nitrogen cycling

Mineralogy of Soils Overlying the Two Main Geologic Provinces of the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Wang Z.. Mineralogy of Soils Overlying the Two Main Geologic Provinces of the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. A Master Thesis. University of Pennsylvania, 2011.

Abstract: 
A total of twenty 0-20cm soil samples from the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico, have been analyzed using XRD analysis to determine their mineral content. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data show that all the samples contain quartz, orthoclase, kaolinite, dickite, halloysite and nicrite, gibbsite, augelite, metavariscite, goethite, tsaregorodtsevite, apophylite. Soil sample from Oxisols sites contain higher percentage of clay minerals than the samples from Dystrudepts sites. Furthermore, the general pattern of the percentage of total clays, feldspars, and gibbsite within each and between transects suggest that soils in the valleys are more weathered and leached than soils from ridges. The percentage increase of phosphate minerals in the soils follow that of clay minerals which is most probably due to the attachment of the phosphate minerals to clay mineral surfaces. The presence of the organic cation Tetramethylammonium in the cavities between the oxygen-silicon tetrahedra of the tsaregorodtsevite structure (feldsphoid-zeolitic structure) is consistent with a low energy mechanism for the sequestration of carbon and nitrogen in the EYNF soils.

Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium in Upland Tropical Forest Soils

Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium in Upland Tropical Forest Soils
Whendee L. Silver, Donald J. Herman and Mary K. Firestone
Ecology
Vol. 82, No. 9 (Sep., 2001), pp. 2410-2416

Abstract: 
The internal transformations of nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems exert strong controls over nitrogen availability to net primary productivity, nitrate leaching into groundwater, and emissions of nitrogen-based greenhouse gas. Here we report a reductive pathway for nitrogen cycling in upland tropical forest soils that decreases the amount of nitrate susceptible to leaching and denitrification, thus conserving nitrogen in the ecosystem. Using 15N tracers we measured rates of dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) in upland humid tropical forest soils averaging ;0.6 mg·g21·d21. Rates of DNRA were three times greater than the combined N2O and N2 fluxes from nitrification and denitrification and accounted for 75% of the turnover of the nitrate pool. To determine the relative importance of ambient C, O2, and NO3 concentrations on rates of DNRA, we estimated rates of DNRA in laboratory assays using soils from three tropical forests (cloud forest, palm forest, and wet tropical forest) that differed in ambient C and O2 concentrations. Rates of DNRA measured in laboratory assays ranged from 0.5 to 9 mg·g21·d21 in soils from the three different forests and appeared to be primarily limited by the availability of NO3, as opposed to C or O2. Tests of sterile soils indicated that the dominant reductive pathway for both NO2 and NO3 was biotic and not abiotic. Because NH4 is the form of N generally favored for assimilation by plants and microbes, and NO3 is easily lost from the ecosystem, the rapid and direct transformation of NO3 to NH4 via DNRA has the potential to play an important role in ecosystem N conservation.

Hurricane-induced nitrous oxide fluxes from a wet tropical forest

Erickson HE, Ayala G (2004) Hurricane-induced nitrous oxide
fluxes from a wet tropical forest. Global Change Biology, 10,
1155–1162.

Abstract: 
Hurricane activity is predicted to increase over the mid-Atlantic as global temperatures rise. Nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas with a substantial source from tropical soils, may increase after hurricanes yet this effect has been insufficiently documented. On September 21, 1998, Hurricane Georges crossed Puerto Rico causing extensive defoliation. We used a before–after design to assess the effect of Georges on N2O emissions, and factors likely influencing N2O fluxes including soil inorganic nitrogen pools and soil water content in a humid tropical forest at El Verde, Puerto Rico. Emissions of N2O up to 7 months post-Georges ranged from 5.92 to 4.26 ng cm2 h1 and averaged five times greater than fluxes previously measured at the site. N2O emissions 27 months after the hurricane remained over two times greater than previously measured fluxes. Soil ammonium pools decreased after Georges and remained low. The first year after the hurricane, nitrate pools increased, but not significantly when compared against a single measurement made before the hurricane. Soil moisture and temperature did not differ significantly in the two sampling periods. These results suggest that hurricanes increase N2O fluxes in these forests by altering soil N transformations and the relative availabilities of inorganic nitrogen.
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