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Using Hydrogeophysical Methods for Investigating Carbon Dynamics in the Greater Everglades Watershed: Implications for the Spatial and Temporal Variability in Carbon Stocks and Biogenic Gas Fluxes

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Date Issued:
2019
Abstract/Description:
Peat soils store a large fraction of the global soil carbon (C) pool and comprise 95% of wetland C stocks. They also have the capability to produce and release significant amounts of greenhouse gasses (CO2, CH4) into the atmosphere. Most studies of wetland soil C and gas flux dynamics have been done in expansive peatlands in northern boreal and subarctic biomes. However, wetlands in temperate and tropical climates are vastly understudied despite accounting for more than 20% of the global peatland C stock and storing large amounts of biogenic gasses Although studies investigating greenhouse gas dynamics from peatlands have increased during the last decade, the spatial and temporal distribution of these gases still remains highly uncertain, mainly due to the limitations in terms of spatial and temporal resolution and invasive nature of most methods traditionally used. This thesis combines a series of field and laboratory studies at several sites in the Greater Everglades as examples to show the potential of hydrogeophysical methods to better understand: 1) the belowground C distribution and overall contribution to the global C stocks of certain wetlands (Chapter 2); and 2) the spatial and temporal variability in both C accumulation and releases from peat soil monoliths from several wetland sites in the Greater Everglades (Chapter 3 and 4). To estimate belowground C in the field, I used a combination of indirect non-invasive geophysical methods (GPR), aerial imagery, and direct measurements (coring) to estimate the contribution of subtropical depressional wetlands to the total C stock of pine flatwoods landscape at the Disney Wilderness Preserve (DWP, Orlando, FL). Three-dimensional (3D) GPR surveys were used to define the thickness of stratigraphic layers from the wetland surface to the mineral soil interface within depressional wetlands. Depth-profile cores in conjunction with C core analysis were utilized to visually confirm depths of each interface and estimate changes in soil C content with depth and were ultimately used to estimate total peat volume and C stock for each depressional wetland. Aerial photographs were used to develop a relationship between surface area and total wetland C stock, that were applied to estimate total landscape C stock of all depressional wetlands throughout the entire preserve. Additionally, low-frequency GPR surveys were conducted to image the stratigraphy underneath the peat basin of depressional wetlands to depict lithological controls on the formational processes of depressional wetlands at the DWP. Spatial and temporal variability in biogenic greenhouse gas (i.e. methane and carbon dioxide) production and release were investigated at the laboratory scale. Two 38 liter (0.5 m x 0.23 m x 0.3 m) peat monoliths from two different wetland ecosystems in central Florida (sawgrass peatland and a wet prairie) were compared in order to understand whether changes in matrix properties influence gas dynamics in a controlled environment (i.e. constant temperature). Gas content variability (i.e. build-up and release) within the peat matrix was estimated using a series of high frequency (1.2 GHz) GPR transects along each sample about three times a week. An array of gas traps (eight per sample) fitted with time-lapse cameras were also used in order to constrain GPR measurements and capture gas releases at 15-minute intervals. Gas chromatography was performed on gas samples extracted from the traps to determine CH4 and CO2 content. Also, at the lab scale, temporal variability in biogenic gas accumulation and release was investigated in a large 0.073 m3 peat monolith from the Blue Cypress Preserve in central Florida. An autonomous rail system was constructed in order to estimate gas content variability (i.e. build-up and release) within the peat matrix using a series of continuous GPR transects along the sample. This system ran virtually nonstop using high frequency (1.2 GHz) antennas. GPR measurements were again constrained with an array of gas traps (6) fitted with time-lapse cameras and gas chromatography. The aim of this study is to better constrain temporal scale, and better understand the heterogeneous nature (both in time and space) of gas releases from peat soils.
Title: Using Hydrogeophysical Methods for Investigating Carbon Dynamics in the Greater Everglades Watershed: Implications for the Spatial and Temporal Variability in Carbon Stocks and Biogenic Gas Fluxes.
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Name(s): McClellan, Matthew D., author
Comas, Xavier, Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Department of Geosciences
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2019
Date Issued: 2019
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 140 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Peat soils store a large fraction of the global soil carbon (C) pool and comprise 95% of wetland C stocks. They also have the capability to produce and release significant amounts of greenhouse gasses (CO2, CH4) into the atmosphere. Most studies of wetland soil C and gas flux dynamics have been done in expansive peatlands in northern boreal and subarctic biomes. However, wetlands in temperate and tropical climates are vastly understudied despite accounting for more than 20% of the global peatland C stock and storing large amounts of biogenic gasses Although studies investigating greenhouse gas dynamics from peatlands have increased during the last decade, the spatial and temporal distribution of these gases still remains highly uncertain, mainly due to the limitations in terms of spatial and temporal resolution and invasive nature of most methods traditionally used. This thesis combines a series of field and laboratory studies at several sites in the Greater Everglades as examples to show the potential of hydrogeophysical methods to better understand: 1) the belowground C distribution and overall contribution to the global C stocks of certain wetlands (Chapter 2); and 2) the spatial and temporal variability in both C accumulation and releases from peat soil monoliths from several wetland sites in the Greater Everglades (Chapter 3 and 4). To estimate belowground C in the field, I used a combination of indirect non-invasive geophysical methods (GPR), aerial imagery, and direct measurements (coring) to estimate the contribution of subtropical depressional wetlands to the total C stock of pine flatwoods landscape at the Disney Wilderness Preserve (DWP, Orlando, FL). Three-dimensional (3D) GPR surveys were used to define the thickness of stratigraphic layers from the wetland surface to the mineral soil interface within depressional wetlands. Depth-profile cores in conjunction with C core analysis were utilized to visually confirm depths of each interface and estimate changes in soil C content with depth and were ultimately used to estimate total peat volume and C stock for each depressional wetland. Aerial photographs were used to develop a relationship between surface area and total wetland C stock, that were applied to estimate total landscape C stock of all depressional wetlands throughout the entire preserve. Additionally, low-frequency GPR surveys were conducted to image the stratigraphy underneath the peat basin of depressional wetlands to depict lithological controls on the formational processes of depressional wetlands at the DWP. Spatial and temporal variability in biogenic greenhouse gas (i.e. methane and carbon dioxide) production and release were investigated at the laboratory scale. Two 38 liter (0.5 m x 0.23 m x 0.3 m) peat monoliths from two different wetland ecosystems in central Florida (sawgrass peatland and a wet prairie) were compared in order to understand whether changes in matrix properties influence gas dynamics in a controlled environment (i.e. constant temperature). Gas content variability (i.e. build-up and release) within the peat matrix was estimated using a series of high frequency (1.2 GHz) GPR transects along each sample about three times a week. An array of gas traps (eight per sample) fitted with time-lapse cameras were also used in order to constrain GPR measurements and capture gas releases at 15-minute intervals. Gas chromatography was performed on gas samples extracted from the traps to determine CH4 and CO2 content. Also, at the lab scale, temporal variability in biogenic gas accumulation and release was investigated in a large 0.073 m3 peat monolith from the Blue Cypress Preserve in central Florida. An autonomous rail system was constructed in order to estimate gas content variability (i.e. build-up and release) within the peat matrix using a series of continuous GPR transects along the sample. This system ran virtually nonstop using high frequency (1.2 GHz) antennas. GPR measurements were again constrained with an array of gas traps (6) fitted with time-lapse cameras and gas chromatography. The aim of this study is to better constrain temporal scale, and better understand the heterogeneous nature (both in time and space) of gas releases from peat soils.
Identifier: FA00013238 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2019.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Greenhouse gases
Everglades (Fla.)
Peatlands
Carbon
Bogenic gas
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00013238
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.