Microbial activity and enzymic decomposition processes following peatland water table drawdown
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Microbial activity and enzymic decomposition processes were followed during a field-based experimental lowering of the water table in a Welsh peatland. Respiration was not significantly affected by the treatment. However, the enzymes sulphatase, β-glucosidase and phosphatase were stimulated by between 31 and 67% upon water table drawdown. A further enzyme, phenol oxidase, was not significantly affected. The observation of elevated enzyme activities without an associated increase in microbial respiratory activity suggests that drought conditions influence peatland mineralisation rates through a direct stimulation of existing enzymes, rather than through a generalised stimulation of microbial metabolism (with associated de-novo enzyme synthesis). Hydrochemical data suggest that the stimulation may have been caused by a reduction in the inhibitory action of iron and phenolics in the peat pore waters. Overall, the findings support the recent hypothesis that drier conditions associated with climate change could stimulate mineralisation within wetlands. ei]R Merckx
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- Microbial activity and enzymic decomposition processes following peatland water table drawdown
Plant and Soil
Volume 180, Issue 1 , pp 121-127
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- Kluwer Academic Publishers
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- climate change
- microbial activity
- water table
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, LL57 2UW, Bangor, Gwynedd, UK
- 2. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, University of Wales, LL57 2UW, Bangor, Gwynedd, UK
- 3. Institute of Hydrology, Staylittle, SY19 7DB, Llanbrynmair, Powys, UK