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Relationship between methane flux and carbon uptake in three cosmopolitan wetland plant genera
  • Jorge A. Villa
Jorge A. Villa
The Ohio State University

Corresponding Author:villa-betancur.1@osu.edu

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Wetlands are the most important natural source of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. When present, plant efflux is often the dominant pathway for methane emissions from the anoxic wetland sediments, however, they are rarely considered in chamber measurement campaigns of CH4 flux in wetlands. While studies have focused on the mechanisms that govern transport through plant structures, none have addressed how CH4 emissions relate with carbon uptake or how this relationship may vary among plants. Understanding this relationship has important implications for linking carbon flux at the ecosystem level to wetland CH4 emission predictions, and ultimately, to help improve current carbon budget and greenhouse gas models of wetlands. This study presents simultaneous measurements of CH4 and CO2 fluxes in three macrophyte species of different cosmopolitan genera: Typha (emergent), Nelumbo, and Nymphaea (floating attached). These measurements were conducted using the Picarro GasScouter G4301 fitted with custom-designed leaf chambers. Chamber measurements were performed three times during a day (morning, noon and afternoon), in three separate months. Results indicate significant negative correlations between CH4 flux and carbon uptake in Nelumbo and Nymphaea species and a non-significant positive correlation in Typha sp. We term the rate of CH4 flux per unit CO2 uptake – CH4 flux efficiency. We found that in Nymphaea CH4 flux efficiency is almost double that of Nelumbo. These results suggest the dependence of CH4 efflux in stomatal conductance in the floating attached macrophytes, while in the Typha CH4 flux is primarily through other pores, probably aerenchyma, not regulated by stomata. Our results emphasize the importance of species-specific knowledge and considering the growth type of different wetland macrophytes (e.g. emergent vs floating attached) in scaling of bottom-up observations and ecosystem models.