Journal article

Soil-methane sink increases with soil age in forefields of Alpine glaciers

Eleonora Chiri, Philipp A Nauer, Ruth Henneberger, Josef Zeyer, Martin H Schroth



In upland soils aerobic methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) catalyze methane (CH4) oxidation, and thus regulate the sole terrestrial sink for atmospheric CH4. While confirmed in mature upland soils, little is known about this important function in young mountainous soils in glacier forefields, which are progressively formed as a result of glacier recession. We assessed four attributes of the soil CH4 sink, i.e., soil-atmosphere CH4 flux (Jatm), CH4 oxidation activity (k), MOB abundance and variation in community composition along the 6–120-yr soil chronosequence in two Alpine glacier forefields on siliceous and calcareous bedrock. At most sampling locations soil CH4 profiles showed stable uptak..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Swiss National Science Foundation

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank I. Erny and M. Vogt for extensive help during field trips, and E. Rainer and B. Studer for assistance during soil analyses. We acknowledge M. Tanadini for statistical support. T-RFLP analyses were carried out at the Genetic Diversity Centre - ETH Zurich. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for valuable suggestions. This project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 200021-13772); additional financial support was provided by ETH Zurich.