Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems

Michael E. McClain, Elizabeth W. Boyer, C. Lisa Dent, Sarah E. Gergel, Nancy Grimm, Peter M. Groffman, Stephen C. Hart, Judson W. Harvey, Carol A. Johnston, Emilio Mayorga, William H. McDowell, Gilles Pinay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1284 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rates and reactions of biogeochemical processes vary in space and time to produce both hot spots and hot moments of elemental cycling. We define biogeochemical hot spots as patches that show disproportionately high reaction rates relative to the surrounding matrix, whereas hot moments are defined as short periods of time that exhibit disproportionately high reaction rates relative to longer intervening time periods. As has been appreciated by ecologists for decades, hot spot and hot moment activity is often enhanced at terrestrial-aquatic interfaces. Using examples from the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, we show that hot spots occur where hydrological flowpaths converge with substrates or other flowpaths containing complementary or missing reactants. Hot moments occur when episodic hydrological flowpaths reactivate and/or mobilize accumulated reactants. By focusing on the delivery of specific missing reactants via hydrologic flowpaths, we can forge a better mechanistic understanding of the factors that create hot spots and hot moments. Such a mechanistic understanding is necessary so that biogeochemical hot spots can be identified at broader spatiotemporal scales and factored into quantitative models. We specifically recommend that resource managers incorporate both natural and artificially created biogeochemical hot spots into their plans for water quality management. Finally, we emphasize the needs for further research to assess the potential importance of hot spot and hot moment phenomena in the cycling of different bioactive elements, improve our ability to predict their occurrence, assess their importance in landscape biogeochemistry, and evaluate their utility as tools for resource management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-312
Number of pages12
JournalEcosystems
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2003

Fingerprint

Aquatic ecosystems
biogeochemistry
resource management
ecologists
terrestrial ecosystem
aquatic ecosystem
space and time
Reaction rates
managers
water quality
Biogeochemistry
reaction rate
carbon
Quality management
nitrogen
Water quality
Managers
Nitrogen
Carbon
Substrates

Keywords

  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen
  • Spatial scale
  • Temporal scale
  • Water resources management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

McClain, M. E., Boyer, E. W., Dent, C. L., Gergel, S. E., Grimm, N., Groffman, P. M., ... Pinay, G. (2003). Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems. Ecosystems, 6(4), 301-312. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-003-0161-9

Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems. / McClain, Michael E.; Boyer, Elizabeth W.; Dent, C. Lisa; Gergel, Sarah E.; Grimm, Nancy; Groffman, Peter M.; Hart, Stephen C.; Harvey, Judson W.; Johnston, Carol A.; Mayorga, Emilio; McDowell, William H.; Pinay, Gilles.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 6, No. 4, 06.2003, p. 301-312.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McClain, ME, Boyer, EW, Dent, CL, Gergel, SE, Grimm, N, Groffman, PM, Hart, SC, Harvey, JW, Johnston, CA, Mayorga, E, McDowell, WH & Pinay, G 2003, 'Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems', Ecosystems, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 301-312. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-003-0161-9
McClain, Michael E. ; Boyer, Elizabeth W. ; Dent, C. Lisa ; Gergel, Sarah E. ; Grimm, Nancy ; Groffman, Peter M. ; Hart, Stephen C. ; Harvey, Judson W. ; Johnston, Carol A. ; Mayorga, Emilio ; McDowell, William H. ; Pinay, Gilles. / Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems. In: Ecosystems. 2003 ; Vol. 6, No. 4. pp. 301-312.
@article{5bd0b725d0e74e7198b9c207abd0eff6,
title = "Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems",
abstract = "Rates and reactions of biogeochemical processes vary in space and time to produce both hot spots and hot moments of elemental cycling. We define biogeochemical hot spots as patches that show disproportionately high reaction rates relative to the surrounding matrix, whereas hot moments are defined as short periods of time that exhibit disproportionately high reaction rates relative to longer intervening time periods. As has been appreciated by ecologists for decades, hot spot and hot moment activity is often enhanced at terrestrial-aquatic interfaces. Using examples from the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, we show that hot spots occur where hydrological flowpaths converge with substrates or other flowpaths containing complementary or missing reactants. Hot moments occur when episodic hydrological flowpaths reactivate and/or mobilize accumulated reactants. By focusing on the delivery of specific missing reactants via hydrologic flowpaths, we can forge a better mechanistic understanding of the factors that create hot spots and hot moments. Such a mechanistic understanding is necessary so that biogeochemical hot spots can be identified at broader spatiotemporal scales and factored into quantitative models. We specifically recommend that resource managers incorporate both natural and artificially created biogeochemical hot spots into their plans for water quality management. Finally, we emphasize the needs for further research to assess the potential importance of hot spot and hot moment phenomena in the cycling of different bioactive elements, improve our ability to predict their occurrence, assess their importance in landscape biogeochemistry, and evaluate their utility as tools for resource management.",
keywords = "Biogeochemical cycles, Carbon, Nitrogen, Spatial scale, Temporal scale, Water resources management",
author = "McClain, {Michael E.} and Boyer, {Elizabeth W.} and Dent, {C. Lisa} and Gergel, {Sarah E.} and Nancy Grimm and Groffman, {Peter M.} and Hart, {Stephen C.} and Harvey, {Judson W.} and Johnston, {Carol A.} and Emilio Mayorga and McDowell, {William H.} and Gilles Pinay",
year = "2003",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1007/s10021-003-0161-9",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "301--312",
journal = "Ecosystems",
issn = "1432-9840",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Biogeochemical Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems

AU - McClain, Michael E.

AU - Boyer, Elizabeth W.

AU - Dent, C. Lisa

AU - Gergel, Sarah E.

AU - Grimm, Nancy

AU - Groffman, Peter M.

AU - Hart, Stephen C.

AU - Harvey, Judson W.

AU - Johnston, Carol A.

AU - Mayorga, Emilio

AU - McDowell, William H.

AU - Pinay, Gilles

PY - 2003/6

Y1 - 2003/6

N2 - Rates and reactions of biogeochemical processes vary in space and time to produce both hot spots and hot moments of elemental cycling. We define biogeochemical hot spots as patches that show disproportionately high reaction rates relative to the surrounding matrix, whereas hot moments are defined as short periods of time that exhibit disproportionately high reaction rates relative to longer intervening time periods. As has been appreciated by ecologists for decades, hot spot and hot moment activity is often enhanced at terrestrial-aquatic interfaces. Using examples from the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, we show that hot spots occur where hydrological flowpaths converge with substrates or other flowpaths containing complementary or missing reactants. Hot moments occur when episodic hydrological flowpaths reactivate and/or mobilize accumulated reactants. By focusing on the delivery of specific missing reactants via hydrologic flowpaths, we can forge a better mechanistic understanding of the factors that create hot spots and hot moments. Such a mechanistic understanding is necessary so that biogeochemical hot spots can be identified at broader spatiotemporal scales and factored into quantitative models. We specifically recommend that resource managers incorporate both natural and artificially created biogeochemical hot spots into their plans for water quality management. Finally, we emphasize the needs for further research to assess the potential importance of hot spot and hot moment phenomena in the cycling of different bioactive elements, improve our ability to predict their occurrence, assess their importance in landscape biogeochemistry, and evaluate their utility as tools for resource management.

AB - Rates and reactions of biogeochemical processes vary in space and time to produce both hot spots and hot moments of elemental cycling. We define biogeochemical hot spots as patches that show disproportionately high reaction rates relative to the surrounding matrix, whereas hot moments are defined as short periods of time that exhibit disproportionately high reaction rates relative to longer intervening time periods. As has been appreciated by ecologists for decades, hot spot and hot moment activity is often enhanced at terrestrial-aquatic interfaces. Using examples from the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, we show that hot spots occur where hydrological flowpaths converge with substrates or other flowpaths containing complementary or missing reactants. Hot moments occur when episodic hydrological flowpaths reactivate and/or mobilize accumulated reactants. By focusing on the delivery of specific missing reactants via hydrologic flowpaths, we can forge a better mechanistic understanding of the factors that create hot spots and hot moments. Such a mechanistic understanding is necessary so that biogeochemical hot spots can be identified at broader spatiotemporal scales and factored into quantitative models. We specifically recommend that resource managers incorporate both natural and artificially created biogeochemical hot spots into their plans for water quality management. Finally, we emphasize the needs for further research to assess the potential importance of hot spot and hot moment phenomena in the cycling of different bioactive elements, improve our ability to predict their occurrence, assess their importance in landscape biogeochemistry, and evaluate their utility as tools for resource management.

KW - Biogeochemical cycles

KW - Carbon

KW - Nitrogen

KW - Spatial scale

KW - Temporal scale

KW - Water resources management

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=9144244176&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=9144244176&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10021-003-0161-9

DO - 10.1007/s10021-003-0161-9

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:9144244176

VL - 6

SP - 301

EP - 312

JO - Ecosystems

JF - Ecosystems

SN - 1432-9840

IS - 4

ER -