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Nitrogen and sulfur input and accumulation in continental ombrotrophic peatland ecosystems in Alberta, Canada

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Description: Models predict increases in N and S deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Alberta that often exceed critical load values for sensitive ecosystems. I used 10 bog sites within a modeled deposition gradient to assess current SO 4 2- , NO 3 - , and NH 4 + deposition rates compared to historical N and S accumulations. There were no spatial patterns in NO 3 - , NH 4 + , total inorganic N, and SO 4 2- deposition rates, and deposition from all sites were low and not above predicted background levels. There were also no spatial patterns in C, N, and S accumulation data. An interesting pattern persisted across all sites: data showed substantially more peat N accumulation than can be accounted for through atmospheric deposition alone. I examined whether biological N2 fixation could be an additional source and found evidence of nitrogenase activity in all bryophyte communities sampled. This phenomenon may represent a previously underestimated source of N to boreal bogs.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work