High-resolution induced polarization imaging of biogeochemical carbon turnover hotspots in a peatland

Katona, Timea; Gilfedder, Benjamin Silas; Frei, Sven; Bücker, Matthias; Flores-Orozco, Adrian

Biogeochemical hotspots are defined as areas where biogeochemical processes occur with anomalously high reaction rates relative to their surroundings. Due to their importance in carbon and nutrient cycling, the characterization of hotspots is critical for predicting carbon budgets accurately in the context of climate change. However, biogeochemical hotspots are difficult to identify in the environment, as methods for in situ measurements often directly affect the sensitive redox-chemical conditions. Here, we present imaging results of a geophysical survey using the non-invasive induced polarization (IP) method to identify biogeochemical hotspots of carbon turnover in a minerotrophic wetland. To interpret the field-scale IP signatures, geochemical analyses were performed on freeze-core samples obtained in areas characterized by anomalously high and low IP responses. Our results reveal large variations in the electrical response, with the highest IP phase values (inline-formula> 18 mrad) corresponding to high concentrations of phosphates (inline-formula> 4000 inline-formulaµM), an indicator of carbon turnover. Furthermore, we found a strong relationship between the electrical properties resolved in IP images and the dissolved organic carbon. Moreover, analysis of the freeze core reveals negligible concentrations of iron sulfides. The extensive geochemical and geophysical data presented in our study demonstrate that IP images can track small-scale changes in the biogeochemical activity in peat and can be used to identify hotspots.



Katona, Timea / Gilfedder, Benjamin Silas / Frei, Sven / et al: High-resolution induced polarization imaging of biogeochemical carbon turnover hotspots in a peatland. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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