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Steven S Perakis
Postdoc, 2001, Stanford University
Ph.D. 2000, Cornell University
M.S. 1994, University of Washington
B.S. 1990, University of Pennsylvania
Forest biogeochemistry and ecosystem studies, watershed science, riparian forests, global change, nutrient cycling, forest soil fertility, stable isotopes
Science and Products
Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a critical biogeochemical process that converts inert atmospheric N2 gas into biologically usable forms of the essential nutrient nitrogen. A variety of free-living and symbiotic organisms carry out BNF, and in most regions worldwide, BNF is the largest source of nitrogen that fuels terrestrial ecosystems. As a result, BNF has far reaching effects on...
Research in our laboratory centers on the ecology and biogeochemistry of forest ecosystems, as well as grassland and riparian systems. We examine how factors such as natural and human disturbances, climate and climate change, succession, and soil fertility shape ecosystem biogeochemistry - and the reciprocal effect of biogeochemical cycles on these and other factors.
Riparian vegetation is an often ignored yet critical source of nutrition for riparian food webs. Many food webs are supported at their base by the breakdown and incorporation of leaf litter into fungi, insects, etc. In headwater streams, riparian leaf litter inputs provide essential subsidies that fuel in-stream productivity, in addition to subsidizing food chains of terrestrial riparian...
This research theme facilitates the sound management and restoration of Pacific Northwest Douglas-fir forests, as well as to refine broader-scale predictions of how temperate forests will function in an increasingly nitrogen-rich world.
This research theme examines the impacts of prescribed fire on plant productivity, soil physical, chemical, and biological characteristics, and nutrient leaching. Results from this research will enable improved decision-making of how to manage fire-prone forests to maintain long-term forest fertility and productivity, especially across wide climate gradients characteristic of the Pacific...
This research theme coalesces studies of old-growth temperate forests in several major thematic areas including landscape and ecosystem controls on watershed nutrient export, wildfire disturbance legacies on biogeochemical cycling, and the imprint of tree species on soil nutrients in old-growth forests.
This research theme advance fundamental understanding of climate-biogeochemistry interactions, with wide applicability to virtually all terrestrial ecosystems.
Forecasting forest response to N deposition: integrating data from individual plant responses to soil chemistry with a continental-scale gradient analysis
Nitrogen deposition is altering forest dynamics, terrestrial carbon storage, and biodiversity. However, our ability to forecast how different tree species will respond to N deposition, especially key response thresholds, is limited by a lack of synthesis across spatial scales and research approaches. To develop our best understanding of N deposition impact on tree growth and survival, we will...
Molybdenum isotope fractionation during adsorption to organic matter
Organic matter is of emerging interest as a control on molybdenum (Mo) biogeochemistry, and information on isotope fractionation during adsorption to organic matter can improve interpretations of Mo isotope variations in natural settings. Molybdenum isotope fractionation was investigated during adsorption onto insolubilized humic acid (IHA), a...King, Elizabeth K.; Perakis, Steven; Pett-Ridge, Julie C.
Centennial-scale reductions in nitrogen availability in temperate forests of the United States
Forests cover 30% of the terrestrial Earth surface and are a major component of the global carbon (C) cycle. Humans have doubled the amount of global reactive nitrogen (N), increasing deposition of N onto forests worldwide. However, other global changes—especially climate change and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations—are increasing...McLauchlan, Kendra K.; Gerhart, Laci M.; Battles, John J.; Craine, Joseph M.; Elmore, Andrew J.; Higuera, Phil E.; Mack, Michelle M; McNeil, Brendan E.; Nelson, David M.; Pederson, Neil; Perakis, Steven
Intraspecific variability and reaction norms of forest understory plant species traits
Trait-based models of ecological communities typically assume intraspecific variation in functional traits is not important, though such variation can change species trait rankings along gradients in resources and environmental conditions, and thus influence community structure and function.We examined the degree of intraspecific relative to...Burton, Julia I.; Perakis, Steven; McKenzie, Sean C.; Lawrence, Caitlin E.; Puettmann, Klaus J.
Nutrient feedbacks to soil heterotrophic nitrogen fixation in forests
Multiple nutrient cycles regulate biological nitrogen (N) fixation in forests, yet long-term feedbacks between N-fixation and coupled element cycles remain largely unexplored. We examined soil nutrients and heterotrophic N-fixation across a gradient of 24 temperate conifer forests shaped by legacies of symbiotic N-fixing trees. We observed...Perakis, Steven; Pett-Ridge, Julie C.; Catricala, Christina E.
Mechanisms of nitrogen deposition effects on temperate forest lichens and trees
We review the mechanisms of deleterious nitrogen (N) deposition impacts on temperate forests, with a particular focus on trees and lichens. Elevated anthropogenic N deposition to forests has varied effects on individual organisms depending on characteristics both of the N inputs (form, timing, amount) and of the organisms (ecology, physiology)...Carter, Therese S.; Clark, Christopher L.; Fenn, Mark E.; Jovan, Sarah E.; Perakis, Steven; Riddell, Jennifer; Schaberg, Paul G.; Greaver, Tara; Hastings, Meredith
Long-term forest productivity: Chapter 11
No abstract available.Olson, Deanna H.; Van Horne, Beatrice; Bormann, Bernard T.; Perakis, Steven S.; Darbyshire, Robyn; Hatten, Jeff
Enhancing public trust in Federal forest management: Chapter 18
No abstract available.Nelson, Michael Paul; Gosnell, Hannah; Warren, Dana R.; Batavia, Chelsea; Betts, Matthew; Burton, Julia; Davis, Emily Jane; Schulze, Mark; Segura, Catalina; Friesen, Cheryl Ann; Perakis, Steven S.
Riparian soil development linked to forest succession above and below dams along the Elwha River, Washington, USA
Riparian forest soils can be highly dynamic, due to frequent fluvial disturbance, erosion, and sediment deposition, but effects of dams on riparian soils are poorly understood. We examined soils along toposequences within three river segments located upstream, between, and downstream of two dams on the Elwha River to evaluate relationships between...Perry, Laura G; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Perakis, Steven
Decomposition drives convergence of forest litter nutrient stoichiometry following phosphorus addition
Background and aims Nutrient levels in decomposing detritus and soil can influence decomposition rates and detrital nutrient dynamics in differing ways among various detrital components of forests. We assessed whether increased phosphorus (P) levels in litter and soil influenced decomposition rates and litter nutrient dynamics of foliage, fine...van Huysen, Tiff L.; Perakis, Steven; Harmon, Mark E.
Nitrogen enrichment regulates calcium sources in forests
Nitrogen (N) is a key nutrient that shapes cycles of other essential elements in forests, including calcium (Ca). When N availability exceeds ecosystem demands, excess N can stimulate Ca leaching and deplete Ca from soils. Over the long term, these processes may alter the proportion of available Ca that is derived from atmospheric deposition vs....Hynicka, Justin D.; Pett-Ridge, Julie C.; Perakis, Steven
Combined use of isotopic and hydrometric data to conceptualize ecohydrological processes in a high-elevation tropical ecosystem
Few high-elevation tropical catchments worldwide are gauged and even fewer are studied using combined hydrometric and isotopic data. Consequently, we lack information needed to understand processes governing rainfall-runoff dynamics and to predict their influence on downstream ecosystem functioning. To address this need, we present a combination...Mosquera, Giovanny M; Celleri, Rolando; Lazo, Patricio X; Vache, Kellie B; Perakis, Steven; Crespo, Patricio
A framework to assess biogeochemical response to ecosystem disturbance using nutrient partitioning ratios
Disturbances affect almost all terrestrial ecosystems, but it has been difficult to identify general principles regarding these influences. To improve our understanding of the long-term consequences of disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems, we present a conceptual framework that analyzes disturbances by their biogeochemical impacts. We posit that...Kranabetter, J. Marty; McLauchlan, Kendra K.; Enders, Sara K.; Fraterrigo, Jennifer M.; Higuera, Philip E.; Morris, Jesse L.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Barnes, Rebecca; Buma, Brian; Gavin, Daniel G.; Gerhart, Laci M.; Gillson, Lindsey; Hietz, Peter; Mack, Michelle C.; McNeil, Brenden; Perakis, Steven
There is a black box hidden beneath the forests of the Pacific Northwest, guarding the secrets to why the trees grow so large! The black box is soil, which harbors immense biological diversity and controls the release of water and nutrients that support the life above ground. Join us as Sue Powell interviews USGS ecologist Steve Perakis and discusses his research about the...
Effects of Nitrogen and Sulfur Deposition on Tree Growth, Survival, and Carbon Sequestration Across the U.S.
There is scientific controversy about whether nitrogen deposition increases forest carbon sequestration. All tree species do not exhibit the same response to nitrogen and responses may be complicated by interactions with biotic and other abiotic factors such as sulfur deposition.