University of Oulu

Zhang, H., Tuittila, E.-S., Korrensalo, A., Laine, A. M., Uljas, S., Welti, N., Kerttula, J., Maljanen, M., Elliott, D., Vesala, T., & Lohila, A. (2021). Methane production and oxidation potentials along a fen-bog gradient from southern boreal to subarctic peatlands in Finland. Global Change Biology, 27, 4449– 4464.

Methane production and oxidation potentials along a fen-bog gradient from southern boreal to subarctic peatlands in Finland

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Author: Zhang, Hui1,2; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina3; Korrensalo, Aino3;
Organizations: 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
4Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Geological Survey of Finland, Kuopio, Finland
6Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
7Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, University of Derby, Derby, UK
8Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9Yugra State University, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
10Climate System Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-17


Methane (CH₄) emissions from northern peatlands are projected to increase due to climate change, primarily because of projected increases in soil temperature. Yet, the rates and temperature responses of the two CH₄ emission-related microbial processes (CH₄ production by methanogens and oxidation by methanotrophs) are poorly known. Further, peatland sites within a fen-bog gradient are known to differ in the variables that regulate these two mechanisms, yet the interaction between peatland type and temperature lacks quantitative understanding. Here, we investigated potential CH₄ production and oxidation rates for 14 peatlands in Finland located between c. 60 and 70°N latitude, representing bogs, poor fens, and rich fens. Potentials were measured at three different temperatures (5, 17.5, and 30℃) using the laboratory incubation method. We linked CH₄ production and oxidation patterns to their methanogen and methanotroph abundance, peat properties, and plant functional types. We found that the rich fen-bog gradient-related nutrient availability and methanogen abundance increased the temperature response of CH₄ production, with rich fens exhibiting the greatest production potentials. Oxidation potential showed a steeper temperature response than production, which was explained by aerenchymous plant cover, peat water holding capacity, peat nitrogen, and sulfate content. The steeper temperature response of oxidation suggests that, at higher temperatures, CH₄ oxidation might balance increased CH₄ production. Predicting net CH₄ fluxes as an outcome of the two mechanisms is complicated due to their different controls and temperature responses. The lack of correlation between field CH₄ fluxes and production/oxidation potentials, and the positive correlation with aerenchymous plants points toward the essential role of CH₄ transport for emissions. The scenario of drying peatlands under climate change, which is likely to promote Sphagnum establishment over brown mosses in many places, will potentially reduce the predicted warming-related increase in CH₄ emissions by shifting rich fens to Sphagnum-dominated systems.

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Series: Global change biology
ISSN: 1354-1013
ISSN-E: 1365-2486
ISSN-L: 1354-1013
Volume: 27
Issue: 18
Pages: 4449 - 4464
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15740
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: Financial support from the Academy of Finland (projects 287039 and 258875) and ICOS-Finland is acknowledged. TV acknowledges the grant from the Tyumen region, Russia, Government in accordance with the Program of the World-Class West Siberian Interregional Scientific and Educational Center (National Project "Nauka"). AL acknowledges the Academy of Finland through Profi3 funding. AML acknowledges funding from the Kone foundation.
Dataset Reference: The DNA sequences that support the findings of this study are openly available in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive under project accession number PRJNA679629. The other data used in this study are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.