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Title: Interactions between lithology and biology drive the long-term response of stream chemistry to major hurricanes in a tropical landscape

Author: McDowell, W.H.; Brereton, R.L.; Scatena, F.N.; Shanley, J.B.; Brokaw, N.V.; Lugo, A.E.;

Date: 2013

Source: Biogeochemistry. 116: 175-186

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Humid tropical forests play a dominant role in many global biogeochemical cycles, yet long-term records of tropical stream chemistry and its response to disturbance events such as severe storms and droughts are rare. Here we document the long-term variability in chemistry of two streams in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico over a period of 27 years. Our two focal study watersheds, the Rio Icacos and Quebrada Sonadora, both drain several hundred hectares of tropical wet forests, and each received direct hits from Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Georges (1998). They differ primarily in lithology (granitic vs. volcaniclastic) and elevation. Changes in major cations, anions, silica, and dissolved organic carbon were minimal over the study period, but the concentrations of nitrate show a strong response to Humid tropical forests play a dominant role in many global biogeochemical cycles, yet long-term records of tropical stream chemistry and its response to disturbance events such as severe storms and droughts are rare. Here we document the long-term variability in chemistry of two streams in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico over a period of 27 years. Our two focal study watersheds, the Rý´o Icacos and Quebrada Sonadora, both drain several hundred hectares of tropical wet forests, and each received direct hits from Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Georges (1998). They differ primarily in lithology (granitic vs. volcaniclastic) and elevation. Changes in major cations, anions, silica, and dissolved organic carbon were minimal over the study period, but the concentrations of nitrate show a strong response to magnitude of NO3 increases, but that the duration of elevated concentrations in stream water is a function of lithology.

Keywords: Watershed, Hurricane, Disturbance, Tropics, Nitrate, Potassium, Riparian zone, Stream chemistry

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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McDowell, W.H.; Brereton, R.L.; Scatena, F.N.; Shanley, J.B.; Brokaw, N.V.; Lugo, A.E. 2013. Interactions between lithology and biology drive the long-term response of stream chemistry to major hurricanes in a tropical landscape. Biogeochemistry. 116: 175-186.

 


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