|Title||Analysis of atmospheric inputs of nitrate to a temperate forest ecosystem from Δ17O isotope ratio measurements|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Costa A.W, Michalski G., Schauer A.J, Alexander B., Steig E.J, Shepson PB|
|Journal||Geophysical Research Letters|
Determining the fate of atmospheric N deposited in forest ecosystems is essential to understanding the ecological impact of increased anthropogenic N deposition. We hypothesize that a significant fraction of soil nitrate (dry deposited HNO3 and wet deposited NO3−) in northern Michigan is derived from atmospheric deposition. To test this idea, soil, rainfall, and cloud water were sampled in a temperate forest in northern Lower Michigan. The fraction of the soil solution NO3− pool directly from atmospheric deposition was quantified using the natural isotopic tracer, Δ17O. Our results show that on average 9% of the soil solution NO3− is unprocessed (no microbial turnover) N derived directly from the atmosphere. This points to the potential importance of anthropogenic N deposition and contributes to the long-standing need to improve our understanding of the impacts of atmospheric nitrogen processing and deposition on forest ecosystems and forest productivity.