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Harvard Forest Data Archive

HF329

Stoichiometry of Bogs and Bog Plants in Massachusetts and Vermont 2002

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Data

Overview

  • Lead: Nicholas Gotelli, Aaron Ellison
  • Investigators: Paula Mouser, Stephen Hudman, Sergio Morales, Donald Ross
  • Contact: Aaron Ellison
  • Start date: 2002
  • End date: 2002
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Massachusetts, Vermont
  • Latitude: 42 to 45
  • Longitude: -73.5 to -70
  • Elevation: 1 to 543 meter
  • Taxa: Chamaedaphne calyculata (leatherleaf), Sarracenia purpurea (northern pitcher plant), Sphagnum angustifolium, Sphagnum fallax, Sphagnum magellanicum, Sphagnum rubellu
  • Release date: 2019
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.329.1
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions; watershed ecology
  • LTER core area: disturbance, inorganic nutrients
  • Keywords: aluminum, atmospheric deposition, bogs, fens, nitrogen, peatland, sulfur
  • Abstract:

    Geographic trends in surface water chemistry and leaf tissue nutrients may reflect gradients of nutrient limitation and broad-scale anthropogenic inputs. In 24 bogs and poor fens in Massachusetts and Vermont, we measured nutrient and metal concentrations in pore-water and in leaf tissues of three common bog plants – leather leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), northern pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea), and peat moss (Sphagnum spp.). The concentrations of N, P, and K were low in leaf tissues of all three plant genera, as were the concentrations of many trace heavy metals, including Cr, Cu, Co, Cd, Mo, and Pb. Stoichiometric ratios of macronutrients (N:P, P:K, and N:K) in plant leaves suggested that plant growth in the sampled bogs was limited by P, or was co-limited by all three macronutrients. N:P and N:K nutrient ratios of Sarracenia purpurea and Sphagnum spp. increased toward the northwest and with elevation, but stoichiometric ratios of Chamaedaphne calyculata did not show any clear geographic trends. A principal components analysis revealed additional distinct differences among the three plant genera in their nutrient and metal concentrations. Furthermore, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), Cu, Mg, NO3, Al, and K in porewater increased from the northwest (northwestern Vermont) to the southeast (Cape Cod and eastern Massachusetts near Boston), a gradient of increasing human population density and urbanization. In contrast, pore-water concentrations of SO4 and Al were highest in the western sites, and SO4 concentrations increased with elevations. These patterns may reflect atmospheric inputs from the Ohio River Valley leading to increased acidic deposition, causing Al to be leached from soils. Because bogs are naturally low in nutrients and do not receive substantial inputs from surrounding groundwater, the chemical signatures and nutrient stoichiometry of specific bog plant species or genera may provide useful indicators for assessing spatiotemporal changes in atmospheric deposition.

  • Methods:

    Sample collection and preparation

    Samples of C. calyculata, S. purpurea, Sphagnum, and pore-water were collected at 24 bogs in Vermont and Massachusetts over a two-week period in June 2002. Latitude, longitude, and elevation (meters above sea-level [m a.s.l.]) of each bog were determined in the field using a Trimble Global Positioning System unit (Trimble Instruments, Sunnyvale, CA). Latitude and longitude are reported here only to the nearest degree in order to protect these sensitive sites. Access to sites and sample collection was permitted by private landowners and by state Natural Heritage programs.

    We collected leaves (5–10 g fresh mass) for analysis that were representative of new growth produced in the current growing season, and that were from plants growing in the Sphagnum mat where the density of pitcher plants was highest. Sphagnum samples were not identified to species, but we did collect the most abundant morphotype of Sphagnum at each site. All plant tissue samples collected were of young, fully expanded leaves of similar age – approximately 25% through their life cycle. The leaf samples were bagged individually in the field and immediately returned to the laboratory at the University of Vermont Agricultural and Environmental Testing Laboratory where they were dried at 60 °C to constant mass, ground in a Udy Cyclone Sample Mill (1-mm screen), and microwave-digested with nitric acid for chemical analysis. Pore-water samples were taken by pressing a 500 mL sample bottle into the surface of the Sphagnum mat. The collected water was immediately filtered in the field through glass-fiber filter paper (Whatman GFF), separated into four subsamples for separate analyses, placed on ice, and transported to the University of Vermont Agricultural and Environmental Testing Laboratory.

    Nutrient analysis

    Nutrient and metal content (C, H, N, Al, B, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, P, Pb, S, and Zn) of the digested samples were determined at the University of Vermont Agricultural and Environmental Testing Laboratory using a Perkin-Elmer Optima 3000 DV inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES). Analysis for C, H, and N was performed on separate sub-samples using a Leeman Lab model 440 CHN elemental analyzer. All analyses were conducted using standard methods and quality control, including blanks, duplicates, and NIST traceable standard materials.

    The first subsample of pore water, used to determine concentration of soluble Al, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Si, and Zn, was preserved with nitric acid (final concentration 0.1 N) and stored at 4 °C until analyzed using an Optima 300 DV ICP-AES. The second subsample, used to determine concentrations of NH4-N and NO3-N, was preserved with sulfuric acid (to pH 2) and stored at 4 °C until analyzed on a Lachat Flow Injection Auto-Analyzer using the salicylate-nitroprusside methods and cadmium reduction, respectively. The third subsample, used to measure pH, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), was stored at -20 °C. The pH of thawed samples was measured with an Orion pH electrode. DOC and DON were measured using the persulfite oxidation method. The fourth subsample, used for SO4, Cl, and soluble reactive P, was stored at -20 °C until analyzed by ion chromatography (for SO4, Cl) or using the stannous chloride molybdate blue procedure (for P). Random duplicate samples and field blanks, consisting of 500 mL filtered distilled water, were taken at several sites and processed as described above.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Gotelli N, Ellison A. 2019. Stoichiometry of Bogs and Bog Plants in Massachusetts and Vermont 2002. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF329.

Detailed Metadata

hf329-01: bog plant stoichiometry

  1. state: state
    • MA: Massachusetts
    • VT: Vermont
  2. site: name of bog
  3. latitude: decimal degrees north (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  4. longitude: decimal degrees west (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  5. elevation: meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  6. species: species
    • Chamaedaphne: Chamaedaphne
    • Sarracennia: Sarracennia
    • Sphagnum: Sphagnum
  7. pct.c: concentration of C in dried leaf tissue (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  8. pct.h: concentration of H in dried leaf tissue (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: na)
  9. pct.n: concentration of N in dried leaf tissue (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  10. pct.p: concentration of P in dried leaf tissue (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  11. pct.k: concentration of K in dried leaf tissue (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  12. ca: concentration of Ca in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  13. mg: concentration of Mg in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  14. fe: concentration of Fe in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  15. cr: concentration of Cr in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  16. cu: concentration of Cu in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  17. al: concentration of Al in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  18. co: concentration of Co in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  19. b: concentration of B in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  20. cd: concentration of Cd in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  21. mo: concentration of Mo in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  22. mn: concentration of Mn in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  23. na: concentration of Na in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  24. ni: concentration of Ni in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  25. pb: concentration of Pb in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  26. s: concentration of S in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  27. zn: concentration of Zn in dried leaf tissue (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)

hf329-02: bog water stoichiometry

  1. state: state
    • MA: Massachusetts
    • VT: Vermont
  2. site: name of bog
  3. ph: pH of water sample (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  4. doc: concentration of dissolved organic carbon in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  5. don: concentration of dissolved organic nitrogen in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  6. nh4: concentration of ammonium in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  7. no3: concentration of nitrate in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  8. so4: concentration of sulfate in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  9. cl: concentration of Cl in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  10. p: concentration of total P in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  11. al: concentration of Al in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  12. ca: concentration of Ca in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  13. cu: concentration of Cu in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  14. fe: concentration of Fe in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  15. k: concentration of total K in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  16. mg: concentration of Mg in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  17. mn: concentration of Mn in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  18. na: concentration of Na in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  19. si: concentration of Si in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  20. zn: concentration of Zn in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)