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University of Waterloo
BIOL 462
Barry Warner

Geochemistry:  Transport/transformation of chemicals in wetland ecosystems – solid, dissolve, gaseous states  Anaerobic/oxygen less conditions prevail : o Biochemical transformation are unique to reduced conditions  CLOSED SYSTEM: involves internal cycling through various transformations  OPEN SYSTEM: involves external exchange of chemicals between wetlands/ surrounding Biochemical cycling:  Ecosystem Mass Balance: quantifying chemical inputs/outputs and internal cycling of materials o Good to define: a) Ecological function b) Wetlands as sources, sinks, transformers  Nutrient Budget: If P, N or C  Inputs/Outputs by: o Hydrological pathway, long term burial = OUTPUT  Intra-system Cycling: chemicals inside, biomass product, translocation Important Geo-Chemical Characteristics of Saturated Soils: pH Redox Potential: most towards neutral: 6.5-7.0 oxidation-reduction potential: measure of the tendency of a soil to oxidize/ reduce substances Mineral Soils: alkaline conditions A)oxidation: uptake of oxygen, LOOSING HYDROGEN (as high as 9) higher Eh(more positive) = gains electrons/oxidizes Organic Soils: acidic conditions soil= will be reduced by oxidizing the new species (as low as 4) B) Reduction : giving up oxygen, gaining Hydrogen Buffered by reduction reactions: low EH(more negative)- LOW electrons a) Fe in acidic Soil= will be oxidized by reducing the new species b) Mn in alkaline conditions some peats with high Fe not buffered because of Note: As soil depth increases: Oxygen Supply Decreases/ a) slow oxidation of peat Oxygen = 2 Layered Cake : as you move away from center(anaerobic) you get aerobic conditions ( aerobic, anaerobic, b) addition of other acids –2 SO4or organic aerobic) acids Ionic Conditions: Wetlands are not always lacking oxygen Oxygen Content Depends on: Flooding: increases ions in solution measured as conductivity(umhos/cm) 1)Rate of oxygen transport across atmosphere surface water interface *be careful of using conductivity meters for total dissolved solids/salinity 2)Small pop. Of oxygen consuming organism acidic conditions: mostly by reduction of 3) Photosynthetic oxygen production by algae within water column insoluble Fe,
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