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SGS-LTER Graduate Student Research: Decomposition Rates as Biochemical Responses of US Great Plains Grasslands to Regional and Interannual Variability in Precipitation (1999-2001)

Metadata Updated: November 10, 2020

This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado ( The data table and associated metadata document, which is generated in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. Additional information and referenced materials can be found: Carbon (C) sequestration potential in grasslands is thought to be high due to the large soil organic carbon pools characteristic of these ecosystems. Inputs of C (aboveground net primary productivity) are highly correlated to precipitation across the Great Plains region; however, changes in C pool size at a specific site are governed by the relative input and output rates across time. Our objective was to quantify the ecosystem C response of three grassland community types (shortgrass steppe, mixed grass and tallgrass prairie) to interannual variation in precipitation. At five sites across a precipitation gradient in the Great Plains, we measured net primary production (NPP), soil respiration (SRESP), and litter decomposition rates for three consecutive years. NPP, SRESP, and litter decomposition increased from shortgrass steppe (175, 454, and 47 g C m-2 yr-1) to tallgrass prairie (408, 1221, and 348 g C m-2 yr-1 for NPP, SRESP, and litter decomposition respectively). Increased growing season precipitation between study years resulted in increased NPP, SRESP, and litter decomposition at almost all sites. However, the regional patterns of the interannual NPP, SRESP, and litter decomposition responses differ from each other. This data suggests NPP and SRESP are more sensitive to interannual changes in precipitation than litter decomposition, and that shortgrass steppe sites are more responsive to interannual variability in precipitation than mixed grass and tallgrass prairie.

Access & Use Information

Non-public: This dataset is not for public access or use. Specific details are provided below. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 10, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from USDA JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 10, 2020
Publisher Agricultural Research Service
Unique Identifier Unknown
Identifier knb-lter-sgs.534.1
Data Last Modified 2020-08-25
Public Access Level non-public
Bureau Code 005:18
Metadata Context
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id b8cf8433-1857-4bcc-bbfb-d369169126a6
Harvest Source Id d3fafa34-0cb9-48f1-ab1d-5b5fdc783806
Harvest Source Title USDA JSON
Program Code 005:040
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash b5ed439cbde8253eadc52f998f33fd45ff5b5d5a
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial POLYGON ((-104.785833 40.8575, -104.730556 40.8575, -104.730556 40.800278, -104.785833 40.800278))

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