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Date Permissions Signed

5-28-2014

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Bunn, Andrew Godard

Second Advisor

Hooper, David U., 1961-

Third Advisor

Homann, Peter S., 1953-

Abstract

With the strongest climate warming occurring and predicted in the high-latitudes, understanding arctic carbon (C) cycling and the feedback of terrestrial C pools is increasingly important. Arctic terrestrial ecosystems comprise about one-third of the global terrestrial ecosystem C total with most of the C stored in soils, making the response of arctic systems to accelerated warming an issue of global concern. For this research, above- and belowground C stocks were quantified in a small catchment of the Kolyma River watershed in northeastern Siberia, with the primary goal of contributing to a more precise estimate of arctic C pools. Eighteen sites were chosen based on four categories of tree density. We assessed the correlation between soil C, vegetation C, and four environmental correlates -- slope, solar insolation, canopy density, and leaf area index. Carbon in the surface O horizon (2414 ± 391 g C m-2, mean +/- SE) and underlying mineral soil layer to a depth of 10 cm or to the bottom of the active layer, whichever was less, (2231 ± 432 g C m-2 ) were, together, approximately four times that of the aboveground C pools (1128 ± 273 g C m-2 ). Of the environmental correlates considered, canopy cover had the most robust association with aboveground C pools (p < 0.001; r = 0.812), while no environmental variables correlated significantly with soil C pools (p > 0.05). Greater quantities of belowground C storage are consistent with previous studies in arctic terrestrial ecosystems, but a high degree of variability existed in both above- and belowground C pools. High variability will make it more difficult to accurately quantify C pools at larger spatial scales. Additionally, the identification of canopy cover as a robust biotic correlate presents alternatives to directly measuring C stocks, but this relationship needs to be verified elsewhere in the Arctic before using it in lieu of field data collection.

Type

Text

Publisher

Western Washington University

OCLC Number

880900851

Digital Format

application/pdf

Geographic Coverage

Kolyma River Watershed (Russia)

Genre/Form

Academic theses

Language

English

Rights

Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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