, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1245–1258 | Cite as

Multi-Element Composition of Prairie Pothole Wetland Soils along Depth Profiles Reflects Past Disturbance to a Depth of at Least one Meter

  • Carrie Werkmeister
  • Donna L. Jacob
  • Larry Cihacek
  • Marinus L. OtteEmail author
General Wetland Science


Wetlands are influenced by direct disturbances due to agricultural practices, as well as by indirect effects from the surrounding landscapes. Management and restoration require condition assessments, which are usually based on properties of the vegetation and soils near the surface. Less knowledge exists about the effects of disturbance deeper down the soil profile. In this study, multi-element analysis along soil profiles was used to assess changes due to past disturbances. Soil cores were obtained from undisturbed and disturbed Prairie Pothole wetlands in North Dakota, USA. The objectives were to: 1) assess the vertical variation in multi-element composition of wetlands soils, 2) interpret the differences between undisturbed and disturbed wetlands, and 3) determine the relationships between the environmental variables and multi-element concentrations. We expected that data on concentrations of elements, in addition to ‘classical’ assessments (organic matter, particle size distributions, profile descriptions), would provide more detailed information about the depth to which past disturbance could be detected. Classical methods of assessment of disturbance identified impacts down to 60 cm depth, but the concentrations of Ca, Ba, Sr, Nb, La, Pr, Tb, Bi, Tl and Th showed that differences due to past disturbances persist to a depth of at least one meter.


Prairie Pothole Region Biogeochemistry Metals Agriculture Landscape 



Funding for this research was by NIH Grant Number P20RR016471 from INBRE Program of National Institute of General Medical Sciences and grants from EPA/ND Department of Health (EPA/ND Department of Health Wetland Program Development Grant, National Center for Research Resources (5P20RR016471-1), Wetland Foundation, ND College of Science and Mathematics, NDSU Biological Sciences, NDSU Graduate School, and the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (Project FARG008572). We thank Dr. Shawn DeKeyser and Dr. Christina Hargiss for identifying the site locations, Joel Bell, Hannah Erdmann and 30 undergraduate students for their help with sample processing, and Dr. La Toya Kissoon for guidance on statistical analysis.

Supplementary material

13157_2018_1032_MOESM1_ESM.xls (110 kb)
Table S1 (XLS 110 kb)
13157_2018_1032_MOESM2_ESM.xls (1004 kb)
Table S2 (XLS 1004 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carrie Werkmeister
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donna L. Jacob
    • 1
  • Larry Cihacek
    • 2
  • Marinus L. Otte
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Wet Ecosystem Research Group, Biological Sciences, Dept. 2715North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.Soil Science, Dept. 7680North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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