Tropical/Subtropical Peatland Development and Global CH4 during the Last Glaciation.
ABSTRACT: Knowledge of peatland development over the tropical/subtropical zone during the last glaciation is critical for understanding the glacial global methane cycle. Here we present a well-dated 'peat deposit-lake sediment' alternate sequence at Tengchong, southwestern China, and discuss the peatland development and its linkage to the global glacial methane cycle. Peat layers were formed during the cold Marine Isotope Stage (MIS)-2 and -4, whereas lake sediments coincided with the relatively warm MIS-3, which is possibly related to the orbital/suborbital variations in both temperature and Asian summer monsoon intensity. The Tengchong peatland formation pattern is broadly synchronous with those over subtropical southern China and other tropical/subtropical areas, but it is clearly in contrast to those over the mid-high Northern Hemisphere. The results of this work suggest that the shifts of peatland development between the tropical/subtropical zone and mid-high Northern Hemisphere may have played important roles in the glacial/interglacial global atmospheric CH4 cycles.
Project description:Glacial-interglacial variations in CO2 and methane in polar ice cores have been attributed, in part, to changes in global wetland extent, but the wetland distribution before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 21 ka to 18 ka) remains virtually unknown. We present a study of global peatland extent and carbon (C) stocks through the last glacial cycle (130 ka to present) using a newly compiled database of 1,063 detailed stratigraphic records of peat deposits buried by mineral sediments, as well as a global peatland model. Quantitative agreement between modeling and observations shows extensive peat accumulation before the LGM in northern latitudes (>40°N), particularly during warmer periods including the last interglacial (130 ka to 116 ka, MIS 5e) and the interstadial (57 ka to 29 ka, MIS 3). During cooling periods of glacial advance and permafrost formation, the burial of northern peatlands by glaciers and mineral sediments decreased active peatland extent, thickness, and modeled C stocks by 70 to 90% from warmer times. Tropical peatland extent and C stocks show little temporal variation throughout the study period. While the increased burial of northern peats was correlated with cooling periods, the burial of tropical peat was predominately driven by changes in sea level and regional hydrology. Peat burial by mineral sediments represents a mechanism for long-term terrestrial C storage in the Earth system. These results show that northern peatlands accumulate significant C stocks during warmer times, indicating their potential for C sequestration during the warming Anthropocene.
Project description:Tropical peatland ecosystems are a significant component of the global carbon cycle and feature a range of distinct vegetation types, but the extent of links between contrasting plant species, peat biogeochemistry and greenhouse gas fluxes remains unclear. Here we assessed how vegetation affects small scale variation of tropical peatland carbon dynamics by quantifying in situ greenhouse gas emissions over 1 month using the closed chamber technique, and peat organic matter properties using Rock-Eval 6 pyrolysis within the rooting zones of canopy palms and broadleaved evergreen trees. Mean methane fluxes ranged from 0.56 to 1.2 mg m-2 h-1 and were significantly greater closer to plant stems. In addition, pH, ranging from 3.95 to 4.16, was significantly greater closer to stems. A three pool model of organic matter thermal stability (labile, intermediate and passive pools) indicated a large labile pool in surface peat (35-42%), with equivalent carbon stocks of 2236-3065 g m-2. Methane fluxes were driven by overall substrate availability rather than any specific carbon pool. No peat properties correlated with carbon dioxide fluxes, suggesting a significant role for root respiration, aerobic decomposition and/or methane oxidation. These results demonstrate how vegetation type and inputs, and peat organic matter properties are important determinants of small scale spatial variation of methane fluxes in tropical peatlands that are affected by climate and land use change.
Project description:Methylocystis heyeri H2T is an aerobic facultative methanotroph which was isolated from an acidic Sphagnum peat bog lake and is a common inhabitant of peatland ecosystems. This bacterium possesses two particulate methane monooxygenases with low and high affinity to methane and a number of genomic adaptations to acidic conditions.
Project description:We analysed changes in mean annual air temperature (MAAT), vegetation and biomass burning on a long and continuous lake-peat sediment record from the Colônia basin, southeastern Brazil, examining the responses of a wet tropical rainforest over the last 180 ka. Stronger southern atmospheric circulation up to the latitude of Colônia was found for the penultimate glacial with lower temperatures than during the last glacial, while strengthening of the South American summer monsoon (SASM) circulation started during the last interglacial and progressively enhanced a longer wet summer season from 95 ka until the present. Past MAAT variations and fire history were possibly modulated by eccentricity, although with signatures which differ in average and in amplitude between the last 180 ka. Vegetation responses were driven by the interplay between the SASM and southern circulation linked to Antarctic ice volume, inferred by the presence of a cool mixed evergreen forest from 180 to 45 ka progressively replaced by a rainforest. We report cooler temperatures during the marine isotope stage 3 (MIS 3: 57-29 ka) than during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM: 23-19 ka). Our findings show that tropical forest dynamics display different patterns than mid-latitude during the last 180 ka.
Project description:Sphagnum microbiomes play an important role in the northern peatland ecosystems. However, information about above and belowground microbiomes related to Sphagnum at subtropical area remains largely limited. In this study, microbial communities from Sphagnum palustre peat, S. palustre green part, and S. palustre brown part at the Dajiuhu Peatland, in central China were investigated via 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Results indicated that Alphaproteobacteria was the dominant class in all samples, and the classes Acidobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria were abundant in S. palustre peat and S. palustre brown part samples, respectively. In contrast, the class Cyanobacteria dominated in S. palustre green part samples. Microhabitat differentiation mainly contributes to structural differences of bacterial microbiome. In the S. palustre peat, microbial communities were significantly shaped by water table and total nitrogen content. Our study is a systematical investigation on above and belowground bacterial microbiome in a subalpine Sphagnum peatland and the results offer new knowledge about the distribution of bacterial microbiome associated with different microhabitats in subtropical area.
Project description:Tropical peatlands now emit hundreds of megatons of carbon dioxide per year because of human disruption of the feedbacks that link peat accumulation and groundwater hydrology. However, no quantitative theory has existed for how patterns of carbon storage and release accompanying growth and subsidence of tropical peatlands are affected by climate and disturbance. Using comprehensive data from a pristine peatland in Brunei Darussalam, we show how rainfall and groundwater flow determine a shape parameter (the Laplacian of the peat surface elevation) that specifies, under a given rainfall regime, the ultimate, stable morphology, and hence carbon storage, of a tropical peatland within a network of rivers or canals. We find that peatlands reach their ultimate shape first at the edges of peat domes where they are bounded by rivers, so that the rate of carbon uptake accompanying their growth is proportional to the area of the still-growing dome interior. We use this model to study how tropical peatland carbon storage and fluxes are controlled by changes in climate, sea level, and drainage networks. We find that fluctuations in net precipitation on timescales from hours to years can reduce long-term peat accumulation. Our mathematical and numerical models can be used to predict long-term effects of changes in temporal rainfall patterns and drainage networks on tropical peatland geomorphology and carbon storage.
Project description:The response of methanogens to thawing permafrost is an important factor for the global greenhouse gas budget. We tracked methanogenic community structure, activity, and abundance along the degradation of sub-Arctic palsa peatland permafrost. We observed the development of pronounced methane production, release, and abundance of functional (mcrA) methanogenic gene numbers following the transitions from permafrost (palsa) to thaw pond structures. This was associated with the establishment of a methanogenic community consisting both of hydrogenotrophic (Methanobacterium, Methanocellales), and potential acetoclastic (Methanosarcina) members and their activity. While peat bog development was not reflected in significant changes of mcrA copy numbers, potential methane production, and rates of methane release decreased. This was primarily linked to a decline of potential acetoclastic in favor of hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Although palsa peatland succession offers similarities with typical transitions from fen to bog ecosystems, the observed dynamics in methane fluxes and methanogenic communities are primarily attributed to changes within the dominant Bryophyta and Cyperaceae taxa rather than to changes in peat moss and sedge coverage, pH and nutrient regime. Overall, the palsa peatland methanogenic community was characterized by a few dominant operational taxonomic units (OTUs). These OTUs seem to be indicative for methanogenic species that thrive in terrestrial organic rich environments. In summary, our study shows that after an initial stage of high methane emissions following permafrost thaw, methane fluxes, and methanogenic communities establish that are typical for northern peat bogs.
Project description:Peatland restoration can have several objectives, for example re-establishing the natural habitat, supporting unique biodiversity attributes or re-initiating key biogeochemical processes, which can ultimately lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Every restoration measure, however, is itself a disturbance to the ecosystem.Here, we examine an ecosystem shift in a coastal fen at the southern Baltic Sea which was rewetted by flooding. The analyses are based on one year of bi-weekly closed chamber measurements of methane fluxes gathered at spots located in different vegetation stands. During measurement campaigns, we recorded data on water levels, peat temperatures, and chemical properties of peat water. In addition we analyzed the first 20 cm of peat before and after flooding for dry bulk density (DBD), content of organic matter and total amounts of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S), and other nutrients.Rewetting turned the site from a summer dry fen into a shallow lake with water levels up to 0.60 m. We observed a substantial die-back of vegetation, especially in stands of sedges (Carex acutiformis Ehrh). Concentrations of total organic carbon and nitrogen in the peat water, as well as dry bulk density and concentrations of C, N and S in the peat increased. In the first year after rewetting, the average annual exchange of methane amounted to 0.26 ± 0.06 kg m-2. This is equivalent to a 190-times increase in methane compared to pre-flooding conditions. Highest methane fluxes occurred in sedge stands which suffered from the heaviest die-back. None of the recorded environmental variables showed consistent relationships with the amounts of methane exchanged.Our results suggest that rewetting projects should be monitored not only with regard to vegetation development but also with respect to biogeochemical conditions. Further, high methane emissions that likely occur directly after rewetting by flooding should be considered when forecasting the overall effect of rewetting on GHG exchange.
Project description:The nature and extent to which hydrological changes induced by the Asian summer monsoon affected key biogeochemical processes remain poorly defined. This study explores the relationship between peatland drying and carbon cycling on centennial timescales in central China using lipid biomarkers. The difference between peat n-alkane ?2H and a nearby stalagmite ?18O record reveals that intervals of prominent peatland drying occurred during the mid-Holocene. Synchronous with these drier conditions, leaf wax ?13C values show large negative excursions, with the utilization of CO2 respired from the peatland subsurface for plant photosynthesis being a possible mechanism. Crucially, successive drying events appear to have had a cumulative impact on the susceptibility of peat carbon stores to climate change. Concurrently, bacterially derived hopane ?13C values suggest the occurrence of enhanced methane oxidation during the drier periods. Collectively, these observations expand our understanding of how respiration and degradation of peat are enhanced during drying events.
Project description:Millennial-scale cooling events termed Heinrich Stadials punctuated Northern Hemisphere climate during the last glacial period. Latitudinal shifts of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) are thought to have rapidly propagated these abrupt climatic signals southward, influencing the evolution of Southern Hemisphere climates and contributing to major reorganisation of the global ocean-atmosphere system. Here, we use neodymium isotopes from a marine sediment core to reconstruct the hydroclimatic evolution of subtropical Australia between 90 to 20 thousand years ago. We find a strong correlation between our sediment provenance proxy data and records for western Pacific tropical precipitations and Australian palaeolakes, which indicates that Northern Hemisphere cooling phases were accompanied by pronounced excursions of the ITCZ and associated rainfall as far south as about 32°S. Comparatively, however, each of these humid periods lasted substantially longer than the mean duration of Heinrich Stadials, overlapping with subsequent warming phases of the southern high-latitudes recorded in Antarctic ice cores. In addition to ITCZ-driven hydroclimate forcing, we infer that changes in Southern Ocean climate also played an important role in regulating late glacial atmospheric patterns of the Southern Hemisphere subtropical regions.