Amazon Watersheds

Small forest stream at Fazenda Tanguro in Mato Grosso.

Shelby Hayhoe and Rich McHorney sample water in a Tanguro pasture stream.

Vania Neu filters a water sample in a forest headwater stream.

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Work in small watersheds has a long and distinguished history in ecology. Work in watersheds allows us to address questions about how land use alters ecosystem biogeochemistry and the movement of material from land into streams and rivers. My group works at the interface between hydrology and biogeochemistry. I work with hydrologists and biogeochemists to combine hydrometric measurements with chemical measurements to identify the specific flowpaths that water takes as it moves in watersheds.

My current work focuses on watersheds that contain either forest or soybeans at Fazenda Tanguro, a large soybean farm in Mato Grosso. Our group studies how soybean agriculture influences the generation of surface runoff, the timing and amount of runoff and watershed water balances. We also study how conversion of forest to soybeans influences transfers of carbon from terrestrial to aquatic systems, the chemistry of streamwater, watershed solute and sediment budgets and the structure and ecology of streams.


Linda Deegan, Richard McHorney, Alex Krusche, Helmut Elsenbeer, Vania Neu, Shelby Hayhoe, Vicky Ballester, Reynaldo Victoria, Joaquín Chaves, Sonja Germer, Adriana Castellano Bonilla, Frank Base, Michael Coe, Eric Davidson, Paul Lefebvre, Chelsea Nagy


In press. Deegan, L. A., C. Neill, R. L. Victoria, A. V. Krusche, M. V. R. Ballester, S. Thomas, and C. Haupert. Using whole stream 15N additions to streams understand the effects of land use change on stream function. Application of isotope techniques for water quality assessment and management, focusing on nutrient management, in rivers. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

In press. Ballester, M. V. R., R. L. Victoria, A. V. Krusche, M. Bernardes, C. Neill, L. A. Deegan and J. E. Richey. Physical and human controls on the carbon composition of organic matter in tropical rivers: An integrated analysis of landscape properties and river isotopic composition. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

2012. Germer, S., A. Zimmerman, C. Neill, A. V. Krusche and H. Elsenbeer. Disproportionate single species contribution to canopy-soil nutrient flux in an Amazonian rainforest. Forest Ecology and Management 267: 40-49.

2011. Markewitz, D., C. Lamon, M. Bustamante, J. Chaves, R. de O. Figueiredo, M. Johnson, A. Krusche, C. Neill and J. Solimão. Discharge-calcium concentration relationships in Brazil: Soil or land use controlled. Biogeochemistry 105:19–35.

2011. Neill, C., J. Chaves, T. Biggs, E. A. Davidson, L. A. Deegan, H. Elsenbeer, R. Figueiredo, S. Germer, M. Johnson, J. Lehmann, D. Markewitz and M. C. Piccolo. Runoff sources and land cover change in the Amazon: An end member mixing analysis from small watersheds. Biogeochemistry 105:7–18.

2011. Deegan, L. A., C. Neill, C. L. Haupert, M. V. R. Ballester, A. V. Krusche, R. L. Victoria, S. M. Thomas and E. de Moor. Amazon deforestation alters small stream structure, nitrogen biogeochemistry and connectivity to larger rivers. Biogeochemistry 105:53–74.

2011. Hayhoe, S. J., C. Neill, S. Porder, R. McHorney, P. Lefebvre, M. T. Coe, H. Elsenbeer and A. V. Krusche. Conversion to soy on the Amazonian agricultural frontier increases streamflow without affecting stormflow dynamics. Global Change Biology 17: 1821-1833.

2010. Germer, S, C. Neill, A. V. Krusche and H. Elsenbeer. Influence of land-use change on near-surface hydrological processes: Undisturbed forest to pasture. Journal of Hydrology 380: 473-480.

2009. Tomasella, J., C. Neill, R. Figueiredo and A. D. Nobre. Water and chemical budgets at the catchment scale including nutrient exports from intact forests and disturbed landscapes. Pages 505-524 in M. Keller, M. Bustamante, J. Gash and P. S. Dias (eds), Amazonia and Global Change, Geophysical Monograph Series, Volume 186, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. 576 pp.

2009. Chaves, J., C. Neill, S. Germer, S. Gouveia Neto, A. V. Krusche, A. Castellanos Bonilla and H. Elsenbeer. Nitrogen transformations in flowpaths leading from soils to streams in Amazon forest and pasture. Ecosystems 12: 961-972.

2009. Germer, S., C. Neill. T. Vetter, J. Chaves, A. V. Krusche and H. Elsenbeer. Implications of long-term land-use change on the hydrology and solute budgets of small catchments in Rondônia (Brazil). Journal of Hydrology 364: 349-363. doi:10.1016/jhuydrol. 2008.11.013.

2008. Chaves, J., C. Neill, H. Elsenbeer, A. Krusche, S. Germer and S. Gouveia Neto. Land management impacts on runoff sources in small Amazon watersheds. Hydrological Processes 22: 1766-1775.

2008. Zimmermann, A., S. Germer, C. Neill., A. V. Krusche, J. Chaves and H. Elsenbeer. Spatio–temporal patterns of throughfall water and solute deposition in an open tropical rain forest, south-western Amazonia, Brazil. Journal of Hydrology 360: 87-102, doi: 10.1016/j.hydrol.2008.07.028.

2008. Chaves, J., C. Neill, H. Elsenbeer, A. Krusche, S. Germer and S. Gouveia Neto. Land management impacts on runoff sources in small Amazon watersheds. Hydrological Processes 22: 1766-1775.

2007. Germer, S., C. Neill, A. V. Krusche, S. Gouveia Neto and H. Elsenbeer. Seasonal and within-event dynamics of rainfall and throughfall chemistry in an open tropical rainforest in Rondônia, Brazil. Biogeochemistry 86: 155-174.

2006. Neill, C., H. Elsenbeer, A. V. Krusche, J. L. Lehmann, D. Markewitz and R. O de Figueiredo.  Hydrological and biogeochemical processes in a changing Amazon: Results from small watershed studies and the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment. Hydrological Processes 20: 2467-2476.

2006. Neill, C., L. A. Deegan, S. M. Thomas, C. L. Haupert, A. V. Krusche, V. M. Ballester and R. L. Victoria. Deforestation alters channel hydraulic and biogeochemical characteristics of small lowland Amazonian streams. Hydrological Processes 20: 2563-2580.

2006. Germer, S., H. Elsenbeer, and J. M. Moraes. Throughfall and temporal trends of rainfall redistribution in an open tropical rainforest, south-western Amazonia (Rondonia, Brazil). Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 10:383–393.

2006. Zimmermann, B., H. Elsenbeer, and J. M. Moraes. The influence of land-use changes on soil hydraulic properties: Implications for runoff generation. Forest Ecology and Management 222: 29–38.

2005. Krusche, A. V., M. V. R. Ballester, R. L. Victoria, M. C. Bernardes, N. K., L. Hanada, R. Marcondes, D. C. Victoria, A. M. Toledo, J. P. Ometto, M. Z. Moreira, A. M. Toledo, M. A. Boloso, S. G. Neto, N. Bonelli, L. A. Deegan, C. Neill, S. M. Thomas, A. Aufdenkampe and J. E. Richey. As mudanças no uso da terra e a biogeoquímica dos corpos d’água na Amazônia. Acta Amazonica 35: 197-205.

2004. Davidson, E. A., C. Neill, A. V. Krusche, D. Markewitz, R. de O. Figueiredo and M. V. R. Ballester. Loss of nutrients from terrestrial ecosystems to streams and the atmosphere following land use change in Amazonia. Pages 147-158 in G. Asner and R. DeFries (eds.), Ecosystems and Land Use Change, American Geophysical Union Monographs Series 153.

2004. Thomas, S. M., C. Neill, L. A. Deegan, A. V. Krusche, R. Victoria and M. V. Ballester. Influences of land use and stream size on particulate and dissolved materials in a small Amazonian stream network. Biogeochemistry 68:135-151.

2001. Neill, C., L. A. Deegan, S. M. Thomas and C. C. Cerri. Deforestation for pasture alters nitrogen and phosphorus in soil solution and streamwater of small Amazonian watersheds. Ecological Applications 11: 1817-1828.


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