Impacts of temperature and soil characteristics on methane production and oxidation in Arctic tundra

Zheng, Jianqiu; RoyChowdhury, Taniya; Yang, Ziming; Gu, Baohua; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Graham, David E.

Rapid warming of Arctic ecosystems accelerates microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and leads to increased production of carbon dioxide (inline-formulaCO2) and methane (inline-formulaCH4). inline-formulaCH4 oxidation potentially mitigates inline-formulaCH4 emissions from permafrost regions, but it is still highly uncertain whether soils in high-latitude ecosystems will function as a net source or sink for inline-formulaCH4 in response to rising temperature and associated hydrological changes. We investigated inline-formulaCH4 production and oxidation potential in permafrost-affected soils from degraded ice-wedge polygons on the Barrow Environmental Observatory, Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska, USA. Frozen soil cores from flat and high-centered polygons were sectioned into organic, transitional, and permafrost layers, and incubated at inline-formula−2, inline-formula+4 and inline-formula+8 inline-formulaC to determine potential inline-formulaCH4 production and oxidation rates. Significant inline-formulaCH4 production was only observed from the suboxic transition layer and permafrost of flat-centered polygon soil. These two soil sections also exhibited highest inline-formulaCH4 oxidation potentials. Organic soils from relatively dry surface layers had the lowest inline-formulaCH4 oxidation potential compared to saturated transition layer and permafrost, contradicting our original assumptions. Low methanogenesis rates are due to low overall microbial activities measured as total anaerobic respiration and the competing iron-reduction process. Our results suggest that inline-formulaCH4 oxidation could offset inline-formulaCH4 production and limit surface inline-formulaCH4 emissions, in response to elevated temperature, and thus must be considered in model predictions of net inline-formulaCH4 fluxes in Arctic polygonal tundra. Future changes in temperature and soil saturation conditions are likely to divert electron flow to alternative electron acceptors and significantly alter inline-formulaCH4 production, which should also be considered in inline-formulaCH4 models.



Zheng, Jianqiu / RoyChowdhury, Taniya / Yang, Ziming / et al: Impacts of temperature and soil characteristics on methane production and oxidation in Arctic tundra. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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