Silica: an essential nutrient in wetland biogeochemistry

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Abstract

Recent research has emphasized the importance of terrestrial ecosystems in the global biogeochemical cycle of silica (Si). The production, retention, and dissolution of amorphous silica of biological origin in soils and vegetation effectively control terrestrial Si fluxes. However, surprisingly little is known about the role of wetlands in these processes. Wetlands are known hotspots for both nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, and there have been countless studies and numerous reviews on these nutrients worldwide. By bringing together previously scattered results, we show that wetland ecosystems may be as important for Si transport and processing as they are for other important biogeochemical cycles. Yet, the range of studied systems is small and incomplete. This constitutes a serious gap in our understanding of both coastal eutrophication and climate change, issues that are strongly linked to Si biogeochemistry. Ecosystem scientists and wetland biogeochemists around the world need to begin addressing these issues.

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  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Volume7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes