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  1. Abstract

    Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas and its concentrations have tripled in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. There is evidence that global warming has increased CH4emissions from freshwater ecosystems1,2, providing positive feedback to the global climate. Yet for rivers and streams, the controls and the magnitude of CH4emissions remain highly uncertain3,4. Here we report a spatially explicit global estimate of CH4emissions from running waters, accounting for 27.9 (16.7–39.7) Tg CH4 per year and roughly equal in magnitude to those of other freshwater systems5,6. Riverine CH4emissions are not strongly temperature dependent, with low average activation energy (EM = 0.14 eV) compared with that of lakes and wetlands (EM = 0.96 eV)1. By contrast, global patterns of emissions are characterized by large fluxes in high- and low-latitude settings as well as in human-dominated environments. These patterns are explained by edaphic and climate features that are linked to anoxia in and near fluvial habitats, including a high supply of organic matter and water saturation in hydrologically connected soils. Our results highlight the importance of land–water connections in regulating CH4supply to running waters, which is vulnerable not only to direct human modifications but also to several climate change responses on land.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 21, 2024
  2. The magnitude of stream and river carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emission is affected by seasonal changes in watershed biogeochemistry and hydrology. Global estimates of this flux are, however, uncertain, relying on calculated values for CO 2 and lacking spatial accuracy or seasonal variations critical for understanding macroecosystem controls of the flux. Here, we compiled 5,910 direct measurements of fluvial CO 2 partial pressure and modeled them against watershed properties to resolve reach-scale monthly variations of the flux. The direct measurements were then combined with seasonally resolved gas transfer velocity and river surface area estimates from a recent global hydrography dataset to constrain the flux at the monthly scale. Globally, fluvial CO 2 emission varies between 112 and 209 Tg of carbon per month. The monthly flux varies much more in Arctic and northern temperate rivers than in tropical and southern temperate rivers (coefficient of variation: 46 to 95 vs. 6 to 12%). Annual fluvial CO 2 emission to terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) ratio is highly variable across regions, ranging from negligible (<0.2%) to 18%. Nonlinear regressions suggest a saturating increase in GPP and a nonsaturating, steeper increase in fluvial CO 2 emission with discharge across regions, which leads to higher percentages of GPP being shunted into rivers for evasion in wetter regions. This highlights the importance of hydrology, in particular water throughput, in routing terrestrial carbon to the atmosphere via the global drainage networks. Our results suggest the need to account for the differential hydrological responses of terrestrial–atmospheric vs. fluvial–atmospheric carbon exchanges in plumbing the terrestrial carbon budget. 
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  3. The field of distributional ecology has seen considerable recent attention, particularly surrounding the theory, protocols, and tools for Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM) or Species Distribution Modeling (SDM). Such analyses have grown steadily over the past two decades—including a maturation of relevant theory and key concepts—but methodological consensus has yet to be reached. In response, and following an online course taught in Spanish in 2018, we designed a comprehensive English-language course covering much of the underlying theory and methods currently applied in this broad field. Here, we summarize that course, ENM2020, and provide links by which resources produced for it can be accessed into the future. ENM2020 lasted 43 weeks, with presentations from 52 instructors, who engaged with >2500 participants globally through >14,000 hours of viewing and >90,000 views of instructional video and question-and-answer sessions. Each major topic was introduced by an “Overview” talk, followed by more detailed lectures on subtopics. The hierarchical and modular format of the course permits updates, corrections, or alternative viewpoints, and generally facilitates revision and reuse, including the use of only the Overview lectures for introductory courses. All course materials are free and openly accessible (CC-BY license) to ensure these resources remain available to all interested in distributional ecology. 
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  4. Abstract

    Most terrestrial allochthonous organic matter enters river networks through headwater streams during high flow events. In headwaters, allochthonous inputs are substantial and variable, but become less important in streams and rivers with larger watersheds. As allochthonous dissolved organic matter (DOM) moves downstream, the proportion of less aromatic organic matter with autochthonous characteristics increases. How environmental factors converge to control this transformation of DOM at a continental scale is less certain. We hypothesized that the amount of time water has spent travelling through surface waters of inland systems (streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs) is correlated to DOM composition. To test this hypothesis, we used established river network scaling relationships to predict relative river network flow‐weighted travel time (FWTT) of water for 60 stream and river sites across the contiguous United States (3090 discrete samples over 10 water years). We estimated lentic contribution to travel times with upstream in‐network lake and reservoir volume. DOM composition was quantified using ultraviolet and visible absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy. A combination of FWTT and lake and reservoir volume was the best overall predictor of DOM composition among models that also incorporated discharge, specific discharge, watershed area, and upstream channel length. DOM spectral slope ratio (R2 = 0.77) and Freshness Index (R2 = 0.78) increased and specific ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm (R2 = 0.68) and Humification Index (R2 = 0.44) decreased across sites as a function of FWTT and upstream lake volume. This indicates autochthonous‐like DOM becomes continually more dominant in waters with greater FWTT. We assert that river FWTT can be used as a metric of the continuum of DOM composition from headwaters to rivers. The nature of the changes to DOM composition detected suggest this continuum is driven by a combination of photo‐oxidation, biological processes, hydrologically varying terrestrial subsidies, and aged groundwater inputs.

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