Biogeochemical rate data and sediment properties of samples used for a controlled flow through experiment testing the effect of nitrate on organic matter decomposition, PIE LTER, Plum Island Sound estuary, Massachusetts.

Summary

Short name: 

STP-MAR-Nitrate-FlowReactorExpt

Abstract: 

In this dataset, we used a controlled flow-through reactor (FTR) experiment to test the role of nitrate as an electron acceptor, and its effect on organic matter decomposition and the associated microbial community in salt marsh sediments. Organic matter decomposition significantly increased in response to nitrate, even at sediment depths typically considered resistant to decomposition. The use of isotope tracers suggests this pattern was largely driven by stimulated denitrification. Nitrate addition also significantly altered the microbial community and decreased alpha diversity, selecting for taxa belonging to groups known to reduce nitrate and oxidize more complex forms of organic matter. Fourier Transform-Infrared Spectroscopy further supported these results, suggesting that nitrate facilitated decomposition of complex organic matter compounds into more bioavailable forms. Taken together, these results suggest the existence of organic matter pools that only become accessible with nitrate and would otherwise remain stabilized in the sediment. The existence of such pools could have important implications for carbon storage, since greater decomposition rates as N loading increases may result in less overall burial of organic-rich sediment. Given the extent of nitrogen loading along our coastlines, it is imperative that we better understand the resilience of salt marsh systems to nutrient enrichment, especially if we hope to rely on salt marshes, and other blue carbon systems, for long-term carbon storage.

Data set ID: 

538

EML revision ID: 

1
Published on EDI/LTER Data Portal

Citation Suggestion: 

Bulseco-mckim, A., Giblin, A., Bowen, J. 2019. Biogeochemical rate data and sediment properties of samples used for a controlled flow through experiment testing the effect of nitrate on organic matter decomposition, PIE LTER, Plum Island Sound estuary, Massachusetts. Environmental Data Initiative. http://dx.doi.org/10.6073/pasta/02a368f453c166ab2361625967294c1d