Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory

Tifton, GA, United States

Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory

Tifton, GA, United States
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Pisani O.,Florida International University | Pisani O.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Boyer J.N.,Plymouth State University | Podgorski D.C.,CNRS French National High Magnetic Field Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2017

Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) represents a large percentage of the total nitrogen in rivers and estuaries, and can contribute to coastal eutrophication and hypoxia. This study reports on the composition and bioavailability of DON along the Caloosahatchee River (Florida), a heavily managed system receiving inputs from Lake Okeechobee as well as agricultural and urban runoff from the surrounding watershed. Water samples were collected bimonthly for 1 year beginning December 2014 at three stations along the river. Treatments included 28-day dark incubations with and without prior photo-irradiation. Concentrations of DON, ammonium, nitrate–nitrite, total hydrolyzable amino acids (THAA), and urea, as well as bacterial numbers, leucine aminopeptidase activity, and fluorescent optical properties were measured. Ultra-high resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) was used to characterize the molecular composition of DON before and after incubation for selective samples. The total dissolved N pool was dominated by DON (61–99%), with low inorganic N (1–39%), and small amounts of THAA-N (0.1–23%) and urea-N (0.6–3.2%). The mean percentage of biologically available DON (BDON) for the study was 15% (−12–61% range) with highest values occurring when water inputs from Lake Okeechobee were the most dominant freshwater source. FT-ICR MS analysis revealed the presence of a wide range of N-containing formulas and the generation of aliphatic and ‘peptide-like’ structures likely due to microbial alteration of the carbon skeleton of DON compounds. Effects of light exposure prior to incubation did not have a measurable effect on %BDON but did affect bacterial biomass and DON composition. These findings may help predict nutrient loading effects to the Caloosahatchee River estuary and may aid in understanding wetland potential as a treatment technology for removing N in this and other freshwater systems sensitive to N loading. © 2017 Springer International Publishing


Williams C.O.,Lincoln Laboratory | Lowrance R.,National Risk Management Research Laboratory | Potter T.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Bosch D.D.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Strickland T.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory
Environmental Modeling and Assessment | Year: 2016

Agrichemical runoff from farmland may adversely impact coastal water quality. Two models, the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) and the Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM), were used to evaluate the movement of the herbicide atrazine to the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve from adjacent fields. The reserve is located on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast. Edge-of-field atrazine outputs simulated with the APEX were routed through a grass-forest buffer using the REMM. Atrazine DT50 (half-life) values measured in both field and buffer soils indicated that accelerated degradation conditions had developed in the field soil due to repeated atrazine application. APEX simulations examined both the measured field and buffer soil atrazine DT50 and the model’s default value. The use of the measured field soil atrazine degradation rate in the APEX resulted in 33 % lower atrazine transport from the field. REMM simulations indicated that the buffer system had the potential to reduce dissolved atrazine transport in surface runoff by 77 % during non-tropical storm events by increasing infiltration, slowing transport, and increasing time for pesticide degradation. During a large runoff event due to a tropical storm that occurred close to the time of an atrazine application, the REMM simulated only a 37 % reduction in atrazine transport. The results indicate that large storm events soon after herbicide application likely dominate herbicide transport to coastal waters in the region. These results agree with water quality measurements in the reserve. This study demonstrated the sensitivity of these models to variations in DT50 values in evaluating atrazine fate and transport in the region and emphasizes that the use of measured DT50 values can improve model accuracy. © 2016 © Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA)


Potter T.L.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Gerstl Z.,Israel Agricultural Research Organization | White P.W.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Cutts G.S.,University of Georgia | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2010

Use of genetically modified cultivars resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (N-phosphonomethylglycine) is strongly associated with conservation-tillage (CsT) management for maize (Zea mays L.), soybean (Glycine max L.), and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cultivation. Due to the emergence of glyphosateresistant weed biotypes, alternate weed management practices are needed to sustain CsT use. This work focused on metolachlor use (2-chloro-N-(2-ethyl-6-methylphenyl)- N-(2-methoxy-1-methylethyl)acetamide) in a CsT system. The fate and efficacy of granular and emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulations or an EC surrogate were compared for CsT cotton production in the Atlantic Coastal Plain region of southern Georgia (USA). The granular formulation, a clay-alginate polymer, was produced in the authors' laboratory; EC was a commercial product. In field and laboratory dissipations the granular metolachlor exhibited 8-fold greater soil persistence. Rainfall simulation runoff assessments indicated that use of the granular formulation in a common CsT system, strip-tillage (ST), may reduce metolachlor runoff loss when compared to conventional tillage (CT) management or when EC formulations are used in the ST system. Metolachlor leaching assessments using field-deployed lysimeters showed some tillage (ST >CT) and formulation (EC > granular) differences. Overall leaching was generally small when compared to runoff loss. Finally, greenhouse bioassays showed control of two weed species with the granular was greater than or equal to that of the EC formulation; however, the granular formulation suppressed cotton growth to a greater extent. In sum, this metolachlor granular formulation has advantages for CsT cotton production; however, additional research is needed to assess impacts on crop injury. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Williams C.O.,Lincoln Laboratory | Lowrance R.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Bosch D.D.,Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory | Williams J.R.,Texas A&M University | And 9 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

Agriculture in coastal areas of Puerto Rico is often adjacent to or near mangrove wetlands. Riparian buffers, while they may also be wetlands, can be used to protect mangrove wetlands from agricultural inputs of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides. We used simulation models and field data to estimate the water, nitrogen, and phosphorus inputs from an agricultural field and riparian buffer to a mangrove wetland in Jobos Bay watershed, Puerto Rico. We used the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) and the Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) models sequentially to simulate the hydrology and water quality of the agricultural fields and an adjacent riparian buffer, respectively. Depth to the water table surface was measured monthly at numerous sites in both field and riparian areas and were used with recording well data from outside the field to estimate daily water table depths in the field and riparian buffer and to calibrate field-scale hydrologic processes. Calibration and validation of the models were successful for the riparian buffer and in three of four field quadrants. In these areas the average simulated depth to water table for the field and the riparian buffer were within ±7% of field estimated water table depths. Over the 3-year study period, the riparian buffer represented by REMM reduced agricultural loadings to the mangrove wetland by 24% for sediment yield, and about 30% for total nitrogen and phosphorus. Simulations indicated that tropical storms and hurricanes played an important role in water and nutrient transport on this site contributing at least 63% of total sediment and nutrient loads. © 2012.


Mehring A.S.,University of Georgia | Mehring A.S.,University of California at San Diego | Kuehn K.A.,University of Southern Mississippi | Thompson A.,University of Georgia | And 5 more authors.
Functional Ecology | Year: 2015

Organic matter may sequester nutrients as it decomposes, increasing in total N and P mass via multiple uptake pathways. During leaf litter decomposition, microbial biomass and accumulated inorganic materials immobilize and retain nutrients, and therefore, both biotic and abiotic drivers may influence detrital nutrient content. We examined the relative importance of these types of nutrient immobilization and compared patterns of nutrient retention in recalcitrant and labile leaf litter. Leaf packs of water oak (Quercus nigra), red maple (Acer rubrum) and Ogeechee tupelo (Nyssa ogeche) were incubated for 431 days in an intermittent blackwater stream and periodically analysed for mass loss, nutrient and metal content, and microbial biomass. These data informed regression models explaining temporal changes in detrital nutrient content. Informal exploratory models compared estimated biologically associated nutrient stocks (fungal, bacterial, leaf tissue) to observed total detrital nutrient stocks. We predicted that (i) labile and recalcitrant leaf litter would act as sinks at different points in the breakdown process, (ii) plant and microbial biomass would not account for the entire mass of retained nutrients, and (iii) total N content would be more closely approximated than total P content solely from nutrients stored in leaf tissue and microbial biomass, due to stronger binding of P to inorganic matter. Labile litter had higher nutrient concentrations throughout the study. However, lower mass loss of recalcitrant litter facilitated greater nutrient retention over longer incubations, suggesting that it may be an important long-term sink. N and P content were significantly related to both microbial biomass and metal content, with slightly stronger correlation with metal content over longer incubations. Exploratory models demonstrated that a substantial portion of detrital nutrients was not accounted for by living or dead plant and microbial biomass, especially in the case of N. This suggests increased importance of both N and P sorption to inorganic matter over time, with possible additional storage of N complexed with lignin. A better understanding of the influence of these mechanisms may improve our understanding of detrital nutrient uptake, basal resource quality and retention and transport of nutrients in aquatic ecosystems. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

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