Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2021-104
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2021-104
 
11 Jan 2022
11 Jan 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Time-Of-Flight monitoring reveals higher sediment redistribution rates related to burrowing animals than previously assumed

Paulina Grigusova1, Annegret Larsen2, Sebastian Achilles1, Roland Brandl3, Camilo del Río4,5, Nina Farwig6, Diana Kraus6, Leandro Paulino7, Patricio Pliscoff4,8,9, Kirstin Übernickel10, and Jörg Bendix1 Paulina Grigusova et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Climatology and Remote Sensing, Department of Geography, University of Marburg, 35037 Marburg, Germany
  • 2Soil Geography and Landscape, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 3Animal Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Marburg, 35032 Marburg, Germany
  • 4Facultad de Historia, Geografía y Ciencia Política, Instituto de Geografía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 782-0436 Santiago, Chile
  • 5Centro UC Desierto de Atacama, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 782-0436 Santiago, Chile
  • 6Conservation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Marburg, 35047 Marburg, Germany
  • 7Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Concepción, 3780000 Chillán, Chile
  • 8Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Departamento de Ecología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 8331150 Santiago, Chile
  • 9Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 8331150 Santiago, Chile
  • 10Earth System Dynamics, Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

Abstract. Burrowing animals influence surface microtopography and hillslope sediment redistribution, but changes often remain undetected due to a lack of autonomous high resolution field monitoring techniques. In this study we present a new approach to quantify microtopographic variations and surface changes caused by burrowing animals and rainfall-driven erosional processes applied to remote field plots in arid and mediterranean Chile. We compared the mass balance of redistributed sediment within plot areas affected and not affected by burrowing animals, quantified the cumulative sediment redistribution caused by animals and rainfall, and upscaled the results to the hillslope scale. The new instrument showed a very good detection accuracy. The cumulative sediment redistribution within areas affected by burrowing animals was higher (−10.44 cm3 cm−2 year−1) in the mediterranean than the arid climate zone ( −1.41 cm3 cm−2 year−1). Daily sediment redistribution during rainfall within areas affected by burrowing animals were up to 350 % / 40 % higher in the mediterranean / arid zone compared to the unaffected areas, and much higher than previously reported in studies not based on continuous microtopographic monitoring. Furthermore, 38 % of the sediment eroding from the burrows accumulated within the burrow entrance while 62 % was incorporated into overall hillslope sediment flux. The cumulative sediment excavation by the animals was 14.62 cm3 cm−2 year−1 in the mediterranean and 16.41 cm3 cm−2 year−1 in the arid climate zone. Our findings can be implemented into long-term soil erosion models that rely on soil processes but do not yet include animal-induced surface processes on microtopographical scales in their algorithms.

Paulina Grigusova et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on esurf-2021-104', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Jan 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on esurf-2021-104', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Jan 2022
  • AC1: 'Comment on esurf-2021-104', Paulina Grigusova, 20 Mar 2022

Paulina Grigusova et al.

Paulina Grigusova et al.

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Short summary
In our study, we developed, tested and applied a cost-effective Time-Of-flight camera to autonomously monitor the rainfall-driven and animal-driven sediment redistribution in areas affected by burrowing animals with high temporal (four times a day) and spatial (6 mm) resolution. We estimated the sediment redistribution rates on a burrow scale and then upscaled the redistribution rates to the entire hillslopes. Our findings can be implemented into long-term soil erosion models.