Measuring the Impact of Acute Saltwater Intrusion on Methane and CO2 Fluxes from Freshwater Wetland Vegetation Patches.

Poster 163 – Click on poster below to view presentation from author.

Click on poster to view presentation from author.

Diana Taj

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Co-Authors: Jorge Villa

By 2050 around 650,000 acres of wetlands in Louisiana will be lost from anthropogenic and natural events. Losing land area is a concerning issue since coastal wetlands benefit Louisiana cities economically and ecologically. Wetlands only take up 5–8% of the land surface globally but can hold 30% of 1,500 Pg of global soil carbon and can be large carbon sinks holding carbon in their soil for thousands of years. Wetlands also contribute up to 25% of methane for the global methane budget and are the world’s largest natural source (Bastviken et al., 2010). Short-term saltwater intrusion (SWI) events caused by storm surges alter freshwater and brackish wetland plant growth and composition, wetland erosion rates, and the net exchange of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2). Understanding the relationship between time and concentration of increased salinity levels with methane and CO2 is crucial for wetland restoration and carbon offset projects, especially as inland and coastal freshwater wetlands are becoming more susceptible to deterioration from storm surge flooding in coastal areas. Little research in the field has been done to examine how acute SWI events can change methane and CO2 fluxes in freshwater marsh habitats. Using a unique artificial setting, we will assess patch response to simulated acute SWI events on methane and carbon dioxide fluxes in a freshwater wetland environment dominated by Typha domingensis (Southern cattail) and Panicum hemitomon (maidencane), which are two native freshwater plant species characteristic of Louisiana. We aim to provide insight into how acute SWI can change methane and carbon dioxide fluxes at the patch level and how these changes can be correlated with vegetation spectral indices, allowing for remote assessments of SWI vulnerability at larger scales.

Post comments and questions for author below.

All posts are publicly visible after review by site administrator. Students’ responses to posted questions is factored into scoring for the poster competition. Finalists announced May 25 and awards presented May 26, 2021.

6 thoughts on “Measuring the Impact of Acute Saltwater Intrusion on Methane and CO2 Fluxes from Freshwater Wetland Vegetation Patches.

  1. Interesting project. I look forward to learning more after you complete the field event. How long do you expect that the field experiment will last?

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    1. Hello Leslie! As of now, I’m planning to have my simulation event experiment last between the beginning of June until late September of this year.

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  2. Very nice presentation and interesting project. Do you expect GHG emissions to increase or decrease in your freshwater wetland system once you introduce saltwater to it?

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    1. Hello Natasha! I’m expecting for my CO2 emissions to increase, but for methane emissions I’m just expecting it to either decrease or increase only because my sites are outside exposed to natural elements in Louisiana.

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  3. Really interesting project! I may have missed but do you also plan to measure gas fluxes within full-scale wetlands systems (such as pictured in the “future work” column) and potentially link back to your experimental treatments in your small-scale constructed wetlands?

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    1. Hello Trisha! I do not plan to measure in full-scale wetland systems at the moment, but I’m hoping that my project can be used as a reference for future projects involving freshwater wetlands and the effects of saltwater intrusion.

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