Sorption of colored vs. noncolored organic matter by tidal marsh soils

Neale, Patrick J.; Megonigal, J. Patrick; Tzortziou, Maria; Canuel, Elizabeth A.; Pondell, Christina R.; Morrissette, Hannah

Tidal marshes are significant sources of colored (or chromophoric) dissolved organic carbon (CDOC) to adjacent waters and, as a result, contribute substantially to their optical complexity and ultimately affect their water quality. Despite this, our mechanistic understanding of the processes that regulate the exchange and transformation of CDOC at the tidal marsh–estuarine interface remains limited. We hypothesized that tidal marsh soils regulate this exchange and transformation subject to soil mineralogy and salinity environment. To test this hypothesis, we generated initial mass sorption isotherms of CDOC and noncolored dissolved organic carbon (NCDOC) using anaerobic batch incubations of Great Dismal Swamp DOC with four tidal wetland soils, representing a range of organic carbon content (1.77 inline-formula± 0.12 % to 36.2 inline-formula± 2.2 %) and across four salinity treatments (0, 10, 20, and 35). CDOC sorption followed Langmuir isotherms that were similar in shape to those of total DOC, but with greater maximum sorption capacity and lower binding affinity. Like isotherms of total DOC, CDOC maximum sorption capacity increased and binding affinity decreased with greater salinity. Initial natively adsorbed colored organic carbon was low and increased with soil organic content. In contrast, NCDOC desorbed under all conditions with desorption increasing linearly with initial CDOC concentration. This suggests that for our test solutions CDOC displaced NCDOC on tidal marsh soils. Parallel factor analysis of 3-D excitation emission matrices and specific ultraviolet absorbance measurements suggested that CDOC sorption was driven primarily by the exchange of highly aromatic humic-like CDOC. Taken together, these results suggest that tidal marsh soils regulate export and composition of CDOC depending on the complex interplay between soil mineralogy, water salinity, and CDOC vs. NCDOC composition.

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Neale, Patrick J. / Megonigal, J. Patrick / Tzortziou, Maria / et al: Sorption of colored vs. noncolored organic matter by tidal marsh soils. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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