2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 208-23
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM

WATER CHEMISTRY OF A HEMLOCK FOREST IN THE ROBERT V. RIDDELL STATE PARK, NY


REDDER, Brian W., Department of Chemistry, Hartwick College, 1 Hartwick Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820, BALNIS, Joseph M., Department of Chemistry, Hartwick College, 1 Hartwick Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 and BALOGH-BRUNSTAD, Zsuzsanna, Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY 13820, redderb@hartwick.edu

Invasive insects continue to have a serious negative impact on our ecosystems. The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is one of the species that is threatening our area in upstate New York as it is spreading at a rate of about 25 km per year on the eastern coast of the US. This invasive species extracts carbohydrates from the hemlock’s cells causing a slow death, usually about 4-5 years. Most of the studies have been conducted on the biological and ecological impacts of this species and less has been done to understand its chemical impact on soil and surface waters. The goal of this study is to determine the chemical characteristics of the soil and surface waters of a HWA free hemlock forest. The obtained data serve as a baseline that will be used in comparison to a HWA infected forest to elucidate the effect of the woolly adelgid caused tree mortality on nutrient mobility. To obtain baseline information, an uninfected hemlock dominated plot was chosen in the Robert V. Riddell State Park near Davenport, NY. Here we report on the preliminary soil water data collected from soil water samplers that were installed to depths of 1 and 2 feet and from a first and a second order stream running through the hemlock plot. Field parameters such as temperature, pH, electrical conductivity and turbidity were measured on-site. Major cation and anion concentrations were quantified using atomic absorption spectrometry and ion chromatography. Calcium and magnesium concentrations are higher in the soil water than the surface waters; 45 and 5.0 mg/L and 4.5 and 1.5 mg/L, respectively. Sulfate and chloride are the dominant anions with concentrations for all samples around 6 and 0.5 mg/L, respectively. Nitrate and phosphate are below the detection limit. The pH is neutral for all samples. Soil waters contain 6-7 times more total dissolved solids than the surface waters. This baseline data will be compared to data from infected sites in the region with similar geography and geology. Also, it can be used to detect changes if the Robert V. Riddell State Park becomes infected by the hemlock woolly adelgid.