We examined how hydrology influenced water chemistry, vegetation, nutrient status, aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and litter decomposition rates in two mires on the South-Eastern Alps of Italy. One of the mires had a modest hydraulic gradient and prevalently acted as a recharge system, although there were short phases of vertical flow reversal during dry periods. This mire was, therefore, prevalently fed by rainwater and was covered by bog-like vegetation, mainly hummocks and scrubs with a ground layer rich in Sphagnum mosses. The other mire presented a steeper hydraulic gradient, with the surface being fed by mineral water either by surface runoff or by vertical, upwards directed ground water flow. Compared to the bog-dominated mire, the pore water was less acidic and richer in telluric cations. This mire was covered by fen-like vegetation, prevalently fen meadows. Nitrogen (N) content in the vegetation was very similar in the two mire sites, while phosphorus (P) content was lower in the fen-dominated site. Contrary to our expectations, ANPP did not differ significantly between the two mire sites while litter decomposition rates were significantly lower in the fen-dominated mire, presumably because of P limitation of decomposers. This suggests that the development of ombrogenous mires in this region need not be due to increased accumulation of peat during succession from mineralwater-fed to rainwater-fed conditions.

Hydrologic controls on water chemistry, vegetation and ecological patterns in two mires in the South-Eastern Alps (Italy).

GERDOL, Renato;BRANCALEONI, Lisa;
2011

Abstract

We examined how hydrology influenced water chemistry, vegetation, nutrient status, aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and litter decomposition rates in two mires on the South-Eastern Alps of Italy. One of the mires had a modest hydraulic gradient and prevalently acted as a recharge system, although there were short phases of vertical flow reversal during dry periods. This mire was, therefore, prevalently fed by rainwater and was covered by bog-like vegetation, mainly hummocks and scrubs with a ground layer rich in Sphagnum mosses. The other mire presented a steeper hydraulic gradient, with the surface being fed by mineral water either by surface runoff or by vertical, upwards directed ground water flow. Compared to the bog-dominated mire, the pore water was less acidic and richer in telluric cations. This mire was covered by fen-like vegetation, prevalently fen meadows. Nitrogen (N) content in the vegetation was very similar in the two mire sites, while phosphorus (P) content was lower in the fen-dominated site. Contrary to our expectations, ANPP did not differ significantly between the two mire sites while litter decomposition rates were significantly lower in the fen-dominated mire, presumably because of P limitation of decomposers. This suggests that the development of ombrogenous mires in this region need not be due to increased accumulation of peat during succession from mineralwater-fed to rainwater-fed conditions.
Gerdol, Renato; Pontin, A.; Tomaselli, M.; Bombonato, L.; Brancaleoni, Lisa; Gualmini, M.; Petraglia, A.; Siffi, C.; Gargini, A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/1509127
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