Campus Units

Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

9-14-2016

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

Volume

121

Issue

9

First Page

2340

Last Page

2355

DOI

10.1002/2016JG003354

Abstract

The extent to which atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition reflects land use differences and biogenic versus fossil fuel reactive N sources remains unclear yet represents a critical uncertainty in ecosystem N budgets. We compared N concentrations and isotopes in precipitation-event bulk (wet + dry) deposition across nearby valleys in northern Utah with contrasting land use (highly urban versus intensive agriculture/low-density urban). We predicted greater nitrate (NO3−) versus ammonium (NH4+) and higher δ15N of NO3− and NH4+ in urban valley sites. Contrary to expectations, annual N deposition (3.5–5.1 kg N ha−1 yr−1) and inorganic N concentrations were similar within and between valleys. Significant summertime decreases in δ15N of NO3− possibly reflected increasing biogenic emissions in the agricultural valley. Organic N was a relatively minor component of deposition (~13%). Nearby paired wildland sites had similar bulk deposition N concentrations as the urban and agricultural sites. Weighted bulk deposition δ15N was similar to natural ecosystems (−0.6 ± 0.7‰). Fine atmospheric particulate matter (PM2.5) had consistently high values of bulk δ15N (15.6 ± 1.4‰), δ15N in NH4+ (22.5 ± 1.6‰), and NO3− (8.8 ± 0.7‰), consistent with equilibrium fractionation with gaseous species. The δ15N in bulk deposition NH4+ varied by more than 40‰, and spatial variation in δ15N within storms exceeded 10‰. Sporadically high values of δ15N were thus consistent with increased particulate N contributions as well as potential N source variation. Despite large differences in reactive N sources, urban and agricultural landscapes are not always strongly reflected in the composition and fluxes of local N deposition—an important consideration for regional-scale ecosystem models.

Comments

This article is from Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 121 (2016): 2340, doi: 10.1002/2016JG003354. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

American Geophysical Union

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf