Charles Explorer logo

Experimental Evidence for Mobility/Immobility of Metals in Peat

Publication at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics |


The biogeochemical cycles of most toxic metals have been significantly altered by anthropogenic activities. Anaerobic, rain-fed organic soils are believed to record historical changes in atmospheric pollution.

Suspected postdepositional mobility of trace elements, however, hinders the usefulness of peat bogs as pollution archives. To lower this uncertainty, we quantified the mobility of six trace metals in peat during an 18-month field manipulation.

A replicated, reciprocal peat transplant experiment was conducted between a heavily polluted and a relatively unpolluted peatland, located 200 km apart in the Czech Republic (Central Europe). Both peatlands were Sphagnum-derived, lawn-dominated, and had water table close to the surface.

A strikingly different behavior was observed for two groups of elements. Elements of group I, Fe and Mn, adjusted their abundances and vertical patterns to the host site, showing an extremely high degree of mobility.