Biogeochemistry

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 369–384 | Cite as

Trees: a powerful geomorphic agent governing the landscape evolution of a subtropical wetland

  • Pamela L. Sullivan
  • René M. Price
  • Michael S. Ross
  • Susana L. Stoffella
  • Jay P. Sah
  • Leonard J. Scinto
  • Eric Cline
  • Thomas W. Dreschel
  • Fred H. Sklar
Article

Abstract

Transpiration-driven ion accumulation in soil has been invoked as a biological and physical feedback mechanism in wetlands that governs topographic differences by regulating soil accretion—with greater transpiration, ion accumulation and soil accretion occurring on tree islands as compared to the surrounding marsh. The strength of this mechanism is hypothesized to be controlled by the ratio of evapotranspiration (ET) to precipitation (P), where under greater ET to P conditions soil accretion may move from organic to mineral in nature. We tested the existence of this mechanism on tree islands in a subtropical wetland, determined if it supports mineral soil formation, and assessed its control on the development of nutrient resource contrasts (tree islands–marsh). To test our hypotheses, biannual measurements of groundwater, surface water and aboveground biomass were made from 2007 to 2012. Water samples were analyzed for water isotopes, concentrations of major ions, and total and dissolved nutrients on constructed tree islands. We found that tree transpiration led to the advective movement of water and associated ions toward the center of the tree islands, supporting CaCO3 precipitation. CaCO3 accretion on the tree islands was estimated at roughly 1 mm per decade, and represented 5 % of the total soil accretion since the islands’ planting. We also observed depletion in groundwater nutrient concentrations as tree biomass accumulated, indicative of tight nutrient cycling. This work provides direct evidence that trees can act as powerful geomorphic agents in wetland systems, forming mineral soils that support landscape heterogeneity on time scales of centuries to millennia.

Keywords

Weathering Soil formation Tree islands Plant-groundwater–surface water interactions Everglades 

Supplementary material

10533_2016_213_MOESM1_ESM.docx (210 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 210 kb)

References

  1. Aich S, Dreschel TW, Cline EA, Sklar FH (2011) The development of a geographic information system (GIS) to document research in an Everglades Physical Model. J Environ Sci Eng 5:289–302Google Scholar
  2. Ali A, Abtew W, Van Horn S, Khanal N (2000) Temporal and spatial characterization of rainfall over central and south Florida. J Am Water Resour Assoc 36(4):833–848CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angers DA, Caron J (1998) Plant-induced changes in soil structure: processes and feedbacks. Biogeochemsitry 42:55–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bear JJ, Cheng HDA (2010) Groundwater and aquifers. In: Bear JJ, Cheng HDA (eds) Modeling groundwater flow and contaminant transport. Springer, Berlin, pp 65–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berner RA (1998) The carbon cycle and CO2 over Phanerozoic time: the role of land plants. Philos Trans R Soc B 353:75–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chmura GL, Graf MT (2011) The human trigger for development of tree islands in the Florida Everglades. In: American Geophysical Union (AGU)-Chapman conference on climates, past landscapes, and civilizations. Santa Fe, NM. AGU Release No. 11–12. March 21Google Scholar
  7. Coultas CL, Schawrdon M, Galbraith JM (2008) Petrocalcic horizon formation and prehistoric people’s effect on Everglades tree island soils, Florida. Soil Surv Horiz 49:16–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dodds WK (2003) The role of periphyton in phosphorus retention in shallow freshwater aquatic systems. J Phycol 39(5):840–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ehleringer JR, Dawson TE (1992) Water-uptake by plants: perspectives from stable isotope composition. Plant Cell Environ 15:1073–1082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eppinga MB, Rietkerk M, Borren W, Lapshina ED, Bleuten W, Wassen MJ (2008) Regular surface patterning of peatlands: confronting theory with field data. Ecosystems 11:520–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eppinga MB, Rietkerk M, Belyea LR, Nilsson MB, De Ruiter PC, Wassen MJ (2010) Resource contrast in patterned peatlands increases along a climatic gradient. Ecology 91:2344–2355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gann TT, Childers DL, Randeaau DN (2005) Ecosystem structure, nutrient dynamics, and hydrologic relationships in tree islands of the southern Everglades, Florida, USA. For Ecol Manag 214:11–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Graf MT, Schwardon M, Stone PA, Ross M, Chmura GL (2008) An enigmatic carbonate layer in Everglades tree island peats. Eos 89:117–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hennessy JT, Gibbens RP, Tromble JM, Cardenas M (1983) Water properties of caliche. J Range Manag 36:723–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Irick DL, Gu B, Li YC, Inglett PW, Frederick PC, Ross MS, Wright AL, Ewe SML (2015) Wading bird guano enrichment of soil nutrients in tree islands of the Florida Everglades. Sci Total Environ 532:40–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones DL, Hodge A, Kuzyakov Y (2004) Plant and mycorrhizal regulation of rhizodeposition. New Phytol 163:459–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kendall C, Caldwell EA (1998) Fundamentals of isotope geochemistry. In: Kendall C, McDonnell JJ (eds) Isotope tracers in catchment hydrology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 51–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leigh RA, Jones RGW (1984) A hypothesis relating critical potassium coencetrations for growth to the distribution and functions of this ion in the plant cell. New Phytol 97:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marston RA (2010) Geomorphology and vegetation on hillslopes: interactions, dependencies, and feedback loops. Geomorphology 116:206–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McCarthy TS, Ellery WN, Ellery K (1993) Vegetation-induced, subsurface precipitation of carbonate as an aggradational process in permanent swamps of Okavango (delta) fan, Botswana. Chem Geol 107:111–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McCarthy TS, Ellery WN, Danergfield JM (1998) The role of biota in the initiation and growth of islands on the floodplain of the Okavanga Alluvial Fan, Bostwana. Earth Surf Proc Land 23:281–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Monger HC, Gallegos RA (2000) Biotic and abiotic processes and rates of pedogenic carbonate accumulation in the southwestern United States—relationship to atmospheric CO2 sequestration. In: Lal R, Kimble JM, Eswaran H, Steward BA (eds) Global climate change and pedogenic carbonates. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, pp 273–289Google Scholar
  23. Parkhurst DL, Appello CAJ (1999) User’s guide to PHREEQC (version 2)—a computer program for speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations. US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations. Report 99-4259Google Scholar
  24. Pawlik Ł (2013) The role of trees in the geomorphic system of forested hillslopes—a review. Earth Sci Rev 126:250–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rietkerk M, Dekker SC, Wassen MJ, Verkroost AWM, Bierkens MFP (2004) A putative mechanism for bog patterning. Am Nat 163:699–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rodriguez AF, Serna A, Scinto LJ (2014) Soil accretion influenced by elevation, tree density, and substrate on reconstructed tree islands. Soil Sci Soc Am J 78:2090–2099CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Roering JJ, Schmidt KM, Stock JD, Dietrich WE, Montgomery DR (2003) Shallow landsliding, root reinforcement, and the spatial distribution of trees in the Oregon Coast Range. Can Geotech J 40:237–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ross MS, Mitchell-Brucker S, Sah JP, Stothoff S, Ruiz PL, Reed DL, Jayachandran K, Coultas CL (2006) Interaction of hydrology and nutrient limitation in ridge and slough landscape of southern Florida. Hydrobiologia 569:37–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Saha AK, Moses CS, Price RM, Engel V, Smith III TJ, Anderson G (2012) A hydrological budget (2002–2008) for a large subtropical wetland ecosystem indicates marine groundwater discharge accompanies diminished freshwater flow. Estuar Coast 35:459–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schlesinger W (1997) Biogeochemistry. An analysis of global change. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  31. Schwadron M (2006) Everglades tree islands prehistory: archeological evidence for regional Holocene variability and early human settlement. Antiquity 80(310):1–6Google Scholar
  32. Serna A, Richards JH, Scinto LJ (2013) Plant decomposition in wetlands: effects of hydrologic variation in a re-created Everglades. J Environ Qual 42:562–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stoffella SL, Ross MS, Sah J, Ruiz P, Lopez L, Colbert N, Dodge C, Heinrich J, Trujillo D (2009) Estimating biomass production and nutrient concentrations of tree species growing along hydrologic gradient on LILA tree islands biomass estimation. Report to the South Florida Water Management District, p 12Google Scholar
  34. Stoffella SL, Ross MS, Sah JP, Price MP, Sullivan PL, Cline AE, Scinto LJ (2010) Survival and growth responses of eight Everglades tree species along an experimental hydrologic gradient on two tree island types. Appl Veg Sci 13(4):439–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Subedi SC (2011) Determination of nutrient limitation on trees growing in Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA) tree islands, Florida. Thesis. Florida International UniversityGoogle Scholar
  36. Sullivan PL, Price RM, Ross MS, Scinto LJ, Stoffella SL, Cline E, Dreschel TW, Sklar FH (2011) Hydrologic processes on tree islands in the Everglades (Florida, USA): tracking the effects of tree establishment and growth. Hydrogeol J 19(2):367–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sullivan PL, Engel V, Ross MS, Price RM (2014a) The influence of vegetation on the hydrodynamics and geomorphology of tree islands in Everglades National Park (Florida, United States). Ecohydrology. doi:10.1002/eco.1394 Google Scholar
  38. Sullivan PL, Price RM, Miralles-Wilhelm F, Ross MS, Scinto LJ, Dreschel TW, Sklar F, Cline E (2014b) The role of recharge and evapotranspiration as hydraulic drivers of ion concentrations in shallow groundwater on Everglades tree islands, Florida (USA). Hydrol Process. doi:10.1005/hyp.9575 Google Scholar
  39. Sullivan PL, Price RM, Schedlbauer JL, Saha A, Gaiser EE (2014c) The influence of hydrologic restoration on groundwater–surface water interactions in a karst wetland, The Everglades (FL, USA). Wetlands 34:23–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Troxler TG, Cornado-Monina C, Rondeau DN, Krupa S, Newman S, Manna M, Price RM, Sklar FH (2014) Interactions of local climatic, biotic and hydrogeochemical processes facilitate phosphorus dynamics along Everglades forest–marsh gradient. Biogeosciences. doi:10.5194/bg-11-899-2014 Google Scholar
  41. van der Valk A, Wetzel P, Cline E, Sklar FH (2008) Restoring tree islands in the Everglades: experimental studies of tree seedling. Restor Ecol 16(2):281–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wetzel PR, van der Valk AG, Newman S, Gawlik DE, Gann TT, Coronado-Moliana CA, Childers DL, Sklar FH (2005) Maintaining tree islands in the Florida Everglades: nutrient redistribution is the key. Front Ecol Environ 3:370–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Willard DA, Bernhardt CE, Holmes CW, Landacre B, Marot M (2006) Response if Everglades tree islands to environmental change. Ecol Monogr 76:565–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela L. Sullivan
    • 1
  • René M. Price
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michael S. Ross
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susana L. Stoffella
    • 3
  • Jay P. Sah
    • 3
  • Leonard J. Scinto
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eric Cline
    • 4
  • Thomas W. Dreschel
    • 4
  • Fred H. Sklar
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and EnvironmentFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Southeast Environmental Research CenterFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  4. 4.Everglades Systems Assessment SectionSouth Florida Water Management DistrictWest Palm BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations