skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Estimating uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics from nutrient pulse releases in stream ecosystems

Abstract

Nutrient spiraling is an important ecosystem process characterizing nutrient transport and uptake in streams. Various nutrient addition methods are used to estimate uptake metrics; however, uncertainty in the metrics is not often evaluated. A method was developed to quantify uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics estimated from saturating pulse nutrient additions (Tracer Additions for Spiraling Curve Characterization; TASCC). Using a Monte Carlo (MC) approach, the 95% confidence interval (CI) was estimated for ambient uptake lengths (S w-amb) and maximum areal uptake rates (U max) based on 100,000 datasets generated from each of four nitrogen and five phosphorous TASCC experiments conducted seasonally in a forest stream in eastern Tennessee, U.S.A. Uncertainty estimates from the MC approach were compared to the CIs estimated from ordinary least squares (OLS) and non-linear least squares (NLS) models used to calculate S w-amb and U max, respectively, from the TASCC method. The CIs for Sw-amb and Umax were large, but were not consistently larger using the MC method. Despite the large CIs, significant differences (based on nonoverlapping CIs) in nutrient metrics among seasons were found with more significant differences using the OLS/NLS vs. the MC method. Lastly, we suggest that the MC approach ismore » a robust way to estimate uncertainty, as the calculation of S w-amb and U max violates assumptions of OLS/NLS while the MC approach is free of these assumptions. The MC approach can be applied to other ecosystem metrics that are calculated from multiple parameters, providing a more robust estimate of these metrics and their associated uncertainties.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Institute and Environmental Sciences Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1343498
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Limnology and Oceanography Methods
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 15; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1541-5856
Publisher:
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Brooks, Scott C., Brandt, Craig C., and Griffiths, Natalie A. Estimating uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics from nutrient pulse releases in stream ecosystems. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/lom3.10139.
Brooks, Scott C., Brandt, Craig C., & Griffiths, Natalie A. Estimating uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics from nutrient pulse releases in stream ecosystems. United States. doi:10.1002/lom3.10139.
Brooks, Scott C., Brandt, Craig C., and Griffiths, Natalie A. Fri . "Estimating uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics from nutrient pulse releases in stream ecosystems". United States. doi:10.1002/lom3.10139. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1343498.
@article{osti_1343498,
title = {Estimating uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics from nutrient pulse releases in stream ecosystems},
author = {Brooks, Scott C. and Brandt, Craig C. and Griffiths, Natalie A.},
abstractNote = {Nutrient spiraling is an important ecosystem process characterizing nutrient transport and uptake in streams. Various nutrient addition methods are used to estimate uptake metrics; however, uncertainty in the metrics is not often evaluated. A method was developed to quantify uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics estimated from saturating pulse nutrient additions (Tracer Additions for Spiraling Curve Characterization; TASCC). Using a Monte Carlo (MC) approach, the 95% confidence interval (CI) was estimated for ambient uptake lengths (Sw-amb) and maximum areal uptake rates (Umax) based on 100,000 datasets generated from each of four nitrogen and five phosphorous TASCC experiments conducted seasonally in a forest stream in eastern Tennessee, U.S.A. Uncertainty estimates from the MC approach were compared to the CIs estimated from ordinary least squares (OLS) and non-linear least squares (NLS) models used to calculate Sw-amb and Umax, respectively, from the TASCC method. The CIs for Sw-amb and Umax were large, but were not consistently larger using the MC method. Despite the large CIs, significant differences (based on nonoverlapping CIs) in nutrient metrics among seasons were found with more significant differences using the OLS/NLS vs. the MC method. Lastly, we suggest that the MC approach is a robust way to estimate uncertainty, as the calculation of Sw-amb and Umax violates assumptions of OLS/NLS while the MC approach is free of these assumptions. The MC approach can be applied to other ecosystem metrics that are calculated from multiple parameters, providing a more robust estimate of these metrics and their associated uncertainties.},
doi = {10.1002/lom3.10139},
journal = {Limnology and Oceanography Methods},
number = 1,
volume = 15,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Uncertainty in predictions of the climate response to rising levels of greenhouse gases
journal, January 2005

  • Stainforth, D. A.; Aina, T.; Christensen, C.
  • Nature, Vol. 433, Issue 7024
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature03301

Phosphorus Spiralling in a Woodland Stream: Seasonal Variations
journal, June 1985

  • Mulholland, Patrick J.; Newbold, J. Denis; Elwood, Jerry W.
  • Ecology, Vol. 66, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.2307/1940562

Measuring Nutrient Spiralling in Streams
journal, July 1981

  • Newbold, J. Denis; Elwood, Jerry W.; O'Neill, Robert V.
  • Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 38, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1139/f81-114

Stream denitrification across biomes and its response to anthropogenic nitrate loading
journal, March 2008

  • Mulholland, Patrick J.; Helton, Ashley M.; Poole, Geoffrey C.
  • Nature, Vol. 452, Issue 7184
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature06686

Are Rivers just big Streams? a Pulse Method to Quantify Nitrogen Demand in a Large River
journal, October 2008

  • Tank, Jennifer L.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.; Baker, Michelle A.
  • Ecology, Vol. 89, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1890/07-1315.1

Accounting for uncertainty in ecological analysis: the strengths and limitations of hierarchical statistical modeling
journal, April 2009

  • Cressie, Noel; Calder, Catherine A.; Clark, James S.
  • Ecological Applications, Vol. 19, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1890/07-0744.1

Long-term data reveal patterns and controls on stream water chemistry in a forested stream: Walker Branch, Tennessee
journal, August 2012

  • Lutz, Brian D.; Mulholland, Patrick J.; Bernhardt, Emily S.
  • Ecological Monographs, Vol. 82, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1890/11-1129.1

Nutrient uptake in streams draining agricultural catchments of the midwestern United States
journal, March 2006


Nutrient dynamics in streams and the role of J-NABS
journal, March 2010

  • Mulholland, Patrick J.; Webster, Jackson R.
  • Journal of the North American Benthological Society, Vol. 29, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1899/08-035.1

Organic Matter Dynamics in the West Fork of Walker Branch, Tennessee, USA
journal, March 1997

  • Mulholland, P. J.
  • Journal of the North American Benthological Society, Vol. 16, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.2307/1468235

Ignorance is bliss: Or seven reasons not to use uncertainty analysis: OPINION
journal, May 2006

  • Pappenberger, F.; Beven, K. J.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 42, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1029/2005WR004820

Separating physical and biological nutrient retention and quantifying uptake kinetics from ambient to saturation in successive mountain stream reaches
journal, January 2010

  • Covino, Timothy; McGlynn, Brian; Baker, Michelle
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 115, Issue G4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009JG001263

Quantification of modelling uncertainties in a large ensemble of climate change simulations
journal, August 2004

  • Murphy, James M.; Sexton, David M. H.; Barnett, David N.
  • Nature, Vol. 430, Issue 7001
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature02771