, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 1153-1165

First online:

Microbial and geochemical responses to organic matter amendments in a created wetland

  • Gregory L. BrulandAffiliated withDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Management College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai’i Mānoa Email author 
  • , Curtis J. RichardsonAffiliated withDuke University Wetland Center Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
  • , W. Lee DanielsAffiliated withDepartment of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences 0404, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Soil organic matter (OM) is an important feature of natural wetlands (NWs) often lacking in created wetlands (CWs). Some have suggested that OM amendments be used to accelerate development of edaphic conditions in CWs. Our objective was to investigate microbial and geochemical responses to compost amendments at a CW. Five levels of amendments were incorporated into drier and wetter zones of the CW to test two hypotheses: 1) microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and denitrification potential will increase with increasing levels of amendments; and 2) phosphorus (P) sorption will decrease with increasing levels of amendments. Regression indicated that pH, MBC, and P sorption had linear relationships, while bulk density (BD) had an exponential relationship with amendment level. Denitrification enzyme assay (DEA) had highest values at intermediate amendment levels. Analysis of variance indicated amendment effects for BD, MBC, DEA, and P sorption, and wetness effects for pH and MBC. Amendment levels between 60-180 Mg ha1 were ideal for microbial development and denitrification, while not sacrificing P sorption, and would be more logistically and economically feasible than levels of 200–300 Mg ha−1. However, responses to amendments were complex and optimizing amendments for certain functions may detrimentally affect other functions.

Key Words

compost denitrification enzyme assay microbial biomass carbon mitigation organic amendments P sorption soil properties