Changes in dissolved organic matter and microbial activity in runoff waters of boreal mires after restoration
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CitationRäsänen, Noora. Kankaala, Paula. Tahvanainen, Teemu. Akkanen, Jarkko. Saarnio, Sanna. (2018). Changes in dissolved organic matter and microbial activity in runoff waters of boreal mires after restoration. AQUATIC SCIENCES, 80 (2) , 20. 10.1007/s00027-018-0569-0.
A considerable proportion of boreal mires have been drained for soil amelioration purposes. In response to drainage-induced degradation, restoration practices have been implemented in recent decades. Restoration by raising the water level is often followed by changes in the quality of runoff waters, especially in concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (total P, PO4-P). We studied how mire restoration affected bacterial production (BP), bacterial growth efficiency (BGE%) and respiration (R) in mire runoff waters from spruce swamps and Sphagnum pine bogs in south-central Finland. The quality of runoff water was monitored for 8 years (2008–2015) and bacterial activity was measured during 3 years (2010–2012) at runoff weir sites, including two pristine controls, one drained control and four treatment sites. The concentrations of DOC, N and P increased for 3–5 years after restoration. The increased availability of nutrients was followed by doubled BP (from ca. 0.34 to 0.88 µmol C L−1 d−1, averages of restored sites) and BGE% (from ca. 2.7 to 9.2%), whereas microbial respiration was only slightly increased. However, bacterial activity in mire waters was low compared with those generally measured in river and lake waters. This was presumably related to the recalcitrant quality of the mire-originated DOC, which was not clearly influenced by restoration. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) of low bioavailability contributes to browning of headwaters. As our study was focused only on short-term (1–5 years) effects, more research is needed for evaluating long-term impacts of peatland origin DOM on carbon fluxes, microbial activity and food webs of recipient aquatic ecosystems.