Being both stable carbon sinks and greenhouse gas sources, boreal lake sediments represent significant players in carbon (C) cycling. The release of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) into anoxic water is a widespread phenomenon in boreal lakes with impact on sediment C budgets. The association of OC with iron (Fe) is assumed to play an important role for this anoxic OC release via the dissimilatory reduction of Fe, but also to influence the stabilization of OC in sediments. To investigate the role of Fe–OC association for OC dynamics in different boreal lake sediments, we compared the content of Fe-bound OC [Fe–OC, defined as citrate bicarbonate dithionite (CBD) extractable OC] and the extent of reductive dissolution of solid-phase Fe and OC at anoxia. We found high among-lake variability in Fe–OC content, and while the amount of Fe–OC was high in three of the lakes (980–1920 µmol g−1), the overall contribution of Fe–OC to the sediment OC pool in all study lakes was not higher than 11%. No linkages between the amount of the Fe–OC pool and lake or sediment characteristics (e.g., pH, DOC concentration, sediment OC content, C:N ratio) could be identified. The observed release of OC from anoxic sediment may be derived from dissolution of Fe–OC in the lake sediments with high Fe–OC, but in other lake sediments, OC release during anoxia exceeded the sediment Fe–OC pool, indicating low contribution of reductive Fe dissolution to OC release from these lake sediments. The range of the investigated boreal lakes reflects the high variability in the size of the sediment Fe–OC pool (0–1920 µmol g−1) and CBD-extractable Fe (123–4050 µmol g−1), which was not mirrored in the extent of reductive dissolution of Fe (18.9–84.6 µmol g−1) and OC (1080–1700 µmol g−1) during anoxia, suggesting that Fe-bound OC may play a minor role for sediment OC release in boreal lakes. However, studies of redox-related OC cycling in boreal lake sediments should consider that the amount of Fe–OC can be high in some lakes.
Biogeochemistry – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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