Middle to Late Holocene Fluctuations of C3 and C4 Vegetation in a Northern New England Salt Marsh, Sprague Marsh, Phippsburg Maine

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A 3.1 meter sediment core was analyzed for stable carbon isotope composition of organic matter and higher plant leaf wax (HPLW) lipid biomarkers to determine Holocene shifts in C{sub 3} (higher high marsh) and C{sub 4} (low and/or high marsh) plant deposition at the Sprague River Salt Marsh, Phippsburg, Maine. The carbon isotope composition of the bulk sediment and the HPLW parallel each other throughout most of the core, suggesting that terrestrial plants are an important source of organic matter to the sediments, and diagenetic alteration of the bulk sediments is minimal. The current salt marsh began to form 2500 ... continued below

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Johnson, B J; Moore, K A; Lehmann, C; Bohlen, C & Brown, T A May 26, 2006.

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A 3.1 meter sediment core was analyzed for stable carbon isotope composition of organic matter and higher plant leaf wax (HPLW) lipid biomarkers to determine Holocene shifts in C{sub 3} (higher high marsh) and C{sub 4} (low and/or high marsh) plant deposition at the Sprague River Salt Marsh, Phippsburg, Maine. The carbon isotope composition of the bulk sediment and the HPLW parallel each other throughout most of the core, suggesting that terrestrial plants are an important source of organic matter to the sediments, and diagenetic alteration of the bulk sediments is minimal. The current salt marsh began to form 2500 cal yr BP. Low and/or high C{sub 4} marsh plants dominated deposition at 2000 cal yr BP, 700 cal yr BP, and for the last 200 cal yr BP. Expansion of higher high marsh C{sub 3} plants occurred at 1300 and 600 cal yr BP. These major vegetation shifts result from a combination of changes in relative sea-level rise and sediment accumulation rates. Average annual carbon sequestration rates for the last 2500 years approximate 40 g C yr{sup -1} m{sup -2}, and are in strong agreement with other values published for the Gulf of Maine. Given that Maine salt marshes cover an area of {approx}79 km{sup 2}, they represent an important component of the terrestrial carbon sink. More detailed isotopic and age records from a network of sediment cores at Sprague Marsh are needed to truly evaluate the long term changes in salt marsh plant communities and the impact of more recent human activity, including global warming, on salt marsh vegetation.

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PDF-file: 30 pages; size: 1.1 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Organic Geochemistry, vol. 38, no. 3, March 1, 2007, pp. 394-403; Journal Volume: 38; Journal Issue: 3

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-221751
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 902243
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887601

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  • May 26, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 6:40 p.m.

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Johnson, B J; Moore, K A; Lehmann, C; Bohlen, C & Brown, T A. Middle to Late Holocene Fluctuations of C3 and C4 Vegetation in a Northern New England Salt Marsh, Sprague Marsh, Phippsburg Maine, article, May 26, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887601/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.