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Biogeochemical Cycling of Redox‐Sensitive Elements in Permafrost‐Affected Ecosystems...

by Elizabeth M Herndon, Lauren Kinsman-costello, Sarah Godsey
Publication Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
Page Numbers
245 to 265
Publisher Name
American Geophysical Union
Publisher Location
Hoboken, New Jersey, United States of America

Northern high latitudes are experiencing rapid changes in climate that drive permafrost thaw and shifts in hydrology and soil saturation. These factors regulate redox conditions across permafrost‐affected landscapes, potentially altering carbon storage in soils and exacerbating climate change through accelerated decomposition of soil organic matter. Redox conditions impact soil carbon storage directly by influencing rates and pathways of organic matter decomposition, and indirectly by moderating the bioavailability of organic molecules and nutrients. Indeed, the ability of increased plant growth to offset C losses in permafrost regions will be regulated by nutrient availability (e.g., N, P) that varies across redox gradients. The purpose of this review is to examine how redox conditions shape biogeochemical cycling of ecologically important elements (P, N, S, Fe) in permafrost‐affected ecosystems. Although carbon cycling in these regions continues to be widely studied, relatively little information is available on the elements that regulate C cycling. We discuss the complex feedbacks between climate change, hydrology, and landscape change that control redox conditions, then examine how these factors regulate biogeochemical cycles. We identify key gaps in our understanding of how changing climate may alter biogeochemical cycles and carbon storage in northern high‐latitude ecosystems.