skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1637685

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. Abstract

    Groundwater flow direction within the critical zone of headwater catchments is often assumed to mimic land surface topographic gradients. However, groundwater hydraulic gradients are also influenced by subsurface permeability contrasts, which can result in variability in flow direction and magnitude. In this study, we investigated the relationship between shallow groundwater flow direction, surface topography, and the subsurface topography of low permeability units in a headwater catchment at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), NH. We continuously monitored shallow groundwater levels in the solum throughout several seasons in a well network (20 wells of 0.18–1.1 m depth) within the upper hillslopes of Watershed 3 of the HBEF. Water levels were also monitored in four deeper wells, screened from 2.4 to 6.9 m depth within glacial drift of the C horizon. We conducted slug tests across the well network to determine the saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) of the materials surrounding each well. Results showed that under higher water table regimes, groundwater flow direction mimics surface topography, but under lower water table regimes, flow direction can deviate as much as 56 degrees from surface topography. Under these lower water table conditions, groundwater flow direction instead followed the topography of the top of the Cmore »horizon. The interquartile range ofKsatwithin the C horizon was two orders of magnitude lower than within the solum. Overall, our results suggest that the land surface topography and the top of the C horizon acted as end members defining the upper and lower bounds of flow direction variability. This suggests that temporal dynamics of groundwater flow direction should be considered when calculating hydrologic fluxes in critical zone and runoff generation studies of headwater catchments that are underlain by glacial drift.

    « less
  2. Abstract

    In headwater catchments, surface groundwater discharge areas have unique soil biogeochemistry and can be hot spots for solute contribution to streams. Across the northeastern United States, headwater hillslopes with surface groundwater discharge were enriched in soil Mn, including Watershed 3 of Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Soils of this site were investigated along a grid to determine extent of Mn‐rich zone(s) and relationships to explanatory variables using ordinary kriging. The O and B horizons were analyzed for total secondary Mn and Fe, Cr oxidation potential, total organic C, moisture content, wetness ratio, and pH. Two Mn hot spots were found: a poorly drained, flowing spring (Location A); and a moderately well‐drained swale (Location B). Both had ∼6,000–9,000 mg Mn kg–1soil. However, Location A had high Cr oxidation potential (a measure of Mn reactivity), whereas Location B did not. Location C, a poorly drained seep with slow‐moving water, had lower Mn content and Cr oxidation potential. Manganese‐rich soil particles were analyzed using X‐ray absorption near‐edge structure and micro‐X‐ray diffraction; the dominant oxidation state was Mn(IV), and the dominant Mn oxide species was a layer‐type Mn oxide (L‐MnO2). We propose input of Mn(II) with groundwater, which is oxidized by soil microbes.more »Studies of catchment structure and response could benefit from identifying hot spots of trace metals, sourced mainly from parent material but which accumulate according to hydropedologic conditions. Small‐scale variation in Mn enrichment due to groundwater and microtopography appears to be more important than regional‐scale variation due to air pollution.

    « less
  3. Abstract

    Understanding the demographic drivers of range contractions is important for predicting species' responses to climate change; however, few studies have examined the effects of climate change on survival and recruitment across species' ranges. We show that climate change can drive trailing edge range contractions through the effects on apparent survival, and potentially recruitment, in a migratory songbird. We assessed the demographic drivers of trailing edge range contractions using a long‐term demography dataset for the black‐throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) collected across elevational climate gradients at the trailing edge and core of the breeding range. We used a Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate the effect of climate change on apparent survival and recruitment and to forecast population viability at study plots through 2040. The trailing edge population at the low‐elevation plot became locally extinct by 2017. The local population at the mid‐elevation plot at the trailing edge gradually declined and is predicted to become extirpated by 2040. Population declines were associated with warming temperatures at the mid‐elevation plot, although results were more equivocal at the low‐elevation plot where we had fewer years of data. Population density was stable or increasing at the range core, although warming temperatures are predicted tomore »cause population declines by 2040 at the low‐elevation plot. This result suggests that even populations within the geographic core of the range are vulnerable to climate change. The demographic drivers of local population declines varied between study plots, but warming temperatures were frequently associated with declining rates of population growth and apparent survival. Declining apparent survival in our study system is likely to be associated with increased adult emigration away from poor‐quality habitats. Our results suggest that demographic responses to warming temperatures are complex and dependent on local conditions and geographic range position, but spatial variation in population declines is consistent with the climate‐mediated range shift hypothesis. Local populations of black‐throated blue warblers near the warm‐edge range boundary at low latitudes and low elevations are likely to be the most vulnerable to climate change, potentially leading to local extirpation and range contractions.

    « less
  4. Abstract

    We use the Multiple Element Limitation (MEL) model to examine responses of 12 ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2), warming, and 20% decreases or increases in precipitation. Ecosystems respond synergistically to elevated CO2, warming, and decreased precipitation combined because higher water‐use efficiency with elevated CO2and higher fertility with warming compensate for responses to drought. Response to elevated CO2, warming, and increased precipitation combined is additive. We analyze changes in ecosystem carbon (C) based on four nitrogen (N) and four phosphorus (P) attribution factors: (1) changes in total ecosystem N and P, (2) changes in N and P distribution between vegetation and soil, (3) changes in vegetation C:N and C:P ratios, and (4) changes in soil C:N and C:P ratios. In the combined CO2and climate change simulations, all ecosystems gain C. The contributions of these four attribution factors to changes in ecosystem C storage varies among ecosystems because of differences in the initial distributions of N and P between vegetation and soil and the openness of the ecosystem N and P cycles. The net transfer of N and P from soil to vegetation dominates the C response of forests. For tundra and grasslands, the C gain is also associated withmore »increased soil C:N and C:P. In ecosystems with symbiotic N fixation, C gains resulted from N accumulation. Because of differences in N versus P cycle openness and the distribution of organic matter between vegetation and soil, changes in the N and P attribution factors do not always parallel one another. Differences among ecosystems in C‐nutrient interactions and the amount of woody biomass interact to shape ecosystem C sequestration under simulated global change. We suggest that future studies quantify the openness of the N and P cycles and changes in the distribution of C, N, and P among ecosystem components, which currently limit understanding of nutrient effects on C sequestration and responses to elevated CO2and climate change.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    Microbial biomass is known to decrease with soil drying and to increase after rewetting due to physiological assimilation and substrate limitation under fluctuating moisture conditions, but how the effects of changing moisture conditions vary between dry and wet environments is unclear. Here, we conducted a meta‐analysis to assess the effects of elevated and reduced soil moisture on microbial biomass C (MBC) and microbial biomass N (MBN) across a broad range of forest sites between dry and wet regions. We found that the influence of both elevated and reduced soil moisture on MBC and MBN concentrations in forest soils was greater in dry than in wet regions. The influence of altered soil moisture on MBC and MBN concentrations increased significantly with the manipulation intensity but decreased with the length of experimental period, with a dramatic increase observed under a very short‐term precipitation pulse. Moisture effect did not differ between coarse‐textured and fine‐textured soils. Precipitation intensity, experimental duration, and site standardized precipitation index (dry or wet climate) were more important than edaphic factors (i.e., initial water content, bulk density, and clay content) in determining microbial biomass in response to altered moisture in forest soils. Different responses of microbial biomass in forestmore »soils between dry and wet regions should be incorporated into models to evaluate how changes in the amount, timing, and intensity of precipitation affect soil biogeochemical processes.

    « less
  6. Abstract

    Mean annual air temperatures are projected to increase, while the winter snowpack is expected to shrink in depth and duration for many mid‐ and high‐latitude temperate forest ecosystems over the next several decades. Together, these changes will lead to warmer growing season soil temperatures and an increased frequency of soil freeze–thaw cycles (FTCs) in winter. We took advantage of the Climate Change Across Seasons Experiment (CCASE) at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA, to determine how these changes in soil temperature affect foliar nitrogen (N) and carbon metabolism of red maple (Acer rubrum) trees in 2015 and 2017. Earlier work from this study revealed a similar increase in foliar N concentrations with growing season soil warming, with or without the occurrence of soil FTCs in winter. However, these changes in soil warming could differentially affect the availability of cellular nutrients, concentrations of primary and secondary metabolites, and the rates of photosynthesis that are all responsive to climate change. We found that foliar concentrations of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), N, spermine (a polyamine), amino acids (alanine, histidine, and phenylalanine), chlorophyll, carotenoids, sucrose, and rates of photosynthesis increased with growing season soil warming. Despitemore »similar concentrations of foliar N with soil warming with and without soil FTCs in winter, winter soil FTCs affected other foliar metabolic responses. The combination of growing season soil warming and winter soil FTCs led to increased concentrations of two polyamines (putrescine and spermine) and amino acids (alanine, proline, aspartic acid, γ‐aminobutyric acid, valine, leucine, and isoleucine). Treatment‐specific metabolic changes indicated that while responses to growing season warming were more connected to their role as growth modulators, soil warming + FTC treatment‐related effects revealed their dual role in growth and stress tolerance. Together, the results of this study demonstrate that growing season soil warming has multiple positive effects on foliar N and cellular metabolism in trees and that some of these foliar responses are further modified by the addition of stress from winter soil FTCs.

    « less
  7. Abstract

    The interface between field biology and technology is energizing the collection of vast quantities of environmental data. Passive acoustic monitoring, the use of unattended recording devices to capture environmental sound, is an example where technological advances have facilitated an influx of data that routinely exceeds the capacity for analysis. Computational advances, particularly the integration of machine learning approaches, will support data extraction efforts. However, the analysis and interpretation of these data will require parallel growth in conceptual and technical approaches for data analysis. Here, we use a large hand‐annotated dataset to showcase analysis approaches that will become increasingly useful as datasets grow and data extraction can be partially automated.

    We propose and demonstrate seven technical approaches for analyzing bioacoustic data. These include the following: (1) generating species lists and descriptions of vocal variation, (2) assessing how abiotic factors (e.g., rain and wind) impact vocalization rates, (3) testing for differences in community vocalization activity across sites and habitat types, (4) quantifying the phenology of vocal activity, (5) testing for spatiotemporal correlations in vocalizations within species, (6) among species, and (7) using rarefaction analysis to quantify diversity and optimize bioacoustic sampling.

    To demonstrate these approaches, we sampled in 2016 and 2018 and usedmore »hand annotations of 129,866 bird vocalizations from two forests in New Hampshire, USA, including sites in the Hubbard Brook Experiment Forest where bioacoustic data could be integrated with more than 50 years of observer‐based avian studies. Acoustic monitoring revealed differences in community patterns in vocalization activity between forests of different ages, as well as between nearby similar watersheds. Of numerous environmental variables that were evaluated, background noise was most clearly related to vocalization rates. The songbird community included one cluster of species where vocalization rates declined as ambient noise increased and another cluster where vocalization rates declined over the nesting season. In some common species, the number of vocalizations produced per day was correlated at scales of up to 15 km. Rarefaction analyses showed that adding sampling sites increased species detections more than adding sampling days.

    Although our analyses used hand‐annotated data, the methods will extend readily to large‐scale automated detection of vocalization events. Such data are likely to become increasingly available as autonomous recording units become more advanced, affordable, and power efficient. Passive acoustic monitoring with human or automated identification at the species level offers growing potential to complement observer‐based studies of avian ecology.

    « less
  8. Abstract

    Linking biometric measurements of stand‐level biomass growth to tower‐based measurements of carbon uptake—gross primary productivity and net ecosystem productivity—has been the focus of numerous ecosystem‐level studies aimed to better understand the factors regulating carbon allocation to slow‐turnover wood biomass pools. However, few of these studies have investigated the importance of previous year uptake to growth. We tested the relationship between wood biomass increment (WBI) and different temporal periods of carbon uptake from the current and previous years to investigate the potential lagged allocation of fixed carbon to growth among six mature, temperate forests. We found WBI was strongly correlated to carbon uptake across space (i.e., long‐term averages at the different sites) but on annual timescales, WBI was much less related to carbon uptake, suggesting a temporal mismatch between C fixation and allocation to biomass. We detected lags in allocation of the previous year's carbon uptake to WBI at three of the six sites. Sites with higher annual WBI had overall stronger correlations to carbon uptake, with the strongest correlations to carbon uptake from the previous year. Only one site had WBI with strong positive relationships to current year uptake and not the previous year. Forests with low rates ofmore »WBI demonstrated weak correlations to carbon uptake from the previous year and stronger relationships to current year climate conditions. Our work shows an important, but not universal, role of lagged allocation of the previous year's carbon uptake to growth in temperate forests.

    « less
  9. Abstract

    Ecosystems constantly adjust to altered biogeochemical inputs, changes in vegetation and climate, and previous physical disturbances. Such disturbances create overlapping ‘biogeochemical legacies’ affecting modern nutrient mass balances. To understand how ‘legacies’ affected watershed‐ecosystem (WEC) biogeochemistry during five decades of studies within the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), we extended biogeochemical trends and hydrologic fluxes back to 1900 to provide an historical framework for our long‐term studies. This reconstruction showed acid rain peaking at HBEF in the late 1960s‐early 1970s near the beginning of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The long‐term, parabolic arc in acid inputs to HBEF generated a corresponding arc in the ionic strength of stream water, with acid inputs generating increased losses of H+and soil base cations between 1963 and 1969 and then decreased losses after 1970. Nitrate release after disturbance is coupled with previous N‐deposition and storage, biological uptake, and hydrology. Sulfur was stored in soils from decades of acid deposition but is now nearly depleted. Total exports of base cations from the soil exchange pool represent one of the largest disturbances to forest and associated aquatic ecosystems at the HBEF since the Pleistocene glaciation. Because precipitation inputs of base cations currently are extremely small,more »such losses can only be replaced through the slow process of mineral weathering. Thus, the chemistry of stream water is extremely dilute and likely to become even more dilute than pre‐Industrial Revolution estimates. The importance of calculating chemical fluxes is clearly demonstrated in reconstruction of acid rain impacts during the pre‐measurement period. The aggregate impact of acid rain on WEC exports is far larger than historical forest harvest effects, and even larger than the most severe deforestation experiment (Watershed 2) at HBEF. A century of acid rain had a calcium stripping impact equivalent totwoW2 experiments involving complete deforestation and herbicide applications.

    « less
  10. Abstract

    The complex effects of global environmental changes on ecosystems result from the interaction of multiple stressors, their direct impacts on species and their indirect impacts on species interactions. Air pollution (and resulting depletion of soil base cations) and biotic invasion (e.g. beech bark disease [BBD] complex) are two stressors that are affecting the foundational tree species of northern hardwood forests, sugar maple and American beech, in northeastern North America.

    At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, a watershed‐scale calcium (Ca) addition in 1999 restored soil Ca that had been lost as a result of acid deposition in a maple‐beech forest that was severely affected by BBD beginning in the 1970s. We present historic data from the reference watershed for BBD progression, 20 years of comparative forest data from the treated and reference watersheds, and tree demographic rates for the most recent decade. We hypothesized that mitigation of soil acidification on the treated watershed in the presence of BBD would favour improved performance of sugar maple, a species that is particularly sensitive to base cation depletion.

    We observed significant responses of seed production, seedling bank composition, sapling survival and recruitment, and tree mortality and growth to the restoration of soil Ca,more »indicating that acid rain depletion of soil base cations has influenced demographic rates of maple and beech. Overall, the reduced performance of sugar maple on acidified soils may indirectly favour the persistence of diseased beech trees and a greater abundance of beech vegetative sprouts, effectively promoting the chronic presence of severe BBD in the population.

    Synthesis. The shifting conditions created by global change have altered long‐term demographic rates and may thereby impact competitive interactions in the current centre of these species ranges and have more profound implications for species persistence and migration potential than previously anticipated.

    « less