is hampered by limited information regarding its spatial heterogeneity and seasonality. We used measurements of throughfall flux, which includes atmospheric inputs to forests and the net effects of canopy leaching or uptake, for ten major ions and Hg collected during 35 time periods in 1999–2005 at over 70 sites within Acadia National Park, Maine to (1) quantify coherence in temporal dynamics of seasonal throughfall deposition and (2) examine controls on these patterns at multiple scales. We quantified temporal coherence as the correlation between...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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Microbial community metabolism relies on external digestion, mediated by extracellular enzymes that break down complex organic matter into molecules small enough for cells to assimilate. We analyzed the kinetics of 40 extracellular enzymes that mediate the degradation and assimilation of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus by diverse aquatic and terrestrial microbial communities (1160 cases). Regression analyses were conducted by habitat (aquatic and terrestrial), enzyme class (hydrolases and oxidoreductases) and assay methodology (low affinity and high affinity substrates) to relate potential reaction rates to substrate availability. Across enzyme classes and habitats, the scaling relationships between apparent Vmax...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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Carbon cycling associated with biological soil crusts, which occupy interspaces between vascular plants in drylands globally, may be an important part of the coupled climate-carbon cycle of the Earth system. A major challenge to understanding CO2 fluxes in these systems is that much of the biotic and biogeochemical activity occurs in the upper few mm of the soil surface layer (i.e., the ‘mantle of fertility’), which exhibits highly dynamic and difficult to measure temperature and moisture fluctuations. Here, we report a multi-sensor approach to simultaneously measuring temperature and moisture of this biocrust surface layer (0–2 mm), and the deeper soil profile, concurrent with automated measurement of surface soil...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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...
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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...
For carbon sequestration the issues of monitoring, risk assessment, and verification of carbon content and storage efficacy are perhaps the most uncertain. Yet these issues are also the most critical challenges facing the broader context of carbon sequestration as a means for addressing climate change. In response to these challenges, Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle presents current perspectives and research that combine five major areas:• The global carbon cycle and verification and assessment of global carbon sources and sinks • Potential capacity and temporal/spatial scales of terrestrial, oceanic, and geologic carbon storage • Assessing risks and benefits associated with terrestrial,...
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Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in Lake Fryxell, 10 streams flowing into the lake, and the moat surrounding the lake was studied to determine the influence of sources and biogeochemical processes on its distribution and chemical nature. Lake Fryxell is an amictic, permanently ice-covered lake in the McMurdo Dry Valleys which contains benthic and planktonic microbial populations, but receives essentially no input of organic material from the ahumic soils of the watershed. Biological activity in the water column does not appear to influence the DOC depth profile, which is similar to the profiles for conservative inorganic constituents. DOC values for the streams varied with biomass in the stream channel, and ranged...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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Pollution of inland waters by agricultural land use is a concern in many areas of the world, and especially in arid regions, where water resources are inherently scarce. This study used physical and chemical water quality and stable nitrogen isotope (δ15N) measurements from zooplankton to examine nitrogen (N) sources and concentrations in four small lakes of Khorezm, Uzbekistan, an arid, highly agricultural region, which is part of the environmentally-impacted Aral Sea Basin. During the 2-year study period, ammonium concentrations were the highest dissolved inorganic N species in all lakes, with a maximum of 3.00 mg N l−1 and an average concentration of 0.62 mg N l−1. Nitrate levels were low, with a maximum concentration...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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Depletion of calcium from forest soils has important implications for forest productivity and health. Ca is available to fine feeder roots from a number of soil organic and mineral sources, but identifying the primary source or changes of sources in response to environmental change is problematic. We used strontium isotope and alkaline earth element concentration ratios of trees and soils to discern the record of Ca sources for red spruce at a base-poor, acid deposition-impacted watershed. We measured 87Sr/86Sr and chemical compositions of cross-sectional stemwood cores of red spruce, other spruce tissues and sequential extracts of co-located soil samples. 87Sr/86Sr and Sr/Ba ratios together provide a tracer of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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The abundance and distribution of dissolved CH4 were determined from 1987-1990 in Lake Fryxell, Antarctica, an amictic, permanently ice-covered lake in which solute movement is controlled by diffusion. CH4 concentrations were < 1 ??M in the upper oxic waters, but increased below the oxycline to 936 ??M at 18 m. Sediment CH4 was 1100 ??mol (1 sed)-1 in the 0-5 cm zone. Upward flux from the sediment was the source of the CH4, NH4 +, and DOC in the water column; CH4 was 27% of the DOC+CH4 carbon at 18 m. Incubations with surficial sediments indicated that H14CO3 - reduction was 0.4 ??mol (1 sed)-1 day-1 or 4?? the rate of acetate fermentation to CH4. There was no measurable CH4 production in the water column. However,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
Robin Stewart's research is focused on identifying and understanding processes influencing the fate and bioavailability of selenium and mercury in food webs across a range of aquatic environments including estuaries, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.


map background search result map search result map NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah Identification of nitrogen sources to four small lakes in the agricultural region of Khorezm, Uzbekistan NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah Identification of nitrogen sources to four small lakes in the agricultural region of Khorezm, Uzbekistan