Cory Rose M.

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Cory
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Rose M.
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Photochemical alteration of organic carbon draining permafrost soils shifts microbial metabolic pathways and stimulates respiration

2017-10-03 , Ward, Collin P. , Nalven, Sarah G. , Crump, Byron C. , Kling, George W. , Cory, Rose M.

In sunlit waters, photochemical alteration of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) impacts the microbial respiration of DOC to CO2. This coupled photochemical and biological degradation of DOC is especially critical for carbon budgets in the Arctic, where thawing permafrost soils increase opportunities for DOC oxidation to CO2 in surface waters, thereby reinforcing global warming. Here we show how and why sunlight exposure impacts microbial respiration of DOC draining permafrost soils. Sunlight significantly increases or decreases microbial respiration of DOC depending on whether photo-alteration produces or removes molecules that native microbial communities used prior to light exposure. Using high-resolution chemical and microbial approaches, we show that rates of DOC processing by microbes are likely governed by a combination of the abundance and lability of DOC exported from land to water and produced by photochemical processes, and the capacity and timescale that microbial communities have to adapt to metabolize photo-altered DOC.

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Arctic amplification of global warming strengthened by sunlight oxidation of permafrost carbon to CO2

2020-06-09 , Bowen, Jennifer C. , Ward, Collin P. , Kling, George W. , Cory, Rose M.

Once thawed, up to 15% of the ∼1,000 Pg of organic carbon (C) in arctic permafrost soils may be oxidized to carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2,100, amplifying climate change. However, predictions of this amplification strength ignore the oxidation of permafrost C to CO2 in surface waters (photomineralization). We characterized the wavelength dependence of permafrost dissolved organic carbon (DOC) photomineralization and demonstrate that iron catalyzes photomineralization of old DOC (4,000–6,300 a BP) derived from soil lignin and tannin. Rates of CO2 production from photomineralization of permafrost DOC are twofold higher than for modern DOC. Given that model predictions of future net loss of ecosystem C from thawing permafrost do not include the loss of CO2 to the atmosphere from DOC photomineralization, current predictions of an average of 208 Pg C loss by 2,299 may be too low by ~14%.