Biogeochemical and plant trait mechanisms drive enhanced methane emissions in response to whole-ecosystem warming.

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Date: Apr. 19, 2021
From: Biogeosciences(Vol. 18, Issue 8)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 209 words

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Abstract :

Climate warming perturbs ecosystem carbon (C) cycling, causing both positive and negative feedbacks on greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, we began a tidal marsh field experiment in two vegetation communities to investigate the mechanisms by which whole-ecosystem warming alters C gain, via plant-driven sequestration in soils, and C loss, primarily via methane (CH.sub.4) emissions. Here, we report the results from the first 4 years. As expected, warming of 5.1 .sup." C more than doubled CH.sub.4 emissions in both plant communities. We propose this was caused by a combination of four mechanisms: (i) a decrease in the proportion of CH.sub.4 consumed by CH.sub.4 oxidation, (ii) more C substrates available for methanogenesis, (iii) reduced competition between methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria, and (iv) indirect effects of plant traits. Plots dominated by Spartina patens consistently emitted more CH.sub.4 than plots dominated by Schoenoplectus americanus, indicating key differences in the roles these common wetland plants play in affecting anaerobic soil biogeochemistry and suggesting that plant composition can modulate coastal wetland responses to climate change.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A658982594