Greenhouse gas fluxes from salt marshes exposed to chronic nutrient enrichment

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We assessed the impact of nutrient additions on greenhouse gas fluxes using dark static chambers in a microtidal and a macrotidal marsh along the coast of New Brunswick, Canada approximately monthly over a year. Both were experimentally fertilized for six years with varying levels of N and P. For unfertilized, N and NPK treatments, average yearly CO2 emissions (which represent only respiration) at the microtidal marsh (13, 19, and 28 mmoles CO2 m-2 hr-1, respectively) were higher than at the macrotidal marsh (12, 15, and 19 mmoles m-2 hr-1, respectively, with a flux under the additional high N/low P treatment of 21 mmoles m-2 hr-1). Response of CH4 to fertilization was more variable. At the macrotidal marsh average yearly fluxes were 1.29, 1.26, and 0.77 μmol CH4 m-2 hr-1 with control, N, and NPK treatments, respectively and 1.21 μmol m-2 hr-1 under high N/low P treatment. At the microtidal marsh CH4fluxes were 0.23, 0.16, and -0.24 μmol CH4 m-2 hr-1 in control, N, and NPK and treatments, respectively. Fertilization changed soils from sinks to sources of N2O. Average yearly N2O fluxes at the macrotidal marsh were -0.07, 0.08, and 1.70, μmol N2O m-2 hr-1 in control, N, NPK and treatments, respectively and 0.35 μmol m-2 hr-1 under high N/low P treatment. For the control, N, and NPK treatments at the microtidal marsh N2O fluxes were -0.05, 0.30, and 0.52 μmol N2O m-2 hr-1, respectively. Our results indicate that N2O fluxes are likely to vary with the source of pollutant nutrients but emissions will be lower if N is not accompanied by an adequate supply of P (e.g., atmospheric deposition vs sewage or agricultural runoff). With chronic fertilization the global warming potential of the increased N2O emissions may be enough to offset the global cooling potential of the C sequestered by salt marshes.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Greenhouse gas fluxes from salt marshes exposed to chronic nutrient enrichment
Series title PLoS ONE
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0149937
Volume 11
Issue 2
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher PLOS
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description e0149937; 13 p.
Country Canada
State New Brunswick
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