Beyond the paired-catchment approach : isotope tracing to illuminate stocks, flows, transit time, and scaling Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7w62fb55t

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  • This dissertation integrates a process-based hydrological investigation with an ongoing paired-catchment study to better understand how forest harvest impacts catchment function at multiple scales. We do this by addressing fundamental questions related to the stocks, flows and transit times of water. Isotope tracers are used within a top-down catchment intercomparison framework to investigate the role of geology in controlling streamwater mean transit time and their scaling relationships with the surrounding landscape. We found that streams draining catchments with permeable bedrock geology at the Drift Creek watershed in the Oregon Coast Range had longer mean transit times than catchments with poorly permeable bedrock at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades. We also found that differences in permeability contrasts within the subsurface controlled whether mean transit time scaled with indices of catchment topography (for the poorly permeable bedrock) or with catchment area (for the permeable bedrock). We then investigated the process-reasons for the observed differences in mean transit time ranges and scaling behavior using a detailed, bottom-up approach to characterize subsurface water stores and fluxes. We found that the mean transit times in catchments underlain by permeable bedrock were influenced by multiple subsurface storage pools with different groundwater ages, whereas storage in the poorly permeable catchments was limited to the soil profile and that resulted in quick routing of excess water to the stream at the soil bedrock interface, leading to mean transit times that were closely related to flowpath lengths and gradients. Finally, we examined how and where forest trees interacted with subsurface storage during the growing season using a forest manipulation experiment, where we tested the null hypothesis that near-stream trees alone influenced daily fluctuations in streamflow. We felled trees within this zone for two 2.5 ha basins and combined this with isotopic tracing of tree xylem water to test if water sources utilized by trees actively contributed to summer streamflow. We rejected our null hypotheses and found that diel fluctuations in streamflow were not generated exclusively in the near-stream zone. We were unable to link, isotopically, the water sources trees were utilizing to water that was contributing to streamflow. Our results provide new process-insights to how water is stored, extracted, and discharged from our forested catchments in Western Oregon that will help better explain how forest removal influences streamflow across multiple scales and geological conditions.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Vaniel Hale (halev@onid.orst.edu) on 2012-01-09T01:40:30Z No. of bitstreams: 1 HaleVCody2011.pdf: 6517671 bytes, checksum: 743cfe622c4ed7a8959ebb5ec0a04d12 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-01-09T17:27:00Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 HaleVCody2011.pdf: 6517671 bytes, checksum: 743cfe622c4ed7a8959ebb5ec0a04d12 (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-01-10T21:00:56Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 HaleVCody2011.pdf: 6517671 bytes, checksum: 743cfe622c4ed7a8959ebb5ec0a04d12 (MD5)

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