Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-632
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-632
 
24 Oct 2022
24 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Plant mercury accumulation and litter input to a Northern Sedge-dominated Peatland

Ting Sun1,2,3 and Brian A. Branfireun4 Ting Sun and Brian A. Branfireun
  • 1School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shandong University, Qingdao 266237, PR China
  • 2Institute of Eco-Environmental Forensics, Shandong University, Qingdao 266237, PR China
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada
  • 4Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada

Abstract. Plant foliage plays an essential role in accumulating mercury (Hg) from the atmosphere and transferring it to soils in terrestrial ecosystems. While many studies have focused on forested ecosystems. Hg input from plants to northern peatland peat soils has not been nearly as well studied and is likely equally important from a mass balance perspective. In this study, we investigated the accumulation of atmospheric Hg by the dominant plant species, few-seeded sedge [Carex oligosperma Michx.], wire sedge [Carex lasiocarpa Ehrh], tussock sedge [Carex stricta Lamb.], and sweet gale [Myrica gale L.] in a boreal sedge-dominated peatland. Foliar Hg concentrations decreased early in the growing season due to growth dilution. Foliar Hg concentrations were subsequently positively correlated with leaf age (time). Hg concentrations were 1.4–1.7 times higher in sweet gale than in sedges. A leaching experiment showed that sweet gale leached less Hg but more bioaccessible dissolved organic matter (DOM) by mass than sedges. Leaching of Hg was positively related to the aromaticity of DOM in leachate, suggesting the importance of DOM with higher aromaticity in controlling Hg mobility. Annual inputs of Hg through senesced leaf material to peat soils were 9.88 mg/ha/yr, 1.62 mg/ha/yr, and 8.29 mg/ha/yr for sweet gale, tussock sedge, and few-seeded sedge/wire sedge, respectively. Future investigations into foliar Hg accumulation and input from other plant species to the sedge-dominated peatland are needed to estimate the annual Hg inputs precisely.

Ting Sun and Brian A. Branfireun

Status: open (until 05 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-632', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-632', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Nov 2022 reply

Ting Sun and Brian A. Branfireun

Ting Sun and Brian A. Branfireun

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Short summary
Shrub leaves had higher mercury concentrations than sedge leaves in the sedge-dominated peatland. Dead shrub leaves leached less soluble mercury but more bioaccessible dissolved organic matter than dead sedge leaves. Leached mercury was positively related to the aromaticity of dissolved organic matter in leachate. Future plant species composition changes under climate change will affect Hg input from plant leaves to northern peatlands.