CH4 and N2O emissions from Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis in experimental mesocosms

Xiaoli Cheng, Ronghao Peng, Jiquan Chen, Yiqi Luo, Quanfa Zhang, Shuqing An, Jiakuan Chen, Bo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Spartina alterniflora, a perennial grass with C4-photosynthesis, shows great invading potential in the coastal ecosystems in the east of China. We compared trace gas emissions from S. alterniflora with those from a native C3 plant, Phragmites australis, by establishing brackish marsh mesocosms to experimentally assess the effects of plant species (S. alterniflora vs. P. australis), flooding status (submerged vs. non-submerged), and clipping (plants clipped or not) on trace gas emissions. The results show that trace gas emission rates were higher in S. alterniflora than P. australis mesocosms due to the higher biomass and density of the former, which could fix more available substrates to the soil and potentially emit more trace gases. Meanwhile, trace gas emission rates were higher in non-submerged than submerged soils, suggesting that water might act as a diffusion barrier in the brackish marsh mesocosms. Interestingly, methane (CH4) emission rates were lower in clipped non-submerged mesocosms than in non-clipped submerged mesocosms, but nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions were enhanced. CH4 emissions were significantly correlated with the plant biomass and stem density (R2 > 0.48, P < 0.05) for both species, suggesting that both the two species might play important roles in CH4 production and transport and also act as suppliers of easily available substrates for the methanogenic bacteria in wetland ecosystems. N2O emissions, however, were not significantly correlated with plant biomass and density (P > 0.05).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Brackish marsh mesocosms
  • Common reed (Phragmites australis)
  • Plant invasion
  • Saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)
  • Trace gas emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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