The defining characteristics of any given wetland is a result of the interplay between hydrology, soils, vegetation, and other watershed processes. Many of the hydrologic and biogeochemical processes that influence wetland function occur in soils, hence, understanding soil properties, processes, and variability is an effective way of studying wetlands. The use of Indicators of Reduction in Soils (IRIS) tubes to document reducing conditions in soils is one approach for such studies. The goal of this research was to use IRIS tubes to compare two bottomland wetlands in Milledgeville GA and determine whether IRIS tubes could effectively be used to compare reduction at the two sites. The IRIS tubes were installed in both wetlands, five tubes at each site and left in the field for four weeks. After retrieving the tubes, both qualitative (pigmentation of paint, distribution of paint loss, and degree of weathering) and quantitative (iron concentrations) assessments were carried out on each IRIS tube. At each site soil and water samples were collected and analyzed for evidence and extent of reduction. Water samples were tested using both Ion Chromatography and calorimeters for total iron, ferric and ferrous iron concentrations. Preliminary results showed that differences between the wetlands based on other soil processes were correlated with the changes observed on the tubes showing that IRIS tubes could be successfully used to map the spatial distribution of iron reduction within and between wetlands.


Georgia College, Biological and Environmental Sciences Department

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