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Title: Methane oxidation in peatlands : the impacts of water table and vegetation spp.
Author: Richardson, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 8696
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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It is estimated that 10-15% of the worlds blanket bog occurs in British uplands, although this is at risk due to land-use change, climate change and tourism. Currently, several types of management and restoration work are underway in many upland areas to prevent further degradation (RSPB, 2007). Within the RSPB Vyrnwy reserve a five year management plan is currently in progress. The area contains numerous drainage ditches created to improve the quality of grazing. This has lead to a loss of blanket bog vegetation, as the drains facilitate the removal of water, across the site (Worrall, et al, 2007). To encourage the reformation of blanket bogs these ditches are now being dammed. Approximately 4500 ha will be treated over the five year period, with an estimated 18km of drains blocked each year. Previous studies suggest this will lead to increases in CH4 flux from peatlands (Price, 1997). CH4 flux rates at difference water tables in Calluna and Eriophorum cores from Lake Vyrnwy were measured in a controlled environment. It was concluded that, in the short term, water table manipulation does influence net CH4 flux rates in peat cores from this system. In Eriophorum cores a positive flux was recorded at the high water table but not where the water table was 10cm lower. A 13C-CH4 approach was also applied to more accurately determine CH4 oxidation rates. These results indicated CH4 oxidation was occurring at all water tables and in both vegetation types, even when a positive net flux was seen. It was established that comparing both 12+13C-CH4 flux rates, and 13C-CH4 oxidation rates provided more information on the impacts of water table manipulation than relying on flux data alone. Data presented suggests that gripping at Lake Vyrnwy has the potential to decrease rates of CH4 oxidation across the site.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: NERC ; UK PopNet
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bog ecology ; Bog conservation