Articles | Volume 13, issue 12
Research article
30 Jun 2016
Research article |  | 30 Jun 2016

Summer fluxes of methane and carbon dioxide from a pond and floating mat in a continental Canadian peatland

Magdalena Burger, Sina Berger, Ines Spangenberg, and Christian Blodau

Abstract. Ponds smaller than 10 000 m2 likely account for about one-third of the global lake perimeter. The release of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from these ponds is often high and significant on the landscape scale. We measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes in a temperate peatland in southern Ontario, Canada, in summer 2014 along a transect from the open water of a small pond (847 m2) towards the surrounding floating mat (5993 m2) and in a peatland reference area. We used a high-frequency closed chamber technique and distinguished between diffusive and ebullitive CH4 fluxes. CH4 fluxes and CH4 bubble frequency increased from a median of 0.14 (0.00 to 0.43) mmol m−2 h−1 and 4 events m−2 h−1 on the open water to a median of 0.80 (0.20 to 14.97) mmol m−2 h−1 and 168 events m−2 h−1 on the floating mat. The mat was a summer hot spot of CH4 emissions. Fluxes were 1 order of magnitude higher than at an adjacent peatland site. During daytime the pond was a net source of CO2 equivalents to the atmosphere amounting to 0.13 (−0.02 to 1.06) g CO2 equivalents m−2 h−1, whereas the adjacent peatland site acted as a sink of −0.78 (−1.54 to 0.29) g CO2 equivalents m−2 h−1. The photosynthetic CO2 uptake on the floating mat did not counterbalance the high CH4 emissions, which turned the floating mat into a strong net source of 0.21 (−0.11 to 2.12) g CO2 equivalents m−2 h−1. This study highlights the large small-scale variability of CH4 fluxes and CH4 bubble frequency at the peatland–pond interface and the importance of the often large ecotone areas surrounding small ponds as a source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Short summary
Ponds associated with peatlands cover large areas in boreal regions and are potentially important sources of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. At this point, little is known about the magnitude of these fluxes, where they are generated, and how they are controlled. We analyzed CH4 and CO2 summer exchange in a pond and bog located in Ontario and identified sources, mechanisms, and controls on gas exchange. The pond was a hot spot of gas release, with the shore being particularly important.
Final-revised paper