Stephen D. Sebestyen
1831 Hwy 169 East
Contact Stephen D. Sebestyen
I study how water, nutrients, and pollutants solutes flow through the landscape and affect streams, lakes, or wetlands.
As a research hydrologist with the USDA Forest Service in Grand Rapids, MN. I devote portions of my time to research at the Marcell Experimental Forest (MEF) and national-scale syntheses of data from multiple catchment studies. At the MEF, I co-lead research planning and research on hydrological and biogeochemical research. I have developed a research program that builds upon the 55-year legacy of research at this site. The MEF was established to study the ecology and hydrology of peatlands and uplands along the southern fringe of the boreal zone. I pursue research on the effects of nitrogen pollution on ecosystem functions, carbon cycling in peatlands, understanding effects of climate variability, interactions of dissolved organic matter with mercury and other trace metals, and quantifying effects of landscape disturbance on water and solutes yields. I am an investigator in the SPRUCE Experiment (Spruce and Peatland Response Under Climatic and Environmental change), a large-scale, experiment in which above- and below-ground temperatures are being manipulated in a black spruce-Sphagnum bog at the MEF.
While much of my research is based at the MEF, I continue to study lakes, streams, and wetlands elsewhere in Minnesota and on various catchment studies, whether in the USA or abroad. Some of these studies synthesize information from many sites and are intended to broaden understanding to national and global scales. My other research is focused on particular sites and particular environmental issues. At the Sleepers River Research Watershed in northeastern Vermont, I explore how sources of stream nitrate and dissolved organic matter (DOM) vary over time and space. My research elsewhere in the northeastern USA includes studies of nitrate sources and DOM dynamics. Since the start of my graduate research, a portion of my work has been focused on how groundwater seepage influences biogeochemical cycles in lakes and wetlands. In several studies, I collaborate on research to quantify effects of groundwater seepage on lake trophic status.
I collaborate with a broad range of research scientists, graduate students, and undergraduate students. My position as a Forest Service scientist and being adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota and Michigan Tech allow me to be highly involved with graduate and postdoctoral researchers.
I pursue research that:
- Quantifies rates of terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemical transformations to definitively pinpoint the landscape processes that affect water chemistry.
- Determines how sources, transformations, and transport processes interact to control nutrient and pollutant concentrations within ecosystems.
- Quantifies how short-term processes that occur at discrete locations and times (the hotspots and hot moments of biogeochemical processes) are important when considered at the ecosystem level.
- Synthesizes understanding of hydrological and biogeochemical processes from various studies and locations to gain a general understanding of reference conditions and the effects of management decisions on water, air, and soil resources.
- Establishes monitoring and experimental (manipulative) studies to identify how the timing, release, and cycling of solutes in catchments is affected by climatic and land use / land cover changes.
Why This Research is Important
- State University of New York College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Ph.D. Forest and Natural Resources Management 2008
- Cornell University, Department of Natural Resources, M.S. Program in Biogeochemistry & Global Change 2000
- Susquehanna University, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, B.S. 1997
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Geophysical Union
- International Association of Hydrological Sciences
Awards & Recognition
- Forest Service Award for Applying Knowledge Globally, 2017
Awarded by the National Forest System Eastern Region of the USDA Forest Service for the project, “Long Term Benefits of Research in the Northwoods: A Partnership with Northern Research Station and the Chippewa National Forest.”
- Publication in Biogeochemistry recognized as being highly cited, 2016
Taking the pulse of snowmelt: In situ sensors reveal seasonal, event and diurnal patterns of nitrate and dissolved organic matter ..."(Pellerin et al., 2012) was recognized as one of the “Top Cited Papers for 2012 and 2013,” in Biogeochemistry
- Northern Research Station Director’s Early Career Scientist Award, 2013
In recognition of exemplary contributions to the fields of biogeochemistry and hydrology across the US, and locally at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Your research on nitrogen and dissolved organic matter identifying sources, chemical transformations,
- Forest Service award for contributions to a strategic focus document on the Clean Air, 2008
Forest Service award for contributions to a strategic focus document on the Clean Air
Featured Publications & Products
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Ross, Donald S.; Shanley, James B.; Elliott, Emily M.; Kendall, Carol ; Campbell, John L.; Dail, David Bryan; Fernandez, Ivan J.; Goodale, Christine L.; Lawrence, Gregory ; Lovett, Gary M.; McHale, Patrick J.; Mitchell, Myron J.; Nelson, Sarah J.; Shattuck, Michelle Daley; Wickman, Trent ; Barnes, Rebecca T.; Bostic, Joel T.; Buda, Anthony ; Burns, Douglas A.; Eshleman, Keith N.; Finlay, Jacques ; Nelson, David ; Ohte, Nobuhito ; Pardo, Linda H.; Rose, Lucy A.; Sabo, Robert D.; Schiff, Sherry ; Spoelstra, John ; Williard, Karl W.J. 2019. Unprocessed atmospheric nitrate in waters of the Northern Forest Region in the USA and Canada.
- Woerndle, Glenn E.; Tsz-Ki Tsui, Martin ; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Blum, Joel D.; Nie, Xiangping ; Kolka, Randall K. 2018. New Insights on Ecosystem Mercury Cycling Revealed by Stable Isotopes of Mercury in Water Flowing from a Headwater Peatland Catchment.
- Jeremiason, Jeff D.; Baumann, Erin I.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Agather, Alison M.; Seelen, Emily A.; Carlson-Stehlin, Benjamin J.; Funke, Meghan M.; Cotner, James B. 2018. Contemporary Mobilization of Legacy Pb Stores by DOM in a Boreal Peatland.
- Griffiths, Natalie A.; Hanson, Paul J.; Ricciuto, Daniel M.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Jensen, Anna M.; Malhotra, Avni ; McFarlane, Karis J.; Norby, Richard J.; Sargsyan, Khachik ; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Shi, Xiaoying ; Walker, Anthony P.; Ward, Eric J.; Warren, Jeffrey M.; Weston, David J. 2017. Temporal and Spatial Variation in Peatland Carbon Cycling and Implications for Interpreting Responses of an Ecosystem-Scale Warming Experiment.
- Shanley, James B.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; McDonnell, Jeffrey J.; McGlynn, Brian L.; Dunne, Thomas. 2015. Water's Way at Sleepers River watershed - revisiting flow generation in a post-glacial landscape, Vermont USA.
- Rose, Lucy A.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Elliott, Emily M.; Koba, Keisuke. 2015. Drivers of atmospheric nitrate processing and export in forested catchments.
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Shanley, James B.; Boyer, Elizabeth W.; Kendall, Carol; Doctor, Daniel H. 2014. Coupled hydrological and biogeochemical processes controlling variability of nitrogen species in streamflow during autumn in an upland forest.
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Dorrance, Carrie; Olson, Donna M.; Verry, Elon S.; Kolka, Randall K.; Elling, Art E.; Kyllander, Richard. 2011. Long-term monitoring sites and trends at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Chapter 2..
- Vidon, Philippe; Allan, Craig; Burns, Douglas; Duval, Tim P.; Gurwick, Noel; Inamdar, Shreeram; Lowrance, Richard; Okay, Judy; Scott, Durelle; Sebestyen, Stephen. 2010. Hot spots and hot moments in riparian zones: Potential for improved water quality management.
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Boyer, Elizabeth W.; Shanley, James B.; Kendall, Carol; Doctor, Daniel H.; Aiken, George R.; Ohte, Nobuhito. 2008. Sources, transformations, and hydrological processes that control stream nitrate and dissolved organic matter concentrations during snowmelt in an upland forest.
- Bischof, Stefan M.; Herwig, Brian R.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Hanson, Mark A.; Zimmer, Kyle D.; Cotner, James B.; Kroeger, Timothy J. 2019. Further Development of a Specific Conductivity Approach to Measure Groundwater Discharge Area within Lakes.
- Herndon, Elizabeth M.; Kinsman-Costello, Lauren ; Duroe, Kiersten A.; Mills, Jonathan ; Kane, Evan S.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Thompson, Aaron A.; Wullschleger, Stan D. 2019. Iron (Oxyhydr)Oxides Serve as Phosphate Traps in Tundra and Boreal Peat Soils.
- Bertolet, Brittni L.; Corman, Jessica R.; Casson, Nora J.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Kolka, Randy K.; Stanley, Emily H. 2018. Influence of soil temperature and moisture on the dissolved carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in organic matter entering lake ecosystems.
- Corman, J. R.; Bertolet, B. L.; Casson, N. J.; Sebestyen, S. D.; Kolka, R. K.; Stanley, E. H. 2018. Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads to Temperate Seepage Lakes Associated With Allochthonous Dissolved Organic Carbon Loads.
- Oda, Tomoki ; Green, Mark B.; Urakawa, Rieko ; Scanlon, Todd M.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; McGuire, Kevin J.; Katsuyama, Masanori ; Fukuzawa, Karibu ; Adams, Mary B.; Ohte, Nobuhito . 2018. Stream Runoff and Nitrate Recovery Times After Forest Disturbance in the USA and Japan.
- Walker, Anthony P.; Carter, Kelsey R.; Gu, Lianhong; Hanson, Paul J.; Malhotra, Avni; Norby, Richard J.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Weston, David J. 2017. Biophysical drivers of seasonal variability in Sphagnum gross primary production in a northern temperate bog.
- Ma, Shuang ; Jiang, Jiang ; Huang, Yuanyuan ; Shi, Zheng ; Wilson, Rachel M.; Ricciuto, Daniel ; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Hanson, Paul J.; Luo, Yiqi . 2017. Data-Constrained Projections of Methane Fluxes in a Northern Minnesota Peatland in Response to Elevated CO 2 and Warming.
- Dymond, Salli F.; Bradford, John B.; Bolstad, Paul V.; Kolka, Randall K.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; DeSutter, Thomas M. 2017. Topographic, edaphic, and vegetative controls on plant-available water.
- Hill, Brian H.; Jicha, Terri M.; Lehto, LaRae L.P.; Elonen, Colleen M.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Kolka, Randy. 2016. Comparisons of soil nitrogen mass balances for an ombrotrophic bog and a minerotrophic fen in northern Minnesota.
- Griffiths, Natalie A.; Sebestyen, Stephen D. 2016. Dynamic vertical profiles of peat porewater chemistry in a northern peatland.
- Dymond, S.F.; D'Amato, A.W.; Kolka, Randy; Bolstad, P.V.; Sebestyen, Stephen; Bradford, J.B. 2016. Growth-climate relationships across topographic gradients in the northern Great Lakes.
- Amatya, Devendra; Campbell, John; Wohlgemuth, Pete; Elder, Kelly; Sebestyen, Stephen; Johnson, Sherri; Keppeler, Elizabeth; Adams, Mary Beth; Caldwell, Peter; Misra, D. 2016. Hydrological processes of reference watersheds in Experimental Forests, USA.
- Zwart, Jacob A.; Craig, Nicola; Kelly, Patrick T.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Solomon, Christopher T.; Weidel, Brian C.; Jones, Stuart E. 2016. Metabolic and physiochemical responses to a whole-lake experimental increase in dissolved organic carbon in a north-temperate lake.
- Wilson, R. M.; Hopple, A. M.; Tfaily, M. M.; Sebestyen, S. D.; Schadt, C. W.; Pfeifer-Meister, L.; Medvedeff, C.; McFarlane, K. J.; Kostka, J. E.; Kolton, M.; Kolka, R.K.; Kluber, L. A.; Keller, J. K.; Guilderson, T. P.; Griffiths, N. A.; Chanton, J. P.; Bridgham, S. D.; Hanson, P. J. 2016. Stability of peatland carbon to rising temperatures.
- Zwart, Jacob A.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Solomon, Christopher T.; Jones, Stuart E. 2016. The influence of hydrologic residence time on lake carbon cycling dynamics following extreme precipitation events.
- Sebestyen, Stephen; Kolka, Randy. 2016. Thirty-year results from a paired-catchment study of upland flowpath responses to forest cover conversion in northern Minnesota.
- Lyttle, Amy; Yoo, Kyungsoo; Hale, Cindy; Aufdenkampe, Anthony; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Resner, Kathryn; Blum, Alex. 2015. Impact of exotic earthworms on organic carbon sorption on mineral surfaces and soil carbon inventories in a northern hardwood forest.
- Resner, Kit; Yoo, Kyungsoo; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Aufdenkampe, Anthony; Hale, Cindy; Lyttle, Amy; Blum, Alex. 2015. Invasive earthworms deplete key soil inorganic nutrients (Ca, Mg, K, and P) in a northern hardwood forest.
- Creed, Irena F.; Spargo, Adam T.; Jones, Julia A.; Buttle, Jim M.; Adams, Mary B.; Beall, Fred D.; Booth, Eric G.; Campbell, John L.; Clow, Dave; Elder, Kelly; Green, Mark B.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Miniat, Chelcy; Ramlal, Patricia; Saha, Amartya; Sebestyen, Stephen; Spittlehouse, Dave; Sterling, Shannon; Williams, Mark W.; Winkler, Rita; Yao, Huaxia. 2014. Changing forest water yields in response to climate warming: results from long-term experimental watershed sites across North America.
- Hill, Brian H.; Elonen, Colleen M.; Jicha, Terri M.; Kolka, Randall K.; Lehto, LaRae L.P.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Seifert-Monson, Lindsey R. 2014. Ecoenzymatic stoichiometry and microbial processing of organic matter in northern bogs and fens reveals a common P-limitation between peatland types.
- Mazur, M.; Mitchell, C.P.J.; Eckley, C.S.; Eggert, S.L.; Kolka, R.K.; Sebestyen, S.D.; Swain, E.B. 2014. Gaseous mercury fluxes from forest soils in response to forest harvesting intensity: A field manipulation experiment.
- Dymond, Salli F.; Kolka, Randall K.; Bolstad, Paul V.; Sebestyen, Stephen D. 2014. Long-term soil moisture patterns in a northern Minnesota forest.
- McGuire, Kevin J.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Ohte, Nobuhito; Elliott, Emily M.; Gomi, Takashi; Green, Mark B.; McGlynn, Brian L.; Tokuchi, Naoko. 2014. Merging perspectives in the catchment sciences: the US-Japan Joint Seminar on catchment hydrology and forest biogeochemistry.
- Argerich, A.; Johnson, S.L.; Sebestyen, S.D.; Rhoades, C.C.; Greathouse, E.; Knoepp, J.D.; Adams, M.B.; Likens, G.E.; Campbell, J.L.; McDowell, W.H.; Scatena, F.N.; Ice, G.G. 2013. Trends in stream nitrogen concentrations for forested reference catchments across the USA.
- Vose, James M.; Ford, Chelcy R.; Laseter, Stephanie; Dymond, Salli; Sun, Ge; Adams, Mary Beth; Sebestyen, Stephen; Campbell, John; Luce, Charlie; Amatya, Devendra; Elder, Kelly; Heartsill Scalley, Tamara. 2012. Can forest watershed management mitigate climate change effects on water resources.
- Vose, James M.; Ford, Chelcy R.; Laseter, Stephanie; Dymond, Salli; Sun, GE; Adams, Mary Beth; Sebestyen, Stephen; Campbell, John; Luce, Charles; Amatya, Devendra; Elder, Kelly; Heartsill-Scalley, Tamara. 2012. Can forest watershed management mitigate climate change impacts on water resources.
- Jones, Julia A.; Creed, Irena F.; Hatcher, Kendra L.; Warren, Robert J.; Adams, Mary Beth; Benson, Melinda H.; Boose, Emery; Brown, Warren A.; Campbell, John L.; Covich, Alan; Clow, David W.; Dahm, Clifford N.; Elder, Kelly; Ford, Chelcy R.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Henshaw, Donald L; Larson, Kelli L.; Miles, Evan S.; Miles, Kathleen M.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Spargo, Adam T.; Stone, Asa B.; Vose, James M.; Williams, Mark W. 2012. Ecosystem processes and human influences regulate streamflow response to climate change at long-term ecological research sites.
- Pellerin, Brian A.; Saraceno, John Franco; Shanley, James B.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Aiken, George R.; Wollheim, Wilfred M.; Bergamaschi, Brian A. 2012. Taking the pulse of snowmelt: in situ sensors reveal seasonal, event and diurnal patterns of nitrate and dissolved organic matter variability in an upland forest stream.
- Parsekian, Andrew D.; Slater, Lee; Ntarlagiannis, Dimitrios; Nolan, James; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Kolka, Randall K.; Hanson, Paul J. 2012. Uncertainty in peat volume and soil carbon estimated using ground-penetrating radar and probing.
- Kolka, Randall K.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Bradford, John B. 2011. An evolving research agenda at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Chapter 3..
- Lyttle, Amy; Yoo, Kyungsoo; Hale, Cindy; Aufdenkampe, Anthony; Sebestyen, Stephen. 2011. Carbon-mineral interactions along an earthworm ivasion gradient at a sugar maple forest in northern Minnesota.
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Verry, Elon S. 2011. Effects of watershed experiments on water chemistry at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Chapter 14..
- Urban, Noel; Verry, Elon S.; Eisenreich, Steven; Grigal, David F.; Sebestyen, Stephen D. 2011. Element cycling in upland/peatland watersheds Chapter 8..
- Resner, Kathryn; Yoo, Kyungsoo; Hale, Cindy; Aufdenkampe, Anthony; Blum, Alex; Sebestyen, Stephen. 2011. Elemental and mineralogical changes in soils due to bioturbation along an earthworm invasion chronosequence in northern Minnesota.
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Verry, Elon S.; Brooks, Kenneth N. 2011. Hydrological responses to changes in forest cover on uplands and peatlands. Chapter 13..
- Verry, Elons S.; Brooks, Kenneth N.; Nichols, Dale S.; Ferris, Dawn R.; Sebestyen, Stephen D. 2011. Watershed hydrology. Chapter 7..
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Boyer, Elizabeth W.; Shanley, James B. 2009. Responses of stream nitrate and DOC loadings to hydrological forcing and climate change in an upland forest of the northeastern United States.
- Glynn, Pierre D.; Larsen, Matthew C.; Greene, Earl A.; Buss, Heather L.; Clow, David W.; Hunt, Randall J.; Mast, M. Alisa; Murphy, Sheila F.; Peters, Norman E.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Shanley, James B.; Walker, John F. 2009. Selected achievements, science directions, and new opportunities for the WEBB Small Watershed Research Program.
- Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Shanley, James B.; Boyer, Elizabeth W. 2009. Using high-frequency sampling to detect effects of atmospheric pollutants on stream chemistry.
- Doctor, Daniel H.; Kendall, Carol; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Shanley, James B.; Ohte, Nobuhito; Boyer, Elizabeth W. 2008. Carbon isotope fractionation of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) due to outgassing of carbon dioxide from a headwater stream.
- Ohte, N.; Sebestyen, S.D.; Kendall, C.; Shanley, J.B.; Wankel, S.D.; Doctor, D.H.; Boyer, E.W. 2004. Tracing sources of nitrate in snowmelt runoff using a high-resolution isotopic technique.
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