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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Glatzel, St; Kalbitz, K; Dalva, M; Moore, T: Dissolved organic matter properties and their relationship to carbon dioxide efflux from restored peat bogs, Geoderma, 113, 397-411 (2003)
The effects of peat bog harvesting and restoration on dissolved organic matter (DOM) are poorly known although DOM represents the most mobile part of organic matter in peat. The aims of our study were: (i) to determine concentrations and properties of DOM in a series of natural, harvested, and restored peatlands in eastern Québec and (ii) to relate DOM to CO2 efflux from these bogs. We sampled pore waters at eight peat bogs and determined dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations, humification indices derived from synchronous fluorescence spectra (humification index (HIX), ratio of intensities at 470 and 400 nm), specific absorption at 280 nm, and the humic acid (HA) content. DOC concentrations ranged from 35 to 625 mg C l-1. The highest values were observed at a block-cut (BC) site where the ditches had been closed to stimulate restoration. This resulted in limited external drainage, DOM accumulation in deeper horizons, and an enrichment of the poorly biodegradable humic acids to about 60% of the bulk DOM. DOC concentrations increased immediately during harvesting up to 188 mg C l-1 as a result of this ecosystem disturbance. Afterwards, DOC concentrations decreased which might be due to a low content of potential DOM of the remaining little oxidised peat. The enhanced decomposition of the remaining peat during the restoration process seems to be important for a new build-up of potential DOM, which is indicated by reincreasing DOC concentration during the restoration process. We could not relate spectroscopic properties of DOM to peat harvesting and restoration. The portion of humic acids was inversely related to CO2 efflux, indicating low substrate quality of humic acids in pore waters. The seasonal average humification indices of DOM where humic acids had been removed were positively correlated with the seasonal CO2 efflux from the eight sites, indicating that high respiration results in an enrichment of more aromatic and complex DOM molecules. The relationships suggest that DOM composition affects CO2 efflux from peat bogs and is also driven by respiration and CO2 efflux. Author Keywords: Carbon dioxide efflux; Dissolved organic matter; Peatland; Restoration; Synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy; UV–VIS spectroscopy
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