skip to main content


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Ward, Nicholas D."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. The frequency and persistence of tidal inundation varies along the coastal terrestrial-aquatic interface, from frequently inundated wetlands to rarely inundated upland forests. This inundation gradient controls soil and sediment biogeochemistry and influence the exchange of soils and sediments from terrestrial to aquatic domains. Although a rich literature exist on studies of the influence of tidal waters on the biogeochemistry of coastal ecosystem soils, few studies have experimentally addressed the reverse question: How do soils (or sediments) from different coastal ecosystems influence the biogeochemistry of the tidal waters that inundate them? To better understand initial responses of coastal waters that flood coastal wetlands and uplands, we conducted short-term laboratory experiments where seawater was amended with sediments and soils collected across regional gradients of inundation exposure (i.e., frequently to rarely inundated) for 14 sites across the Mid-Atlantic, USA. Measured changes in dissolved oxygen and greenhouse gas concentrations were used to calculate gas consumption or production rates occurring during seawater exposure to terrestrial materials. We also measured soil and water physical and chemical properties to explore potential drivers. We observed higher oxygen consumption rates for seawater incubated with soils/sediments from frequently inundated locations and higher carbon dioxide production for seawater incubated with soils from rarely inundated transect locations. Incubations with soil from rarely inundated sites produced the highest global warming potential, primarily driven by carbon dioxide and secondarily by nitrous oxide. We also found environmental drivers of gas rates varied notably between transect locations. Our findings indicate that seawater responses to soil and sediment inputs across coastal terrestrial-aquatic interfaces exhibit some consistent patterns and high intra- and inter-site variability, suggesting potential biogeochemical feedback loops as inundation regimes shift inland.

     
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 11, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The Tocantins River contributes ∼5% of the total flux of water to the Amazon River plume in the Atlantic Ocean. Here, we evaluate monthly variability in the composition and abundance of carbon, nitrogen, and suspended sediment in the lower reaches of the Tocantins River from 2014 to 2016. Dissolved organic carbon concentrations generally increased during periods of high discharge and are ∼1.5 times lower than average concentrations at the mouth of the Amazon River. Dissolved inorganic carbon similarly increased during periods of high discharge. Total dissolved nitrogen and individual nitrogen species followed a similar temporal pattern, increasing during high water.predominated the dissolved inorganic nitrogen pool, followed by, and, characteristic of environments with a relatively low anthropogenic impact. Dissolved fractions represented 92% of the total carbon exported and 78% of the total nitrogen exported. The suspended particulate sediment flux was 2.72 × 106 t yr−1, with fine suspended sediment dominating (71.3%). Concentrations of carbon relative to nitrogen indicate a primarily terrigenous source of organic matter and CO2derived from in situ respiration of this material during the rainy season and a primarily algal/bacterial source of organic matter during the dry season. Considering past estimates of dissolved carbon and nitrogen fluxes from the Amazon River to the Atlantic Ocean, the Tocantins River contributes 3% and 3.7% to total fluxes to the Amazon River plume region, respectively. While this contribution is relatively small, it may be influenced by future changes to the basin's land use and hydrology.

     
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  3. Optical water types (OWTs) were identified from an in situ dataset of concomitant biogeochemical and optical parameters acquired in the Amazon River and its tributaries, in the Lower Amazon region, at different hydrological conditions from 2014 to 2017. A seasonal bio-optical characterization was performed. The k-means classification was applied to the in situ normalized reflectance spectra (rn(λ)), allowing the identification of four OWTs. An optical index method was also applied to the rn(λ) defining the thresholds of the OWTs. Next, level-3 Sentinel-3 Ocean and Land Color Instrument images representative of the seasonal discharge conditions were classified using the identified in situ OWTs as reference. The differences between Amazon River and clearwater tributary OWTs were dependent on the hydrological dynamics of the Amazon River, also showing a strong seasonal variability. Each OWT was associated with a specific bio-optical and biogeochemical environment assessed from the corresponding absorption coefficient values of colored dissolved organic matter (aCDOM) and particulate matter (ap), chlorophyll-a and suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentrations, and aCDOM/ap ratio. The rising water season presented a unique OWT with high SPM concentration and high relative contribution of ap to total absorption compared to the other OWTs. This bio-optical characterization of Lower Amazon River waters represents a first step for developing remote sensing inversion models adjusted to the optical complexity of this region. 
    more » « less
  4. The global development of hydropower dams has rapidly expanded over the last several decades and has spread to historically non-impounded systems such as the Amazon River’s main low land tributaries in Brazil. Despite the recognized significance of reservoirs to the global methane (CH 4 ) emission, the processes controlling this emission remain poorly understood, especially in Tropical reservoirs. Here we evaluate CH 4 dynamics in the main channel and downstream of the Santo Antônio hydroelectric reservoir, a large tropical run-of-the-river (ROR) reservoir in Amazonia. This study is intended to give a snapshot of the CH 4 dynamics during the falling water season at the initial stage after the start of operations. Our results show substantial and higher CH 4 production in reservoirs’ littoral sediment than in the naturally flooded areas downstream of the dam. Despite the large production in the reservoir or naturally flooded areas, high CH 4 oxidation in the main channel keep the concentration and fluxes of CH 4 in the main channel low. Similar CH 4 concentrations in the reservoir and downstream close to the dam suggest negligible degassing at the dam, but stable isotopic evidence indicates the presence of a less oxidized pool of CH 4 after the dam. ROR reservoirs are designed to disturb the natural river flow dynamics less than traditional reservoirs. If enough mixing and oxygenation remain throughout the reservoir’s water column, naturally high CH 4 oxidation rates can also remain and limit the diffusive CH 4 emissions from the main channel. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that our results focused on emissions in the deep and oxygenated main channel. High emissions, mainly through ebullition, may occur in the vast and shallow areas represented by bays and tributaries. However, detailed assessments are still required to understand the impacts of this reservoir on the annual emissions of CH 4 . 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
  6. null (Ed.)
  7. Abstract

    As CO2levels in Earth’s atmosphere and oceans steadily rise, varying organismal responses may produce ecological losers and winners. Increased ocean CO2can enhance seagrass productivity and thermal tolerance, providing some compensation for climate warming. However, the metabolic shifts driving the positive response to elevated CO2by these important ecosystem engineers remain unknown. We analyzed whole-plant performance and metabolic profiles of two geographically distinct eelgrass (Zostera marinaL.) populations in response to CO2enrichment. In addition to enhancing overall plant size, growth and survival, CO2enrichment increased the abundance of Calvin Cycle and nitrogen assimilation metabolites while suppressing the abundance of stress-related metabolites. Overall metabolome differences between populations suggest that some eelgrass phenotypes may be better suited than others to cope with an increasingly hot and sour sea. Our results suggest that seagrass populations will respond variably, but overall positively, to increasing CO2concentrations, generating negative feedbacks to climate change.

     
    more » « less