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The Temperature Sensitivity of Organic Matter Decay in Tidal Marshes : Volume 11, Issue 4 (28/04/2014)

By Kirwan, M. L.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004004962
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 19
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: The Temperature Sensitivity of Organic Matter Decay in Tidal Marshes : Volume 11, Issue 4 (28/04/2014)  
Author: Kirwan, M. L.
Volume: Vol. 11, Issue 4
Language: English
Subject: Science, Biogeosciences, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Langley, J. A., Guntenspergen, G. R., & Kirwan, M. L. (2014). The Temperature Sensitivity of Organic Matter Decay in Tidal Marshes : Volume 11, Issue 4 (28/04/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, USA. Approximately half of marine carbon sequestration takes place in coastal wetlands, including tidal marshes, where ecosystems accumulate organic matter to build soil elevation and survive sea level rise. The long-term viability of marshes, and their carbon pools, depends in part on how the balance between productivity and decay responds to climate change. Here, we report the sensitivity of soil organic matter decay in tidal marshes to seasonal and latitudinal variations in temperature measured over a 3 year period. We find a moderate increase in decay rate at warmer temperatures (3–6% °C−1, Q10 = 1.3–1.5). Despite the profound differences between microbial metabolism in wetlands and uplands, our results indicate a strong conservation of temperature sensitivity. Moreover, simple comparisons with organic matter production suggest that elevated atmospheric CO2 and warmer temperatures will accelerate carbon accumulation in marsh soils, and enhance their ability to survive sea level rise.

The temperature sensitivity of organic matter decay in tidal marshes

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