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  1. Abstract

    Assessment of socio-environmental problems and the search for solutions often require intersecting geospatial data on environmental factors and human population densities. In the United States, Census data is the most common source for information on population. However, timely acquisition of such data at sufficient spatial resolution can be problematic, especially in cases where the analysis area spans urban-rural gradients. With this data release, we provide a 30-m resolution population estimate for the contiguous United States. The workflow dasymetrically distributes Census block level population estimates across all non-transportation impervious surfaces within each Census block. The methodology is updatable using the most recent Census data and remote sensing-based observations of impervious surface area. The dataset, known as the U.G.L.I (updatable gridded lightweight impervious) population dataset, compares favorably against other population data sources, and provides a useful balance between resolution and complexity.

  2. Abstract

    Ponds are often identified by their small size and shallow depths, but the lack of a universal evidence-based definition hampers science and weakens legal protection. Here, we compile existing pond definitions, compare ecosystem metrics (e.g., metabolism, nutrient concentrations, and gas fluxes) among ponds, wetlands, and lakes, and propose an evidence-based pond definition. Compiled definitions often mentioned surface area and depth, but were largely qualitative and variable. Government legislation rarely defined ponds, despite commonly using the term. Ponds, as defined in published studies, varied in origin and hydroperiod and were often distinct from lakes and wetlands in water chemistry. We also compared how ecosystem metrics related to three variables often seen in waterbody definitions: waterbody size, maximum depth, and emergent vegetation cover. Most ecosystem metrics (e.g., water chemistry, gas fluxes, and metabolism) exhibited nonlinear relationships with these variables, with average threshold changes at 3.7 ± 1.8 ha (median: 1.5 ha) in surface area, 5.8 ± 2.5 m (median: 5.2 m) in depth, and 13.4 ± 6.3% (median: 8.2%) emergent vegetation cover. We use this evidence and prior definitions to define ponds as waterbodies that are small (< 5 ha), shallow (< 5 m), with < 30% emergent vegetation and we highlight areas for further study near these boundaries. This definition will inform the science, policy, andmore »management of globally abundant and ecologically significant pond ecosystems.

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  3. Abstract

    Soil organic matter (SOM) is the largest terrestrial pool of organic carbon, and potential carbon-climate feedbacks involving SOM decomposition could exacerbate anthropogenic climate change. However, our understanding of the controls on SOM mineralization is still incomplete, and as such, our ability to predict carbon-climate feedbacks is limited. To improve our understanding of controls on SOM decomposition, A and upper B horizon soil samples from 26 National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites spanning the conterminous U.S. were incubated for 52 weeks under conditions representing site-specific mean summer temperature and sample-specific field capacity (−33 kPa) water potential. Cumulative carbon dioxide respired was periodically measured and normalized by soil organic C content to calculate cumulative specific respiration (CSR), a metric of SOM vulnerability to mineralization. The Boruta algorithm, a feature selection algorithm, was used to select important predictors of CSR from 159 variables. A diverse suite of predictors was selected (12 for A horizons, 7 for B horizons) with predictors falling into three categories corresponding to SOM chemistry, reactive Fe and Al phases, and site moisture availability. The relationship between SOM chemistry predictors and CSR was complex, while sites that had greater concentrations of reactive Fe and Al phases or were wetter had lowermore »CSR. Only three predictors were selected for both horizon types, suggesting dominant controls on SOM decomposition differ by horizon. Our findings contribute to the emerging consensus that a broad array of controls regulates SOM decomposition at large scales and highlight the need to consider changing controls with depth.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
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