218 research outputs found

    Interannual variation in seasonal drivers of soil respiration in a semi-arid Rocky Mountain meadow

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    pre-printSemi-arid ecosystems with annual moisture inputs dominated by snowmelt cover much of the western United States, and a better understanding of their seasonal drivers of soil respiration is needed to predict consequences of climatic change on soil CO2 efflux. We assessed the relative importance of temperature, moisture, and plant phenology on soil respiration during seasonal shifts between cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers in a Rocky Mountain meadow over 3.5 separate growing seasons. We found a consistent, unique pattern of seasonal hysteresis in the annual relationship between soil respiration and temperature, likely representative for this ecosystem type, and driven by (1) continued increase in soil T after summer senescence of vegetation, and (2) reduced soil respiration during cold, wet periods at the beginning versus end of the growing season. The timing of meadow senescence varied between years with amount of cold season precipitation, but on average occurred days before soil temperature peaked in late-summer. Autumn soil respiration was greatest when substantial autumn precipitation events occurred early. Surface CO2 efflux was temporarily decoupled from respiratory production during winter 2006/2007, due to effects of winter surface snow and ice on mediating the diffusion of CO2 from deep soil horizons to the atmosphere. Upon melt of a capping surface ice layer, release of soil-stored CO2 was determined to be 65 g C, or *10 % of the total growing season soil respiration for that year. The shift between soil respiration sources arising from moisture-limited spring plant growth and autumn decomposition indicates that annual mineralization of soil carbon will be less dependent on projected changes in temperature than on future variations in amount and timing of precipitation for this site and similar semiarid ecosystems

    Impacts of anthropogenic emissions and cold air pools on urban to montane gradients of snowpack ion concentrations in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah

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    pre-printUrban montane valleys are often characterized by periodic wintertime temperature inversions (cold air pools) that increase atmospheric particulate matter concentrations, potentially stimulating the deposition of major ions to these snow-covered ecosystems. We assessed spatial and temporal patterns of ion concentrations in snow across urban to montane gradients in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and the adjacent Wasatch Mountains during January 2011, a period of several persistent cold air pools. Ion concentrations in fresh snow samples were greatest in urban sites, and were lower by factors of 4 - 130 in a remote high-elevation montane site. Adjacent undeveloped canyons experienced significant incursions of particulate-rich urban air during stable atmospheric conditions, where snow ion concentrations were lower but not significantly different from urban sites. Surface snow ion concentrations on elevation transects in and adjacent to Salt Lake City varied with temporal and spatial trends in aerosol concentrations, increasing following exposure to particulate-rich air as cold air pools developed, and peaking at intermediate elevations (1500 - 1600 m above sea level, or 200 - 300 m above the valley floor). Elevation trends in ion concentrations, especially NH4 + and NO3, corresponded with patterns of aerosol exposure inferred from laser ceilometer data, suggesting that high particulate matter concentrations stimulated fog or dry ion deposition to snow-covered surfaces at the top of the cold air pools. Fog/dry deposition inputs were similar to wet deposition at mid-elevation montane sites, but appeared negligible at lower and higher-elevation sites. Overall, snow ion concentrations in our urban and adjacent montane sites exceeded many values reported from urban precipitation in North America, and greatly exceeded those reported for remote snowpacks. Sodium, Cl-, NH4 +, and NO3 concentrations in fresh snow were high relative to previously measured urban precipitation, with means of 120, 117, 42, and 39 ueq l-1, respectively. After exposure to atmospheric particulate matter during cold pool events, surface snow concentrations peaked at 2500, 3600, 93, and 90 ueq l-1 for these ions. Median nitrogen (N) deposition in fresh urban snow samples measured 0.8 kg N ha-1 uring January 2011, with similar fog/dry deposition inputs at mid-elevation montane sites. Wintertime anthropogenic air pollution represents a significant source of ions to snow-covered ecosystems proximate to urban montane areas, with important implications for ecosystem function

    Ecological processes dominate the 13C land disequilibrium in a Rocky Mountain subalpine forest

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    pre-printFossil fuel combustion has increased atmospheric CO2 by ≈ 115 μmol mol1 since 1750 and decreased its carbon isotope composition (δ13C) by 1.7-2‰(the 13C Suess effect). Because carbon is stored in the terrestrial biosphere for decades and longer, the δ13C of CO2 released by terrestrial ecosystems is expected to differ from the δ13C of CO2 assimilated by land plants during photosynthesis. This isotopic difference between land-atmosphere respiration (δR) and photosynthetic assimilation (δA) fluxes gives rise to the 13C land disequilibrium (D). Contemporary understanding suggests that over annual and longer time scales, D is determined primarily by the Suess effect, and thus, D is generally positive (δR>δA). A 7 year record of biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchange was used to evaluate the seasonality of δA and δR, and the 13C land disequilibrium, in a subalpine conifer forest. A novel isotopic mixing model was employed to determine the δ13C of net land-atmosphere exchange during day and night and combined with tower-based flux observations to assess δA and δR. The disequilibrium varied seasonally and when flux-weighted was opposite in sign than expected from the Suess effect (D =0.75 ± 0.21‰or 0.88 ± 0.10‰depending on method). Seasonality in D appeared to be driven by photosynthetic discrimination (Δcanopy) responding to environmental factors. Possible explanations for negative D include (1) changes in Δcanopy over decades as CO2 and temperature have risen, and/or (2) post-photosynthetic fractionation processes leading to sequestration of isotopically enriched carbon in long-lived pools like wood and soil

    Assessing filtering of mountaintop CO2 mole fractions for application to inverse models of biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchange

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    pre-printThere is a widely recognized need to improve our understanding of biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchanges in areas of complex terrain including the United States Mountain West. CO2 fluxes over mountainous terrain are often difficult to measure due to unusual and complicated influences associated with atmospheric transport. Consequently, deriving regional fluxes in mountain regions with carbon cycle inversion of atmospheric CO2 mole fraction is sensitive to filtering of observations to those that can be represented at the transport model resolution. Using five years of CO2 mole fraction observations from the Regional Atmospheric Continuous CO2 Network in the Rocky Mountains (Rocky RACCOON), five statistical filters are used to investigate a range of approaches for identifying regionally representative CO2 mole fractions. Test results from three filters indicate that subsets based on short-term variance and local CO2 gradients across tower inlet heights retain nine-tenths of the total observations and are able to define representative diel variability and seasonal cycles even for difficult-to-model sites where the influence of local fluxes is much larger than regional mole fraction variations. Test results from two other filters that consider measurements from previous and following days using spline fitting or sliding windows are overly selective. Case study examples showed that these windowing-filters rejected measurements representing synoptic changes in CO2, which suggests that they are not well suited to filtering continental CO2 measurements. We present a novel CO2 lapse rate filter that uses CO2 differences between levels in the model atmosphere to select subsets of site measurements that are representative on model scales. Our new filtering techniques provide guidance for novel approaches to assimilating mountain-top CO2 mole fractions in carbon cycle inverse models

    Riparian Plant Isotopes Reflect Anthropogenic Nitrogen Perturbations: Robust Patterns Across Land Use Gradients

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    Riparian plants incorporate nitrogen (N) from aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric sources, and their stable isotope compositions (δ15 N) may reflect land use impacts on N sources and transformations over scales of sites to watersheds. We surveyed leaf δ15 N values of 11 common riparian tree, shrub, and herbaceous species from 20 streams and rivers spanning three fifth-order watersheds in northern Utah, USA (n - 255 sites and 819 leaf samples). Streams spanned undeveloped montane forests to suburban, urban, and agricultural lands. Mean species-specific differences in leaf δ15N values were relatively small within sites (1.2 ± 2.2‰), although emergent aquatic macrophytes had higher within-site δ15 N values than other growth forms. Leaf δ15 N values varied significantly across land-use categories, and were lowest in undeveloped montane reaches (0.5 ± 1.9‰; mean and standard deviation), intermediate in suburban and urban reaches (2.3 ± 2.6 and 3.2 ± 3.4‰), and greatest in agricultural reaches (4.1 ± 3.1‰). The substantial variation in leaf δ15N values within a land use category often corresponded with local management differences. In an undeveloped montane canyon permitting off-leash dogs, leaf δ15N values (1.5 ± 1.3‰) exceeded similar canyons that strictly prohibited dogs (δ15 N = - 0.7 ± 1.1‰). Canyons with cattle grazing had leaf δ15 N values enriched by 1.4 and 2.8‰ relative to similar, but un-grazed canyons. Variation in traffic between 0 and 5000 vehicles per day did not significantly affect leaf δ15N values, although a canyon with 50,000 vehicles per day showed a 5.7‰ increase relative to low-trafficked canyons. Urban leaf δ15N values were consistently enriched by 2.5 ± 0.6‰ relative to leaves in un-grazed montane reaches, and leaves in a septic-impacted suburban reach were enriched by 4.6‰ relative to upstream samples. Samples from a sewage-impacted urban river averaged 8.0 ± 4.1‰ and reached 22‰ adjacent to publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Another urban river displayed similar values in the absence of POTWs, implicating leaky sewers. Our results demonstrate the capacity of N isotopes from a diverse riparian plant community to inform our spatial understanding of watershed N-cycling perturbations, and illustrate the impact of human activities on N cycling even within protected watersheds. © 2015 Hall et al

    Developing and Implementing a Sustainable, Integrated Weed Management Program for herbicide-resistant Poa annua in turfgrass

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    The ability of Poa annua L. to adapt to most turfgrass environments extends to its ability to develop resistance to commonly used herbicides. Herbicide resistant P. annua is of almost epidemic proportions. The loss of once viable chemical-based treatments pushes practitioners towards more expensive, and often less effective, control strategies. This management guide focuses on integrated weed management (IWM) practices for P. annua control and herbicide resistance—what it is and how to overcome it. Also discussed are resistance mechanisms and documentation of common occurrences of field-level resistance within much of the United States. Finally, a summary of some of the social and economic constraints that practitioners face in the implementation of IWM strategies for P. annua is discussed

    Decomposing reflectance spectra to track gross primary production in a subalpine evergreen forest

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    Photosynthesis by terrestrial plants represents the majority of CO₂ uptake on Earth, yet it is difficult to measure directly from space. Estimation of gross primary production (GPP) from remote sensing indices represents a primary source of uncertainty, in particular for observing seasonal variations in evergreen forests. Recent vegetation remote sensing techniques have highlighted spectral regions sensitive to dynamic changes in leaf/needle carotenoid composition, showing promise for tracking seasonal changes in photosynthesis of evergreen forests. However, these have mostly been investigated with intermittent field campaigns or with narrow-band spectrometers in these ecosystems. To investigate this potential, we continuously measured vegetation reflectance (400–900 nm) using a canopy spectrometer system, PhotoSpec, mounted on top of an eddy-covariance flux tower in a subalpine evergreen forest at Niwot Ridge, Colorado, USA. We analyzed driving spectral components in the measured canopy reflectance using both statistical and process-based approaches. The decomposed spectral components co-varied with carotenoid content and GPP, supporting the interpretation of the photochemical reflectance index (PRI) and the chlorophyll/carotenoid index (CCI). Although the entire 400–900 nm range showed additional spectral changes near the red edge, it did not provide significant improvements in GPP predictions. We found little seasonal variation in both normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the near-infrared vegetation index (NIRv) in this ecosystem. In addition, we quantitatively determined needle-scale chlorophyll-to-carotenoid ratios as well as anthocyanin contents using full-spectrum inversions, both of which were tightly correlated with seasonal GPP changes. Reconstructing GPP from vegetation reflectance using partial least-squares regression (PLSR) explained approximately 87 % of the variability in observed GPP. Our results linked the seasonal variation in reflectance to the pool size of photoprotective pigments, highlighting all spectral locations within 400–900 nm associated with GPP seasonality in evergreen forests

    Solar-Induced Fluorescence Detects Interannual Variation in Gross Primary Production of Coniferous Forests in the Western United States

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    Quantifying gross primary production (GPP), the largest flux of the terrestrial carbon cycle, remains difficult at the landscape scale. Evergreen needleleaf (coniferous) forests in the western United States constitute an important carbon reservoir whose annual GPP varies from year‐to‐year due to drought, mortality, and other ecosystem disturbances. Evergreen forest productivity is challenging to determine via traditional remote sensing indices (i.e., NDVI and EVI), because detecting environmental stress conditions is difficult. We investigated the utility of solar‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) to detect year‐to‐year variation in GPP in four coniferous forests varying in species composition in the western United States (Sierra Nevada, Cascade, and Rocky Mountains). We show that annually averaged, satellite‐based observations of SIF (retrieved from GOME‐2) were significantly correlated with annual GPP observed at eddy covariance towers over several years. Further, SIF responded quantitatively to drought‐induced mortality, suggesting that SIF may be capable of detecting ecosystem disturbance in coniferous forests
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