Ecosystem feedbacks from subarctic wetlands: vegetative and atmospheric CO2 controls on greenhouse gas emissions
Other literature type
Bridgman, Matthew J.
Lomax, Barry H.
Wetland vegetation provide strong controls on greenhouse gas fluxes but impacts of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) levels on greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands are poorly understood. This study aims to investigate if elevated atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> enhance methane (CH<sub>4</sub>) emissions from subarctic wetlands and to determine if responses are comparable or species specific within the Cyperaceae, an important group of artic wetland plants. To achieve this we carried out a combined field and laboratory investigation to measure of CO<sub>2</sub> and CH<sub>4</sub> fluxes. The wetland was a CH<sub>4</sub> source with comparable fluxes from areas with and without vegetation and across the different sedge communities. In contrast, the net ecosystem exchange of CO<sub>2</sub> differed with sedge species. Within the laboratory experiment plants grown at double ambient (800 ppm) CO<sub>2</sub>, total biomass of <i>Eriophorum vaginatum</i> and <i>Carex brunnescens</i> increased, whereas the total biomass of <i>E. angustifolium</i> and <i>C. acuta</i> decreased, compared to the control (400 ppm CO<sub>2</sub>). These changes in biomass were associated with corresponding changes in CH<sub>4</sub> flux. <i>E. vaginatum</i> and <i>C. brunnescens</i> mesocosms produced more CH<sub>4</sub> when grown in 800 ppm atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> when compared to 400 ppm CO<sub>2</sub> with <i>E. angustifolium</i> and <i>C. acuta</i> producing less. Additionally, redox potential and carbon substrate availability in the pore water differed among the plant treatments and in response to the elevated CO<sub>2</sub> treatment. Together, this suggests species specific controls of CH<sub>4</sub> emissions in response to elevated CO<sub>2</sub>, which facilitate differential plant growth responses and modification of the rhizosphere environments. Our study highlights species composition as an important control of greenhouse gas feedbacks in a CO<sub>2</sub> rich future, which need to be considered in models aiming to predict how ecosystems respond to climate change.