Preliminary studies on nitrous oxide emissions from the ornithogenic soils on Xi-sha atoll, South China Sea

ZHU Ren-bin , SUN Li-guang , ZHAO San-ping , XIE Zhou-qing , LIU Xiao-dong , YIN Xue-bin


Received ,Revised , Accepted , Available online

Volume 17,2005,Pages 551-556

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The preliminary measurements of nitrous oxide fluxes from the ornithogenic soils on tropical Xi-sha atoll were made using a closed chamber technique for the first time. N2O fluxes from the ornithogenic soils ranged from 1.8 to 40.3 μg/(m2·h) on Dong Island and 3.2 to 20.4 μg/(m2·h) on Yongxing Island and their flux averaged 11.0 μg/(m2·h) and 8.3 μg/(m2·h), respectively. N2O fluxes from two wetland sites in salt marsh of Dong Island were approximately one order of magnitude lower than those from the ornithogenic soils and averaged 2.1 μg/(m2·h) and 2.4 μg/(m2·h). The diurnal variation cycle in the fluxes was obtained at the observation sites; the N2O flux increased with the increase in soil temperature. The sudden increase in soil moisture greatly stimulated N2O emission from the ornithogenic soils on Dong Island due to the heavy rainfall. The undisturbed soils showed the lower N2O fluxes and the average was 4.8 μg/(m2·h) and the soils via the reclamation showed the higher N2O fluxes and the average was 16.6 μg/(m2·h) on Yongxing Island, suggesting that the changes of land use have an important effect on N2O fluxes from the ornithogenic soils. In addition, the N2O fluxes at the different sites showed high spatial variations. The fluxes were positively correlated with the concentrations of NO-3, PO3-4 and Mn in the soils. The negative correlation between the fluxes and total S concentration in the ornithogenic soils was also found for the first time. Coastal soils or sediments constitute an important source of global atmospheric N2O and the increases in nitrogen loading from seabird guanos will lead to significant increases in the flux of this atmospherically active gas.

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