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Title: Representing methane emissions from wet tropical forest soils using microbial functional groups constrained by soil diffusivity
Abstract. Tropical ecosystems contribute significantly to global emissionsof methane (CH4), and landscape topography influences the rate ofCH4 emissions from wet tropical forest soils. However, extreme eventssuch as drought can alter normal topographic patterns of emissions. Here weexplain the dynamics of CH4 emissions during normal and droughtconditions across a catena in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico.Valley soils served as the major source of CH4 emissions in a normalprecipitation year (2016), but drought recovery in 2015 resulted in dramaticpulses in CH4 emissions from all topographic positions. Geochemicalparameters including (i) dissolved organic carbon (C), acetate, and soil pH and (ii) hydrological parameters like soil moisture and oxygen (O2)concentrations varied across the catena. During the drought, soil moisturedecreased in the slope and ridge, and O2 concentrations increased in thevalley. We simulated the dynamics of CH4 emissions with theMicrobial Model for Methane Dynamics-Dual Arrhenius and Michaelis–Menten (M3D-DAMM), which couples a microbialfunctional group CH4 model with a diffusivity module for solute and gastransport within soil microsites. Contrasting patterns of soil moisture,O2, acetate, and associated changes in soil pH with topographyregulated simulated CH4 emissions, but emissions were also altered byrate-limited diffusion in soil microsites. Changes in simulated availablesubstrate for CH4 production (acetate, CO2, and H2) andoxidation (O2 and CH4) more » increased the predicted biomass ofmethanotrophs during the drought event and methanogens during droughtrecovery, which in turn affected net emissions of CH4. A variance-basedsensitivity analysis suggested that parameters related to aceticlasticmethanogenesis and methanotrophy were most critical to simulate net CH4emissions. This study enhanced the predictive capability for CH4emissions associated with complex topography and drought in wet tropicalforest soils. « less
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