Spatial Variations in Pore-Water Biogeochemistry Greatly Exceed Temporal Changes During Baseflow Conditions in a Boreal River Valley Mire Complex, Northwest Russia

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Dissolved organic matter, base ions, boreal mire, carbon mobilizaton, landscape heterogeneity


Mobilization and release of carbon from mires to the atmospheric and aquatic systems depend on biogeochemical conditions in the peat soils. These conditions can widely vary within the large boreal mire complexes that are typically composed of a variety of mesoscale ecohydrological landscape units. This study aims to characterize spatial and temporal variations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and major base ion concentrations in surface and soil pore waters of a typical boreal river valley mire complex in northwest Russia. Three mesoscale ecohydrological landscape units were identified based on vegetation, topography and water table characteristics and investigated with regard to their hydrochemistry: bog, fen and marginal swamp forest. The highest DOC concentrations were detected in the swamp forest, and the lowest concentrations were observed at the bog (swamp forest: 42–54 mg L−1, fen: 28–38 mg L−1, bog: 20–28 mg L−1). The transitional swamp forest zone was also the primary contributor of the water discharged from the investigated site. Thus, these transitional zones should be investigated in more detail because these previously largely neglected landscape units appear to have a strong effect on biogeochemical properties of the discharged water and are potentially major greenhouse gas emitters.

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