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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00127

Integrating aquatic and terrestrial perspectives to improve insights into organic matter cycling at the landscape scale

 Zachary E. Kayler1*,  Katrin Premke2*,  Arthur Gessler3,  Mark Gessner2,  Christian Griebler4,  Sabine Hilt2, Leif Klemedtsson5,  Yakov Kuzyakov6, Markus Reichstein7, Jan Siemens8,  Kai U. Totsche9,  Lars Tranvik10, Annekatrin Wagner11, Markus Weitere12 and  Hans-Peter Grossart2, 13
  • 1University of Idaho, United States
  • 2Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Germany
  • 3Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Switzerland
  • 4University of Vienna, Austria
  • 5Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 6University of Göttingen, Germany
  • 7Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
  • 8University of Giessen, Germany
  • 9Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
  • 10Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 11Institut für Hydrobiologie, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • 12Department of River Ecology, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ), Germany
  • 13Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Potsdam, Germany

Across a landscape, aquatic-terrestrial interfaces within and between ecosystems are hotspots of organic matter (OM) mineralization. These interfaces are characterized by sharp spatio-temporal changes in environmental conditions, which affect OM properties and thus control OM mineralization and other transformation processes. Consequently, the extent of OM movement at and across aquatic-terrestrial interfaces is crucial in determining OM turnover and carbon (C) cycling at the landscape scale. Here, we propose expanding current concepts in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem sciences to comprehensively evaluate OM turnover at the landscape scale. We focus on three main concepts toward explaining OM turnover at the landscape scale: the landscape spatio-temporal context, OM turnover described by priming and ecological stoichiometry, and anthropogenic effects as a disruptor of natural OM transfer magnitudes and pathways. A conceptual framework is introduced that allows for discussing the disparities in spatial and temporal scales of OM transfer, changes in environmental conditions, ecosystem connectivity, and microbial–substrate interactions. The potential relevance of priming effects in both terrestrial and aquatic systems is addressed. For terrestrial systems, we hypothesize that the interplay between the influx of OM and its corresponding elemental composition and the elemental demand of the microbial communities – stoichiometric question – may alleviate spatial and metabolic thresholds. In comparison, substrate level OM dynamics may be substantially different in aquatic systems due to matrix effects that accentuate the role of abiotic conditions, substrate quality, and microbial community dynamics. We highlight the disproportionate impact anthropogenic activities can have on OM cycling across the landscape including reversing natural OM flows through the landscape, disrupting ecosystem connectivity, and nutrient additions that cascade across the landscape. This knowledge is crucial for a better understanding of OM cycling in a landscape context, in particular since terrestrial and aquatic compartments may respond differently to the ongoing changes in climate, land use, and other anthropogenic interferences.

Keywords: Landscape connectivity, Organic matter mineralization, Priming effects (PEs), Ecological stoichiometry, Aquatic-terrestrial interfaces

Received: 02 Feb 2019; Accepted: 10 May 2019.

Edited by:

Thomas S. Bianchi, University of Florida, United States

Reviewed by:

Bruce A. Hungate, Northern Arizona University, United States
Malak Tfaily, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (DOE), United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Kayler, Premke, Gessler, Gessner, Griebler, Hilt, Klemedtsson, Kuzyakov, Reichstein, Siemens, Totsche, Tranvik, Wagner, Weitere and Grossart. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Zachary E. Kayler, University of Idaho, Moscow, United States,
Dr. Katrin Premke, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin, Berlin, Germany,