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Nitrate removal in stream ecosystems measured by 15N addition experiments: Total uptake

Limnology and Oceanography

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Abstract

We measured uptake length of 15NO-3 in 72 streams in eight regions across the United States and Puerto Rico to develop quantitative predictive models on controls of NO-3 uptake length. As part of the Lotic Intersite Nitrogen eXperiment II project, we chose nine streams in each region corresponding to natural (reference), suburban-urban, and agricultural land uses. Study streams spanned a range of human land use to maximize variation in NO-3 concentration, geomorphology, and metabolism. We tested a causal model predicting controls on NO-3 uptake length using structural equation modeling. The model included concomitant measurements of ecosystem metabolism, hydraulic parameters, and nitrogen concentration. We compared this structural equation model to multiple regression models which included additional biotic, catchment, and riparian variables. The structural equation model explained 79% of the variation in log uptake length (S Wtot). Uptake length increased with specific discharge (Q/w) and increasing NO-3 concentrations, showing a loss in removal efficiency in streams with high NO-3 concentration. Uptake lengths shortened with increasing gross primary production, suggesting autotrophic assimilation dominated NO-3 removal. The fraction of catchment area as agriculture and suburban-urban land use weakly predicted NO-3 uptake in bivariate regression, and did improve prediction in a set of multiple regression models. Adding land use to the structural equation model showed that land use indirectly affected NO-3 uptake lengths via directly increasing both gross primary production and NO-3 concentration. Gross primary production shortened SWtot, while increasing NO-3 lengthened SWtot resulting in no net effect of land use on NO- 3 removal. ?? 2009.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Nitrate removal in stream ecosystems measured by 15N addition experiments: Total uptake
Series title:
Limnology and Oceanography
Volume
54
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Limnology and Oceanography
First page:
653
Last page:
665
Number of Pages:
13