Mineral apatite is the ultimate source of the essential nutrient phosphorus to the soil ecosystem. In order to assess the biogeochemical weathering of apatite grains in the dry, basic soils of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, we collected nine surface soil samples from the Fryxell and Bonney Basins of Taylor Valley. After separating more than 50 individual soil apatite grains from each sample, we used scanning electron microscopy to quantify the morphology and surface etching of apatite grains to determine the degree of weathering.
Soil communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys are subject to many limitations, including resource limitations. However, the nutrients that are predominantly limiting to growth and diversity of soil biota are not known. Additionally, landscape history (N deposition, P weathering) and native N and P content (glacial till provenance) may influence the ability of soil communities to respond to nutrient additions or changes in nutrient availability associated with environmental change.
2007-01-15 to 2016-01-15
2013-01-18 to 2013-01-21