Peatland Diversity and Carbon Dynamics (September 2010)

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  • Good background data, long-term measurements
  • Driven by hydrology
  • More productive! Gullies!
  • Measuring ecosystem function: GHG fluxes
  • Significant differences in methane flux between all landforms (ANOVA, p < 0.001)
  • Peatland Diversity and Carbon Dynamics (September 2010)

    1. 1. PeatlandDiversity and Carbon Dynamics<br />Mike Whitfield<br />Nick Ostle, Richard Bardgett, Rebekka Artz<br />miit@ceh.ac.uk | www.mikewhitfield.co.uk<br />
    2. 2. Background:<br />Peatlands and climate change<br /> Above- and below-ground links<br />Research:<br />Plant and soil diversity<br />Peatland carbon stocks<br />Greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O)<br />Conclusions<br />
    3. 3. Introduction: Peatlands<br />Globally, peatlands constitute 25 – 30% of the soil carbon pool<br />Climate warming is projected to be greatest over high northern latitudes, coincidental with a high proportion of the world’s peatlands<br />Roughly 8% of UK is covered with blanket peat moorland<br />Map data: Jones et al. 2005: Estimating organic carbon in the soils of Europe for policy support. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2005.00728.x<br />
    4. 4. Introduction: Climate-Carbon Feedback Uncertainty<br />Estimates of global soil organic carbon stocks range between 700 – 2946 x 1012kg<br />Need reliable estimates based on upscaling processes from small to larger scales to resolve uncertainty.<br />‘Bucket and slab’ peatland models<br />What about the biological functioning?<br />?<br />
    5. 5. Introduction: Linking Plant and Soil Biodiversity<br />Growing evidence of feedbacks between the biosphere and global biogeochamical cycles.<br />Plant-soil interactions lie at the heart of these feedbacks.<br />Climate change and land use are powerful drivers of change in plant diversity. <br />What will the implications be?<br />Pendall et al. 2008<br />
    6. 6. Main Questions<br />Are there any relationships between plant diversity-abundance and microbial community structure at the landscape scale?<br />Can these relationships be used to predict ecosystem scale greenhouse gas emissions?<br />How little do I need to know about biodiversity to predict ecosystem C cycling and GHG emissions?<br />
    7. 7. Field Site: Trout Beck, Moor House, north Pennines<br />Area: 1146 ha<br />Altitudinal range: 535 – 848m<br />90% blanket peat<br />
    8. 8. Upscaling Peatland Carbon Dynamics<br />Survey of peatland condition (plant-soil diversity and carbon stocks)<br />Measurement of peatland GHG function<br />Statistical analyses and spatial modelling of both (LiDAR, image classification and geostatistics (e.g. regression kriging)<br />…to predict carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas fluxes at the ecosystem scale<br />
    9. 9. Peat Bog Landforms<br />
    10. 10. Methodology: soil-sampling<br /><ul><li>Large-scale vegetation survey (419 quadrats)
    11. 11. Species presence and percentage cover
    12. 12. Vegetation height at 3 in-plot locations
    13. 13. Habitat context
    14. 14. Topography: aspect, slope
    15. 15. Peat depth</li></ul>Soil C and N<br />PLFA<br />T-RFLP<br />
    16. 16. Methodology: soil-sampling<br />Spatial distribution of soil sampling<br />Coring locations randomly selected based on membership of landform (OM, EA, GU) and depth (0-100, 100-200, 200-300cm) categories<br />Microbial community sampling:<br />Three depths within each core<br />Based on mean water table conditions derived from published and unpublished data<br />0-5cm: Acrotelm<br />15-20cm: Mesotelm<br />75-80cm: Catotelm<br />
    17. 17. Landscape Survey Results<br />Open moorland: 52%<br />Eroded areas: 11%<br />Gullies: 12%<br />
    18. 18. Above-ground: Vegetation Composition<br />
    19. 19. Below-ground: Peat Depths<br />Deepest peat under open moorland<br />Kruskal-Wallis test indicates significant differences between landform types (p < 0.001)<br />
    20. 20. Below-ground: Carbon Stocks<br />Significantly lower CN ratio in gullies(ANOVA, f =34.6, p <0.001)<br />Higher C content in gullies<br />(Kruskal-Wallis, p <0.001)<br />
    21. 21. Below-ground: Microbial community<br />Significant differences between landforms for Actinobacterial and Total PLFA (Kruskal-Wallis tests: p <0.001 and p = 0.005 respectively)<br />Perhaps reflecting lack of plant inputs on bare peat in eroding areas…<br />
    22. 22. Below-ground: Microbial community<br />Significant difference in vegetation cover between landforms (ANOVA, p <0.001)<br />a<br />a<br />b<br />
    23. 23. Greenhouse Gas Fluxes: Experimental Design<br />What are the differences in greenhouse gas fluxes between landforms?<br />36 chambers on fixed plots<br />3 landforms<br />3 depth classes<br />4 replicates<br />CO2<br />CH4<br />N2O<br />
    24. 24. Greenhouse Gas Fluxes: Experimental Design<br />Monthly sampling using static dome chambers, Infra-Red Gas Analysers (IRGAs) and gas chromatography<br />Continuous landform hydrology and temperature measured using automated dip wells<br />Seasonal sampling for C and N, microbial PLFA and T-RFLP<br />4 months in, 8 to go!<br />Image: Sue Ward<br />
    25. 25. Greenhouse Gas Fluxes: Preliminary Results<br />Photosynthesis<br />Respiration (plant and soil)<br />Respiration (soil only)<br />
    26. 26. Upscaling Peatland Carbon Dynamics to the Ecosystem Scale<br />
    27. 27. Conclusions so far…<br /><ul><li>Are there any relationships between plant diversity-abundance and microbial community structure at the landscape scale?
    28. 28. Can these relationships be used to predict ecosystem scale greenhouse gas emissions?
    29. 29. How little do I need to know about biodiversity to predict ecosystem C cycling and GHG emissions?</li></li></ul><li>Acknowledgements<br />This talk can be downloaded from www.mikewhitfield.co.uk<br />Many thanks to:<br />Catherine Turner, Sean Case, Simon Oakley, Susan Ward, Sergio Menendez Villanueva, Harriett Rea, Paula Reimer, David Beilman and Nicola Thompson<br />This presentation was part-funded by the British Society for Soil Science. Mike Whitfield is supported by a Natural Environment Research Council CASE studentship.<br />

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