Rhizosphere to the atmosphere: contrasting methane pathways, fluxes, and geochemical drivers across the terrestrial–aquatic wetland boundary

Published: 18-04-2019| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/st4vyjc73f.1
Luke Jeffrey


Here we collected a data set to test whether the geochemical drivers of sedimentary methane were correlated with methane fluxes, from different vegetation/ wetland sites in a remediated subtropical Australian wetland. Our abstract is as follows: Although wetlands represent the largest natural source of atmospheric CH4, large uncertainties remain regarding the global wetland CH4 flux. Wetland hydrological oscillations contribute to this uncertainty, dramatically altering wetland area, water table height, soil redox potentials and CH4 emissions. This study compares both terrestrial and aquatic CH4 fluxes in permanent and seasonal remediated freshwater wetlands in subtropical Australia over two field campaigns, representing differing hydrological and climatic conditions. We account for aquatic CH4 diffusion and ebullition rates, and plant-mediated CH4 fluxes from three distinct vegetation communities, thereby examining diel and intra-habitat variability. CH4 emission rates were related to underlying sediment geochemistry. For example, distinct negative relationships between CH4 fluxes and both Fe(III) and SO42- were observed. Where sediment Fe(III) and SO42- were depleted, distinct positive trends occurred between CH4 emissions and Fe(II) / acid volatile sulphur (AVS). Significantly higher CH4 emissions (p<0.01) of the seasonal wetland were measured during flooded conditions and always during daylight hours, which is consistent with soil redox potential and temperature being important co-drivers of CH4 flux. The highest CH4 fluxes were consistently emitted from the permanent wetland (1.5 to 10.5 mmol m-2 d-1), followed by the Phragmites australis community within the seasonal wetland (0.8 to 2.3 mmol m-2 d-1), whilst the lowest CH4 fluxes came from a region of forested Juncus sp. (-0.01 to 0.1 mmol m-2 d-1) which also corresponded with the highest sedimentary Fe(III) and SO42-. We suggest that wetland remediation strategies should consider geochemical profiles to help to mitigate excessive and unwanted methane emissions, especially during early system remediation periods.