Methane dynamics across wetland plant species
We examined patterns of methane flux, plant biomass, and microbial methanogenic populations in nine wetland plant species. Methane dynamics varied across plant functional groupings, with patterns distinctive among forbs, clonal dominants, and tussock/clump-forming graminoids. Carex stricta and Scirpus atrovirens showed the highest emissions (31.7 and 20.6 mg CH4-C m−2 h−1), followed by other tussock- or clump-forming graminoids that averaged 11.0 mg CH4-C m−2 h−1 (Scirpus cyperinus, Glyceria striata, and Juncus effusus). The clonal dominants (Phalaris arundinacea and Typha angustifolia) had the lowest methane emissions (1.3 and 3.4 mg CH4-C m−2 h−1) of all seven graminoid species, and the forbs (Mimulus ringens and Verbena hastata) emitted no detectable methane flux from their leaves. In general, methane emissions decreased with greater plant biomass. Terminal restriction fragment analysis (T-RFLP) of archaeal 16S rRNA revealed that the structure of the soil methanogen communities isolated from plant rhizospheres had no effect on methane flux. The relative proportions of the different terminal fragments were not correlated with either methane emissions or plant biomass. Methanogen populations from J. effusus soils were dominated by acetoclastic archaea of the Methanosarcinaceae and Methanosaetaceae families, while all other graminoid soils were colonized primarily by hydrogenotrophic archaea of the Methanobacteriaceae family. The results indicate that plant functional groups and plant biomass are useful in predicting methane flux differences across plant species, while soil methanogen community structure showed no distinguishable patterns.