Research Task: RB00CMY.4.0
Task Manager: Jill Baron
Air pollution, with its concomitant atmospheric deposition of acids and nutrients, stresses ecosystems over regional scales. These chemicals are transported through soil, vegetation, and ground- and surface waters, causing complex, seemingly contradictory responses in ecosystems. Examples are fertilization-enhanced forest growth but also forest ecosystem decline; lake/stream eutrophication but also acidification; and increases in plant and algal biomass but also a loss of species diversity. Loss of soil nutrient cations and alterations of disturbance regimes are further consequences of atmospheric deposition. Atmospheric deposition of pollutants clearly alters the structure and function of sensitive ecosystems. The primary objectives of this task are to (1) develop, test, and apply ecosystem hydrochemical models to simulate past, current, and future chemical and biological responses to air pollution stress in diverse ecosystems of North America; (2) survey past and current indicators of response in western U.S. mountains; (3) develop a regional perspective of atmospheric deposition impacts; and (4) produce simple, robust indicators of ecosystem responses that reflect true process understanding and inform federal land managers, regulatory agencies, and the public.
For more information contact Jill Baron