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Association between soil organic carbon and calcium in acidic grassland soils from Point Reyes National Seashore, CA


Rowley, Mike C; Nico, Peter S; Bone, Sharon E; Marcus, Matthew A; Pegoraro, Elaine F; Castanha, Cristina; Kang, Kyounglim; Bhattacharyya, Amrita; Torn, Margaret S; Peña, Jasquelin (2023). Association between soil organic carbon and calcium in acidic grassland soils from Point Reyes National Seashore, CA. Biogeochemistry, 165(1):91-11.

Abstract

Organo-mineral and organo-metal associations play an important role in the retention and accumulation of soil organic carbon (SOC). Recent studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between calcium (Ca) and SOC content in a range of soil types. However, most of these studies have focused on soils that contain calcium carbonate (pH > 6). To assess the importance of Ca-SOC associations in lower pH soils, we investigated their physical and chemical interaction in the grassland soils of Point Reyes National Seashore (CA, USA) at a range of spatial scales. Multivariate analyses of our bulk soil characterisation dataset showed a strong correlation between exchangeable Ca (Ca$_{Exch}$; 5–8.3 c.mol$_{c}$ kg$^{−1}$) and SOC (0.6–4%) content. Additionally, linear combination fitting (LCF) of bulk Ca K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra revealed that Ca was predominantly associated with organic carbon across all samples. Scanning transmission X-ray microscopy near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (STXM C/Ca NEXAFS) showed that Ca had a strong spatial correlation with C at the microscale. The STXM C NEXAFS K-edge spectra indicated that SOC had a higher abundance of aromatic/olefinic and phenolic C functional groups when associated with Ca, relative to C associated with Fe. In regions of high Ca-C association, the STXM C NEXAFS spectra were similar to the spectrum from lignin, with moderate changes in peak intensities and positions that are consistent with oxidative C transformation. Through this association, Ca thus seems to be preferentially associated with plant-like organic matter that has undergone some oxidative transformation, at depth in acidic grassland soils of California. Our study highlights the importance of Ca-SOC complexation in acidic grassland soils and provides a conceptual model of its contribution to SOC preservation, a research area that has previously been unexplored.

Abstract

Organo-mineral and organo-metal associations play an important role in the retention and accumulation of soil organic carbon (SOC). Recent studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between calcium (Ca) and SOC content in a range of soil types. However, most of these studies have focused on soils that contain calcium carbonate (pH > 6). To assess the importance of Ca-SOC associations in lower pH soils, we investigated their physical and chemical interaction in the grassland soils of Point Reyes National Seashore (CA, USA) at a range of spatial scales. Multivariate analyses of our bulk soil characterisation dataset showed a strong correlation between exchangeable Ca (Ca$_{Exch}$; 5–8.3 c.mol$_{c}$ kg$^{−1}$) and SOC (0.6–4%) content. Additionally, linear combination fitting (LCF) of bulk Ca K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra revealed that Ca was predominantly associated with organic carbon across all samples. Scanning transmission X-ray microscopy near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (STXM C/Ca NEXAFS) showed that Ca had a strong spatial correlation with C at the microscale. The STXM C NEXAFS K-edge spectra indicated that SOC had a higher abundance of aromatic/olefinic and phenolic C functional groups when associated with Ca, relative to C associated with Fe. In regions of high Ca-C association, the STXM C NEXAFS spectra were similar to the spectrum from lignin, with moderate changes in peak intensities and positions that are consistent with oxidative C transformation. Through this association, Ca thus seems to be preferentially associated with plant-like organic matter that has undergone some oxidative transformation, at depth in acidic grassland soils of California. Our study highlights the importance of Ca-SOC complexation in acidic grassland soils and provides a conceptual model of its contribution to SOC preservation, a research area that has previously been unexplored.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Chemistry
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Earth-Surface Processes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes, Water Science and Technology, Environmental Chemistry
Language:English
Date:7 July 2023
Deposited On:30 Aug 2023 08:44
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:38
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0168-2563
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-023-01059-2
PubMed ID:37637456
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)