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The objectives of my current research are to 1. Understand the water quality effects of fire, 2. Measure the effects of fire on the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical cycles, 3. Characterize the combustion products of wildfire, mainly ash and charcoal, and 4. Link post-fire responses and the composition, physical characteristics, and reactivity of ash and charcoal to measures of burn severity detected on the ground or using remotely-sensed data. The overarching objective of my research is to understand runoff, erosion, deposition, and water quality effects after wildfire.
To study the mechanisms, pathways, and rates of transformation of carbon and nitrogen compounds (natural and contaminant) mediated by microorganisms in aquatic habitats and identify factors controlling these transformations and to examine the effect that these transformations have upon other biogeochemical processes.
Invasions of the annual species cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in North American ecosystems present a threat to the population viability of native plant and animal species. In the interest of curtailing B. tectorum success, we manipulated the biogeochemistry of Canyonlands National Park soils in greenhouse and germination experiments. We compared growth parameters of B. tectorum and a native perennial, Hilaria jamesii, in greenhouse experiments utilizing 10 soil additives. Biomass of B. tectorum growing in conjuction with H. jamesii was greater than that growing in monocultures, suggesting facilitation of Bromus growth by H. jamesii. The opposite trend was true for H. jamesii, indicating that Bromus inhibits H. jamesii...
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water vapor, nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds) was determined in interstitial air withdrawn at eight heights in and above the snowpack at ~hourly intervals.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...
This study evaluated the contribution of winter rain-on-snow (ROS) events to annual and seasonal nitrate (N-NO3) export and identified the regional meteorological drivers of inter-annual variability in ROS N-NO3 export (ROS-N) at 9 headwater streams located across Ontario, Canada and the northeastern United States. Although on average only 3.3 % of annual precipitation fell as ROS during winter over the study period, these events contributed a significant proportion of annual and winter N-NO3 export at the majority of sites (average of 12 and 42 %, respectively); with the exception of the most northern catchment, where total winter precipitation was exceptionally low (average 77 mm). In years with a greater magnitude...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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...
Abstract (from While recent work demonstrates that glacial meltwater provides a substantial and relatively labile flux of the micronutrient iron to oceans, the role of high-latitude estuary environments as a potential sink of glacial iron is unknown. Here we present the first quantitative description of iron removal in a meltwater-dominated estuary. We find that 85% of “dissolved” Fe is removed in the low-salinity region of the estuary along with 41% of “total dissolvable” iron associated with glacial flour. We couple these findings with hydrologic and geochemical data from Gulf of Alaska (GoA) glacierized catchments to calculate meltwater-derived...
Atmospheric depostion and stream discharge and solutes were measured for three years (September 1984 - August 1987) in two mixed conifer watersheds in Sequoia National Park, in the southern Sierra Nevada of California. The Log Creek watershed (50 ha, 2067-2397 m elev.) is drained by a perennial stream, while Tharp's Creek watershed (13 ha, 2067-2255 m elev.) contains an intermittent stream. Dominant trees in the area include Abies concolor (white fir), Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia), A. magnifica (red fir), and Pinus lambertiana (sugar pine). Bedrock is predominantly granite and granodiorite, and the soils are mostly Pachic Xerumbrepts. Over the three year period, sulfate (SO42-), nitrate (NO3-), and chloride...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry

map background search result map search result map Biogeochemical control of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) germination, emergence, and growth Atmospheric deposition and solute export in giant sequoia: mixed conifer watersheds in the Sierra Nevada, California Atmospheric deposition and solute export in giant sequoia: mixed conifer watersheds in the Sierra Nevada, California Biogeochemical control of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) germination, emergence, and growth