DROUGHT, FLOODING, AND FIRE: WETLAND RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE PREDICTED SCENARIOS
Wetlands are one of the world's largest known carbon sinks, while comprising only 2-6% of the Earth's surface. Carbon in wetlands is stored through decomposition of organic matter and absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. As climates continue to change and some regions are expected to experience increased periods of drought, wetlands are predicted to become carbon sources through release of CH4 and less CO2 uptake. We examined water quality, primary production, decomposition rates, soil moisture, and soil organic matter in a series of experimental ponds manipulated to simulate flooding and drought. Preliminary data suggests that water quality (e.g., dissolved oxygen), primary production (e.g., chlorophyll a and periphyton biomass) and organic matter decomposition rates are significantly reduced as wetlands recede following a short period of flooding, compared to being constantly flooded. Ongoing studies include the addition of controlled burns prior to flooding and drought manipulations to assess for changes in CO2 and CH4 fluxes and carbon sequestration rates. Our goal is to develop a framework to better understand the response of southeastern coastal plain wetlands to predicted climate change scenarios.
Checo Colon-Gaud (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Georgia Southern University, email@example.com;
Angela Shaffer (Primary Presenter/Author), Georgia Southern University, firstname.lastname@example.org;