Manganese (Mn) is an essential element for photosynthetic life, yet concentrations in Southern Ocean open waters are very low, resulting from biological uptake along with limited external inputs. At southern latitudes, waters overlying the Antarctic shelf are expected to have much higher Mn concentrations due to their proximity to external sources such as sediment and sea ice. In this study, we investigated the potential export of Mn-rich Antarctic shelf waters toward depleted open Southern Ocean waters. Our results showed that while high Mn concentrations were observed over the shelf, strong biological uptake decreased dissolved Mn concentrations in surface waters north of the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front (< 0.1 nM), limiting export of shelf Mn to the open Southern Ocean. Conversely, in bottom waters, mixing between Mn-rich Antarctic Bottom Waters and Mn-depleted Low Circumpolar Deep Waters combined with scavenging processes led to a decrease in dissolved Mn concentrations with distance from the coast. Subsurface dissolved Mn maxima represented a potential reservoir for surface waters (0.3 – 0.6 nM). However, these high subsurface values decreased with distance from the coast, suggesting these features may result from external sources near the shelf in addition to particle remineralization. Overall, these results imply that the lower-than-expected lateral export of trace metal-enriched waters contributes to the extremely low (< 0.1 nM) and potentially co-limiting Mn concentrations previously reported further north in this Southern Ocean region.
Arctic-Boreal lakes emit methane (CH₄), a powerful greenhouse gas. Recent studies suggest ebullition may be a dominant methane emission pathway in lakes but its drivers are poorly understood. Various predictors of lake methane ebullition have been proposed, but are challenging to evaluate owing to different geographical characteristics, field locations, and sample densities. Here we compare large geospatial datasets of lake area, lake perimeter, permafrost, landcover, temperature, soil organic carbon content, depth, and greenness with remotely sensed methane ebullition estimates for 5,143 Alaskan lakes. We find that lake wetland fraction (LWF), a measure of lake wetland and littoral zone area, is a leading predictor of methane ebullition (adj. R² = 0.211), followed by lake surface area (adj. R² = 0.201). LWF is inversely correlated with lake area, thus higher wetland fraction in smaller lakes may explain a commonly cited inverse relationship between lake area and methane ebullition. Lake perimeter (adj. R² = 0.176) and temperature (adj. R² = 0.157) are moderate predictors of lake ebullition, and soil organic carbon content, permafrost, lake depth, and greenness are weak predictors. The low adjusted R² values are typical and informative for methane attribution studies. A multiple regression model combining LWF, area, and temperature performs best (adj. R² = 0.325). Our results suggest landscape-scale geospatial analyses can complement smaller field studies, for attributing Arctic-Boreal lake methane emissions to readily available environmental variables.
We examine how zooplankton influence phytoplankton bloom phenology from the top-down, then use inverse modelling to infer the distribution and drivers of mean community zooplankton grazing dynamics based on the skill with which different simulated grazing formulations are able to recreate the observed seasonal cycle in phytoplankton biomass. We find that oligotrophic (eutrophic) biomes require more (less) efficient grazing dynamics, characteristic of micro- (meso-) zooplankton, leading to a strong relationship between the observed mean annual phytoplankton concentration in a region and the optimal grazing parameterization required to simulate it’s observed phenology. Across the globe, we found that a type III functional response consistently exhibits more skill than a type II response, suggesting the mean dynamics of a coarse model grid-cell should offer stability and prey refuge at low biomass concentrations. These new observationally-based global distributions will be invaluable to help constrain, validate and develop next generation of biogeochemical models.
Stream confluences are ubiquitous interfaces in freshwater networks and serve as junctions of previously independent landscapes. However, few studies have investigated how confluences influence transport, mixing, and fate of organic matter and inorganic nutrients at the scale of river networks. To understand how network biogeochemical fluxes may be altered by confluences, we conducted two sampling campaigns at five confluences in summer and fall 2021 spanning the extent of a mixed land use stream network. We sampled the confluence mainstem and tributary reaches as well as throughout the mixing zone downstream. We predicted that biologically reactive solutes would mix non-conservatively downstream of confluences and that alterations to downstream biogeochemistry would be driven by differences in chemistry and size of the tributary and upstream reaches. In our study, confluences were geomorphically distinct downstream compared to reaches upstream of the confluence. Dissolved organic matter and nutrients mixed non-conservatively downstream of the five confluences. Biogeochemical patterns downstream of confluences were only partially explained by contributing reach chemistry and drainage area. We found that the relationship between geomorphic variability, water residence time, and microbial respiration differed between reaches upstream and downstream of confluences. The lack of explanatory power from network-scale drivers suggests that non-conservative mixing downstream of confluences may be driven by biogeochemical processes within the confluence mixing zone. The unique geomorphology, non-conservative biogeochemistry, and ubiquity of confluences highlights a need to account for the distinct functional role of confluences in water resource management in freshwater networks.
The northern Antarctic Peninsula (NAP) is a key region of the Southern Ocean due to its complex ocean dynamics, distinct water mass sources, and the climate-driven changes taking place in the region. Despite the importance of macronutrients in fuelling primary production and driving the strong carbon uptake and storage, little is known about their spatiotemporal variability along the NAP. Hence, we explored a 24-year time series in this region, primarily sampled by the Brazilian High Latitude Group, to understand the processes involved in the spatial and interannual variability of macronutrients. We found high macronutrients concentrations, even in surface waters and under strong phytoplankton blooms. Minimum concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (16 μmol/ kg), phosphate (0.7 μmol/kg), and silicic acid (40 μmol/kg) along the NAP are higher than those recorded in surrounding regions. The main source of macronutrients is the intrusions of modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW), and this is enhanced by local sources, such as organic matter remineralisation, water mass mixing, and mesoscale structures. However, we identified a depletion in silicic acid due to influence of Dense Shelf Water (DSW) from the Weddell Sea. Macronutrient concentrations shows substantial interannual variability driven by the balance between the intrusions of mCDW and advection of DSW, which is largely modulated by the Southern Annular Mode and to some extent by El Niño-Southern Oscillation. These findings are critical to improving our understanding of the natural variability of this Southern Ocean ecosystem and how it is responding to climate changes. Associate Editor
The biogeochemical cycles of iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) in lakes and reservoirs have predictable seasonal trends, largely governed by stratification dynamics and redox conditions in the hypolimnion. However, short-term (i.e., sub-weekly) trends in Fe and Mn cycling are less well-understood, as most monitoring efforts focus on longer-term (i.e., monthly to yearly) time scales. The potential for elevated Fe and Mn to degrade water quality and impact ecosystem functioning, coupled with increasing evidence for high spatiotemporal variability in other biogeochemical cycles, necessitates a closer evaluation of the short-term Fe and Mn cycling dynamics in lakes and reservoirs. We adapted a UV-visible spectrophotometer coupled with a multiplexor pumping system and PLSR modeling to generate high spatiotemporal resolution predictions of Fe and Mn concentrations in a drinking water reservoir (Falling Creek Reservoir, Vinton, VA, USA) equipped with a hypolimnetic oxygenation (HOx) system. We quantified hourly Fe and Mn concentrations during two distinct transitional periods: reservoir turnover (Fall 2020) and initiation of the HOx system (Summer 2021). Our sensor system was able to successfully predict mean Fe and Mn concentrations as well as capture sub-weekly variability, ground-truthed by traditional grab sampling and laboratory analysis. During fall turnover, hypolimnetic Fe and Mn concentrations began to decrease more than two weeks before complete mixing of the reservoir occurred, with rapid equalization of epilimnetic and hypolimnetic Fe and Mn concentrations in less than 48 hours after full water column mixing. During the initiation of hypolimnetic oxygenation in Summer 2021, we observed that Fe and Mn were similarly affected by physical mixing in the hypolimnion, but displayed distinctly different responses to oxygenation, as indicated by the rapid oxidation of soluble Fe but not soluble Mn. This study demonstrates that Fe and Mn concentrations are highly sensitive to shifting DO and stratification and that their dynamics can substantially change on hourly to daily time scales in response to these transitions.
Stable carbon (δ¹³C) and oxygen (δ¹⁸O) isotope measurements in lacustrine ostracodes are widely used to infer past climatic conditions. Previous work has used individual ostracode valves to resolve seasonal and subdecadal climate signals, yet environmental controls on geochemical variability within co-occurring specimens from modern samples are poorly constrained. Here we focus on individual ostracode valves in modern-aged Lake Turkana sediments, an alkaline desert lake in tropical East Africa. We present individual ostracode valve analyses (IOVA) of δ¹³C and δ¹⁸O measurements (n = 329) of extant species Sclerocypris clavularis from 17 sites spanning the entire lake (n-avg ~19 specimens per site). We demonstrate that the pooled statistics of individual valve measurements at each site overcome inter-specimen isotopic variance and are driven by hydrological variability in the lake. Mean IOVA-δ¹³C and -δ¹⁸O across the sites exhibit strong spatial trends with higher values at more southerly latitudes, modulated by distance from the inflow of the Omo River. Whereas the latitudinal δ¹³C gradient reflects low riverine δ¹³C and decreasing lacustrine productivity towards the southern part of the lake, the δ¹⁸O gradient is controlled by evaporation superimposed on the waning influence of low-δ¹⁸O Omo River waters, sourced from the Ethiopian highlands. We show that ostracode δ¹⁸Oproximal to Omo River inflow is deposited under near-equilibrium conditions and that inter-specimen δ¹⁸O variability across the basin is consistent with observed temperature and lake water δ¹⁸O variability. IOVA can provide skillful constraints on high-frequency paleoenvironmental signals and, in Omo-Turkana sediments, yield quantitative insights into East African paleohydrology.
Transpiration is a key process driving energy, water and thus carbon dynamics. Global T products are fundamental for understanding and predicting vegetation processes. However, validation of these transpiration products is limited, mainly due to lack of suitable datasets. We propose a method to use SAPFLUXNET, the first quality-controlled global tree sap flow database, for evaluating transpiration products at global scale. Our method is based on evaluating temporal mismatches, rather than absolute values, by standardizing both transpiration and sap flow products. We evaluate how transpiration responses to hydro-meteorological variation from the Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM), a widely used global transpiration product, compare to in-situ responses from SAPFLUXNET field data. Our results show GLEAM and SAPFLUXNET temporal trends are in good agreement, but diverge under extreme conditions. Their temporal mismatches differ depending on the magnitude of transpiration and are not random, but linked to energy and water availability. Despite limitations, we show that the new global SAPFLUXNET dataset is a valuable tool to evaluate T products and identify problematic assumptions and processes embedded in models. The approach we propose can, therefore, be the foundation for a wider use of SAPFLUXNET, a new, independent, source of information, to understand the mechanisms controlling global transpiration fluxes.
Models and observations suggest that particle flux attenuation is lower across the mesopelagic zone of anoxic environments compared to oxic environments. Flux attenuation is controlled by microbial metabolism as well as aggregation and disaggregation by zooplankton, all of which also shape the relative abundance of differently sized particles. Observing and modeling particle spectra can provide information about the contributions of these processes. We measured particle size spectrum profiles at one station in the oligotrophic Eastern Tropical North Pacific Oxygen Deficient Zone (ETNP ODZ) using an underwater vision profiler (UVP), a high-resolution camera that counts and sizes particles. Measurements were taken at different times of day, over the course of a week. Comparing these data to particle flux measurements from sediment traps collected over the same time-period allowed us to constrain the particle size to flux relationship, and to generate highly resolved depth and time estimates of particle flux rates. We found that particle flux attenuated very little throughout the anoxic water column, and at some time-points appeared to increase. Comparing our observations to model predictions suggested that particles of all sizes remineralize more slowly in the ODZ than in oxic waters, and that large particles disaggregate into smaller particles, primarily between the base of the photic zone and 500 m. Acoustic measurements of multiple size classes of organisms suggested that many organisms migrated, during the day, to the region with high particle disaggregation. Our data suggest that diel-migrating organisms both actively transport biomass and disaggregate particles in the ODZ core.
The isotopic composition of dissolved oxygen offers a family of potentially unique tracers of respiration and transport in the subsurface ocean. Uncertainties in transport parameters and isotopic fractionation factors, however, have limited the strength of the constraints offered by 18O/16O and 17O/16O ratios in dissolved oxygen. In particular, puzzlingly low 17O/16O ratios observed for some low-oxygen samples have been difficult to explain. To improve our understanding of oxygen cycling in the ocean’s interior, we investigated the systematics of oxygen isotopologues in the subsurface Pacific using new data and a 2-D isotopologue-enabled isopycnal reaction-transport model. We measured 18O/16O and 17O/16O ratios, as well as the “clumped” 18O18O isotopologue in the northeast Pacific, and compared the results to previously published data. We find that transport and respiration rates constrained by O2 concentrations in the oligotrophic Pacific yield good measurement-model agreement across all O2 isotopologues only when using a recently reported set of respiratory isotopologue fractionation factors that differ from those most often used for oxygen cycling in the ocean. These fractionation factors imply that an elevated proportion of 17O compared to 18O in dissolved oxygen―i.e., its triple-oxygen isotope composition―does not uniquely reflect gross primary productivity and mixing. For all oxygen isotopologues, transport, respiration, and photosynthesis comprise important parts of their respective budgets. Mechanisms of oxygen removal in the subsurface ocean are discussed.
Areas of lakes that support emergent aquatic vegetation emit disproportionately more methane than open water but are under-represented in upscaled estimates of lake greenhouse gas emissions. These shallow areas are typically less than ~1.5 m deep and can be estimated through synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mapping. To assess the importance of lake emergent vegetation (LEV) zones to landscape-scale methane emissions, we combine airborne SAR mapping with field measurements of vegetated and open-water methane flux. First, we use Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle SAR (UAVSAR) data from the NASA Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) to map LEV in 4,572 lakes across four Arctic-boreal study areas and find it comprises ~16% of lake area, exceeding previous estimates, and exhibiting strong regional differences (averaging 59 [50–68]%, 22 [20-25]%, 1.0 [0.8-1.2]%, and 7.0 [5.0-12]% of lake areas in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, Yukon Flats, and northern and southern Canadian Shield, respectively). Next, we account for these vegetated areas through a simple upscaling exercise using paired methane fluxes from regions of open water and LEV. After excluding vegetated areas that could be accounted for as wetlands, we find that inclusion of LEV increases overall lake emissions by 21 [18-25]% relative to estimates that do not differentiate lake zones. While LEV zones are proportionately greater in small lakes, this relationship is weak and varies regionally, underscoring the need for methane-relevant remote sensing measurements of lake zones and a consistent criterion for distinguishing wetlands. Finally, Arctic-boreal lake methane upscaling estimates can be improved with more measurements from all lake zones.
Fire regimes are influenced by both exogenous drivers (e.g., increases in atmospheric CO2; and climate change) and endogenous drivers (e.g., vegetation and soil/litter moisture), which constrain fuel loads and fuel aridity. Herein, we identified how exogenous and endogenous drivers can interact to affect fuels and fire regimes in a semiarid watershed in the inland northwestern U.S. throughout the 21st century. We used a coupled ecohydrologic and fire regime model to examine how climate change and CO2 scenarios influence fire regimes over space and time. In this semiarid watershed we found that, in the mid-21st century (2040s), the CO2 fertilization effect on vegetation productivity outstripped the effects of climate change-induced fuel decreases, resulting in greater fuel loading and, thus, a net increase in fire size and burn probability; however, by the late-21st century (2070s), climatic warming dominated over CO2 fertilization, thus reducing fuel loading and fire activity. We also found that, under future climate change scenarios, fire regimes will shift progressively from being flammability to fuel-limited, and we identified a metric to quantify this shift: the ratio of the change in fuel loading to the change in its aridity. The threshold value for which this metric indicates a flammability versus fuel-limited regime differed between grasses and woody species but remained stationary over time. Our results suggest that identifying these thresholds in other systems requires narrowing uncertainty in exogenous drivers, such as future precipitation patterns and CO2 effects on vegetation.
Small freshwater reservoirs are ubiquitous and likely play an important role in global greenhouse gas (GHG) budgets relative to their limited water surface area. However, constraining annual GHG fluxes in small freshwater reservoirs is challenging given their footprint area and spatially and temporally variable emissions. To quantify the GHG budget of a small (0.1 km2) reservoir, we deployed an eddy covariance system in a small reservoir located in southwestern Virginia, USA over two years to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes near-continuously. Fluxes were coupled with in situ sensors measuring multiple environmental parameters. Over both years, we found the reservoir to be a large source of CO2 (633-731 g CO2-C m-2 yr-1) and CH4 (1.02-1.29 g CH4-C m-2 yr-1) to the atmosphere, with substantial sub-daily, daily, weekly, and seasonal timescales of variability. For example, fluxes were substantially greater during the summer thermally-stratified season as compared to the winter. In addition, we observed significantly greater GHG fluxes during winter intermittent ice-on conditions as compared to continuous ice-on conditions, suggesting GHG emissions from lakes and reservoirs may increase with predicted decreases in winter ice-cover. Finally, we identified several key environmental variables that may be driving reservoir GHG fluxes at multiple timescales, including, surface water temperature and thermocline depth followed by fluorescent dissolved organic matter. Overall, our novel year-round eddy covariance data from a small reservoir indicate that these freshwater ecosystems likely contribute a substantial amount of CO2 and CH4 to global GHG budgets, relative to their surface area.
The fate of organic carbon (C) in permafrost soils is important to the climate system due to the large global stocks of permafrost C. Thawing permafrost can be subject to dynamic hydrology, making redox processes an important factor controlling soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition rates and greenhouse gas production. In iron (Fe)-rich permafrost soils, Fe(III) can serve as a terminal electron acceptor, suppressing methane (CH4) production and increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) production. Current large-scale models of Arctic C cycling do not include Fe cycling or pH interactions. Here, we coupled Fe redox reactions and C cycling in a geochemical reaction model to simulate the interactions of SOM decomposition, Fe(III) reduction, pH dynamics, and greenhouse gas production in permafrost soils subject to dynamic hydrology. We evaluated the model using measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes as well as changes in pH, Fe(II), and dissolved organic C concentrations from oxic and anoxic incubations of permafrost soils from polygonal permafrost sites in northern Alaska, United States. In simulations of higher frequency oxic-anoxic cycles, rapid oxidation of Fe(II) to Fe(III) during oxic periods and gradual Fe(III) reduction during anoxic periods reduced cumulative CH4 fluxes and increased cumulative CO2 fluxes. Lower pH suppressed CH4 fluxes through its direct impact on methanogenesis and by increasing Fe(III) bioavailability. Our results suggest that models that do not include Fe-redox reactions and its pH dependence could overestimate CH4 production and underestimate CO2 emissions and SOM decomposition rates in Fe-rich, frequently waterlogged Arctic soils.
The interface between rivers and groundwater is a key driver for the turnover of reactive nitrogen compounds, that cause eutrophication of rivers and endanger drinking-water production from groundwater. Molecular-biological data and omics tools have been used to characterize microorganisms responsible for the turnover of nitrogen compounds. While transcripts of functional genes and enzymes are used as measures of microbial activity it is not yet clear how they quantitatively relate to actual turnover rates under variable environmental conditions. We developed a reactive-transport model for denitrification that simultaneously predicts the distributions of functional-gene transcripts, enzymes and reaction rates. Applying the model, we evaluate the response of transcripts and enzymes at the river–groundwater interface to stable and dynamic hydrogeochemical regimes. While functional-gene transcripts respond to short-term (diurnal) fluctuations of substrate availability and oxygen concentrations, enzyme concentrations are stable over such time scales. The presence of functional-gene transcripts and enzymes globally coincides with the zones of active denitrification. However, transcript and enzyme concentrations do not directly translate into denitrification rates in a quantitative way because of non-linear effects and hysteresis caused by variable substrate availability and oxygen inhibition. Based on our simulations, we suggest that molecular-biological data should be combined with aqueous chemical data, which can typically be obtained at higher spatial and temporal resolution, to parameterize and calibrate reactive-transport models.
Terrestrial primary productivity plays a pivotal role as a forcing factor of atmospheric CO2 and drives biospheric carbon dynamics. India is one of the largest GHGs emitters, yet less is understood in carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Here we explored the trend and magnitude of gross and net productivities of India for the last two decades (2000 – 2019) by integrating satellite observation from MODIS, remote sensing-based CASA model and twenty DGVMs from the TRENDY ensemble. Preliminary results exhibited a unimodal response across the data products with an overall positive trend and a declining decadal trend for 2010 – 2019. Alongside, the SPEI drought severity index across various ecological zones indicated India was more positively sensitive to wet span than the dry. We found that the ecosystems were drastically shifting their nature to C source with a positive trend in the productivities and were mediated by the changing climate. The analysis also revealed the increasing decadal amplitude of GPP by 0.0884 Pg C/Year, NBP by 0.0096 Pg C/Year, NEP by 0.0195 Pg C/Year, NPP by 0.0448 Pg C/Year and NEE by 0.0161 Pg C/Year. CASA underestimated the magnitudes but with the temporal synchronisation of the ensemble. Seasonal variability across the agro-ecological zones was more sensitive and was an offset for the declining productivities in the primaeval forests of India. The monsoon season contributed to the interannual variability of India. Higher uncertainty in productivities was observed in the high greening areas, whereas it contradicted NBP by reflecting a stable trend. Our results underscore the nature of C variability in the terrestrial ecosystems of India; and, they indicate that C release has reacted stronger than the C uptake, which was substantially inferred from NEE across the ecological zones.
Oxygen availability is decreasing in many lakes and reservoirs worldwide, raising the urgency for understanding how anoxia (low oxygen) affects coupled biogeochemical cycling, which has major implications for water quality, food webs, and ecosystem functioning. Although the increasing magnitude and prevalence of anoxia has been documented in freshwaters globally, the challenges of disentangling oxygen and temperature responses have hindered assessment of the effects of anoxia on carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus concentrations, stoichiometry (chemical ratios), and retention in freshwaters. The consequences of anoxia are likely severe and may be irreversible, necessitating ecosystem-scale experimental investigation of decreasing freshwater oxygen availability. To address this gap, we devised and conducted REDOX (the Reservoir Ecosystem Dynamic Oxygenation eXperiment), an unprecedented, seven-year experiment in which we manipulated and modeled bottom-water (hypolimnetic) oxygen availability at the whole-ecosystem scale in a eutrophic reservoir. Seven years of data reveal that anoxia significantly increased hypolimnetic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus concentrations and altered elemental stoichiometry by factors of 2-5 relative to oxic periods. Importantly, prolonged summer anoxia increased nitrogen export from the reservoir by six-fold and changed the reservoir from a net sink to a net source of phosphorus and organic carbon downstream. While low oxygen in freshwaters is thought of as a response to land use and climate change, results from REDOX demonstrate that low oxygen can also be a driver of major changes to freshwater biogeochemical cycling, which may serve as an intensifying feedback that increases anoxia in downstream waterbodies. Consequently, as climate and land use change continue to increase the prevalence of anoxia in lakes and reservoirs globally, it is likely that anoxia will have major effects on freshwater carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus budgets as well as water quality and ecosystem functioning.
Trees in seasonal climates may use water originating from both winter and summer precipitation. However, the seasonal origins of water used by trees have not been systematically studied. We used stable isotopes of water to compare the seasonal origins of water found in three common tree species across 24 Swiss forest sites sampled in two different years. Water from winter precipitation was observed in trees at most sites, even at the peak of summer, although the relative representation of seasonal sources differed by species. However, the representation of winter precipitation in trees decreased with site mean annual precipitation in both years; additionally, it was generally lower in the cooler and wetter year. Together, these relationships show that precipitation amount influenced the seasonal origin water taken up by trees across both time and space. These results suggest higher turnover of the plant-available soil-water pool in wetter sites and wetter years.