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The influence of hydrologic fluctuations and peat oxia on the phosphorus and nitrogen dynamics of a conifer swamp

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Title: The influence of hydrologic fluctuations and peat oxia on the phosphorus and nitrogen dynamics of a conifer swamp
Author: Devito, Kevin J.; Dillon, Peter J.
Abstract: A mass balance approach was used to determine the factors influencing phosphorus and nitrogen dynamics in wetlands common to headwater catchments of the Precambrian Shield. The relationships of runoff, water level, water temperature, and anoxia to the annual and seasonal total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) retentions of a headwater Sphagnum - conifer swamp, were examined during 1987-88. Annual retentions of TP (4%) and TN (I0%) were low in the swamp. On an annual basis, inputs exceeded outputs of total reactive P, NO3-N, and NH4-N and outputs exceeded inputs of total unreactive P and total organic N. Seasonal trends in P and N retention were inversely correlated with runoff. The degree of saturated overland flow (SOF) and residence time of water also influenced nutrient export. There was a weak relationship between monthly retention and temperature. No relationship between the mean redox potential of the peat and monthly retention was observed. Decomposition or leaching of organic matter may be an important means of regenerating P and N. Timing of the major processes of nutrient cycling is important in the seasonal and annual retention of P and N. Positive monthly retention coincided with low runoff and increased biotic assimilation during the growing season. Water table drawdown during the summer was associated with peat aeration and increased levels of P and N in surface and pore water. High levels of P and N in the swamp surface water during the fall and winter were coupled with increased runoff, SOF and potentially low biotic assimilation resulting in a net release of TP and TN. Large flow-through of waterborne inputs and flushing of regenerated P and N occurred during peak snowmelt runoff resulting in low annual retention.
Date: 1992
Rights: Queen's Printer for Ontario, Crown Copyright, Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights Holder: Queen's Printer for Ontario

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