Wetland Microtopography Alters Response Of Potential Net Co2 And Ch4 Production To Temperature And Moisture: Evidence From A Laboratory Experiment

  • Sites: US-NC4
  • Minick, K. J., Mitra, B., Li, X., Fischer, M., Aguilos, M., Prajapati, P., Noormets, A., King, J. S. (2021/11) Wetland Microtopography Alters Response Of Potential Net Co2 And Ch4 Production To Temperature And Moisture: Evidence From A Laboratory Experiment, Geoderma, 402(), 115367. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115367
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  • Coastal wetlands store significant amounts of carbon (C) belowground, which may be altered through effects of rising temperature and changing hydrology on CO2 and CH4 fluxes and related microbial activities. Wetland microtopography (hummock-hollow) also plays a critical role in mediating plant growth, microbial activity, and thus cycling of C and nutrients and may interact with rising seas to influence coastal wetland C dynamics. Recent evidence suggests that CH4 production in oxygenated surface soils of freshwater wetlands may contribute substantially to global CH4 production, but comprehensive studies linking potential CH4 production to environmental and microbial variables in temperate freshwater forested wetlands are lacking. This study investigated effects of temperature, moisture, and microtopography on potential net CO2 and CH4 production and extracellular enzyme activity (β-glucosidase, xylosidase, phenol oxidase, and peroxidase) in peat soils collected from a freshwater forested wetland in coastal North Carolina, USA. Soils were retrieved from three microsites (hummock, hollow, and subsurface peat soils (approximately 20–40 cm below surface)) and incubated at two temperatures (27 ◦C and 32 ◦C) and soil water contents (65% and 100% water holding capacity (WHC)). Hummocks had the highest cumulative potential net CO2 (13.7 ± 0.90 mg CO2-C g soil−1) and CH4 (1.8 ± 0.42 mg CH4-C g soil−1) production and enzyme activity, followed by hollows (8.7 ± 0.91 mg CO2-C g soil−1 and 0.5 ± 0.12 mg CH4-C g soil−1) and then subsurface soils (5.7 ± 0.70 mg CO2-C g soil−1 and 0.04 ± 0.019 mg CH4-C g soil−1). Fully saturated soils had lower potential net CO2 production (50–80%) and substantially higher potential net CH4 production compared to non-saturated soils (those incubated at 65% WHC). Soils incubated at 32 ◦C increased potential net CO2 (24–34%) and CH4 (56–404%) production under both soil moisture levels compared to those incubated at 27 ◦C. The Q10 values for potential net CO2 and CH4 production ranged from 1.5 to 2.3 and 3.3–8.8, respectively, and did not differ between any microsites or soil water content. Enrichment of δ13CO2-C was found in saturated soils from all microsites (−24.4 to − 29.7 ‰) compared to non-saturated soils (−31.1 to − 32.4 ‰), while δ13CH4-C ranged from −62 to −55‰ in saturated soils. Together, the CO2 and CH4 δ13C data suggest that acetoclastic methanogenesis is an important pathway for CH4 production in these wetlands. A positive relationship (Adj. R2 = 0.40) between peroxidase activity and CH4 production was also found, indicating that peroxidase activity may be important in providing fermented C substrates to acetoclastic methanogenic communities and contribute to anaerobic C mineralization. These results suggest that changes in temperature and hydrology could stimulate CO2 and CH4 emissions from surface hummock soils, and to a lesser extent from hollow soils, and provide preliminary evidence that hummocks may be a spatially important and unrecognized hotspot for CH4 production.

  • https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115367