Evolution of carbon fluxes during initial soil formation along the forefield of Damma glacier, Switzerland
2013 (English)In: Biogeochemistry, ISSN 0168-2563, E-ISSN 1573-515X, Vol. 113, no 1-3, 545-561 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Soil carbon (C) fluxes, soil respiration and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) leaching were explored along the young Damma glacier forefield chronosequence (7-128 years) over a three-year period. To gain insight into the sources of soil CO2 effluxes, radiocarbon signatures of respired CO2 were measured and a vegetation-clipping experiment was performed. Our results showed a clear increase in soil CO2 effluxes with increasing site age from 9 +/- A 1 to 160 +/- A 67 g CO2-C m(-2) year(-1), which was linked to soil C accumulation and development of vegetation cover. Seasonal variations of soil respiration were mainly driven by temperature; between 62 and 70 % of annual CO2 effluxes were respired during the 4-month long summer season. Sources of soil CO2 effluxes changed along the glacier forefield. For most recently deglaciated sites, radiocarbon-based age estimates indicated ancient C to be the dominant source of soil-respired CO2. At intermediate site age (58-78 years), the contribution of new plant-fixed C via rhizosphere respiration amounted up to 90 %, while with further soil formation, heterotrophically respired C probably from accumulated 'older' soil organic carbon (SOC) became increasingly important. In comparison with soil respiration, DOC leaching at 10 cm depth was small, but increased similarly from 0.4 +/- A 0.02 to 7.4 +/- A 1.6 g DOC m(-2) year(-1) over the chronosequence. A strong rise of the ratio of SOC to secondary iron and aluminium oxides strongly suggests that increasing DOC leaching with site age results from a faster increase of the DOC source, SOC, than of the DOC sink, reactive mineral surfaces. Overall, C losses from soil by soil respiration and DOC leaching increased from 9 +/- A 1 to 70 +/- A 17 and further to 168 +/- A 68 g C m(-2) year(-1) at the < 10, 58-78, and 110-128 year old sites. By comparison, total ecosystem C stocks increased from 0.2 to 1.1 and to 3.1 kg C m(-2) from the young to intermediate and old sites. Therefore, the ecosystem evolved from a dominance of C accumulation in the initial phase to a high throughput system. We suggest that the relatively strong increase in soil C stocks compared to C fluxes is a characteristic feature of initial soil formation on freshly exposed rocks.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013. Vol. 113, no 1-3, 545-561 p.
Glacier forefield; Chronosequence; Soil formation; DOC; Soil respiration; Carbon sources
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86636DOI: 10.1007/s10533-012-9785-1ISI: 000317863300033OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-86636DiVA: diva2:587780