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Disproportionate increase in freshwater methane emissions induced by experimental warming

Zhu, Yizhu and Purdy, Kevin J and Eyice, Özge and Shen, Lidong and Harpenslager, Sarah F and Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel and Dumbrell, Alex J and Trimmer, Mark (2020) 'Disproportionate increase in freshwater methane emissions induced by experimental warming.' Nature Climate Change, 10 (7). pp. 685-690. ISSN 1758-678X

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Net emissions of the potent GHG methane from ecosystems represent the balance between microbial methane production (methanogenesis) and oxidation (methanotrophy), each with different sensitivities to temperature. How this balance will be altered by long-term global warming, especially in freshwaters that are major methane sources, remains unknown. Here we show that the experimental warming of artificial ponds over 11 years drives a disproportionate increase in methanogenesis over methanotrophy that increases the warming potential of the gases they emit. The increased methane emissions far exceed temperature-based predictions, driven by shifts in the methanogen community under warming, while the methanotroph community was conserved. Our experimentally induced increase in methane emissions from artificial ponds is, in part, reflected globally as a disproportionate increase in the capacity of naturally warmer ecosystems to emit more methane. Our findings indicate that as Earth warms, natural ecosystems will emit disproportionately more methane in a positive feedback warming loop.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2020 09:25
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:49

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