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CAREER: From the forest to the stream: Exploring forest land cover controls on dissolved organic matter character and aquatic ecosystem respiration in headwater streams

This project will determine the role of forest harvesting, and specifically clear cutting, in controlling carbon cycling and stream respiration in headwater streams. The results from this project will be used to develop predictive models that guide future research and inform management of forested headwater systems.

This project answers the call to “focus on better identifying human impacts on the transport and biogeochemical cycling of carbon by inland waters” as outlined in the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report, by: 1) Determining the role of forest harvesting in regulating dissolved organic matter (DOM) character in headwater streams; 2) Quantifying the influence of DOM character on stream ecosystem respiration; and 3) Identifying how components 1 and 2 interact to regulate spatial and temporal patterns of ecosystem respiration across forested headwater stream networks. This information will be used to create predictions that will then be confronted with data to improve models, and expose gaps in understanding to guide future field and lab experimentation. This project will develop a vertically integrated program of mentorship, education, and provide training for undergraduate and PhD students who will gain exposure to research, outreach, and professional development activities. Through collaboration with the College of Natural Science Education and Outreach Center, this project will develop a STEM kit on watershed science specifically targeted at K-12 schools with a high percentage of underrepresented students, and encourage these groups to pursue STEM pathways.

The CSU STEM Center is conducting an evaluation of this project.

Status: Current

PI: Tim Covino

PI Institution: Colorado State University

PI College: Warner College of Natural Resources

Source of Funding: NSF

Funding Program: CAREER

Award Amount: $423,487.00

Start Date: 05/01/2020

End Date: 04/30/2025

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