LCZO -- Soil Biogeochemistry -- Soil Carbon decomposition aerobic and anaerobic -- Luquillo Mountains -- (2019-2020)

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Created: Apr 24, 2020 at 2:14 p.m.
Last updated: Apr 24, 2020 at 2:36 p.m.
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Oxygen (O2) limitation is generally understood to suppress soil carbon (C) decomposition and is a key mechanism impacting terrestrial C stocks under global change. Yet, O2 limitation may differentially impact kinetic or thermodynamic versus physicochemical C protection mechanisms, challenging our understanding of how soil C may respond to climate-mediated changes in O2 dynamics. Although O2 limitation may suppress decomposition of new litter C inputs, release of physicochemically protected C due to iron (Fe) reduction could potentially sustain soil C losses. To test this trade-off, we incubated two disparate upland soils that experience periodic O2 limitation—a tropical rainforest Oxisol and a temperate cropland Mollisol—with added litter under either aerobic (control) or anaerobic conditions for 1 year. Anoxia suppressed total C loss by 27% in the Oxisol and by 41% in the Mollisol relative to the control, mainly due to the decrease in litter-C decomposition. However, anoxia sustained or even increased de-composition of native soil-C (11.0% vs. 12.4% in the control for the Oxisol and 12.5% vs. 5.3% in the control for the Mollisol, in terms of initial soil C mass), and it stimulated losses of metal- or mineral-associated C. Solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy demonstrated that anaerobic conditions decreased protein-derived C but increased lignin- and carbohydrate-C relative to the control. Our results indicate a trade-off between physicochemical and kinetic/thermodynamic C protection mechanisms under anaerobic conditions, whereby decreased decomposition of litter C was compensated by more extensive loss of mineral-associated soil C in both soils. This challenges the common assumption that anoxia inherently protects soil C and illustrates the vulnerability of mineral-associated C under anaerobic events characteristic of a warmer and wetter future climate.

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Resource Level Coverage


Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
Luquillo Puerto Rico and north-central Iowa
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude




Derived From:


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
NSF DEB‐1457805
NSF EAR‐1331841

How to Cite

Huang, W., C. Ye, W. C. Hockaday, S. J. Hall (2020). LCZO -- Soil Biogeochemistry -- Soil Carbon decomposition aerobic and anaerobic -- Luquillo Mountains -- (2019-2020), HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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