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Environmental Effects on CO2 Efflux from Water Track and Tussock Tundra in Arctic Alaska, U.S.A.

Steven F. Oberbauer, John D. Tenhunen and James F. Reynolds
Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 23, No. 2 (May, 1991), pp. 162-169
DOI: 10.2307/1551380
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1551380
Page Count: 8
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Environmental Effects on CO2 Efflux from Water Track and Tussock Tundra in Arctic Alaska, U.S.A.
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Abstract

CO2 efflux and variation in soil environmental characteristics were examined in two tundra vegetation communities, water track (a small drainage of intermittent water flow) and tussock tundra, in the northern foothills of the Philip Smith Mountains in arctic Alaska. Correlation analyses were performed on the observations made at six times during the growing season in order to evaluate the relationships between system CO2 loss and soil moisture, soil temperature, depth of thaw, and depth to the water table. The two sites differed significantly in terms of soil moisture, soil temperature, depth of thaw, and water table depth on several of the sampling dates. During four of the six measurement periods, the rate of CO2 efflux differed significantly between sites. Early in the season, respiration was greater in tussock tundra than at the water track, but later in the season, rates at the water track exceeded those at the tussock site. Highest rates were measured at the water track near mid-season. Efflux of CO2 at both sites was positively correlated with soil temperature. Soil surface (0-5 cm depth) environmental conditions were better predictors of CO2 efflux than were conditions measured at greater depth (5-10 cm). Soil moisture appeared to increase respiration between 100 and 700% of soil dry weight and decrease soil respiration at higher water contents. The effects of soil moisture were stronger in tussock tundra than in the water track community. These data suggest that both soil temperature and soil moisture limit CO2 efflux in water track and tussock tundra communities and that the relative importance of these factors changes throughout the growing season.

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