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A study of factors controlling pH in Arctic tundra soils
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In Arctic tundra soils pH serves as an important parameter related to several biotic parameters such as, plant and microbial community composition, biodiversity, nutrient dynamics and productivity. Both abiotic and biotic factors, for instance, base saturation (BS) and plant nutrient uptake may exert a control on soil pH, while it is still unclear to what extent different factors can explain soil pH across different tundra vegetation types. The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent different abiotic and biotic factors influence soil pH in the humus layer across different tundra vegetation types. To do so, eight different tundra vegetation types of which four were underlaid by permafrost (Arctic Alaska) and four with no permafrost (Arctic Sweden) were studied in detail with regard to different properties affecting soil pH. I found that BS was the main factor controlling soil pH across the different vegetation types regardless if the soil was underlain by permafrost or not. Factors, such as, ionic strength or soil water content could not explain any overall pH variation and did only significantly affect the heath soils. Further, the uptake of the most abundant base cations (Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+) from meadow and heath vegetation revealed a high difference between plant functional groups within the same vegetation types. The higher dominance of slow growing woody species in heath vegetation which had a lower uptake corresponded with a lower BC content (especially (Ca2+), pH and BS in the humus soil relative the meadow meanwhile the content of K+ was more than three times higher in heath. Overall, this study suggests that the degree of neutralization (base saturation) regulates pH either via the influence of bedrock and hydrogeochemistry and/or via plant traits that affects the uptake and turnover of base cations. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 29
Keywords [en]
pH, Arctic tundra soils, base saturation, base cations, cation exchange capacity
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163364OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-163364DiVA, id: diva2:1351807
Subject / course
Examensarbete i Geovetenskap/naturgeografi avseende masterexamen
Educational program
Master's Programme in Geoecology
Presentation
2019-08-30, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-09-17 Created: 2019-09-16 Last updated: 2019-09-17Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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