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# ESPM 111 Ecosystem Ecology Problem Set III: Soils and Nutrient Cycling March 1 2013, due March

8 1. We collected 20 g (wet weight) of soil from the field. A 10 g subsample of wet soil was ovendried at 105 oC. The oven-dry weight was 5 g. We extracted the remaining 10 g of wet soil with 50 mL of 1 M KCl over 6 h, followed by 50 mL of BaCl over 6 h. We then analyzed the solutions on the autoanalyzer for K+ concentrations and correct for the dry weight of the soil. Our analyses gave us 920 mg K+/kg dry soil. 1a. Calculate the cation exchange capacity in cmol+/kg soil. CEC = 920mgK+/kg * 1mmol/39.1mgK+ * 1cmol/10mmol = 920/391.0 = 2.3529 cmol+/kg 1b. Give two types of soils that might have this level of CEC and explain why Sandy soils may have this level of CEC because they are bigger particles leading a smaller overall surface area, and therefor a smaller charge, and these particles lack the ability to hold on to as many nutrients as compared to fertile clay soils. 1:1 silicate clays may also have this level of CEC because they are highly weathered soils, which leads to a smaller surface area. As mentioned before, less surface area means less charge and less ability to retain nutrients. 2a. The effective cation exchange capacity is a measure of the sum of exchangeable cations, generally determined from the subset of dominant cations. Calculate the ECEC in cmol+/kg soil given the following concentrations. Soil 1: Ca2+ = 175 mg/kg, K+ = 95 = mg/kg, Mg2+ = 120 mg/kg, Al3+ = 290 mg/kg 1 mmol+ Ca = 20.039, 175/20.039 = 8.73mmol/kg, 8.73/10 = .873 cmol+/kg Ca2+ cmol+/kg K+ = 95/(39.0983*10) = .243 cmol+/kg K+ cmol+/kg Mg2+ = 120/((24.305/2)*10) = .987 cmol+/kg Mg2+ cmol+/kg Al3+ = 290/((26.982/3)*10) = 3.22 cmol+/kg Al3+ ECEC = .873 + .243 + .987 + 3.22 = 5.323 cmol+/kg Soil 2: Ca2+ = 225 mg/kg, K+ = 50 = mg/kg, Mg2+ = 115 mg/kg, Al3+ = 180 mg/kg cmol+/kg Ca2+ = 225/(20.039*10)= 1.123 cmol+/kg K+ = 50/(39.0983*10) = .128 cmol+/kg Mg2+ = 115/((24.305/2)*10)= .946 cmol+/kg Al3+ = 180/((26.982/3)*10)= 2.00 ECEC = 1.123 + .128 + .946 + 2.00 = 4.197 cmol+/kg

2b. Which soil has higher nutrient availability? Which element in the above examples is not a nutrient? What does its concentration tell you about the soil? Soil 2 has a higher nutrient availability because Al is not a nutrient and therefore should not be considered when determining the nutrient availability. Soil 1 has a nutrient availability of 5.3233.22 = 2.103 where soil 2 has a nutrient availability of 4.197 2.00 = 2.197. Al is not a nutrient and the higher concentration of Al is soil 1 tells you that soil one is more acidic because soil will preferentially hold on to aluminum and aluminum promotes acidity. 3. Calculate net ammonification, N mineralization, and nitrification from the following values. Express your answers in g N/g/d. For each rate state if there is net immobilization or net production. To (initial) NH4 -N = 1.35 g N/g NO3--N = 0.75 g N/g
+

## Tfinal (7 days) 3.00 g N/g 0.40 g N/g

Net ammonification = (3-1.35)/7 = .2357 ug N/g/d. (net production) Net nitrification = (.4-.75)/7 = -.05 ug N/g/d (net immobilization) Net mineralization = .2357 + (-.05) = .1857 ug N/g/d (net production)
4. The saturation vapor pressure curve is given as a function of Temperature (Tc) in degrees

## Centigrade in the following equation (units, kPa).

es (TC ) = 0.611exp(

17.502 TC ) TC + 240.97

a. Compute and plot saturation vapor pressure, es(T), for a range of temperatures between 0 and 30 C, at 5 C increments. Tc 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 es(Tc) 1 0.839225732 0.709235822 0.603334102 0.516435758 0.444645786 0.384955849
1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 10 20 Tc (C) 30 40 es(Tc) kPa

## Satura0on vapor pressure

Series1

b. Compute and plot the slope of the saturation vapor pressure curve at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 C (

es (T ) = s ). T

Slope (kPa/Tc)

5 10 15 20 25 30

## Slope of Satura0on vapor pressure

0 -0.005 -0.01 -0.015 -0.02 -0.025 -0.03 -0.035 T (C) Series1 0 10 20 30 40

c. Compute the relative humidity (RH = ea/es(T) at 5, 15 and 25 C, assuming the vapor pressure ea is 1200 Pa; make sure your units cancel! es ea 839.225732 603.334102 444.645786 RH (ea/es) 1200 1.429889426 1200 1.988947742 1200 2.698777404

5. Use the information in Problem 4 to assess potential evaporation. It is proportional to s available energy (evaluated here as net radiation, Rnet) times s + , e.g. the ratio of the slope of the saturation vapor pressure (s) and the sum of s and the psychrometric constant; ( = 0.0668 kPa C-1) In this exercise you will compute potential latent heat exchange (Epot) first:

E pot = 1.26

s Rnet s +

Then you will solve for potential evaporation (Epot) by dividing by the latent heat of evaporation, . a. For this temperature range (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 C) compute potential evaporation assuming the daily average net radiation (Rnet) equals 190 W m-2.

Epot =1.26(s/s+y)*Rnet/wavelength (Wg/m^2J) T -0.090987687 5 -0.062464962 10 -0.045515518 15 -0.034475798 20 -0.026840647 25 -0.021332309 30 b. Given the latent heat of evaporation ( = 2442 J/g) compute the depth of water evaporated per day for each temperature class. Other factors to consider include how many seconds per day and the depth of water per gram, assume 1 gram is 1 cm3. Watch your units! From 5a (Wg/m^2J), units = g/m^2s cm^3/m^2/s 3600 cm^3/m^2/d 3600 cm^3/100cm^2/d 36cm/d T = 5, 36 * (-.090987697) = -3.27556 cm/d T = 10, 36 * (-.06245482) = -2.24837352 cm/d T = 15, 36 * (-.045515518) = -1.63855836 cm/d T = 20, 36 * (-.034475798) = -1.24112844 cm/d T = 25, 36 * (-.026840647) = -.96626304 cm/d T = 30, 36 * (-.021332309) = -.76796316 cm/d c. Compare evaporation rates for an Arctic site with a mean annual temperature near 0 C with a tropical site near 25 C, assuming the same net radiation balance for this case. The evaporation rates for the arctic with a temperature near 0 C are negative and lower (.090987) than those at a tropical site near 25 C (-.026940647). This would make sense because the negative evaporation rates accounts for a surplus of water and in the arctic there is going to be little rainfall but even less evaporation because of the cold temperatures. In the tropics, there are high levels of rainfall and evaporation so the number should be higher and closer to 0. See spreadsheet 7. The Hubbard Brook Ecosystem study was a large-scale experiment that contributed significantly to our current thinking about ecosystem structure and functioning. Two leading investigators working on the project published a seminal article on the watershed approach to nutrient cycling (Bormann, F. H., and G. E. Likens. 1967. Nutrient Cycling. Science 155:424429) where they proposed the following equation: (Meteorological Input + Biogeochemical Input)-(Geologic Output + Biogeochemical Output) = Net System Flux Below are several ecosystem attributes. Use all or part of the data in this list to answer the following questions. Mean annual rainfall: 3500 mm 4

Mean annual nitrogen in rainfall: 1 kg N/ha Mean annual dry deposition nitrogen: 0.05 kg N/ha Mean annual nitrogen in snowfall: 0 kg N/ha Mean annual nitrogen fixation (plants and free living organisms): 5 kg N/ha Mean annual nitrogen in litterfall: 50 kg N/ha Mean annual nitrogen export in stream water: 5 kg N/ha Mean daily gaseous nitrogen emissions (all forms): 50 ng N/cm2/d Mean annual nitrogen loss in sediments (erosional): 1 kg N/ha 1a. Calculate the net ecosystem flux of nitrogen based on the values below (report your answer in the appropriate units). Based on these data is the ecosystem accumulating or losing nitrogen over a one year period? Net system flux = ((1 + .05) + (5 + 50) ((5 + 1) + .01825) = 50.03175 kgN/ha/y 50 ngN/cm^2/d- 10^6 cm = 1 ha, 10^12 ng = 1kg, 50ng/cm *365 = .01825 kg/ha/y Therefore, the ecosystem is accumulating nitrogen. 1b. Assume the standard error of the inputs is approximately 25 % of the mean and the standard error of the output is approximately 30% of the mean. How does this affect your interpretation of the result in question 2a? Inputs = (1+ .05 + 5 + 50) * .25 = 14.0125, +/- 50.03175 = 64.04425/36.01925 Outputs = (5 + 1 + .01825) * .3 = 1.805475, +/- 50.03175 = 51.837225/48.226275 Because the inputs are so much larger than the outputs, an error of 25% and 30% does not impact our overall interpretation of 1a because the ecosystem would still be gaining nitrogen. Even with a negative standard deviation of the inputs and the positive standard deviation of the outputs, the ecosystem will still gain nitrogen. 1c. The forest managers are considering harvesting the forest for timber. The loggers would remove approximately 20 Mg of biomass in the harvest and that biomass would, on average, have a concentration of 0.15 % nitrogen. How much nitrogen (in kg/ha) would be exported in the harvest? What would the net ecosystem flux of nitrogen be? Would the ecosystem accumulate or lose nitrogen over the year? 20Mg = 10^3kg = 20000 kg, 20000kg * .0015 = 600 kgN/ha exported in harvest Adding 600 kgN/ha to outputs = (1 + .05 + 5 + 50) (5 + 1 + .01825 + 600) = -549.96825 kgN/ha/y = net flux The ecosystem would lose a considerable amount of nitrogen over the year 1d. A fertilizer plant opened upwind of the forest and is emitting nitrogen oxides, which are being deposited on the forest (wet plus dry deposition) at a rate of 10 kg N/ha/yr. Using the data in part (a) what is the net ecosystem flux of nitrogen under this scenario?

Adding 10 kgN/ha/y to inputs = (1 +.05 + 5 + 50 + 10) (5 + 1 + .01825) = 60.03175 kgN/ha/y = net ecosystem flux