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  1. Inselsbacher, Erich (Ed.)

    Stomatal density, stomatal length and carbon isotope composition can all provide insights into environmental controls on photosynthesis and transpiration. Stomatal measurements can be time-consuming; it is therefore wise to consider efficient sampling schemes. Knowing the variance partitioning at different measurement levels (i.e., among stands, plots, trees, leaves and within leaves) can aid in making informed decisions around where to focus sampling effort. In this study, we explored the effects of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and calcium silicate (CaSiO3) addition on stomatal density, length and carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton). We observed a positive but small (8%) increase in stomatal density with P addition and an increase in δ13C with N and CaSiO3 addition in sugar maple, but we did not observe effects of nutrient addition on these characteristics in yellow birch. Variability was highest within leaves and among trees for stomatal density and highest among stomata for stomatal length. To reduce variability and increase chances of detecting treatment differences in stomatal density and length, future protocols should consider pretreatment and repeated measurements of trees over time or measure more trees per plot, increase the number of leaf impressions or standardize their locations, measure more stomata per image and ensure consistent light availability.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Despite widespread interest in science communication, public engagement with science, and engaged research, a large gap exists between the theories behind science engagement and how it is practiced within the scientific community. The scholarship of science engagement is also fractured, with knowledge and insights fragmented across discourses related to science communication, informal science learning, participatory research, and sustainability science. In the present article, we share a planning tool for integrating evidence and theory from these discourses into effective programs and projects. The ECO framework promotes three distinct and interacting modes of science engagement practice: formative engagement (listening and relationship building), codesign and coproduction (action-oriented partnerships), and broader outreach (expanding networks and dissemination). By planning engagement activities with attention to these three modes of engagement, scientists and scientific research organizations will be better poised to address urgent needs for stronger connections between science and society and increased use of scientific research in decision-making.

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  3. Abstract

    Widespread and increasing use of road deicing salt is a major driver of increasing lake chloride concentrations, which can negatively impact aquatic organisms and ecosystems. We used a simple model to explore the controls on road salt concentrations and predict equilibrium concentrations in lakes across the contiguous United States. The model suggests that equilibrium salt concentration depends on three quantities: salt application rate, road density, and runoff (precipitation minus evapotranspiration). High application combined with high road density leads to high equilibrium salt concentrations regardless of runoff. Yet if application can be held at current rates or reduced, concentrations in many lakes situated in lightly to moderately urbanized watersheds should equilibrate at levels below currently recommended thresholds. In particular, our model predicts that, given 2010–2015 road salt application rates, equilibrium chloride concentrations in the contiguous United States will exceed the current regulatory chronic exposure threshold of 230 mg L−1in over 2000 lakes; will exceed 120 mg L−1in over 9000 lakes; and will be below 120 mg L−1in hundreds of thousands of lakes. Our analysis helps to contextualize current trends in road salt pollution of lakes, and suggests that stabilization of equilibrium chloride concentrations below thresholds designed to protect aquatic organisms should be an achievable goal.

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  4. Abstract

    Resilience is the ability of ecosystems to maintain function while experiencing perturbation. Globally, forests are experiencing disturbances of unprecedented quantity, type, and magnitude that may diminish resilience. Early warning signals are statistical properties of data whose increase over time may provide insights into decreasing resilience, but there have been few applications to forests. We quantified four early warning signals (standard deviation, lag-1 autocorrelation, skewness, and kurtosis) across detrended time series of multiple ecosystem state variables at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA and analyzed how these signals have changed over time. Variables were collected over periods from 25 to 55 years from both experimentally manipulated and reference areas and were aggregated to annual timesteps for analysis. Long-term (>50 year) increases in early warning signals of stream calcium, a key biogeochemical variable at the site, illustrated declining resilience after decades of acid deposition, but only in watersheds that had previously been harvested. Trends in early warning signals of stream nitrate, a critical nutrient and water pollutant, likewise exhibited symptoms of declining resilience but in all watersheds. Temporal trends in early warning signals of some of groups of trees, insects, and birds also indicated changing resilience, but this pattern differed among, and even within, groups. Overall, ∼60% of early warning signals analyzed indicated decreasing resilience. Most of these signals occurred in skewness and kurtosis, suggesting ‘flickering’ behavior that aligns with emerging evidence of the forest transitioning into an oligotrophic condition. The other ∼40% of early warning signals indicated increasing or unchanging resilience. Interpretation of early warning signals in the context of system specific knowledge is therefore essential. They can be useful indicators for some key ecosystem variables; however, uncertainties in other variables highlight the need for further development of these tools in well-studied, long-term research sites.

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  5. Abstract

    Few previous studies have described the patterns of leaf characteristics in response to nutrient availability and depth in the crown. Sugar maple has been studied for both sensitivity to light, as a shade-tolerant species, and sensitivity to soil nutrient availability, as a species in decline due to acid rain. To explore leaf characteristics from the top to bottom of the canopy, we collected leaves along a vertical gradient within mature sugar maple crowns in a full-factorial nitrogen (N) by phosphorus (P) addition experiment in three forest stands in central New Hampshire, USA. Thirty-two of the 44 leaf characteristics had significant relationships with depth in the crown, with the effect of depth in the crown strongest for leaf area, photosynthetic pigments and polyamines. Nitrogen addition had a strong impact on the concentration of foliar N, chlorophyll, carotenoids, alanine and glutamate. For several other elements and amino acids, N addition changed patterns with depth in the crown. Phosphorus addition increased foliar P and boron (B); it also caused a steeper increase of P and B with depth in the crown. Since most of these leaf characteristics play a direct or indirect role in photosynthesis, metabolic regulation or cell division, studies that ignore the vertical gradient may not accurately represent whole-canopy performance.

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  6. Abstract

    Stream fluxes are commonly reported without a complete accounting for uncertainty in the estimates, which makes it difficult to evaluate the significance of findings or to identify where to direct efforts to improve monitoring programs. At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA, stream flow has been monitored continuously and solute concentrations have been sampled approximately weekly in small, gaged headwater streams since 1963, yet comprehensive uncertainty analyses have not been reported. We propagated uncertainty in the stage height–discharge relationship, watershed area, analytical chemistry, the concentration–discharge relationship used to interpolate solute concentrations, and the streamflow gap‐filling procedure to estimate uncertainty for both streamflow and solute fluxes for a recent 6‐year period (2013–2018) using a Monte Carlo approach. As a percentage of solute fluxes, uncertainty was highest for NH4+(34%), total dissolved nitrogen (8.8%), NO3(8.1%), and K+(7.4%), and lowest for dissolved organic carbon (3.7%), SO42−(4.0%), and Mg2+(4.4%). In units of flux, uncertainties were highest for solutes in highest concentration (Si, DOC, SO42−, and Na+) and lowest for those lowest in concentration (H+and NH4+). Laboratory analysis of solute concentration was a greater source of uncertainty than streamflow for solute flux, with the exception of DOC. Our results suggest that uncertainty in solute fluxes could be reduced with more precise measurements of solute concentrations. Additionally, more discharge measurements during high flows are needed to better characterize the stage‐discharge relationship. Quantifying uncertainty in streamflow and element export is important because it allows for determination of significance of differences in fluxes, which can be used to assess watershed response to disturbance and environmental change.

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  7. Abstract

    Source–sink patch dynamics occur when movement from sources stabilizes sinks by compensating for low local vital rates. The mechanisms underlying source–sink dynamics may be complicated in species that undergo transitions between discrete life stages, particularly when stages have overlapping habitat requirements and similar movement abilities. In these species, for example, the demographic effects of movement by one stage may augment or offset the effects of movement by another stage. We used a stream salamander system to investigate patch dynamics within this form of complex life history. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that the salamanderGyrinophilus porphyriticusexperiences source–sink dynamics in riffles and pools, the dominant geomorphic patch types in headwater streams. We estimated stage‐specific survival probabilities in riffles and pools and stage‐specific movement probabilities between the two patch types using 8 years of capture–recapture data on 4491 individuals, including premetamorphic larvae and postmetamorphic adults. We then incorporated survival and movement probabilities into a stage‐structured, two‐patch model to determine the demographic interactions between riffles and pools. Monthly survival probabilities of both stages were higher in pools than in riffles. Larvae were more likely to move from riffles to pools, but adults were more likely to move from pools to riffles, despite experiencing much lower survival in riffles. In simulations, eliminating interpatch movements by both stages indicated that riffles are sinks that rely on immigration from pools for stability. Allowing only larvae to move stabilized both patch types, but allowing only adults to move destabilized pools due to the demographic cost of adult emigration. These results indicated that larval movement not only stabilizes riffles, but also offsets the destabilizing effects of maladaptive adult movement. Similar patch dynamics may emerge in any structured population in which movement and local vital rates differ by age, size, or stage. Addressing these forms of internal demographic structure in patch dynamics analyses will help to refine and advance general understanding of spatial ecology.

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  8. 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 C 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.

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  9. 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. 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.

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  10. 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 to 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.

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