The Evolution of Sulfide in Shallow Aquatic Ecosystem Sediments

An Analysis of the Roles of Sulfate, Organic Carbon, and Iron and Feedback Constraints Using Structural Equation Modeling

C. D. Pollman, E. B. Swain, D. Bael, A. Myrbo, P. Monson, M. D. Shore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The generation of elevated concentrations of sulfide in sediment pore waters that are toxic to rooted macrophytes is problematic in both marine and freshwaters. In marine waters, biogeochemical conditions that lead to toxic levels of sulfide generally relate to factors that affect oxygen dynamics or the sediment iron concentration. In freshwaters, increases in surface water sulfate have been implicated in decline of Zizania palustris (wild rice), which is important in wetlands across the Great Lakes region of North America. We developed a structural equation (SE) model to elucidate key variables that govern the evolution of sulfide in pore waters in shallow aquatic habitats that are potentially capable of supporting wild rice. The conceptual basis for the model is the hypothesis that dissimilatory sulfate reduction is limited by the availability of both sulfate and total organic carbon (TOC) in the sediment. The conceptual model also assumes that pore water sulfide concentrations are constrained by the availability of pore water iron and that sediment iron supports the supply of dissolved iron to the pore water. A key result from the SE model is that variations in three external variables (sulfate, sediment TOC, and sediment iron) contribute nearly equally to the observed variations in pore water sulfide. As a result, management efforts to mitigate against the toxic effects of pore water sulfide on macrophytes such as wild rice should approach defining a protective sulfate threshold as an exercise tailored to the geochemistry of each site that quantitatively considers the effects of ambient concentrations of sediment Fe and TOC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2719-2735
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Volume122
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

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sediment analysis
Aquatic ecosystems
ecosystems
Sulfides
Organic carbon
sulfides
aquatic ecosystem
sulfates
porewater
Sediments
sediments
Iron
organic carbon
sulfide
iron
sulfate
Feedback
porosity
Water
carbon

Keywords

  • Minnesota
  • Zizania
  • anoxic
  • nonrecursive
  • pore water
  • wetland

Cite this

The Evolution of Sulfide in Shallow Aquatic Ecosystem Sediments : An Analysis of the Roles of Sulfate, Organic Carbon, and Iron and Feedback Constraints Using Structural Equation Modeling. / Pollman, C. D.; Swain, E. B.; Bael, D.; Myrbo, A.; Monson, P.; Shore, M. D.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 122, No. 11, 01.11.2017, p. 2719-2735.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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