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Effects of Flooding on Ion Exchange Rates in an Upper Mississippi River Floodplain Forest Impacted by Herbivory, Invasion, and Restoration

Abstract

We examined effects of flooding on supply rates of 14 nutrients in floodplain areas invaded by Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass), areas restored to young successional forests (browsed by white-tailed deer and unbrowsed), and remnant mature forests in the Upper Mississippi River floodplain. Plant Root Simulator ion-exchange probes were deployed for four separate 28-day periods. The first deployment occurred during flooded conditions, while the three subsequent deployments were conducted during progressively drier periods. Time after flooding corresponded with increases in NO3 -N, K+ and Zn+2, decreases in H2PO4 -P, Fe+3, Mn+2, and B(OH)4-B, a decrease followed by an increase in NH4 +-N, Ca+2, Mg+2 and Al+3, and an increase followed by a decrease for SO4 −2-S. Plant community type had weak to no effects on nutrient supply rates compared to the stronger effects of flooding duration. Our results suggest that seasonal dynamics in floodplain nutrient availability are similarly driven by flood pulses in different community types. However, reed canarygrass invasion has potential to increase availability of some nutrients, while restoration of forest cover may promote recovery of nutrient availability to that observed in reference mature forests.

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Acknowledgments

Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program and through a cooperative agreement between the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse River Studies Center. Logistical support for field work and maintenance of the study site as an experiment was provided by Randy Urich and the environmental stewardship staff at the La Crescent field office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District. Any use of trade names of products does not imply endorsement by the United States Government.

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Correspondence to Rebecca M. Kreiling.

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Kreiling, R.M., De Jager, N.R., Swanson, W. et al. Effects of Flooding on Ion Exchange Rates in an Upper Mississippi River Floodplain Forest Impacted by Herbivory, Invasion, and Restoration. Wetlands 35, 1005–1012 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-015-0675-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-015-0675-x

Keywords

  • Floodplain forest
  • Herbivory
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Phalaris arundinacea
  • Forest succession
  • Connectivity