Effects of nutrient loading on the carbon balance of coastal wetland sediments

Limnology and Oceanography
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Results of a 12-yr study in an oligotrophic South Carolina salt marsh demonstrate that soil respiration increased by 795 g C m-2 yr-1 and that carbon inventories decreased in sediments fertilized with nitrogen and phosphorus. Fertilized plots became net sources of carbon to the atmosphere, and sediment respiration continues in these plots at an accelerated pace. After 12 yr of treatment, soil macroorganic matter in the top 5 cm of sediment was 475 g C m-2 lower in fertilized plots than in controls, which is equivalent to a constant loss rate of 40 g C m-2 yr-1. It is not known whether soil carbon in fertilized plots has reached a new equilibrium or continues to decline. The increase in soil respiration in the fertilized plots was far greater than the loss of sediment organic matter, which indicates that the increase in soil respiration was largely due to an increase in primary production. Sediment respiration in laboratory incubations also demonstrated positive effects of nutrients. Thus, the results indicate that increased nutrient loading of oligotrophic wetlands can lead to an increased rate of sediment carbon turnover and a net loss of carbon from sediments.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of nutrient loading on the carbon balance of coastal wetland sediments
Series title Limnology and Oceanography
Volume 44
Issue 3 I
Year Published 1999
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Limnology and Oceanography
First page 699
Last page 702
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