Faculty Publications

Document Type



carbon pools, carbon storage, eutrophication, Great Lakes, hydroperiod, invasive species, Phragmites australis, Typha × glauca

Journal/Book/Conference Title







Gaining a better understanding of carbon (C) dynamics across the terrestrial and aquatic landscapes has become a major research initiative in ecosystem ecology. Wetlands store a large portion of the global soil C, but are also highly dynamic ecosystems in terms of hydrology and N cycling, and are one of the most invaded habitats worldwide. The interactions between these factors are likely to determine wetland C cycling, and specifically C accretion rates. We investigated these interactions using MONDRIAN, an individual-based model simulating plant growth and competition and linking these processes to N and C cycling. We simulated the effects of different levels of (1) N loading, (2) hydroperiod, and (3) plant community (natives only vs. invasion scenarios) and their interactions on C accretion outcomes in freshwater coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes region of North America. Results showed that N loading contributed to substantial rates of C accretion by increasing NPP (net primary productivity). By mediating anaerobic conditions and slowing decomposition, hydroperiod also exerted considerable control on C accretion. Invasion success occurred with higher N loading and contributed to higher NPP, while also interacting with hydroperiod via ecosystem-internal N cycling. Invasion success by both Typha × glauca and Phragmites australis showed a strong nonlinear relationship with N loading in which an invasion threshold occurred at moderate N inputs. This threshold was in turn influenced by duration of flooding, which reduced invasion success for P. australis but not for T. × glauca. The greatest simulated C accretion rates occurred in wetlands invaded by P. australis at the highest N loading in constant anaerobic conditions. These model results suggest that while plant invasion may increase C storage in freshwater coastal wetlands, increased plant productivity (both native and invasive) due to increased N loading is the main driver of increased C accretion.


Department of Biology


First published in Ecosphere, (2016), published by the Ecological Society of America. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1459

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library

Date Digital



©2016 Jason P. Martina, William S. Currie, Deborah E. Goldberg, and Kenneth J. Elgersma. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



File Format


Included in

Biology Commons