Date of Award

8-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

College/School

College of Science and Mathematics

Department/Program

Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Meiyin S. Wu

Committee Member

Paul A. X. Bologna

Committee Member

William H. Thomas

Subject(s)

Methane--Environmental aspects--New Jersey, Wetland ecology--New Jersey, Wetland plants--New Jersey

Abstract

Methane (CH4) is a highly potent greenhouse gas (GHG) found to contribute to the global problem of atmospheric warming. Wetlands have been documented to possess the ability to impact the earth’s CH4 cycle yet are in a state of global depletion. CH4 flux rates in wetlands have been found to vary within wetlands based on variability in environmental factors. There is a lack o f consensus on the effects of water depth as well as dominant plant type on CH4 flux rates. In this study on Lake Wapalanne, Sussex County, NJ, submerged areas were found to produce CH4 while non-inundated, saturated areas harboring emergent vegetation were found to consume CH4. Shallow submerged areas produced significantly more CH4 (0.0114 mg CH4-C m-2 hr-1) than deeper submerged areas (0.0011 mg CH4-C m-2 hr-1) (p<0.0001) than areas dominated by either Typha latifolia (-0.0805 mg CH4-C m-2 hr-1) or Carex spp. (-0.0334 mg CH4-C m-2 hr-1). However, the effects of dominant emergent vegetation on flux lacked statistical significance. Findings from this study suggest the use of emergent macrophytes during future wetland creation promote oxygenation o f sediments and subsequent CH4 oxidation. Depth maximization of future wetland construction process is also suggested in order to minimize CH4 emission rates.

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