Fereidoun Rezanezhad


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Modeling multi-year phosphorus dynamics in a bioretention cell: Phosphorus partitioning, accumulation, and export
Bowen Zhou, Mahyar Shafii, Christopher T. Parsons, Elodie Passeport, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Ariel Lisogorsky, Philippe Van Cappellen
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 876

Phosphorus (P) export from urban areas via stormwater runoff contributes to eutrophication of downstream aquatic ecosystems. Bioretention cells are a Low Impact Development (LID) technology promoted as a green solution to attenuate urban peak flow discharge, as well as the export of excess nutrients and other contaminants. Despite their rapidly growing implementation worldwide, a predictive understanding of the efficiency of bioretention cells in reducing urban P loadings remains limited. Here, we present a reaction-transport model to simulate the fate and transport of P in a bioretention cell facility in the greater Toronto metropolitan area. The model incorporates a representation of the biogeochemical reaction network that controls P cycling within the cell. We used the model as a diagnostic tool to determine the relative importance of processes immobilizing P in the bioretention cell. The model predictions were compared to multi-year observational data on 1) the outflow loads of total P (TP) and soluble reactive P (SRP) during the 2012-2017 period, 2) TP depth profiles collected at 4 time points during the 2012-2019 period, and 3) sequential chemical P extractions performed on core samples from the filter media layer obtained in 2019. Results indicate that exfiltration to underlying native soil was principally responsible for decreasing the surface water discharge from the bioretention cell (63 % runoff reduction). From 2012 to 2017, the cumulative outflow export loads of TP and SRP only accounted for 1 % and 2 % of the corresponding inflow loads, respectively, hence demonstrating the extremely high P reduction efficiency of this bioretention cell. Accumulation in the filter media layer was the predominant mechanism responsible for the reduction in P outflow loading (57 % retention of TP inflow load) followed by plant uptake (21 % TP retention). Of the P retained within the filter media layer, 48 % occurred in stable, 41 % in potentially mobilizable, and 11 % in easily mobilizable forms. There were no signs that the P retention capacity of the bioretention cell was approaching saturation after 7 years of operation. The reactive transport modeling approach developed here can in principle be transferred and adapted to fit other bioretention cell designs and hydrological regimes to estimate P surface loading reductions at a range of temporal scales, from a single precipitation event to long-term (i.e., multi-year) operation.

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Effects of freeze-thaw cycles on methanogenic hydrocarbon degradation: Experiment and modeling
Mehdi Ramezanzadeh, Stephanie Slowinski, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Kathleen Murr, Christina Lam, Christina M. Smeaton, Clément Alibert, Marianne Vandergriendt, Philippe Van Cappellen
Chemosphere, Volume 325

Cold regions are warming much faster than the global average, resulting in more frequent and intense freeze-thaw cycles (FTCs) in soils. In hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, FTCs modify the biogeochemical and physical processes controlling petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) biodegradation and the associated generation of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Thus, understanding the effects of FTCs on the biodegradation of PHCs is critical for environmental risk assessment and the design of remediation strategies for contaminated soils in cold regions. In this study, we developed a diffusion-reaction model that accounts for the effects of FTCs on toluene biodegradation, including methanogenic biodegradation. The model is verified against data generated in a 215 day-long batch experiment with soil collected from a PHC contaminated site in Ontario, Canada. The fully saturated soil incubations with six different treatments were exposed to successive 4-week FTCs, with temperatures oscillating between −10 °C and +15 °C, under anoxic conditions to stimulate methanogenic biodegradation. We measured the headspace concentrations and 13C isotope compositions of CH4 and CO2 and analyzed the porewater for pH, acetate, dissolved organic and inorganic carbon, and toluene. The numerical model represents solute diffusion, volatilization, sorption, as well as a reaction network of 13 biogeochemical processes. The model successfully simulates the soil porewater and headspace concentration time series data by representing the temperature dependencies of microbial reaction and gas diffusion rates during FTCs. According to the model results, the observed increases in the headspace concentrations of CH4 and CO2 by 87% and 136%, respectively, following toluene addition are explained by toluene fermentation and subsequent methanogenesis reactions. The experiment and the numerical simulation show that methanogenic degradation is the primary toluene attenuation mechanism under the electron acceptor-limited conditions experienced by the soil samples, representing 74% of the attenuation, with sorption contributing to 11%, and evaporation contributing to 15%. Also, the model-predicted contribution of acetate-based methanogenesis to total produced CH4 agrees with that derived from the 13C isotope data. The freezing-induced soil matrix organic carbon release is considered as an important process causing DOC increase following each freezing period according to the calculations of carbon balance and SUVA index. The simulation results of a no FTC scenario indicate that, in the absence of FTCs, CO2 and CH4 generation would decrease by 29% and 26%, respectively, and that toluene would be biodegraded 23% faster than in the FTC scenario. Because our modeling approach represents the dominant processes controlling PHC biodegradation and the associated CH4 and CO2 fluxes, it can be used to analyze the sensitivity of these processes to FTC frequency and duration driven by temperature fluctuations.


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Microbial Community Compositional Stability in Agricultural Soils During Freeze-Thaw and Fertilizer Stress
Grant J. Jensen, Konrad Krogstad, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Laura Hug
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 10

Microbial activity persists in cold region agricultural soils during the fall, winter, and spring (i.e., non-growing season) and frozen condition, with peak activity during thaw events. Climate change is expected to change the frequency of freeze-thaw cycles (FTC) and extreme temperature events (i.e, altered timing, extreme heat/cold events) in temperate cold regions, which may hasten microbial consumption of fall-amended fertilizers, decreasing potency come the growing season. We conducted a high-resolution temporal examination of the impacts of freeze-thaw and nutrient stress on microbial communities in agricultural soils across both soil depth and time. Four soil columns were incubated under a climate model of a non-growing season including precipitation, temperature, and thermal gradient with depth over 60 days. Two columns were amended with fertilizer, and two incubated as unamended soil. The impacts of repeated FTC and nutrient stress on bacterial, archaeal, and fungal soil community members were determined, providing a deeply sampled longitudinal view of soil microbial response to non-growing season conditions. Geochemical changes from flow-through leachate and amplicon sequencing of 16S and ITS rRNA genes were used to assess community response. Despite nitrification observed in fertilized columns, there were no significant microbial diversity, core community, or nitrogen cycling population trends in response to nutrient stress. FTC impacts were observable as an increase in alpha diversity during FTC. Community compositions shifted across a longer time frame than individual FTC, with bulk changes to the community in each phase of the experiment. Our results demonstrate microbial community composition remains relatively stable for archaea, bacteria, and fungi through a non-growing season, independent of nutrient availability. This observation contrasts canonical thinking that FTC have significant and prolonged effects on microbial communities. In contrast to permafrost and other soils experiencing rare FTC, in temperate agricultural soils regularly experiencing such perturbations, the response to freeze-thaw and fertilizer stress may be muted by a more resilient community or be controlled at the level of gene expression rather than population turn-over. These results clarify the impacts of winter FTC on fertilizer consumption, with implications for agricultural best practices and modeling of biogeochemical cycling in agroecosystems.

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Nitrogen Leaching From Agricultural Soils Under Imposed Freeze-Thaw Cycles: A Column Study With and Without Fertilizer Amendment
Konrad Krogstad, Mehdi Gharasoo, Grant J. Jensen, Laura Hug, David L. Rudolph, Philippe Van Cappellen, Fereidoun Rezanezhad
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 10

Cold regions are warming faster than the rest of the planet, with the greatest warming occurring during the winter and shoulder seasons. Warmer winters are further predicted to result in more frequent soil freezing and thawing events. Freeze-thaw cycles affect biogeochemical soil processes and alter carbon and nutrient export from soils, hence impacting receiving ground and surface waters. Cold region agricultural management should therefore consider the possible effects on water quality of changing soil freeze-thaw dynamics under future climate conditions. In this study, soil column experiments were conducted to assess the leaching of fertilizer nitrogen (N) from an agricultural soil during the non-growing season. Identical time series temperature and precipitation were imposed to four parallel soil columns, two of which had received fertilizer amendments, the two others not. A 15-30-15 N-P-K fertilizer (5.8% ammonium and 9.2% urea) was used for fertilizer amendments. Leachates from the soil columns were collected and analyzed for major cations and anions. The results show that thawing following freezing caused significant export of chloride (Cl − ), sulfate (SO 4 2− ) and nitrate (NO 3 − ) from the fertilizer-amended soils. Simple plug flow reactor model calculations indicated that the high NO 3 − concentrations produced during the fertilized soil thawing events were due to nitrification of fertilizer N in the upper oxidized portion of the soil. The very low concentrations of NO 3 − and ammonium in the non-fertilized soils leachates implied that the freeze-thaw cycles had little impact on the mineralization of soil organic N. The findings, while preliminary, indicate that unwanted N enrichment of aquifers and rivers in agricultural areas caused by fall application of N fertilizers may be exacerbated by changing freeze-thaw activity.

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Current State of Microplastic Pollution Research Data: Trends in Availability and Sources of Open Data
Tia Jenkins, Bhaleka Persaud, Win Cowger, Kathy Szigeti, Dominique G. Roche, Erin Clary, Stephanie Slowinski, Benjamin Lei, Amila Abeynayaka, Ebenezer S. Nyadjro, Thomas Maes, Leah M. Thornton Hampton, Melanie Bergmann, Julian Aherne, Sherri A. Mason, John F. Honek, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Amy Lusher, Andy M. Booth, Rodney D. L. Smith, Philippe Van Cappellen
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 10

The rapid growth in microplastic pollution research is influencing funding priorities, environmental policy, and public perceptions of risks to water quality and environmental and human health. Ensuring that environmental microplastics research data are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) is essential to inform policy and mitigation strategies. We present a bibliographic analysis of data sharing practices in the environmental microplastics research community, highlighting the state of openness of microplastics data. A stratified (by year) random subset of 785 of 6,608 microplastics articles indexed in Web of Science indicates that, since 2006, less than a third (28.5%) contained a data sharing statement. These statements further show that most often, the data were provided in the articles’ supplementary material (38.8%) and only 13.8% via a data repository. Of the 279 microplastics datasets found in online data repositories, 20.4% presented only metadata with access to the data requiring additional approval. Although increasing, the rate of microplastic data sharing still lags behind that of publication of peer-reviewed articles on environmental microplastics. About a quarter of the repository data originated from North America (12.8%) and Europe (13.4%). Marine and estuarine environments are the most frequently sampled systems (26.2%); sediments (18.8%) and water (15.3%) are the predominant media. Of the available datasets accessible, 15.4% and 18.2% do not have adequate metadata to determine the sampling location and media type, respectively. We discuss five recommendations to strengthen data sharing practices in the environmental microplastic research community.

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The definition of the non-growing season matters: a case study of net ecosystem carbon exchange from a Canadian peatland
Arash Rafat, Eunji Byun, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, William L. Quinton, Elyn Humphreys, Kara Webster, Philippe Van Cappellen
Environmental Research Communications, Volume 4, Issue 2

Abstract Climate change is a threat to the 500 Gt carbon stored in northern peatlands. As the region warms, the rise in mean temperature is more pronounced during the non-growing season (NGS, i.e., winter and parts of the shoulder seasons) when net ecosystem loss of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) occurs. Many studies have investigated the impacts of climate warming on NGS CO 2 emissions, yet there is a lack of consistency amongst researchers in how the NGS period is defined. This complicates the interpretation of NGS CO 2 emissions and hinders our understanding of seasonal drivers of important terrestrial carbon exchange processes. Here, we analyze the impact of alternative definitions of the NGS for a peatland site with multiple years of CO 2 flux records. Three climatic parameters were considered to define the NGS: air temperature, soil temperature, and snow cover. Our findings reveal positive correlations between estimates of the cumulative non-growing season net ecosystem CO 2 exchange (NGS-NEE) and the length of the NGS for each alternative definition, with the greatest proportion of variability explained using snow cover ( R 2 = 0.89, p < 0.001), followed by air temperature ( R 2 = 0.79, p < 0.001) and soil temperature ( R 2 = 0.54, p = 0.006). Using these correlations, we estimate average daily NGS CO 2 emitted between 1.42 and 1.90 gCO 2 m −2 , depending on which NGS definition is used. Our results highlight the need to explicitly define the NGS based on available climatic parameters to account for regional climate and ecosystem variability.

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Salinization as a driver of eutrophication symptoms in an urban lake (Lake Wilcox, Ontario, Canada)
Jovana Radosavljevic, Stephanie Slowinski, Mahyar Shafii, Zahra Akbarzadeh, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Christopher T. Parsons, William Withers, Philippe Van Cappellen
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 846

Lake Wilcox (LW), a shallow kettle lake located in southern Ontario, has experienced multiple phases of land use change associated with human settlement and residential development in its watershed since the early 1900s. Urban growth has coincided with water quality deterioration, including the occurrence of algal blooms and depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water column. We analyzed 22 years of water chemistry, land use, and climate data (1996-2018) using principal component analysis (PCA) and multiple linear regression (MLR) to identify the contributions of climate, urbanization, and nutrient loading to the changes in water chemistry. Variations in water column stratification, phosphorus (P) speciation, and chl-a (as a proxy for algal abundance) explain 76 % of the observed temporal trends of the four main PCA components derived from water chemistry data. MLR results further imply that the intensity of stratification, quantified by the Brunt-Väisälä frequency, is a major predictor of the changes in water quality. Other important factors explaining the variations in nitrogen (N) and P speciation, and the DO concentrations, are watershed imperviousness and lake chloride concentrations that, in turn, are closely correlated. We conclude that the observed in-lake water quality trends over the past two decades are linked to urbanization via increased salinization associated with expanding impervious land cover, rather than increasing external P loading. The rising salinity promotes water column stratification, which reduces the oxygenation of the hypolimnion and enhances internal P loading to the water column. Thus, stricter controls on the application and runoff of de-icing salt should be considered as part of managing eutrophication symptoms in lakes of cold climate regions.


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Impact of Winter Soil Processes on Nutrient Leaching in Cold Region Agroecosystems
Konrad Krogstad, Grant J. Jensen, Mehdi Gharasoo, Laura Hug, David L. Rudolph, Philippe Van Cappellen, Fereidoun Rezanezhad

High-latitude cold regions are warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with the greatest warming occurring during the winter. Warmer winters are associated with shorter periods of snow cover, resulting in more frequent and extensive soil freezing and thawing. Freeze-thaw cycles influence soil chemical, biological, and physical properties and any changes to winter soil processes may impact carbon and nutrients export from affected soils, possibly altering soil health and nearby water quality. These impacts are relevant for agricultural soils and practices in cold regions as they are critical in governing water flows and quality within agroecosystems. In this study, a soil column experiment was conducted to assess the leaching of nutrients from fertilized agricultural soil during the non-growing season. Four soil columns were exposed to a non-growing season temperature and precipitation model and fertilizer amendments were made to two of the columns to determine the efficacy of fall-applied fertilizers and compared to other two unfertilized control columns. Leachates from the soil columns were collected and analyzed for cations and anions. The experiment results showed that a transition from a freeze period to a thaw period resulted in significant loss of chloride (Cl-), sulfate (SO42-) and nitrate (NO3-). Even with low NO3- concentrations in the applied artificial rainwater and fertilizer, high NO3- concentrations (~150 mg l-1) were observed in fertilized column leachates. Simple plug flow reactor model results indicate the high NO3- leachates are found to be due to active nitrification occurring in the upper oxidized portion of the soil columns mimicking overwinter NO3- losses via nitrification in agricultural fields. The low NO3- leachates in unfertilized columns suggest that freeze-thaw cycling had little effect on N mineralization in soil. Findings from this study will ultimately be used to bolster winter soil biogeochemical models by elucidating nutrient fluxes over changing winter conditions to refine best management practices for fertilizer application.

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Temperature, moisture and freeze–thaw controls on CO2 production in soil incubations from northern peatlands
Eunji Byun, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Linden Fairbairn, Stephanie Slowinski, Nathan Basiliko, Jonathan S. Price, William L. Quinton, Pascale Roy-Léveillée, Kara Webster, Philippe Van Cappellen
Scientific Reports, Volume 11, Issue 1

Peat accumulation in high latitude wetlands represents a natural long-term carbon sink, resulting from the cumulative excess of growing season net ecosystem production over non-growing season (NGS) net mineralization in soils. With high latitudes experiencing warming at a faster pace than the global average, especially during the NGS, a major concern is that enhanced mineralization of soil organic carbon will steadily increase CO2 emissions from northern peatlands. In this study, we conducted laboratory incubations with soils from boreal and temperate peatlands across Canada. Peat soils were pretreated for different soil moisture levels, and CO2 production rates were measured at 12 sequential temperatures, covering a range from - 10 to + 35 °C including one freeze-thaw event. On average, the CO2 production rates in the boreal peat samples increased more sharply with temperature than in the temperate peat samples. For same temperature, optimum soil moisture levels for CO2 production were higher in the peat samples from more flooded sites. However, standard reaction kinetics (e.g., Q10 temperature coefficient and Arrhenius equation) failed to account for the apparent lack of temperature dependence of CO2 production rates measured below 0 °C, and a sudden increase after a freezing event. Thus, we caution against using the simple kinetic expressions to represent the CO2 emissions from northern peatlands, especially regarding the long NGS period with multiple soil freeze and thaw events.

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Non-growing season carbon emissions in a northern peatland are projected to increase under global warming
Arash Rafat, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, William L. Quinton, Elyn Humphreys, Kara Webster, Philippe Van Cappellen
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, Issue 1

Abstract Peatlands are important ecosystems that store approximately one third of terrestrial organic carbon. Non-growing season carbon fluxes significantly contribute to annual carbon budgets in peatlands, yet their response to climate change is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the governing environmental variables of non-growing season carbon emissions in a northern peatland. We develop a support-vector regression model using a continuous 13-year dataset of eddy covariance flux measurements from the Mer Blue Bog, Canada. We determine that only seven variables were needed to reproduce carbon fluxes, which were most sensitive to net radiation above the canopy, soil temperature, wind speed and soil moisture. We find that changes in soil temperature and photosynthesis drove changes in net carbon flux. Assessing net ecosystem carbon exchange under three representative concentration pathways, we project a 103% increase in peatland carbon loss by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. We suggest that peatland carbon losses constitute a strong positive climate feedback loop.

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The Cold Region Critical Zone in Transition: Responses to Climate Warming and Land Use Change
Kunfu Pi, Magdalena Bieroza, Anatoli Brouchkov, Weitao Chen, Louis J.P. Dufour, Konstantin B. Gongalsky, Anke M. Herrmann, Eveline J. Krab, Catherine Landesman, Anniet M. Laverman, Natalia Mazei, Yuri Mazei, Mats Öquist, Matthias Peichl, S. Pozdniakov, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Céline Roose‐Amsaleg, Anastasia Shatilovich, Andong Shi, Christina M. Smeaton, Lei Tong, Andrey N. Tsyganov, Philippe Van Cappellen
Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 46, Issue 1

Global climate warming disproportionately affects high-latitude and mountainous terrestrial ecosystems. Warming is accompanied by permafrost thaw, shorter winters, earlier snowmelt, more intense soil freeze-thaw cycles, drier summers, and longer fire seasons. These environmental changes in turn impact surface water and groundwater flow regimes, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, soil stability, vegetation cover, and soil (micro)biological communities. Warming also facilitates agricultural expansion, urban growth, and natural resource development, adding growing anthropogenic pressures to cold regions’ landscapes, soil health, and biodiversity. Further advances in the predictive understanding of how cold regions’ critical zone processes, functions, and ecosystem services will continue to respond to climate warming and land use changes require multiscale monitoring technologies coupled with integrated observational and modeling tools. We highlight some of the major challenges, knowledge gaps, and opportunities in cold region critical zone research, with an emphasis on subsurface processes and responses in both natural and agricultural ecosystems.


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Soil heterotrophic respiration as a function of water content and temperature in a mechanistic pore-scale model
Mehdi Gharasoo, Linden Fairbairn, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Philippe Van Cappellen

&lt;p&gt;Soil heterotrophic respiration has been considered as a key source of CO&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt; flux into the atmosphere and thus plays an important role in global warming. Although the relationship between soil heterotrophic respiration and soil water content has been frequently studied both theoretically and experimentally, model development has thus far been empirically based. Empirical models are often limited to the specific condition of their case studies and cannot be used as a general platform for modeling. Moreover, it is difficult to extend the empirical models by theoretically defined affinities to any desired degree of accuracy. As a result, it is of high priority to develop process-based models that are able to describe the mechanisms behind this phenomenon with more deterministic terms.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Here we present a mechanistic, mathematically-driven model that is based on the common geometry of a pore in porous media. Assuming that the aerobic respiration of bacteria requires oxygen as an electron acceptor and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as a substrate, the CO&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt; fluxes are considered a function of the bioavailable fraction of both DOC and oxygen. In this modeling approach, the availability of oxygen is controlled by its penetration into the aquatic phase through the interface between air and water. DOC on the other hand is only available to a section of the soil that is in contact with water. As the water saturation in the pore changes, it dynamically and kinematically impacts these interfaces through which the mass transfer of nutrients occurs, and therefore the CO&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt; fluxes are directly controlled by water content. We showcased the model applicability on several case studies and illustrated the model capability in simulating the observed microbial respiration rates versus the soil water contents. Furthermore, we showed the model potential to accept additional physically-motivated parameters in order to explain respiration rates in frozen soils or at different temperatures.&lt;/p&gt;

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Carbon release and transformation from coastal peat deposits controlled by submarine groundwater discharge: a column experiment study
Matthias Kreuzburg, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Tatjana Milojevic, Maren Voß, Lennart Gosch, Susanne Liebner, Philippe Van Cappellen, Gregor Rehder
Limnology and Oceanography, Volume 65, Issue 5

Although the majority of coastal sediments consist of sandy material, in some areas marine ingression caused the submergence of terrestrial carbon‐rich peat soils. This affects the coastal carbon balance, as peat represents a potential carbon source. We performed a column experiment to better understand the coupled flow and biogeochemical processes governing carbon transformations in submerged peat under coastal fresh groundwater (GW) discharge and brackish water intrusion. The columns contained naturally layered sediments with and without peat (organic carbon content in peat 39 ± 14 wt%), alternately supplied with oxygen‐rich brackish water from above and oxygen‐poor, low‐saline GW from below. The low‐saline GW discharge through the peat significantly increased the release and ascent of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from the peat (δ13CDOC − 26.9‰ to − 27.7‰), which was accompanied by the production of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), implying DOC mineralization. Oxygen respiration, sulfate ( SO42− ) reduction, and methane (CH4) formation were differently pronounced in the sediments and were accompanied with higher microbial abundances in peat compared to sand with SO42− ‐reducing bacteria clearly dominating methanogens. With decreasing salinity and SO42− concentrations, CH4 emission rates increased from 16.5 to 77.3 μmol m−2 d−1 during a 14‐day, low‐saline GW discharge phase. In contrast, oxygenated brackish water intrusion resulted in lower DOC and DIC pore water concentrations and significantly lower CH4 and CO2 emissions. Our study illustrates the strong dependence of carbon cycling in shallow coastal areas with submerged peat deposits on the flow and mixing dynamics within the subterranean estuary.

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Pore-scale controls on hydrological and geochemical processes in peat: Implications on interacting processes
Colin P.R. McCarter, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, William L. Quinton, Behrad Gharedaghloo, Bernd Lennartz, Jonathan S. Price, Ryan F. Connon, Philippe Van Cappellen
Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 207

Peatlands are wetlands that provide important ecosystem services including carbon sequestration and water storage that respond to hydrological, biological, and biogeochemical processes. These processes are strongly influenced by the complex pore structure of peat soils. We explore the literature on peat pore structure and the implications for hydrological, biogeochemical, and microbial processes in peat, highlighting the gaps in our current knowledge and a path to move forward. Peat is an elastic and multi-porous structured organic soil. Surficial (near-surface) peats are typically dominated by large interconnected macropores that rapidly transmit water and solutes when saturated, but these large pores drain rapidly with a reduction in pore-water pressure, and disproportionally decrease the bulk effective hydraulic conductivity, thus water fluxes that drive ecohydrological functions. The more advanced state of decomposition of older (deeper) peat, with a greater abundance of small pores, restricts the loss of moisture at similar soil water pressures and is associated with higher unsaturated hydraulic conductivities. As evaporation and precipitation occur, peat soils shrink and swell, respectively, changing the hydrological connectivity that maintain physiological processes at the peat surface. Due to the disproportionate change in pore structure and associated hydraulic properties with state of decomposition, transport processes are limited at depth, creating a zone of enhanced transport in the less decomposed peat near the surface. At the micro-scale, rapid equilibration of solutes and water occurs between the mobile and immobile pores due to diffusion, resulting in pore regions with similar chemical concentrations that are not affected by advective fluxes. These immobile regions may be the primary sites for microbial biogeochemical processes in peat. Mass transfer limitations may therefore largely regulate belowground microbial turnover and, hence, biogeochemical cycling. For peat, the development of a comprehensive theory that links the hydrological, biological, and biogeochemical processes will require a concerted interdisciplinary effort. To that end, we have highlighted four primary areas to focus our collective research: 1) understanding the combined and interrelated effects of parent material, decomposition, and nutrient status on peat pore connectivity, macropore development and collapse, and solute transport, 2) determining the influence of changing pore structure due to freeze-thaw or dewatering on the hydrology and biogeochemistry, 3) better elucidating the non-equilibrium transport processes in peat, and 4) exploring the implications of peat’s pore structure on microbiological and biogeochemical processes.

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Editorial: Wetland Biogeochemistry: Response to Environmental Change
Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Colin P.R. McCarter, Bernd Lennartz
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 8


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Bioretention cells under cold climate conditions: Effects of freezing and thawing on water infiltration, soil structure, and nutrient removal
Brenden Ding, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Behrad Gharedaghloo, Philippe Van Cappellen, Elodie Passeport
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 649

Bioretention cells are a popular control strategy for stormwater volume and quality, but their efficiency for water infiltration and nutrient removal under cold climate conditions has been poorly studied. In this work, soil cores were collected from an active bioretention cell containing engineered soil material amended with a phosphate sorbent medium. The cores were used in laboratory column experiments conducted to obtain a detailed characterization of the soil's bioretention performance during six consecutive freeze-thaw cycles (FTCs, from -10 to +10 °C). At the start of each FTC, the experimental column undergoing the FTCs and a control column kept at room temperature were supplied with a solution containing 25 mg/L of bromide, nitrate and phosphate. Water saturated conditions were established to mimic the presence of an internal water storage zone to support anaerobic nitrate removal. At the end of each FTC, the pore solution was allowed to drain from the columns. The results indicate that the FTCs enhanced the infiltration efficiency of the soil: with each successive cycle the drainage rate increased in the experimental column. Freezing and thawing also increased the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the bioretention soil. X-ray tomography imaging identified a key role of macro-pore formation in maintaining high infiltration rates. Both aqueous nitrate and phosphate supplied to the columns were nearly completely removed from solution. Sufficiently long retention times and the presence of the internal water storage zone promoted anaerobic nitrate elimination despite the low temperatures. Dissolved phosphate was efficiently trapped at all depths in the soil columns, with ≤2% of the added stormwater phosphate recovered in the drainage effluent. These findings imply that, when designed properly, bioretention cells can support high infiltration rates and mitigate nutrient pollution in cold climates.

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Nutrient Leaching in Soil Affected by Fertilizer Application and Frozen Ground
Kirsten N. Grant, Merrin L. Macrae, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, W.V. Lam
Vadose Zone Journal, Volume 18, Issue 1

Preferential flow is prevalent in clay soil under both frozen and thawed conditions. Preferential flow dominates the infiltration regime under frozen soil conditions in silt loam. Subsurface placement of fertilizer can limit subsurface nutrient leaching. Subsurface placement is particularly effective in soil with abundant preferential flow. Subsurface placement is recommended for fall fertilizer application.

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Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region
Susan M. Natali, Jennifer D. Watts, Brendan M. Rogers, Stefano Potter, S. Ludwig, A. K. Selbmann, Patrick F. Sullivan, Benjamin W. Abbott, Kyle A. Arndt, Leah Birch, Mats Björkman, A. Anthony Bloom, Gerardo Celis, Torben R. Christensen, Casper T. Christiansen, R. Commane, Elisabeth J. Cooper, Patrick Crill, C. I. Czimczik, S. P. Davydov, Jinyang Du, Jocelyn Egan, Bo Elberling, Eugénie Euskirchen, Thomas Friborg, Hélène Genet, Mathias Göckede, Jordan P. Goodrich, Paul Grogan, Manuel Helbig, Elchin Jafarov, Julie D. Jastrow, Aram Kalhori, Yongwon Kim, J. S. Kimball, Lars Kutzbach, Mark J. Lara, Klaus Steenberg Larsen, Bang Yong Lee, Zhihua Liu, M. M. Loranty, Magnus Lund, Massimo Lupascu, Nima Madani, Avni Malhotra, Roser Matamala, J. W. Mcfarland, A. David McGuire, Anders Michelsen, C. Minions, Walter C. Oechel, David Olefeldt, Frans‐Jan W. Parmentier, Norbert Pirk, Benjamin Poulter, William L. Quinton, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, David Risk, Torsten Sachs, Kevin Schaefer, Niels Martin Schmidt, Edward A. G. Schuur, Philipp Semenchuk, Gaius R. Shaver, Oliver Sonnentag, Gregory Starr, Claire C. Treat, Mark P. Waldrop, Yihui Wang, Jeffrey M. Welker, Christian Wille, Xiaofeng Xu, Zhen Zhang, Qianlai Zhuang, Donatella Zona
Nature Climate Change, Volume 9, Issue 11

Recent warming in the Arctic, which has been amplified during the winter1-3, greatly enhances microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and subsequent release of carbon dioxide (CO2)4. However, the amount of CO2 released in winter is highly uncertain and has not been well represented by ecosystem models or by empirically-based estimates5,6. Here we synthesize regional in situ observations of CO2 flux from arctic and boreal soils to assess current and future winter carbon losses from the northern permafrost domain. We estimate a contemporary loss of 1662 Tg C yr-1 from the permafrost region during the winter season (October through April). This loss is greater than the average growing season carbon uptake for this region estimated from process models (-1032 Tg C yr-1). Extending model predictions to warmer conditions in 2100 indicates that winter CO2 emissions will increase 17% under a moderate mitigation scenario-Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5-and 41% under business-as-usual emissions scenario-RCP 8.5. Our results provide a new baseline for winter CO2 emissions from northern terrestrial regions and indicate that enhanced soil CO2 loss due to winter warming may offset growing season carbon uptake under future climatic conditions.

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A synthesis of three decades of hydrological research at Scotty Creek, NWT, Canada
William L. Quinton, Aaron Berg, Michael Braverman, Olivia Carpino, L. Chasmer, Ryan F. Connon, James R. Craig, Élise Devoie, Masaki Hayashi, Kristine M. Haynes, David Olefeldt, Alain Pietroniro, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Robert A. Schincariol, Oliver Sonnentag
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Volume 23, Issue 4

Abstract. Scotty Creek, Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada, has been the focus of hydrological research for nearly three decades. Over this period, field and modelling studies have generated new insights into the thermal and physical mechanisms governing the flux and storage of water in the wetland-dominated regions of discontinuous permafrost that characterises much of the Canadian and circumpolar subarctic. Research at Scotty Creek has coincided with a period of unprecedented climate warming, permafrost thaw, and resulting land cover transformations including the expansion of wetland areas and loss of forests. This paper (1) synthesises field and modelling studies at Scotty Creek, (2) highlights the key insights of these studies on the major water flux and storage processes operating within and between the major land cover types, and (3) provides insights into the rate and pattern of the permafrost-thaw-induced land cover change and how such changes will affect the hydrology and water resources of the study region.


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The role of groundwater discharge fluxes on Si:P ratios in a major tributary to Lake Erie
Taylor Maavara, Stephanie Slowinski, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, K. J. Van Meter, Philippe Van Cappellen
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 622-623

Groundwater discharge can be a major source of nutrients to river systems. Although quantification of groundwater nitrate loading to streams is common, the dependence of surface water silicon (Si) and phosphorus (P) concentrations on groundwater sources has rarely been determined. Additionally, the ability of groundwater discharge to drive surface water Si:P ratios has not been contextualized relative to riverine inputs or in-stream transformations. In this study, we quantify the seasonal dynamics of Si and P cycles in the Grand River (GR) watershed, the largest Canadian watershed draining into Lake Erie, to test our hypothesis that regions of Si-rich groundwater discharge increase surface water Si:P ratios. Historically, both the GR and Lake Erie have been considered stoichiometrically P-limited, where the molar Si:P ratio is greater than the ~16:1 phytoplankton uptake ratio. However, recent trends suggest that eastern Lake Erie may be approaching Si-limitation. We sampled groundwater and surface water for dissolved and reactive particulate Si as well as total dissolved P for 12months within and downstream of a 50-km reach of high groundwater discharge. Our results indicate that groundwater Si:P ratios are lower than the corresponding surface water and that groundwater is a significant source of bioavailable P to surface water. Despite these observations, the watershed remains P-limited for the majority of the year, with localized periods of Si-limitation. We further find that groundwater Si:P ratios are a relatively minor driver of surface water Si:P, but that the magnitude of Si and P loads from groundwater represent a large proportion of the overall fluxes to Lake Erie.


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Sediment phosphorus speciation and mobility under dynamic redox conditions
Christopher T. Parsons, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, David O’Connell, Philippe Van Cappellen
Biogeosciences, Volume 14, Issue 14

Abstract. Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment has caused phosphorus (P) accumulation in many freshwater sediments, raising concerns that internal loading from legacy P may delay the recovery of aquatic ecosystems suffering from eutrophication. Benthic recycling of P strongly depends on the redox regime within surficial sediment. In many shallow environments, redox conditions tend to be highly dynamic as a result of, among others, bioturbation by macrofauna, root activity, sediment resuspension and seasonal variations in bottom-water oxygen (O2) concentrations. To gain insight into the mobility and biogeochemistry of P under fluctuating redox conditions, a suspension of sediment from a hypereutrophic freshwater marsh was exposed to alternating 7-day periods of purging with air and nitrogen gas (N2), for a total duration of 74 days, in a bioreactor system. We present comprehensive data time series of bulk aqueous- and solid-phase chemistry, solid-phase phosphorus speciation and hydrolytic enzyme activities demonstrating the mass balanced redistribution of P in sediment during redox cycling. Aqueous phosphate concentrations remained low ( ∼ 2.5 µM) under oxic conditions due to sorption to iron(III) oxyhydroxides. During anoxic periods, once nitrate was depleted, the reductive dissolution of iron(III) oxyhydroxides released P. However, only 4.5 % of the released P accumulated in solution while the rest was redistributed between the MgCl2 and NaHCO3 extractable fractions of the solid phase. Thus, under the short redox fluctuations imposed in the experiments, P remobilization to the aqueous phase remained relatively limited. Orthophosphate predominated at all times during the experiment in both the solid and aqueous phase. Combined P monoesters and diesters accounted for between 9 and 16 % of sediment particulate P. Phosphatase activities up to 2.4 mmol h−1 kg−1 indicated the potential for rapid mineralization of organic P (Po), in particular during periods of aeration when the activity of phosphomonoesterases was 37 % higher than under N2 sparging. The results emphasize that the magnitude and timing of internal P loading during periods of anoxia are dependent on both P redistribution within sediments and bottom-water nitrate concentrations.