Gross photosynthesis explains the ‘artificial bias’ of methane fluxes by static chamber (opaque versus transparent) at the hummocks in a boreal peatland

Luan, Junwei and Wu, Jianghua (2014) Gross photosynthesis explains the ‘artificial bias’ of methane fluxes by static chamber (opaque versus transparent) at the hummocks in a boreal peatland. Environmental Research Letters, 9 (10). ISSN 1748-9326

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The closed chamber technique has been widely employed to detect methane emissions, despite little being known about whether the absence or presence of light will impact the flux estimation. Here, we employed a laser greenhouse gas analyzer with an opaque—transparent chamber pair to measure the methane emission rate in a boreal peatland complex. Microtopography (i.e., hummocks and hollows) in natural and drained peatlands, and plant communities (i.e., grasses and shrubs) in a pasture converted from natural peatlands, were considered to cover the local heterogeneity. Our results indicated that opaque chambers (0.58–0.78 g CH4 m−2 during the growing season) measured a significantly higher (∼2–3 times) methane emission at the hummocks than transparent chambers (∼0.24 g CH4 m−2); however, a similar phenomenon was not found at the hollows or at other measurement plots. Gross photosynthesis explained 44%–47% of the temporal variation of the ‘artificial bias’ (the difference in methane flux obtained by the opaque versus transparent chambers) at the hummocks. Additionally, both water table depth and surface soil moisture significantly explained spatial variations of methane emissions. Our study suggests that microtopography has a significant influence on the artificial bias in methane emission estimation and the artificial properties of a chamber (transparency/opacity) method can be vitally important in some cases (i.e., hummocks), and negligible in others (i.e., hollows). The observed connection between the photosynthesis process and the ‘artificial bias’ of closed chambers (opaque versus transparent) can be used to improve methane flux modeling. Separate parameterization schemes are needed for methane transportation under the presence or absence of light.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 11772
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: methane oxidation, Sphagnum moss, microtopography, oxygen recycling, transparent chambers, opaque chambers, boreal peatlands
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Sustainable Resource Management
Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Sustainable Resource Management
Date: 14 October 2014
Date Type: Publication
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