Influence of vascular plant photosynthetic rate on CH4 emission from peat monoliths from southern boreal Sweden
AbstractPeat monoliths taken from a boreal peatland system were incubated at two different light intensities to investigate the effect of the photosynthetic rate of vascular plants (Eriophorum angustifolium) on net CH4 emission. The experimental set-up consisted of six replicate monoliths as controls and six where the photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) was reduced by 60%. NEP and total system respiration decreased significantly in response to reduced PAR. No significant changes in CH4 emission were found, but two different trends were noted. Methane emissions from the shaded monoliths initially seemed to be higher than emissions from the controls. After approximately four weeks the trend was reversed. The pattern may have been caused by “leakage” of organic compounds from inactivated roots that fueled CH4 production. It is suggested that a new balanced exchange of potential substrate carbon between the plants and the surrounding peat was established. Comparably less easily degradable carbon compounds would then become available for CH4 production. The fact that there appeared to be an effect of decreased carbon flow on CH4 emission is further supported by a tendency for lower concentrations of organic acids in porewater in the shaded monoliths at the end of the experiment. These results indicate a possible lagtime on the order of weeks before changes in photosynthesis rates and NEP have an effect onCH4 emission rates. Nevertheless it confirms the linkage between CO2 and CH4 cycling in wetland ecosystems.
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