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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Jan 1;44(1):80-6. doi: 10.1021/es901669z.

Effects of short-term drying and irrigation on electron flow in mesocosms of a northern bog and an alpine fen.

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Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, 1560 30th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.


Methane emissions and element mobility in wetlands are controlled by soil moisture and redox conditions. We manipulated soil moisture by weekly drying and irrigation of mesocosms of peat from a bog and iron and sulfur rich fen. Water table changed more strongly in the decomposed fen peat ( approximately 11 cm) than in the fibric bog peat ( approximately 5 cm), where impacts on redox processes were larger due to larger change in air filled porosity. Methanogenesis was partly decoupled from acetogenesis and acetate accumulated up to 5.6 mmol L(-1) in the fen peat after sulfate was depleted. Irrigation and drying led to rapid redox-cycles with sulfate, hydrogen sulfide, nitrate, and methane being produced and consumed on the scale of days, contributing substantially to the total electron flow and suggesting short-term resilience of the microbial community to intermittent aeration. Anaerobic CO2 production was partly balanced by methanogenesis (0-34%), acetate fermentation (0-86%), and sulfate reduction (1-30%) in the bog peat. In the fen peat unknown electron acceptors and aerenchymatic oxygen influx apparently drove respiration. The results suggest that regular rainfall and subsequent drying may lead to local oxidation-reduction cycles that substantially influence electron flow in electron acceptor poor wetlands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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