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Dynamics and drivers of the protozoic Si pool along a 10-year chronosequence of initial ecosystem states

Puppe, Daniel, Kaczorek, Danuta, Wanner, Manfred, Sommer, Michael
Ecological engineering 2014 v.70 pp. 477-482
aquatic ecosystems, chronosequences, forests, landscapes, plant growth, silica, silicon, soil chemical properties, trees, Germany
The size and dynamics of biogenic silicon (BSi) pools influence silicon (Si) fluxes from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems. The research focus up to now was on the role of plants in Si cycling. In recent studies on old forests annual biosilicification rates of idiosomic testate amoebae (i.e. TA producing self-secreted silica shells) were shown to be of the order of Si uptake by trees. However, no comparable data exist for initial ecosystems. We analyzed the protozoic BSi pool (idiosomic TA), corresponding annual biosilicification rates and readily available and amorphous Si fractions along a 10-year chronosequence in a post-mining landscape in Brandenburg, Germany.Idiosomic Si pools ranged from 3 to 680gSiha−1 and were about 3–4 times higher at vegetated compared to uncovered spots. They increased significantly with age and were related to temporal development of soil chemical properties. The calculation of annual biosilicification resulted in maxima between 2 and 16kgSiha−1 with rates always higher at vegetated spots. Our results showed that the BSi pool of idiosomic TA is built up rapidly during the initial phases of ecosystem development and is strongly linked to plant growth. Furthermore, our findings highlight the importance of TA for Si cycling in young artificial ecosystems.