Title
Diatoms in peat: dominant producers in a changing environment? Diatoms in peat: dominant producers in a changing environment?
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
Chemistry
Biology
Source (journal)
Soil biology and biochemistry. - Oxford
Volume/pages
41(2009) :8 , p. 1764-1766
ISSN
0038-0717
ISI
000268920400025
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Changes in hydrology and temperature can induce rapid changes in boreal wetland ecosystems. Factors such as hydrosere, permafrost, climate and human interference may disturb the prevailing mire vegetation, whereby a new dominant assemblage can develop. At the transition from one vegetation type to another, the old vegetation may be suppressed, die out or start to decay, and some time may pass until a new mire vegetation is fully established. Here, we demonstrate that diatoms may thrive during such transitions, creating isolated and shallow peat layers with significantly elevated biogenic silica content. Biogenic silica and other nutrients that would otherwise be lost during mineralization in runoff are in this way retained in the ecosystem. Our results imply that silica storage originating from diatoms can be expected to increase in today's rapidly changing boreal wetlands. The impacts on transport of Si through boreal watersheds are currently unknown.
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