McSwiney C.P.

Distribution of Nitrous Oxide and Regulators of Its Production across a Tropical Rainforest Catena in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico

MCSWINEY, CLAIRE P.; MCDOWELL, WILLIAM H.; KELLER, MICHAEL 2001. Distribution of nitrous oxide and regulators of its production across a tropical rainforest catena in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Biogeochemistry 56: 265-286.

Abstract: 
Understanding of N2O fluxes to the atmosphere is complicated by interactions between chemical and physical controls on both production and movement of the gas. To better understand how N2O production is controlled in the soil, we measured concentrations of N2O and of the proximal controllers on its production in soil water and soil air in a field study in the Rio Icacos basin of the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. A toposequence (ridge, slope-ridge break, slope, slope-riparian break, riparian, and streambank) was used that has been previously characterized for groundwater chemistry and surface N2O fluxes. The proximal controls on N2O production include NO−3 , NH+4 , DOC, and O2. Nitrous oxide and O2 were measured in soil air and NO−3 , NH+4 , and DO were measured in soil water. Nitrate and DOC disappeared from soil solution at the slope-riparian interface, where soil N2O concentrations increased dramatically. Soil N2O concentrations continued to increase through the flood plain and the streambank. Nitrous oxide concentrations were highest in soil air probes that had intermediate O2 concentrations. Changes in N2O concentrations in groundwater and soil air in different environments along the catena appear to be controlled by O2 concentrations. In general, N processing in the unsaturated and saturated zones differs within each topographic position apparently due to differences in redox status.

Effects of Hurricane Disturbance on Groundwater Chemistry and Riparian Function in a Tropical Rain Forest

Effects of Hurricane Disturbance on Groundwater Chemistry and Riparian Function in a Tropical Rain Forest
William H. McDowell, Claire P. McSwiney and William B. Bowden
Biotropica
Vol. 28, No. 4, Part A. Special Issue: Long Term Responses of Caribbean Ecosystems to Disturbances (Dec., 1996), pp. 577-584

Abstract: 
The long-term response of shallow groundwater chemistry to the canopy disturbance and defoliation associated with Hurricane Hugo was studied at two sites in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. The sites differed in bedrock type, dominant vegetation, and availability of pre-hurricane data. At the primary study site, the Bisley catchment, hurricane disturbance resulted in increased concentrations of NO3 -, NH4 +, dissolved organic N, base cations, Cl-, and SiO2 in groundwater within 5 mo of the hurricane. The largest relative change in concentration occurred for K+, which increased from 0.7 to as high as 13 mg/L, concentrations were still 1.3 mg/L 5.5 yr after the hurricane. Most other solutes had returned to background levels within 1-2 yr of the hurricane. At the secondary study site, the Icacos catchment, NO3 - concentrations peaked at 1.1 mg/L one yr after the hurricane and decreased to nearly zero 5.5 yr after the hurricane. At both sites, NO3 - concentrations were higher in upslope wells than in those closer to the stream. Overall, riparian processes appear to reduce but not eliminate hydrologic losses of N following catastrophic disturbance. The nature of the long-term biogeochemical response to disturbance in this tropical rain forest ecosystem is similar to that observed in some montane temperate forests, and the time course of recovery appears to be associated with the speed with which vegetation regrows following disturbance.
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