Landscape Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 651–664 | Cite as

Landscape filtering of hydrologic and biogeochemical responses in managed catchments

  • Heather E. Gall
  • Jeryang Park
  • Ciaran J. Harman
  • James W. Jawitz
  • P. Suresh C. Rao
Research Article


Here, we examine hydrologic and biogeochemical responses of managed catchments regarding the degree of stochastic, nonlinear filtering of hydro-climatic and anthropogenic drivers. We utilize three types of analyses to examine the time-series records of catchment responses: (1) statistical analysis, based on probability distribution functions (pdfs); (2) temporal Lorenz inequality, based on Gini coefficients, and (3) contingency or memory assessment, based on spectral analysis. We present analytical expressions for pdfs and statistical moments for several catchment responses, explicitly linking stochasticity of drivers and catchment filtering properties. We also examine relative temporal inequality of two catchment signals: Φ G  = G 2/G 1, where G i is the Gini coefficient of each signal. We use spectral analysis to evaluate the relative memory of two signals: Φ α  = α 2/α 1, where α i is the slope of spectral power versus frequency of each signal in log–log plots. We use these metrics to evaluate: (1) filtering of precipitation (P) inputs to discharge (Q) outputs from four locations in different moisture regimes in the US, and identify human impacts on catchment hydrology; and (2) dominance of hydrologic variability for nitrate wet deposition flux (Ω) patterns for nine US urban sites, and in the patterns of exported solute loads in intensively managed catchments. Our analyses of long-term monitoring in selected managed catchments suggests that increasing human impacts on landscapes: (1) cause hydrologic and biogeochemical processes to exhibit increasing functional homogeneity; (2) contribute to shifts in memory between catchment drivers and responses; and (3) decrease the temporal inequality of nutrient export dynamics.


Hydro-climatic drivers Anthropogenic drivers Catchment responses Urban catchments Wet deposition Agricultural catchments Nutrient export 



Portions of this paper are based on two presentations made at the 8th World Congress of the International Association of Landscape Ecology, 18–23 August 2011 in Beijing, China. Contributions of PSCR, HEG, and JP were supported, in part, by the Lee A. Rieth Endowment in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. JWJ was supported, in part, by the South Florida management district and the Florida agricultural experiment station. We acknowledge the USGS (United States Geological Survey, Water Resources,, NCDC (National Climatic Data Center, US Department of Commerce,, and NADP (NADP Program Office, Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, as sources of data included in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather E. Gall
    • 1
  • Jeryang Park
    • 1
  • Ciaran J. Harman
    • 2
  • James W. Jawitz
    • 3
  • P. Suresh C. Rao
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Soil and Water Science DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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