Biogeochemical And Hydrologic Sulfur Dynamics In An Agricultural System.

Overview

Human activities have dramatically altered flows and transformation rates of elements within the Earth system. Many of these elements (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur) are critical for life and also have a variety of environmental roles. Over the past several decades, it has become increasingly clear that these cycles do not function independently, but interact with each other and with the flow of water. In the terrestrial environment, hydrologic processes control dominant transport pathways and ...
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Overview

Human activities have dramatically altered flows and transformation rates of elements within the Earth system. Many of these elements (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur) are critical for life and also have a variety of environmental roles. Over the past several decades, it has become increasingly clear that these cycles do not function independently, but interact with each other and with the flow of water. In the terrestrial environment, hydrologic processes control dominant transport pathways and constrain physical, biological, and chemical rate processes. As a result, integrating hydrology with biogeochemistry can advance our mechanistic understanding of elemental cycling within terrestrial environments. Sulfur (S) is major reactive element for which organisms have a physiological requirement. Sulfur-based fertilizers and pesticides are used extensively in agriculture, particularly in vineyards, where elemental S (S0) is used as a fungicide to prevent powdery mildew. The use of S fertilizers and pesticides constitutes a perturbation of the natural S cycle, which can have detrimental environmental effects. Excessive S supply to terrestrial systems can cause acidification and base cation depletion of soil; this is a dominant mechanism causing ecological damage due to acid rain. Aquatic ecosystems are also sensitive to excess S inputs, which can mobilize sediment-bound metals, such as mercury and aluminum, that are toxic to fish and wildlife. Given the large inputs of S and carefully regulated hydrologic regimes in vineyards, these are useful systems in which to investigate the interactions of biogeochemical and hydrological processes effecting S cycling. Through a series of process-level field and laboratory studies, I evaluated how different hydrologic conditions during the growing and dormant seasons affect the timing and magnitude of S transformations and transport in Napa Valley vineyards. The patterns that emerged from my process-level investigations describe not only seasonal S dynamics in vineyards, but likely other areas where S applications are intensive. I first evaluated the short-term fates of S0 in vineyard soils during application events in the growing season. Using direct measurement of soil pH and sulfate (SO42-) content and S speciation (using X-ray adsorption near-edge structure spectroscopy), I demonstrated that S is stored within near-surface soils as inorganic and organic sulfates. I then carried out a three-year field study of S transport during irrigation and storm events in the growing and dormant seasons, respectively. Using S as a chemical tracer of water, I used the S isotopic signatures of water inputs and solution losses to determine the hydrologic flow paths present during the growing and dormant seasons and quantify irrigation water and SO 42- losses below the vine rooting zone. I also explored the likelihood that high pore water SO42- under saturated conditions leads to S retention (as sulfides) and/or gaseous losses (as hydrogen sulfide) to the atmosphere through SO42- reduction within the soil. I integrated the results of the previous three studies, together with additional data on S contents in plant tissues and soil, as well as complete pore water S speciation, to evaluate the annual S budget in vineyards. Finally, in a collaborative effort with another researcher, as well as growers from Napa and Sonoma wine growing regions, I discuss ways to build successful partnerships between researchers and industry members that will lead to outcomes in which both parties benefit. The major findings of this research are: (i) S0 inputs are rapidly transformed to inorganic and organic sulfates...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243610287
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/4/2011
  • Pages: 110
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.23 (d)

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