Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sediment accretion and accumulation of P, N and organic C in depressional wetlands of three ecoregions of the United States

C. R. Lane A B and B. C. Autrey A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email: lane.charles@epa.gov

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16372
Submitted: 12 November 2016  Accepted: 6 April 2017   Published online: 6 July 2017

Abstract

Wetland depressions without surface channel connections to aquatic systems are substantial sinks for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and organic carbon (org. C). We assessed accretion, N, P and org.-C accumulation rates in 43 depressional wetlands across three ecoregions of the USA (Erie Drift Plain, EDP; Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain, MACP; Southern Coastal Plain, SCP) using caesium-137 (137Cs). The mean sediment accretion rate in minimally affected (reference) sites was 0.6 ± 0.4 mm year–1 and did not differ among ecoregions. Accumulation rates for N and org. C averaged 3.1 ± 3.1 g N m–2 year–1 and 43.4 ± 39.0 g org. C m–2 year–1 respectively, and did not differ across minimally affected sites. Phosphorus accumulation rates were significantly greater in EDP (0.10 ± 0.10 g P m–2 year–1) than MACP (0.01 ± 0.01 g P m–2 year–1) or SCP (0.04 ± 0.04 g P m–2 year–1) sites. Land-use modality and wetland-type effects were analysed in SCP, with few differences being found. Depressional wetlands sequester substantive amounts of nutrients and C; their cumulative contributions may significantly affect landscape nutrient and C dynamics because of the abundance of wetland depressions on the landscape, warranting further investigation and potential watershed-scale conservation approaches.

Additional keywords: assimilation, caesium-137, ecosystem services, geographically isolated wetland, sequestration, upland embedded wetland


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