338 research outputs found

    Human impacts on soil carbon dynamics of deep-rooted Amazonian forests and effect of land use change on the carbon cycle in Amazon soils

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    The main objective of these NASA-funded projects is to improve our understanding of land-use impacts on soil carbon dynamics in the Amazon Basin. Soil contains approximately one half of tropical forest carbon stocks, yet the fate of this carbon following forest impoverishment is poorly studied. Our mechanistics approach draws on numerous techniques for measuring soil carbon outputs, inputs, and turnover time in the soils of adjacent forest and pasture ecosystems at our research site in Paragominas, state of Para, Brazil. We are scaling up from this site-specific work by analyzing Basin-wide patterns in rooting depth and rainfall seasonality, the two factors that we believe should explain much of the variation in tropical soil carbons dynamics. In this report, we summarize ongoing measurements at our Paragominas study site, progress in employing new field data to understand soil C dynamics, and some surprising results from our regional, scale-up work

    Effect of land use change on the carbon cycle in Amazon soils

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    The overall goal of this study was to provide a quantitative understanding of the cycling of carbon in the soils associated with deep-rooting Amazon forests. In particular, we wished to apply the understanding gained by answering two questions: (1) what changes will accompany the major land use change in this region, the conversion of forest to pasture? and (2) what is the role of carbon stored deeper than one meter in depth in these soils? To construct carbon budgets for pasture and forest soils we combined the following: measurements of carbon stocks in above-ground vegetation, root biomass, detritus, and soil organic matter; rates of carbon inputs to soil and detrital layers using litterfall collection and sequential coring to estimate fine root turnover; C-14 analyses of fractionated SOM and soil CO2 to estimate residence times; C-13 analyses to estimate C inputs to pasture soils from C-4 grasses; soil pCO2, volumetric water content, and radon gradients to estimate CO2 production as a function of soil depth; soil respiration to estimate total C outputs; and a model of soil C dynamics that defines SOM fractions cycling on annual, decadal, and millennial time scales

    The southwest Indian Monsoon over the last 18 000 years

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    Probability Distributions of Radiocarbon in Open Linear Compartmental Systems at Steady-State

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    Radiocarbon (C-14) is commonly used as a tracer of the carbon cycle to determine how fast carbon moves between different reservoirs such as plants, soils, rivers, or oceans. However such studies mostly emphasize the mean value (as Delta C-14) of an unknown probability distribution. We introduce a novel algorithm to compute Delta C-14 distributions from knowledge of the age distribution of carbon in linear compartmental systems at steady-state. Our results demonstrate that the shape of the distributions might differ according to the speed of cycling of ecosystem compartments and their connectivity within the system, and might contain multiple peaks and long tails. The distributions are also sensitive to the variations of Delta C-14 in the atmosphere over time, as influenced by the counteracting anthropogenic effects of fossil-fuel emissions (C-14-free) and nuclear weapons testing (excess C-14). Lastly, we discuss insights that such distributions can offer for sampling and design of experiments aiming to capture the precise variance of Delta C-14 values present in the multi-compartmental ecosystems

    Effect of climate on the storage and turnover of carbon in soils

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    Climate is, in many instances, the dominant variable controlling the storage of carbon in soils. It has proven difficult, however, to determine how soil properties influenced by climate, such as soil temperature and soil moisture, actually operate to determine the rates of accumulation and decomposition of soil organic matter. Our approach has been to apply a relatively new tool, the comparison of C-14 in soil organic matter from pre- and post-bomb soils, to quantify carbon turnover rates along climosequences. This report details the progress made toward this end by work under this contract

    Completing below-ground carbon budgets for pastures, recovering forests, and mature forests of Amazonia

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    The objective of this grant was to complete below-ground carbon budgets for pastures and forest soils in the Amazon. Profiles of radon and carbon dioxide were used to estimate depth distribution of CO2 production in soil. This information is necessary for determining the importance of deep roots as sources of carbon inputs. Samples were collected for measuring root biomass from new research sites at Santana de Araguaia and Trombetas. Soil gases will be analyzed for CO2 and (14)CO2, and soil organic matter will be analyzed for C-14. Estimates of soil texture from the RADAMBRASIL database were merged with climate data to calculate soil water extraction by forest canopies during the dry season. In addition, a preliminary map of areas where deep roots are needed for deep soil water was produced. A list of manuscripts and papers prepared during the reporting periods is given

    Direct raman spectroscopic measurements of biological nitrogen fixation under natural conditions: An analytical approach for studying nitrogenase activity

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    Biological N2 fixation is a major input of bioavailable nitrogen, which represents the most frequent factor limiting the agricultural production throughout the world. Especially, the symbiotic association between legumes and Rhizobium bacteria can provide substantial amounts of nitrogen (N) and reduce the need for industrial fertilizers. Despite its importance in the global N cycle, rates of biological nitrogen fixation have proven difficult to quantify. In this work, we propose and demonstrate a simple analytical approach to measure biological N2 fixation rates directly without a proxy or isotopic labeling. We determined a mean N2 fixation rate of 78 ± 5 μmol N2 (g dry weight nodule)-1 h-1 of a Medicago sativa-Rhizobium consortium by continuously analyzing the amount of atmospheric N2 in static environmental chambers with Raman gas spectroscopy. By simultaneously analyzing the CO2 uptake and photosynthetic plant activity, we think that a minimum CO2 mixing ratio might be needed for natural N2 fixation and only used the time interval above this minimum CO2 mixing ratio for N2 fixation rate calculations. The proposed approach relies only on noninvasive measurements of the gas phase and, given its simplicity, indicates the potential to estimate biological nitrogen fixation of legume symbioses not only in laboratory experiments. The same methods can presumably also be used to detect N2 fluxes by denitrification from ecosystems to the atmosphere. (Figure Presented)

    Impacts of Drying and Rewetting on the Radiocarbon Signature of Respired CO2 and Implications for Incubating Archived Soils

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    The radiocarbon signature of respired CO2 (∆14C-CO2) measured in laboratory soil incubations integrates contributions from soil carbon pools with a wide range of ages, making it a powerful model constraint. Incubating archived soils enriched by “bomb-C” from mid-20th century nuclear weapons testing would be even more powerful as it would enable us to trace this pulse over time. However, air-drying and subsequent rewetting of archived soils, as well as storage duration, may alter the relative contribution to respiration from soil carbon pools with different cycling rates. We designed three experiments to assess air-drying and rewetting effects on ∆14C-CO2 with constant storage duration (Experiment 1), without storage (Experiment 2), and with variable storage duration (Experiment 3). We found that air-drying and rewetting led to small but significant (α < 0.05) shifts in ∆14C-CO2 relative to undried controls in all experiments, with grassland soils responding more strongly than forest soils. Storage duration (4–14 y) did not have a substantial effect. Mean differences (95% CIs) for experiments 1, 2, and 3 were: 23.3‰ (±6.6), 19.6‰ (±10.3), and 29.3‰ (±29.1) for grassland soils, versus −11.6‰ (±4.1), 12.7‰ (±8.5), and −24.2‰ (±13.2) for forest soils. Our results indicate that air-drying and rewetting soils mobilizes a slightly older pool of carbon that would otherwise be inaccessible to microbes, an effect that persists throughout the incubation. However, as the bias in ∆14C-CO2 from air-drying and rewetting is small, measuring ∆14C-CO2 in incubations of archived soils appears to be a promising technique for constraining soil carbon models
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