Integrating aquatic metabolism and net ecosystem CO2 balance in short- and long-hydroperiod subtropical freshwater wetlands
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonEcosystems. 2021, . 10.1007/s10021-021-00672-2
How aquatic primary productivity influences the carbon (C) sequestering capacity of wetlands is uncertain. We evaluated the magnitude and variability in aquatic C dynamics and compared them to net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) rates within calcareous freshwater wetlands in Everglades National Park. We continuously recorded 30-min measurements of dissolved oxygen (DO), water level, water temperature (Twater), and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). These measurements were coupled with ecosystem CO2 fluxes over 5 years (2012–2016) in a long-hydroperiod peat-rich, freshwater marsh and a short-hydroperiod, freshwater marl prairie. Daily net aquatic primary productivity (NAPP) rates indicated both wetlands were generally net heterotrophic. Gross aquatic primary productivity (GAPP) ranged from 0 to − 6.3 g C m−2 day−1 and aquatic respiration (RAq) from 0 to 6.13 g C m−2 day−1. Nonlinear interactions between water level, Twater, and GAPP and RAq resulted in high variability in NAPP that contributed to NEE. Net aquatic primary productivity accounted for 4–5% of the deviance explained in NEE rates. With respect to the flux magnitude, daily NAPP was a greater proportion of daily NEE at the long-hydroperiod site (mean = 95%) compared to the short-hydroperiod site (mean = 64%). Although we have confirmed the significant contribution of NAPP to NEE in both long- and short-hydroperiod freshwater wetlands, the decoupling of the aquatic and ecosystem fluxes could largely depend on emergent vegetation, the carbonate cycle, and the lateral C flux.