Microtopography Alters Hydrology, Phenol Oxidase Activity and Nutrient Availability in Organic Soils of a Coastal Freshwater Forested Wetland

  • Sites: US-NC4
  • Publication Type: JOUR
  • Authors: Minick, K.; Kelley, A.; Miao, G.; Li, X.; Noormets, A.; Mitra, B.; King, J.S.

  • Hummock-hollow microtopography is a unique feature ofwetland ecosystems, but our understanding ofits effects on soil carbon and nutrient cycling is limited. We investigated effects of microtopography on hydrology, phenol oxidase activity (POX) and nutrient availability in a freshwater forested wetland of coastal North Carolina. Water table depth (WTD) was measured from September 2012 to August 2013. Ion exchange probes were used to measure nutrient concentrations prior to soil sample collection in August 2013. WTD fluctuated seasonally with maximum and minimum WTD resulting in 92% (September 2012) to 8% (June 2013) of the site in flooded and non-flooded conditions, respectively. Hummocks had greater POX activity (12 ± 2.8 μmol g−1 h−1)compared to hollows (4 ±0.7 μmol g−1 h−1) and greater concentrations ofpotassiumand sulfur, but lower concentrations of calcium, iron, zinc, boron, and lead. POX was negatively correlated with soil water content. Higher enzyme activity in hummocks likely drives greater rates ofcarbon and nutrient cycling compared to hollows, consistent with observations that hummocks are hotspots for CO2 fluxes. Microtopography altered site-level hydrologic conditions, phenol oxidase activity and nutrient availability with important implications for understanding carbon and nutrient cycling in forested wetlands and response to changes in hydrology.


  • Journal: Wetlands
  • Funding Agency: USDA NIFA, US-DOE, USDA FS
  • Citation Information:
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  • No:
  • Pages: 1-11
  • Publication Year: 2018/11/12
  • DOI: 10.1007
  • ISBN: 1943-6246
  • https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13157-018-1107-5