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Publication Date
1 January 2024

Subsurface Redox Interactions Regulate Ebullitive Methane Flux in Heterogeneous Mississippi River Deltaic Wetland



As interfaces connecting terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, coastal wetlands develop temporally and spatially complex redox conditions, which drive uncertainties in greenhouse gas emission as well as the total carbon budget of the coastal ecosystem. To evaluate the role of complex redox reactions in methane emission from coastal wetlands, a coupled reactive‐transport model was configured to represent subsurface biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, along with production and transport of multiple gas species through diffusion and ebullition. This model study was conducted at multiple sites along a salinity gradient in the Barataria Basin at the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. Over a freshwater to saline gradient, simulated total flux of methane was primarily controlled by its subsurface production and consumption, which were determined by redox reactions directly (e.g., methanogenesis, methanotrophy) and indirectly (e.g., competition with sulfate reduction) under aerobic and/or anaerobic conditions. At fine spatiotemporal scales, surface methane fluxes were also strongly dependent on transport processes, with episodic ebullitive fluxes leading to higher spatial and temporal variability compared to the gradient‐driven diffusion flux. Ebullitive methane fluxes were determined by methane fraction in total ebullitive gas and the frequency of ebullitive events, both of which varied with subsurface methane concentrations and other gas species. Although ebullition thresholds are constrained by local physical factors, this study indicates that redox interactions not only determine gas composition in ebullitive fluxes but can also regulate ebullition frequency through gas production.

Wang, Jiaze, Theresa O'Meara, Sophie LaFond‐Hudson, Songjie He, Kanchan Maiti, Eric J. Ward, and Benjamin N. Sulman. 2024. “Subsurface Redox Interactions Regulate Ebullitive Methane Flux In Heterogeneous Mississippi River Deltaic Wetland”. Journal Of Advances In Modeling Earth Systems 16 (1). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2023ms003762.
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