Carbon dioxide fluxes of soils and mosses in wet tundra of Taimyr Peninsula, Siberia: controlling factors and contribution to net system fluxes
AbstractKnowledge of the environmental controls of carbon dioxide fluxes is essential for understanding the dynamics of carbon exchange between ecosystems and atmosphere. In this study we investigated soil respiration and moss photosynthesis as well as their contribution to the net carbon dioxide flux of two different wet tundra systems. During two summers, in situ carbon dioxide fluxes were measured in a tussock tundra and in a low-centre polygonal tundra on Taimyr Peninsula, central Siberia. Measurements were carried out by means of a multichannel gas exchange system. Results show pronounced differences in soil respiration rates as related to microscale topography, mainly due to differences of soil water table and soil temperatures. Modelling of soil respiration for individual microsites revealed differences of process performance with respect to both factors. The wet microsites showed the highest potential regarding an increase of soil respiration rates in warmer and drier climate change scenarios. Another important process compensating the CO2 release from the soil was the photosynthesis of the moss layer, assimilating as much as 51% to 98% of the daily amount of carbon dioxide released from wet tundra soils. This result demonstrates the importance of mosses in the context of tundra ecosystem processes. The magnitude of net system fluxes of the whole system at the depression of the polygonal tundra was strongly influenced by changes in soil water table. Consequently, any changes of the hydrology, as anticipated in the context of global change, would effectively alter the carbon balance of wet tundra systems.
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