SCHUUR LAB - ECOSYSTEM DYNAMICS RESEARCH

  • Eight Mile Lake, AK; C. Schädel
  • Eight Mile Lake, AK; C. Schädel
  • Alaska Range; credit: C. Schädel
  • Automated Flux Chambers
  • Eriophorum Vaginatum
  • foggy mountains in Healy
  • Winter setting in Healy, AK
  • Winter snow fences
  • Dall Sheep, Denali National Park
  • Fall at CiPEHR
  • Spring at CiPEHR
  • Fall at the Gradient site; credit: E. Webb
  • Snowfences at CiPEHR; credit: S. Natali
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We measure a wide variety of environmental, biogeochemical, and geospatial variables at our research sites. Data collection started in 2004 and ranges from high frequency measurements (30 minutes) to seasonal (Growing/Non-growing season) depending on the variable. Our data are publicly available at Bonanza Creek LTER (2004 – present) and AmeriFlux (Eddy Covariance; 2008 - present) repositories.

The simplest way access data from LTER is to use their online catalog and search for Study Site “EML” or Creator “Ted Schuur”. In AmeriFlix our site is “US-EML”.

Here are some examples for the type of data we collect and analyze:

From Mauritz et al. 2017 Non-linear CO2 flux response to seven years of experimentally induced permafrost thaw. Global Change Biology.

Increasing active layer thickness has a direct relationship with increasing ecosystem resspiration and gross primary production.  Altogether, additional carbon is released from plots with a deeper active layer.

Reproduced from Mauritz, et al. 2017 Non-linear CO2 flux response to seven years of experimentally induced permafrost thaw. Global Change Biology.

Winter-warmed and control plots of Alaskan permafrost have increased active layer thickness over the course of seven years of manipulation. Warmed plots have a significantly greater deepening of ALT than control plots.

Water table depth varies by year due to environmental factors, warmed plots are observed to be wetter than control plots.

 

 

From Hicks Pries, et al. 2016 Old soil carbon losses increase with ecosystem respiration in experimentally thawed tundra. Nature Climate Change.

Radiocarbon (14C) is used to observe the age of respired carbon; old carbon is a particular concern because if older and deeper carbon is released from permafrost it will accelerate the increase in atmospheric carbon. Rising soil temperatures cause an increase in the age of respired carbon.

 

From Salmon, et al. 2016 Nitrogen availability increases in a tundra ecosystem during five years of experimental permafrost thaw. Global Change Biology, 2016.

Winter-warmed permafrost show an increase in foliar nitrogen, demonstrating an increase in nitrogen availability compared to control plots.

From Schädel, et al. 2014 Circumpolar assessment of permafrost C quality and its vulnerability over time using long-term incubation data. Global Change Biology, 2014.

Incubation of arctic permafrost soils exhibited carbon of three qualities: fast-degrading carbon, slow-degrading carbon, and passive carbon with extremely long turnover time. The decomposability of once-frozen carbon has a great impact on carbon feedback and the global carbon system.

From Taylor, et al. 2018 Methane efflux measured by eddy covariance in Alaska upland tundra undergoing permafrost degradation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2018.

Methane emission from arctic tundra amplifies climate change, because sustained methane emissions have 45 time the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide over a hundred-year timescale. Methane release was prevalent all year. Winter and shoulder-season methane release was characterized by large pulses of emission brought about by sudden increases in air and shallow soil temperatures.