Freshwater marshes are prevalent and important stores of carbon. They bury carbon in deeper soils, although reported rates of carbon accumulation are significantly higher over recent (decadal) versus longer (centennial and millennial) timescales. Intrinsic organic matter degradation, long-term climatic and ecological changes, and recent anthropogenic impacts on sediment fluxes and organic matter production may have a role in explaining this discrepancy, yet remain poorly understood for freshwater marshes. We collected a 4-m core from a riverine-influenced marsh in the watershed of Big Creek which drains into Lake Erie in southern Ontario, Canada, and conducted radiometric dating, elemental analyses, and programmed pyrolysis for organic matter characterization. Over the past 5,710 calibrated years, burial of organic (on average 26 ± 34 g C m-2 yr-1) and inorganic (22 ± 25 g C m-2 yr-1) carbon fractions has resulted in high rates of carbon accumulation. We found that elevated recent rates of organic carbon accumulation are driven by fractions that have low thermal stability and are predominantly from aquatic sources. This type of organic carbon is buried intermittently in deeper marsh sediments and corresponds to major hydro-fluvial events (e.g., Nipissing highstands), which coincide with regional marsh development. We deduce that lower fractions of labile carbon in deeper soils reflect long-term degradation, which underscores the notion that high recent rates of carbon accumulation are generally not sustained over centuries and millennia. Our research demonstrates the importance of identifying various carbon fractions in understanding carbon burial in freshwater marsh soils, and informing marsh conservation.
In the face of ongoing marine deoxygenation, understanding timescales and drivers of past oxygenation change is of critical importance. Marine sediment cores from tiered silled basins provide a natural laboratory to constrain timing and implications of oxygenation changes across multiple depths. Here, we reconstruct oxygenation and environmental change over time using benthic foraminiferal assemblages from sediment cores from three basins across the Southern California Borderlands: Tanner Basin (EW9504-09PC, 1194 m water depth), San Nicolas Basin (EW9504-08PC, 1442 m), and San Clemente Basin (EW9504-05PC ,1818 m). We utilize indicator taxa, community ecology, and an oxygenation transfer function to reconstruct past oxygenation, and we directly compare reconstructed dissolved oxygen to modern measured dissolved oxygen. We generate new, higher resolution carbon and oxygen isotope records from planktic (Globigerina bulloides) and benthic foraminifera (Cibicides mckannai) from Tanner Basin. Geochemical and assemblage data indicate limited ecological and environmental change through time in each basin across the intervals studied. Early to mid-Holocene (11.0-4.7 ka) oxygenation below 1400 m (San Clemente and San Nicolas) was relatively stable and reduced relative to modern. San Nicolas Basin experienced a multi-centennial oxygenation episode from 4.7-4.3 ka and oxygenation increased in Tanner Basin gradually from 1.7-0.8 ka. Yet across all three depths and time intervals studied, dissolved oxygen is consistently within a range of intermediate hypoxia (0.5-1.5 ml L-1 [O2]). Variance in reconstructed dissolved oxygen was similar to decadal variance in modern dissolved oxygen and reduced relative to Holocene-scale changes in shallower basins.