Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Forested wetlands dominated by baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) and water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) are commonly found in coastal regions of the southeastern United States. Global climate change and in particular sea level rise will alter the frequency and magnitude of wet/dry periods and salinity levels in these ecosystems. Soil microcosm experiments were set up to identify the effects of water level variations (0.4–3.0 g-water g-soil−1) and salinity changes (0, 1 and 5 ppt of NaCl) on greenhouse gas emissions (CH4, CO2, and N2O) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) characteristics from forested wetland soils. Our results indicate that, the effect of water level was much greater than salt intrusion on C and N cycling. Wet–dry treatments significantly decreased DOC production and total CH4-C loss, aromatic and humic-like substance compounds in DOC were increased in both flooding and wet–dry treatments after 60-d incubation. The molecular weight (MW) of DOC, as indicated by E2/E3 ratio and spectral slope, after flooding treatments was higher than that in wet–dry treatments. A first order kinetic model showed there was a positive linear correlation (r2 = 0.73) between CO2 emission rate and DOC concentration which indicated that CO2was mainly generated from DOC. An exponential kinetic model was applied to describe the correlation between CH4 emission rate and DOC concentration (r2 = 0.41). This study demonstrates that an increase in salinity, and in particular variations in wet–dry cycles, will lead to changes in the formation of climate-relevant greenhouse gases, such as CH4, CO2, and N2O.
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