Carbon and metal characterization and incubation studies conducted on soil samples collected in June 2016 from Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

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This dataset includes field observations, bulk soil analyses, and spatially resolved elemental mapping used to evaluate the effect of transient water table dynamics on soil organic matter (SOM) amount and SOM association with soil minerals. Naturally occurring variations in the frequency of water table presence and recession from mineral soil horizons on a forested hillslope (Woodstock, NH) were used to compare soils experiencing high, medium, and low saturation cycle frequency. Within each saturation frequency category, analyses were conducted to assess bulk soil properties (e.g., total element content, pH, and extractable metals), spatial association between SOM and iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) (using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry, NanoSIMS), mechanisms of interactions between soil carbon (C) and Fe (using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy), and the implications of shifting SOM-mineral interactions for SOM bioavailability and decomposition. A loss of non-crystalline Fe minerals was observed with higher saturation frequency. Further, a shift towards Al-dominated interactions was identified via increased Al/Fe ratio and Al-SOM spatial associations. These changes in SOM-mineral interaction were reflected in increased SOM bioavailability under aerobic incubation conditions for soils experiencing a legacy of high saturation frequency. Under anaerobic incubation conditions, the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) present after incubation in high saturation frequency soils also increased in bioavailability. These results underscore the need to consider the fluctuation frequency in addition to the duration of saturation events in soils. This dataset contains (1) transcribed field observations (CSV files), (2) experimental measurements (incubation experiment, bulk soil analysis, etc.), (3) NanoSIMS images (text image files), (4) XAS and NMR spectra, (5) statistical model training/testing data (CSV files), and (6) code used to analyze and plot data in this study.
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The R script in this dataset are shared under a Creative Commons 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication ( The script may be shared and re-used; please provide attribution to the original authors. All other data are shared under a Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License ( The data may be shared and re-used, but proper attribution to the original authors is required, and the data may not be used for commercial purposes.
Funding for this study was provided by the NSF IGERT in Cross-Scale Biogeochemistry and Climate at Cornell University (NSF Award #1069193) and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) through the Hans-Fisher Senior Fellowship. Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is operated and maintained by the US Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA. Additional research funds were provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Foundation. This work uses research conducted at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) which is supported by the National Science Foundation under award DMR-1332208. Research was performed at the Canadian Light Source (CLS), which is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan, Western Economic Diversification Canada, the National Research Council Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
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soil carbon; transient saturation; organo-mineral
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Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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