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Review

Biogeochemistry of Mediterranean Wetlands: A Review about the Effects of Water-Level Fluctuations on Phosphorus Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

1
Departamento de Ecología, Universidad de Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
2
Instituto del Agua, Universidad de Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
Academic Editor: Pieter Boets
Water 2021, 13(11), 1510; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111510
Received: 15 March 2021 / Revised: 24 May 2021 / Accepted: 25 May 2021 / Published: 27 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mountain and Mediterranean Wetlands Conservation)
Although Mediterranean wetlands are characterized by extreme natural water level fluctuations in response to irregular precipitation patterns, global climate change is expected to amplify this pattern by shortening precipitation seasons and increasing the incidence of summer droughts in this area. As a consequence, a part of the lake sediment will be exposed to air-drying in dry years when the water table becomes low. This periodic sediment exposure to dry/wet cycles will likely affect biogeochemical processes. Unexpectedly, to date, few studies are focused on assessing the effects of water level fluctuations on the biogeochemistry of these ecosystems. In this review, we investigate the potential impacts of water level fluctuations on phosphorus dynamics and on greenhouse gases emissions in Mediterranean wetlands. Major drivers of global change, and specially water level fluctuations, will lead to the degradation of water quality in Mediterranean wetlands by increasing the availability of phosphorus concentration in the water column upon rewetting of dry sediment. CO2 fluxes are likely to be enhanced during desiccation, while inundation is likely to decrease cumulative CO2 emissions, as well as N2O emissions, although increasing CH4 emissions. However, there exists a complete gap of knowledge about the net effect of water level fluctuations induced by global change on greenhouse gases emission. Accordingly, further research is needed to assess whether the periodic exposure to dry–wet cycles, considering the extent and frequency of the cycles, will amplify the role of these especial ecosystems as a source of these gases and thereby act as a feedback mechanism for global warming. To conclude, it is pertinent to consider that a better understanding about the effect of water level fluctuations on the biogeochemistry of Mediterranean wetlands will help to predict how other freshwater ecosystems will respond. View Full-Text
Keywords: biogeochemistry; phosphorus; greenhouse gases emissions; sediment; water level fluctuations; Mediterranean wetlands biogeochemistry; phosphorus; greenhouse gases emissions; sediment; water level fluctuations; Mediterranean wetlands
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MDPI and ACS Style

de Vicente, I. Biogeochemistry of Mediterranean Wetlands: A Review about the Effects of Water-Level Fluctuations on Phosphorus Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Water 2021, 13, 1510. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111510

AMA Style

de Vicente I. Biogeochemistry of Mediterranean Wetlands: A Review about the Effects of Water-Level Fluctuations on Phosphorus Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Water. 2021; 13(11):1510. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111510

Chicago/Turabian Style

de Vicente, Inmaculada. 2021. "Biogeochemistry of Mediterranean Wetlands: A Review about the Effects of Water-Level Fluctuations on Phosphorus Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions" Water 13, no. 11: 1510. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111510

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