Bostick Benjamin C.

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Benjamin C.

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  • Article
    Glacial influence on the geochemistry of riverine iron fluxes to the Gulf of Alaska and effects of deglaciation
    (American Geophysical Union, 2011-08-25) Schroth, Andrew W. ; Crusius, John ; Chever, Fanny ; Bostick, Benjamin C. ; Rouxel, Olivier J.
    Riverine iron (Fe) derived from glacial weathering is a critical micronutrient source to ecosystems of the Gulf of Alaska (GoA). Here we demonstrate that the source and chemical nature of riverine Fe input to the GoA could change dramatically due to the widespread watershed deglaciation that is underway. We examine Fe size partitioning, speciation, and isotopic composition in tributaries of the Copper River which exemplify a long-term GoA watershed evolution from one strongly influenced by glacial weathering to a boreal-forested watershed. Iron fluxes from glacierized tributaries bear high suspended sediment and colloidal Fe loads of mixed valence silicate species, with low concentrations of dissolved Fe and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Iron isotopic composition is indicative of mechanical weathering as the Fe source. Conversely, Fe fluxes from boreal-forested systems have higher dissolved Fe concentrations corresponding to higher DOC concentrations. Iron colloids and suspended sediment consist of Fe (hydr)oxides and organic complexes. These watersheds have an iron isotopic composition indicative of an internal chemical processing source. We predict that as the GoA watershed evolves due to deglaciation, so will the source, flux, and chemical nature of riverine Fe loads, which could have significant ramifications for Alaskan marine and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Article
    Sulfur species behavior in soil organic matter during decomposition
    (American Geophysical Union, 2007-12-11) Schroth, Andrew W. ; Bostick, Benjamin C. ; Graham, Margaret ; Kaste, James M. ; Mitchell, Myron J. ; Friedland, Andrew J.
    Soil organic matter (SOM) is a primary reservoir of terrestrial sulfur (S), but its role in the global S cycle remains poorly understood. We examine S speciation by X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy to describe S species behavior during SOM decomposition. Sulfur species in SOM were best represented by organic sulfide, sulfoxide, sulfonate, and sulfate. The highest fraction of S in litter was organic sulfide, but as decomposition progressed, relative fractions of sulfonate and sulfate generally increased. Over 6-month laboratory incubations, organic sulfide was most reactive, suggesting that a fraction of this species was associated with a highly labile pool of SOM. During humification, relative concentrations of sulfoxide consistently decreased, demonstrating the importance of sulfoxide as a reactive S phase in soil. Sulfonate fractional abundance increased during humification irrespective of litter type, illustrating its relative stability in soils. The proportion of S species did not differ systematically by litter type, but organic sulfide became less abundant in conifer SOM during decomposition, while sulfate fractional abundance increased. Conversely, deciduous SOM exhibited lesser or nonexistent shifts in organic sulfide and sulfate fractions during decomposition, possibly suggesting that S reactivity in deciduous litter is coupled to rapid C mineralization and independent of S speciation. All trends were consistent in soils across study sites. We conclude that S reactivity is related to speciation in SOM, particularly in conifer forests, and S species fractions in SOM change during decomposition. Our data highlight the importance of intermediate valence species (sulfoxide and sulfonate) in the pedochemical cycling of organic bound S.