Chemical and biological gradients along the Damma Glacier soil chronosequence, Switzerland

Bernasconi, S. M. and Bauder, A. and Bourdon, B. and Brunner, I. and B\"unemann, I. and Derungs and Tamburini, F. and Tipper, E. and Wacker, L. and Welc, M. and Wiederhold, J. G. and Zeyer, J. and Zimmermann, S. and Zumsteg, A. and Hindshaw, Ruth S. (2011) Chemical and biological gradients along the Damma Glacier soil chronosequence, Switzerland. Vadose Zone Journal, 10. pp. 867-883. ISSN 1539-1663 DOI 10.2136/vzj2010.0129

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2136/vzj2010.0129

Abstract

Soils are the product of a complex suite of chemical, biological, and physical processes. In spite of the importance of soils for society and for sustaining life on earth, our knowledge of soil formation rates and of the influence of biological activity on mineral weathering and geochemical cycles is still limited. In this paper we provide a description of the Damma Glacier Critical Zone Observatory and present a first synthesis of our multidisciplinary studies of the 150-yr soil chronosequence. The aim of our research was to improve our understanding of ecosystem development on a barren substrate and the early evolution of soils and to evaluate the influence of biological activity on weathering rates. Soil pH, cation exchange capacity, biomass, bacterial and fungal populations, and soil organic matter show clear gradients related to soil age, in spite of the extreme heterogeneity of the ecosystem. The bulk mineralogy and inorganic geochemistry of the soils, in contrast, are independent of soil age and only in older soils (>100 yr) is incipient weathering observed, mainly as a decreasing content in albite and biotite by coincidental formation of secondary chlorites in the clay fraction. Further, we document the rapid evolution of microbial and plant communities along the chronosequence.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NILAREP
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Vadose Zone Journal
Volume: 10
Page Range: pp. 867-883
Identification Number: 10.2136/vzj2010.0129
Depositing User: Ruth Sarah Hindshaw
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2016 20:26
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2016 21:41
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3710

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