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Integration Across Landscapes and Waterscapes



Denitrification Modeling Across Terrestrial, Freshwater and Marine Systems

November 28-30, 2006
At The Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York, USA

Overall Objective

The main objective of this workshop is to make significant new advancements in modeling denitrification at watershed and regional scales across the soil to coastal (including shelf) continuum. The secondary objective is to identify the temporal and spatial scales where we need to measure denitrification and other parameters in order to further develop and validate those models. This latter goal will set the stage for a future workshop on denitrification methods.

The workshop approach will also center on the development of cross-disciplinary and cross-site teams to produce synthesis papers and potentially proposals from synergies of different perspectives (e.g., NSF Ecosystems, FIBR, Critical Zone). Examples of previous workshop synthesis papers are available here.


In this workshop, we will review and compare different approaches to modeling denitrification at watershed and regional scales across the soil to coastal continuum. We will focus on two well-studied sites where mass balances and denitrification measurements can be compared with a variety of different models so that our questions about the integration of models and measurements at different temporal and spatial scales can be addressed. The two test sites for the analysis will be: 1) the Merrimack River watershed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts that has one long-term ecological research (LTER) site in its headwaters (Hubbard Brook), and one at its mouth (Plum Island) and 2) the state of Illinois, where there has been an active program of nitrogen mass balance and denitrification measurement and modeling work for the past few years. Additional sites modeled and measured with different approaches will also be discussed for comparison.

Presentations (invited talks and contributed posters) and discussions will focus on the following main topics. Asterisks (*) indicate areas open to participant contribution in the direction of the workshop. The maximum number of attendees will be 35.

Overview of Woods Hole Workshop conclusions: Participants from the Woods Hole denitrification workshop (May 2004) will synthesize findings and highlight gaps that were identified during the development of the synthesis papers and that we anticipate bridging at this workshop.

New advances in modeling denitrification*: This session will bring together teams of people who don't usually work together to come up with ideas on ways to advance modeling of denitrification in soils, groundwater and riparian systems, and fresh- and salt water ecosystems and how to use those models to scale up to the whole watershed or regional perspectives. Preliminary application of these new (or old) approaches to a pristine system (e.g., the Merrimack River) and to a more anthropogenically dominated watershed (e.g., agricultural Illinois) will be encouraged as well as in other systems.

Case studies of model-measurement scaling from plot to watershed or regional estimates of denitrification: Case studies within the Merrimack River and Illinois systems, the riparian zone (e.g., the Little River Watershed, GA), etc. will be presented. We encourage participants to present case studies from other systems*.

Evaluation of denitrification models* (breakout groups): How do the models simulate denitrification? Are these model structures dependent upon spatial and temporal scales being simulated? How do they determine where and when denitrification should be simulated? Are there unexploited synergies among models? How do the models connect to other ecosystem properties? What data are available or needed to validate these models? What would be the most effective method and the appropriate time (e.g., seasonal or annual) and space (e.g., ecosystem or watershed/regional) scales for exchange between measurers and modelers?

Special topics*: new approaches/new ideas/new technologies needed to scale up models and measurements to whole watersheds or regional perspectives (e.g., use of spatial and temporal GIS databases, remote sensing, etc.)