Advertisement

Wetlands

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 229–238 | Cite as

Peatlands and global climate change: Insights from comparative studies of sites situated along a latitudinal gradient

  • R. Kelman Wieder
  • Joseph B. Yavitt
Article

Abstract

Sphagnum-dominated peatland ecosystems that are structurally and functionally similar to their boreal and subarctic counterparts are found as far south as West Virginia. Completed, ongoing, and preliminary studies conducted at Bog Run Bog, WV, Bog Lake Bog, MN, and Wetland 307 of the Experimental Lakes Area, Ontario have included 1) a reciprocal transplant of dominant hummock and hollowSphagnum species, examining growth in length, 2) a reciprocal transplant of peat, with periodic retrieval of transplanted samples and analysis of CO2 and CH4 production under anoxic and oxic conditions at field temperature and at 22°C, 3)14C-labeling of vegetation in hollow, hummock, and shrub plots, following the fate of a single day’s photosynthetic fixation through aboveground and belowground components over time, and 4) a preliminary analysis of13C ratios in peat and of the CH4 that is produced and emitted. Collectively, these studies provide support for the premise that comparative studies of northern (cooler climate) and southern (warmer climate) peatland sites may provide insights into potential functional changes in boreal peatlands under predicted scenarios of global climate change.

Key Words

peatlands global climate change latitudinal gradient Sphagnum 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Alperin, M.J., N.E. Blair, D.B. Albert, T.M. Hoehler, and C.S. Martens. 1992. Factors that control the stable carbon isotopic composition of methane produced in an anoxic marine sediment. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 6:271–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold, J.R. and W.F. Libby. 1951. Radiocarbon dates. Science 113:111–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker, R.G.E. and D.J. Boatman. 1989. The relationshipe between some morphological and chemical features ofSphagnum cuspidatum Ehrh. and physical characteristics of the environment. New Phytologist 113:471–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blake, D.T. and F.S. Rowland. 1988. Continuing worldwide increase in tropospheric methane 1978–1987. Science 239:2181–2187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bridgham, S.D. and C.J. Richardson. 1992. Mechanisms controlling soil respiration (CO2 and CH4) in southern peatlands. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 24:1089–1099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bubier, J.L., T.R. Moore, and N.T. Roulet. 1993. Methane emissions from northern wetlands in the midboreal region of northern Ontario, Canada. Ecology 74:2240–2254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cameron, C.C. 1968. Peal. In Mineral Resources of the Appalachian Region, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 580: 136–145.Google Scholar
  8. Cameron, C.C. 1970. Peat resources of the unglaciated uplands along the Allegheny structural front in West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 700D: D153–D162.Google Scholar
  9. Clymo, R.S. 1970. Growth ofSphagnum: Methods of measurement. Journal of Ecology 58:13–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clymo, R.S. and P.M. Hayward. 1982. The ecology ofSphagnum. p. 229–288.In A.J.E. Smith (ed.) Bryophyte Ecology. Chapman and Hall, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  11. Dise, N. 1993. Methane emission from Minnesota peatlands: Spatial and seasonal variability. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7:123–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fung, I., J. John, J. Lerner, E. Matthews, M. Prather, L. Steele, and P. Fraser. 1991. Global budgets of atmospheric methane: Results from a three-dimensional global model synthesis. Journal of Geophysical Research 96:13033–13065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glenn, S., A. Hayes, and T.R. Moore. 1993. Carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from drained-peat soils, southern Quebec. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7:247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gorham, E. 1991. Northern peatlands: Role in the carbon cycle and probable responses to climatic warming. Ecological Applications 1:182–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grotch, S.L. and M.C. MacCracken. 1991 The use of general circulation models to predict regional climatic change. Journal of Climatology 4:286–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Heathwaite, A.L. 1993. Disappearing peat—regenerating peat? The impact of climate change on British peatlands. The Geographical Journal 159:203–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hogenbirk, J.C. and R.W. Wein. 1991. Fire and drought experiments in northern wetlands: A climate change analogue. Canadian Journal of Botany 69:1991–1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hogg, E.H., V.J. Lieffers, and R.W. Wein. 1992. Potential carbon losses from peat profiles: Effects of temperature, drought cycles, and fire. Ecological Applications 2:298–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holland, E.A., C. Coxwell, D.S. Schimel, and D. Valentine. 1993. A model of methane production in soils. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 74:279–280.Google Scholar
  20. Houghton, J.T., G.J. Jenkins, and J.J. Ephraums. 1990. Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.Google Scholar
  21. Kelley, C.A., N.B. Dise, and C.S. Martens. 1992. Temporal variations in the stable carbon isotopic composition of methane emitted from Minnesota peatlands. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 6:263–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Khalil, M.A.K. and R.A. Rasmussen. 1989. Climate-induced feedbacks for global cycles of methane and nitrous oxide. Tellus 41B: 554–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Khalil, M.A.K. and R.A. Rasmussen. 1990. Atmospheric methane: Recent global trends. Environmental Science and Technology 24: 549–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kim, J. and S. Verma. 1992. Soil surface CO2 flux in a Minnesota peatland. Biogeochemistry 18:37–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kooijman, A.M. 1993. On the ecological amplitude of four mire bryophytes: A reciprocal transplant experiment. Lindbergia 18: 19–24.Google Scholar
  26. Malmer, N.. 1992. Peat accumulation and the global carbon cycle. Catena Suppiement 22:97–110.Google Scholar
  27. Marshall, R.B. and J.N. Whiteway. 1985. Automation of an interface between a nitrogen analyzer and an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Analyst (London) 110:867–871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maxwell, J.A. and M.B. Davis. 1972. Pollen evidence of Pleistocene and Holocene vegetation of the Allegheny Plateau, Maryland. Quaternary Research 2:506–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McDonald, B.R. 1985. Wetlands of West Virginia: Location and Classification. West Virginia Heritage Wildlife/Heritage Data Base, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Elkins, WV, USA.Google Scholar
  30. Moore, T.R. and N.T. Roulet. 1993. Methane flux: Water table relations in northern wetlands. Geophysical Research Letters 20: 587–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nisbet, E.G. 1989. Some northern sources of atmospheric methane: Production, history, and future implications. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 26:1603–1611.Google Scholar
  32. Post, W.M. (ed.) 1990. Report of a Workshop on the Climate Feedbacks and the Role of Peatlands Tundra, and Boreal Ecosystems in the Global Carbon Cycle. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, USA. ORNL/TM-11457.Google Scholar
  33. Roulet, N.T., T. Moore, J. Bubier, and P. Lafleur. 1992a. Northern fens: Methane flux and climatic change. Tellus 44B:100–105.Google Scholar
  34. Roulet, N.T., R. Ash, and T.R. Moore. 1992b. Low boreal wetlands as a source of atmospheric methane. Journal of Geophysical Research 97:3739–3749.Google Scholar
  35. Rydin, H. 1993. Interspecific competition betweenSphagnum mosses on a raised bog. Oikos 66:413–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. SAS. 1990. SAS Procedures Guide, Version 6, Third edition. SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  37. Shurpali, N.J., S.B. Verma, R.J. Clement, and D.P. Billesbach. 1993. Seasonal distribution of methane flux in a Minnesota peatland measured by eddy correlation. Journal of Geophysical Research 98:20649–20655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Spear, R.W. and W.G. Miller. 1976. A radiocarbon dated pollen profile from the Allegheny Plateau of New York State. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 57:369–403.Google Scholar
  39. Stevens, C.M. and A. Engelkemeir. 1988. Stable carbon isotopic composition of methane from some natural and anthropogenic sources. Journal of Geophysical Research 93:725–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Updegraff, K., J. Pastor, S.D. Bridgham, and C.A. Johnston. 1994. Environmental and substrate controls over carbon and nitrogen mineralization in a beaver meadow and a bog. Ecological Applications, in press.Google Scholar
  41. Urban, N.R., S.J. Eisenreich, and D.F. Grigal. 1989. Sulfur cycling in a forestedSphagnum bog in northern Minnesota. Biogeochemistry 7:81–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Verry, E.S. 1975. Streamflow chemistry and nutrient yields from upland-peatland watersheds in Minnesota. Ecology 56:1149–1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vitt, D.H. and S.E. Bayley, D.J. 1984. The vegetation and water chemistry of oligotrophic basin mires of northwestern Ontario, Canadian Journal of Botany 62:1385–1400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wahlen, M. 1993. The global methane cycle. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Science 21:407–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Watts, W.A. 1979. Late Quaternary vegetation of central Appalachia and the New Jersey coastal plain. Ecological Monographs 49:427–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wieder, R.K. 1985. Peat and water chemistry at Big Run Bog, a peatland in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, U.S.A. Biogeochemistry 1:277–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wieder, R.K. and J.B. Yavitt. 1991. Assessment of site differences in anaerobic carbon mineralization using reciprocal, peat transplants. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 23:1093–1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wieder, R.K., A.M. McCormick, and G.E. Lang. 1981. Vegetational analysis of Big Run Bog, a nonglaciatedSphagnum bog in West Virginia. Castanea 46:16–29.Google Scholar
  49. Wieder, R.K., J.B. Yavitt and G.E. Lang. 1990. Methane production and sulfate reduction in two Appalachian peatlands. Biogeochemistry 10:81–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wieder, R.K., J.B. Yavitt, G.E. Lang, and C.A. Bennett. 1989. Aboveground net primary production at Big Run Bog, West Virginia. Castanea 54:209–216.Google Scholar
  51. Wieder, R.K., M. Novák, W.R. Schell, and T. Rhodes. 1994. Rates of peat accumulation over the past 200 years in fiveSphagnum-dominated peatlands in the United States Journal of Paleolimnology, in press.Google Scholar
  52. Windsor, J., T.R. Moore, and N.T. Roulet. 1992. Episodic fluxes of methane from subarctic fens. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 72:441–452.Google Scholar
  53. Yavitt, J.B., G.E. Lang, and A.J. Sexstone. 1990. Methane fluxes in forest and wetland soils, beaver ponds, and low order streams of a temperate forest ecosystem. Journal of Geophysical Research 95:22463–22474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Kelman Wieder
    • 1
  • Joseph B. Yavitt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyVillanova UniversityVillanova
  2. 2.Department of Natural ResourcesCornell UniversityIthaca

Personalised recommendations