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Creators/Authors contains: "Palmer, Margaret"

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  1. Abstract

    Wetland soils are a key global sink for organic carbon (C) and a focal point for C management and accounting efforts. The ongoing push for wetland restoration presents an opportunity for climate mitigation, but C storage expectations are poorly defined due to a lack of reference information and an incomplete understanding of what drives natural variability among wetlands. We sought to address these shortcomings by (1) quantifying the range of variability in wetland soil organic C (SOC) stocks on a depressional landscape (Delmarva Peninsula, USA) and (2) investigating the role of hydrology and relative topography in explaining variability among wetlands. We found a high degree of variability within individual wetlands and among wetlands with similar vegetation and hydrogeomorphic characteristics. This suggests that uncertainty should be presented explicitly when inferring ecosystem processes from wetland types or land cover classes. Differences in hydrologic regimes, particularly the rate of water level recession, explained some of the variability among wetlands, but relationships between SOC stocks and some hydrologic metrics were eclipsed by factors associated with separate study sites. Relative topography accounted for a similar portion of SOC stock variability as hydrology, indicating that it could be an effective substitute in large-scale analyses. Asmore »wetlands worldwide are restored and focus increases on quantifying C benefits, the importance of appropriately defining and assessing reference systems is paramount. Our results highlight the current uncertainty in this process, but suggest that incorporating landscape heterogeneity and drivers of natural variability into reference information may improve how wetland restoration is implemented and evaluated.

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  4. River ecosystems are highly biodiverse, influence global biogeochemical cycles, and provide valued services. However, humans are increasingly degrading fluvial ecosystems by altering their streamflows. Effective river restoration requires advancing our mechanistic understanding of how flow regimes affect biota and ecosystem processes. Here, we review emerging advances in hydroecology relevant to this goal. Spatiotemporal variation in flow exerts direct and indirect control on the composition, structure, and dynamics of communities at local to regional scales. Streamflows also influence ecosystem processes, such as nutrient uptake and transformation, organic matter processing, and ecosystem metabolism. We are deepening our understanding of how biological processes, not just static patterns, affect and are affected by stream ecosystem processes. However, research on this nexus of flow-biota-ecosystem processes is at an early stage. We illustrate this frontier with evidence from highly altered regulated rivers and urban streams. We also identify research challenges that should be prioritized to advance process-based river restoration.
  5. Abstract

    A major source of uncertainty in the global methane budget arises from quantifying the area of wetlands and other inland waters. This study addresses how the dynamics of surface water extent in forested wetlands affect the calculation of methane emissions. We used fine resolution satellite imagery acquired at sub‐weekly intervals together with a semiempirical methane emissions model to estimate daily surface water extent and diffusive methane fluxes for a low‐relief wetland‐rich watershed. Comparisons of surface water model predictions to field measurements showed agreement with the magnitude of changes in water extent, including for wetlands with surface area less than 1,000 m2. Results of methane emission models showed that wetlands smaller than 1 hectare (10,000 m2) were responsible for a majority of emissions, and that considering dynamic inundation of forested wetlands resulted in 49%–62% lower emission totals compared to models using a single estimate for each wetland’s size.

  6. Abstract

    Trends and ecological consequences of phosphorus (P) decline and increasing nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (N:P) ratios in rivers and estuaries are reviewed and discussed. Results suggest that re‐oligotrophication is a dominant trend in rivers and estuaries of high‐income countries in the last two–three decades, while in low‐income countries widespread eutrophication occurs. The decline in P is well documented in hundreds of rivers of United States and the European Union, but the biotic response of rivers and estuaries besides phytoplankton decline such as trends in phytoplankton composition, changes in primary production, ecosystem shifts, cascading effects, changes in ecosystem metabolism, etc., have not been sufficiently monitored and investigated, neither the effects of N:P imbalance. N:P imbalance has significant ecological effects that need to be further investigated. There is a growing number of cases in which phytoplankton biomass have been shown to decrease due to re‐oligotrophication, but the potential regime shift from phytoplankton to macrophyte dominance described in shallow lakes has been documented only in a few rivers and estuaries yet. The main reasons why regime shifts are rarely described in rivers and estuaries are, from one hand the scarcity of data on macrophyte cover trends, and from the other hand physicalmore »factors such as peak flows or high turbidity that could prevent a general spread of submerged macrophytes as observed in shallow lakes. Moreover, re‐oligotrophication effects on rivers may be different compared to lakes (e.g., lower dominance of macrophytes) or estuaries (e.g., limitation of primary production by N instead of P) or may be dependent on river/estuary type. We conclude that river and estuary re‐oligotrophication effects are complex, diverse and still little known, and in some cases are equivalent to those described in shallow lakes, but the regime shift is more likely to occur in mid to high‐order rivers and shallow estuaries.

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