9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Carbon (C) saturation theory suggests that soils have a limited capacity to stabilize organic C and that this capacity may be regulated by intrinsic soil properties such as clay concentration and mineralogy. While C saturation theory has advanced our ability to predict soil C stabilization, few biogeochemical ecosystem models have incorporated C saturation mechanisms. In biogeochemical models, C and nitrogen (N) cycling are tightly coupled, with C decomposition and respiration driving N mineralization. Thus, changing model structures from non-saturation to C saturation dynamics can change simulated N dynamics. In this study, we used C saturation models from the literature and of our own design to compare how different methods of modeling C saturation affected simulated N mineralization dynamics. Specifically, we tested (i) how modeling C saturation by regulating either the transfer efficiency (Îμ, g C retained gg'1 C respired) or transfer rate (k) of C to stabilized pools affected N mineralization dynamics, (ii) how inclusion of an explicit microbial pool through which C and N must pass affected N mineralization dynamics, and (iii) whether using Îμ to implement C saturation in a model results in soil texture controls on N mineralization that are similar to those currently included in widely used non-saturating C and N models. Models were parameterized so that they rendered the same C balance. We found that when C saturation is modeled using Îμ, the critical C : N ratio for N mineralization from decomposing plant residues (rcr) increases as C saturation of a soil increases. When C saturation is modeled using k, however, rcr is not affected by the C saturation of a soil. Inclusion of an explicit microbial pool in the model structure was necessary to capture short-term N immobilization-mineralization turnover dynamics during decomposition of low N residues. Finally, modeling C saturation by regulating Îμ led to similar soil texture controls on N mineralization as a widely used non-saturating model, suggesting that C saturation may be a fundamental mechanism that can explain N mineralization patterns across soil texture gradients. These findings indicate that a coupled C and N model that includes saturation can (1) represent short-term N mineralization by including a microbial pool and (2) express the effects of texture on N turnover as an emergent property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6725-6738
Number of pages14
JournalBiogeosciences
Volume11
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 5 2014

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mineralization
saturation
carbon
nitrogen
soil texture
soil
turnover
decomposition
modeling
degradation
plant residues
mineralogy
plant residue
carbon nitrogen ratio
soil properties
immobilization
texture
clay
soil property
stabilization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

@article{0f067d62685e4c3dbe128fc0f8ca942d,
title = "Implications of carbon saturation model structures for simulated nitrogen mineralization dynamics",
abstract = "Carbon (C) saturation theory suggests that soils have a limited capacity to stabilize organic C and that this capacity may be regulated by intrinsic soil properties such as clay concentration and mineralogy. While C saturation theory has advanced our ability to predict soil C stabilization, few biogeochemical ecosystem models have incorporated C saturation mechanisms. In biogeochemical models, C and nitrogen (N) cycling are tightly coupled, with C decomposition and respiration driving N mineralization. Thus, changing model structures from non-saturation to C saturation dynamics can change simulated N dynamics. In this study, we used C saturation models from the literature and of our own design to compare how different methods of modeling C saturation affected simulated N mineralization dynamics. Specifically, we tested (i) how modeling C saturation by regulating either the transfer efficiency ({\^I}μ, g C retained gg'1 C respired) or transfer rate (k) of C to stabilized pools affected N mineralization dynamics, (ii) how inclusion of an explicit microbial pool through which C and N must pass affected N mineralization dynamics, and (iii) whether using {\^I}μ to implement C saturation in a model results in soil texture controls on N mineralization that are similar to those currently included in widely used non-saturating C and N models. Models were parameterized so that they rendered the same C balance. We found that when C saturation is modeled using {\^I}μ, the critical C : N ratio for N mineralization from decomposing plant residues (rcr) increases as C saturation of a soil increases. When C saturation is modeled using k, however, rcr is not affected by the C saturation of a soil. Inclusion of an explicit microbial pool in the model structure was necessary to capture short-term N immobilization-mineralization turnover dynamics during decomposition of low N residues. Finally, modeling C saturation by regulating {\^I}μ led to similar soil texture controls on N mineralization as a widely used non-saturating model, suggesting that C saturation may be a fundamental mechanism that can explain N mineralization patterns across soil texture gradients. These findings indicate that a coupled C and N model that includes saturation can (1) represent short-term N mineralization by including a microbial pool and (2) express the effects of texture on N turnover as an emergent property.",
author = "White, {Charles Macaulay} and Kemanian, {Armen Ricardo} and Kaye, {Jason Philip}",
year = "2014",
month = "12",
day = "5",
doi = "10.5194/bg-11-6725-2014",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "11",
pages = "6725--6738",
journal = "Biogeosciences",
issn = "1726-4170",
publisher = "European Geosciences Union",
number = "23",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Implications of carbon saturation model structures for simulated nitrogen mineralization dynamics

AU - White, Charles Macaulay

AU - Kemanian, Armen Ricardo

AU - Kaye, Jason Philip

PY - 2014/12/5

Y1 - 2014/12/5

N2 - Carbon (C) saturation theory suggests that soils have a limited capacity to stabilize organic C and that this capacity may be regulated by intrinsic soil properties such as clay concentration and mineralogy. While C saturation theory has advanced our ability to predict soil C stabilization, few biogeochemical ecosystem models have incorporated C saturation mechanisms. In biogeochemical models, C and nitrogen (N) cycling are tightly coupled, with C decomposition and respiration driving N mineralization. Thus, changing model structures from non-saturation to C saturation dynamics can change simulated N dynamics. In this study, we used C saturation models from the literature and of our own design to compare how different methods of modeling C saturation affected simulated N mineralization dynamics. Specifically, we tested (i) how modeling C saturation by regulating either the transfer efficiency (Îμ, g C retained gg'1 C respired) or transfer rate (k) of C to stabilized pools affected N mineralization dynamics, (ii) how inclusion of an explicit microbial pool through which C and N must pass affected N mineralization dynamics, and (iii) whether using Îμ to implement C saturation in a model results in soil texture controls on N mineralization that are similar to those currently included in widely used non-saturating C and N models. Models were parameterized so that they rendered the same C balance. We found that when C saturation is modeled using Îμ, the critical C : N ratio for N mineralization from decomposing plant residues (rcr) increases as C saturation of a soil increases. When C saturation is modeled using k, however, rcr is not affected by the C saturation of a soil. Inclusion of an explicit microbial pool in the model structure was necessary to capture short-term N immobilization-mineralization turnover dynamics during decomposition of low N residues. Finally, modeling C saturation by regulating Îμ led to similar soil texture controls on N mineralization as a widely used non-saturating model, suggesting that C saturation may be a fundamental mechanism that can explain N mineralization patterns across soil texture gradients. These findings indicate that a coupled C and N model that includes saturation can (1) represent short-term N mineralization by including a microbial pool and (2) express the effects of texture on N turnover as an emergent property.

AB - Carbon (C) saturation theory suggests that soils have a limited capacity to stabilize organic C and that this capacity may be regulated by intrinsic soil properties such as clay concentration and mineralogy. While C saturation theory has advanced our ability to predict soil C stabilization, few biogeochemical ecosystem models have incorporated C saturation mechanisms. In biogeochemical models, C and nitrogen (N) cycling are tightly coupled, with C decomposition and respiration driving N mineralization. Thus, changing model structures from non-saturation to C saturation dynamics can change simulated N dynamics. In this study, we used C saturation models from the literature and of our own design to compare how different methods of modeling C saturation affected simulated N mineralization dynamics. Specifically, we tested (i) how modeling C saturation by regulating either the transfer efficiency (Îμ, g C retained gg'1 C respired) or transfer rate (k) of C to stabilized pools affected N mineralization dynamics, (ii) how inclusion of an explicit microbial pool through which C and N must pass affected N mineralization dynamics, and (iii) whether using Îμ to implement C saturation in a model results in soil texture controls on N mineralization that are similar to those currently included in widely used non-saturating C and N models. Models were parameterized so that they rendered the same C balance. We found that when C saturation is modeled using Îμ, the critical C : N ratio for N mineralization from decomposing plant residues (rcr) increases as C saturation of a soil increases. When C saturation is modeled using k, however, rcr is not affected by the C saturation of a soil. Inclusion of an explicit microbial pool in the model structure was necessary to capture short-term N immobilization-mineralization turnover dynamics during decomposition of low N residues. Finally, modeling C saturation by regulating Îμ led to similar soil texture controls on N mineralization as a widely used non-saturating model, suggesting that C saturation may be a fundamental mechanism that can explain N mineralization patterns across soil texture gradients. These findings indicate that a coupled C and N model that includes saturation can (1) represent short-term N mineralization by including a microbial pool and (2) express the effects of texture on N turnover as an emergent property.

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U2 - 10.5194/bg-11-6725-2014

DO - 10.5194/bg-11-6725-2014

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JO - Biogeosciences

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SN - 1726-4170

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