Saturday, 15 July 2006

Patterns of Enzymic Activities in a Boreal Peatland.

Petra Vávrová1, Chris Freeman2, and Raija Laiho1. (1) Peatland Ecology Group, Dept of Forest Ecology, Univ of Helsinki, P.O. Box 27, Helsinki, 00014, Finland, (2) School of Biological Sciences, Univ of Wales, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UW, United Kingdom

Boreal peatlands store ca. 1/3 of the world's soil organic carbon and this is attributed to low decomposition rates as a result of waterlogged, anaerobic conditions. Climate change models predict both an increase in summer droughts and increased rainfall, depending on region. Information on the effect of these changes on the litter quality, microbial population and enzymic activities that mediate litter degradation is sparse. We have studied effects of short-term and long-term water-level drawdown in peatlands on activities of five enzymes during the first stage of decomposition: phenol oxidase (phenolic degradation), β-glucosidase (involved in C mineralisation), amidase (N mineralisation), phosphatase (P mineralisation) and sulphatase (S mineralisation), and initial litter chemistry (amount of soluble compounds, holocellulose, acid insoluble and acid soluble lignin). The research was done at two nutrient regime levels: ombrotrophic (nutrient-poor) and mesotrophic (nutrient-rich). The relation of enzymic activity to litter composition and mass loss will be discussed in this poster.

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