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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #310853

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Applying Fingerprint Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy and Chemometrics to Assess Soil Ecosystem Disturbance and Recovery

Author
item Maynard, Jonathan
item Johnson, Mark - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Human activities are impacting Earth’s ecosystems at an unprecedented rate. With the growing recognition of the goods and services soil ecosystems provide for human well-being, there is a critical need to develop rapid, economical and repeatable measures of soil ecosystem function that will provide an assessment of the current status, condition and trend of natural and managed ecosystems. The assessment and monitoring of soil ecosystem function has been hindered due to the shortcomings of many traditional analytical techniques, including: high cost, long time investment and difficulties with data interpretation. This study examines the use of fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and chemometric modeling as a rapid, high-throughput approach to develop an ecological 'fingerprint' of a soil. This methodology was applied in a highly disturbed forest ecosystem over a 19-year sampling period to detect changes in indicators of soil ecosystem function, with a focus on soil carbon. Three chemometric statistical techniques were evaluated for interpreting and quantifying similarities/dissimilarities between the entire FTIR spectra of each sample. Results from this technique illustrate its potential for monitoring and assessment of landscape condition.

Technical Abstract: The assessment and monitoring of soil ecosystem function has been hindered due to the shortcomings of many traditional analytical techniques (e.g., soil enzyme activities, microbial incubations), including: high cost, long time investment and difficulties with data interpretation. Consequently, there is a critical need to develop rapid and repeatable measures of soil ecosystem function that will provide an assessment of the current status, condition and trend of natural and managed ecosystems. We report on a rapid, high-throughput approach to develop an ecological 'fingerprint' of a soil using fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and chemometric modeling, and its application to assess soil ecosystem status and trend. This methodology was applied in a highly disturbed forest ecosystem over a 19-year sampling period to detect changes in indicators of soil ecosystem function, with a focus on soil carbon. Three chemometric statistical techniques (i.e., principal component analysis; hierarchical clustering analysis; and discriminate analysis of principal components) were evaluated for interpreting and quantifying similarities / dissimilarities between the entire FTIR spectra of each sample. Results from this technique illustrate its potential for monitoring and assessment of landscape condition.