Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2009 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Modeling the spatial and temporal dynamics of nitrogen retention to assess bundled ecosystem services
Duncan, Jon
Co-Authors: Duncan, Jon Band, Larry

Abstract: Nitrogen pollution is a major concern in the Chesapeake Bay and we are only beginning to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of denitrification, the primary path of reducing nitrogen loads to receiving waters. Denitrification is one of many ecosystem services that management efforts are trying to enhance. This work presents initial model results exploring the hydrologic controls of denitrification at the watershed scale using the coupled hydroecological model, RHESSys. RHESSys is able simulate the coupled dynamics of the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles. Within that context, RHESSys incorporates hydrologic flowpaths, soil properties, and biological factors that enable denitrification to occur. These simulations have been conducted for the Pond Branch watershed. Pond Branch is the 41ha forested reference catchment of the BES. A short-term objective of this work is to determine a priori instrumentation locations for measuring proxies of denitrification. A more comprehensive understanding of the distribution of hot spots and hot moments of denitrification in a forested watershed, we will enable analysis of bundled ecosystem services.