KNAW Repository

Organic carbon isotope systematics of coastal marshes

Middelburg, J.J. and Nieuwenhuize, J. and Lubberts, R.K. and Van de Plassche, O. (1997) Organic carbon isotope systematics of coastal marshes. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 45, 681-687. ISSN 0272-7714.

[img]PDF - Published Version
Restricted to KNAW only


Official URL:


Measurements of nitrogen, organic carbon and delta(13)C are presented for Spartina-dominated marsh sediments from a mineral marsh in SW Netherlands and from a peaty marsh in Massachusetts, U.S.A. delta(13)C Of organic carbon in the peaty marsh sediments is similar to that of Spartina material, whereas that in mineral marshes is depleted by 9-12 parts per thousand. It is argued that this depletion in delta(13)C of organic matter in marsh sediments is due to trapping of allochthonous organic matter which is depleted in C-13. The isotopic composition and concentration of organic carbon are used in a simple mass balance to constrain the amount of plant material accumulating in marsh sediments, i.e. in terms of the so-called net ecosystem production. Net ecosystem production (similar to 2-100 g C m(-2) year(-1)) is a small fraction (1- 5%) of plant production (similar to 2000 g C m(-2) year(-1)). This small amount of plant material being preserved is nevertheless sufficient to support marsh-accretion rates similar to the rate of sea-level rise. [KEYWORDS: isotope ratios; marshes; salt marshes; carbon; organic matter; biogeochemistry; marsh plants; sedimentation rates Sea-level movements; georgia salt-marsh; spartina-alterniflora; mangrove forest; trace-metals; gazi bay; sediments; accumulation; louisiana; wetlands]

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:10512
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 01:00
Last Modified:31 Mar 2014 10:24

Repository Staff Only: item control page