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Vascular plant-mediated controls on atmospheric carbon assimilation and peat carbon decomposition under climate change

Vascular plant-mediated controls on atmospheric carbon assimilation and peat carbon decomposition under climate change
Vascular plant-mediated controls on atmospheric carbon assimilation and peat carbon decomposition under climate change

Climate change can alter peatland plant community composition by promoting the growth of vascular plants. How such vegetation change affects peatland carbon dynamics remains, however, unclear. In order to assess the effect of vegetation change on carbon uptake and release, we performed a vascular plant-removal experiment in two Sphagnum-dominated peatlands that represent contrasting stages of natural vegetation succession along a climatic gradient. Periodic measurements of net ecosystem CO2 exchange revealed that vascular plants play a crucial role in assuring the potential for net carbon uptake, particularly with a warmer climate. The presence of vascular plants, however, also increased ecosystem respiration, and by using the seasonal variation of respired CO2 radiocarbon (bomb-14C) signature we demonstrate an enhanced heterotrophic decomposition of peat carbon due to rhizosphere priming. The observed rhizosphere priming of peat carbon decomposition was matched by more advanced humification of dissolved organic matter, which remained apparent beyond the plant growing season. Our results underline the relevance of rhizosphere priming in peatlands, especially when assessing the future carbon sink function of peatlands undergoing a shift in vegetation community composition in association with climate change.

Climate warming, Decomposition, Ecosystem respiration, Elevation gradient, Net ecosystem CO exchange, Peatlands, Rhizosphere priming, Vascular plant biomass
1354-1013
3911-3921
Gavazov, Konstantin
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Albrecht, Remy
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Buttler, Alexandre
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Dorrepaal, Ellen
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Garnett, Mark H.
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Gogo, Sebastien
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Hagedorn, Frank
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Mills, Robert T.E.
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Robroek, Bjorn J.M.
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Bragazza, Luca
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Gavazov, Konstantin
de3efabe-3d7a-4781-b20d-499d4e2ddefe
Albrecht, Remy
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Buttler, Alexandre
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Dorrepaal, Ellen
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Garnett, Mark H.
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Gogo, Sebastien
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Hagedorn, Frank
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Mills, Robert T.E.
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Robroek, Bjorn J.M.
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Bragazza, Luca
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Gavazov, Konstantin, Albrecht, Remy, Buttler, Alexandre, Dorrepaal, Ellen, Garnett, Mark H., Gogo, Sebastien, Hagedorn, Frank, Mills, Robert T.E., Robroek, Bjorn J.M. and Bragazza, Luca (2018) Vascular plant-mediated controls on atmospheric carbon assimilation and peat carbon decomposition under climate change. Global Change Biology, 24 (9), 3911-3921. (doi:10.1111/gcb.14140).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Climate change can alter peatland plant community composition by promoting the growth of vascular plants. How such vegetation change affects peatland carbon dynamics remains, however, unclear. In order to assess the effect of vegetation change on carbon uptake and release, we performed a vascular plant-removal experiment in two Sphagnum-dominated peatlands that represent contrasting stages of natural vegetation succession along a climatic gradient. Periodic measurements of net ecosystem CO2 exchange revealed that vascular plants play a crucial role in assuring the potential for net carbon uptake, particularly with a warmer climate. The presence of vascular plants, however, also increased ecosystem respiration, and by using the seasonal variation of respired CO2 radiocarbon (bomb-14C) signature we demonstrate an enhanced heterotrophic decomposition of peat carbon due to rhizosphere priming. The observed rhizosphere priming of peat carbon decomposition was matched by more advanced humification of dissolved organic matter, which remained apparent beyond the plant growing season. Our results underline the relevance of rhizosphere priming in peatlands, especially when assessing the future carbon sink function of peatlands undergoing a shift in vegetation community composition in association with climate change.

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GCB_18_0239_Manuscript_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 6 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 March 2018
Published date: September 2018
Keywords: Climate warming, Decomposition, Ecosystem respiration, Elevation gradient, Net ecosystem CO exchange, Peatlands, Rhizosphere priming, Vascular plant biomass

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420373
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420373
ISSN: 1354-1013
PURE UUID: 1fea8dfa-81f0-4719-b3d1-99925b7df3d6
ORCID for Mark H. Garnett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1704-4929
ORCID for Bjorn J.M. Robroek: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6714-0652

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:28

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Contributors

Author: Konstantin Gavazov
Author: Remy Albrecht
Author: Alexandre Buttler
Author: Ellen Dorrepaal
Author: Mark H. Garnett ORCID iD
Author: Sebastien Gogo
Author: Frank Hagedorn
Author: Robert T.E. Mills
Author: Bjorn J.M. Robroek ORCID iD
Author: Luca Bragazza

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