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Vascular plants as regulators of methane emissions from a subarctic mire ecosystem
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2002 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 107, no 21, 4580-4590 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Vascular plant functions as controlling mechanisms of methane emissions were investigated at two contrasting habitat types at a subarctic peatland ecosystem in northern Sweden. One of the habitats was ombrotrophic (vegetation dominated by Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex rotundata), while the other was minerotrophic (vegetation dominated by Eriophorum angustifolium). Through shading manipulations we successfully reduced the gross photosynthetic rates of the vascular plant communities. At the ombrotrophic site a 25% reduction in gross photosynthesis lead to a concomitant 20% reduction in methane emission rates, indicating a strong substrate-based coupling between the vascular plant community and the methanogenic populations. At the minerotrophic site, methane emission rates were unaffected, although plant photosynthesis was reduced by almost 50%. However, the methane emission rates at the minerotrophic site were significantly correlated with the number of vascular plants. We conclude that at the minerotrophic site the vegetation influences methane emission rates by facilitating methane transportation between the soil and the atmosphere, while at the ombrotrophic site the relationship between the vascular plant community and methane emissions is mediated by substrate-based interactions regulated by plant photosynthetic activity. Copyright 2002 by the American Geophysical Union.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 107, no 21, 4580-4590 p.
Keyword [en]
Carbon exchange, Methane emission, Peatland biogeochemistry, Plant-microbe interactions, Vascular plants
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-46812DOI: 10.1029/2001JD001030OAI: diva2:267708
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2012-06-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Northern peatland carbon biogeochemistry: the influence of vascular plants and edaphic factors on carbon dioxide and methane exchange
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Northern peatland carbon biogeochemistry: the influence of vascular plants and edaphic factors on carbon dioxide and methane exchange
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The interest in carbon dynamics and the interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere has increased during the last decade due to the postulated threat of anthropgenically induced global and climate change. Northern peatlands, with their large stores of organic carbon and long-term net accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide are key ecosystems in these interactions. Furthermore, peatlands transform organic carbon to methane, which also is an important greenhouse gas.

The findings reported in this thesis and in the accompanying papers are based on both laboratory and field investigations of carbon transformation dynamics on the process scale and at the resolution of individual peatland plant communities. The data from one of the studies also is extrapolated in an attempt to identify environmental controls on regional scales in order to predict the response of northern pcatlands to climate warming.

The laboratory experiments focus on how climate variations, inducing fluctuations in groundwater level and also soil freeze-thaw cycles, influences organic matter mineralisation to carbon dioxide and methane. The field studies investigate year-to-year variations and interdecadal differences in carbon gas exchange at a subarctic peatland, and also how the physiological activities of vascular plants control methane emission rates.

The main conclusions presented include:

Soil freeze-thaw events may be very important for the annual carbon balance in northern peatlands, because they have the potential to increase mineralisation rates and alter biogeochemical degradation pathways.

Vascular plants exert a strong influence on methane flux dynamics during the growing season, both by mediating methane transport and through substrate-based interactions with the soil microbial community. However, there are important species-related factors that govern the nature and extent of this influence.

Caution has to be taken when extrapolating field data to estimate regional carbon exchange because the relevance of the specific environmental parameters that control this exchange varies depending on resolution. On broad spatial and temporal scales the best predictor of peatland methane emissions is mean soil temperature, but also microbial substrate availability (expressed as the organic acid concentration in peat water) is of importance. This temperature sensitivity represents a strong potential feedback mechanism on climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings Universitet, 2001. 44 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 245Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 729
Biogeokemi, Biologi, Autekologi, Klimatologi
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29578 (URN)14954 (Local ID)91-7373-233-8 (ISBN)14954 (Archive number)14954 (OAI)
Public defence
2001-12-14, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-08-28Bibliographically approved

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