Message from the Director

Welcome to the Center for the Environment at Purdue University where our affiliated researchers, working with their global partners, conduct use-inspired science to address humanity’s most pressing environmental and sustainability challenges.
I encourage you to explore our web site or attend one of the many events that highlight our interdisciplinary research, education, and service activities.

– Timothy Filley, Interim Director
Center for the Environment

2016 C4E Annual Report

Forest fungi boost invasive plants, choke out native species

December 6, 2017

Certain types of tree-associated fungi make a forest a welcoming environment for invasive plant species, crowding out...

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AGU 2017 Poster Presentation by Tingyu Hou: Interaction of Land Management Intensity and Micro-topography Controls on Geochemistry of Raindrop-Liberated/Mobilized Soil Particles

December 15, 2017

The dynamics of raindrop-induced breakdown of soil aggregates, a critical factor in the initial process of surface erosion and lateral redistribution of soil, are strongly tied to land use intensity. What is unclear however is the relative control of rain and mechanical disturbance on the development of landscape-level heterogeneity in surface soil geochemistry. We used artificial rainfall simulated experiments including an aggregate stability test and time course rainfall-erosional test to evaluate the role of management intensity and micro-topography on the geochemistry of raindrop-liberated/mobilized particles from landscapes in southeastern Iowa. Comparing restored prairie, conservation tillage, and conventional tillage sites we found, and with a trend toward increasing tillage intensity, a decrease in aggregate stability and raindrop-liberated particles that were lower in organic carbon, nitrogen, and plant-derived biopolymers, while containing higher proportions of microbially-processed nitrogen than the raindrop stable aggregates. Time evolution of the geochemistry (e.g. elemental, stable isotope, and biopolymer composition) of transported soil particles exhibited distinct patterns based upon both position of the hillslope and oriented soil roughness. Additionally, in the restored prairie, raindrop liberated particles had identical geochemical composition to the raindrop stable aggregates. Our results demonstrate that agricultural sites under intensive tillage have not only a greater potential to liberate and mobilize soil particles during storms, but the mobilized particles will have a distinct chemical character based on tillage intensity, hillslope position and oriented roughness thus lead to a greater potential for landscape level heterogeneity in surface and buried soil chemistry upon mobilization and burial.

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