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Impact of water table depth on forest soil methane turnover in laboratory soil cores deduced from natural abundance and tracer 13C stable isotope experiments.

McNamara, Niall P. and Chamberlain, Paul M. and Piearce, Trevor G. and Sleep, Darren and Black, Helaina I. and Reay, David S. and Ineson, Phil (2006) Impact of water table depth on forest soil methane turnover in laboratory soil cores deduced from natural abundance and tracer 13C stable isotope experiments. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 42 (4). pp. 379-390. ISSN 1477-2639

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Abstract

We investigated turnover of methane (CH4) in soils from a poorly drained UK forest. In situ, this forest exhibited a negligible soil-atmosphere CH4 flux, whereas adjacent grassland plots were sources of CH4. We hypothesised that the forest plots exhibited reduced anaerobic CH4 production through water-table draw down. Consequently, we exposed soil cores from under oak to high and low water-table conditions in the laboratory. Methane fluxes increased significantly in the high water-table (1925±1702 μg CH4 m-2 h-1) compared to the low one (-3.5±6.8 μg CH4 m-2 h-1). Natural abundance δ13C values of CH4 showed a strong depletion in high water-table cores (-56.7±2.9 ‰) compared to methane in ambient air (-46.0 ‰) indicative of methanogenic processes. The δ13C values of CH4 from low water-table cores (δ13C-46.8±0.2 ‰) was similar to ambient air and suggested little alteration of headspace CH4 by the soil microbial community. In order to assess the CH4 oxidizing activity of the two treatments conclusively, a 13CH4 spike was added to the cores and 13CO2 production was measured as the by-product of CH4 oxidation. 13CH4 oxidation rates were 57.5 (±12.7) and 0.5 (±0.1) μg CH4 m-2 h-1 for high and low water-tables, respectively. These data show that the lower water-table hydrology treatment impacted methanogenic processes without stimulating methanotrophy.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carbon-13 ; Forest ; Methane ; Soil ; Turnover ; Water table
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 9288
Deposited By: Dr Trevor G Piearce
Deposited On: 04 Jun 2008 09:41
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 18:34
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/9288

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