Hubbard Brook Hydropedology Project

Conceptual figure of laterally distributed soil units driven by hydrologic flow paths.

Conceptual figure of laterally distributed soil units driven by hydrologic flow paths.

PROJECT TITLE: Landform controls on hydrologic flowpaths and pedogenesis explain solute retention and export from pedon to catchment scales

SPONSOR: NSF EAR Hydrologic Sciences; NSF LTER; Virginia Tech

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Kevin McGuire, Scott Bailey (USFS), Tom Bullen (USGS), Don Ross (UVM)

COLLABORATORS: Jamie Shanley (USGS), Linda Pardo (USFS), Jen Morse (Portland State), Peter Groffman (Cary Institute), Steve Arcone (USACOE-CRREL), Brian Strahm (VT), Mark Green (Plymouth State), Karin Rebel (Utrecht), Christy Goodale (Cornell), Sarah Wexler (University of East Anglia)

GRADUATE STUDENTS:

  1. Rebecca Bourgault, PhD student (UVM)
  2. JP Gannon, PhD student
  3. Cody Gillin, MS student
  4. Suzanne Kok, MS student (Utrecht)

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHERS: Patricia Brousseau (UVM & VT), Tyler Kreider (SUNY-ESF & VT), Maggie Zimmer (Oberlin College, now at Duke), Kaitland Harvey (Kentucky), Maggie Burns (U. Maine, now at UC-Boulder), Bridget O’Neill (Pitt now at U Del), Russell Callahan (Montana State), Kelly Floro (Geroge Mason), Ben Geyman (Bowdoin), Cailene Gunn (Bates)

PROJECT SUMMARY:

Understanding the linkages between hydrology and how soil develops can provide valuable information for managing forests and stream water quality, particularly in headwater systems. Soils are essential in determining the chemistry of headwaters. All precipitation eventually filters through the soil and dissolves minerals and organic materials, which end up in streams and rivers, where humans depend on freshwater resources. However, there are fundamental knowledge gaps in hydrology and soil science about how water flows through a watershed and how elements are retained or released from a watershed.

The structure and organization of soils in a watershed is partly controlled by the water flow pathways and wetting/drying regimes in soils. Feedbacks between soils and hydrological processes lead to predictable landscape patterns of soil chemistry, which have implications for understanding spatial variation in site productivity and suitability for species with differing habitat requirements or chemical sensitivity. This interaction between soil development processes and hydrological processes is the focus of an emerging new study area called hydropedology.

Our hydropedologic study of Watershed 3 at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest was designed to enhance our understanding of the interactions between topography, groundwater and soil formation at that site, and how those variables determined soil composition across the watershed. We showed that there is much spatial variability in soil composition, but that variability can be quantified and predicted based on topographic characteristics, such as local slope, landform curvature, and distance to stream or bedrock outcrops. These soil spatial patterns were also related to shallow groundwater occurrence and frequency and whether water in the soil was primarily flowing downslope or vertically into the ground. Taken together, this hydropedological approach provided insight into streamflow generation and chemical patterns at this site. For example, the structure and organization of soils in Watershed 3 at Hubbard Brook was critical in understanding the sources of dissolved organic carbon that contributed to streamflow or in identifying hotspot locations of denitrification (i.e., a gaseous loss of nitrogen to the atmosphere). Therefore, under changing climate or disturbance, we now have better insight into areas of a watershed that may be sensitive to change and critical in controlling element cycling. These examples illustrate the importance of hydropedological variation in regulating key ecological processes in watersheds and forming a basis for predicting stream water chemical variation more broadly.

PUBLICATIONS

Benettin, P., Bailey, S.W., Campbell, J.L., Green, M.B., Rinaldo, A., Likens, G.E., McGuire, K.J., Botter, G., 2015. Linking water age and solute dynamics in streamflow at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, USA, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1002/2015WR017552.

Bourgault, R.R., Ross, D.S., Bailey, S.W., 2015. Chemical and morphological distinctions between vertically and laterally developed spodic horizons at Hubbard Brook, NH, Soil Science Society of America Journal, doi:10.2136/sssaj2014.05.0190.

Bourgault, R.R., 2014. Hydropedology of podzols at Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire. Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont.

Bailey, S.W., Brousseau, P.A., McGuire, K.J., Ross, D.S. 2014. Influence of landscape position and transient water table on soil development and carbon distribution in a steep, headwater catchment. Geoderma 226–227:279–289, doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.02.017.

Gannon, J.P., 2014. A hydropedological approach to describing runoff generation, lateral podzolization, and spatial and temporal patterns of DOC in a headwater catchment. Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, 120 p.

Gannon, J.P., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J. 2014. Organizing groundwater regimes and response thresholds by soils: A framework for understanding runoff generation in a headwater catchment, Water Resources Research, 50(11): 8403–8419, doi: 10.1002/2014WR015498. 

Gannon, J.P., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Shanley, J.B., 2015. Flushing of distal hillslopes as an alternative source of stream dissolved organic carbon in a headwater catchment, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1002/2015WR016927. 

Gillin, C.P., 2013. Digital terrain analysis to predict soil spatial patterns at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. M.S. Thesis, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, 105 p.

Gillin, C.P., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Gannon, J.P. 2015. Mapping of hydropedologic spatial patterns in a steep headwater catchment, Soil Science Society of America Journal, 79(2): 440-453, doi: 10.2136/sssaj2014.05.0189.

Gillin, C.P., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Prisley, S.P., 2015. Evaluation of lidar-derived DEMs through terrain analysis and field comparison, Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 81(5): 387-396, doi: 10.14358/PERS.81.5.387.

McGuire, K.J., Torgersen, C.E., Likens, G.E., Buso, D.C., Lowe, W.H., Bailey, S.W. 2014. Network analysis reveals multiscale controls on streamwater chemistry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(19):7030-7035, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1404820111.

Morse, J.L., Werner, S.F., Gillin, C., Goodale, C.L., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Groffman, P.M. 2014. Searching for biogeochemical hotspots in three dimensions: soil C and N cycling in hydropedologic settings in a northern hardwood forest. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 119, 1596–1607, doi:10.1002/2013JG002589.

Wexler, S.K., Goodale, C.L., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., Groffman, P.M. 2014. Isotopic signals of summer denitrification in a northern hardwood forested catchment, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(46): 16413–16418, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1404321111.

Zimmer, M.A., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J. and Bullen, T.D., 2013. Fine scale variations of surface water chemistry in an ephemeral to perennial drainage network. Hydrological Processes, 27(24): 3438-3451, doi:10.1002/hyp.9449.

DATA

RELATED PRESENTATIONS (#=UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT, %GRADUATE STUDENT):

%Gannon, J., McGuire, K., Bailey, S., Shanley, J., 2014. Simply active, or contributing too? Investigating the hydrologic connectivity of shallow water tables in a headwater catchment, Abstract H31I-0756, Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 15-19, San Francisco, CA

McGuire, K., Bailey, S., Gannon%, J., Likens, G., Buso, D., Torgersen, C., Lowe, W., 2014. Multi-Scale Variations in Streamwater Chemistry and Hydropedological Implications for Hotspot Development, Abstract H14E-03, Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 15-19, San Francisco, CA

Morse, J., Duran, J., Morillas, L., Roales, J., Bailey. S., McGuire, K., Groffman, P., 2014. Searching for hot spots and hot moments of soil denitrification in northern hardwood forests, Abstract H14E-04, Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 15-19, San Francisco, CA

McGuire, K.J., Gannon%, J.P., Gillin%, C.P., Bailey, S.W., Ross, D.S., Bourgault%, R., Bullen T.D., 2014. A hydropedological approach to describing catchment spatial organization: linkages between soil development, groundwater regimes, and solute patterns in a headwater catchment, American Geophysical Union Chapman Conference on Catchment Spatial Organization and Complex Behavior, September 23-26, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

Gannon%, J.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., 2013. The inextricable link between hillslope scale hydrologic flow paths and soil morphology, Abstract H31M-04 presented at the 2013 Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 9-13, San Francisco, CA

McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., Bullen, T.D., Ross, D.S., Bourgault%, R.R., Gannon%, J.P., Gillin%, C.P., 2013.  A hydropedologic framework for mapping spatial patterns of runoff mechanisms and biogeochemical export in catchments, Soil Science Society of America Symposium–Hydropedology – 10 Years Later and 10 Years Into the Future, Nov. 5, 2013, Tampa, FL.

Bourgault%, R.R., Ross, D.S., Bailey, S.W., Bullen, T.D., McGuire, K.J., 2013. Hydropedology of podzols at Hubbard Brook, NH, Soil Science Society of America Symposium–Hydropedology – 10 Years Later and 10 Years Into the Future, Nov. 5, Tampa, FL.

McGuire, K.J., 2013. A hydropedologic framework for mapping spatial patterns of runoff mechanisms and biogeochemistry in catchments, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, October 3, Charlottesville, VA.

Bullen, T.D., 2013. Determining solute sources and water flowpaths in a forested headwater catchment: advances with the Ca-Sr-Ba multi-tracer, 10th International Symposium on Applied Isotope Geochemistry, September 2013, Budapest, Hungary.

McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., Bullen, T.D., Ross, D.R., %Bourgault, R., %Gannon, J.P., %Gillin, C., 2013. A hydropedologic framework for predicting variable source areas and patterns of streamwater chemistry in catchment, Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, June 16-20, Andover, NH.

Bourgault%, R., Ross, D.R.,  Bailey, S.W., Bullen, T.D., 2013. Hydropedology in action: chemical evidence for lateral development of podzols at Hubbard Brook, NH, Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, June 16-20, Andover, NH.

Gannon%, J.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., 2013. Frequency of lateral water flux in relation to soil morphology and as a tool for examining changes in catchment wetness over time, Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, June 16-20, Andover, NH.

Gannon%, J.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., Bullen, T.D., %Bourgault, R., %Gillin, C., Ross, D.R., 2013. Hydropedology at Hubbard Brook: An integration of hydrology and soil science to better understand streamflow generation and catchment outflow chemistry, US-Japan Joint Seminar on Responses of Catchment Hydrology and Forest Biogeochemistry to Climatic and Environmental Change, Mar. 4-7, Honolulu, HI.

Zimmer%, M.A., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Bullen, T.D., 2013, Implications of fine scale stream chemistry snapshots across a drainage network to the representative elementary area concept, US-Japan Joint Seminar on Responses of Catchment Hydrology and Forest Biogeochemistry to Climatic and Environmental Change, Mar. 4-7, Honolulu, HI.

Gillin%, C.P., McGuire, K.J., 2013. Topographic metrics to predict soil spatial patterns, Virginia Water Conference, Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association, March 2-5, Richmond, VA.

Gannon%, J.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., 2012. How microtopography and soil morphology can help decipher flow paths and processes in headwater catchments, Abstract H41G-1251 presented at the 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 3-7, San Francisco, CA

Gillin%, C.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., Prisley, S., 2012.  Landscape metrics to predict soil spatial patterns, Abstract EP43A-0861 presented at the 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 3-7, San Francisco, CA

Bourgault%, R., Ross, D., Bailey, S., McGuire, K., %Brousseau, P., 2012. Hydropedology of podzols at Hubbard Brook, NH, ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, 21-24 Oct.

Bullen, T.D., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., 2012. Determining solute sources and water flowpaths in catchments using the Ca-Sr-Ba multi-tracer, Goldschmidt 2012, Montreal, Canada, 24-29 Jun.

Bourgault%, R., Ross, D., Bailey, S., %Brousseau, P., %Gannon, J.P., McGuire, K., Bullen, T.D., 2012. Landscape-scale pedogenic relationships between soil carbon and secondary metal oxides in Hubbard Brook podzols, northeastern US, Goldschmidt 2012, Montreal, Canada, 24-29 Jun.

McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., Gannon#, J.P., Bullen, T.D., Ross, D.S., 2011. Soil morphology as an indicator for spatial patterns of runoff generation thresholds, Abstract H44F-03 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 5-9, San Francisco, CA

Gannon%, J.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., 2011.  Hydropedology at Hubbard Brook: Differentiating soil functional units with shallow ground water response data, Abstract H51F-1256 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA., 5-9 Dec.

Zimmer# M., Bailey, S., McGuire, K., 2011. Fine scale variations of surface water chemistry in an ephemeral to perennial drainage network in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, USA, Abstract H53F-1490 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA., 5-9 Dec.

Bullen, T.D., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Zimmer#, M.A., Ross, D.S., 2011. Determining solute sources and water flowpaths in a forested headwater catchment: advances with the Ca-Sr-Ba multi-tracer, Abstract EP51F-07 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA., 5-9 Dec.

Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Bullen, T.D., Ross, D.S., 2011. A hydropedological view of critical zone structure and function at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA, Abstract B41H-07 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA., 5-9 Dec.

Bailey, S.W., %Brousseau, P., McGuire, K.J., 2011. Hydropedology reveals spatial distribution of processes controlling catchment output: clues from soil morphology. Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, July 10-15, Lewiston, ME.

Bourgault%, R., Ross, D., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., %Brousseau, P., 2011. A catchment-scale hydropedological approach to understanding variations in soil genesis and chemistry at Hubbard Brook, NH. Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, July 10-15, Lewiston, ME.

Bullen, T.D., Bailey, S.W., #Zimmer, M.A., McGuire, K.J., %Bourgault, R., Ross, D., 2011. Hydropedology reveals spatial distribution of processes controlling stream solute sources: chemical and isotopic clues. Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, July 10-15, Lewiston, ME.

Gannon%, J.P., McGuire, K.J., Bailey, S.W., 2011. Hydropedology reveals spatial distribution of processes controlling catchment output: clues from shallow groundwater responses. Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, July 10-15, Lewiston, ME.

Zimmer#, M.A., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Bullen, T.D., 2011. Hydropedology reveals spatial distribution of processes controlling stream solute export: clues from spatial and temporal variation in surface water chemistry. Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science, July 10-15, Lewiston, ME.

Bullen, T.D., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., %Brousseau, P., Ross, D.S., %Bourgault, R., #Zimmer, M.A., 2010. Understanding metal sources and transport processes in watersheds: a hydropedologic approach (Invited).  Eos Trans. AGU 91(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract B23K-06.

Zimmer#, M.A., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., Bullen, T.D., 2010. Determining surface water sources using spatial and temporal variation in stream chemistry in a headwater catchment. Eos Trans. AGU 91(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract B43C-0469.

McGuire, K.J., 2010. Patterns and processes in a forested catchment: linking pedogenesis, flowpaths, and stream chemistry (Invited). 5th Annual Berkeley Catchment Science Symposium, Dec. 12, David Brower Center, Berkeley, CA.

McGuire, K.J., 2010. The concept of hydrological connectivity of hillslopes and streams: open questions and ways forward (Invited). CUAHSI 2nd Biennial Colloquium on Hydrologic Science and Engineering, Water Across Interfaces, July 21-22, Boulder, CO.

Brousseau%, P., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., 2010. A catchment scale analysis of spatial patterns of soil morphology and chemistry. Hubbard Brook Cooperator’s Meeting, July 7-8, Campton, NH.

McGuire, K.J., #Brousseau, P.A., Bailey, S.W., 2009. Landforms, soil development, and shallow water table dynamics: implications for hydrological connectivity at the catchment scale, Eos Trans. AGU 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract H33B-0871.

#Brousseau, P.A., Bailey, S.W., McGuire, K.J., 2009. A catchment scale analysis of interactions between hydrologic flowpaths and soil development, ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, Nov. 1-5, Pittsburgh, PA.

LINKS:

Project management Scholar site (for project participants only)

Hubbard Brook ‘Research Highlight’ on our project

Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study webpage


This material on this webpage is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EAR-1014507.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.