Edward Castaneda retrieves a soil core to assess sedimentation and nutrient accumulation rates in a dwarf mangrove forest.
Photo by Victor Rivera-Monroy
FCE research characterizing OM in coastal ecosystems has improved our ability to track the source and fate of C across system boundaries, but the rates of exchange and transformations need to be quantified to complete a C budget for the FCE estuaries, and determine how these processes are influenced by changes in the balance of water sources. In addition, the fluxes of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) are poorly understood relative to their recently recognized importance in estuarine C budgets. The primary objectives of this working group is to quantify OM and DIC fluxes in FCE marshes and estuaries so that these can be combined with terrestrial surface-atmosphere and surface-groundwater C fluxes to complete a C budget. We will combine experimental manipulations with continuous field observations to understand how the biological and physiochemical mechanisms regulating OM dynamics - including C transformations between labile and recalcitrant forms - may vary across salinity and nutrient gradients. This information is needed to predict the changes in C dynamics that may accompany altered freshwater discharges and SLR in this system.