Biogeochemistry

Current research reports and chronological list of recent articles.


The international scientific journal Biogeochemistry publishes original papers and occasional reviews dealing with biotic controls on the chemistry of the environment, or with the geochemical control of the structure and function of ecosystems.

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Additional research articles see Current Chemistry Research Articles. General information about this topic see biogeochemistry.



Biogeochemistry - Abstracts



Nutrient availability as major driver of phytoplankton-derived dissolved organic matter transformation in coastal environment

Abstract

Incubation experiments were performed to examine the processing of fresh autochthonous dissolved organic matter (DOM) produced by coastal plankton communities in spring and autumn. The major driver of observed DOM dynamics was the seasonally variable inorganic nutrient status and characteristics of the initial bulk DOM, whereas the characteristics of the phytoplankton community seemed to have a minor role. Net accumulation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) during the 18-days experiments was 3.4 and 9.2 µmol l−1 d−1 in P-limited spring and N-limited autumn, respectively. Bacterial bioassays revealed that the phytoplankton-derived DOC had surprisingly low proportions of biologically labile DOC, 12.6% (spring) and 17.5% (autumn). The optical characteristics of the DOM changed throughout the experiments, demonstrating continuous heterotrophic processing of the DOM pool. However, these temporal changes in optical characteristics of the DOM pool were not the same between seasons, indicating seasonally variable environmental drivers. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability is likely the main driver of these seasonal differences, affecting both phytoplankton extracellular release of DOM and its heterotrophic degradation by bacteria. These findings underline the complexity of the DOM production and consumption by the natural planktonic community, and show the importance of the prevailing environmental conditions regulating the DOM pathways.


Datum: 24.11.2017


Stromatolite records of environmental change in perennially ice-covered Lake Joyce, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Abstract

Calcite-rich columnar stromatolites grew in perennially ice-covered Lake Joyce in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, during a period of environmental change associated with rising lake level. Stromatolite calcite contains carbon and oxygen isotope records of changes to microbial activity in response to variable light environments and water chemistry through time. The stromatolites grew synchronously with correlative calcite zones. The innermost (oldest) calcite zone has a wide range of δ13Ccalcite values consistent with variable photosynthetic effects on local DIC 13C/12C. Subsequent calcite zones preserve a progressive enrichment in δ13Ccalcite values of approximately + 2.6‰ through time, with δ13Ccalcite values becoming less variable. This enrichment likely records the removal of 12C by photosynthesis from the DIC reservoir over decades, with photosynthetic effects decreasing as light levels became lower and more consistent through time. Mean δ18Ocalcite values of the innermost calcified zone were at least 1‰ lower than those of the other calcified zones (t test p-level < 0.001). The significant difference in δ18Ocalcite values between the innermost and other calcified zones could be a product of mixing source waters with different isotopic values associated with the initiation of lake stratification associated with rising lake level. Overall, Lake Joyce stromatolites record significant lateral variability in relative photosynthetic rate and long-lived lake water stratification with microbial modification of the DIC pool. Such processes provide criteria for interpreting microbial activity within polar paleolake deposits and may shed light on variability in lake environments associated with changing climate in the McMurdo Dry Valleys.


Datum: 24.11.2017


Enhanced hyporheic exchange flow around woody debris does not increase nitrate reduction in a sandy streambed

Abstract

Anthropogenic nitrogen pollution is a critical problem in freshwaters. Although riverbeds are known to attenuate nitrate, it is not known if large woody debris (LWD) can increase this ecosystem service through enhanced hyporheic exchange and streambed residence time. Over a year, we monitored the surface water and pore water chemistry at 200 points along a ~ 50 m reach of a lowland sandy stream with three natural LWD structures. We directly injected 15N-nitrate at 108 locations within the top 1.5 m of the streambed to quantify in situ denitrification, anammox and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia, which, on average, contributed 85, 10 and 5% of total nitrate reduction, respectively. Total nitrate reducing activity ranged from 0 to 16 µM h−1 and was highest in the top 30 cm of the stream bed. Depth, ambient nitrate and water residence time explained 44% of the observed variation in nitrate reduction; fastest rates were associated with slow flow and shallow depths. In autumn, when the river was in spate, nitrate reduction (in situ and laboratory measures) was enhanced around the LWD compared with non-woody areas, but this was not seen in the spring and summer. Overall, there was no significant effect of LWD on nitrate reduction rates in surrounding streambed sediments, but higher pore water nitrate concentrations and shorter residence times, close to LWD, indicated enhanced delivery of surface water into the streambed under high flow. When hyporheic exchange is too strong, overall nitrate reduction is inhibited due to short flow-paths and associated high oxygen concentrations.


Datum: 22.11.2017


Microbial resource allocation for phosphatase synthesis reflects the availability of inorganic phosphorus across various soils

Abstract

According to the resource allocation model for extracellular enzyme synthesis, microorganisms should preferentially allocate their resources to phosphorus (P)-acquiring enzyme synthesis when P availability is low in soils. However, the validity of this model across different soil types and soils differing in their microbial community composition has not been well demonstrated. Here we investigated whether the resource allocation model for phosphatase synthesis is applicable across different soil types (Andosols, Acrisols, Cambisols, and Fluvisols) and land uses (arable and forest), and we examined which soil test P and/or P fraction microorganisms responded to when investing their resources in phosphatase synthesis in the soils. The ratio of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) to β-d-glucosidase (BG) activities in the arable soils and the ratio of acid phosphatase (ACP) to BG activities in the forest soils were significantly negatively related with the available inorganic P concentration. We also observed significant effects of available inorganic P, pH, soil types, and land uses on the (ACP + ALP)/BG ratio when the data for the arable and forest soils were combined and used in a stepwise multiple regression analysis. These results suggest that microbial resource allocation for phosphatase synthesis is primarily controlled by available inorganic P concentration and soil pH, but the effects of soil types and land uses are also significant.


Datum: 14.11.2017


Increase in ammonia-oxidizing microbe abundance during degradation of alpine meadows may lead to greater soil nitrogen loss

Abstract

Alpine meadows on the Tibetan Plateau have experienced severe degradation in recent decades. Although the effects of alpine meadow degradation on soil properties have been well documented, there is still a paucity of knowledge regarding the responses of nitrogen-cycling microbes (NCMs) to degradation and their links to the changes in soil properties. Here, we systematically determined the effects of degraded patch formation on soil properties (i.e., total carbon, total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, available phosphorus, dissolved organic carbon, moisture, δ15N, δ13C, and pH) and NCMs (based on nifH, amoA, narG, nirK, and nirS genes and their transcripts) across three Tibetan alpine meadows at different degradation stages. Results showed that compared to the original grassed patches, the contents of most soil nutrients (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) were significantly decreased in the degraded patches across the study sites. Degraded patches also tended to have higher soil δ15N values and nitrate contents. Among the aforementioned NCMs, soil diazotrophs and denitrifiers only showed weak responses to the patch formation, while ammonia-oxidizing microbes showed the highest consistency and sensitivity in response to the patch formation across the study sites. The abundance of amoA gene and archaeal amoA mRNA significantly increased in the degraded patches, and they were positively correlated with soil δ15N values and nitrate nitrogen contents, but negatively correlated with soil total nitrogen and inorganic nitrogen contents. These results suggest that the increased ammonia-oxidizing microbial abundance may be an important driver of soil nitrogen loss during degraded patch formation in alpine meadows.


Datum: 13.11.2017


Depth trends of soil organic matter C:N and 15N natural abundance controlled by association with minerals

Abstract

Plant residues show carbon:nitrogen (C:N) decreases, 15N isotopic enrichment and preferential loss of labile substrates during microbial decay. In soil profiles, strikingly similar patterns of decreasing C:N and 15N isotopic enrichment with increasing depth are well documented. The parallel trend in organic matter composition with soil depth and during plant residue decay has been used as evidence to suggest that organic products accumulate or develop in the subsoil due to increasing intensity of microbially-driven processing, although no studies to date have verified this. Here, by applying sequential density fractionation, specific surface area, oxalate extractable Fe and Al, C:N and δ15N measures with depth to soils with relatively uniform soil mineralogy (Oxisols), climates and vegetation we show that changes in organo-mineral associations drive subsoil C:N and δ15N and C:N depth patterns more than in situ organic matter decay. Our results provide the first direct evidence that soil depth trends could be driven by mineral association instead of in situ processing.


Datum: 06.11.2017


Low sedimentary accumulation of lead caused by weak downward export of organic matter in Hudson Bay, northern Canada

Abstract

Atmospheric input of anthropogenic lead increased globally over the last centuries. The present study shows that the concentrations of lead in sediment cores from low-productivity Hudson Bay, northern Canada, remained relatively constant over the last centuries. The lack of imprint of the increased anthropogenic lead input in this marine environment is not consistent with the increased lead concentrations in nearby lakes over the same period. In addition, the observed trend in lead isotopic composition in our cores suggests an apparent progressive overprint of anthropogenic lead during the 1900s. In other words, isotopes clearly registered the increasingly anthropogenic nature of lead in the sedimentary record, but total lead concentrations remained constant, indicating that some process limited the export of lead to the sediment. These observations point to a long-term limitation of the downward export of particles in Hudson Bay. Given that the source of lead was the same for both Hudson Bay and neighboring high-productivity lakes, we hypothesize that the very low primary productivity of Hudson Bay waters was responsible for the low vertical export of lead to marine sediments. We further propose that primary productivity is the most important factor that generally drives the vertical export of particulate matter, and thus hydrophobic contaminants, in near-oligotrophic marine environments.


Datum: 03.11.2017


Extreme flooding mobilized dissolved organic matter from coastal forested wetlands

Abstract

Two intense rainfalls [Hurricane Joaquin (2015) and Hurricane Matthew (2016)], one year apart, provided a unique opportunity to examine changes in dissolved organic matter (DOM) dynamics in coastal blackwater rivers under extreme flooding conditions in the southeastern United States. Two sites along Waccamaw River (a coastal blackwater river) and the outflow of 18 sub-basins of Yadkin-Pee Dee Basin were sampled during and after the flooding events. The peaks of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON) concentrations were observed 18 and 23 days after peak discharge in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Moreover, DOM aromaticity and abundance of humic substances significantly increased during the same period. Separation of discharge hydrograph into surface runoff and subsurface flow suggested that temporal changes were mainly due to contributions from subsurface flow flushing organic matter from wetlands and organic-rich riparian zones. The spatial analysis highlighted the key role of the forested wetlands as the only land use that significantly correlated with both DOM quantity (DOC and DON load) and DOM composition (i.e., aromaticity). The Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin alone exported more than 474 million kg DOC into the ocean during high-flow conditions from the 2016 event, indicating that such extreme short-term events mobilized enormous amounts of organic carbon and nitrogen to the ocean. Considering the predicted increase in frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events in the eastern U.S., the results of this study can shed light on changes in DOM dynamics that may occur under such conditions in the near future.


Datum: 03.11.2017


Shrub-encroachment induced alterations in input chemistry and soil microbial community affect topsoil organic carbon in an Inner Mongolian grassland

Abstract

Shrub encroachment frequently occurs in arid and semi-arid grasslands worldwide and affects the regional carbon balance. Many previous studies have revealed the effects of shrub encroachment on bulk carbon content of grasslands, but molecular evidence is surprisingly lacking. In this study, we examined the chemical composition of plant tissues and soil organic carbon (SOC), and soil microbial communities to identify the effects of shrub (Caragana microphylla) encroachment on SOC storage in the top layer (0–10 cm) along a gradient of natural shrub cover in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. We found that SOC in the shrub patches was derived mainly from leaves, whereas SOC in the grassy matrix was composed of a mixture of fresh root- and leaf-derived compounds. Compared with pure grassland, the SOC decreased by 29% in the shrub-encroached grasslands (SEGs), and this decrease was enhanced by increasing shrub cover. We also found that free lipids and lignin-derived phenols increased while the ratios of ω-C18/∑C18 and suberin/cutin decreased with increasing shrub cover. In addition, the ratios of fungal to bacterial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and gram-negative to gram-positive bacterial PLFAs decreased with increasing shrub cover. These results indicate that the encroachment of nitrogen-rich legume shrubs can lead to carbon loss by altering the chemical composition of plant inputs as well as the soil microbial community in grassland ecosystems.


Datum: 02.11.2017


River beads as a conceptual framework for building carbon storage and resilience to extreme climate events into river management

Abstract

River beads refer to retention zones within a river network that typically occur within wider, lower gradient segments of the river valley. In lowland, floodplain rivers that have been channelized and leveed, beads can also be segments of the river in which engineering has not reduced lateral channel mobility and channel-floodplain connectivity. Decades of channel engineering and flow regulation have reduced the spatial heterogeneity and associated ecosystem functions of beads occurring throughout river networks from headwaters to large, lowland rivers. We discuss the processes that create and maintain spatial heterogeneity within river beads, including examples of beads along mountain streams of the Southern Rockies in which large wood and beaver dams are primary drivers of heterogeneity. We illustrate how spatial heterogeneity of channels and floodplains within beads facilitates storage of organic carbon; retention of water, solutes, sediment, and particulate organic matter; nutrient uptake; biomass and biodiversity; and resilience to disturbance. We conclude by discussing the implications of river beads for understanding solute and particulate organic matter dynamics within river networks and the implications for river management. We also highlight gaps in current understanding of river form and function related to river beads. River beads provide an example of how geomorphic understanding of river corridor form and process can be used to restore retention and resilience within human-altered river networks.


Datum: 02.11.2017


Biological versus geochemical control and environmental change drivers of the base metal budgets of a tropical montane forest in Ecuador during 15 years

Abstract

To assess the susceptibility of the base metal budget of a remote tropical montane forest in Ecuador to environmental change, we determined the extent of biological control of base metal fluxes and explored the impact of atmospheric inputs and precipitation, considered as potential drivers of ecosystem change, on the base metal fluxes. We quantified all major base metal fluxes in a ca. 9.1 ha forested catchment from 1998 to 2013. Mean (±s.d.) annual flux to the soil via throughfall + stemflow + litterfall was 13800 ± 1500 mg m−2 Ca, 19000 ± 1510 mg m−2 K, 4690 ± 619 mg m−2 Mg and 846 ± 592 mg m−2 Na of which 22 ± 6, 45 ± 16, 39 ± 10 and 84 ± 33%, respectively, were leached to below the organic layer. The mineral soil retained 79–94% of this Ca, K and Mg, while Na was released. Weathering rates estimated with three different approaches ranged from not detected (ND) to 504 mg m−2 year−1 Ca, ND-1770 mg m−2 year−1 K, 287–597 mg m−2 year−1 Mg and 403–540 mg m−2 year−1 Na. The size of mainly biologically controlled aboveground fluxes of Ca, K and Mg was 1–2 orders of magnitude larger than that of mainly geochemically controlled fluxes (sorption to soil and weathering). The elemental catchment budgets (total deposition − streamflow) were positive for Ca (574 ± 893 mg m−2) and K (1330 ± 773 mg m−2), negative for Na (−370 ± 1300 mg m−2) and neutral for Mg (1.89 ± 304 mg m−2). Our results demonstrate that biological processes controlled element retention for Ca, K and Mg in the biological part of the ecosystem. This was different for Na, which was mainly released by weathering from the study catchment, while the biological part of the ecosystem was Na-poor. The deposition of base metals was the strongest driver of their budgets suggesting that the base metal cycling of the study ecosystem is susceptible to changing deposition.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Nutrient addition affects net and gross mineralization of phosphorus in the organic layer of a tropical montane forest

Abstract

In tropical ecosystems with highly weathered soils, transformation of organic phosphorus (P) to bioavailable inorganic P plays a crucial role for the nutrition of organisms. In these ecosystems, P is suspected to be growth-limiting and might therefore be affected by atmospheric nutrient deposition occurring even in remote areas such as montane rainforests. We assessed effects of P and nitrogen (N) addition on net and gross P mineralization rates, and microbial P immobilization in the organic layer along an altitudinal gradient of a tropical montane rainforest in Ecuador. Net P mineralization rates amounted to 1.8 ± 0.9 (at 1000 m a.s.l.), 3.7 ± 0.6 (at 2000 m) and 2.0 ± 0.4 (at 3000 m) mg P kg−1 day−1. Altitudinal differences led to an increased microbial P immobilization at 1000 m compensating for a higher gross P mineralization. P addition increased net P mineralization rates at 2000 and 3000 m, suggesting a higher P demand at 1000 m. At higher altitudes, P likely was released as a by-product during organic matter decomposition. Gross P mineralization, determined by means of the isotopic dilution approach, could not be calculated for control and N treatments due to rapid microbial P immobilization. For P (+N) treatments, gross P mineralization rates were lowest at the 1000 m site towards the end of the long-term incubation period. Atmospheric P deposition in the tropics might lead to P fertilization effects through direct input as well as through acceleration of P release from organic matter, thereby increasing P availability for organisms.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Nitrogen fixation in the High Arctic: a source of ‘new’ nitrogen?

Abstract

Biological nitrogen (N2) fixation performed by diazotrophs (N2 fixing bacteria) is thought to be one of the main sources of plant available N in pristine ecosystems like arctic tundra. However, direct evidence of a transfer of fixed N2 to non-diazotroph associated plants is lacking to date. Here, we present results from an in situ 15N–N2 labelling study in the High Arctic. Three dominant vegetation types (organic crust composed of free-living cyanobacteria, mosses, cotton grass) were subjected to acetylene reduction assays (ARA) performed regularly throughout the growing season, as well as 15N–N2 incubations. The 15N-label was followed into the dominant N2 fixer associations, soil, soil microbial biomass and non-diazotroph associated plants three days and three weeks after labelling. Mosses contributed most to habitat N2 fixation throughout the measuring campaigns, and N2 fixation activity was highest at the beginning of the growing season in all plots. Fixed 15N–N2 became quickly (within 3 days) available to non-diazotroph associated plants in all investigated vegetation types, proving that N2 fixation is an actual source of available N in pristine ecosystems.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Effects of human land use on the terrestrial and aquatic sources of fluvial organic matter in a temperate river basin (The Meuse River, Belgium)

Abstract

The impact of human activities on the concentrations and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and particulate organic matter (POM) was investigated in the Walloon Region of the Meuse River basin (Belgium). Water samples were collected at different hydrological periods along a gradient of human disturbance (50 sampling sites ranging from 8.0 to 20,407 km2) and during a 1.5 year monitoring of the Meuse River at the city of Liège. This dataset was completed by the characterization of the DOM pool in groundwaters. The composition of DOM and POM was investigated through elemental (C:N ratios), isotopic (δ13C) and optical measurements including excitation emission matrix fluorescence with parallel factor analysis (EEM–PARAFAC). Land use was a major driver on fluvial OM composition at the regional scale of the Meuse Basin, the composition of both fluvial DOM and POM pools showing a shift toward a more microbial/algal and less plant/soil-derived character as human disturbance increased. The comparison of DOM composition between surface and groundwaters demonstrated that this pattern can be attributed in part to the transformation of terrestrial sources by agricultural practices that promote the decomposition of soil organic matter in agricultural lands and subsequent microbial inputs in terrestrial sources. In parallel, human land had contrasting effects on the autochthonous production of DOM and POM. While the in-stream generation of fresh DOM through biological activity was promoted in urban areas, summer autochthonous POM production was not influenced by land use. Finally, soil erosion by agricultural management practices favored the transfer of terrestrial organic matter via the particulate phase. Stable isotope data suggest that the hydrological transfer of terrestrial DOM and POM in human-impacted catchment are not subject to the same controls, and that physical exchange between these two pools of organic matter is limited.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Nitrification contributes to winter oxygen depletion in seasonally frozen forested lakes

Abstract

In lakes that experience seasonal ice cover, understanding of nitrogen–oxygen coupling and nitrification has been dominated by observations during open water, ice-free conditions. To address knowledge gaps about nitrogen–oxygen linkages under ice, we examined long-term winter data (30 + years, 2–3 sample events per winter) in 7 temperate lakes of forested northern Wisconsin, USA. Across lakes and depths, there were strong negative relationships between dissolved oxygen (DO) and the number of days since ice-on, reflecting consistent DO consumption rates under ice. In two bog lakes that routinely experience prolonged winter DO concentrations below 1.0 mg L−1, nitrate accumulated near the ice surface mainly in late winter, suggesting nitrification may depend on biogenic oxygen from photosynthesis. In contrast, within five oligotrophic-mesotrophic lakes, nitrate accumulated more consistently over winter and often throughout the water column, especially at intermediate depths. Exogenous inputs of nitrate to these lakes were minimal compared to rates of nitrate accumulation. To produce the nitrate via in-lake nitrification, substantial oxygen consumption by ammonium oxidizing microbes would be required. Among lakes and depths that had significant DO depletion over winter, the stoichiometric nitrifier oxygen demand ranged from 1 to 25% of the DO depletion rate. These estimates of nitrifier-driven DO decline are likely conservative because we did not account for nitrate consumed by algal uptake or denitrification. Our results provide an example of nitrification at temperatures < 5 degrees C having a substantial influence on ecosystem-level nitrogen and oxygen availability in seasonally-frozen, northern forested lakes. Consequently, models of under-ice dissolved oxygen dynamics may be advanced through consideration of nitrification, and more broadly, coupled nitrogen and oxygen cycling.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Compositional changes and molecular transformations of dissolved organic matter during the arctic spring floods in the lower Churchill watershed (Northern Manitoba, Canada)

Abstract

The spring flood season in Northern aquatic systems is characterized by rapid changes in river discharge and fluxes of organic and inorganic species, yet remains under sampled. In this study, we examine the molecular characteristics and transformations of dissolved organic matter (DOM) during the Arctic spring season at three locations in the lower Churchill River watershed. Characteristics including dissolved organic carbon concentrations, optical properties (i.e. absorbance and, excitation-emission matrix fluorescence coupled with parallel factor analysis, EEM-PARAFAC) and molecular characterization using high resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) were assessed. As spring floods progressed, a significant reduction in DOM spectral slope (S275–295) and an increase in absorbance (a270) were observed suggesting an increase in DOM molecular weight and concentrations at all sampled locations. A maximum in HR-MS lignin-class compounds coincided with peak flow at all sampled locations, further validated with an increase in PARAFAC humic-like components and a minimum in S275–295. Principal component analyses revealed that both protein and aromatic humic-like material measured by HR-MS and EEM-PARAFAC, respectively, were significantly correlated (ANOVA, p < 0.05), demonstrating similarities in both techniques. Based on network analysis of HR-MS assigned formula, the highest peak flow day was characterized by a maximum in homologous DOM of C2H2O and C2H4 additions, suggesting structural similarities in newly deposited lignin and humic material. Overall, the progression of the spring freshet shifted the lower Churchill River watershed from an environment rich in proteins and lipids to an aquatic system more abundant in lignin, aromatic and humic DOM.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Microbial carbon processing in oligotrophic Lake Lucerne (Switzerland): results of in situ 13 C-labelling studies

Abstract

Although lakes play a major role in the storage of organic carbon, processes involved are not yet very well characterized, especially for oligotrophic lakes. Whether a lake functions as a net source or sink for carbon depends on relative rates of primary production, inputs of terrestrial organic matter and respiration. The microbial community will affect the efficiency of carbon cycling and thereby potential carbon storage. Because the organic matter fluxes are smaller in oligotrophic lakes they have been studied less intensively with respect to their carbon cycling compared to eutrophic lakes. Whether they play an appreciable role in freshwater carbon cycling relies on unraveling primary and secondary production. Here we present the results from such a study in oligotrophic Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. Based on in situ carbon isotopic labelling experiments using dark, glucose-labelled and transparent, DIC-labelled bottles positioned at different depths in the water column, we conclude that even though the photic zone was very deep, integrated primary productivity was consistently low. The carbon processing efficiency of the heterotrophic producers was such that photosynthesized organic matter was fully consumed, even during times of maximum productivity. This implies that the heterotrophic producers were well adapted to rapidly respond to a temporary increase in primary productivity, which is in line with calculated bacterial growth efficiencies in the surface water layer. Highest glucose-based productivity, as a measure of the heterotrophic potential, was observed in the deepest parts of the water column. Chemoautotrophy was shown at 60 m water depth and is of relatively minor importance for overall fluxes. Mixotrophy was recognized as a strategy to keep up production when light conditions become less favorable for autotrophic growth. A mesocosm experiment earlier in the year indicated lower primary production, which agrees well with the timing of this experiment preceding the annual spring bloom. During the low-productivity season the coupling between phytoplankton and bacterial production was much weaker and potentially more organic matter could escape recycling at that time, although quantitatively fluxes remained very low.


Datum: 01.11.2017


Short-term carbon input increases microbial nitrogen demand, but not microbial nitrogen mining, in a set of boreal forest soils

Abstract

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and temperatures are expected to stimulate plant productivity and ecosystem C sequestration, but these effects require a concurrent increase in N availability for plants. Plants might indirectly promote N availability as they release organic C into the soil (e.g., by root exudation) that can increase microbial soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition (“priming effect”), and possibly the enzymatic breakdown of N-rich polymers, such as proteins, into bio-available units (“N mining”). We tested the adjustment of protein depolymerization to changing soil C and N availability in a laboratory experiment. We added easily available C or N sources to six boreal forest soils, and determined soil organic C mineralization, gross protein depolymerization and gross ammonification rates (using 15N pool dilution assays), and potential extracellular enzyme activities after 1 week of incubation. Added C sources were 13C-labelled to distinguish substrate from soil derived C mineralization. Observed effects reflect short-term adaptations of non-symbiotic soil microorganisms to increased C or N availability. Although C input promoted microbial growth and N demand, we did not find indicators of increased N mobilization from SOM polymers, given that none of the soils showed a significant increase in protein depolymerization, and only one soil showed a significant increase in N-targeting enzymes. Instead, our findings suggest that microorganisms immobilized the already available N more efficiently, as indicated by decreased ammonification and inorganic N concentrations. Likewise, although N input stimulated ammonification, we found no significant effect on protein depolymerization. Although our findings do not rule out in general that higher plant-soil C allocation can promote microbial N mining, they suggest that such an effect can be counteracted, at least in the short term, by increased microbial N immobilization, further aggravating plant N limitation.


Datum: 28.10.2017


The carbon quality-temperature hypothesis does not consistently predict temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter mineralization in soils from two manipulative ecosystem experiments

Abstract

The temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition is a source of uncertainty in models of soil-climate feedbacks. However, empirical studies have given contradictory results concerning the temperature response of SOM fractions, even as the understanding of the chemical nature of SOM is evolving. The carbon-quality temperature (CQT) hypothesis states that more ‘recalcitrant’ SOM should have higher temperature sensitivity. Incubation studies have often shown a negative correlation between soil respiration rates and temperature sensitivity. However, there have been important exceptions to these results which challenge the assumption that older SOM is necessarily more chemically complex. We asked whether we would expect a universal relationship between temperature sensitivity and soil respiration given that SOM decomposition is influenced by factors other than chemical complexity. We examined temperature sensitivity in long-term incubations of four soils representing two biomes and two ecosystem-level manipulations. Soils from a manipulative climate experiment in Pacific Northwest grasslands demonstrated an increase in temperature sensitivity with incubation duration, but soil from a 20-year input manipulation study in a Northeastern forest showed no relationship of temperature sensitivity with either carbon depletion or incubation time. Furthermore, across all four soils, the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration was frequently inconsistent with indices of carbon quality and did not show a negative correlation with soil respiration rate. We conclude that the CQT hypothesis fails to universally capture the temperature sensitivity of SOM decomposition across environmental contexts, consistent with an emerging understanding of the multiplicity of factors that control soil carbon cycling.


Datum: 28.10.2017


Overcoming entropy


Datum: 01.10.2017






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