State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011DE214B
Title: Is Atmospheric Deposition and Washoff of Aluminum in Stemflow a Significant Source
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: At large
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Ecology, Hydrogeochemistry
Principal Investigators: Levia, Delphis; Scheik, Carrie
Federal Funds: $ 1,500
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 3,000
Abstract: Aluminum toxicity is a major issue affecting the health of plants. The acidification of forest ecosystems engenders aluminum toxicity via the alteration of pH and the depletion of base cations, such as magnesium and calcium. While we have a reasonable understanding of aluminum kinetics and transport in soils, the input of soluble aluminum ions from the forest canopy is not well understood. In point of fact, no known study has specifically examined soluble aluminum inputs to forest soil from stemflow. Thus, the overarching goal of the project is to examine whether aluminum input from the forest canopy via stemflow is a significant source to forest soils. The proposed research would be conducted in the context of an ongoing NSF-supported project that seeks to better understand biogeochemical cycling in deciduous forest. The overarching objectives of our research are to: (1) to quantify aluminum inputs via stemflow as a function of pH, Mg/Al, Ca/Al, and length of the antecedent dry period between precipitation events: and (2) to observe how aluminum inputs in stemflow fluctuate at intra-storm, storm, and seasonal time scales. Data collected from this project will permit us to fill a void in the current literature and alert us as to whether aluminum inputs from stemflow may be a contributor to aluminum pools in forest soils.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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