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Title: Coastal inundation regime moderates the short-term effects of sediment and soil additions on seawater oxygen and greenhouse gas dynamics: a microcosm experiment

The frequency and persistence of tidal inundation varies along the coastal terrestrial-aquatic interface, from frequently inundated wetlands to rarely inundated upland forests. This inundation gradient controls soil and sediment biogeochemistry and influence the exchange of soils and sediments from terrestrial to aquatic domains. Although a rich literature exist on studies of the influence of tidal waters on the biogeochemistry of coastal ecosystem soils, few studies have experimentally addressed the reverse question: How do soils (or sediments) from different coastal ecosystems influence the biogeochemistry of the tidal waters that inundate them? To better understand initial responses of coastal waters that flood coastal wetlands and uplands, we conducted short-term laboratory experiments where seawater was amended with sediments and soils collected across regional gradients of inundation exposure (i.e., frequently to rarely inundated) for 14 sites across the Mid-Atlantic, USA. Measured changes in dissolved oxygen and greenhouse gas concentrations were used to calculate gas consumption or production rates occurring during seawater exposure to terrestrial materials. We also measured soil and water physical and chemical properties to explore potential drivers. We observed higher oxygen consumption rates for seawater incubated with soils/sediments from frequently inundated locations and higher carbon dioxide production for seawater incubated with soils from rarely inundated transect locations. Incubations with soil from rarely inundated sites produced the highest global warming potential, primarily driven by carbon dioxide and secondarily by nitrous oxide. We also found environmental drivers of gas rates varied notably between transect locations. Our findings indicate that seawater responses to soil and sediment inputs across coastal terrestrial-aquatic interfaces exhibit some consistent patterns and high intra- and inter-site variability, suggesting potential biogeochemical feedback loops as inundation regimes shift inland.

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Frontiers in Marine Science
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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