Turnover of Detrital Organic Carbon in a Nutrient-Impacted Everglades Marsh
- W. F. DeBusk and
- K. R. Reddy
Phosphorus loading to the Everglades from nearby agricultural areas has become a major concern, and is considered to be a significant factor in the encroachment of cattail (Typha domingensis Pers.) and other rapidly growing vegetation into endemic sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense Crantz) marsh. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the variability in turnover of organic C in plant and soil detrital pools along a P enrichment gradient in an Everglades marsh and to identify substrate characteristics and environmental factors controlling C turnover. Potential rates of C mineralization in plant litter and peat were determined by measuring aerobic and anaerobic microbial respiration under controlled conditions in laboratory incubations. Potential C mineralization decreased with depth and, consequently, substrate age, in the plant-soil profile. Within individual detrital pools [standing dead plant material, soil litter layer, surface peat (0–10 cm depth) and subsurface peat (10–30 cm depth)], potential C mineralization decreased down gradient from the source of nutrient loading to WCA-2A. Overall, 91% of the variability in aerobic C mineralization in peat and plant litter was accounted for by substrate P concentration and lignocellulose composition. Anaerobic C mineralization rates were consistently about one-third of aerobic rates. Results indicated that organic C turnover in detrital pools in WCA-2A is significantly affected by accelerated P loading, but is also controlled by O2 availability and substrate C quality.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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