Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Ruth K Varner


Peatlands are a large natural source of atmospheric methane (CH4). Carex rostrata, a sedge species, has a critical role in the production, oxidation, and emission of CH4 from these systems. This study examined the changes in CH4 emissions from a temperate peatland after removing all aboveground C. rostrata biomass. Methane flux, dissolved CH4 concentration at various depths, C. rostrata green leaf area, temperature, and water table depth were measured from June 2008 to November 2010.

There is a strong positive correlation between C. rostrata green area and CH4 flux and the mean summer CH4 flux from the control plots was always higher than from the plots without C. rostrata. Model results indicate that 35--74% of total summer CH4 emissions may come from transport through C. rostrata , though C. rostrata green area, water-table depth, and temperature only explain around 35% of the observed CH4 flux variability, perhaps because of inter-annual variability.