A mesocosm study of the role of the sedge Eriophorum angustifolium in the efflux of methane - including that due to episodic ebullition - from peatlands

Sophie M. Green, Andy J. Baird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background & Aim
Vascular plants may reduce episodic ebullition losses of methane (CH4) from peatlands. They transport CH4 to the atmosphere, which may lead to a reduction in pore-water [CH4], bubble formation and release. This effect may be compounded by rhizospheric oxidation and associated methanotrophy. However, any reduction in pore-water [CH4] may be countered by root exudation (substrate for methanogens). The aim of this study was to determine how the presence of sedges affects CH4 emissions from peatlands.

Methods
Five pairs of peat cores were collected from a raised bog. One of each pair contained Sphagnum cuspidatum and Eriophorum angustifolium (‘sedge’ cores); the other was dominated by S. cuspidatum (‘no-sedge’). From these the total CH4 efflux—including that due to episodic ebullition—were measured. A partial-shading treatment helped isolate the potential effect of root exudation.

Results
Sedge samples had significantly higher CH4 fluxes than no-sedge samples, but episodic-ebullition fluxes were not significantly different. Between full-light and partially-shaded conditions, there was a significant increase in the difference in CH4 fluxes between the sedge and no-sedge cores.

Conclusion
The higher rates of CH4 flux from the sedge cores cannot be explained simply by higher rates of CH4 production due to rapid utilisation of exudates.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume351
Early online date10 Aug 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ebullition
  • Eriophorum angustifolium
  • Methane flux
  • Peatlands
  • Vascular plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

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