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Physiological control of leaf methane emission from wetland plants
Garnet, K.N.; Megonigal, J.P.; Litchfield, C.; Taylor Jr., G.E. (2005). Physiological control of leaf methane emission from wetland plants. Aquat. Bot. 81(2): 141-155. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2004.10.003
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Leaves; Methane; Physiology; Plant physiology; Rhizomes; Transport processes; Wetlands; Juncus L. [WoRMS]; Juncus effusus; Orontium aquaticum; Peltandra virginica; Taxodium distichum; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Garnet, K.N.
  • Megonigal, J.P.
  • Litchfield, C.
  • Taylor Jr., G.E.

Abstract
    The transport of methane from the rhizosphere to the atmosphere takes place in the intercellular spaces and stomata of wetland plants, and foliar gas exchange is one of the critical steps of the transport process. The objectives of our research were to investigate: (i) variation in foliar gas exchange among four common wetland plant species (i.e., Peltandra virginica L., Orontium aquaticum L., Juncus effusus L., and Taxodium distichum L.), (ii) the role of key environmental factors (i.e., light, temperature, and carbon dioxide concentration) in controlling foliar methane emission, and (iii) physiological mechanisms underlying the variation in methane emission due to species and the environment. Experiments were conducted in an instantaneous, flow-through gas-exchange system that operated on a mass balance approach and concurrently measured foliar fluxes of methane, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. The chamber system allowed for the control of light, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration. Diel patterns of methane emission varied among species, with daylight emissions from P. virginica and O. aquaticum 2-4 times those of J. effusus and T. distichum in saturating light. Foliar methane emission from P. virginica (1.80 µmol m-2 s-1) under ambient daylight conditions was an order of magnitude higher than that of the other three species (0.20 µmol m-2 s-1). As leaf temperature was increased by 10°C, methane emission increased by a factor of 1.5-2.2, and the temperature effect was independent of stomatal conductance. When data were pooled among the four species, varying the light and carbon dioxide concentrations in a stepwise manner produced changes in foliar methane emission that were associated with stomatal conductance (r2 = 0.52). To scale our observations to other wetland plant species, a stepwise multiple regression model is offered that incorporates stomatal conductance and net carbon dioxide assimilation to estimate instantaneous methane emission from foliar surfaces. The model indicates that changes in stomatal conductance affect methane emission three times more than equivalent changes in net carbon dioxide assimilation.

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