Summary & Purpose
Soil depth to bedrock or impermeable layer can vary greatly, contributing to landscape heterogeneity that may yield strong control on near-surface soil biogeochemical processes. We experimentally manipulate soil depth (i.e. control volume), water inputs, and plant functional type, and quantified the response of soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics in soils 0-10 cm deep for a cold desert ecosystem. Soil moisture was consistently greater in 0.5 m vs. 2 m control volumes. However, the coefficient of variation for soil moisture pools trended significantly higher with less effective precipitation in 0.5 m control volumes, whereas 2 m profile soil moisture pools remained relatively constant and well buffered. Net N mineralization was 1.24× greater in 0.5 vs. 2 m control volumes during dry conditions but decreased in a cold wet year. Net N mineralization also varied between native shrub-steppe vs. exotic bunchgrass during the wet spring. Net nitrification rates were 4.8× greater in 0.5 vs. 2 m control volumes and were positively correlated with surface soil moisture content. Mean profile δ13C values were significantly more enriched (0.8‰) in 2 vs. 0.5 m control volumes, reflecting greater plant-water limitation. Mean profile δ15N values were 0.8‰ more enriched in 0.5 vs. 2 m control volumes, indicating enhanced pathways of N cycling and loss. Total C and N pools were 1.56× and 1.23× greater, respectively, in 0.5 vs. 2 m control volumes.
Date of Publication or Submission
Support for this research was provided in part by a grant from the Idaho State University College of Science & Engineering, a Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant (#9961-12), Idaho EPSCoR RII via NSF EPS-0814387, and Reynolds Creek CZO Cooperative agreement NSF EAR-1331872.
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Data Source Credits
Flerchinger, G.N., & Seyfried, M.S. (2014). "Comparison of Methods for Estimating Evapotranspiration in a Small Rangeland Catchment". Vadose Zone Journal, 13(4), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.2136/vzj2013.08.0152 MesoWest Data (Accessed 2021) http://mesowest.utah.edu/index.html
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See metadata *.csv file
Map Area Coordinate System
WGS1984 - 12T elev. 1490 m
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Huber, David P.; Lohse, Kathleen A.; Aho, Ken; Seyfried, Mark; and Germino, Matthew. (2022). Dataset for Experimental Variation in Maximum Soil Depth Controls Near-Surface Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling [Data set]. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.18122/reynoldscreek.27.boisestate
Available for download on Friday, April 14, 2023