Aquatic herbivores facilitate the emission of methane from wetlands

Article English OPEN
Dingemans, B.J.J. ; Bakker, E.S. ; Bodelier, P.L.E. (2011)

Wetlands are significant sources of atmospheric methane. Methane produced by microbes enters roots and escapes to the atmosphere through the shoots of emergent wetland plants. Herbivorous birds graze on helophytes, but their effect on methane emission remains unknown. We hypothesized that grazing on shoots of wetland plants can modulate methane emission from wetlands. Diffusive methane emission was monitored inside and outside bird exclosures, using static flux chambers placed over whole vegetation and over single shoots. Both methods showed significantly higher methane release from grazed vegetation. Surface-based diffusive methane emission from grazed plots was up to five times higher compared to exclosures. The absence of an effect on methane-cycling microbial processes indicated that this modulating effect acts on the gas transport by the plants. Modulation of methane emission by animal–plant–microbe interactions deserves further attention considering the increasing bird populations and changes in wetland vegetation as a consequence of changing land use and climate change.
  • References (46)
    46 references, page 1 of 5

    Venturi-induced convections in Phragmites australis (Cav) Trin ex Steud. Aquatic Botany 54:177-197.

    Aselmann, I., and P. J. Crutzen. 1989. Global distribution of natural fresh-water wetlands and rice paddies, their net primary productivity, seasonality and possible methane emissions. Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry 8:307-358.

    Bairlein, F., and O. Huppop. 2004. Migratory fuelling and global climate change. Pages 33-47 in A. P. Moller, W. Fielder, and P. Berthold, editors. Birds and climate change. Advances in Ecological Research 35.

    Bart, J., and S. Earnst. 1991. Use of wetlands by grazing waterfowl in northern Alaska during late summer. Journal of Wildlife Management 55:564-568.

    Bergstrom, I., S. Makela, P. Kankaala, and P. Kortelainen. 2007. Methane efflux from littoral vegetation stands of southern boreal lakes: an upscaled regional estimate. Atmospheric Environment 41:339-351.

    Bodelier, P. L. E., and P. Frenzel. 1999. Contribution of methanotrophic and nitrifying bacteria to CH4 and NH4þ oxidation in the rhizosphere of rice plants as determined by new methods of discrimination. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 65:1826-1833.

    Bodelier, P. L. E., A. P. Hahn, I. R. Arth, and P. Frenzel. 2000. Effects of ammonium-based fertilisation on microbial processes involved in methane emission from soils planted with rice. Biogeochemistry 51:225-257.

    Bodelier, P. L. E., M. Stomp, L. Santamaria, M. Klaassen, and H. J. Laanbroek. 2006. Animal-plant-microbe interactions: direct and indirect effects of swan foraging behaviour modulate methane cycling in temperate shallow wetlands. Oecologia 149:233-244.

    Bohning-Gaese, K., and N. Lemoine. 2004. Importance of climate change for the ranges, communities and conservation of birds. Pages 211-236 in A. P. Moller, W. Fielder, and P. Berthold, editors. Birds and climate change. Advances in Ecological Research 35.

    Boorman, L. A., and R. M. Fuller. 1981. The changing status of reedswamp in the Norfolk broads. Journal of Applied Ecology 18:241-269.

  • Related Research Results (1)
  • Similar Research Results (1)
  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark

  • Download from
    KNAW Repository via NARCIS (Article, 2011)
  • Cite this publication