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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2008

  • Title: Coupling existing forest-atmosphere hydrology and carbon flux research with new stream biogeochemistry research
  • Primary Author: William Sobczak (College of the Holy Cross)
  • Additional Authors: Emery Boose (Harvard Forest)
  • Abstract:

    The objective of the research project is to identify linkages between forest and stream ecosystem fluxes of energy and nutrients at a wide range of temporal scales, from hourly to annual and longer timescales. Specifically, we seek to identify factors controlling C, N, and P transfers from a mature forest to a coupled headwater stream among and throughout diverse hydrologic conditions. We have installed stream gages and developed a novel aquatic probe system to investigate the coupling of terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemical cycles on short time scales in a forested watershed that has 16 years of continuous eddy flux data. Initial findings include low rates of autochthonous primary production, marked diurnal variation in discharge and colored-dissolved organic matter (CDOM), rapid increases in CDOM concentrations and flux following storm events, and large organic N and P losses relative to inorganic solutes. Our collaborative-research program integrates three important frontier areas of ecosystem science and global change biology: 1) defining linkages between coupled biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with respect to carbon and nutrient losses, 2) rapid assessment of ecosystem-level processes with continuous, real-time stream hydrological and biogeochemical data that are quickly distributed to the scientific community, and 3) delineation of underlying biogeochemical mechanisms resulting in periodic and continuous carbon and nutrient losses from terrestrial ecosystems over a wide range of temporal scales ranging from minutes to decades.

  • Research Category: Watershed Ecology