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Desiccation time and rainfall control gaseous carbon fluxes in an intermittent stream

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  • Maria Isabel Arce, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, University of Murcia
  • ,
  • Mia M. Bengtsson, University of Greifswald
  • ,
  • Daniel von Schiller, University of Barcelona
  • ,
  • Dominik Zak
  • Jana Täumer, University of Greifswald
  • ,
  • Tim Urich, University of Greifswald
  • ,
  • Gabriel Singer, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, University of Innsbruck

Droughts are recognized to impact global biogeochemical cycles. However, the implication of desiccation on in-stream carbon (C) cycling is not well understood yet. We subjected sediments from a lowland, organic rich intermittent stream to experimental desiccation over a 9-week-period to investigate temporal changes in microbial functional traits in relation to their redox requirements, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes and water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC). Concurrently, the implications of rewetting by simulated short rainfalls (4 and 21 mm) on gaseous C fluxes were tested. Early desiccation triggered dynamic fluxes of CO2 and CH4 with peak values of 383 and 30 mg C m−2 h−1 (mean ± SD), respectively, likely in response to enhanced aerobic mineralization and accelerated evasion. At longer desiccation, CH4 dropped abruptly, likely because of reduced abundance of anaerobic microbial traits. The CO2 fluxes ceased later, suggesting aerobic activity was constrained only by extended desiccation over time. We found that rainfall boosted fluxes of CO2, which were modulated by rainfall size and the preceding desiccation time. Desiccation also reduced the amount of WSOC and the proportion of labile compounds leaching from sediment. It remains questionable to which extent changes of the sediment C pool are influenced by respiration processes, microbial C uptake and cell lysis due to drying-rewetting cycles. We highlight that the severity of the dry period, which is controlled by its duration and the presence of precipitation events, needs detailed consideration to estimate the impact of intermittent flow on global riverine C fluxes.

Sider (fra-til)381-400
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2021

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