Date Approved

2018

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Committee Member

Kristin E. Judd, PhD

Committee Member

Steven N. Francoeur, PhD

Committee Member

Katherine R. Greenwald, PhD

Abstract

Deicing salt runoff has negative effects on ecosystems. Wetland ecosystems can act as important filters for runoff pollution (e.g., nutrients), mitigating damage to plants and microbes. Wetlands are important sinks for nutrients and pollutants (e.g., road salt) and transformation spots for many nutrients including carbon. The interactions between deicing salt runoff and wetland soil carbon were explored by measuring chloride export and retention, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) export, and carbon quality using mesocosm experiments. Net retention of Cl- was highest in soils receiving high salt treatments (5.0 g/L NaCl), although percent retention of Cl- was greater in soils receiving moderate salt treatments (2.5 g/L NaCl), indicating a retention cap for Cl-. The export of DOC was significantly lower upon addition of salt for two of three wetland sites. The quality of carbon exported was not affected by salt addition. The storage of salt found could further alter the biogeochemistry of wetland ecosystems.

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