Project Title: Methane dynamics in freshwater ecosystems
Summary: Methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are two important greenhouse gases but methane has approximately 21 times the radioactive forcing potential of CO2. Hence, there is a need to understand what regulates the balance of these two gases, especially in aquatic ecosystems. While methanogenesis is known to be strongly temperature dependent, its response can be dampened by substrate limitation. In addition, a large fraction of methane is oxidised by methanotrophic bacteria to CO2. We will explore and characterise the interactions between these two important parts of the methane cycle in both experimentally warmed mesocosms and natural riverbeds. We will use a combination of biogeochemical and molecular techniques to examine the fate and underlying microbial ecology of methane dynamics in freshwater ecosystem.