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Top-down control of methane emission and nitrogen cycling by waterfowl.

dc.contributor.author Richardson, Curtis J
dc.contributor.author Winton, RS
dc.coverage.spatial United States
dc.date.accessioned 2017-11-01T13:57:55Z
dc.date.available 2017-11-01T13:57:55Z
dc.date.issued 2017-01
dc.identifier https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27918615
dc.identifier.issn 0012-9658
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10161/15699
dc.description.abstract Aquatic herbivores impose top-down control on the structure of wetland ecosystems, but the biogeochemical consequences of herbivory on methane (CH4 ) and nitrogen (N) are poorly known. To investigate the top-down effects of waterfowl on wetland biogeochemistry, we implemented exclosure experiments in a major waterfowl overwintering wetland in the southeastern United States over two growing seasons. We found that herbivory inhibited the oxidation of CH4 , leading to a mean increase in emission by 230% over control plots, and prevented nitrification, as indicated by low nitrate availability and undetectable emissions of nitrous oxide. Herbivory reduced belowground biomass of macrophytes, retarding the subsequent spring emergence of aerenchymous stems, effectively starving wetland soils of oxygen necessary for CH4 oxidation and nitrification. The recognition that important populations of aquatic herbivores may influence the capacity for wetlands to emit greenhouse gases and cycle N is particularly salient in the context of climate change and nutrient pollution mitigation goals. For example, our results suggest that (1) annual emissions of 23 Gg CH4 /yr from ~57 000 ha of publicly owned waterfowl impoundments in the southeastern United States could be tripled by overgrazing and that (2) waterfowl impoundments may export as much N as agricultural fields. We discuss potential implications for habitat management in the context of historic wetland loss and waterfowl population recovery.
dc.language eng
dc.relation.ispartof Ecology
dc.relation.isversionof 10.1002/ecy.1640
dc.subject greenhouse gas
dc.subject herbivory
dc.subject methane emissions
dc.subject nitrification
dc.subject nitrogen cycling
dc.subject top-down control
dc.subject waterfowl
dc.subject wetlands
dc.title Top-down control of methane emission and nitrogen cycling by waterfowl.
dc.type Journal article
pubs.author-url https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27918615
pubs.begin-page 265
pubs.end-page 277
pubs.issue 1
pubs.organisational-group Duke
pubs.organisational-group Environmental Sciences and Policy
pubs.organisational-group Marine Science and Conservation
pubs.organisational-group Nicholas School of the Environment
pubs.publication-status Published
pubs.volume 98


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