An enormous amorphous silica stock in boreal wetlands



[1] We investigated amorphous Si (ASi) in a boreal wetland in northern Sweden. We found enormous stocks of ASi in the upper soil layers (up to 11% of dry weight), in the form of diatom frustules and plant ASi. A consistent exponential decrease in ASi concentrations was observed with increasing depth in the soil profile. An inverse modeling approach shows that vegetation takes up a substantial part of weathered dissolved Si (DSi). Concurrent analysis of N and C indicates a faster turnover in and a higher leakage from the ASi pool. The magnitude of the biological buffering we observed is unprecedented and supports the emerging paradigm of the importance of biological uptake of DSi governing the export of DSi from terrestrial ecosystems. Our results complicate current models of silicate transport, highlighting the necessity to incorporate ecosystem biological buffering in our concept of Si biogeochemistry.