Intermediate-scale community-level flux of CO2 and CH4 in a Minnesota peatland: putting the SPRUCE project in a global context

P. J. Hanson, A. L. Gill, X. Xu, J. R. Phillips, D. J. Weston, R. K. Kolka, J. S. Riggs, L. A. Hook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Peatland measurements of CO2 and CH4 flux were obtained at scales appropriate to the in situ biological community below the tree layer to demonstrate representativeness of the spruce and peatland responses under climatic and environmental change (SPRUCE) experiment. Surface flux measurements were made using dual open-path analyzers over an area of 1.13 m2 in daylight and dark conditions along with associated peat temperatures, water table height, hummock moisture, atmospheric pressure and incident radiation data. Observations from August 2011 through December 2014 demonstrated seasonal trends correlated with temperature as the dominant apparent driving variable. The S1-Bog for the SPRUCE study was found to be representative of temperate peatlands in terms of CO2 and CH4 flux. Maximum net CO2 flux in midsummer showed similar rates of C uptake and loss: daytime surface uptake was −5 to −6 µmol m−2 s−1 and dark period loss rates were 4–5 µmol m−2 s−1 (positive values are carbon lost to the atmosphere). Maximum midsummer CH4-C flux ranged from 0.4 to 0.5 µmol m−2 s−1 and was a factor of 10 lower than dark CO2–C efflux rates. Midwinter conditions produced near-zero flux for both CO2 and CH4 with frozen surfaces. Integrating temperature-dependent models across annual periods showed dark CO2–C and CH4–C flux to be 894 ± 34 and 16 ± 2 gC m−2 y−1, respectively. Net ecosystem exchange of carbon from the shrub-forb-Sphagnum-microbial community (excluding tree contributions) ranged from −3.1 gCO2–C m−2 y−1 in 2013, to C losses from 21 to 65 gCO2–C m−2 y−1 for the other years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Notice: This manuscript has been authored by UT-Battelle, LLC under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the United States Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for United States Government purposes. The Department of Energy will provide public access to these results of federally sponsored research in accordance with the DOE Public Access Plan ( ).

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, and Graduate Fellowship Program (DE-AC05-06OR23100 to A. L. G.). Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s).


  • Carbon budget
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Peat
  • Picea
  • Sphagnum


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