Does an ‘iron gate’ carbon preservation mechanism exist in organic–rich wetlands?
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© 2019 Recent research suggested that iron oxidation may protect carbon from drought-accelerated decomposition in wetlands by promoting the sorption of lignin derivatives and decreasing phenolic oxidase activities. Here we examined whether this mechanism exists in organic-rich peatlands, which store over 30% of the world's soil carbon, by simulating drought and flooded conditions in peat soil with and without the addition of reduced iron. Our results suggest that iron does not protect carbon from decomposition in organic-rich peatlands, and in fact iron may exacerbate carbon decomposition via precipitation of phenolic compounds, which otherwise have been shown to inhibit microbial activity. In addition, scanning electron microscopy analyses of different types of peat soil from Minnesota to Peru showed evidence of iron-sulfide minerals (pyrite), indicating that some portion of the reduced iron in peatlands is effectively immobilized and therefore does not interact with the carbon cycle.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1016/j.soilbio.2019.04.011
Publication InfoRichardson, Curtis; Wang, Hongjun; & River, M (2019). Does an ‘iron gate’ carbon preservation mechanism exist in organic–rich wetlands?. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 135. pp. 48-50. 10.1016/j.soilbio.2019.04.011. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/19061.
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John O. Blackburn Professor
Curtis J. Richardson is Professor of Resource Ecology and founding Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Richardson earned his degrees from the State University of New York and the University of Tennessee. His research interests in applied ecology focus on long-term ecosystem response to large-scale perturbations such as climate change, toxic materials, trace metals, flooding, or nutrient additions. He has specific interests in phosphor
Research Scientist, Senior
My research focuses on C,N,P biogeochemical cycles and the related ecological processes in wetlands, how these key elements dynamically respond to climate change, and how we can use the biogeochemical features to improve the ecological resilience and resistance to climate change and human disturbance, thus mitigating environmental challenges. I also expand my basic research in peatlands to degraded farms and put the resilient mechanism in practice to improve sustainable food, water and agri
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