|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2011|
|Authors:||Adkinson, AC, Syed, KH, Flanagan, LB|
|Journal:||Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences|
|Keywords:||boreal peatland, carbon-dioxide exchange, climate-change, continental western canada, eddy covariance, fluxes, interannual variability, photosynthetic capacity, rich fen, sub-arctic fen|
The large belowground carbon stocks in northern peatland ecosystems are potentially susceptible to release because of the expected differential responses of photosynthesis and respiration to climate change. This study compared net ecosystem CO(2) exchange (NEE) measured using the eddy covariance technique at two peatland sites in northern Alberta, Canada, over three growing seasons (May-October). We observed distinct differences between the poor fen (Sphagnum moss dominated) and extreme-rich fen (Carex sedge dominated) sites for their responses of NEE to interannual variation in temperature and water table depth. The rates of growing season cumulative NEE at the poor fen were very similar among the three study years with an average (+/- standard deviation) of -110.1 +/- 0.5 g C m (2) period (1). By contrast, the growing season cumulative NEE at the extreme-rich fen varied substantially among years (-34.5, -153.5, and -41.8 g C m(-2) period(-1) in 2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively), and net uptake of CO(2) was lower (on average) than at the poor fen. Consistent with the eddy covariance measurements, analysis of (210)Pb-dated peat cores also showed higher recent net rates of carbon accumulation in the poor fen than in the rich fen. Warm spring temperatures and sufficient water availability during the growing season resulted in the highest-magnitude ecosystem photosynthesis and NEE at the extreme-rich fen in 2005. Cool spring temperatures limited photosynthesis at the extreme-rich fen in 2004, while reduced water availability (lower water table) in 2006 constrained photosynthetic capacity relative to 2005, despite the warmer spring and summer temperatures in 2006. The combination of contrasting plant functional types and different peat water table features at our two study sites meant that the poor fen showed a reduced response of ecosystem CO(2) exchange to environmental variation compared to the extreme-rich fen.